Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Finish Line.

I made it. I finished Stella's stocking just now, as in, the day before Christmas. It needed to be done in time because I have this thing about having the one stocking, the right stocking, for life. Mine is a crocheted stocking with my name embroidered on it. And it's the right one for me. I looked a lot of stocking patterns before settling on this one. I considered cutting it out of felt and appliqueing it, knitting it, crocheting it, and (in a moment of weakness) buying it. But when I stumbled upon this pattern, I knew it was the one and set about gathering fat quarters. Don't ask me why I waited until this past Monday to start cutting when I knew full well that the stocking had to be done in time for her first Christmas, but I did and so this week was a little, um, crazy. Thankfully, Andrew is on winter break and he happens to be the most sane person I know so my insanity was nicely counter-balanced and I don't think our daughter will suffer any ill effects. At least she can't feel completely neglected by a parent who holes herself up in the craft room for hours on end when there is another parent (albeit, without breasts) who is willing and able to spend quality time raising her, right? Well, whatever, she has a kick ass stocking.

I had to do things a little differently (of course, why make anything simple?) and I cut as many of the strips as I could cut from the striped fabric I made. This meant that I had more patchwork than the pattern called for, so I changed the shape of my stocking to be taller and narrower. I think it's a little too narrow now that the binding is on, but it'll work. Of course my squares aren't lined up perfectly, but that's the kind of quilter I am. Whimsical: that's the look I'm going for (*eyeroll*). I loved doing the simple quilting, and on one side I used white thread while on the other I used a sort of hot pinkish orange. I was originally thinking of bedazzling her name on it with a letter in each square with my faboo kandi thingee, but the squares are really small (1") and I don't want to mess with the simple charm of it. I used white fabric with some silver sparkle to it, so it's definitely got some holiday bling going on. So for now there is no name on it, but that's something I'm willing to figure out for a future Christmas.

I bunged up the binding by putting the loop on the wrong side (insert expletive here), so I just tucked a little loop of some narrower seam binding of the correct side and stitched across the top. It works fine and looks OK.
The real joy of leaving this very important task to the absolute last minute is that I also had to juggle making my other Christmas presents (which I also conveniently left until the last minute) into the schedule. I am not kidding when I say that my planner for this week has entries such as: Piece stocking, cut batting and backing, pediatrician appointment, burn holiday cd. You know it's bad when you have to write the steps in your planner. Anyhoo, I am just about done with the crafting (Andrew is getting a gift that is still on the needles, but he's taking it a lot better than I am) and am now, finally, beginning to get seriously excited about introducing Bean to her first Christmas.

And here is the ornament I made her, which will be going into her stocking:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finger Puppet Pals

Here is a little set of finger puppets that I made for the Bean. The design is from this book here and it's a wonderful example of the super-sweet and simple projects you'll find in it. It took me a while to get started on this project, because I was having trouble biting the bullet and spending a small fortune on felt. I am big on fabric texture, so I generally gravitate towards the 100% wool (read: expensive) stuff and have lots of disparaging things to say about the plastic stuff. So I had all but written off this project when I found myself in Joann's and decided to see what they were trying to pass of as felt these days. I actually found some fabric that was 30% wool, 70% rayon which I must say was quite nice. It was thick, there were good colors, and I came really close to buying it. But my eye was caught by a sale sign for this felt. Or, I should say "felt". 100% plastic! You don't think I even considered buying that, do you? Or maybe I bought 4 or 5 yards worth....Here's what sold me: it is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Hello?! Recycled plastic bottles! I will admit that the fabric has a bit of a plasticky feel to it, but not anywhere near as bad as those craft felt sheets you get at the craft store. Honestly! In addition, the colors were nice and varied and some even had a heathered tone, which I think makes it look all the more like the real deal. For children's items which will see some wear and tear and may not make it to family heirloom status, I think this material rocks. And so does this little guy:For now, these are going to be toys that mama uses to entertain Stella (I'm kind of psycho about keeping plastic out of her mouth), and she's way too young to manipulate finger puppets anyway, so that was always the intention. We've been playing Really Rosie a lot around here lately, so I might try to make sets of characters from those stories so that I can act it out for her while listening to the CD.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Despite the fact that this might be one of the most under-planned holiday seasons for me yet (don't even ask about where I am in the gift-making department), I am working my tail off to keep up and I keep telling myself that I can do it. And I just might be winning. The Christmas cards are done and in the mail, projects for three people have been knocked off my to-do list, and I received my little prize from Waldeck Dry Goods! These sweet little coasters were in my mailbox today and they are currently being put to good use under some mugs of mulled cider (which I can't get enough of these days). Thank you, Addie ♥

