Friday, September 30, 2011

the week we decided to have a yard sale

If you don't already know this about us, we're planners.  Think-it-through, weigh-your-options, make-a-list planners.

So when we decided, approximately three days ago, to have a yard sale this Saturday, no one was more surprised than we were. 

Except maybe for my bff, who found out via Facebook. 

Yesterday I made some signs and we drove around in the dark last night to hang them up.  Then we got all the "get rid of" bags out of the attic and set them in the garage.  That was the extent of our yard sale prep. 

Today's yard sale prep has included glancing in the garage about three times at the bags of stuff and baking two dozen muffins and a pan of brownies. 

You know I don't like to invite people over without serving food. 

Truthfully, the idea came from the fact that Steve reminded me it would be cold Saturday morning.  So I decided that we should serve coffee from our new thermos to the shoppers.  And then I thought that I could make some muffins and things and have a little bake sale table too. 

Today is gorgeous and I wish that I could settle down outside and stare at the mums for the rest of the afternoon.  But I think I need to do something about those bags in the garage. 

Hope your weekend is the perfect start to October!  If you're nearby, you should stop by tomorrow for some coffee and muffins! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

poetry night

I've been cutting fabric for most of the day and, as a result, almost everything in the house is covered in fabric scraps.  Or tape measures, apparently. 

One of the things I found most surprising once I started learning to sew was that sewing is about 30% measuring and cutting, 50 % ironing, and 20% actual sewing. 

In other news, two weeks ago, Steve introduced Poetry Night.  I think it's destined to be a family tradition.  We take turns choosing a theme and style of poetry, and then on Saturday night, everyone reads their poems aloud.  I say "everyone" because everyone who is in the house on Saturday night has to participate.  Thankfully, my mom was eager to be included and she actually finished her poem before we had started working on ours. 

This week's theme was "travel" and the required form was haiku.  I think mom took her poem home with her (feel free to leave it in the comments, Mom), but here are Steve's and my poems, respectively:

Horizons unwind
Wind, Clouds, Sky, Sunrise, Let’s go
Wheels, air, earth, sunset

Suitcase in my hand
The open road stretches out
Home seems far behind

I find it so interesting that short poems, written in the same style, with the same theme, can be so different.  As I was writing mine, I had this idea in my head that Steve and Mom were probably writing almost the same thing as me. 

Steve hasn't chosen next week's theme yet, but I'll keep you posted!

Today was a super exciting mail day- TWO fall magazines!  I'm hoping to sneak in some time to look at them once I finish all my work today.  Both covers have me wishing (again) for pumpkins!

Monday, September 26, 2011

fall mantle

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope that your weekend was as great as ours was! 

We had so much fun while my mom was here.  It was rainy and gray, so we didn't take many pictures, but we shopped and ate and talked and had a big time. 

The cloudy skies have put me in the mood to settle in for the season and enjoy the comforts of home.  Last week, we dragged the boxes of fall decorations out of the attic.  I haven't quite finished, but I did get the mantle and a few other key places done and now I can't wait for pumpkins on the porch

Want to know what's up there and where it came from?  I'll do the usual mantle rundown, but I must tell you that all of these items are at least a couple years old, so my memory may be fading. 

From left to right:

Dried seed-pod pumpkin (TJ Maxx)
Various orange and maroon candles (Pier One, Target)
Tiles to set under candles (Lowe's)
Metal grate (The White Elephant)
Bittersweet vine (Michael's)
Artificial leaves (Michael's)
Glass canister (The Beehive) filled with fake pumpkins and gourds (TJ Maxx)
Ceramic pumpkin with lid (Target)

To spruce up the candles, I tied a fake leaf to each one with some garden twine.  This is an inside trick that I'm sharing with you: everything looks cute when you tie something else to it.  Just try it. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be simultaneously prepping for a craft fair and piecing together our winter quilt, so there are lots of pictures to come of half-completed projects, fabric laid out all over the living room, and me covered in little bits of thread. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday goes by in a blur

It's been dark outside for six days straight, but I am forging ahead and posting awful, grainy, blurry pictures.  Because I think that blogs without pictures are boring. 

Lanyards, anyone? 

A teacher friend suggested that I make some lanyards for people who have to wear a name badge at work and I've been busily researching swivel clips and split rings.  And what I found out is that hardware is a lot harder to shop for than fabric.  And less pretty.  But functional, definitely functional. 

I finished a sample today and have been wearing it around the house, wishing for a badge of some sort. 

This was my attempt at a close-up to show you that the end has both a clip AND a key ring.  Fancy, I know.  

