Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Buttons and Napkins

Ali and I made it to the ASG Conference in Sacramento this past Sunday, and came home with a bevy of buttons. The selection was awesome, but I think I'll stick to thrift stores and yard sales from now on... vintage buttons are expensive!

Some of these buttons will go to my mom who uses them as clasps for her bracelets, and I might use some as clasps for making this bracelet.

I've cut out a set of napkins and place mats out of an old Ikea comforter cover. Now they're just waiting patiently by my sewing machine waiting to be hemmed up. I'm considering doing some embroidery on one side of the place mats, maybe with the same fabric I used to embroider these.

The Kite Festival

We had such a great time at the Kite Festival! Ali and Devin got to make and fly their own kites among a ton of other great kites. Like the last time we went, there was an Octopile, but with some additions including a white flame octopus. The Japanese kites were my favorite. They were huge, bed-sized flat kites and when they were wrangled into the air, they had this Monty Python-ish band with a whistle, a couple trumpets and drums that kept time. There was a main stage where kite fliers would do dances and such with their kites to music. The most impressive was Ray Bethell, a man who did a choreographed routine to music with 3 kites all by himself! He had one kite in each hand and one connected to his belt. I was totally blown away with his skills. At the end he turned around and faced the crowd, and the announcer told us all to wave because he is deaf! I was floored, the kites had been moving perfectly with the music! Ali and Devin's favorite parts of the day were the candy drop and finding a sluggish puffer fish kite to get bowled over by.
On our way out, I jokingly asked Ali and Devin if they wanted to go to the fabric store, and to my great surprise (Mike's as well) they replied with an excited "Yes!". Wow, those kids are keepers. So here's what I picked out at Stone Mountain Daughters, with the help of my favorite people (see top pic).

Mike had to cajole one of the women who worked there into giving him the owl remnant, the last in the store! The roll at the top right is thermal knit with peaches. I'm going to use the yarn to try my hand at some wash cloths (thanks Megan and Roxanne!).

Recent Yard Sale finds

I have had enormously good luck at yard sales recently. There have been several "cleaning out Grandma's house" yard sales which are my favs and always makes Mike laugh because he thinks I'm an 80 year old woman trapped in a 26 year old body. What he doesn't know is that old patterns and crocheting are COOL now. So there.

I found lots of fabric...

Awesome mushroom fabric, patterns and a big bag of crochet thread for $1...

I think I actually gasped when I found this bag. It's vintage bark cloth, and so big it shall now be my Mary Poppins bag.

And these accordions (there are two) that you saw in this post. They were $2 each (!) and Ali and Devin love them.

I also got a large box full of beads, felt, feathers and randomness including little boxes not looked at in years filled with trinkets that once meant something to someone. Treasures galore!

Oh my goodness gracious...

I can't believe it... I recieved Third Place in Sew Mama Sew's Bag Month Contest! I am totally in shock. Looking at all the completely gorgeous bags in the flickr group, I was certain that I had absolutely no chance. All I can say is thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Panic and perusing

Ack! I got an email from Sew Mama Sew asking me to make sure they got my name right for their judges in the Bag Month Contest, and jeez, there are some nice bags in the running. So much better than my silly tote, I'm a little embarrassed. It's not that I thought it was anything special, the contest just happened to be going on when I was working on a bag, so I thought, what the heck.

So distract myself from feeling foolish, here are some fun things to check out...

I just saw these awesome ellips shelves on Curbly, and they include measurements... oh Mi-ike...

Amanda at every little thing posted about a hilarious Church Sign Generator.

I adore (and very possibly might steal) Kelli's idea for map cards.

Who doesn't need a Diabolical Hot Dog tee?

I've started thinking about Christmas gift ideas, and came across this post, and was wondering if anyone knew of a good pattern for this for a beginning knitter.

Amy of Happy Things created this gorgeous quilt, and even included a tutorial.

I'm thinking of getting myself a Sigg bottle, maybe this one.

The Handmade Parade has set a date for the fall fair, so mark your calendars and make sure you're at the Coffee Garden in Sacramento on October 13.

