Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Best Compliment. Ever.

This is so much fun.

And I say that at the risk of you seriously questioning my idea of fun. That's okay. The risk is worth it.

I was just visiting the Prudent Baby blog and ran across a post of Jaime's from earlier this week. She revealed that someone had called her a "gem encrusted diamond lobster rainbow" which was the best compliment she could be given.


She said those were her favorite things all mushed up to describe her.

What would your compliment be? Think of your three favorite things and toot your own horn.

For example, if I needed a pat on the back for a job well done, I would call myself a fabric ice cream piece of furniture from Goodwill.

So fun. Takes only a few seconds. Let the world know how to really make your day with a very confusing-sounding description. Leave your compliment in the comment section!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Won!!

Well, maybe not YOU. But for all of you that didn't win, thanks for playing along. It was a lot of fun to hear from you. And I'm always tickled to add a few more followers. Even if I have to resort to bribery.

And I'm most excited that now I have another reason to make a dish mat.

And my mom will be most excited that MY DAD WON THE DISHMAT!!

No kidding. I cut up all of the names (twice if you are a follower) and Dave pulled one. The best part of it all is that my dad was the first one to comment. Probably 30 seconds after I hit the "post" button.

So, Dad...let me know what fabrics will inspire you most to roll up your sleeves and squirt the dish soap. Happy Washing!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Portrait of a Birthday Boy

Photos by Birthday Boy himself. Words by his mama.









Friday, February 19, 2010

Giveaway 101

I guess technically my milestone post has already passed. I hit 100 posts with my antique spools.

And I'm not really sure who considers 100 posts a milestone except that it just gives you something else to write about.

Some people might hit 100 posts after a couple of months. Depends on how much they have to say.

I'll use post number 101 as an excuse for a giveaway. I loved sewing and giving away the bag dispensers so long ago. I tried to think of something useful and possibly attractive to all readers. But no such thing exists. So I just picked something I like and something that I could give to my mom or my sister if no one else wants to participate!


If you wash dishes you might be interested in this. It's a dishtowel used to catch drips after handwashing or removing items from the dishwasher. It has terrycloth on the underside and is a lot cuter than an old kitchen towel hanging out on your counter.

It's not my design, I got the idea from Darby, and tweaked it a little to fit my needs and my counter.

I've got lots of fabric, here's another look at a few samples:

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I'm sure I can come up with something that suits you (or someone you would like to gift this to).

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment. I don't need anything fancy, a "hi" will qualify you. If you are a follower of the blog, I'll enter your name twice. If you become a follower I'll enter you twice as well. Just let me know if you are. Let me know who you are if you are anonymous!!

I'll pick a winner at random on Wednesday night (2/24).

I hope you win!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spools of...

...thread, right?

Well, when my grandmother gave me a very large bag of spools, there was no thread to be found. I don't know how old the spools are. For all I know, they could be from the late 1990s. But I prefer to call them antique. Because they are empty and wooden. That is the definition of antique, right?

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My plan from the start was to string them and hang them in my sewing space. And then, I actually created a sewing space. So I was ready to hang. Then I got an idea.

This idea came from my love of fabric. My love that is so selfish that I would like to keep all of my fabric because I love it so. This love that makes it so hard for me to give my fabric away, even to make stuff out of it.

Maybe this is the cure!

I took an empty spool and cut a strip of fabric the width of the spool with enough length to wrap all of the way around.

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No measuring here, just guestimating. Not many of the spools were exactly alike, but if you did have the same sizes, you could use a rotary cutter and cut away with your measurements.

(something funny happens to the color in the next few photos. I want a new camera!!)

Wrap the fabric around:

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There are so many possibilities for securing the fabric around the spool. I used short straight pins:

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You could use fabric glue, tape, anything that works because...

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When you spin it around, no one will know that it didn't just grow onto the spool!

I had so much fun picking out fabrics for the different spools.

Some spools were big

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Some spools were small

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Some fabrics were left over from dresses that I made for Anna Jane

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And some fabrics were new, modern prints that I haven't used yet

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There were a couple of options for display...

On the same cakestand:

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On a shelf with some antique milkglass (I know these glasses are not wooden, so they contradict the aforementioned definition of antique, but these are antique):

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And the original plan, the spool garland:

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I actually think I like this arrangement less than the others.

I need help...where do you like them the best? Or do they need a shelf of their own?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ed Emberley Stamp

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I got this book.


I think we got it at a neighbor's yard sale. I could be way off on that, but I know it's been at least that long since I've had it.

Ed Emberley is AWESOME.

He is so talented and he has published over 80 books. BUY SOME OF HIS BOOKS!

My favorites are like these, which instruct you how to draw in really easy, do-able steps. And I love his "fingerprint books."



He also writes children's books. This one is a favorite of my students.

When Wilson said he wanted a knight birthday party, the wheels in my head started turning. The first step in planning a party is of course, the invitations. Somehow I think and think and think until all of the sudden, I figure it out. This time the figuring out took a little more figuring out than I had planned.

I thought about castles, I thought about dragons, then I thought about this:


I haven't looked at this book in years, but somehow the dragon stuck in my head. I didn't want to draw the dragon on every invitation, because let's face it: as good as the instructions are, I still can't draw.

I thought about cutting out lots and lots of dragons, but there was too much detail to get through one, much less one for every family member.


So I decided I would make a stamp, and stamp the dragon onto each invitation. How I reasoned that this would be any easier than drawing or cutting is not clear to me. And I've never made a stamp before. Oh well, here we go...

I made a photocopy of the dragon and shaded it in with a pencil:


Then I cut it out and rubbed the pencil onto the stamp rubber (found it at AC Moore):



And now the fun part!

