This is from our walk this weekend. It’s our usual walk, out the door, turn left down the road and walk to the bridge and look at the water. It’s quite beautiful, and all 3 of us just soak it up. At least this weekend we could go for a walk, it’s warming up a bit. We’ve all been sunk in Feb Funk these past few weeks. Eager for spring and ready to be outside all day long. Fresh air and sun is good for Feb Funk.
We’ve been talking since October about giving Iz her Great Aunt Carol’s doll house, first for Christmas and then for her birthday. Well, we finally did it. In celebration of February. There will be more pictures later as we paint the whole thing, redecorate and start furnishing. I’m quite excited about making rugs. And did you know that Ikea has doll furniture? Of course – we’ll have to update the phone (we won’t we’ll leave it there, it’s just too cool for school). Iz is thrilled with it. The cat loves it and has slept in all 8 rooms already.
I’m almost finished with another pair of PJs for Iz. She’s going to see Dan Zane’s Friday night for a Pajama concert. I’ll be popping in the buttons, holes and waistband. She loves them. Fresh PJs to beat that Feb Funk.
I’ve been thinking a lot about meal planning. It’s not coming to me too quickly. Slowly but surely. Saturday we made tacos. It was perfect. Fresh veggies, ground and browned veggie protein crumbles (doesn’t that sound delish?), yummy taco shells and taco sauce. Iz loved it, but decided she’d need another since the first crumbled in her hands. I love our sushi roll nights, and taco night will certainly be added to the monthly meal planning. Any tips on the meal planning?
Then, yesterday, I heard funny noises outside the kitchen. I thought there was a large critter in the new part of the house, but couldn’t find anything. I walked outside and found one of these calling loudly. It flew away as I took a step near it. I went inside to get the camera, and when I came back, there were 2. Sitting on the pool. Looking for food? water? I thought they were turkey vultures, but everything I find says the white head means they are from Africa. Anybody recognize them?
It’s been a strange switch going from the 10-12 hour days at the office to staying home and raising our Iz. I remember when Iz was just 8 weeks old, and I had to go back to work. Ugh. I remember crying as I would leave the house, and once I got to the subway, I felt this unbelievable relief. This crazy lightness. I’d get to work and was so sad about missing Iz, I’d throw myself into the day (stopping to pump in the closet twice a day, and crying again, in the closet, while the rest of the office was outside joking about the pump…sigh..). I remember thinking what’s wrong with me, this going to work thing is SO EASY compared to the 24/7 momhood, why would I want to give that up?
But I did. It was important to me to be with Iz. To spend our days together. I planned on doing freelance or something, but it had to be from home, so I had the flexibility I need for playgroups and adventures. It sure isn’t easy, and some days, it’s just not fun, but all the good times make up for it. We have tons of fun together.
But other things have changed too. My wardrobe. I know, trivial in comparison to everything else, but important none the less. My changed body would certainly benefit from regular visits to the gym, less carbs (hell, eliminate them all together…) and a much better bra (maybe 10 of them…at once). I wear jeans all the time (I’m grateful I don’t have sweats, while they would be perfect for bending down and running around, and oh so comfy, I just can’t bring myself to do it, I would surely then be the girl in the don’t picture with the black tape across my eyes), I have a handful of knit shirts (v-neck is so much more flattering on me), some lovely sweaters. You know…all the basics. But I’m really ready to expand my wardrobe.
I regulary check wardrobe_remix for inspiration. The outfits are spectacular. The colors are really amazing. As I sit looking this morning, I find myself wanting more color in my closet. I have a lot of black. A lot of black. And I love it, but I’d love to throw together some blue and orange, or aqua and red, or pink and green. Red and Purple.
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Some windows are in. I wish Tyvek came in “designer”. Dots, Geometrics, cool huge photos of grass or trees, flowers, Stripes. Anything but this.
These two found this little pig wandering around tonight. It’s a feral pig. It looks like it has been wandering around for it’s little life. Scared little thing. They finally caught it. We don’t know what happens next. What happens when you find a feral pig?
Oh Buttercream, I love you so. Not too sweet, but oh so rich and fluffy, creamy, smooth, buttery, creamy, heavenly, LOVELY! Ok, more about the buttercream in a minute.
