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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Everything Post: Sewing, Moving, Wonder Twin Powers & Fabric Porn

Since I can't seem to write a proper post these days I'm just going to put down some random bits. I have been slightly more active over at Twitter if you want to follow me there, too.

Everything Tote
I sewed the Everything Tote from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing and I love it! I pack it full of clothes, food, sunscreen, and take everything everywhere. The Joel Dewberry, decor-weight exterior is holding up well, as is the cute, Japanese Bambi twill lining. At Quilt Market Melanie Falick told me that it really helps book sales if people review books at different times, not just when they are released. I'll keep posting as I sew all the cute stuff Heather designed. I did just break my fabric buying freeze to get some of her Far, Far Away before it's all gone. I follow WhipStitch Fabrics on Twitter and couldn't pass up a 15% off code (I think she's out of FFA). Am currently wondering if a 41-year-old woman can pull off a purple unicorn tunic. And from the shameless self-promotion department, did you know my blog is mentioned in the inspirations section of Weekend Sewing? Guess I need to get to work! Wonder Twin powers activate! Shape of an inspiring craft blog!

Without a dressform
Frustrated with always having to do major adjustments to store-bought patterns — and wanting to copy a specific and deceptively simple-looking child's dress from Mini Boden, but not having a proper dressform — I decided to do a self-draping. It took three labor-intensive drafts (wrapping myself in fabric, pinning, basting, taking apart, making adjustments, and drafting paper patterns) but I'm very happy with the result. It's so fitted and comfortable in the bust that I can imagine making my own non-stretch bras like in the olden days (I've been having boob trouble from underwires). The hardest part of the pattern making process was having to rip out the sewing on the last, well-fitted version, so that I could make the final pattern. Here's a funny, jazz hands picture with me wearing the final dress for Lorimarsha's visit.

Do you own, rent, or live with your parents?
Seven years and two babies later, we're finally moving out of my mom's house (the house I grew up in) and down (30 miles south) to the ranch that used to belong to my husband's grandparents. If you can pull it off, I highly recommend trying the multi-generational household. Imagine the foundation of love, when every day you have your mom, dad, grandma, and auntie available for hugs, as well as help.

Our plans have always been to move to our cabin in the woods when it finally gets a bathroom and a kitchen (still not done). During the ten years we've been remodeling, our family has outgrown the 600 square feet before we ever got to live in it. We'll be looking for a very special person or two to rent it, someone who will love it as much as we do.

While it will be sad to leave the auntie and grandma, we are looking forward to exploring the ranch's ten acres of coastal scrub, having adventures with horses, cleaning out the greenhouse, learning about animal care, native plants, and bees, and generally having the physical space to match the endless energy of two active boys. I see bike tracks, forts, archery, and lots of general digging and hacking in our future.

We'll be near this awesome place.

Like I need more fabric.
Next weekend, Susie Bright — famed writer of sexual politics, erotica, feminism, and popular culture, who also just happens to be a fellow craft blogger, dressmaker, and neighbor — is de-stashing! Makes me all hot and bothered just thinking about it.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Family Portrait in Shoes

1. Mama, 2. Papa, 3. Big Bro, 4. Little Bro

Still thinking about shoes. These pics are a study for a future project.


One year ago: 100 Things
Two years ago: I *Heart* Futuregirl (more futuregirl love coming soon)
Three years ago: Apple Pocket (Japanese handi-craft project from the book Ringo No Poketto)

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Now He is Six

Cake and candle.

Bean bags and bounce house.

Pozole and piñata.

The prince of six.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 10 Signs The School's Alright

I knew we picked the hippie right school for our son, but I didn't know how *right* it was until I watched the after-school circus class. In a timber-frame barn on hardwood floors girls and boys were strutting on tall stilts and spinning around on all sizes of unicycles. Balance boards and Diabolos were being played with in the sidelines. One polite boy asked me if I was using the unicycle that I was sitting near. "No, I wish," I thought to myself. My son waited patiently, hoping to get a chance at one of those one-wheel wonders. Eventually, a kindergarten buddy showed my boy how to get onto a unicycle, even helped lift him onto it. Any lingering doubts I had about our school choice dissolved upon watching this simple kindness.

