Friday, January 29, 2010

Time to Pay It Forward!

Happy Friday friends!

I will start today's post by telling you that sometimes, I can be a 'Forgetful Jones'. I have the best of intentions but, they can be slippery little suckers, you know? I have been embarrassingly remiss in my blogging duties, so I am this minute going to put this to rights.

Have you all heard of the "Pay It Forward" phenomena that has made it's weaving way through blogland? Well, thanks to the very lovely Pomona, from Little Cottage Comforts, and to the incomparable Vic, from Punky & Me, I am to be the recipient of some hand made goodness by them - through the 'Pay It Forward' fun. In return, I am charged with Paying It Forward myself, which is a wonderful thing.

If you are feeling a little lost, don't worry, all will be revealed shortly.

While technically, I should be doing twice the load, I will have to stick to the original rules so as not to completely overwhelm myself. So here is the scoop...

How it works;

* I will make a little handmade Lola-like something for the first 3 people who comment on this post who would like to play along.

* I have a year (365 days) to complete my mission and send off the goodies! That should be enough time.

* There is no telling what those things might be, or when they will show up in the post, it's a mystery.

Details, or the fine print;

Since this is ‘Pay It Forward’. You, my dears, must do as I have done and post a similar blog entry yourself, hence Paying the handmade bloggy goodness Forward and keeping the meme, and the fun, going.

Would you like to join in? Of course you do. You have an entire year to make whatever you want, it can be something small or tall or short and stout, even something round. And you will receive something made by me! Ooh, the possibilities!

Now, go on and do it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chasing Rainbows

What began as a sweet little Stool Cozy has taken on a life of it's own. You just can't stop the rainbow.
The sun shared it's lovely glow with us this morning, touching the front room with shiny goodness. 10 minutes after this photo was taken, it slipped behind a thick gray shroud and hasn't been seen since.

So, I went chasing rainbows.

Have a happy colorful day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm O.K.!

The continuing story of The Troublesome Dutch Girl and the Lumberjack...

When last we left our dear Lumberjack, he was aching with the despair of an unrequited love. Things were looking rather grim and frankly, I was beginning to worry about his emotional state. Just as I was about to organize an intervention on his behalf, he came to me to tell me of his plans. He had pulled himself up by his boot straps and decided he needed to get away for awhile to "sort things out alone," then he added, "I'm going to the coastal lands, to breathe in the briny air and clear my head."

So, off he went in his pineapple boat, paddling down river to the sea. Once he arrived, he stopped into a tavern and over a few pints, made conversation with a couple of the local fishermen. He told them he was in a bind and needed a job. After winning them over with a particularly clever and bawdy limerick, they sent him down the road where he was taken on by a small farm, thus beginning his shepherding career.

It was good hard work, walking the rolling green hills above the ocean, tending to his flock. Solitary and unencumbered by his past foibles, he breathed deep of the salty morning fog, cleared his mind and kept an eye on the bleating sheep in his charge. He kept his body to the task but, sometimes his mind would wander off, lost in thoughts and memories of a troublesome Dutch girl that had once captured his heart.

Over time, thoughts of the girl all but evacuated his mind, he started to feel robust and sound. His nights were spent in his bunk; reading books on philosophy, mythology and animal husbandry. After reading, he would douse his light and play harmonica till he faded off to sleep. On his days off, he worked to repair his boat, which had received quite a lashing on some rapids during his journey down the river. He decided to paint his pineapple a bold red to symbolize his returning passion for life.

After a spell, feeling hale and hardy...he knew it was time to go home. He packed up his rucksack, said goodbye to his friends and his flock, and headed back up river. It was a long journey back. Just as he paddled up to the shores of his home, who should he see but, the one and only troublesome Dutch girl! He had steeled himself for this moment...but wait, who is that there with her? It was a face he had never seen before.

While the Lumberjack had been away, a new girl had come to stay.

As he walked towards them, The Troublesome Dutch Girl pretended she hadn't seen him, and began whispering conspiratorially to her companion. LJ wagged a brief nod in her direction but, quickly returned his attention toward the newcomer.

