Saturday, January 22, 2011

Obsessed with all things small and cute

I love little things. I especially like sewing and knitting for little people. The cuteness factor is high and the time involved low - what a great combination! Another mom at Skidmore pre-school, had an adorable baby boy, just before the holidays. With all the Christmas madness and family visiting, I just didn't pull a gift together.
Enter snow days, lots of them. Finally a little time to sew. I had had these cut out forever, but finally decided to sew them together. The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings Book and they couldn't be easier. Also they are reversible, which when out with a little one could be very handy! I was in such a hurry to get them off, that I failed to take a photo of the reverse. Inside one pair is a cute print of Paris and the other features bikes. Very fun!
The flickr world has really been inspiring to me. I must admit I have been drawn into things that I probably don't have the time or money to even be considering. But the call of lovely photos and all the fun friends are having . . . was just too hard to resist. Also I have logged hundreds of hours with Ellie dressing princess girls, barbies and now little Pet Shop Blythe dolls. So I decided why not step it up a notch and then entered Megan of Lucy and Norman. She got the Blythe bug a while ago and quickly had lots of dolls. She offered up a couple of her girls for adoption and it just seemed like they were destined for Ellie and I. (I know shameless to blame it on almost four year old)
So without any further ado . . .
meet Sam and Astrid. They will be coming to live with us soon. We can't wait!
At the same time we were finalizing the adoption, I found out a gift was on its way to Ellie and I. They left Japan on Wednesday . . .
I am still very much in the learning stage of all things Blythe, but I figure the more the merrier!
Also one of the first people I met when we moved to Saratoga 5 plus years ago has had a neglected Blythe and we plan to have a bunch of fun together. Here is Becky's Blythe, Ameila, and her awesome blog.
I started to make a sweater and have ordered a few pairs of tights, shoes, etc for the girls. This weekend Ellie and I plan to hit our sewing studio and get busy making them some clothes! Ellie and I created a new corner for her to iron, sew and fondle fabric alongside Mommy. She often wears her veil while sewing, which is a key accessory as far as Ellie is concerned.
Ellie's sewing corner
OKAY, Now for my other dirty little secret . . . I have always thought that doll, bear, barbie collections were a bit crazy. I am a little worried about being the grown woman that plays with dolls, you know, the silly doll lady. BUT in the end, I have decided to go for it and enjoy! So if you think I have gone a bit nutty . . . you are probably right, but don't bug me because I will be playing with my dolls!
Check out just a few of the thousands of wonderful photos of Blythe, here is one of my favorite groups of photos.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Urban Home Goods Time . . .

In coming up with a mosaic and filling out the form to join the latest round of the Urban Home Goods Swap, I realized a couple of things:
1. My likes and ideas are all over the map.
2. I am not sure if I had myself as a partner that all the colors, ideas and random thoughts would help me to pick an item or two to make.
So partner if you are reading this . . . I love swaps when I am given so many ideas that I usually find one or two that really excite me. Also I find it hard when someone is too specific or gives you one fabric line, etc. I feel compelled to make what they want and go and buy the exact fabric they want in order to please them. I am not that person. I really want someone to make something for me, that is fun for them to make. So really I would like ANYTHING and I pretty much like ANY fabric. Okay, that being said . . . here is a mosaic of some things I like and some of the past mosaics. I also included a bit of a history of this swap so I would have it all in one place. Thanks in advance for spending your time making something for me!
Here are my inspiration mosaics from the first two swaps:
Round Two
First Round
This has been such a fun swap. Here are some of the items I have received . . .
sewing machine cover received from Lisa, lpinette
Received from Colette at The Threaded Nest
Tablerunner in red and aqua, clutch I have used everyday since I got it and really need to replace it has gotten that much use! and a initial iphone case which has also got too much use and is almost threadbare!
I have also had tons of fun making stuff for this swap. The first time around I made some placemats and a grocery tote for Leslie of lesleyandsara.
The second time around, I made items for Nova and had a lot of fun creating for her. Her is what I came up with.
Here is a blog post written for my partner before round 2.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The flea market fancy pillow of my dreams and a New Year's sewing resolution