Now, back to trying to locate a real-bearded Santa for Bean's first Santa photo. It pleases me to no end that there is an association of real-bearded Santas (!), however I'd like a link to a site that lists what malls these guys end up at. They need to get an elf on that. Just sayin'.

Monday, November 30, 2009

For Nancy

I knew I couldn't get away with mentioning Lancaster without photographing the fabric. I was lazy and didn't want to set it all up, but how did I think Nancy would be satisfied with just reading about my purchases?! My bad.

Here's what I picked up, all fat quarters:

I went to Old Country Store because that's where I always go. I try to be quick because I'm always there with other companions who don't necessarily derive the same joy that I do from sitting on the floor and staring at bolts and bolts of fabric. So, I haven't really ventured out beyond this store, but it doesn't matter because I love it there. They have incredible quilts for inspiration (and purchase) and a nice supply of reproduction prints. Last year they had really incredible hand-dyed felt, but I couldn't find any this time around. No matter, because I just grabbed a bunch of FQs to get my fabric fix: quick and easy. They have a ton of assembled FQ packs there, it's super-easy for me to stock up without wearing anyone else out. Someday I'll spend a whole day there and visit all of the fabric stores and the knitting store across the street from OCS. I think it's best that that day be next year when I am actually working again:) Of course, I could manage to do some cyber-damage to my credit card as OCS is now selling online. I highly recommend checking it out but truly, if you live anywhere near the area, go to the b&m. It's very cozy and you are in Lancaster, which is a very good place to be.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hot Off the Gocco Presses...

Preparations are underway for a craft show next weekend. I wish I could say that I had more new stuff to show for it, but the crafting here is happening at a snail's pace. So, with slooooooow on my brain lately, I made up a new stationery set featuring our friend, l'escargot. I used the same vintage record book paper as I did for the poultry paper stationery, but made a much smaller run or only four sets (as was determined by my envelope supply). This time I also printed on the envelopes: and I tried to keep with the retro postal theme by using red, blue, and gold ink. I know that Gocco is expensive to run and I know that the screens are hard to reuse, but man oh man, do I love using it. It is quite satisfying to produce a quantity of exactly the same thing.

I was originally intending to make this a much more elaborate project by creating felt pouches (inspired by Kata Golda) to hold the stationery, stamps, and pens, but I just didn't have enough of the right kind of felt. And felt's expensive! Felt will be on the list of things to get when I am again working and rolling in the dough (relatively). So, for now they all got wrapped up nice and neat with some simple stamping.These will go to the craft fair this weekend and then up in the shop if they aren't sold!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Got My Martha On.

This Thanksgiving, I set out to make pumpkin pie from scratch. Like, starting with a real pumpkin kind of scratch. We bought pumpkins before Halloween to spruce up the front steps, and I also purchased two sugar pumpkins. I left them on the stoop through Halloween (a big thank you to the squirrels for choosing the non-pie pumpkins to devour) and then found this method of preparing pumpkin puree and cooked them up the day before Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a total pain in the arse to cut these open so never, ever try to carve one of these suckers. With Andrew's help, triumph was ours and into the oven they went. I was met with a happy surprise when, after cooling, scooping out the cooked flesh revealed that the pumpkin shells had hardened into fantastic little bowls with lids. I washed the insides to get the last of the flesh off, let them dry overnight, and then stuffed them with flowers as the Thanksgiving centerpiece. I wasted no part of the pumpkins: the seeds were toasted and the strings that were scooped out where given to our very grateful chickens. Martha (and her chickens) would be proud. I used that green floral foam stuff, moistened it with water, and stuck some purchased flowers along with greens and dried flowers from the garden into it. Since table space is prime real estate during Thanksgiving, I would also consider putting the stuffing or mashed potatoes into the pumpkin bowls as they didn't leak or get soggy throughout the dinner. And the other moral of the story is that making pumpkin pie from scratch is really quite easy. You just need time to let the puree drain, so plan ahead...but this will probably be the last time I ever buy a store-bought pumpkin pie.

