Friday, June 30, 2006

Weekend works in progress

Those great green chairs were one of last weekends finds. I have been wanting chairs to go with that table for the kids and these are perfect! I love the color and I love the fact that they won't tip backwards. And I love that they were only $2 each!
The little doll will be for a friend who just turned five. I feel like five is such a monumental birthday. Five. I love the sound of it and ,to me, it is the official close to being a toddler. Plus, any other moms of fives may or may not agreee but five is the start of something so sweet. I had a great time with the pillowcase dress and M has been wearing it all over. In fact, she has christened it with a bit of gold glitter that I don't think will come out but oh well! I have made her a skirt from April Cornell napkins (here is the link- I still don't know how to make a word a link!- )
So I have these other napkins and a great towel and they want to be made into something this weekend. I am not sure what, but I was throwing things together last night and I have a few ideas. Not sure which way things will go though!
I hope everyone has a fantastic long weekend and stays safe!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Its official now!

Yep, its official. I am 37 and a day. Even though my Dad looked across the table at me last night and said, "So 38 eh" And I said, No, and at first he didn't believe me (!) but I had him do the math and reminded him I was the second born and he then seemed convinced. Crazy Pop! So business things first, The winner of my first ever (though I am sure I will do this again) birthday giveaway is...
one crabapple at

I will email you for your mailing address and then I will get your goodies in the mail! Thanks everyone for playing!
Secondly, look at some of my fun birthday gifties. My sister, who is a world class shopper, left little presents all over the house. It was nuts! This was on the dining room table. How great is that thermos? This is the third little white ceramic bird she has given me. I guess I am collecting them now! They really are so charming. And who doesn't like bamboo? She really spoiled me!
Sadly, there was no spoiling coming from our usually pretty considerate neighbors (though there is a love affair with the leaf blower going on over there that I can't even begin to understand. Oh, and good news, he now has a pressure washer...) At any rate, I can handle the daytime noises. And I m even pretty cool with the noise until 12:00 / 12:30 a.m. HOWEVER when you have a backyard full of four guys drinking until 4:00 a.m. , by the time all that beer is drained and it is 4:00 a.m., it sounds more like 40 guys. Oh,and did I mention it was over 100 degrees yesterday? So at 12:00 a.m. in the house, it was 90 degrees - in the house!! So after being woken up every ten minutes by grunting noisy sreaming laughing "men", I had to close all the windows. The I steamed from the heat and because I was mad until 4:00 when they all passed out. We just weren't sure what to do. We figured they would wrap it up by 1. Then they were al pretty lit so who wants to go ask a bunch of drunk fools to please be quiet? We talked to their mom today and I hope that will be that. At any rate, I woke up with that special kind of crabby that comes from no sleep. But hey, we will be in the pool in anopther hour and I will be feeling pretty good!
I have to say a big thanks to Lorinda over at for the shoutout on my birthday on her blog! She is a wicked good knitter! Plus she called me an estate sale scorer extrodinaire which you will believe when you see the treasures I scored last weekend! That will have to wait unitl next time- the pool is calling!
* I just have to say that we just had two very sheepish and sweet boys come over and offer apologies for being noisy last night. The one said he had war buddies in town so they were pretty excited. It made me feel really sad that at his young age he already has "war buddies". Then he told us he is getting married in September and I said a little prayer of thanks that he came home safe and sound to his bride and the rest of the people who love him.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pillowcase dress & Birthday giveaway

It seemed time for a little whiplash fun. For the month of June we are just posting things we made that we are enjoying so here you go.I have had this sweet pillowcase for a year and finally got around to making it into something for M. First I thought I would do a skirt but I figure this way, next summer if its too short I can make it a skirt then. Plus I love the look of this- all cute and cool and summery. I had the perfect two tone ribbon in my stash that I think worked out so well. Basically I just cut some arm hole, turned and stitched those down and then made casing for the ribbon. Little tip for those of you with wiggly children; I tacked the ribbon down on both sides so it would be easier to get tied on her. Isn't the embroidery just too wonderful? This dress could not have come at a better time as it hit 90 plus today. Phew!
Secondly, it is my birthday on monday. The big 3-7. O.k. not so big, but it is the first time I have sort of felt like my age sounded old. I don't feel old (except for that tired thing that comes with keeping up with two energetic kids). I thought to celebrate and put a positive spin on things, I would do a little giveaway. Just leave a comment and I will do the drawing on monday or tuesday. Realistically tuesday since Monday it will be 100 degrees- it will be hard to draw a name from the pool which is where I plan to park it all day! I have been seeing people do the giveaways and its just fun . So whats the big prize? One of the yummy candles I did the labels for from B Pure and a sampler pack of my Froy and Olo stationery and tags. So Happy Birthday to me and happy giveaway to you!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One of my treasures

