Thursday, February 25, 2010

a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.

emma got her handmade book in the mail yesterday!  so adorable.  and well written too - it's an actual story! thanks grace!

as for our book - we are still working on it with ms. perfectionist.  she has made several "rough drafts" deemed unsuitable by the author.  i'm hoping that she will be able to finish one this morning, so we can mail it on the way to preschool.  she's past her deadline already.  we hit a few snags along the way - one being that her swap partner's name is grace - which is the name of one of her older second (third?) cousins, who she spent an afternoon with once and adores.  so she kept thinking she was making a book for "gracie" and filled pages with "i love you"s and such. 

then, because all she's ever written before are thank yous, birthday cards, and valentines, she was just signing her name.  then she wrote emma ad alex ad zach.  i said "what's ad alex?"  and she rolled her eyes and said, "no mom, AND alex"  and i thought - do i tell her?  will she flip? i gently broke the news that and has an N in the middle.  big sighs but no tears.  this book writing is hard work.

i decided she needed a little direction,  so i took a cue from the letter books she makes at preschool.  we made a page for each letter, and she drew pictures and i helped her spell the words.

i've had fun making some little matchbook books too.  i want to send a couple of these along, and also put them in my crayon wallets.  i'd never seen these before, but someone sent me a couple in a swap once, and they are cute.

hopefully she will finish her alphabet today, (we're at M) before our post office closes at 4pm.  we have to leave in a minute to get aj from school, and after lunch we can spend more time on it.  i want to get it done and move on to making playdough for our slumber party saturday night!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

more sewing!

i am sooo close to finished, just have to hand sew the binding down.  love this line of fabrics - sweet by urban chiks for moda.  and i have to be honest, if we aren't having a baby girl i will probably cry.  i want to wrap up a sweetie and snuggle her in this blanket!

the straight line machine quilting went pretty smoothly.  i had two wonky lines i had to take out and redo.  there's several puckers in there, and i poked myself a zillion times with all the pins - note to self, buy large safety pins - but i don't *think* i got any blood on the fabric and once it's washed i'm hoping the puckers will disappear.  i didn't prewash, because i used a charm pack, but i don't know how much shrinkage to expect - anyone?  do moda fabrics shrink, or do they come prewashed?

i have quite a bit of the backing and binding fabric left - i think i bought 2 yards of the small print and a yard of the large. i want to make a matching baby ball, or maybe a set of blocks.  sigh.  love baby stuff.

i am also doing a tutorial for ruby jane's retro fabrics using this fabric, called rockabye by avlyn, here's a peek:

how cute are those animals?  especially the elephants!  as soon as the fabric gets here, i'll get sewing and sharing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

csn has a few fun sites to browse around!  they have all kinds of cool, unique items, like these toddler beds at all children's furniture.  they also have fun wall art, love this mobile:

here's another item i want to get, wouldn't this make a cool wall decoration for the nursery?

they are made of unfinished wood, and have an adhesive backing.  as soon as it arrives, i'll do a little tutorial!  i'm thinking decoupage, or maybe a paint treatment, to hang in the nursery.  of course, i need to find out what we are having first!

what i'm reading

we finally have carpet again!  and it's niiiiice, too.  better than what we had before.  lay down and roll around kind of carpet.  plus, it's the exact color that i wanted.  so we spent the weekend rearranging furniture, and putting baseboards back up, and we have a plumber coming on friday to start on the bathroom project.  i've been reading tons of home design books from the library. 

one that i've been enjoying is speed decorating.  not as much for design inspiration, because i'm more of a homey country kind of gal, but for the idea of it.  the number one thing you can do to spruce up your home?  clean.  make it sparkle.  that's hard around here, with the wood stove and the pets and the kids and the gravel road dust - but i have been really trying!  and even if it doesn't stay that way for long, it really does make you feel better to know the light fixtures are dusted.

i was able to get into my sewing room yesterday too.  i finished up the last of the cage comforters i had cut out, and delivered them to the animal shelter this morning.  they are preparing to move to their new building, and they are having an adopt-a-thon this weekend.  so maybe, just  maybe, my cute little cage quilts will make them look a little less homeless and a little more like someone's pet.  i used one of the patterns in my latest favorite craft book, quilting for peace.  i'll share more about it later.

finally, there's been a lot of just for fun reading.  i've gotten into the kate shugak series by dana stabenow - and i'm trying to read them in order, but i'm somewhat limited to what's on the library shelf that day.  and i brought home the lovely bones to read again. 

Friday, February 12, 2010


have you heard about this?  handmade home shopping parties?  i like the concept - but i think i would have a hard time asking my friends to one of these.  they all know i have an etsy shop, and i figure if they want to buy something they will let me know.   i do think this would be a fun event if you have several crafty friends, and could offer a variety of handmade things, and hosted it at a coffee shop like she did.  maybe around the holidays?  what do you think about it?  is it something you would do?

i actually try not to attend any home parties.  a few years back, when we lived in a town of 2000, everyone was having stamping up, pampered chef, party lite, silpada, & mary kay parties, and i always ended up buying things i didn't even want because you want your friends to get lots of stuff.   so i made it a rule not to attend them anymore.  i feel bad turning down my friends, but i also don't like the idea of pressuring anyone into buying something.  which is how those particular parties are set up. you know, if three friends agree to host a party then the host gets a prize?  so then three more of your friends are having a party and you have to buy more stuff you don't need.

