Thursday, December 1, 2011

Project Pics

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm going to give it a try!  Life isn't allowing me much time to blog, so I'll post some pics of what I've been making.

Also, check out the new blogs I added to my Awesome Blog List on the sidebar; I am mama hear me roar and MADE.  Cool and inspirational!

Finally, I've been part of a crafty, creative, monthly meeting organized by Trace of Making Schtuff.  It's helped me to stay connected to this part of me through the busy first months of life with an infant (and a preschooler, and two dogs, and the get the picture.)  It's also been just plain fun to swap ideas and dreams with other like minded souls.  Thanks, Trace.  Muah! 

To all of you: are there some like minded souls in your life you could pull together to muse on a set topic you all share an affinity for?  Food for thought, as it really is quite fulfilling to share excitement, observances, set-backs and the corresponding support, inspiration, and enthusiasm that surround a shared affinity for something special. 

My best to you ~J.

Upcycled Cashmere Baby Hat for Carter

Upcycled Wool Longies and Cashmere Baby Hat for Adrian
Rustic Thanksgiving Banner for Lynne (our gracious hostess)

Flower Pom (added after the first photo)

Close-up of the Banner.  Burnt Umber Paint on Burlap - Simple!

Fabrics for Baby Emma's Quilt

Baby Quilt for O's PreK Teacher in Progress (forgot to get finished pic, sniff.)

Fun Fabrics for the Next Quilt

More Fun Flannels and Minky

Betty Boop Baby Blanket, Anyone?!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dipping My Toes Back in the Pool, so to speak...

Wow, this should be a trick!  How in the world do I start again, what should I focus on as I write, will I have time to finish this post?  It's been over 3 months since the last post...*deep breath*.  Ready, set, go!

Let's see... Baby boy "L" was born June 3, and today was my first time (and his) down in the arts and crafts room since then (aside from some very quick, very utilitarian mending that HAD to be done.)   Scary shame and I'm in serious withdrawl.  I've been bad at carving out time for me, ALONE with me, and nobody else.  BUT, I've been a much better second-time mom through these first 3 months and I've hopefully made a fun summer for big brother O.  So maybe it's an okay trade-off?  I'm not sure yet. 

I could go on and on about motherhood, parenthood, infancy and related topics forEVER.  I won't.  I'll simply say it's been a blissful 3 months, much more wonderful than I had hoped for (but still sprinkled with the drudgery that accompanies caring for a newborn.  You can't escape that.)  More than once I've joked with friends that I wish there was a Facebook for parents only, as most of my current humor revolves around a cockeyed, sleep deprived view of the world where bodily functions are acceptable topics of discussion and where my blog would host a counter for the number of days since I last washed my hair instead of a counter for how many hits my site has had!  It's truly a perspective only other parents can completely appreciate (without being grossed out.)  I know it's a bold statement that someone without children might take offense to, but I hope they don't.  Here's why - I've never run a marathon, so there's no way I could fully understand what that means or appreciate all that it takes, even though I'd like to think I could.  Yes, I am drawing a parallel between running a marathon and parenthood.  Doing an Ironman might be a better comparison...

Well, it's taken me 6 hours to type this small amount so I better call it quits for today.  Maybe by tomorrow I'll have a photo of the colorful flannels with fun prints that I bought at rock bottom prices for making baby gifts.  Here's a pic of a past project, personalized burp cloths for baby "A".  I have many friends bringing new babes into the world the next couple of months, so it's time to welcome them to the world, by sharing a bit of mine! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ta-da...Nursery Progress

This is going to be mostly a pictorial blog entry since I've only got 2 full days left before heading to the hospital to have Big Baby Boy #2 (and lots of loose ends to tie up before we go.)  Time flies!  The nursery isn't ready, but it's getting close.  Which is fine, since our 1st baby didn't spend a lot of time in his crib or his room for the first 6 weeks or so anyway! 

Here is the "project complete" list - I've sewn the crib skirt, recovered generic cream bumper pads from IKEA, recovered the glider rocking chair cushions with a vintage blue bedspread, and saved enough of said spread to use as the backing for a quilt.  I have never made a quilt before mind you, but my pregnant brain thought this would be a fun time to try.  It was fun, but don't look too closely.  I took lots of liberties hat would probably make a proper quilter's blood boil, but in the end I'm very happy with how it turned out!  I also completed the "You are my Sunshine" wall hanging using an old screen I scavenged last summer and have been anxious to use, some raffia ric rack that I love, part of my button collection, and some scrap fabric.  Finally, the collection of thrifted embroidery hoops has been filled with pieces of fabric from the nursery project and hung over the crib.  Love it - they look like giant, vintage polka dots!!

