Monday, August 31, 2009

Say My Name, say my name

What's in a name?

Recently I told a little story about a strange love, how Lola got her name. When I chose it, I was mulling over many a moniker - and settled on something I thought I could live with for a while. I may have also mentioned recently, that I am slowly inching my way towards opening an Etsy store. Yes, I know...surely you are saying to yourselves, "Why doesn't she just get on with it?" Be gentle dears, I'm a little slow but, I will catch up. Now, for what one thing has to do with the other:
I was poking about the other day and discovered that Etsy has 216 sellers with names beginning in Lola. Two hundred sixteen! Which I realize, is small in comparison to the 2671 sellers whose names start with Little, or the 10746 sellers whose names start with The.

I guess what I am getting at is this - I am having some doubts about my name. O.K. not my name. For those of you who don't know, the woman behind the curtain is me - I am Alexandra Smith (friends call me Alex)- and I wont be changing that any time soon. This blog, Lola Nova - Whatever Lola Wants, has only been for a little over a year but, the name was launched over 5 years ago. In that time, the number of Lolas out in the 'webby' world has increased quite a lot. It would be a bad time to change the name, as those of you who have supported me all this time surely identify with Lola Nova, and you are very important to me dear readers, more than you know.

So, I'm just gonna throw this out there into the whispering wind and ask what you all think. What do you think of Lola Nova? Is it a keeper? Would I be foolish to forsake it now? If I did change names, what on earth would I change it to? Am I just experiencing a case of pre-Etsy jitters, cold toes? Well...

Leave me a comment, let me know what you make of this doubt of mine, if you would please. I would love to hear from you. I will completely understand if you laugh and point your finger at me for being a little goose.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Creative Space

I haven't posted much about it but, I actually have been doing some work in the"studio". Though I don't have a lot I can show you at the moment, I thought I might give you the grand tour of my creative space. I have held off doing so due to lack of natural light for photo taking and also the perpetual messy of it all. What the heck! Come on down, watch your step and mind the low hanging shop light.

That's Tiny Alice in my grandmother's Valentine Smock.

My cutting table with it's usual proliferation of projects.

The work area, where sewing machine, serger, inspiration board and piles of various whatnot try to get along.

Here we have the trims and pressing station. Whatever you do, do not peek in those drawers, there be vipers and tangled snares!

Here is one half (the most organized half) of my fabric cabinet. No, you can not have too much, really.

Well, that's about the nutshell of it, where all the magic happens (and cursing, and crying, and seam ripping). Not too glamorous but, I am happy to have it.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour. There will be a question and answer session immediately following and refreshments will be provided.

More creative spaces at kootoyoo!

Thank you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day Tripper

"We're on a road to nowhere..."

With the hustle and bustle of the last couple of weeks, I was feeling the need for an old fashioned Sunday drive. On a whim we packed ourselves into the car and headed out onto the open road. With just a hint of an agenda, "Go West!" We rolled along HWY 18 stopping for breakfast at a long time favorite joint. The best hash browns and freshly baked molasses toast you can imagine. From there we made our way to a new road. New to us I should say, considering the road we took was called Old Woods Road. Winding through coastal dairy country, passing Jerseys, Holsteins, and Guernsey cows on the small farms that dot the verdant green countryside. Many of these dairy farms are part of the Tillamook Dairy Cooperative.

The road brought us to the ocean, which was shining brilliantly under the sun. A bluebird sky and just enough wind to cast our kite into the air.

After our beach frolic, we pulled out the Atlas and looked for another new road to try. It's all part of the adventure you know, to travel the unknown; to discover something hidden; to be in no particular hurry and to really see what lies beyond. Our road took us through the tiny town of Beaver, Oregon. Don't be fooled by it's blink and you've missed it size; it has all the modern conveniences, such as one stop shopping...

We traveled the back roads through the deep dark enchanted woods next to The Nestucca River. We stopped to climb the bank down to the water's edge. Under stands of Maple and dappled sunlight we gazed into crystalline pools and secret waterfalls (oops, left the camera in the car). Little Nova said, "I wish we had our fishing poles." Indeed.