And we're going to the Berkeley Kite Festival on Saturday. We went several years ago and had a really great time. They had huge kites the size of cars and kites that rivaled the Blue Angels. We even got to make kites of our own. It's free (but you pay to park), and if anyone is in the area, I definitely recommend checking it out.

And here's the original picture I cropped to enter my tote in the contest, just so you see how silly it really is...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bag Month

I finished the linen tote just in time for Sew Mama Sew's Bag Month!

So using a pattern I drafted from this Japanese craft book (see this post for more pictures of the book), I turned a linen shirt and a blue cotton shirt into this...

Construction was pretty simple, even though I didn't have any directions. This was my first project from japanese instructions, and it turned out just fine. The diagrams were surprisingly helpful. My only problem was my lack of a metric ruler, so I had to use the other side of my measuring tape to draft the pattern, which got a little tricky at times. The linen was very easy to work with, especially around the curve of the bottom of the bag, it eased in perfectly. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to add interfacing to give it some more body. With the lightweight linen and cotton it's a bit floppy, but it will work perfectly carrying the new Harry Potter book to the pool, or my fruits and veggies home from the Farmers' Market.

The winner is...

As picked by my always attractive assistant. Thanks for reading my blog, Amandajean!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Custom Order

When Amy contacted me about doing a custom order for her son, I was ecstatic. I LOVE making special things for people! I even happened to have the perfect fabric to go with her son's desired theme. So with Mike's help with the painting, here's what I came up with...

I sure hope they like them!

Pay it Forward

It's a cheesy name, but sounds like fun. I first saw this on Anna's site, but missed the sign up, so when I saw that Mary Ann was doing it too, I quickly commented. Now it's your turn!

“PAY IT FORWARD. The first three people who leave a comment and pledge to pay it forward to three others on their blogs will receive a handmade gift from me within one year (July 22, 2008) of this posting. I will read your blog and get the essence of who you are to come up with an idea.”

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tote progress

Here's the progress I've made towards the linen bag I mentioned made from a japanese craft book. I'm not sure how I feel about the blue ribbon on the handles, but I'm going to go with it and see how it looks altogether.

And maybe I'll have it done in time for this. Maybe...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Now how did that happen...

This is my 101st post. How did that happen?? I just started this whole blog thing. I read some of you really fabulous bloggers having your 100th post giveaway, and I think, wow, 100 posts, that's a lot. And here I am. I'm a 100th post blogger. Well, I'm sure happy to have connected with all of you and this wonderful crafty blogland. We rock, don't we, ladies? Where else can you find people who share their stash with you, swap their creations, and send thank you cards after sharing yours? There are so many other reasons why we rock (just check some of them out to your left).

So as is tradition, I'm going to have a giveaway. I've decided that the winner can pick any bag from this post, and I'll make it for them. Just leave a comment and which bag you fancy, and I'll pick a name on Monday.

Thanks for reading my blog!
Oh yeah, and the picture is a pet rock Ali created. Adorable, huh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Thanks for all your sweet comments! And thanks for the "parenting" compliments. Sometimes I worry that I'm not doing a good job being a pseudo-step-mom to Ali and Devin. I started dating Mike when they were 3 and 6 (oh my gosh has it been 4 years??), and I was NOT a kid person. In fact, I had sworn to my friends that I would NEVER have kids. But in their karmic way, Ali and Devin melted away all my bad kid feelings pretty much instantly (the first time I met them, they sprinted to the door to greet me and then didn't stop talking or showing me things for the rest of the evening), and now I love hanging out with them - and am entertaining the idea of more kids in our lives. Someday. It's still hard though, because they're only with us half the time, and sometimes transitions from one household to another are difficult. But, it's definitely worth it. It's like a really good book, I can't wait to see how it turns out! And I get to help write the book as I'm reading it. Well, that's a pretty lame metaphor, but hopefully you get the picture.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Embroidery Bug

I've been bitten for sure. I love embroidering! It's ridiculously quick and there are so many very cool ideas out there. Here's the camping notebooks I made for Ali and Devin before our trip...

I used my pattern for the memo books, altered them a bit to add more writing utensils to the mix, and covered buttons with the japanese fabric I used for the inside pockets. The denim is from recycled jeans and the embroidery is Camp Out on an Ikea sheet I got at the thrift store.

