Saturday, April 22, 2006

Birthday lei making

When I lived in Hawaii, one of my favorite things to do would be to gather up beautiful blossoms from our yard and make leis. Someone there told me that when you are making someone a lei, you are to spend the time thinking wonderful thoughts you have about the recipient. How much you care for them, what they have meant to you, wishes for them.
When the kids birthdays roll around I like to take the time to do "lei making" for them. Its not usually a lei that I make, but I make them a gift in the spirit of making them something they will enjoy and spending the time thinking about the people they are and how much (how incredibly much!) I love them. I have many wishes for them and it is bittersweet sometimes to think about them in the future as every year takes them a little farther out into the world. I take my job of helping them be the very best people they can be very seriously. They are both so kindhearted and wonderful we must be doing something right!
This tent is this years "lei" for M. She is a girl who likes her hidey holes so I thought this would be a nice way for her to have a sweet little place to go and read or play or sit and imagine about when she is a mom. She currently has a "baby in her tummy" Her name is Kate and she is a girl baby because "girls come out of girls and boys c0me out of boys". So Happy Birthday tomorrow to my sweet sweet girl!

Here is what is under the tent. It is basically a slipcover for a folding card table. I found the funnel in the garage and taped it to the top. It allows a nice place for the flag to go. Best part- its all portable and put away-able!
I like the little butterfly detail because when its off the table and you are trying to get it on the way you need it- the butterfly orients me to where the front opening is. Plus its cute! I'm off to make her cake!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More Bunny love

Here is a familiar face- only now he has his own quilt too. I finally finished Miss D's birthday package. Now her bunny has his own crate and his own quilt. And because I can't send something to one of the girls only, (Im a good aunt!) I painted the little basket next to him for big sister C. Inside are six tiny chicks and their own tiny quilt too. I hope they like their goodies (Im pretty sure they will!).
Speaking of goodies, how nice is that new beautiful begonia? I need to get a few more filler plants and pot that baby up. I have a sort of begonia love affair going on. Can you blame me? So many different and beautiful plants in the same family. Im all abuzz with garden projects. We are going to build a rock patio. Phew, I am tired just thinking about it but how nice will it be to sit out there on summer evenings , feeling the day's heat radiate off the stones. It should look really nice too. More good new on the garden front: the saxifrage wintered over! I never thought that would happen, but yay!
We got our backtack matchups! I was so patient, hoping that I got a spot and then I got the email! I laughed pretty hard at the email where it was noted that apparently the whole city of Portland is back tacking! Oddly, I am backtacking for fellow Portlander and blogland favorite, Alicia at (I have got to figure out that thing where I can just have her name and thats the link- for now this will have to do). I can say I got a little jump in my belly when I read her name- I am so enamored of her crafting prowess that I feel the pressure is on a bit. Of course I felt the same way last back tack when I had a recipient who wasn't so familiar with. I think anytime I make something for someone I want ti to be just perfect. Without giving anything away, I will say that I have been sitting on the nicest piece of black and white italian fabric I bought at a once in a lifetime yardsale two summers ago. I may finally make something out of it given the rules of the game requiring the use of blacks and whites with one tiny color hit. At first this seemed limiting- I am a Color Designer after all, I love color and play with color pretty much daily so I like a lot of it. It feels good to pare down a bit and be able to focus on one clean color popped off of a black and white base. I will also say that we received a children's book from a book order a couple of weeks ago that is serving as good inspiration- I won't say which book though because that would give something away!
Time for bed! Everyone went to sleep pretty well tonight after a long evening of running around the neighborhood getting crazy with the neighbor kids. That is one of my favorite happy things- to have my kids be able to enjoy such a simple pleasure as pals just down the street to play with.

Sunday, April 16, 2006



I have been wanting to do some new wall art for M's room for the longest time but haven't eeked out a space of time or thought to make something. I truly love to shop estate sales and go thrifting and as a result , I have quite a treasure trove of supplies in my stash. One thing just burning a hole in my stash has been these amazingly sweet little vintage millinery flowers. I was at an estate sale down the street and I think I got a couple of small boxes of them for around ONE DOLLAR. I saw them and scooped them up right away, feeling a little guilty, like I was doing something wrong because it was just too good a deal! I also have a bunch of german glass glitter which I love. The colors and sparkle are really gorgeous and I thought they would be the perfect compliment to my little flowers. Also in the stash are several incredible old children's books with beautiful illustrations. I actually wanted to frame some pictures from a very old copy of Cinderella with just magical drawings, but I couldn't cut it up, even though I make it live in the garage because I brought it home smelling like cigarette smoke. The smell is almost gone now and the pictures are so incredible so I just couldn't bear to cut it up. At any rate, I found some other great pictures to frame, as you can see. The most hilarious of the bunch is actually a scan from a book M and I got at the library. It was titled something like, "Why animals shouldn't wear clothes" When we got to the picture of this poor unfortunate chicken , with his trousers full of egg, we laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we looked at it some more and laughed some more. It still makes me giggle. I finished this trio off with thumbtacks that I glued little flowers and other vintage bits too so they would have cute hangers. And the frames were plain wood that I got at Michaels and Ikea for next to nothing. I used plain fine glitter on the one with the houses and if you look closely, you can see the wood grain through the glitter which I like. All in all, Im pretty happy with M's new wall art. And I am happy that Whiplash finally inspired me to get off my bum and get something made!
Now I am going to take my chocolate bloated self to bed! Hope you had a happy easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter!