In other news, we luckily have a friend of the family who luckily lives in Lancaster who luckily needed to be driven home today. It was a beautiful drive and I got to fondle some lovely fabric. I bought a few fat quarters and re-fell in love with vintage reproduction fabrics. Also, seeing so many farms and horses and buggies moving around on them (rather than tractors and trucks) did my little heart good.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To Upcycle or Not To Upcycle.

Dang, that's a hard question. Here is a sweet vintage christening gown that Meg gave me a long, long time ago with the directive: just make something out of it, OK? Or maybe not - - it was a long, long time ago. She could have said: I have foreseen that you would have a lovely daughter one day and you should save this for her dolls. Or maybe: here, could you hold this for me while I organize my vintage christening gown collection and safeguard it with your life as it is my great, great, great grandmother's? This is one of the many problems that can arise when, like me, you hoard stuff in your crafty stash, only to be struck with inspiration to use it months or years later.

OK, I'm pretty sure she wanted me to do something with it (but then again, I thought I was supposed to cut up the corduroy backpack, but really I said I was going to try to make a pattern off of it) and I've found some inspiration here. But I can't bring myself to do it.

I think it's The Bean's fault. Before I had a baby I was way less sentimental. I mean, I was pretty sentimental, but now it's off the charts. Thank goodness I know someone who is pregnant now because I'm just trying to give away as much as I can before I get too attached to every sock she ever wore and then have to buy a bigger house to house Stella's baby hosiery. But when I look at this gown, I wonder who made it? Meg, do you know? It doesn't matter really because I love whoever it was for putting their baby in red polka dots for her christening. And for using the sweet, sweet buttons. And for sewing little puff sleeves. Sigh.
So, for now, it's hanging around the house and I'm waiting for it to whisper the answer to me. Hey, little sweet christening gown, do you want a new life or do you want to hang around like you are for a while longer? The fact that I talk to inanimate objects is also The Bean's fault. That's where eleven weeks of bedrest will get you.

Of course, this indecision is only prolonged by the fact that I've reached one of those do-or-die points where I have to clean the craft room up. Most work (except for some knitting) has stopped up there until I can get everything under control, which better happen soon because I have a craft fair coming up and I need to get some things done. Today Stella and I relocated the sewing and knitting books to their own shelves (thank you, Baby Bjorn). I have enough sewing and knitting books to fill an IKEA bookshelf. And there are still more titles in my wish list. Hello, my name is Kristina and I have a craft book problem.

And since any good organization project must be thwarted with equally satisfying procrastination, here is what I've found recently that is making me happy:

- I think I'm starting to understand the meaning of Twitter. As soon as I can sum it up in one hundred and forty characters or less, I'll share it with you.

- There is a website here that helps you source local farms, restaurants, and markets that have pastured meats. Restaurants! Yay!! I can be an omnivore in public again! I found this site through Twitter (see above).

- Haba toys rock my world and I wish I had a hundred million dollars to buy everything they make. Our most recent purchases are this and this. Love.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Coloring Inside the Lines.

Here is a quickie project (which these days means I get it done in one week) that involved my New Favorite Craft: gold leafing.

I had a print from Art Ghost which I received in a Sampler a million years ago. As soon as I got it, I knew that I wanted to color it, but it got shuffled under papers in the craft room and I didn't see it for months and months. The real issue for this blog post should be that my craft room is such a disaster I can hardly get anything done in there, but I'll try to keep it positive (!)