I keep seeing all of these great pincushion ideas on blogs and I keep thinking, I could really use a less ratty pincushion. But sewing without this by my side would feel all wrong. When my Grandma passed on (13 years ago), I was given her old Singer and I made sure I got my hands on this pincushion, which was easy because no one else wanted it. She is the one who taught me to sew. And taught me to garden and taught me to see the actual value of things. She would darn socks and meticulously take care of things. She also canned and never wasted a bit. She grew up in Poland and Russia and fled during the war so the things she had later in life did have the enormous value only someone who had truly lived with nothing could respect. She is probably a big reason why I like to can, and grow things, always plant "Early Girl" tomoatoes and buy very few things new. Before she died she put a little slip of paper with my name of it and taped it to the inside of the case that the Singer stands on top of. To get to the bobbin you lift the machine on a hinge and whenever I do that, I see the little piece of paper with my name shakily written down. I still miss her so much. She was such an unbelievable spirit. So strong and loving and she had the most incredible laugh. She always made her own dresses from the same apttern, with or without sleeves. And she would make pajamas for all of us, mom and dad included. I will never forget the pair she made for my dad of white polka dotted turquoise cotton. She probably got a good deal and he wore them for years though, trust me, he was never a white polka dots on turquoise kind of guy! She would always have big plastic tubs of cookies in the freezer for us and we would run down for them as soon as we got there. I still like my oatmeal cookies frozen. I like to suck all the cold out of them and eat the crunchy frozen raisins. (You should try them that way!) Another reason I can't let this pincushion go is that it was made by my Dad, for his Mom. The brown stain on the left lower corner is his blood. He poked himself making it but forged ahead. She saw the charm in that and I do too. The Dad I grew up with was not the one you could easily envision as a joyful child, or a child at all. He was stern and his word was the final word and he was pretty trapped by what the roles of men and women were in those days. He has really mellowed with age and has developed a softness that I am really enjoying. I say "developed" but I suspect it was there all the while though buried pretty deeply.
I am feeling a tad on the sentimental side today so I wanted to share this.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summer blues

So the title refers to the blues in these photos that I meant to get up yesterday for my one attempt at color week, but we are feeling a tad blue over here too. Well, not so much feeling blue, as the grey decidely unsummery weather is starting to wear on all of us. The sun is slowly starting to peek out but I am more ready for the warm all day fun in the sun type of weather that has been in short supply this year. I want to go to the pool!
So about the photos. I love blues. The little cat cup I bought in Paris back when I used to travel to Europe for work. I must have had it for 8 or so years now, though it hardly seems possible that those trips were that long ago. It is in the bathroom upstairs that we remodeled a bit when we moved in. A guy we hired to help us out with another bathroom thought there was dry rot so we took the bathroom down to floor joists only to find... perfectly good wood. We ended up taking out the cabinet, sanding and refinishing and covering the formica with these beauties from Pratt and Lambert. Is that right? Is that paint? Pratt and Larson. Thats it. Handmade beautiful way over budget expensive if I hadn't been lucky enough to find them in the Pratt and Larson seconds room. The border pieces would have been $16 each, but I got them for $3. The whole 6 foot counter and backsplash cost us $90. I just love it!
The hydrangeas were blowing in the wind so I couldn't get a decent shot but they are such a lovely color. And the bushes are huge and covered! Thats one thing to be thankful for the grey weather- they usually get all crispy and fried in the sun. They are in too sunny a spot but are enormous so there they will stay.
Last , but certainly not least, are these beautiful blue yarns from Junes color swap. Kathy from was kind enough to include a pattern for a beginner worthy lace scarf which I was thrilled about. It seems like the perfect first step into something with a repeat. She also included the cutest ceramic sheep but that walked away very quickly in a little girl's chubby hands! She loves her animals. I hope everyone has a great weekend and a happy happy father's day. I am starting on another softie from the book where I found the pattern I used for my back tack. I think I am getting addicted!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh this is just so good!