So how about I keep making cute lanyards and then wait for some sun and then take lots of great pictures and show those too?  Okay?  Okay. 

I'm cutting myself off on lanyard-making for today though because I have a million other way more practical things I should be doing.  I'm aiming to finish my work day by 3pm because that's when my mom arrives!  We have so many fun ideas about things to do this weekend while she's here!  It always feels a bit like a holiday when mom comes and I love getting ready for visitors. 

Hope your weekend is lovely!  See you back here on Monday!

*wondering where the fall decoration pictures are?  The decorations are up, but there will be no decent picture taking in this dark dungeon.  Hopefully next week....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the skinny

Prepare yourselves: I'm getting trendy. 

It was bound to happen one day, right?

(If you know me, you know that I am probably the least trendy person out there.)

(Steve will disagree with me on this, but don't listen to him.  Remember the shoes?)

So I started making some skinny belts this week, because I've been seeing them everywhere and think they're super cute.  And I haven't really seen any fabric ones, just leather. 

I like leather a lot, but I also like color and I pictured belts in lots of bright jewel tones with big, graphic patterns. 

As with any new product, I like to try it out a bit first and make sure that everything is ship-shape before putting it in the shop, so I've been wearing this particular belt for two days now.  I did take it off to sleep. 

So far I love it and I bought some more tiny D-rings today so that I can keep the fun going with other color choices. 

I've got a busy afternoon ahead, but I'll be back tomorrow with a peek at our fall decorations. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


This weekend, we bought a present for ourselves. 

We've been on a hunt for a thermos.  And not just any old one either- a large, metal, old school thermos. 

I had the idea that Crate and Barrel might have just such a thermos and- would you believe it?- they did! 

I think I should interrupt my thermos story at this point though to tell you that we really like Crate and Barrel boxes.  They are very sturdy and great to have on hand if you happen to mail a lot of packages, which we do.  So, gift or no gift, we try to ask for a box every time we purchase something there. 

The friendly Crate and Barrel employee who checked us out really went above and beyond though.  She swaddled that thermos in packing paper like a newborn.  Then she went to another desk to find the fancy purple tissue paper to put on top. 

She threw in a gift receipt.  She put a handle and gift tag on the outside of the box and sent us on our way with our gift. 

Neither of us could bring ourselves to admit that it was for us. 

So we got home and Steve opened that gift like it was Christmas morning, while I snapped pictures like I didn't know what was inside. 

It was actually quite festive. 

We were saved the trouble of naming our new thermos, as he is already wearing a name tag.  Stanley.  I think it fits. 

Stay tuned for pictures later this fall of Steve and I drinking all sorts of fancy hot beverages while sitting on a flannel blanket surrounded by leaves.  Oh the fun we'll have!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Making the pizza sauce from scratch was totally worthwhile.  Not only did it taste great and make the house smell like Italy, I ended up with two big jars full of sauce, so there's plenty for later. 

Here's what you do:

Cut 2 1/2 pounds of plum tomatoes into quarters.  Chop up one red pepper, one green pepper, and one yellow onion.  Put all the veggies in a 9"x13" glass dish.  Pour in 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper and 1 tsp. salt. 

Stir everything together and roast in the oven at 375 for one hour. 

While you are roasting, feel free to make a pizza crust, do some laundry, or put your feet up. 

After one hour, stir in 2 tsp. fresh oregano and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.  Roast for another 30 minutes. 

Once you are done roasting, scoop everything in the dish (juices included!) into the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour it into jars or eat it while it's hot! 

We'll be enjoying leftover pizza and cooler weather all weekend!  See you on Monday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

thoughts of fall

It's that time of year again, friends.  The time of year when I step out on the front porch, prop the camera up on a few books, and try to take pictures of myself, all while acting nonchalant and like I am certainly NOT photographing myself whenever someone walks by. 

My life is fairly glamorous. 

But, um, speaking of glamorous- have you seen this bag?!?  I set out to design something that was a cross between a messenger bag, a briefcase, and a purse and I think I just about did it. 

Don't you love it when you imagine something and then manage to somehow produce what was once in your head?

My biggest vision for this bag was its general boxy-ness.  I wanted a bag with clean lines and sharp corners.  Nothing too slouchy or flowy.  Fall makes me long for contrasting colors and straight lines.  I bought a striped shirt last weekend and have been swooning over some striped mittens at Target. 

Fall also makes me wish I was going back to school.  Not the homework part, or the class part, but the buying school supplies-walking around campus-cheering on the football team part.  So I made a bag that I would like to take back to school with me, if I were going.  Or that maybe my mom or teacher friends would enjoy taking to school with them.  It is the perfect size for notebooks and folders and the flat bottom makes it easy to organize things. 