My oldest child needs *a lot* to feel filled up at the end of the day — a lot of exercise, food, social interaction, and learning — a lot of just doing. He's a bit of a 110% kind of guy. After his first day of all-day kindergarten, he had a Tae Kwon Do lesson and a park date. When we got home he said, "It's sort of a do-nothing kind of day." He said this at 6pm, not realizing what time it was, or that his fun, active, and educational day had been *all* day. He kind of laughed at himself when I pointed out the irony.

All summer I had tried to find the right balance of physical, social, and down time for him without much success. More never seemed to work, and less *really* never worked. Apparently, spending six hours a day away from me was the magic answer. That, and, maybe the little guy just needed to join the circus!

Here are some other reasons that this school's alright (for him/us):

10: You walk over a bridge to enter the multi-acre campus.
9: The parental dress code is appealing.
8: Not only is there a sailboat to play on, there's a pirate ship, too!
7: There's more than one structure that could be called a hobbit house.
6: You can call your teacher a clown, and he is.
5: The lunch shack cooks and serves vegetarian meals — with salad bar — that my kid loves.
4: My child now knows how to feed an Emu and an Alpaca.
3: I instinctively knew that I should preface a food gift (tomato chutney, naan, and Indian Coleslaw) to the kindergarten teacher with, "These were cooked in dishes that meat has been cooked in. I hope that's OK."
2: The unicycles!
1: While one mom I know went out of her way to *not* send her children to a school where kids are running around barefoot with green hair, I'm happy to say that we spend good money to do that very thing.


P.S. I wanted to find more photos to link to, but I'm not finding the time. And, I still need to pick a name for the apron give-away. You have until tonight at midnight Pacific time to leave a comment and link. Thanks!!!!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Giveaways and Giggles

Here's your reminder to comment & link for a chance to win this wrist pincushion. Comments will close Tuesday, September 1st, at midnight Pacific time. I'll announce a winner on the Wednesday after.

Here's the guy that makes me smile everyday. He climbed up and over to get into the sink/refrigerator section of our play kitchen. He would open the door to slide out, then do it again.

And, something to make you laugh. That's my sexy beast, and I'm proud of it. More biergarten pictures here.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Berry Pickin'

It helps to have a professional photographer along with you when you go berry picking.

Thank you, jo ann! It was such a wonderful surprise.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Usual Suspects

As part of my extended 40th birthday celebration we got to stay in a vacant apartment in San Francisco. Maxine lived there from the late 1940s until she died some years ago — she was 97. She fancied "Oriental" decor and fancy stereo equipment. I think these headphones were hers. Thanks, Maxine.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

H is for Hat

He always wears his best when we go out to the fancy neighborhood restaurant. This time it was three plaids and a vintage fedora, white pants, and suede oxfords — all on his own.

More photos at flickr.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Give a kid a camera





and he'll take photos. It's so fun to see what catches his eye.

Grandma got him one of these. The image quality is lacking, but I kind of like the grainy, blown out look.

Now I need to go see if I can find the pictures from my first camera, a Brownie, from when I was five years old.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

500 Gumdrops, Less 30

OK. I love the way these gumdrop wreaths look. But, having just finished one, I think everyone that has ever made one is CRAZY, including me. Did anyone mention how time consuming and tedious they are? Did you know that three pounds of gumdrops is about 500 small gumdrops? I thought my five-year-old and I could whip one out in a little sibling nap session. Nope. He was done after about the first 80 or so. It took much longer than a nap, maybe three to four hours. It's definitely cool, though — I just hope it doesn't become a holiday tradition. ;)


After writing this I went back and googled Gumdrop Wreath Blog and I got the actual time commitment from Alicia. Guess I should have done more homework. I never was good at reading the directions all the way through.

Here are some other gumdrop wreath stories:
Sparkle Power
My Paper Crane
Hula Seventy
Crazy Mokes
Hey Lucy
Sew Darn Cute
Bella Dia
Teen Sleuth

P.S. It's funny what crafty types will find too tedious to do. I've met at least one knitter who can't stand to rip out seams from sewing, but thinks nothing of frogging a sweater. Personally, I'm afraid of My First Sweater because it might involve large quantities of frogging.

P.P.S. I forgot to mention that I wrapped the Styrofoam form with masking tape, which made it impossible to poke a toothpick through. I had to make a pilot hole with a sharp metal tool first for each hole. This could have been part of my frustration.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Proud Mama


Sometimes I need to jot these things down here, because I'm not so good at getting them onto paper.

