Thursday, April 11, 2013

Catching up (and more burp cloths!)

Dear Angel,

Every time we connect for a speedy, interrupted chat on Skype, I end up missing you even more than before! It is so great to "see" you and hear your voice and all the exciting things brewing in your life. Can't wait to see how things develop!

Here in Seattle, Spring is here. Which means equal parts daffodils and tulips popping up everywhere and RAIN. Rain rain rain. You'll probably roll your eyes and say well, it's Seattle. But the well-kept secret of the Pacific Northwest is that it doesn't rain all that much. It is often cloudy and you do get quite a bit of sporadic drizzle. But real rain that soaks even your best rain jacket? That is reserved for Spring. The kids keep crying and whining because I repeatedly say "no" to the playground or riding bikes. And I want to whine too, especially since it's the time of year when every one of my friends on Facebook is bragging about enjoying sunshine and warm weather. Blah.

Anyway. On a positive note: I am reading a ton lately, and writing too. I have been doing yoga every weekday morning for THREE weeks now (with children and cat climbing all over me, but I see it as helping my zen). And I feel good and like I'm finally rediscovering my pre-baby body (aside from that damn belly pooch that ain't going nowhere... Where's my flat tummy, whah!!). I have been sewing a lot, mostly for custom orders and for my shop. And it feels good to be productive in a very tangible way. I have also been asked to put items on consignment in TWO local shops opening soon. I am going to be busy building that stock! And finally, Ben is on Spring Break next week and my Mom is coming to visit, whee!!! So, there is a lot of good stuff going on!!

Aside from sewing for work, I have made several baby gifts lately. Everyone is having babies around us. As you know, my favorite go-to gift is a set of embellished burp cloths tucked into a gift bag with favorite baby books, toys and/or accessories. Here are a couple of recent sets I made.

I LOVE the Bella fabric for this, it's possibly my favorite trio of burp cloths ever.

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts


For this other set, I also included a little Swaddle Softie.

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts

Jenny: Baby Gifts


Well, I'm off to make some lunch. Henry has been asking for food for the past 30 minutes! I hope you have a lovely day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sponsor Focus: Felt on the Fly (and a giveaway!)

felt on the fly


Oh y'all, I am so excited to tell you a tiny bit more about Felt On The Fly today. As Jenny mentioned a few weeks ago, we (quite regularly) frequent our sponsors' shops, and Felt on the Fly is no different. I plan to have her gather up a new custom order for me soon, and Jenny just got some in the mail........we may have a problem, both of us. HA! (Stick around until the end of the post for a giveaway, you know you want to!)

Felt on the Fly has become my go-to shop for felt, and I'll tell you why: Janet knows felt! It's her focus and passion, it only takes asking her a few questions to unearth a wealth of knowledge. There is a reason that after over 8000 (that's right, eight THOUSAND) sales on Etsy, she has a 100% satisfaction rating. Last time I asked for a custom listing, she wrote back "Of course, you can have anything your little heart desires." I LIKE IT!

I know that for some folks, the cost of wool felt can seem like too much of an investment, especially that first time purchase (before you can feel for yourself how awesome it is.) I asked Janet what she would say the main difference is between her felt and other types that might be slightly less costly. Here's what she had to say:

One of the biggest differences between Felt On The Fly wool felt and other felts is that my wool felt was specifically created for handwork, sewing and crafting.  Many other felts (including the most popular wool-blend felt) were originally created for commercial purposes like industrial linings, sound proofing and padding in shipping crates.  The craft market for that type of felt was secondary and the manufacturing processes stayed the same. 

And, doesn't this make sense? Janet shares on her Felt on the Fly about page:

My motivation was to share this valuable resource with other like-minded artists and crafters who appreciate the best materials and understand that when you commit your time and talent to a project, it makes sense to invest in quality.

I cannot agree with this more! I purchased a custom listing of 20 pieces of felt right before the holidays, Janet brilliantly chose the colors for me, and I was so pleased by what she chose. I think she mentioned something about realizing I probably would not want a bunch of neon colors in our Etsy convo. Ha! That pack of felt served me VERY well during that last minute gift rush. (That plus an Anna Maria Horner fat quarter pack I ordered at the same time from Alewives!)

I think I showed you this before, through a scanned image, but I'll show it again to illustrate my point. I made about a dozen of these embroidered, felt and fabric "catchalls" for gifts, they were filled with rice and dried lavender I'd saved from my garden. They mostly went to family members, a few went to very good friends. I filled their little indentations with Lindt truffles and/or Babybearshop lip balms, depending on the recipient. They were so quick to make, and the amazing quality of the felt combined with the beautiful prints of the Anna Maria Horner fabric were such a pleasure to work with and give.