The " project not-so-complete-yet" list includes adding ties to the tops of the bumper pads (there is only a lower set,) sewing buttons at the corners of the glider foot stool to hold the cover in place (it was expertly gathered and pinned by my good friend Jen months ago,) embellishing the plain linen fabric in the largest embroidery hoop (maybe with baby's initial once we settle on a name,)  and a host of other little details I'd like to do but aren't essential.

It's been a really fun project and I can certainly take it farther after babe is born if I can find the time, but for now I'm pleased with the outcome.  Enjoy the pics!!


Rag quilt front

Rag quilt back

I have no idea why this one keeps rotating, sorry!

Close up of wall hanging

Friday, April 1, 2011

On The Fence (and considering options)

It isn't even warm yet (37 degrees F as I type), nor have the mountains of snow we got this winter entirely melted, but I'm already thinking about outdoors, our yard, and solutions. 
 To give you the full mental picture, because I find it quite funny, I am snacking on cheesy rice cakes in my jammies and typing this as the full kitchen garbage waits to go out, O's breakfast dishes wait to be cleared (by him, not me, but I still do the reminding,) and all of our vitamins sit on the counter waiting to be sorted and either tossed or put back in the cupboard (since I pulled them out in irritation this morning.)  The nursery still has remnants of the arts and crafts room waiting to be moved downstairs so we can start preparing a place for our little boy who's going to be born in 2 months.  The nursery has holes in the wall that need patching and there's painting to do.  But somehow I've become consumed in the past 24 hours with finding a solution to the privacy issue, or lack thereof, our chain link fence offers.  So, here I sit...silly as it seems in light of everything else I could/should be doing...writing a blog entry about fencing since I'm in a quandry and need to process some options.  Sometimes you just have to say, what the heck!?  Here I go - - -

I like our chain link fence; it's black not galvanized and I think it looks nice, it keeps O and the doggies in and other people/animals out, and it lets us still have fun with our next door neighbors.  The problem has become the home behind us.  It sits at a higher elevation than ours so privacy is lessened anyway, and the elderly owner now has younger family members staying there.  They are not people that I want watching my every move, which it seems they do lately, nor are they respectful when it comes to controlling the young boy who is often there or the giant, barking dog who is often there.  I was unable to enjoy our back yard at the end of last summer/fall due to the dog's constant barking and the boy's constant yelling over our fence, hanging on our fence, and/or throwing things over (or through) our fence.  None of this was problematic when we chose to have chain link installed 5 years ago, but times change and I'm looking for a privacy solution.

I only want privacy at the portion of fence along the back of our property which separates us from the house/yard behind. Our neighbors on one side have a wooden privacy fence painted barn red, then our chain link extends across the back of our property, down a slope which is the wooded half lot next to the home we are trying to gain privacy from, and along the other side where our friends/neighbors live.  We have landscaped up the hill to the fence, but it's not dense enough, nor tall enough since their house is elevated behind ours.  Our city code allows for 6 ft high fencing, but it would look strange to have a few panels of privacy fence and then the rest chain length.  So...

Here are a few options I've found aside from planting vines which don't provide privacy during MN winters.

Willow -

I particularly like the green, eco-friendly aspect of the willow fencing and that it can be attached to our existing chain link.  It looks more natural or rustic in appearance than standard privacy fencing; I'm envisioning it as a backdrop of sorts to our landscape efforts described in an entry last August.  My concern is that this option may be too opaque and not provide enough privacy (as seen in the 3rd photo.)  What do you think?  BTW - Bamboo would be a cool option too, but it looks too asian for our yard and home. also offers the willow twig option which offers more privacy.  My concern is that it wouldn't look nice enough - it may be a little too rustic?


Additionally, there is reed fencing as seen at

Or Fern Fence:

Again, I'm not sure how these would look. ??  What do you think?

A final option with a different twist is to do a canvas backdrop attached to our existing chain link.  One idea I found at Making it Lovely is to use the IKEA Dyning sun-/windsheild.  It's inexpensive and ready to go.  I'd use the plain white panels, but Making it Lovely used the black/white stripe as pictured below.

On the Fence   So what do you think, dear readers?  What will be the solution that allows us to enjoy our backyard again without a huge time or money investment?  I welcome your thoughts!  Now, I'm off to the real world to tackle a few things before it's time to make lunch.  TGIF!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Satisfaction and Sewing

It seems like lately the song in my head has been "I...can't...get... no-o... sat-is-faction" (complete with Mick Jagger's voice and inflection,) "but I try...and I try...and I try - I can't GET NO...."  I'm happy to report that things are finally different today!  Thank heavens!

