Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sunday May 29, 2011

Continuing with Seedsowers color posts, the featured color is  Pink! I know I’m a day behind but I really wanted to do this post

I am having so much fun with these posts!  It’s been interesting to scroll through old photos looking for specific colors, it’s a different way to look at pictures.

These are all my own photos.  Some I have posted in years past but a few of them have never made it onto my blog.

If you haven’t stopped by Beth’s site you should.  She has put links up to the different Xanga bloggers who are taking apart in the color posts.  What’s neat about these posts are, while the color theme is the same, the geographical locations and personalities of the bloggers really show through.  Thank you to each person who came by an left such kind comments on my “red post”.  I hastily put it up as I was leaving town for the weekend and got the nicest surprise when I came home

Anyway, enough prattling… enjoy the pictures!




Wednesday May 25, 2011

Is it Wednesday again?  That happened fast.

For this week’s Show & Tell Wednesday I have prepared a little tour for you.  I call it April’s Sewing Hall of Horrors.  Although,  April’s Sewing Hall of Foibles would be a more accurate title, it just didn’t have the same dramatic, ominous feel to it.   While I am seriously tempted to just let you all think that everything I touch turns out lovely, that would not be truthful, and being truthful is important.

So without further ado~

Exhibit 1:  “The Evil Dress”


I made this dress last summer to wear on our vacation to Tucson.  I was going for that classic, seaside summer look.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking “That dress doesn’t look evil.  It looks darling.”  I thought you might say that so I offer up photographic evidence~


Me looking normal. {kindly ignore my awkward hand pose} 


Me looking like a nautical trapezoid.

Still not convinced?  Very well then.


Can you say “Pear-shaped”?  To be fair that’s not entirely the fault of the dress.


I call this one, “No I’m not 5 months pregnant.  Why do you ask?”
I think after reviewing the evidence we can all agree that this is truly an evil dress.  Oh the power of an evil dress… capable of making a grown woman cry.

Exhibit 2:  “Broken Heart”

Some of you may remember the heart on the left side from my Valentines Day Series.  That heart coin purse was the result of many other attempts.  The heart on the right side was the first version.


I wanted the zipper to go down the middle of the heart but I just couldn’t make it work.  The zipper wouldn’t stay lined up with the points and it wrecked the shape of the heart.  You can see from this picture that the lining is very loose and puckered.


It’s a sweet little heart but just too puckered and funky to use for anything (other than learn from).

Exhibit 3:  “Ambiguous Stuffed Animal Thingy”


It’s supposed to be a bear.
I wanted it to be a little primitive looking but this just looks like a 3-year-old made it.
Three-year-old making the bear = impressive.
Thirty-three-year-old making the bear = pathetic.

Exhibit 4: “Perfect waste of a Saturday”


I apologize for the drab, unflattering photo, but it’s a drab, unflattering skirt.  I spent most of one Saturday trying to construct a wrap skirt using one of my own skirts as a pattern.  I tried it on.  It had all the movement and charm of a toilet paper tube.  I say toilet paper tube because that’s exactly what it looked like on.  A giant, green, toilet paper tube.  No picture of it on; I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one day.

Exhibit 5: “Pride Goes Before the Fall”


Admittedly, this is a cute dress.  I had successfully made several other dresses for Eliza, so I was feeling pretty confident when I started making this little pinafore.  It’s the easiest pattern ever but my cockiness got me in trouble.  I neglected to clip the seams before I turned turned it inside out.  Which made the curves and seams on the dress, pucker and ripple.  I smoothed it out as best I could with the iron, but it never hung right on her.


In addition to that, I put the rick-rack trim on before I made the buttons holes.  An honest mistake, but it made it impossible to sew button holes on, because the machine kept getting caught on the rick-rack.  So I had the brilliant idea to sew snaps on the shoulders, and use fabric glue to glue buttons over the snaps.
The buttons came off the very first time I washed the dress.  The seams I had worked so hard to smooth out puckered up even more after a trip through the dryer.


So it hangs in her closet, a testament to my own foolishness

As much as I enjoy occasionally poking fun at myself, that isn’t the real reason I decided to do this post.