Here is the print before coloring. I think it's a perfect image to hang in my daughter's room but of course I needed it to be extra-special, so I used gold(en) leaf on the horn and the scales. I must say, I doubted myself for a moment as I was dabbing the sizing adhesive for the leaf on. I have gilded a bunch of our chicken eggs and didn't have any full sized leaf sheets left, just little bits and pieces that I've saved. I thought about how I was going to have to wait a while for the sizing to dry/Stella to take a nap again, how I'd have to delicately pick through little shreds of leaf to get it onto the image, and how I didn't really know how it would all turn out in the end. I haven't sprung for the real deal gold leaf yet, so maybe this fake stuff just wouldn't look right. And maybe it would prove to be too much of a pain to deal with the little shreds and it wouldn't look even and smooth in the end. I had a what-would-Martha-do moment where I mentally kicked myself for not having just gone the glitter route, but once I started the actual leafing process, it all went quickly and smoothly and I'm quite pleased with the results.
All of this serves as a reminder that: a) even though I am a grown up, it is still fun to spend time coloring, and b) buying and hoarding those disposable foam brushes whenever they go on sale is a terrible, terrible thing to do for the environment, but they are so dang handy. In this case, I used one to brush off the excess leaf and it was muy effective, and c) that ex-boyfriend I had in high school who remarked that I liked anything as long as it was shiny was right on the money (though I remember really being surprised by that revelation...I thought I was more of a muted/matte, down to Earth kind of girl). One of these days I am going to drop the dough and buy a pack of real gold leaf and then look out...I shall turn everything golden.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Electric!...or not...

Much of today was spent watching my Dad rewire this fantastic salvaged chandelier for me. I love, love, love it. It was a little tricky to rewire as it used a small gauge that is difficult to find (my Dad ended up using some bell wire for one part) and it also was apparently protesting being hooked up again as it blew a few fuses and there were definitely some sparks flying once or twice. Luckily, my Dad is a trained electrician, so nobody died or burned a house down. Thanks Dad (for the chandelier and the non-burned-down-house!) I now need to throw a dinner party in honor of our new dining room lighting.

In other news, I finished up the bead board for the bean (that's a mouthful). They are totally wonky and handmade, but it makes me love them more. There are un-centered holds, shapes that go a little askew, and a dye job that is less than perfect. I used these veggie dyes from Whole Foods (thank you WF for stocking more and more decorating supplies that aren't filled with creepy chemicals) and just diluted them a bit (maybe 50/50, but I totally didn't measure). I rolled the shapes around in the dyes and let them dry for a few days. The yellow, red, and blue are straight from the bottle. The orange was made with yellow and red in a ratio of 10:1. I left the final set natural, but only after trying to get a good green or purple from the set, to no avail. Truthfully, I didn't spend too much time tinkering, so it probably can be done...or maybe the colors just didn't look right on the wood but they'd come out fine in a white frosting.

After the dye dried, I sanded it a bit which was an important step because it evened out the color a lot. It also pulled some extra color off of the edges of each piece which gave a sweet vintage feel to them. I applied two coats of shallac (sanded lightly in between each coat) and then glued the thin shapes down to the board.

Oh, and before all of the shallac-ing, I used my wood burner to write a message to the Bean. I used some of the dyes to color it in a little bit, too. This is my second try with the woodburner and this time I had better control because I went sloooooowly. In addition, a light sanding helped to make the burned lines more sharp.
Making these took me a while because I am a total newbie woodworker. If I were more proficient with power tools, these could be easily done in a weekend; though finishing takes a little time with drying, so it's not a completely immediate craft. Making these made me wonder why we (as a society) are currently so far removed from making things for our children. I'm kind of tweaky about plastic, so maybe it's just me, but it seems odd to consider going to the store to purchase a toy (which will most certainly be chewed on but was made with toxic materials and will not biodegrade) when creating these was simple and fun. I think it's somehow connected to this pressure I feel as a new parent to have something entertaining at the tips of my baby's fingers at all times...on the stroller, in the car seat, in the bathtub, in the crib...when it seems to me that looking at the world going by from the stroller, or in the car seat, or just playing with the water in the tub will help a child learn to be engaged by simple things and to use his or her imagination to stay entertained. I don't know, maybe it's just an only-child thing but I remember lots of time spent staring out the window on long car trips and thinking up all kinds of stories and adventures, none of which involved stuffed animals dangling within inches of my face. So I feel that parents are getting these messages to buy all of this stuff when really, a good set of blocks can take the place of probably 10 toys with electronic bips and boops because of the imaginary play they will spark. And plus, we won't have to poo all over the environment in order to keep our kids entertained. Alright! End rant. Make more toys!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hats for Wee Heads.