EDITED TO ADD:  i don't think what Mallory is talking about is the same as the "corporate" parties.  like she says, you can make it whatever works best for you - whether it's giving away one of your items, or having a how-to session, or offering shop credit to the host. 

i am excited about doing my first craft show this year!  i am going to have a booth at handmade holidays.  no excuses this year.  my mom and my friend joy have already said they will help me.  and i am just trying to narrow down what i want to have to sell.  have any of you done craft shows before?  any good tips for me?  right now, i am planning on having some baby items (bibs, blocks, blankets) and scarves, maybe a small tree with handmade ornaments, and of course my notebooks and crayon wallets.  maybe some aprons, maybe some bags.  i am also going to have jars of cookie mix for sale, i love giving them as gifts and i think they would sell well.  any other things you think would sell like hotcakes?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

i wanna win!

hey, there's a fabulous giveaway going on to celebrate the launch of a new web show called DIY Dish!!  go here to check it out, and enter to win one of two janome sewing or embroidery machines! 

here's a preview of the show:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


happy 400th post to me!  those little milestones always slip by me!  i wish i had a giveaway or something.  i can show you a few things i've been working on though.

first up, our daughter had to make a valentine's box for class tomorrow.  we did a trial run last week, using an oatmeal box and a cereal box.  we had fun, but neither box would have worked very well for the party at her school.  so i found a shoebox, covered it with construction paper for her, and then tried really hard to resist the urge to decorate it for her!  am i the only mom who does that?  i did insist on doing all the glitter glue dots and her name - but she did a nice job putting most of the foam stickers on herself. 

i made cookies for their teachers, using this recipe - omg - so good!  i made a few changes based on reviews (2 eggs, extra flour), and used half cherry chips and half chocolate.  they are cute and i hope they'll enjoy them!

 the new carpet comes friday!!  this remodel means rethinking where a lot of stuff goes.  we are adding a master bath, so our toiletries will go in there, and the vanity in the kids' bath will be three drawers smaller.  we are losing our medicine cabinet, but gaining a linen closet.  it's a mess.  i'm living with lots of this:

relocating the bathroom door means that i have a view of the laundry area from the living room couch.  it was organized ok, but now that i'm staring at it, it seems so cluttered and messy!  there are a bunch of open shelves, with canning jars and assorted appliances we don't use often.  (dehydrator, meat slicer, etc...)  anyways, i'm not sure what to do in there.  i'd love to get a stacking front load washer/dryer, and put in cabinets.  dreaming...

i'll leave you with a few of my fave scraps from the great fabric rescue 2010 - these were sorted into a bag to be tossed when i found them and brought them home to be loved.  that's salmon pink swiss dot people!!!  there are lots of little gems like these, hopefully i can use them in my notebooks or something.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


suddenly, emma has holes in almost all of the jeans that fit her.  the knees in all her hand me downs are just wearing thin.  i actually don't think i've bought a new pair of jeans for her since she was three months old!  they've all been thrifted or given to us. 

anyways, i don't want to go buy any new ones, since she will probably outgrow them by next fall.  i thought if i could patch them up she could get through til spring and capri season.  so i got busy, making patches and hand sewing them on.  i still have at least two pairs to do, but that will be good sunday sewing.  i added some details on the pockets to give them a "boutique" look and less of a "my mom's too cheap to buy me new jeans" look.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

happy february!

this is something i'm really excited about - and a little apprehensive about too.  i signed emma and i up for this neat swap over at bird and little bird.  i'm excited to have an activity for she & i to share, but nervous because she holds herself to very high standards, and one wrong slash with a crayon can send her stomping off to her bedroom. 

yes.  she is a perfectionist at age 5.  she was signing a birthday card for my dad the other day, and was writing i love you.  she wrote the first "o" and it was lopsided.  and she shouted "it looks like a potato!"  then scribbled over the whole thing and stormed out.  and i was like "what the h just happened?"  so.  i am hoping this project will be fun.  she's really very good at drawing, and i think if i just take some of her pictures after she's done them, and have her narrate the story, it might work out better than if there's pressure to create the words and pictures all at once.  also, she really wants to paint these days, so it will probably be a watercolor book.

sadly, i haven't sewn anything this week.  i found a few storage cubbies thrifting the other day, and i've been sorting my fat quarters into them by color.  i've been trying to destash, setting aside some fabrics to donate.  pairing others for future projects.  i need to finish the sashing on my hourglass quilt top, and i have another charm top laid out waiting to be pieced.  it's made of "sweet" fabrics, and i'm hoping it will be for our new baby - please be a girl!!  if not, it will still make a nice gift for someone.

and finally, i am almost through washing all the vintage fabrics i rescued from the barn.  there are some real gems in there.  and a pile of double knit poly - any ideas?  i have a bag full.  it's in the donation box right now, but if you are someone who has a great idea for it, let me know!  i need to have a show & tell with all my new treasures! 


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