Here’s where I get out my soapbox.

There are reasons for not wanting to try something new.  Good reasons.  Maybe you’re in a busy season of your life.  You’ve evaluated your priorities and realized you can’t take on anything else.  That’s a great reason; that’s showing wisdom.  Maybe you say “That’s really neat, but it’s not for me.”  I think that’s a totally valid reason, and I have a lot of respect for a person who is comfortable enough in their own skin to say that.  Not trying something new because you’re afraid you’ll mess up is not a legitimate reason.  It’s no good. You’re not allowed to use it anymore.  You got that?  Good.

“Sometimes courage is the small voice that says, I will try again”.

~April

 

Sunday May 22, 2011

Being the mother of two boys, I have done my fair share of train related stuff.
Read books about trains.
Gone to the train museum.
Built dozens and dozens of train tracks.
Watched movies about trains.
Ridden on a steam engine through the redwoods.
 

So you may well imaging my feelings when I found out Jude’s last field trip of the year, was to yet another train museum.

Well, truth be told, I was kind of excited too.  Turns out I really like trains.


They weren’t excited at all.


All week long the the clouds had drenched the valley.  I was more than a little concerned when I woke up Wednesday morning to more rain.  Nonetheless I packed our lunches, jackets, and umbrellas, loaded up the boys and headed for the foothills.  By the time we arrived the sun had broke through promising to be a perfect spring day.
 


The poppies were growing up between the old tracks and abandoned train parts.  I loved the contrast of the flowers among all those rusted out parts.


We had the BEST tour guide!  He was relaxed, loved being with the children, and he was careful to keep all the information at the level of a 5-year-old.  By the end of the tour of the roundhouse, he had all the children whistle trained.  One blast- stop.  Two blasts- go forward.  Three blasts- back up.
 Man, I need to get me one of those whistles.


The roundhouse was amazing to me.  I think I had more pictures of the inside of the roundhouse than I did the class.  Actually, I’m certain I did.


Some of these pictures have been edited.  I’m sure you can tell which ones.


After the tour of the roundhouse and other points of interest we embarked on a 40 min. train ride through the foothills, popcorn and rootbeer in hand.


Speaking of hands, this is the darling little hand that kept reaching across the seat to pull on my shoulder.


We ended the day with a picnic on the grass.  The last few minutes the dark clouds pushed in an let loose on our happy gathering.  We scooped up our lunches and ran to the car, soaking wet with big smiles on our faces.  Another sweet childhood memory planted firmly in the minds of my boys.

Friday May 20, 2011

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday May 18, 2011

I went out to our storage shed a few weeks ago in search of some tablecloths I had lost.  I found them and a whole tub of linens I had forgotten about.  In it were some of my vintage table clothes and napkins.  As I looked at each piece I came to the conclusion that some of my favorite vintage pieces were looking a little too “loved” to grace the table anymore.  Even though they were looking worn I couldn’t bring myself to toss them out.

I stacked them in the sewing room and started thinking of a way to give these lovelies a second life.  Recycling (or “upcycling” as it is called these days) vintage textiles is a huge trend right now.  Although I admit I get a little peeved when I see people charging outrageous prices for upcycled items because I think it goes against the heart and soul of reuse, which is frugality. Yeah I said it.  I used the “f” word… frugal!!


This is a pair of thrift store boys overalls, my mom sent Eliza home in the last time she watched her.  A few years ago my mom and I were shopping in a small children’s boutique, and saw some lovely girl’s jumpers and dresses made out of antique table clothes, and hankies.  I decided to use one of my square tablecloths, along with the overalls, to make a summer dress for Eliza. 

I took out my old friend Mr. Seam Ripper, and went to work removing the pants from the bibs.


I folded the tablecloth in half (held my breath) and cut right down the middle.  I don’t know why but it always makes my stomach flip-flop when I make the first cut into a favorite piece of fabric.


I took the two panels and sewed them right sides together, up each side.  I zig-zagged the top edge and did a gathering stitch all along the top as well.  I gathered it up until the skirt fit inside the bibs.  I pinned the skirt to the inside of the bibs and stitched it straight to the jean bibs.