This is what I received from Amisha. By far this is my favorite holiday gift. All my favorite fabrics sewn together by hand and with all the white space, the fabrics just shine. Thanks so much Amisha, I LOVE IT!
Sometimes I think to push the envelope and really have fun, we all strive to come up with very elaborate pillows, quilts, etc. I marvel at the construction and work that go into all these fantastic pillows. They are works of art! Swaps have been a wonderful way to have a WOW piece come into the house. I am not sure I would take the time to make myself such a showcase piece like the Flea Market Fancy Cathedral Window Pillow Amisha made for me.
As I often struggle to come up with new ideas for gifts or when making something for us, I realized recently that a few simple pieces allow the few WOW pieces to really stand out! Simple allows me to actually make something, and when I get too crazy I tend not to finish what I start. (unless it is for a swap with a deadline!) The wonderful fabrics that I obsess over tend to stand out more when they are featured in a simple design.
So I have decided to embrace simple for a few months and actually make some things for us. Every time I finish a swap, Steve or the kids always ask why I rarely make things for us. That is going to change this year. I am going to set more realistic project goals for the items I make for home.
Yesterday I actually put this new approach into action. I cast some stitches around mid-day, quilted and felted during naptime and sewed it all together after everyone went to bed. It was a few hours worth of work in total.
I challenged myself to take a fabric I love and pair it with some texture. Varying the fabric for me adds depth and layers to a project, it gives it life. First I took out the knitting needles and created a striped square with a wool/mohair blend. Then I felted the wool and blocked the "fabric". I quilted the Echino bus fabric with two layers of batting in a simple line pattern with contracting thread. Cut the felted fabric and sewed the two pieces together. A little topstitching to hold the two together, a simple envelope backing, using the pattern of the fabric to make an interesting back.
And Viola, a new, fun pillow! I LOVE the combination of the felted wool and the canvas print.
I must admit I was feeling a bit homesick for Seattle last night as we watched the Seahawks beat the Saints. The game was fun to watch and the shots of the city, as predictable as they were . . . throwing fish at Pike's Place, a barista at the original Starbucks in the market, a shot across the water looking at downtown from West Seattle and then looking down on the city from the crest of Queen Anne. It looked like a great day and scenes of Seattle always make me miss home!
Ellie is still in the New Year's spirit. She loves the tiara my sister got her in NYC and has worn it for the last week straight. She is also still trying on new outfits with glee. This is a little number that Grandma Sue had under the tree for her, minus the sunglasses, tiara and hot pink shoes.
I am off to clean the pink nail polish off the floor, chair, etc from the pedicure Ellie gave Sam this am. I tried to take the polish off of Sam's toes (really his whole foot) but he insists on keeping it on!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Years and a little meltdown!

I was just about to write a lovely post with photos of all the wonderful traditions and fun things we did. But to be honest . . . I am just too tired! We did have a WONDERFUL holiday. My mom, sister, brother-in-law and my niece joined us from Seattle and my Steve's brother and mom spent as much time with us as they could. It was great! I made three gingerbread houses that we decorated Christmas Eve. Wonderful meals were made. We had a little snow storm with just enough snow. We drank so much wine that my friend at the recycling center asked how many parties we had . . . The kids loved being with family and just hanging out! On New Year's Eve we had a great family time . . . and celebrated Steve's birthday which happens to be the 31st!
The last 48 hours however have been a disaster. The stomach flu came to our house and has not been pleasant. If not sick myself . . . I have been holding, cleaning or caring for a sick child. We have ran out of sheets, towels and plastic bags. Then just now when I was starting to claw my way out of the laundry mess . . . disaster struck.
We have an upstairs laundry . . . which is really a bad idea. I found a blanket that I didn't realize had been violated by last nights sick kids and I brought it up for a good soak in the utility sink. I started the water and walked away. My mom called to tell me they arrived in Seattle safely. We started to talk . . . soon Steve started to yell and yes . . . water was overflowing from the sink and going into the kitchen below.
Now if this was the first time that this had happened . . . I wouldn't be quite as upset, but you see I have gone down this road now THREE times in the last five years. It always happens when I am so tired I can't take it anymore . . . So instead of a wonderful, meaningful post . . . my new year's resolution might be a simple one - either move the laundry room or not use the sink. Enjoy the random assortment of New Year's/Steve's birthday shots and who knows I might get around to a holiday wrap-up or 2010 wrap up sometime in February. For the time being I will be replacing drywall on our kitchen ceiling or maybe just finishing off the bottle of champagne!
Does anyone know a good handyman that also happens to be a plumber?
Sister Karyn and Max ringing in the New Year
Ellie enjoying her favorite gift, a princess dress and the tea party set
Little outside fun in the park on New Year's Eve
Ellie blinged out and cuddling with Uncle Eric on New Years
(just before she got sick)
Fun in the park
Uncle Tony, Steve, Max and Uncle Eric at mid-night
Happy Birthday Steve
Living room on New Year's Eve
Ellie dressing Fancy . . . Aunt Karyn gave her the tiara and she put the rest together.
She loves metallics this season!
My sister Karyn, Mom and I at midnight and after many a cocktail

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