My oldest

"Those clouds look really low, like I could jump into them. They look like cotton candy. When I have a hang glider I'm going to fly into the clouds and see how they taste — and, I *will* have one."

"Do you know why I come and get into bed with you in the morning? Because I want to see my brother when he wakes up."

His name on a chalkboard, when asked to by a prospective kindergarten teacher, while being assessed. My first child's first test — I was a bit of a nervous wreck.

A gnome — his fourth representational drawing of a creature. This has been a long, challenging process for him because he wants things to be perfect. The lesson we worked on was, that — if you don't like it — you can try again. We went through many sheets of newspaper. We also made a compromise, where I did the cutting and he did the drawing.

By my littlest

"Fabric" and "Gnome." They are two of his first twenty or so words. That makes me smile. So does seeing him wake up.



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Making Tradition By Hand

Growing up in a half atheistic, half non-church-going-believer type of family made my childhood holidays a find-your-own-meaning sort of situation. My mom created the mood, my dad tried to ignore the whole thing. I don't remember wondering what the meaning of it all was — I suppose getting presents was my main concern. But, I do remember loving the ritual of our family's traditions: opening family presents on Christmas Eve/Santa's in the morning; baking a long list of very specific goodies (Granny's Fudge, mom's Russian Tea Cakes, Becky's Peanut Butter Balls, grandma Ruby's Peanut Butter Cookies, Renie's Magic Bars, etc.); and, most importantly, the making of handmade gifts and decorations. We did *a lot* of making. We never stopped making, not even in those awkward teenage years.

When I was in college I printed a very small edition of miniature books about our family's Christmas traditions. Talk about being a dork! There is nothing more un-hip than illustrating Christmas when you are a fine arts major — my teacher was not impressed. It was an earnest book, though, full of love and memories. Each spread features an item handmade by family or friends: my sister's toilet paper tube angel; Wayne's machine-lathed aluminum tree; my soft sculpture snowman; Kathy's felt advent calendar; Patty's patchwork placemats; even our favorite baked goodies are in there.

My printmaking teacher might not have liked it, but it was tear-worthy over at our house that Christmas. It's probably the best present I ever gave to my mom. And, in a way, it's one of the best presents she gave to me.

Here it is:
Miniature Book

Becky's Angel / My Snowman:

Patty's Placemat:

Kathy's Advent Calendar:

Wayne's Aluminum Tree:

The Goodies:

The End:

Some technical info:
I printed the book on a stone lithography press with black ink. I hand-colored each illustration with Prismacolor colored pencils. The text is handwritten (I forget what kind of pen — heck, it was 20 years ago!). Each page is glued together accordion-style. The binding is red leather with what used to be gold ink.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Post something interesting already

You know your blog is sucking when your comments are down — and, when you mention this to your husband, he let's you know that your blog hasn't been all that interesting lately.* Nothing like a little tough-love to kick your butt into finishing a long-time WIP.

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you:

The Original Butt-Kicker Crochet Bodice Dress

Crochet Bodice Dress (detail)

This dress fought me the whole way. If it wasn't for blog suckage it probably would never have been finished. I won't bore you with the gory details — I tried writing them, and I almost fell asleep.

Crochet Bodice Dress II

Props to Linda for the original inspiration, and to my sister for taking such lovely photos of her lovely self. More photos over here.


*His comment was before yesterday's post, which he thought was nice.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Original G-nome

papa gnome

I wondered when I'd have a go at needle felting. Lucky for me my friend, Sara, has a craft supply shop in her garage. ;) First, I made a loose shape of a beard out of felt, then sewed the roving onto it in areas where it won't show. Then I made a lining of felt and hand stitched it to cover up the fuzzy edges and to strengthen it. Of course, it has fuzzy edges anyway.

What do you call a group of gnomes? A herd? A pod? A posse?
Halloween 2007

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Cold Turkey

Notice anything missing? I packed up the 200 or so kid videos and DVDs that my mom had acquired in the last five years — they were sitting in front of the books. We're going cold turkey and it's working out just fine. Boy, am I surprised.