I also removed the red tag on the front of the jeans and added a crocheted doily (my last one!).


I did a little handwork on the skirt, one night as I watched Myth Busters (yes I watch Myth Busters while I embroider, doesn’t everyone?).


  It will be a fun thing for her to wear this summer.

The second piece is a beautiful, large rectangle, yellow and green tablecloth.  It was looking very worn. The edges where frayed, there were small stains, even a few holes here and there.  I wasn’t about to give up on it though.  I decided to make a simple tote.  I used a variety of bead, buttons, appliques to hide the worn spots.


I have a small stash of old t-shirts and onesies that I have saved.  I use them to add little touches to my sewing projects.  I cut out petals, embroidered them to the cloth and put glass buttons in the centers of the flowers.


The cloth has a very pretty but subtle yellow boarder that ends in a point on the bag.  I hand stitched beads to the edge of it, to draw ones’ eye to the boarder.
 


I also embroidered around the leaves just to give them a little dimension.


I know this might look so tedious to some of you, but I cannot tell you how much fun I had making this bag.  I love being able to do detail work.  The pattern is a reusable grocery bag that I purchased from this etsy shop.  I got such a kick out of making it,  I went a little crazy and made them for almost everyone I know.

I had enough fabric leftover to make a small lavender sachet.

I have plans to make a pincushion and cosmetic bag out some napkins and towels I found.  I had hoped to have them finished for this post but I ran out of time. 
 
The other recycling trend that I am loving right now is vintage sheets.  Circa 1970 sheets are the most popular.  Lots of women are staking out thrift stores and raiding their mother’s linen closets looking for these vintage sheets.

(photo courtesy of weloveindie)

The girls at Smile and Wave and Cakies are doing some really fun things with them too~

(image courtesy of Cakies)


(Image courtesy of Smile and Wave)
Love these vintage pillowcase dresses!


Lots of beautiful quilts being made out of sheets.
(image courtesy of diaryofaquilter)


I love this simple idea!
(image also courtesy of Diary of a Quilter)

I found this fun store on Etsy that features items made out of vintage bedsheets~ The Modern Marigold

I think I’m going to have to get my hands on some old sheets ;)

Happy Wednesday!  Thanks for stopping in~  April

Monday May 16, 2011

I know it sounds trite.

I know I’m not any different than any other person.

But life is busy right now.  The sun eases it’s way into my bedroom each morning and before I know it I am laying my tired head on my pillow long after the sun has made it’s exit.  The weeks are ticking by and the calendar pages keep on turning.  So I am taking the time to pause, to pay attention, to not let every busy second slip through my fingers.  That’s what I like about blogging…

Jude’s Birthday was so pleasant and low-key this year.  Jude loves big parties with lots of people and lots of action but we decided it was time to simplify birthdays.  Not make them any less special… just simpler.


I made dirt and worms cupcakes.  But now that Jude is 6 he no longer thinks that gummy worms are the bee’s knees, so I made just one with worms for Gideon.


I asked him what he wanted for his special birthday dinner.  His answer: berries, pancakes, and sausage.  No problem!  I even splurged for a couple of small cartons of blackberries.  They are not in season yet so they were a little pricey but Jude was so thankful!


He had a couple of his classmates over to play for the afternoon.


Daddy making a special “J” pancake for the birthday boy.


The grandparents came by after dinner for presents and cupcakes.


It was the perfect day.  I love that he is so easy to please right now.

These are the flowers Justin brought home Saturday night, along with a wedge of brie cheese, a crusty baguette, some apricot preserves, and honey (yum!).

Aren’t “no-particular-reason” flowers, the best kind of flowers?


The ladybugs are loving our garden and the boys love finding them.  This is the two of them asking for a jar for their ladybugs.  I think every spare jar and Tupperware box I own is scattered about the garden and the grass.  I have nothing to put my leftovers in!
 

She woke up early from nap today.  I admit, at first I was peeved.  But she looked so darn cute sitting on my bed eating an apple and watching old Donald Duck cartoons… I just couldn’t stay peeved for long.

It’s another jam packed week so I am off running!  See back here on Wednesday :)

~April

Wednesday May 11, 2011

We met for the first time 6 years ago today.