As he approached, the young maiden smiled shyly and said,"Nice boat." At first our Lumberjack was uncertain, for one of her eyes seemed to hold his gaze in sincerity, whilst the other seemed to look through and beyond him in a mocking manner. Still, he came closer and noticed a wee creature at her feet. It appeared that this young lady had learned to speak to the animals - and had tamed a wild beast to eat from her hand.

He held out his hand in greeting and said, "Well hello! I'm The Lumberjack, I've just returned home after a grand adventure, you must be new to our place." It seemed for a moment that she rolled her eyes in disdain but, upon closer observance he realized that she suffered from the curse of "The Wonky Eye". Surprisingly, LJ found that this did not detract from her charm, in fact, it made her all the more intriguing. She said, "Hi, my name is Fern and this is my pal, DJ P. Squirrely." As he reached out to give the critter a little scratch on the noggin, the Lumberjack looked up into the eye that seemed to be focused on him and said, "Your eyes are the most amazing shade of chartreuse."

Fern giggled and said, "You know, I have my own doily." They walked away together, laughing and chatting in the crisp afternoon. And there, ignored and bitter, stood The Troublesome Dutch Girl...arms akimbo, a white knuckle grasp on her basket of broken dreams, spitting under her breath, "Well, I never!"

Is this the beginning of a new romance for our Lumberjack?
Is little Miss Wonky Eye as sweet as she seems, or are she and her sidekick hiding a deep dark secret?
Will The Troublesome Dutch Girl cause trouble?

Stay tuned for the next installment....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Easy Peasy Pot Holders and a wallet winner!

Happy Friday! Oh my, it's a big day over here at Lola's. There's that promised crafty tutorial and the announcement of the Summer Wallet give away!

First, the Engineer did me a solid and randomly picked a winner from my pretty thrifted pot. And...the wallet goes to Aussie Waffler! Congrats my dear, just email me your address to and I will pop it in the post right quick!

Now for the crafty part!

If you are at all like me, when it comes to grabbing a potentially sizzling pot handle, you reach for the nearest dish towel and use it to pick up your bubbling gourmet creation. In the little green cottage, this is a potential fire hazard as we have a gas stove, those trailing tails of towel could go up in flame at a whisper. There is also the "wet towel" syndrome, if the towel is at all wet...well, water conducts heat (according to the Engineer) and you get burned. If you are not like me, but instead much more prepared and safety conscious, you own a sufficient number of fire avoiding, burn lessening devices called, "pot holders".

I was reading on someone's blog (and I apologize if it was yours and I forgot where I read it so that I can not give you credit for my big idea), about this blogger wanting to make a pot holder. I thought to myself, "you know Lola, a pot holder or two might just mean the difference between an emergency room visit and not." So, set out to make I did.

Once I did, I thought that since there's a chance that some of you are like me, that you should have some pot holders too. Now, as self appointed safety monitor, I give you the Easy Peasy Pot Holder Tutorial.

I am wishing the photos were a bit brighter but, twas a typically dark and drear January morning. Still, I think you can sort it all out.

The Materials: and this is the cool part, Made from all recycled bits, old clothes and vintagey scraps.
You will need 2 outside pieces and one inside piece (the thick bit) or lining.
I used fabric from an old linen shirt, a tablecloth, some leftover canvas etc. for the outside rectangles (the parts that show). The inside piece needs to be "meaty" enough to take a little heat. I used an old thick towel that was about to be thrown to the rag pile for one pot holder; and pieces of an ancient wool blanket for others. It doesn't matter what the inside piece looks like, no one will see. Lastly, gather yourself some pretty things with which to adorn your pot holders of happiness. For example: lace, fabric patches, ribbon, embroidery thread...

Now for the numbers:
All measurements are in US terms.
Cut 2 outside rectangles and 1 inside rectangle to 6 1/2" inches by 8 1/2" inches.

Take your two outside rectangles and...this is where you get to do as you please and prettify your pot holders. Put on your shiny ( I do not recommend using many buttons, they can melt or get scorching hot - thus negating all safety measures). Pin 'em in place if you need.

Then stitch them on nice and sturdy.

Once you have all your bits in place, it's time to put them together.

