Published November 26, 2007
holiday , Oregon , outdoors , Photos , Travel
Tags: farm, friends, holidays, Life, Nature, photographs, thanks
Okay, this post is way overdue, but I thought I’d write it anyway. David and I spent a lovely few days at Kevin and Jerry’s farm down near Roseburg (about three hours south) with our friends Alex and Marcy. Every day was just so perfect. peaceful. happy. delicious. It is such a wonderful place, inviting home, warm atmosphere, beauty out of every window, new things to find and see and do – like collect hazelnuts from the tree in the yard, admire the chickens, watch the dogs (Barkley, Mia, Suki and Booker) play and have fun. It was just what I needed. Some time to get away from my desk. To play games and eat good food and give thanks. And I am so very thankful.
Published November 26, 2007
holiday , Things to Make
Tags: Art, christmas, crafts, Design, downloads, free, holidays, Life, modern
The free offering for this week – a Happy Holidays greeting card. Made of simple shapes and modern colors, it’s just in time to beat the holiday mail rush. Just download, print, fold and trim!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each
Sunday Monday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. All offerings so far are listed in the upper right of this page. Feel free to check back next week!
Published November 14, 2007
Tags: , clothing, crafts, Design, fashion, ironing, sewing
On a whim, I bought a couple of iron-on transfers the last time I was at Joann’s, just for fun. I wear a lot of plain t-shirts and tend to dress simply. I must have been feeling a little adventurous, because I decided to give one a try.
Both of the transfers I choose were “flocked,” which has a slightly rough, velvet-like feel. One was beige-colored and the other grey. I chose the grey and sacrificed one of my favorite long-sleeve tees. All you do is place the transfer where you want it, paper side up, and iron for about a minute. When it’s cool, you peel the paper away. Instant gratification! Afterwards, you’re supposed to iron the backside, for good measure.
The photo above shows my “updated” shirt (not a bad shot for blindly pointing the camera towards my hip and squeezing the shutter).
Barkley on a hike at Stub Stewart State Park
As I sit down to work at my computer, I hear a fire truck siren going off in the distance, followed by a clear, harmonious howl. David and I turn to each other and smile because we know the howl is coming from Barkley, who is outside at the moment. I’ve only seen him do this a handful of times, but it is simply adorable to watch and it doesn’t last long. I barely get a glimpse of him through the window (never long enough for me to get my camera, argh!). It’s heartening to see a shelter dog who used to be so shy and quiet, feel free to express himself like that.
This reminds me of that coyote I saw on my street last week. A pretty strange occurrence since I don’t live all that far from the city. And no, I wasn’t just seeing things, and no, it wasn’t just a dog on the loose. I know it was a coyote. I’ve seen the signs by our neighborhood lake, and I’ve heard about them from a neighbor, but I never in a million years expected to see one myself. I was just driving home one evening and turned onto our block to find it right in the street. It took one quick look at the car and then trotted away, out of sight. Wow! It was really cool.
Here are some interesting articles from the Audubon Society of Portland on Living with Urban Coyotes and a story from a neighboring community website.
Earlier this month I signed up for an apron class at Bolt. I was thinking it would accomplish two things 1) be my first opportunity to learn to read a pattern and 2) produce a holiday gift at the same time. Bolt has other classes I’d like to try eventually, but they all happen to be waitlisted (which makes me wonder why the apron class is not very popular). What I really need is the Zipper clinic, although thanks to Nicolette, who sent me this tutorial link, I think my next attempt will go a bit smoother.
Sally, the instructor for the apron class, recently emailed the two pattern options and the supply list. Ironically, I was standing right behind Sally during the Amy Karol book signing, although I didn’t know it at the time.
Anyway, the apron pattern choices are:
Flirty Skirty or French Flea Market Apron
Neither are quite what I had in mind, but I think I’m going to go with the Flirty Skirty. Its full-size seems more useful and it looks like it comes with a version for a half apron. I’m not too into ruffles, except maybe for a little girl’s apron, and I can’t say I’m into ric-rac either. But the experience is really what I’m looking for.
Aprons sites like these are really getting me inspired:
Tie One On, Olive Juice & Co, Hostess Blog mentioning Anthropologie’s Holiday Aprons, and of course, these aprons from Martha
Published November 11, 2007
holiday , Life , Tools & Fun
Tags: christmas, crafts, Design, download, entertaining, family, free, friends, gifts, holiday, Home, Life, organization, planning, thoughts
I am a big fan of list-making, and with the holidays coming up I thought this Holiday Gift Checklist would be an handy way to get organized. It’s a single-page printable pdf that you can use to plan out recipients and gift ideas while keeping track whether the gift has been purchased or made, wrapped, and given or shipped. Plus, in the upper right I’ve included a small at-a-glance calendar for November and December. This way you can see where you are and how much time is left for shopping, crafting and/or shipping. Hope you find it useful!
Next week: Free Snowflake Placecards
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. Feel free to check back next week!
When I started blogging this spring I had no plans or any idea how this blog might take shape. I knew I enjoyed writing. I knew I liked to take pictures. And I wanted to share. But the question was did I have any thing to say? At first, I didn’t think so.
I remember two specific things that really got me interested in blogging. The first was when my old co-worker, Anne, introduced me to Dooce, which remains one of my favorite blogs of all time. And the second was when I was asked to design a blog page for a literary newspaper while working at my old job. I had no idea what blogs entailed at the time (and I still have no web coding skills). It’s a good thing for me that wordpress provides templates!