In a burst of foresight, I made an extra one for myself, so that I wouldn't have to go through the parting anxiety of making something I love and then selling it. 

Today I am working on some other sewing projects and making pizza with homemade tomato sauce.  I'll share the recipe tomorrow if it's tasty!

Monday, September 12, 2011

one of us got older this weekend

I had a great weekend celebrating my favorite person.  In fact, I had so much fun that sometimes I felt like it may actually be my birthday. 

We started the day with breakfast on the porch and enjoyed the cool September air.  And it really felt like a special occasion because we each got our own Starbucks drink and usually we just share one. 

We spent almost the whole day outside- reading in the yard in the morning, lunch on the patio at Dean and Deluca, and a trip to a garden in the afternoon. 

You know how much we love gardens. 

This particular one- the Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary- we had never visited before, even though it is right here in Charlotte.  This garden is actually in the middle of a neighborhood because it used to be someone's backyard.  The owners were passionate about gardening and when they died, the house and yard and a few lots on either side became a public garden.  Visiting made me imagine, yet again, what amazing things we could be doing with our own quarter acre. 

Probably the most exciting part of the garden tour was when I looked up and saw pomegranates growing on a tree!  I mean, have you ever?  I had NO idea that you could grow pomegranates in North Carolina!

All of the outdoor time was great, but my favorite part of the birthday was Steve's genius idea.  Since we weren't going out of town as originally planned, he suggested that we use those funds to buy some new linens and make it feel like we were on vacation at home. 

We had so much fun filling a shopping cart with new towels, pillows, sheets, and a gorgeous linen duvet cover.  After lots of laundry, it was all clean and ready to go and I must say that last night I slept like a rock. 

Celebrating Steve is one of my favorite things to do- every year I like him more and more. 

This week is pretty busy with outside-of-the-house work, but I did find time today to finish the new bag design I've been working on.  I'll share pictures soon! 

Friday, September 09, 2011

a quilt, a purse, and 2 boxes of tissues

Yesterday I washed and ironed all the fabrics that I've collected so far for our quilt.  It's finally happening.

How many times have I mentioned making my first full sized quilt?  I'm sure so many that you've completely given up on me by now. 

The problem was committing to a color pallete, you see.  As much as I love color, I have color committment issues. 

I had cut an example of the quilted pillow sham above from a Pottery Barn cataloge many moons ago and recently revisited it.  I decided that I could live with the color scheme for a long time- red, white, blue, brown.  Who gets tired of red, white, and blue

I think I may have too much blue, so I'm now on the hunt for some white and brown to tone it back a bit. 

My goal is to be sleeping under this thing by Christmas.  While visions of sugarplums dance in my head. 

I've also been working hard this week on new purse style.  When I design a new product, I sort of learn as I go, so this bag has already evolved a bit from my initial sketches.  But I think I like it even better now. 

I wanted to make a bag to match the new checkbook covers because I think that matching sets make great gifts.  And we're coming up on gift season!  Whenever possible, I like to work ahead of the need. 

Our birthday weekend plans are on hold until we figure out if the cold we both have is getting better or worse.  Either way, we plan to eat some great food and disconnect from the outside world for a bit and I'm totally excited.  Sniffles and all. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

labor day weekend

We had such a great time last weekend while Steve's family was here!  They came to kick off his birthday celebration a week early.  And if there's anyone who deserves a birthday celebration that lasts for a week, it's Steve. 

We spent two days running around to some of our favorite spots here in town.  Our first stop was the farmer's market, where we picked up flowers, figs, candles, kettle corn, and lots of veggies for dinner.  I am always super proud to show off our farmer's market, because I think it's the best one I've ever been to. 

We also spent some time downtown, checking out Steve's office.  The views were amazing!  He is on the 25th floor of an all glass building and we spent at least an hour watching the city from above. 

Being at Steve's office made me realize how different our days are from each other!  He sits at a desk in this very businessy-looking place, high above the city, while I putter around our house and yard and sometimes venture out to run errands. 

There is a beautiful old cemetary near Steve's office that we walked around for a bit.  It was strange to see the short lifespans of people in the 16th and 17th century.  I have always liked reading epitaphs and noticed that most of these referred to patience in suffering or endurance of pain.  Many of the stones were so old that the words can no longer be made out. 

We ate great meals together and had plenty of time to talk and I know that Steve felt really celebrated.  We sung to him a little over blueberry pie

As I mentioned yesterday, I am doing a lot of shop work this week and posting new items for fall.  I love posting new items!  Be sure to stop by the shop and let me know what you think!


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