Put your inside "meaty" rectangle on the table. Take one outside beauty and lay it on top of the inside piece, making sure the pretty side is winking at you. Now, take your last outside beauty and lay it face down, so that the two pretty pieces are "kissing" each other.

Make sure that all raw edges are even and pin together.

Stitch around the perimeter of the rectangles with a 1/4" inch seam allowance, leaving at least a 2" inch opening for turning. Back stitch at the beginning and ending of your seam.

As always my dears, clip your corners - making sure not to cut through your stitching.

Turn right side out.

Fold under the seam allowance on the opening and carefully press with an iron.
Next, hand stitch the opening closed with whatever stitch you prefer.

Ta Da! You now have a handy dandy and perfectly pretty pot holder of your very own!

Here is a little extra gossip;
*You can make these any shape or size you like, even a roundy one! I chose the
measurements according to what felt comfortable in my hand.
*You can include a little loop if you want to hang them from something, cause they are pretty as well as very useful.
*If you are now thinking that you do indeed need a pot holder of your very own but, do not wish to bother or do not have the time for the making, the two wee cuties at the top of the post will be in my etsy shop next week.

If you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment. Have fun stitching!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The cozy is calling

I know I said I would be sharing a wee crafty tutorial with you today, well that'll teach me! I did all the work, took all the pictures, then when I was ready to put it on the blog...I stumbled upon something out there in blog town, that was just similar enough to make me wary of stepping on anyone's toes. So, I went back to the cutting board and came up with a new project but, I just couldn't get it all done in the 2 hours Miss Ringlet was at school. Add to that an achy, shivery, queasy feeling about to turn into a lurgy coming over me, and all I want to do is go back to bed on this cold gray day. So, I will have a tutorial for you come Friday, along with the winner of the wallet!

For now, I will leave you with some flickr fantastic colorful and cozy images that make me smile.

1. pillowcase stack..., 2. since it get's dark earlier now...., 3. done, 4. Pointy Peter Pan crocheted shoes, 5. ooooh happy! , 6. Constance 1950's Caravan Interior, 7. Having fun with crocheting, 8. february bed, 9. apple cozy

See you Friday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hello Monday

First, I want to thank you all for coming to my little party. I had such a lovely time and it was so nice to see so many new faces! I appreciate all the stripey sock love going on as well, you truly are friends of impeccable taste. Oh yes, I have someone's cake plate here, it's white with red birds and very pretty; on second thought, never mind, no I don't have it...I was mistaken.

Today's post will be brief. While I have felt so very fortunate this last week, my heart aches for the devastation, loss and sadness of Haiti. There are many blogs, communities, organizations and good folk out there doing great works. Just look around and you will find poignant words and heroic deeds. I will leave it to those more capable of expressing the words to accompany the emotions. There are many ways, small and mighty, to contribute to the relief.

Here are some links:

CNN's List of helping organizations

I will be back on Wednesday with a wee crafty tutorial. Until then, give your close ones a big hug and call those that may be far away and tell them you love them! Stay safe and sound my dears.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So nice of you to come...

Oh look, you're right on time - and might I say, you are looking quite the vision! I really am tickled that you could make it. Come in, come in and sit a spell. I hope I didn't keep you waiting, I was having the most difficult time trying to decide which pair of stripey socks to wear today. Once everyone is comfortable I'll begin. I get questions from the visitors to my little place from time to time, so I thought I would answer some of them today. Starting with some background, then answer some technical questions and then anything goes. We'll have a wee Dear Lola session. I'm hoping you don't find it too tedious and even a little informative. Oh, and before you go, as a thank you, there will be a tiny give away prize!
Help yourself to some tea and get cozy.

Dear Lola,
What's your story?
Trickier question than you might think, for there never is just one story is there...I think I will keep it to the basics then. I was born a West Coast (US) baby to a couple of gypsies, and though we were often on the move, we never strayed too far from the wild west at the cusp of the Pacific Ocean. After my own rambling ways played out, I came to settle down in Portland, Oregon; where I reside in a little green cottage with The Engineer, Miss Ringlet, 3 guppies, 2 catfish, 3 lovely lady chickens, The Buddha cat and a dress dummy named Tiny Alice.