Anyway, I’ve come a long way since then. I write posts fairly regularly. I take pictures. And I subscribe to a lot of blogs. It has really been a fun journey, full of inspiration, thoughts, sharing, learning and laughter. I’ve met people, via blogs, that I never would have, nearby and over great distances. And I’ve learned that there are those out there, family, friends and strangers, who are interested in what I have to share. And that is so amazing.
In fact, I’ve been trying to think of something to offer for the holidays. Something useful and fun. I like the ideas from these sites (1,2,3,etc), plus I’ve come up with a couple of my own. Basically, the plan is to offer a little something free to download every Sunday until Christmas. Check back tomorrow, the first of seven download-for-free Sundays, and I’ll see what I can come up with.
Published November 8, 2007
Tags: , books, crafts, Reading, sewing
I have been reading so many blog posts (1,2,3,4,5,etc) about fellow Portlander Amy Karol’s book Bend-the-Rules Sewing, that I was really curious to attend her book-signing event at Bolt tonight. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but let me just say that I am glad I went and that Amy is really nice. I kind of wish I had one of the projects out of her book to share, like many of the other attendees, but I just picked up a copy tonight.
I introduced myself and mentioned how I was new to sewing and that her book was only the second I’ve purchased (this being the first). She seemed genuinely happy for me and took a few minutes to point out a couple things, like how the Charming Handbag project (love this!) is really fun, but was missing some vital dimensions, which could really frustrate someone just starting out. She talked about providing paper patterns (like Lotta’s book, I imagine) next time, and how it’s too bad that people currently have to enlarge the templates on a copier. Luckily, that won’t be a problem for me because we have a scanner and I’ll be able to tile the pages when I print for patterns larger than letter size.
I can’t decide which project I’ll try first, but my favorites are the Accessorized Canine Dog Collar, the Amazing Tea Towel Apron, the No Cash Wallet, and the Artsy Clutch. Anyway, it was really sweet of Amy to spend a little time getting to know each person, instead of just signing books. Even better, she gave each signing a little something extra (which I completely appreciate) by adding a small sticker that says To a very special Bend-the-Rules sewing person, (heart), you rock.
Published November 8, 2007
craft , handmade , sewing
Today I tried to give myself a sewing lesson on including a zipper using the Zip-Up Bag project from Chris Jefferys’ Learn to Sew. This was a lot tricker than I expected. First of all, I don’t have this thing called a “zipper foot,” and secondly, I could not understand the directions for sewing the zipper. I re-read it twice and then looked it up in three other books: Sew Basic, Sewing 101, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sewing. Even after all that reading I remained baffled.
Finally, I thought screw it! and just tried to sew it on in a way that made sense, even if it didn’t quite turn out right. I’ll be going to Colorado over Christmas to visit the In-laws and ask for a real lesson then. For now, my “faking it” method worked out.
Excluding the zipper portion, the rest of the directions were easy. I used grey craft felt and red polka-dot fabric for the liner. I almost skipped the extra diagonal bottom seam and the liner, but decided to do them so I could understand those skills for next time.
I really like things made of felt, but there is a lot I don’t know about it. Is it washable? Is there a right and wrong side? At what temperature do you iron felt? Things like that.
I almost forgot to mention my near fatal mistake. When sewing a zipper make sure it is partly open. Mine was closed and I barely remembered it with only two inches to go. Just enough to stop, pull the project out and wiggle the zipperhead down so that it could be turned right-side out once I was finished. Whew!
Postscript: Special thanks to Nicolette who kindly sent this link to a really great zipper tutorial.
Published November 6, 2007
Tags: balance, birdhouses, Etsy, fishing, Life
I haven’t really posted in a couple days, which is unfortunate, because I was on a roll there for a while. I guess I’m feeling a little down right now. Things are still good, though. David and I are healthy. We’re both picking up a little more freelance work. I recently sold 3 of our recycled birdhouses on Etsy (2 were custom orders!) and painted a couple more replacements (1,2,3). I picked up some fun new fabric at Ikea this weekend to continue my “learn to sew” projects and yesterday David and I spent the day fishing with two other guys on a boat on the beautiful Columbia River (check out the catch). Pretty hard life, eh?
I know that making the adjustment from full-time to freelance is not an easy one, but I can’t quite shake the remnants of doubt, even after this long. I think it is affecting our relationship, too. In some ways I expected more from us. So its hard. Plus, we made a questionable purchase recently, which will probably turn out fine, as long as we get past the second-thoughts we’re having.
Anyway, I’m almost back to normal. I’m one of those people who likes a certain amount of balance regarding work, being social, physical exercise, mental time, and quiet “me” time. The past week has been unusually heavy on the social and almost nil on the exercise and quiet “me” time. I rectified some of that tonight with a nice long run/walk with Barkley, which helped (tempered with a little comfort food – a slice of toasted Oatnut bread minus the crust, spread with Nutella, plus a glass of milk).
Published November 4, 2007
Art , Photos
Tags: Art, photography, Photos
My mother-in-law sent me a link this weekend to a site called Elemental PhotoArt, which I thought I’d share. It’s a little slow getting around (I tend to be impatient with sites like these), but there were some pieces that I thought were really nice. These caught my eye in particular, with their dreamy quality and rich colors:
Sand Stars, Tia Magallon
Golden Puzzle, Tia Magallon
Nevada Monocot #48, Todd France
California Monocot #43, Todd France