Tuesday, August 31, 2010

home again

I love being home. But gosh was it hard to leave this little angel.
It was a short visit, but there was time for the important things. Time to sit and talk, time to eat together, time for baby holding.

And let's not forget the other center of attention.

What a fun and funny girl she is. I love that she talks nonstop and that she is learning to make jokes and that she and Steve played and played until they both needed a nap.

I miss them already. And we won't even talk about the two grown-ups, who rarely get their pictures taken, but are still two of my favorite people in the world. I miss them too.

Thankfully, there is much to do to keep my mind off the missing. This week, I am working on three custom orders, as well as a new item for the shop. And although the shop item was originally going to be a set of throw pillows, I believe that the exciting things arriving by UPS today may find themselves worked into a project.
Right now, I'm sticking close to the front door. I am sewing and cleaning and biding my time until I hear the deep rumble of the UPS truck, a sound that is sweeter to my ears than the ice cream truck music. I'll probably fling open the door. The driver will probably be scared. But I think that's just one of the risks you sign up for when your job is to deliver exciting things to people's homes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I bought this whole book for just one page

...but I think we can all agree that this page is pretty amazing.

I mean, look at those tiny vegetables! Just look at them!

A basket full of eggplant? WITH LITTLE SPRIGS OF GRASS STITCHED ALL AROUND IT! I honestly can't think of when I've seen anything more precious.

Except for maybe, of course, two little mushrooms stitched on a button.

The book, if you were wondering, is Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. I didn't even expect to like it. I had heard about it and read some good reviews, but it just didn't seem like the type of sewing book that I would want to own.

Until I opened a copy. Steve and I were on a date at Barnes and Noble (which is pretty fun and I totally recommend and sometimes we have to stop ourselves from going on B&N dates too often, lest they become mundane) and I was looking through a stack of sewing books. The Martha Stewart book was one of them and I was surprised as soon as I opened it that there were multiple projects inside that I would like to make. And lots of ideas for projects that you could really make your own, which is definitely my thing.

And then I stumbled upon page 169 and fell in love with the tiny vegetables. I even said to Steve, "I would buy this book just to own this page right here". I believe he agreed, right then and there, that it was a wonderful page, because really- what else are you going to do when your wife falls in love with tiny vegetables?

I know I have mentioned my love of stitching before, but this was taking stitching to a whole new level. The veggies, I found out, were stitched with silk embroidery ribbon. Oooo la la. I have never worked with silk embroidery ribbon before and I love trying new supplies. So today, when I was making my weekly fabric order and needed a few more items in the cart to reach my goal of free shipping, I selected (with much delight, as I'm sure you can imagine) six colors of embroidery ribbon to call my own.

I wonder if the UPS man will find it strange if I am sitting on the front porch waiting for him.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

old friends

I had to get some pictures of the diaper bag today before I deliver it to its owner this weekend! The lovely Star was kind enough to model for me so that I could get some "in use" shots. I am also posting this diaper bag in the shop today, so check there for more pictures if you're interested. I bought enough fabric to make two of them and I'm so glad I did because I think it turned out great! Amy Butler's Sandalwood print is so elegant and I love the idea of an elegant diaper bag. Because moms should take every opportunity they have to be elegant, yes?

This is another set that I dropped off today and I was sad to see it go. Most of the fabric is from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern collection, but some is from my own fabric stash and I have no idea who designed it. I love the challenge of matching unrelated fabrics.

The set below was a joy to make because it is for the yet-to-be-born baby of some of our college friends. I love this Michael Miller dinosaur fabric they picked and think it is so fun and untraditional. I found this gorgeous blue for the backing and bought extra because I can envision lots of things that would look great with that color.

This blanket is all by itself right now, but I am working on some more items to match it. As much as I love the animal print on the front, I think that the striped bias tape is my favorite part. But I'm sure that's not surprising to anyone who read my ode to bias tape the other day.

I'll admit I was a little sad to send all these pretty things out of the house today. It's a bit like saying goodbye to friends. Now all I have left are the pictures and the memories. Sigh.