In the interest of full disclosure, my husband and I just returned from a week of warm weather, sans 4 year old son, which undoubtedly had a lot to do with my shift in perspective.  Like most parents, we love our little guy immensely, but we also need a break now and then to allow that love to flourish.  Being pregnant (tired, nauseous, victim to random aches/pains) during this extremely snowy MN winter had also taken its toll on my psyche, so the change of climate was a Godsend on many levels. 

Organizing my ideas and fabrics so I could start sewing for the new baby's nursery today, the satisfaction and contentment settled in as I began sewing my first project, a crib skirt.  The radio was on in my sunny new arts and crafts room, the space heater was cranking out warmth, and I was humming along on my good old White sewing machine, while the little guy happily kicked away in my abdomen.  I was right where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to be doing!  It was glorious!  It was a luxury - and one well worth the other luxuries we forgo in order to live without steady income from me.  It was a feeling of bliss to start giving shape to the ideas floating around in my head for this nursery.  Ahhhh, satisfaction....     

So what are these ideas, this master plan for decorating the nursery you may ask?  Now that we know it's a boy, I picked a theme of natural linen, ticking stripes, and chenille - call it rustic/country french perhaps?  I am using one of French General's new La Petite Ecole fabrics to pull together the neutral linen, cream, blues and reds of the tickings.  It's vintage typography shown here:

The fabric pictured above will be used to cover inexpensive IKEA bumper pads (incidentally, I purchased the fabric from uncommon yardage on if you're interested in buying some yourself.)  I got a roll of natural, decorator weight linen at a garage sale this summer for $4 (a steal) which I will use to sew a crib skirt.  The skirt will be trimmed with a wide band of cream and red ticking stripes at the bottom, also from the same garage sale.  See them pictured in the upper right corner of the photo below with my other lovely fabrics for the nursery.

My plan is to use the heavy, vintage, blue chenille bedspread I thrifted for covering the cushions of the gliding rocker in the nursery.  I am a sucker for chenille!  I think there's enough to also make a quilt for the crib, although babies don't really use a quilt, so maybe I'll just drape it casually somewhere in the room.  I think the glider's ottoman will be covered in the fine, pale blue stripe sitting on top of the chenille in the photo.  Ric rac, pom-pom ball fringe, and grosgrain ribbon are my choices for adding detail to pieces.  I can't wait to see how it all turns out!
I will sew a wall hanging to go above the crib - not sure of its design yet.  I'm toying with using the cream flannel squares and squares from all of the other fabrics to make a patchwork design fabric hanging resembling a quilt.  It would be mounted on a metal rod, ala French General's Kaari Meng in her book Home Sewn.  Or, I may sew giant letters saying, "bebe" or simply an "E" for our last name, to a large piece of linen backing and hang it behind an old window I have been dying to use in a project (the window would act as a frame.)  So many ideas!  Got anymore for me?
Finally, I will sew fabric liners from the various ticking stripes for the many baskets that will coral all of the baby supplies.  I will pull it all together with a deep barn-red colored rag rug and a cream woven rug with barn-red stripes.  (I have ideas for a mobile of sorts and some other accessories, but I need to get the basics sewn first and do a little painting - with zero VOC paint, of course.)  The journey has begun, my friends!  I'm happy to have you along for the ride. 
May your week hold a bit of satisfaction and contentment somewhere along the way... All my best to you ~J.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mid-week Musings

Each day I think of writing a post, much like you think of a friend you haven't talked to in a long while, with the best intentions.  But before you know it - the day has passed and you've been swept away in its activities without reaching out.  Then I think, oh well...I guess I must be too busy living life to write about it.  What a wonderful problem to have!

We continue to make progress on the room shuffle in progress at our house, along with all of the organizational efforts surrounding it.  I spent part of Saturday making labels for all of Owen's newly purchased toy bins.  Each 2x4 shipping label has a photo of the toy and the name of the toy or collection that's in each bin.  Hopefully this simplifies clean up time when we have friends over or when mom isn't around to supervise clean-up.  Also, Owen is actually playing with his toys again now that all of the pieces are together in one spot and not scattered all over the house.  So far, so good!  Finally, it's a pleasure for me to walk into his room, or into our family room, and not see toys EVERYWHERE.  Ahhhh... A small piece of visual chaos tamed.  

Garage sales are over in Minnesota for the long, cold, winter.  However, a friend and I hit my local thrift store recently and I found this sunny chenille bedspread for the foot of my bed.  LOVE IT!  It's one of those items that makes me happy each time I see it, AND, it serves the purpose of giving our little terrier a place to lay when dad decides she gets to sleep with us instead of in her kennel.  Any good finds in your neck of the woods lately?

I hope this compact little post finds your day filled with fun and adventure (even if it just consists of running the necessary errands, he, he, he.)  We are off to start our day! ~J.