This also explains my absence from posting. I'm still making stuff, just don't have the same amount of screen time to publish. We're also moving out to the granny unit, so things are a bit chaotic. The move is tempting me to sell off a bunch of stuff (supplies and old craft stock), so keep your eyes peeled for some sort of shop or something.

Thanks to all the lurkers who invited me to visit their blogs. Anyone else? I love finding new crafty folks.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Crazy Train

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Just waiting for the crazy train to pass — hopefully it will with the beginning of the school season.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Week in Review: June 17-24

Week in Review: June 17-24
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This is a week late, but that's how life is these days — for me and many others — I guess. Highlights of the week were: going to a powwow with Sara & Aurora; H olallieberry picking with Becky & Blaize; a birthday party at Wilder; C learning how to feed himself; and an exciting, but not scary, visit to our street by the firetruck.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

To Damian

Father's Day
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
I'm glad you are the papa. Happy Father's Day — you are the best.


Week in Review: June 9-16, 2007

So much to do, so little time. I am finding my role as activity director increasing at a rapid rate. Some of the things we did this week were: visit a miniature horse and pony show; dig in the dirt a lot; say good bye to a best friend; go to the Boardwalk with a larger kid to parent ratio; and take a night walk with cousins, aunties and uncles to see the fireworks over the ocean.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Do You Hold a Moonbeam in Your Hand?

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
I think a lot about this line from the Sound of Music, especially as my "Maria" gets closer to school age — a topic for many future blog posts, I'm sure. Right now, I'm working on figuring out ways to help my son relax, to learn how to be calm.

Somewhere in this blog I mentioned that the fabric Minkee helps my little whirling dervish settle down. He's taken to carrying around an unfinished length of it like a blankie. Kristin from Sew, Mama, Sew! remembered this and included some Minkee scraps along with an order that I placed. I thought I would use them to finish the blankie, but I made up these pants and poncho instead.

As you can see, the Minkee trick doesn't always work. When it doesn't, we can always play the "Will You Buy Me?" game — possibly his favorite game of all time. In the bottom photo you can see my latest purchase, a Chiweenie, trying his best to be a good dog. He cost "none." A pretty good deal, I think.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sewn For My Sis

Sewn For My Sis
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

champagne skirt
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Vintage Sheet Skirt
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

My favorite model and sewing muse, my sister. You've probably seen some of these photos before (here or in the Wardrobe Remix pool), but I wanted to make a group post to see them all together. It's about time for another round of sewing for her, maybe some shirts or a mini dress now that she's wearing things above the knees. I've also been wanting to make one of these, which would combine my love of yarn and fabric.

I sewed the skirts from a self-drafted pattern based on the "Tourist Trap" from Sew What! Skirts. The dress is McCall's M4369 tailored for a streamline fit.

The dress is new fabric — it's dragonflies. The pink skirt is vintage, the bubbley champagne skirt is new fabric, and the green and blue floral skirt is from a vintage sheet. I did a quick search trying to find the names of the new fabrics, but couldn't easily find them. If you know what they are, can you leave a comment so people who are interested can find out?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

First Birthday

c peeking
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
I didn't get a chance to post a birthday photo yesterday for this wonderful little guy because I was recovering from a night of mastitis. It was a bit ironic as I recalled the 24 hours of labor exactly one year prior. Eleven pounds two ounces of sugar puddin' goodness and worth every push. Happy birthday, C. I love you so much I can hardly stand it.

Speaking of mastitis, did you know a potato poultice can help? A grated potato applied to the affected breast can relieve symptoms — in my case it instantly stopped the feverish shivering. I've used both the potato and the cabbage remedies before, both with success. In addition, I take hot baths and express with the electric breast pump. Rest is important, too.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Boys and Toys

Not much crafting going on around here. I've been cleaning my craft area, which took two whole days — sorted a mess of fabric by color and realized that I could sew for two years straight and not need to buy anything new. Help, someone stop me.

And, we're in the middle of birthday season around here, with five birthdays in about five weeks. These photos were taken by my sister at my dad's birthday party. My dad has been trying for years to find the pedal car of his childhood and he finally got one — handy timing for the grandkids. At the same time he bought one to match his current hotrod. He specializes in '32 Ford roadsters with vintage speed equipment. My sister pointed out that my dad is obsessed with the past, which made me realize our interest in vintage isn't that surprising. The apple doesn't fall from the heritage tree, as it were.

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