I used a linoleum carving knife (AC Moore) to very carefully remove the rubber around the dragon.



I cut the stamp down to size and tried it out a couple of times on scrap paper. It showed me where I needed to cut away more of the rubber so that the dragon was a clean image. I just kept cutting away until the dragon looked just right. It was so much easier than I expected it to be.


I got the effect of Ed Emberley without the effect of my drawing difficulties.



I like these invitations. On to the party!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some Winter Projects

I think when I woke up to this yesterday:


I was the only girl in Winston-Salem with a smile on my face. It wasn't much snow, especially compared to what we had the previous week, and what they currently have in Virginia and other states to the north. I love the winter weather and I have stitched up a lot of new things. Here are some of them:


Wilson picked out this camo fabric for a new pair of pajama pants. He calls them his army man pants.

Anna Jane picked out this fabric for a skirt months ago:


I followed this tutorial but had to make a few adjustments. I didn't have as much fabric as the pattern called for, but I actually think this worked out better. I think more fabric would have swallowed her. This fits perfectly.

I made a cute little snail:


Which is actually not a snail, but a fabric cover for Anna Jane's little measuring tape. The yoyo designates the side of the tape with the button used to retract the tape. It took about 15 minutes to make. Can't remember where I found the pattern.

I made these cute little Valentine's leg warmers for Punky Brewster Anna Jane:


At our Superbowl dinner tonight, I snapped a photo of the leg warmers in action:


Somebody needs to teach Miss Priss how to SIT and EAT like a lady. Hmmm. I guess that's my job.

I made this dish mat from this tutorial:


I made one as a house-warming gift for my friend Lindsey, and I liked it so much, I made mine identical to hers!

I made two dresses for Anna Jane. One I haven't taken photos of yet. As you can see from this hodge-podge of a photo mess, I don't really have a great place to photograph the kids or their clothes in this house. I tried getting pics of this blue dress with a bit of sunlight:


I think this is my favorite of all of the things I made since the big snow of 2010 last weekend. And I didn't even start it until last night.


I put the button on today and if I knew anything about drafting patterns, I would make one for myself!


With the clicking of the camera all afternoon, Wilson requested that the following picture be taken:


I will leave you with that.

Here's to the next snowstorm!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cabin Fever

No way.

I can't think of anything better than being stuck in my cabin with Dave and the kids and 8 inches of snow. I didn't leave the house for days, and even then it was only to pick up more fabric and another pattern. I sewed my fingers silly during and after this massive snow storm. The best part of snowing in the snow (well, in a house in the snow) is the bright, bright light that is reflected off the snow and under my presser foot.

After all of the time I spent sewing with Anna Jane, I got caught up in some projects of my own.

I'll show them soon, but since we have ANOTHER snow day tomorrow, I hope to add a couple of things to my total for the week.

With all of the time spent with my fabric and thread, I got an itch for an organized sewing space. At this point, I have supplies in bags, drawers, cabinets, and RubberMaid boxes. They are not all in the same room and I'm terrible at putting things back where I found them.

I actually have lots of options for a sewing space: a corner of the playroom, 1/2 of Henry's bedroom, lots of space in the basement...I know enough about myself to situate my sewing supplies in an area of the house that is easily accessible. The basement would be an ideal spot with lots of space and storage. But I wouldn't want to be alone downstairs while the rest of the household continues without me.

There was a pretty obvious spot in the middle of the house, but I had some reservations.

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This is kind of our laundry room. Or like a breezeway through our laundry room. There are doors that span the wall behind me (taking the photo) that enclose cabinets, a washer and dryer. Behind that is the playroom. To the left of the "room" is the dining room (which is at the front of the house). To the right of the room is the kitchen, and on the other side of the room is the den (and all bedrooms).

Now that you have a treasure map of my house, you will see that this really is in the middle of the house. It's where we keep the birthday cake during our big family parties. The green buffet serves as a dessert table for other get togethers. When we are not entertaining, we stack up clean (folded or not) laundry. It also showcases one of my favorite wedding gifts: a P.Buckley Moss print, which was a gift from my parents.

Taking photos of this space was really difficult. It's quite cozy, despite what it looks like on my computer screen. I moved the green buffet to the right and added an antique work table.

The green buffet was the first piece of furniture that I painted with my friend, Elizabeth. I bought it from my minister when I bought my first house. We crackled it and I added these drawer pulls that reminded me of my Mema's back-porch screen door:

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The work table came from Bocock-Stroud Department Store in downtown Winston-Salem. My great-grandfather Henry S Wilson started this store and most everyone in the family worked there at some point.

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I found this photo in some of the city's online archives:

Maybe that's my table!
Here is a photo of the store during a Christmas Parade:

Once I got those two pieces in place, I just started adding things that I found around the house. I did have to run to Michael's to pick up two of the little shelves. I painted them white and hung them, including a little special shelf for my piece-of-art pin cushion:

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I added trim to each of the three white shelves:

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I had this antique printer's box in the basement:

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The tall spools of thread in the middle are ones I have used. The others were given to me in a very large bag of sewing supplies from my grandmother. She also gave me a bag full of empty spools:

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I know exactly what I'm going to do with them!

So here is somewhat of an after photo:

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I'm sure I will find more around the house to add. The drawers of the buffet hold supplies, as well as the containers on the shelves. The cabinets of the buffet hold fabric scraps. Not enough room for a substantial amount of fabric or batting. Those are still in RubberMaid containers.

I am missing a few things, such as this, and this, and this, and this, and the list goes on...

I've tried to keep the laundry out, and I've got a chair of Henry Wilson's that I am changing the seat on so that it will feel at home in my new space. I think I like how it has turned out so far.

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