But life goes on. And now I can start making some new friends.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

sweat shop

On Saturday, while we were out shopping, I mentioned to Steve that I get SO hot when I'm at home sewing during the day that sometimes I have to go in the family room and sit under the fan to cool off. Steve suggested that I not say things like that in public, lest someone overhear and think he is running a sweat shop at our house.

I am thankful for the cooler weather today because I have six projects going simultaneously and have been using the iron for the past hour and a half. Sweat shop indeed.

I am preparing to make two stuffed balls today, but after laying the fabric out to decide on color arrangements, I am so delighted with the flower shapes they make that I almost don't want to move them.

Aren't they cute? (Please ignore the battered-looking coffee table under the delightful flower shapes.) They make me want to make a fancy quilt, but I am trying not to get wooed away from my idea of a very plain quilt made only of squares. Because I like squares and I like plain quilts, but darn those flowers are cute.

Along with the stuffed balls, I am working on a set of napkins that just need to have their edges serged and they will be ready to head out the door. Out for a wild life of mouth wiping and lap sitting.

And lastly, I am making some baby blankets that go along with the stuffed balls, so I got to make bias tape to trim the blankets. I LOVE making bias tape. And I love how it looks when it's done, all neat and wound up and ready to go. And I love how it looks sewn onto the edge of a project. I am seriously on the verge of writing a poem about bias tape here, but I'll refrain.
Hopefully, in my next post, I will be able to share exciting things like my logo (!) and some pictures of the diaper bag that I finished over the weekend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a rare occurance

I don't really bake cookies. I love to cook. I love to bake- pies, cakes, muffins, bread. But cookies just aren't really my thing. Too finicky. Too much in and out of the oven, batch after batch. Why can't cookies be more like cakes? Pour everything in one pan, stick it in the oven for an hour, and you're done.

But at Christmas, I bake cookies. I make bar cookies and peanut butter balls and lemon cookies. I love to make all the cookies that mom and I used to make when I was growing up. I give them as gifts, I put them in the freezer for later, I set them out when friends come over.

And I will admit that somewhere, in the back of my mind, I always thought "Wow, Steve must feel so lucky. He has his pick of all these cookies, right here in his house." So one year, after probably four married Christmases, I asked him, "What's your favorite kind of cookie?" And he said, "Oh, probably something plain, like chocolate chip."

I rarely make chocolate chip cookies. And by rarely, I mean it's probably happened once in the last seven years. Rare. So you can imagine my dismay when my sweet husband, whom I've been thinking has it so great because of all these fancy cookies, tells me (in a very nice way) that I'm never making his favorite kind.

So this morning, as I was at home and feeling especially grateful for the wonderful man I get to live with, I decided that he should get a treat today. A treat like four dozen chocolate chip cookies. And you know what? They were even kind of fun to make. But mainly because I could imagine someone coming home from work and discovering them and asking if he could please just have one before dinner.

My other project for the day is finishing a little welcoming gift for a certain someone who is occupying my thoughts these days.

Not too bad, for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

still learning

I made this super cute and handy zippered pouch last week. The fabric is Amy Butler's Sandalwood, which I think is a gorgeous print. I made up the pattern myself, which led to a few technical difficulties, which led to me deciding yesterday not to sell the pouch but to keep it. Which is totally okay with me, because I can already think of ten things I would use it for.

This could be a slow week, shop-wise, because I have so many non-shop projects to finish. Gifts and orders from friends and a skirt just for me.

I think that this is more of a gathering week. I am gathering ideas from people about projects they want. Gathering fabric, both online and at Mary Jo's. Gathering experience with zippers (see above) for the great diaper bag project.

And, at the moment, gathering all the wrinkly clothing and linens in the house (why are there so many? are they multiplying? did they talk to each other and cook this up?) for a good long ironing session. It's a glamorous life, but somebody's got to lead it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet Rose

Isn't she amazing? How is it possible to love a baby so much that you've never officially met? I don't know, but I'm hooked. Head over heels for this little girl, who is sure to bring as much joy into my life as her parents

and her big sister.