I finished the trio of baby hats I was embroidering. A few visits the chiropractor, a fair dose of Tylenol, some icing and my back was in good enough shape to continue with this highly athletic craft. Sheesh. They feature a little snippet of Heather Ross fabric (oh, how I love) and some grass and leaves and french-knotted flowers. I kept it simple, but carried the embroidery around to the back (I think pieces never look complete unless you make the back look just as intentional as the front) and then used a simple running stitch to deal with the seam on the side of the hat. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I can't figure out a way to avoid having that seam show when the brim is turned up so I figured drawing a little embroidered attention to it couldn't hurt.These are a ton of fun to make because they go quickly and I think the sky's the limit in terms of embellishing them. You could print on them, or sew them out of funky fabrics, or bedazzle them (in a non-choking-hazard sort of way). Or, as I mentioned before, just leave them as-is. My poor child is still wandering around with the un-embroidered/seam sticking out prototype and she still gets compliments (got one today!) on the little hat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Dangers of Needlepoint

Dear reader, what would you think would be common injuries for your average needle pointer? A prick of the finger, perhaps. Even the prick of a toe, if a needle was dropped and accidentally stepped on. Maybe a little mini rug-burn type injury from pulling threads too quickly? Well, in what certainly must be the most bizarre crafting accident ever, I seem to have thrown my back out while needle pointing. That's right. I was sitting up in bed, happily french-knotting it up, when I felt a slight shifting or settling in my lower back. I hadn't moved, coughed, sneezed, or hiccuped. I'd just pulled a needle in and out of a piece of fabric, when suddenly I was in pain. I thought that it was just a little thing, it would pass, blah blah, but today I am unable to bend forward or back more than a millimeter without some serious pain. Who knew that needlepoint was such an aggressive sport? I have an appointment with the chiropractor tomorrow in what might be his first-ever hand sewing accident. Oy.Backache aside, this is what I was working on. It is the brim of a little baby hat, like the one I made for the Halloween bee costume. I'm making up a few of these because they are so fun to make. I took the pipe cleaner antenna off of Stella's hat and she's been wearing it out (sans any embroidery or applique) and she gets all kinds of compliments on it. Really, a simple little black hat with cutie-patootie ears and every Grandma in the area is swooning. Hence, I imagine the spiffed up version will be well received.

And with that, my sitting-up at the computer time must come to a close as my back is not cooperating. I will be working on my needle-pointing-whilst-reclined skills for the rest of the day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sometimes I Am Mistaken for Someone Who Knows How to Sew.

It's the Bean's first Halloween! Although it might seem logical to have her go as, um, a bean, I decided a while ago that she'd be a honey bee and I'd wear my bee keeper suit. Of course I needed to make her bee costume and since I am totally self-taught when it comes to sewing, searching for a pattern was my first order of business. You'd think that more babies would be going as bees for Halloween given the timeliness of Colony Collapse Disorder and all (!), but I didn't find much in the way of patterns. In my least confident moment, I'll admit to even searching for a bee suit to purchase, but I couldn't find anything worthy. So I took a deep breath, headed to the fabric store, and did my best to pretend that I knew what I was doing and therefore could figure out what to buy. My plan of attack was pretty simple: I wanted to make her a bee suit in the form of one of those zippy sleep sack things. I found this site here that gave me the confidence to just use another sleep sack as a template and not stress to much about the whole thing. I knew I wanted a fabric that was simple and relatively warm. Fur fabrics were out since I figured they'd shed like the dickens (that's right, I said 'like the dickens') and there was a bunch of fleece on sale so I got a yard of black and a 1/2 yard of yellow. I knew I wanted to make wings but I didn't want them to have any stiff parts or a frame of any kind since she'd be on her back in the costume at some point. I figured I could find a tulle in a heavier weight that could stand up enough on its own and just get tacked to the back of the costume. I found just the thing and as a bonus, the tulle had little globs of some kind of plasticky stuff that looked like shiny gems. Perfect. I also wanted to have her wearing a hat that I could stick antennae on, so I bought 1/3 yard of a black knit for that.