He was perfect.  Everything I had dreamed of and so much more.

I was young, delirious, clueless, and head-over-heels in love.  I’ve kind of been smitten every since~


Those were the days; just the two of us hanging out together in our little house in the peach orchard.


Those big blue eyes wide open… taking the whole world in.


He’s not a reckless guy

But he loves life and he wants to see it all.

Try everything. go all the time. explore. meet new people

He wants to know how the world works.


He is anything but aloof.  He has a huge heart and a tenderness that melts me.


He notices everything.


He loves big and sometimes he falls big, but it never seems to leave him gun-shy.

I pray that somehow he holds onto that love, that wonder, that tenderness, that strength~


Happy Birthday my love!  Your Daddy and I couldn’t be more proud of you!

*You may or may not have guessed that there is no Show & Tell Wednesday this week.  Sorry!  I’ve been working on some projects but they aren’t finished yet, and I didn’t want to rush them.  It should be ready for next Wednesday.  I’m sorry some of you (make that most of you) have been missing my Show & Tell posts.  I’m afraid it was a case of operator malfunction.  I was typing my Show & Tells ahead of time and saving the post as “private”, but when I changed it to “public” I neglected to change the date and the time on the post.  Which is why they weren’t showing up in anyone’s news feed.  After 4 years on Xanga I’m still learning the ropes :)   Lesson learned!

Have a lovely evening   ~  April

Tuesday May 3, 2011

We’ll call this edition of Show & Tell Wednesday ~  The Quilt {part 1}

My bedroom is a bit drab.

It’s neat and tidy (mostly) but very uninspiring.  Right now I have a lot of browns, creams, and blacks going on in there.  It has a mixed-matched feel to it, and not in a good way.  Not an eclectic, interesting kind of mix match, just a thoughtless thrown together look.  But no longer!!  It is time for action!  Time to throw off the shackles of dullness and humdrum, and embrace COLOR! (wow that was unnecessarily dramatic)

Commencing phase 1 of  “Operation Bedroom Spruce-up”:  Make a new quilt for the bed.

I started searching some quilting blogs for inspiration and came across this gem~


{photo courtesy of Film in the Frig}  A little plug for Film In the Frig~ totally cool site; you should check it out (seriously. go right now. i even put a link there for ya).

Normally I like to take an idea and tweak it a little, make it look like me, but I loved this quilt so much I decided I was going to replicate it as best I could.  The fabric is designed by Denyse Schmidt and is a combination of her Flea Market Fancy, Katie Jump Rope, and Valley Hope lines.~

{photos courtesy of Denyse Schmidt}

I thought they were charming so I did a quick Etsy search and got quite the surprise.  Sets of 4 fat quarters being sold for 40 to 50 dollars!  Just one yard of the blue and orange floral you see in that first picture… was listed for $79.00!!  It turns out, that these lines are out of print and immensely popular with quilters.  There are biding wars on Ebay for Denyse Schmidt fabrics, and entire blogs dedicated to petitioning the reprinting of these fabric lines.  SOOOoooo, on to plan B.

Oh, before I move on I just had to share this Denyse Schmidt quilting pattern~

I think it’s dreamy.  But so beyond my skills.  I don’t even have enough stubbornness to pull this one off.  Maybe someday.

Instead of getting caught up in the Denyse Schmidt fabric frenzy, I decided to head down to my local fabric store and pick out some material.  One hour and $24.00 later I came back with a beautiful stack of fabrics.  I added to what I bought with some fabric of my own (I also raided my mom’s fabric closet). 

The sewing room is very happy.

All these lovely colors and patterns resting about looking cheerful.

Even the garbage can is happy.

Here is the line up~

I have all the blocks cut, and now I need to start cutting the cream sashes that will go around each block.  I’ll try to post updates as I go along.  I might even enlist help from all you lovelies for the other stages of Operation Bedroom Spruce-up.

Last but not least… The flirty flower giveaway winner is

Skittler335 and to think, I almost cut you out of the giveaway   Your persistence was rewarded this time!

Thank you all for your kind comments and taking time out of your busy lives to stop by and have a chat with me   You guys are great!

~April