11 fantastic fabric bags made from scraps of fabric, curtains, stashes, a throw and a nightie. That’s what we made Wednesday night. These little loverlies will get donated to the Bag Share, a Hilltown Sustainability Initiative. A local shop will get a basket of reusable bags, mostly made from fabric like what you see above, that will sit next to the cash register. Customers can borrow the bags, instead of using paper or plastic, then return them to the store (or another in active in the Bag Share program), for the next person. Extra special thanks to Tracy, Marie, Jen and Julie who stitched it up!
This one is made from a throw. It’s groovy bag – check out that fringe!
This is made from really cool old green curtains. (This is Marie. Hi Marie! She and I are sharing the space, she’s holding art workshops – ArtStar)
Labels get sewn onto the bags as they are finished.
It was a really fun Sew-cail. We’ll be doing it again, more regularly after the holiday season. While we were able to finish 11 bags, we still got in a few good stories (note the arms in the air) We had coffee, tea and lovely, lovey cake, baked by Marie and partially donated by Bread Euphoria (Thanks – it was awesome!)
We had a birthday to attend to this weekend, for a 4 year old. I’ve quietly promised to use things I have on hand. I found a aqua with yellow dot coverlet while thrifting and a scrap of this red dot and thought they’d work well together (and you know about my aqua and red thing of late…) and I had the All For One Bag pattern from Besty Ross Patterns, just waiting to be stitched up…
I initially thought I’d line it, but instead did a little French Seam Action on the inside, and I am super pleased. I’ve got a few more presents to make and I’m going to stick with this pattern. I think I’ll make the handles 2 inches longer, it was a little tight going over my shoulder (but not a 4 year olds…and she LOVED it!). And in case your were wondering the pattern was fantastic, the directions were a breeze and it was a really fast sew. It’s a great shape that’s super versatile. I’m making a wool one next. (stay tuned for pictures)
The party was fun. It’s the first time we actually got in the car and Iz said, “Mom! I had a lot of fun!”. She pretty much always has fun, but it’s the first time she’s said it without me prompting.
Lui led the drumming. Iz was pretty pleased to see her. (she always is)
We spent time jumping off the bench, sliding tummy side down, head first down the slide. Oh the outdoors.
The day before, it was sweltering. It was so hot, none of us could get comfortable. We spent the morning in Northampton picking up the last of the LuckyStitches furniture at the kung fu studio, then dropping it off at the new location. It was hot. We left Haydenville, on our way to Ashfield for the Fall Festival. The drive on 112 is pretty breathtaking. I think the drive anywhere in New England is pretty amazing. The leaves are changing colors, looks like the trees are catching on fire, but not fully inflamed.
This year was different, Iz is more independent, wants to do so many things on her own. There is no casual strolling, but more following, running and insisting on hand holding when the crowds get to thick or the walk gets too close to the road.
Our little kitty had fun, she got to ring the bell, act like a kitty and see tons of her friends (that’s a funny thing about living where we do, we get to see our friends every where we go, not like the subway, where you barely recognize people from day to day).
We had to leave, it was too hot and too close to nap time. After a bowl of mac & cheese, we headed for the car. But it never goes as smooth as that. The power of distraction is key to happiness sometimes, and Iz was thrown into the air with every step, Rob got a great upper body workout, and she happily got into the car, where after we got going, she fell asleep.
It was a really great and productive weekend. The roof is almost finished. I made a lovely bag, and Iz got to spend both days outside playing and playing. And she got to hold Annabelle.
I have always collected pictures that inspire me. I used to keep them in blank books, but now they spend some time on my boards, or into folders and 3-ring binders. I’ve always referred to them as my “Spark” books, because I would constantly refer to them when thinking about projects. I still do.
I was looking for something yesterday, and I found some old Spark Books. I still have the ones I created in high school and college. It’s been a while since I’ve pasted up a blank book with tear sheets, now they are in binders or folders, but I still have them.
It was fun visiting all our friends. We wish we could have stayed longer and spent more time! Our visits were short. The best part I think was being able to pick up with friends where we left off. You wouldn’t know that we haven’t seen each other in years, it was as if a few days had passed, nothing more. Can’t wait to see you all again! xxoo!