Embroidered felt and fabric catchall


Embroidered felt and fabric catchall


Embroidered felt and fabric catchall


Janet has generously offered one of her gorgeous 100% merino wool felt "color stories" to one lucky reader! It's the "water lily" palette, isn't it fabulous? Just head down to the Rafflecopter widget and earn up to three entries. Good luck!

The giveaway closes as midnight EST on Saturday 4/6. Sorry, US entries only. We will choose one random winner and announce the name in this post on Monday. The lucky winner will also be contacted via email. (Total giveaway value: $15. Void where prohibited.)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is it Spring yet?

Happy Easter!

Good morning! I was up with the birds this morning, as usual, and thought I'd write a post before everyone else wakes up and starts NEEDING THINGS. (Well shit, Ian just woke up! I'll crank it out......and I'll be glad it's not a video blog b/c he has terrible gas this morning. BOYS!!!!!)

Speaking of boys, here's a photo of that special moment Ian and Silas shared last week, when Silas had the Spring Break stomach virus:

DSC_0554


That picture reminds me to tell you, the Make Do sets you sent us for Christmas have been a HUGE hit! We have made robots, hats, a hideout, and the "safe saw" is Silas's new favorite thing. He begs for cardboard to cut with that thing, and it's really great for his hand/eye coordination too. So, THANK YOU! It filled many hours of yucky weather, inside time.

So, the weather here in Nashville has been..........unusual. I know we're not alone in this, I'm starting to have a better idea what your summer was like last year, Jenny! It is usually 70 degrees during the day here by now, we've been lucky to hit 50 lately. And gray skies almost every afternoon. Hmmmm, it IS starting to sound like Seattle! This has seriously affected my mood, I need warmth! I just feel like I can't get warm lately, and I spend a lot of time in a hot bath. Soon enough it will be 100 degrees in the shade, so I should probably just get over it.....


It's 5:30 a.m., and I have already retrieved two bowls of cereal (the first was rejected) and am now listening to what has to be the loudest, most obnoxious cereal eating, ever. Someone suggested I teach Ian about table manners, if I had a nickel for every time I have asked that kid to close his mouth while he chews I'd have a pretty good monthly income coming in. I literally asked him to close his mouth twenty seconds ago, could this be a mouth breathing issue? He wakes up shortly after I do every morning, and loves to eat cereal first thing. To say his eating ruins my morning is exaggerating, but let's just say if he was my roommate in college instead of my kid, I'd have probably kicked him in the shins already this morning. The next food offered will be something soft and incapable of making noise. Anyway, I digress. Back to things!


Oh Jenny, your family's poor Christmas box! And now, your birthday has passed too. I think I might just throw it out the front door at the mail lady today, that would increase its chances of reaching you greatly. Here's a picture of the box! Yesterday Ian said, "Mom, do you REALIZE how long ago Christmas was? When are you going to send this?"

DSC_0579


In other news, we are in remodeling limbo here. Our kitchen is in desperate need of an update, I've been using the broiler at varying temperatures instead of the "bake" function because the stove is on its last leg! But we are going to install a gas cook top, the kind that goes into a cabinet, and then I'll have the oven in the opposite wall. I think! We haven't figured it out yet. It's been such a cold, dreary Spring so far that I desperately need to change things around in the house for my own sanity, but with big changes on the horizon (probably in the Summer) I can't do anything permanent. I decided some new napkins would help, I could only find three of them that were clean but I made about eight? I need to make about eight more! I used some of the fat quarters you gave me from Drygoods, and looked at your napkin post for help.

Angel: Fat Quarter napkins


I also printed off some recent favorite images from the internet, I'm just sticking them up on the wall with washi tape. It's kind of college dorm, but who are we kidding? I'M college dorm most of the time, and living with two small boys and one large boy, it IS like a college dorm around here.

Frida!


Fox!


DSC_0586


Family.


Did I tell you about our Tennessee Aquarium trip? I love Chattanooga so much, it is a great little town and only a few hours away from us. Perfect day trip now that the boys are older, too. We bought a year long pass, with two visits it pays for itself and we'll go back at least once more in twelve months, I am sure. Most of the pictures Lee took are actually videos, I only have a few! This sea turtle one can suffice for now, until I can go through the rest.

Aquarium.


My creative self has been struggling, the weather is not helping! I started a piece called "Emerging Spring", I like where it is going so far. It's more of an experiment than anything, I have pulled out many, many stitches and the felt is starting to look a little "holey". I've been watching this embroidery series at Creativebug, I have learned SO much. I really need to use that site more as a subscriber! There are so, so many great classes on there right now, some are even offered for free, to anyone. Here's a preview of what I'm working on, I'll post more pictures later today when I do a Spotlight on Felt on the Fly.

Angel: "Emerging Spring"


OK, I must go. I can't believe how clunky I am at HTML! This has taken me forever. Also, a "second breakfast" is being requested, and the other two are not even awake yet. Hope you have a great day!

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