As we cleared the pass we came into the fertile valley of rolling hills and fields of bundled hay. Old barns and horses next to vineyards that grow that fickle beauty the pinot noir grape. Wine country! With a 4 year old aboard we thought it best to save the wine tasting for another trip. Soon, we found ourselves on the familiar road back home.

So, we visited farm, beach, woods, river, wine country and more. All this and we were home by 5:30 pm. With our bodies refreshed and our souls rejuvenated. Man, are we lucky or what? To live here and have the best of everything at our fingertips is a dream. How I love a good old fashioned Sunday drive!

and to you I say...
Go fly a kite!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wild Wild Life

We've been having loads of visitors to the cottage recently. Some friends from overseas came to stay a spell, family will be here through the end of the week, and an old friend follows after. Which makes for much ado and busy with the hostess/custodian duties. I'm thinking things might be a bit quiet round the ol' blog porch for the next little while. Not much crafty bits these days, unless of course you consider placing a giant piece of plywood on top of a much too small rickety old table (so as to make room for folks at the alfresco dinners) and throwing an old bed sheet over it crafty. Our picnic table gave up the ghost during one of last weeks gatherings. Shame really, it was only 60 years old. Fortunately no one was harmed during the collapse, not even a drop spilled, truly amazing when I think about it.

For now I think I might share a little of the cottage's wild life.
Here are the ladies rummaging the flower pots. My how they've grown. No eggs yet; late September should bring an omelet.

The Black & Blue Sage Salvia guaranitica that I thought I lost in last winter's snow, has returned with enthusiasm. Just gorgeous! The hummingbirds seem to love it.

...and then there is the wee Nova. My girl loves pink and princesses but, she is not afraid of creepy crawlies, nor dead fuzzies apparently.

That's my girl!

Here's to wild things everywhere.

Friday, August 14, 2009

AARRRRR!!! It's a pirate tutorial!

Ahoy mateys! It's coming up on pirate season and I thought I would share this super easy tutorial for a Pirate Pouch. It slips onto a belt, perfect for a wee pirate's treasure.

Here's what you need:
cut one= 7" X 13" rectangle of felt
cut two= 1.5" X 4.5" felt rectangles
Extra felt scraps for embellishment

Take your large rectangle and fold into thirds (letter fold), press folds with an iron. (If you are using synthetic felt use the synthetic setting on your iron or finger press folds).

The small felt rectangles will be your belt loops.
Now, press under short ends of small rectangles by 1/2 an inch. Place belt loops on the back center panel of the large rectangle about 1" from the edge and Pin.

Stitch 1/4" from folded edge of belt loop to secure in place. Back stitch at both ends of stitch lines.

Next, I embellished the top panel by cutting a simple Jolly Roger out of colored felt and hand embroidered it to the pouch.

Fold up the bottom panel to meet the middle panel, pin and stitch close to edges creating a pocket.

Yes, I know this is a different color, I somehow missed taking this shot when I made the original.

Because we are working with felt, there is no need to finish the edges. You could even sew them using a blanket stitch for an interesting detail.

Oh look, you're done! I told you it was super easy. Now just slip your pouch onto a belt and 'Tis truly a fine pouch for ye loot!

You could line your pouch with fabric if you like, use a sew on patch for embellishing, and even adjust the size. Have fun and keep your eyes peeled for pirates!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Penny Wise

Upon discovering the sad little balance in our bank account, with a week before payday, I quickly commenced a campaign of the utmost frugality. What that means dear friends, is a long day in the kitchen. There were some lovely peaches that begged for a pie. Two loaves of bread, one whole wheat sandwhich loaf and an egg bread for morning toast and jam (the jam is stocked in the basement from the summer berries). Then there came our famous Pot-O-Beans, simmering for hours on the stove.
Fortunately, we seem to have moved past the heat wave so that a hot kitchen was not too miserable.

As I cooked and baked away the day, I was reflecting on how fortunate we are. Mr. Nova has a secure job, we have a sound roof over our heads, and we are in relatively good health. So many people I know are going through some rough times right now and my heart goes out to them. I was also thinking about simple living, something I believe in but, what does it mean really? Let's see...we make most of our food from scratch, we grow a good garden, we are raising chickens, we make the most of our environment and surroundings, we reduce, re-use and recycle...
There is more to it than that, how to explain it? Well, lets just take a trip over to Wikipedia to see what it has to say about Simple Living, hey that's pretty good for a start.

