Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do Over

So, I have this really cute hat.

But I don't really like the embellishment.  I mean it's okay...but...

So, I fashioned one of my own.  From my vintage millinery stash.

So spring-y, don't you agree?

Making me happy today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't Be Fresh!

Or.  Do.  Be fresh.  Like these colors.  Fresh, fresh, bright and fresh.  I finally got around to my little flour sack towel project.  I've had the stripes and trim (another piece from my grandmother's stash...it's no wonder we got along so famously - she had fabulous taste in trims!) stitched onto the towel for a couple of weeks.  Then the whole thing sat patiently, longingly on my little table until I could come back to it.

 I wonder if you can guess what's going on here. 

Everything I'm working on these days seems to be in this palette - very springtime-y.  And my motifs are the same...bright, fresh, springtime.  And lots of white. 

I realized that I need to get some new throw pillows onto the sofa.  We bought a new sofa last fall, and the "came-with" pillows are tapestry and finefinefine for fall/winter.  But the whole thing needs a bit of lightening up for spring.  The sofa itself is a caramel color.  I'm trying to figure out what would be pretty on it as throw pillows.  Maybe a bright white set of pillows with appliqued bird's nests and robin's-egg-blue eggs.  I like that color combination and the motif.  I'm just not sure if it's enough color. 

Maybe I'll pair it up with a long skinny strippy pillow in multiple springtime colors.  Oooohh...with a strip of plain linen and a daisy chain like on The Bag.  That could be fun!  Add a few peony-scented candles on tables here and there.  Swap out the flannel quilts for lighter-weight and brightly-colored cotton throws.  Wash the windows.  Let the light and air in in in! 

How do you freshen up your home for spring? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I finished the bag

It's a ginormous tote!  Just the way I like them!  I used it the other night when we went out to dinner with friends.  I sat it in it's own chair.  It's that big.  Sadly, I needed to get my glasses out of it, and my friend Tam was between me and The Bag, and when she handed it to me, she didn't lift with her legs, and I fear may have pulled something.  haha

Pocket on back for cell phone and lipstick.  Basic necessities.  Easily accessible.  Extra-wide, padded shoulder strap for comfy-comfort.

Cute hand-stitched daisy chain on front.  Fun!  And I added the black top-stitching after all.  I like it.

I'm calling it the Red Vines Bag, because of the palette and the little flower vine/daisy chain. 

 Oh, there's nothing like a new bag to give one a cheery outlook on life. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome Spring!

Dear Spring,

I put on my pink bloomers, just for you.  Welcome!


Friday, March 18, 2011

My Name In Lights

Well.  Sort of.  One of my pillows was featured on an Etsy Treasury today by Angie.  How fun!  Thanks Angie!!  I just listed this one, and a few others, yesterday.  They are all over on my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coffee + Stitches = Morning

On the mornings that I go to the gallery, I like to wake up really early and do some stitching.  It just starts my day off right to do a little something quiet and creative before I do anything else.  It feels a bit sacred, a little meditative, and very peaceful.  

I love the quietness of the house, with only the sound of the coffee brewing, Kip's kibble-nibbling, the tick tick tock of the big clock.  I light a little candle on the kitchen counter, and cozy in underneath a quilt in my favorite spot.  I only stitch and sip for a half an hour or so, but I wouldn't trade anything for that quiet little block of time that is all my own. 

This is the piece I was working on at Christine's the other night.  It's the front of a bag.  I just love the little stylized daisy chain on the blue linen strip.  I haven't incorporated hand-embroidery into any of my bag designs before, but I wanted to give it a try.  This a new bag design that I ought to have finished by the weekend for a bit of "wear-testing".  I always like to use a bag for a bit, see how it feels, make sure the position of the pockets is right, test the strap for weight distribution (since I have a tendency to design big bags - and fill them up accordingly), and just make sure it's perfectperfect before I write out a pattern or make any up to sell on my Etsy shop or at events.
When I got finished with the daisy chain, I decided it might be fun to add some black machine-stitched lines along the strip edges.  Haven't done that yet...I think it will be a nice detail.  But, in the meantime, don't you just love these colors?  Yummy-yum-yum.  The fabrics are truly large scraps from my scrap bins.  I pulled big enough pieces that I could cut long strips.  I'm using some yardage that I had on my fabric shelf for the lining and strap.  It's so much fun when a bag comes together from scraps and fabrics that I already have.  I can hardly wait to get this one finished and take it for a spin! 

I originally sketched this as a shoulder bag, but I think I'm going to go back to my old stand-by and make it an across-the-body-bag.  I think the bag itself is going to be to big (read: loaded up and too heavy) to wear on the shoulder, and will be much better if the strap is wider and padded and goes across the body to distribute the weight better.  I've got one large shoulder bag that I love, but when I fill it up, it's sort of a nightmare to carry.  I suppose I could write the pattern with both options.  Maybe not everyone fills their bags to the hilt like I do.  How about you?  Are you a bag filler, or a minimalist?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rainy Day Journal

It was rainy and grey this morning.  A good morning for a few journal pages.