Lola Nova appeared in 2004 when I traded in the rock n' roll lifestyle to become a full time Mama. I seemed to know even whilst the babe was still en suite, that she was going to be a super star of the utmost kind; that being the case, she was going to require some magic clothes. So, I began taking patterns and cutting them into funny pieces and putting them back together in interesting ways, which led to me designing some of my own patterns. Which in turn led to a few quiet commissions and sales. In 2008 Lola got her own blog... and I think that brings us pretty close up to the present.

If everyone is still with me, I will move on to the technical portion of the program.

Dear Lola,
what kind of sewing machine do you use?
Up until recently the only machine I had ever owned was my mother's classic Bernina 830 that she purchased in 1978 - and I still have a deep love for my super trooper Bernadette. I have since upgraded to a Pfaff Performance 2058 which has recently been dubbed, The Fraulein. I also own a Viking Serger.

What kind of camera do you use?
A Nikon D40. Though I have read 50% of the manual and even taken a brief photography course, my photos seem to turn out well only about half of the time.

And now for the anything goes questions!

Dear Lola, Does your house always look so neat and tidy and interesting as it does in your pictures?
Yes. My sweet girl has never finger painted in oatmeal on the walls and the engineer always puts his dirty laundry in the hamper instead of dropping it on the floor right next to the hamper.

Why do you call Mr. Nova 'The Engineer'?
Because he is an engineer. I really had to stretch my imagination for that one. (No, not the choo choo train kind of engineer but, the kind with all the math)

Why are most of the pictures of you of your lower half?
It is simply because that is the half of me that is most usually the better dressed.

Dearest Lola,
What ever happened to The Troublesome Dutch Girl and The Lumberjack?
Oh, I have been quite remiss in keeping you up to date on that little saga. Fear not, I will be sharing all the gossip very soon.

Well, I am growing a little weary of talking about myself. My question for you is, is there anything you would like to see more of here in Lola land? Is there something you would like me to know about you?

I really can't thank you enough for coming to my 'getting to know you' party. I have had the loveliest time sipping tea and prattling on. Stay as long as you'd like but, before you go...there is a little door prize give away!

This little number originally seen in my Summer Wallet Tutorial is up for grabs. All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post and the winner will be chosen at random and announced next Friday the 22nd.

Thank you again it's wonderful to see you all. Have the best of weekends!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blogger? I hardly know her!

Like me, I am sure you too, have come across an article or two out in blog town concerning the subject of the 'blogger identity', or even the 'blogger personality crisis'. Having to do with what we choose to share of ourselves, about ourselves and around ourselves - on our blogs. Are we "Keeping It Real?" or are we selective in our choices, showing perhaps, a more shiny version of ourselves?

I read about the struggle of some who are torn about revealing some hardship or personal insight. I have heard about the seeking of balance, of creating a space to make things light, to help the writer remember to see joy in the everyday. I have found some folks, who after bearing their souls in the darkest of times, claim that doing so saved their lives (or at least their sanity). And in my own odd bird way, I can relate to all these things.

I recently found myself with my own wee struggle of the blogging kind. I was feeling torn between devotion and doubt, dizzy from the vertigo of my worrying ways, and suffering a general malaise. Then, just as I was getting completely fed up with myself...

I should warn you, I am about to have a little mush session right about now. I'm not saying you need a sweet vintage hankie, but perhaps a handy post-it note to dab at your eye.

...a couple of blogging buddies extraordinaire, really the dearest of friends, came forward with some well thought out, as well as thought provoking advice. Along with advice, they gave support, candor, wisdom, levity, understanding, kindness, and they gave their time (a most precious commodity these days). I even received an email from a long time blog friend, though she was unaware of my malaise, that showed so much care and compassion, that it moved me deeply. What struck me so thoroughly and viscerally, was the feeling of the faith that they had in me. It has humbled me, eased my mind and invigorated my spirit. I thank you.
and all of you who keep coming to visit me, it is a wonder!

Now that I am all re-invigorated and feeling warm and fuzzy...
I'm ready to inject some happy into the mix, bring some color back into the day and do a little hop-skip-jump (or a "shuffle-ball-change" for you tap enthusiasts) around here.