We have our luxuries to be sure, we splurge on good coffee beans, organic produce and the occasional treat. We live well and I feel so blessed and grateful for my beautiful family and our little cottage.

I am also immensely grateful to have my grandmother's gorgeous old canning jars full of dried goods lining my kitchen shelves. For the lean times, these lovelies are great bounty. Treasure that needs only a little imagination and seasoning to shine, to sustain and to remind us to keep it simple.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pattern Review Plus

I wanted to sew myself a shopper, a shopping bag that is. Something like the re-usable bags you can find at the grocery stores but far well, ugly. I put it off for a bit because I just hadn't got around to figuring out and drawing up a pattern. Then I started seeing Alicia Paulson's pattern for her Jane Market Bag popping up on blogs and I thought, what a lovely bag.
Sometimes, someone comes along and has done all the work for you, how nice. Alicia is an immensely talented and creative woman. Her book, Stitched In Time, is stunning and full of great things to stitch. She has the most lovely blog, full of her gorgeous photographs and wonderful writing. She happens to live in my city and I love how she portrays this beautiful place in images and words. If you are not familiar with her, I suggest you spend some time poking around her sites.

So, I purchased and downloaded the pattern. Then it sat around for a while. Finally, I picked out some fabric and decided to have a go. Here is the result.

The instructions were very clear with good pictures to guide you along the way. Everything came together just right. A simple yet creative pattern that ends up in a very satisfying result.
The only tip I have for you on this pattern is this: The pattern calls for pin tucks at the corners to give it that wonderful boxy shape. To achieve this, I used a quilting ruler. I slid the ruler inside the bag, aligning it with the corner and bottom seams. This helped keep the lining smooth and my measurements accurate. I then pinched the tucks, carefully slid the ruler out and pressed the fold. Easy peasy.
Oh wait, one more tip - but this applies to all my sewing projects: Take the time to press carefully and thoroughly as you go. It always ends in a better finished product.

When I was finished, I just had to run out to the grocery store to try it out. As the bagger was placing my items in the bag he said, "This is gorgeous, I don't know whether to fill it with your groceries or take it home and sleep with it!" It was bursting with heavy items and performed like a champ, sturdy as could be. And I have to admit, shopping was just a wee more fun with my pretty shopper. These will make great gifts and I plan to make a lot more of these. You should too!
Thanks Alicia!

In other news...
I have had the honor of being interviewed for If you feel like getting to know me a little better, go on over and read. Thanks to Sarah and for including me on this interesting site.

I am working up a new pattern here at the Lola Nova cottage and I need your input. If you knit or crochet, I would love to hear what you would want in the perfect knitting/crochet bag. Let her fly, all ideas are welcome. Claire and Mare, I especially want to hear from you.

Until next time my dears, keep well and have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Times

We are back and nearly recovered from our long weekend at Pickathon 2009. We had quite a time! As always, there were many magical moments and a barrel full of great music.

I suggest clicking on the photos for the full festival effect.

Some of the highlights for me were artists that were new to me. Like Alela Diane, such a beautiful voice. The Deep Dark Woods, who I happened to see on the deep dark woods stage, were another surprise goodness.
The folks that I looked forward to seeing did not disappoint. Justin Townes Earle delivered again with some amazing performances. Dr. Dog and Blitzen Trapper put on stellar shows on the main stage. There were many more amazing bands, too many to mention.

Church of the Get Down in the barn

Our girl had a swell time of it. Her favorite part seems to have been the horses that live on the farm where the event is held. Many, many trips were made to pet Lucky, the farm mascot.
The festival is pretty small as far as music festivals go, which is how I like it. Very family friendly with lots of activities for the kiddos. My girl got to be a part of a circus and a kids variety show where she told a joke, sang a song and did a little dance.
Kids craft tent

Farm bus

We have many wonderful memories to tide us over until next year. Ah, good times.

I will be back in a couple of days with a pattern review and other crafty bits. See you soon.