First of all, I have to say thanks for all the nice comments on my back tack. It was fun to read everything people had to say about it on this blog and Alicia's blog. To address a few questions that came up, I got the wool stuffing at .It really was a peach to work with and it made the shaping so nice. You know how polyfil is sort of lofty in a plasticy way and lumpy too? Not this wool. Secondly, someone asked about the paper mache case I put all of the backtack goodies in. I bought the case at Joann's fabrics but I am sure they you could find them at bigger craft stores. I painted it and then put oilcloth on it. I just spread a nice thin layer of tacky glue on it and it adhered beautifully. My only problem was when I painted the interior, it buckled a little. I used acrylic but it seemed to be a bit watery for paper mache. It still turned out nicely, but I am not sure if I would paint the interior again. Maybe oilcloth that too? At any rate, it was a great project and I really enjoyed it all. I can't wait for next time!
I may or may not have mentioned the shelves we picked up at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago. We bought three for $10 each.
They reach all the way to the cieling and have doors on the bottom half (though the one here I left the doors off of). They are so good I can't stand it. They were made for this house. They fit perfectly exactly where I wanted to put them. It took a couple of days, but all my fabric (ok, not quite all, the silks and fancys are still in the closet) is now folded, arranged somewhat by color, and out for my viewing and crafting pleasure.
I can't get over how happy it makes me feel to walk by them and pause and just look at them and plan out what I want to do with them, now that they aren't all suffocating alone in their dark plastic tubs in the closet. How great is the stack of greens up above? Ahhhhhh. I am making a needle roll for my newly knitting sister and a softy for my little friend celebrating her 5th birthday. Then some skirts for M, and another softie for L. Then who knows what!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Backtack delivered

I was lucky enough to get to hand deliver my back tack to Alicia today at her beautiful shop. I had yet to go there so it was nice to get to see it in all its charming cotton candy beautiful prints and colors glory myself. It was also so very nice to meet the lovely Alicia in person, as well as Andy, who was eating lunch with her at the shop. Its a little odd to know things about people that have never laid eyes on your face! They were both as charming and lovely as you would think from reading Alicia's blog. For some reason though, I always pictured Alicia with shorter hair- I'm not sure whose face with the little bob I have been picturing, but now its been replaced with her actual face.
From reading her blog and from emails between us, I knew she is a girl who loves England and English style so I used that as my point of reference. Difficult, however, to get englishy with black and white but I tried my best. We both agreed that it was a challenging set of rules to stick to but in the end I was happy to have to get my brain to think outside of it's normal creative paths.Here are some details- not very ladylike to show up her dress but I liked the bottom of her feet!

I named the bear Sheila after my English mother in law. I stuffed her with actual wool stuffing and I have to say that I won't use that dreadful poly fil ever again. Wool stuffs so nice and allows you to shape nicely too. I read somewhere that when you cuddle a wool stuffed softie, it warms up. How nice is that? I packed her in a little case that I spruced up with glossy black paint and a great oil cloth remenant along with some English treats so that Alicia could have a proper English tea time.
Another back tack under my belt and I am already wondering what those girls will cook up next. It also got me into a bit of a softie run and I have a few others in the works for little friends birthdays. I love how the little case worked out so I am sure the new softies will be packed in their own cases. I just saw vinyl you can buy with the glitter in it. The kind you would upholster your speed boat seats in. I am going to take an internet break for the rest of the weeksend so I can peck away at the yard. I finally found my chocolate cosmos today so I am thrilled. Also THE MOST incredible "Ebony" Dahlia. I will post when it blo0ms- it has dark dark leaves and the stalk is almost black. A Great weekend to all!

Sneak peeks and aftermath

Ahhhhh, back tack is finished and ready to go ! It will be hand delivered friday or saturday. I am happy with how it all turned out- I hope Alicia is too! Who knew I could get so into yellow?