So, I've decided to have a little "getting to know you" party. I am going to answer some questions I have received from others (and some questions I just made up 'cause I want to), address some inquiries and share a few tidbits about myself. Save the date for this Friday. Dress is casual but, if you're feeling fancy go for it. I myself, will be wearing something frivolous. There will be tea, I leave it to you to bring your favorite nibble. When it's all done, I have some questions of my own for you.
Oh, and there will be a door prize!

I will be "keeping it real" and a little shiny, I like shiny.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's A Hook Book!

I didn't mean to go a-disappearing there, life sometimes just rolls along at it's own speed and I roll with it. In fact, this month of January might just be a little sparse on the blog front, for I am more than ever, a woman pressed for time. I haven't been able to keep up with my blog visiting either but, I know that you are all such a lovely lot that you will find it in your hearts to cut me a little slack, yes?

For today, I thought I would share a little post holiday present that I made for my own self. It's a hook book!

One of those, "I must have it right now!" kind of projects. It came to me as I was working on a little crochet somethin' somethin', watching the cat batting about my I hook and all my stitch markers fell to the floor, scattering to the far corners of 'Neverfind'.

So, away I went down to my basement corner (which now, thanks to the engineer, is no longer a threat of frostbite to a body) and started pulling a few recycled and vintage bits from the various cupboards. I threw it together in a relatively short time, and whilst I am unnerved by the dubious yellow parts, I think it will be of great service.

There is a zipper pocket to keep my stitch markers and yarn needles from making a break for it. Enough nooks and crannies for a family of hooks, even a little pocket for notes. There's a flap to keep slippery hook folk from sliding out willy nilly. There are a couple of kinks to work out before I call it a smashing success, next time I will include a place to keep a wee pair of snips. Oh I do believe there will be a few of these in my future.

Until next we meet my dears, I hope you have found your 2010 legs and are dancing into the new year.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just a minute

I'm a busy bee, no time for a real post so...
I've been a little smitten with this video, very Donnie Darko.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old yarn, New tricks

So, I mentioned in my last post, that this year I was going to try to learn some new tricks. Over the holiday break, I had visions of unfettered crafty doings, what with the engineer off the week after Christmas, I was thinking that there would be all this time on my hands to do some handiwork. Turns out, it didn't quite muddle out that way. Instead there were some last minute gifts that needed finalizing...and I found myself wrapped up in the daily embrace of my families togetherness and kind of just pottered about with them. Then there was the big New Year's Basement Tidy, which took quite a lot out of me but, there is a nice clean slate to wreck my crafty havoc upon and that is good.

I did manage a few new tricks with my "crochet affair", which gives me hope for the future.

I received a couple of crochet books as gifts and have set about stumbling my way through the reading of patterns.

The turquoise square is from this book. I have only made up the one block so far and found it reasonable. I look forward to trying out some of the other blocks.

The other two motifs are from this book...

...which so far, I really like. I have heard that her other book is quite good as well.

I was also fortunate enough to receive a gift card that allowed me to purchase some yarn, which was becoming a point of anxiety due to the challenge and the fact that like the rest of the blogging world, I too have become crochet obsessed. Really, new yarn is such a fabulous thing.

The only thing I have made with my new yarn is the purple flower motif in the top photo. I am still stewing about it, thinking up ways to show it off in all it's glory.

Stay tuned for other new tricks and I will be back later this week with more. More of what you ask? One never can tell.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

Happy New Year all!
I'm hitting the ground running in 2010, or at least I'm trying. It's going to be a big year, I can feel it. There is work to be done, decisions to make and a whole lot of possibility in the air.

Over the holiday I had myself a few thinks - and the thinks I thought, have started me thinking. Did you catch that? I will be sharing some of my thoughts from the stew pot of my mind in future posts. For now, I'm hoping to find a little focus and balance, get myself ready for things to come.

Lola has plans, nothing huge...just some bits and pieces. I will be doing more tutorials this year (fingers crossed), getting the much neglected shop ship shape (hope springs eternal), and learning some new tricks (I think I can, I think I can...).

I look forward to this coming year with all of you lovelies and I hope that 2010 brings you all the best!

Now jump in!