In the end, I used a sleep sack that had little raglan sleeves and cut out a front and back panel (adding seam allowances and extending the bottom and making a little stinger shape) and two sleeves. When I say that I added seam allowances, I mean that I just cut the fabric a little outside the edge of the, I did absolutely no measuring and it was lovely. For the yellow stripes, I just laid one of the body pieces on some yellow fleece and cut out a piece of yellow in the shape of the middle (tummy) part of the template. Then I cut the yellow piece into stripes and sewed down every other stripe.

I sewed the stripes on to the body pieces first. If I was going to do anything differently, it would be to sew the stripes onto the black fabric before cutting the body pieces out. The fleece stretched a bit when sewing and it took some time getting used to, so the stripes were not perfectly straight. This meant that when I sewed the two body pieces together, the stripes didn't completely match up. As I was sewing the side seams, I worried that this would look terrible, but in the end it is totally not a big deal (and I am usually way crazy about details like that). I slapped (literally, note that my seams are not sewn straight at all) seam binding on the wrists and the neckline, which was a joy since I now actually know how to sew the stuff on correctly thanks to this tutorial. The zipper was just stuck on after cutting the front body piece down the middle. Fleece doesn't fray, so I just cut and sewed and didn't fuss at all.

I also made a little hat with the help of this tutorial and then I wrapped pipe cleaners around the little ears. There is no photo because Bean woke up from her nap before I could set it all up, but trust me, it's cute. The pipe cleaners are very temporary, which is important because if I feel like Stella's grabbing at them, I'm just going to yank them off.

This came out way way better than I expected it to. There were really no bumps along the way and this is why I get myself into trouble. I proclaim that I cannot sew and then I stumble my way through a project and it looks half-decent and no one believes me. In truth, knowing that this was a project that would be worn once and that its sole purpose was to simply read as bee, I was really able to relax and omit stupid things like sewing little insect legs (yes, I considered this at one point) and not care if the shape wasn't perfect or the zipper wasn't straight or whatever. It reminded me of my metals class when my teacher encouraged me to just make something quickly for the sake of finishing it, rather than in an attempt to make the perfect piece. I think I stared at her blankly for a while and then got back to filing all of the edges of each of my handmade jump rings for the necklace chain I was making from scratch. But now I see the beauty in making something quickly and without the need for it to be perfect. Sometimes what you end up with will get the job done! Stella will be a bee! And pssst! I think it all cost under $10!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Blink.

People tell me that a lot these days. Don't blink or you'll miss everything! This is in regards to, of course, my infant daughter. I think that we have been doing a good job of taking things slow and appreciating each moment. Even the hard ones. I am not blinking much these days. But there is this funny little part of me that thinks "nope, she'll be like this forever." It's very weird because I'm normally a pretty practical person and I also have empirical evidence that she's growing every day, and quite rapidly I might add. But still, every once in a while someone will say the usual "My babies used to be that size! Don't blink because she's going to grow up in an instant!" and that tiny little irrational voice in my head quietly whispers "No she won't."