You are one lucky, lucky girl, Rose. And I plan to enjoy you as much as I can now, while you're still a baby. Because before long, before we even know what has happened, you'll be growing up. I bet it will seem like no time at all before you're as old as your mom and I were when we started this lifetime adventure of our friendship. We'll tell you stories about "when we were your age" and you probably won't be able to believe some of them. About how silly we were, how much fun we had, how we've had less than three fights in our 20+ years of friendship and one of them involved a hamster.

The fabric for your diaper bag is sitting on my ironing board and I can't wait to get started on it. The only activities that sound appealing right now are ones that involve making things for you and dreaming about what you are like and passing the time until I get to hold you and really know you.

But for now I'll just sit here and hold you in my heart, just like I've been doing every day since December when I heard you were coming. And you just stay right there and be a baby. Don't grow up before I get there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Using up the buttermilk

One of my favorite things is to find creative ways to use up a food item that I previously bought for another purpose. In this case, one quart of buttermilk. I used part of the buttermilk last week to make this barbeque ranch dressing that turned out amazing. We are still eating salads just as an excuse to have more of that dressing.

So my job for today was to use the rest of the buttermilk before it turned even more sour than buttermilk already is. First, the obvious- buttermilk biscuits.

I have only used this particular recipe once, on Easter, and they turned out great. I feel that biscuits can be rather finicky, so I am hoping that this batch cooperates as well. I think I will test one of these at lunch today, just to make sure they are fit for consumption at dinner. And because they smell so good.

Next up- the less predictable, buttermilk chicken marinade. I loosely based this marinade on two receipes I found online and made up some of it myself. We're grilling tonight, despite the heat. Maybe the grill doesn't have to work as hard if it's already hot outside?

And, lest you think I have just been cooking all day and neglecting my real duties, I have finished another project for the shop as well! I am very pleased with how it turned out and will aim to post it by tomorrow morning at the latest. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I love to stitch. I think it is a combination of the lovely thread colors, the relaxing repetitive-ness, and the portability. I really value portable pastimes. All I really need to survive a long wait at the DMV is a library book and something to stitch. I can stitch anywhere. I can stitch at someone else's house. I can stitch outside. I can stitch while watching a movie, talking on the phone, or riding in the car.

I also love plants that can survive a month of 100 degree weather, no problem. Like my lantana. The grass is dead. The vegetables are dead. All the other flowers are wilted beyond belief. But the lantana? Cool as a cucumber, brightening up the front yard, standing tall like it's just been watered (which is not the case because it's usually just the wilted plants that get watered). Next year I think I will save myself the trouble and only buy lantana. We can't eat it, but it sure looks good.

Know what I do not love? Caterpillars. Caterpillars that aren't satisfied with eating the entire oak tree in the front yard- oh no, they want more. They want to come in the house. They crawl along the front door, hoping to sneak in. Well, sorry caterpillars. I'm onto your game and I'm not opening the door. And don't even try the handle, because it's locked.

Friday, August 06, 2010

We're open for business, so come on in!

I have been very busy this week. My darling computer whiz of a sister, Cameron, came to visit and we spent three straight days getting my Etsy shop up and running. This involved lots of photography, sketching, photo editing, and lots of me saying "maybe you can just figure out how to do that..." All that to say, I am super thankful she was here and have found myself wishing several times over the past two days that she would come back.

So yesterday was my first official "open for business" day and it was amazing! I even got my first order, which I mailed out this morning. I am so lucky to have friends and family who are willing to spread the word and help turn my plan into a reality.

On the agenda for today: start a new shop project. My goal (for now, at least) is to post one new item each week. I welcome requests, so leave me a comment if there's something you'd like to see. Currently I'm thinking either a small zippered pouch, for toiletries, pencils, candy, or whatever else you fancy, OR something involving a monogram. I'll keep you posted.

On the agenda for this weekend: pool day. You know how we do.


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