Look at the poor easter bunny- he fell in the mud

Look at all the people- and all the umbrellas!
OK, so I have lived in the Pacific Northwest almost my entire life. For those of you who don't live here, I know you have heard the jokes. And yes, it rains. Sometimes it rains a lot. Sometimes a little less. We are , after all , technically in a rain forest. At any rate, Spring here is a crapshoot. Sometimes its great, a lot of the time its pretty wet. We are not daunted by a bit of moisture, we go about our daily lives with hardly a notice of the rain. Somedays you notice though.Today was one of those days. We got all dressed in many layers and headed out for the annual easter egg hunt at the local dairy. Its great- They fill big open fields with tons of "chocolate" eggs. Some have little stickers and you can redeem those for prizes. The sad thing is that, and you think this would be a given , even though it is intended for the kids, there is always this contigency of rabid mothers , drunk with the possibility of redeeming eggs for all those plastic toys and cheap stuffed animals that run out and grab up as many eggs with their greedy little hands as they can. I digress, we managed to have a decent time despite the rain. The kids had a few eggs to redeem and given the rain there were fewer people than normal so they scored a bonus big stuffed purple rabbit that they are sharing beautifully. They are making a bed for it and playing really nicely and that makes me feel really pretty good.( It also makes me wonder if the kids of those rabid mom's would react the same way given only one bunny between them!). I think one of the funnier parts was after the hunt, watching the people who had been directed to park in the big grassy field next to the dairy, all spin their mudcaked tires fruitlessly. We ended up helping push another guy out and having another push us out. We were soaked, covered in mud and pretty cold but all in all , I had a pretty good time!

We were pretty stuck!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thrifty goodness!

We had such a fun day sunday just roaming around, going to different places we can never seem to get to. First we went to Crafty Wonderland and I saw the lovely Stephanie and Mia of littlebirds fame in the flesh. I felt like a stalker! They were at one of the first tables when we walked in and I recognized them both right away and said something like, I know you! I felt like a dork but Stephanie was very gracious! We even got a pincone for L's sewing kit. Then I spied Baby J from shim + sons, but I didn't put two and two together until we got home. What a cutie though, peering out from his baby backpack. Then we went on to Scrap, where people and companies donate whatever leftover things they have and then you can go in and fill a bag or two with these things and go home and make fun art projects. They have everything- fabric, yarn, funny plastic boxes, tins, we even got a few strips of Tazo Tea labels to play with. I also found a yard of Amy Butler fabric from the gypsy caravan line so I was happy with that. Thats been my favorite collection of hers. After that we headed to the Rebuilding center and right down the street was the greatest plant nursery called Pistil. They even had baby chicks to buy and this funny fella walking around. He is like the Liberace of chickens,what with his perfectly coifed curly feathers.

On the way home we spied a garage sale sign and, given our luck with fun finds for the day, we stopped. It was all fabrics and ribbons and buttons. Pretty dreamy!I got to talking to one of the women there and she told me that her friend was dying of ovarian cancer and they were helping her sell her stash. It was a lifetime of crafting supplies, lovingly cared for, all put out to sell. It sort of broke my heart a bit. I reminded me of the story in "Yarn Harlot" where she and her friend go through her other friends yarn stash because her arthritis made it impossible for her to knit anymore. I picked out some of her fabrics and beautiful ribbons (those are them above) to take home and make something to carry on her creative spirit. I buy a lot of craft supplies second hand ,but I seldom know the origin. Its sort of bittersweet to have the whole story.

On another note, here are a pair of the cutest salt and pepper shakers I found thrifting recently. They are nestled in one of the plants we bought at Pistil. Aren't they sweet?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Birthday Bunny

I made this little bunny for a sweet little friend who turned two yesterday. It is the wee wonderfuls wee bunny. It was a fun pattern and a quick sew , though I just realized this little bunny has no tail! Not the pattern, but my bunny- I just forgot. I painted the little crate to match and tonight I am going to make a little quilt to go with it. Then she will be in the mail for my sweet D. I can see how this little pattern can get addicting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Egg cozies

I have been the reluctant easter bunny this year. Not much time or energy to get the house festive (I still have to do my taxes!). UNTIL I picked up the latest Country Living and found a really cute picture of egg cozies made of felt. I thought the very idea of making something to cozy up a perfect brown egg was just the thing I needed to spark my easter mojo, so here you go. I think these turned out a bit tall but they were quick and cute and they look pretty happy. I also found this to be a perfect entry into this month's "use what you have" What a great idea. I have been searching for crafting focus and this was just the thing to get me out of the fabric/yarn/crafty store and into the making part. I have a few other projects from treasures I have unearthed in the great piles in my studio that I will post as I finish them.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

So much fun!!!

We got our miniswap package in the mail this weekend and the kids were over the moon! It came all the way from H and S in Norway!! First off, here is what spilled out of the envelope

Little wrapped goodies and bags foir the kids. The green tissue paper happens to be the same color as the new paint in the kitchen!

In all the bootie were these darling little easter goodies. I particulary love the postcards and little eggs. Oh and the chocolate bars had the cutest little wrappers. They disapeared very quickly- M just toted them around all afternoon!

Each kid got a fabric drawstring bag with goodies inside. L just kept walking around all day saying ,"this bag is so awesome!" He loves planets and thinks that there is something magic about drawstring bags! We made one some time ago and he couldn't get over how great it was to just pull the ribbon and the bag closes up!

I think my favorite part was a book they made for us with drawings and photos of our new pals from Norway. They also wrote all about life in Norway- the things they do the types of foods they eat- it was really fun to read to the kids. Plus there was even a little sewing kit wrapped in the sweetest red with hearts fabric! I was sure to put it away right away so that I get to use it and not the kids!
Oh, one more thing- there was a coloring book in M's bag that has the absolute sweetest drawings- check this out

Dont you love their little mushroom caps? All in all we had a ball with miniswap! The good news is that there will probably be another one in late summer early fall. The bad news is that we ahve to wait that long! It was really nice to involve the kids in this and to make some new friends far far away!