Well, it's a fact that it's going to happen. One day I'll be going back to work and she'll be off to school and this wonderful year of being together will be over. But for now we are together and are having new adventures every day. I am very lucky to be a teacher at a school with lots going on. I am still doing the choreography for the play, so we go to rehearsal a few times a week and Stella has been patiently watching the progression of the production. Some days she Baby Bjorns it with her father and they watch some soccer or tennis. Today, the art class went across the street to the art center and did some raku firing outside. It was an insanely beautiful day, made all the more beautiful by the fact that we just came out of an extended cold/crappy/rainy period and Stella and I walked over to the art center and watched the dramatic process unfold. Luckily there were two firings so I photographed one and then just watched the other. Like raising Stella, raku is a process that is immediate and intense and you definitely don't want to blink or you'll miss something cool. I didn't blink much and I don't think the Bean did either. Here is some of what we saw:

Out of the kiln and into the fire:
Waiting for the magic to happen:
Out of the fire and into the bath:A finished piece:
Surveying some casualties:
And on our walk back across the school campus, I passed by my favorite tree. It's not the biggest or the grandest tree on campus, but it puts on a dazzling show for approximately one week each Fall. It is on the path to the Meeting House so, once a week, we all walk over for Meeting for Worship and pass by this tree. People often pick up leaves from this tree and I've seen both students and adults playing with a bright red leaf once or twice in a Meeting. It's even inspired some messages in Meetings. Each year when the tree turns, I make sure to focus on it as much as possible on that walk over, because I know that the following week the show will most likely have ended. I've missed it once or twice over the years. I just about missed it this year, but today found it in transition with just enough red on the tree and the ground around it to make me stop and stare. I'm glad Stella got to see it, too. I hope she didn't blink.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Then and Now.

My Mom and I finally went through the old box of family photos. Well, actually we went through one of the old boxes of family photos. Considering this is something we have been meaning to do for a hundred million years, organizing one box is a start. Part of the expedition was, for me, a hunt for baby photos that I could use to compare to Stella. Here we both are in the red and white stroller that my Mom saved. It was my stroller, then a stroller for my stuffed animals, and maybe will be the same for Stella when she outgrows it.

And now:
There is something eerie and wonderful about peering into the past with these photos. All of those babies are now starting families of our own and I look at us today, getting older by the minute. But then I look at these family photos and I see how young my parents, relatives, and their friends were. Looking at the photos was like having all of my family members, alive and deceased, in my living room all at once as I remember them from my childhood. Skinny, lots of hair, and the same bliss on their faces that I imagine I will see on our faces when we look back at our family photos 30 years from now. I posted a few of these old photos on my Facebook page and someone suggested that I take away the age with some simple photo editing trickery. But I like them just the way they are, imperfect and no longer crisp, but totally worth safeguarding with all my might.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finished Blocks

Here are Bean's toy blocks! I am showing mostly one side of each block here, for obvious reasons, but the rest of the blocks are a riot of patterns and colors. It all somehow works in an it's-all-from-my-stash-so-it-should-work-out kind of way.
The pattern was very easy to follow, including the directions on how to sew the actual cubes together. I read and reread the directions before starting (yes there is a little halo over my crafty head) but it didn't make sense until I actually did it. I still can't figure out exactly how it all happened to work out, but I think that's mostly because of the limited brain cell reserves I have from not having had a full night's sleep in 4.5 months. The only steps I added to the instructions was to measure and mark in 1/2 inch on each side that I sewed up so that I knew where to start and end my stitching. This meant that on each of the four sides that I sewed together I just marked one side of each piece. When I sewed up the top and bottom ends of each cube, I marked in 1/2 inch on each side of the end pieces (since I was sewing all the way round and needed to know where I was going). It all worked out quite well and I'm currently working on sewing up the bag that goes along with the project (just waiting on an order for fusible interfacing to come in...I had to actually purchase something!). I have the pieces cut and I've made a big freezer paper stencil "S" on one piece so that there is never a question of exactly whose blocks these are!

In other news, I'm on such a freezer paper stencil kick that I think I'm going to stencil up some of the plain onesies that Stella has outgrown for a craft fair I'm doing in December. I think I want to create some scherenschnitte-inspired designs, mostly because I think they would be really fun to cut out. Also because scherenschnitte is such a crazy fun word. Something like this or this (greatly reduced in complexity). And I just discovered the work of Helen Musselwhite, not that it could be translated in 2-D but just because it's so dang amazing, check her out here.

made. by k.d.