So as you can see, I have a bit of a mess to clean up.While I was busy with back tack, Hubby was painting up the $10 garage sale shelves. The one for my studio is painted and in the studio so tomorrow will be a day of cleaning up my back tack mess and the beginnings of organizing my fabric on their very own out in the open shelves. Nighty night!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My backtack has two heads!

Well, I made two heads and will choose between them. I am making two softies and deciding which I like best. I was totally torn on the fabric so there you go! But isn't it supposed to be done and to our partners by saturday? Why, yes, it is. And Alicia's will be hand delivered by my handsome hubby on friday. He works pretty close to her place and with school wrapping up for the kidlets, its busy busy busy. Its all starting to take shape and I'm feeling pretty happy with it.
So do you ever have those moments where the teenager you think you are gets the cold water in her face and realizes, hey, you are OLD!!! Did I forget that I am almost the same age as my mom when she had that birthday party when she turned forty and everyone brought her canes and Depends? I so vivdly remember that party for her. I must have been about 16. Now I am 36 (37 in a couple of weeks) and I don't recall feeling much different. Well, tonight we interviewed a new babysitter. In walks this 5'11" tan and blonde and young and not wrinkly and looking well rested and smelling good and dressing cute and I think I saw myself through her eyes for a minute and I am that oler lady. That "Mam" that the people in stores call me now. I am not a Mam! I don't look like a Mam! Right? Wrong! I must look like that Mam becuase its not one or two that call me that. Its pretty much all of them. There is the odd "Miss" thrown my way and I swear I practically tear up when I hear it. I have never been one to care about "getting old" but this year, I care. I have never freaked out on a birthday and this year I feel like I might freak out a bit. I think this year has been so rife with odd changes and realizations that I am really more introspective and concious of things. Thats somewhat good and somewhat bad. I am still processing things and I think I want to do something with all of these feelings but I am not sure what. I know one of the issues has got to be that I feel like I have been losing little bits of me ever so slightly since I had kids. Its funny to feel that way when having my kids and being a Mom is pretty much It for me. There is nothing I love more. Maybe thats one reason why I have let some of me slip away. I think thats one reason why I am gravitating toward this blogging process and community. It gets me makin' things which is something I have always always done (but had let fall by the wayside)and it gets me connecting with peers in similar situations. So thats good. On that note, my two heads need a body . Off I go.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Ahhhh, it was a great amil week , but a slightly less great camera week so it took awhile to get some of these photos together. Our digital is moody. I will go chronologically to keep things straight. First of all, I participated in Eireann's ( trim swap and check out my goodies! I love the yellow velvet and the green with the tiny flowers is my favorite. I cannot wait to use these!! Oh and the brown rick rack is so perfect for a piece of fabric that I have. What a fun swap and what great choices she made for me! Secondly, and very exciting I might add, I got my back tack! Dorie ( made a perfectly lovely pointy kitty! The M on the side is so perfectly done I was very impressed. My absolute favorite part of this kitty, Is that Dorie used the button to make this gal a Momma kitty. Too too cute and funny! Nice creative use of the buttons! She also packed in some other goodies like the cutest little vintagey chenille fox that is now in the china cabinet looking very cute. Also the softest nicest linen napkins and some fabric to boot! I love backtack-especially when you have a great person backtacking for you! Speaking of backtack, after much agonizing, I mean much concentrated thought, I have landed on what I am going to do for my backtack. I have the advantage of living in the same city as my recipient so I can work until the last minute and still deliver on time!
We thrifted yesterday because we needed bookcases. We ended up finding three nice tall ones for $10 a piece which was exactly in our price range (of what we wanted to pay, not what we expected to pay so it was nice). Course I found a few bits a bobs that needed to come home with me. (thats what the bookcases are for- to store al this stuff!) I love that butterfly fabric. And the paisley is so nice. Pretty good finds, really. The piece on the far right is actually a flocked placemat. So cute. We also finally bought rocks so I can finish the rock area in the backyard. The photos are not as clear as I would have liked because it is grey and gross here today. Not good for photos but wonderful for the green blades of grass poking out of our dirt! Have a great sunday evening!