After an ultra-long flight, we came home to a house under contruction. It’s quite overwhelming, the changes, the dirt, the piles. It’s quite exciting too. Lots of decisions to make and TONS of work to do. Pictures here.
Iz needs a blanket, as next week she will be napping at school once a week. I thought it would be fun if we picked out fabric and made a quilt, so we took a trip to Valley Fabrics. I love walking into the shop. Tons of color, tons of patterns and the people are always so nice. And – where to start? First things first, Iz was escorted to the bucket-o-toys. I knew she wouldn’t be into picking fabric, at least not for very long. I pulled out my little inspiration – a cloth swim diaper (sorry – no picture), aqua with pink and red and yellow flowers – and away we went. I love working with creative people who know their store and their product. There was really no browsing (ok – because I knew there was a time limit if Iz and I were out shopping together…), and this is what I came home with. 1/2 yard of each. It’s enough to make TWO 45ish by 54ish quilts. I was so excited, I came home and threw them in the wash right away (why is it that some people don’t wash before they sew? is it easier to handle? I am so worried about shrinkage, plus the sizing in the fabric is no good for my allergies – or my body for that matter – yuck…anyway….). As soon as it came out of the wash, up they went to get ironed dry.
I love my handy dandy rotary cutter and self healing mat. They are so wonderful. I could not imagine cutting 150 or so 7″ squares with scissors. Cutting is not my favorite thing (although Iz loves using her ladybug scissors – and is quite good at it too!). I think that if I couldn’t have cut these out quickly with my rotary cutter, the fabric you see above, would have turned into skirts (not a bad thing!). Surprisingly, Iz sat quietly on the floor of my studio while I cut these out. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. Maybe because she knows all of this is for her (well half – the other is for a future cousin)? Thinking back to it, she was so content. Is this a step towards more independence for both of us?
I was so excited, I didn’t take a photo of all the cut squares. They sure did look nice though.
I wanted a really random layout. One quilt needs to be done by next Monday (Iz will need it Tuesday morning), so I have been really excited to get started and finish! Rob (my wonderful creative husband), wanted to help out. We’ve been trying to spend our evenings working together and not in front of the television, but rather reading books, working on our projects, helping each other. It’s much nicer than turning into a vegetable at night. He suggested mixing up the swatches before laying out the quilts. It’s what he does when he does his tiling. So, away we went. It made it really easy to lay out each quilt. 7 squares by 8 rows. Once we finished I only rearranged 1 or 2 (can’t help it, too much training…). Then, how to mark them? I didn’t have a place big enough to keep them out in their order, no flannel sheet or sticky board to keep them in order. So I tagged each row. 1a, 1b, 1c and so on. Pinned in the upper left corner. EASY! So easy to take each pile and sew a row. Then sew the rows together. This is what one of them looks like:
I love how the back looks. Maybe an idea for another type of quilt? Have to research that…
Anyway – each top took me about an hour to piece together. Not bad. I was a little worried that they would take me longer, and I only have a week to finish. Iz really likes them. “Is that mine mama? Can I make a quilt too?” There is something wonderfully satisfying about making things for your children.
I love the size of the quilt and I don’t think I’m going to add a border. I think I’ll bind it (I’m leaning towards a green binding of some sort) and I think the back of the quilt will be some sort of orange. Although, I am a bit worried about the dirt factor – maybe something darker? I’m off to Valley Fabrics again tomorrow to find the backing, get the batting and find the fabric for the binding. I’m planning on machine quilting this, and can anybody tell me – Do I need a special foot for my sewing machine? or can I use the standard one? I was also thinking about rounding the corners, instead of leaving them square. I am planning on a bias binding. Any advice?
ps – This is my first quilt. I have dreamed of making quilts since I think about the 4th grade. A friends mother tried to get me started, but instead of cutting squares, she had me cut tons of triangles. She lost me there. Then, in high school, I had a self portrait project (I wish I could find it). I painted a lifesize me on fabric, then cut it up into squares and mixed it with other squares of fabric. Kind of a quilt, but I didn’t consider it a quilt then.