I've not been good about working in my art journal.  The truth is, I did several pages in this journal that I really didn't like.  Now.  I know, I know.  My art journal is just for me, no one else needs to see it, yada yada, yada.  But, when I opened up this journal and saw the pages and found them to be uninspiring, I sort of think that defeats the whole purpose for an art journal.  It should inspire me.  Well, anyway, that's what I think. 

So, I got out my gesso, and slathered a bunch right over those uninspired pages.  Then I painted over the gesso.  The whole thing sort of gave the paper a glossy finish, and it no longer resembles the beautiful 140# cold press watercolor paper that it is.  But.  I'm making it work.  And it's only the first ten pages or so (yes, I wiped out ten, count them t-e-n, pages).  And in the end, I'm much happier with my journal, and think I'll be more motivated and inspired to work in it regularly.  That, at least, is the hope.

Don't you love this vintage photo.  I call it 'the three graces'.  Adorable ladies, all in their hats, and one of them too shy(?) to show her face, her friends looking on, giggling.  I always wonder what was happening when a photo like this was taken.  What was so funny?  Sometimes I'll just make up my own little stories, and tuck them onto my journal page.  I haven't yet with this one, but the temptation to do so is strong. 

All in all, I'm happy that I started the whole thing over.  I've been toying with the idea for months, and just haven't had it in me to do the work of covering the old stuff up.  But now that it's done, and I have all these pristine (albeit glossy) white pages, my muse is teasing me a bit with whispers, enticing me to attempt some new techniques.  Fun.

In other news, my oldest nephew - Hogan, who is a sophomore in high school, is currently playing Jay Gatsby in his school's production of The Great Gatsby.  I remembered reading the book in high school myself, but couldn't for the life of me remember the storyline, so it was fun to see the play with fresh eyes.  Last night's adaptation was unique, and I really enjoyed it.  Plus, hello?  So proud of aforementioned nephew.  I know I'm a titch biased, but he was remarkable.  And so grown up!  Wow.  Really was a fun night, having started the evening with my brother and his family for burgers and beers.  Then we all went to the play together (Hogan is my sister's oldest boy - if you're trying to follow my family tree).  So.  A fun family night.  Afterwards, Hogan came out and said the same thing he always says to me after I've been to one of his productions:

"I knew you were here tonight!  I heard your unique (read: loud) laugh in the audience."  Followed by hugs all around, and excited chatter about the next family gathering.  Lucky, lucky girl, this one.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Scenes from Craft Night

It was craft night at Christine's house last night.  I love craft night.  We're a small group...just the two of us.  I love spending time with my pal.  We don't get together often enough, but when we do, we just pick up right where we left off.  We've actually managed to squeeze a craft night in twice in the last month or so, and we're feeling pretty good about that! 

This is a new stitch-y project (I know!  Another one!!  Are you agast??!!)  Eventually it will be a really big bag.  But right now it's getting a little vine and some daisies. 

So, here's how craft night works for Christine and I.  First of all, it's just the two of us (we have a bigger group that gets together very irregularly), and whoever in her family is home for dinner (she has teenagers, so it's always a question of who will be around).  I get to her house about 4:30, and we commence with wine drinking.  Because crafts go together so much better with wine.  I sit in the kitchen while Christine cooks dinner.  (This may be my favorite part about craft night, because I'm not cooking.  Don't get me wrong, I love to cook.  But I also love to be cooked for.  Hello?!) 

The term 'craft night' is used very loosely, for a myriad of reasons...

1) Wine.  Sometimes it causes me not to want to craft at all.  Not always.  But sometimes. 

2) Neither one of us really does crafts.  I mean, there are no popsicle sticks or googly eyes within a ten-mile radius of her couch.  Christine knits, and I work on whatever project beckons at the time of packing-my-vintatge-train-case-for-craft-night, usually stitchery or my art journal.  I used to knit, but not so much anymore, because I taught Christine to knit, and now she's waaaaaay better at it than me, and it's just a little embarrassing.

3) Jane the Craft Dog.  She loves me.  She needs her head rubbed, please.  Can't you put that needle and thread down and scratch my belly?  Uh huh, that's the spot.  And look how cute I am when I put my paw on your arm when you try to stitch again.  (And when I get home, Kip takes one sniff and looks at me like, "Why?  Why are you cheating on me?")

Can't wait for next month.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.  Mahatma Ghandi

I like this quote.  I found it just now, while google-ing "quotes on joy" for this post, for you, for me.   My mind and my heart are both really working overtime on this whole concept of joy, and joy for the journey, and focusing less on the destination.

In the hurry-hurry-I-have-so-much-to-do mode in which I often find myself caught up, I have to physically stop my rushing around, put my hand to my heart, and take three deep breaths (did you know that taking three deep breaths - breathe in 1-2-3, breathe out 1-2-3, repeat two more times - will actually slow your heart rate?  It's true.).  Then, while I'm still, I let my eyes land on something and just take a moment to notice it.

When I did that this morning, I snapped this shot in my garden.  Things are soggy and wet, but still pretty in their own way.  I thought if I had this snapshot-in-time during a busybusy morning, it might remind me what I'll miss while I'm fighting, attempting, and suffering my way to whatever victory I'm seeking.  It's all a process.  And that in itself is joyful.

Hope you're finding joy in your day, too.