Made with his own hands

On a whim (which is usually how things get done around here) Mike decided to make a craft shelf for the closet in our bedroom. And while we were getting wood, he also decided to put together the stemware rack we've been wanting for a while. So with large planks of wood, a miter saw and a hand drill, Mike made these...

He also put up pegboard around my sewing nook for my various tools.

So after a trip to the thrift store for some jars, instead of big plastic bins and various piles of stuff, my crafting tools and supplies are all neat and tidy. And the cupboards in our tiny kitchen are better organized, instead of being hogged by lots of oddly shaped glasses.


We had such a great time camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park. I've been told it's the least visited national park, and that's a shame. It is a bit of a drive but it was beautiful, almost other-worldly. We stayed at the Summit Lake South campground, which was centrally located within the park and an easy distance from several of the most interesting sights, including the Boiling Lake and Sulphur Works. We went fishing (the first time for me) both at Summit Lake and Manzanita Lake, but none of us caught anything.

We ate our weight in s'mores every evening, as well as played with lightsticks and the manual features on the camera.

This was our first camping trip away from the ocean which is usually chosen for it's cool reprieve from the valley heat in July, so I was glad for the chilly mornings and evenings.

And we held our Second Annual Origami Boat Regatta with genuine Alicen-made boats. It was a close race and came down to a photo-finish.

The Mike's orange boat beat Matt's light blue boat by a nose. You can see Ali's purple boat coming in third at the top.

And it was a quiet trip home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ok, now I'm done...

Is it just me, or does "done" never really mean done? As soon as I get over the stress of finishing a large project, I start thinking, "Oh! Wouldn't it be nice if I did this, or this!", and then I'm off again on a bunch of little add ons. I've got to say, I am pretty pleased with this little addition though.

I think it's pretty save to say that someone with a 5-day-old baby isn't online reading blogs, but just in case... Halley, don't look!

I couldn't send off a package without something fun for mom...

This was my first try at embroidery, and I love it! For this tote, I (ahem, Mike) found a sheriff's star online, copied it into Word, and put in Marshall's name. Then I took the fabric and taped it onto the computer monitor and drew the design with a water erasable pen. The light from the monitor worked better than the little Barbie lightbox that I've been borrowing from Ali.

I just got some patterns from Sublime Stitching (this and this and this and this) and have been playing around with those as well. I can't wait to show you what I've been working on, but we're in major camp-prep-mode at the moment. We're off on our annual camping trip on Thursday, this time to Lassen, and have a lot of packing to do! When we come back I'll show you pics of what Mike made with big planks of wood and a miter saw, all on our dining room table (I promise, Mom!).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, July 9, 2007


I can't believe it... I'm done with the cowboy bedding! Ok, so I have to admit that the main (ie, only) reason I got it all done this weekend is because the tiny recipient of the cowboy extravaganza (baby Marshall) was born on Saturday. Oops. In my defense, he was a month early. But, I've learned a valuable lesson in making things for new babies, don't wait until the last minute! Well, I guess that's a valuable lesson for all projects, and one I'm sure to forget instantly. Lucky for me, Marshall's mom was really nice about my tardiness.
And boy, what a load off of my mind! Now I can get to all the projects that have been piling up in my brain. Including one of these bags I've gotten all cut out in linen and pale blue cotton...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Tooth Fairy

Devin finally lost a tooth at our house, so we got to make a tooth bag for the tooth fairy, and await her arrival. When she came she left a note and some shiny dollar coins.

Devin was quite pleased.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cowboy Quilt

I got the quilt sandwich together last night for the baby quilt and hand tied and stitched around the edge using what I hope looks to be rope colored pearl cotton. The backing is red minky, and I don't think I'll use minky again. It's a knit fabric, so it pulls and shifts quite a bit more than I'd like in a quilt. It was especially difficult since the largest floor space in my apartment is pretty much exactly the size of this quilt, so I had to actually sit on the quilt while I pinned it. It all turned out fine though. All I have left is to put the binding on. On to the crib bumper!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On it's way...

A special order for Amy of Amy Elise Designs is on it's way...