Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lovebirds #2

Oh yes, more of the sweet tweets.

These come with a template you can download and instructions, hurray!

O.K. I actually debated whether or not to post this project. I just didn't have the time to do it justice but, I wanted to get it up before I went on vacation. Yup, I'm going on vacation (more about that later). So, I just whipped it up in a flurry. Since I have been promising free patterns for the people, I figured I'd better - as my grandma Alta used to say on canning day, "put up or shut up!"

Here is the finished piece of Love Bird loveliness.

What you will need is some felt scraps, small scissors and thread.
The background felt piece I used is 11"x8 1/2". You could easily use a piece of fabric instead. In fact, my original intention was to applique the birds directly onto one of my girl's jean jackets, until she tried on said jackets and discovered them much too small.

Next you will need to download The Love Birds Template here which looks like this.
Now, print out the template. Cut the shapes from the paper and pin them to the felt or trace them onto your felt. Cut the shapes out of the felt following the cutting guide given for each shape with small scissors. Once I have all my pieces cut, I like to lay them out how I want the finished piece to look.

Next I sew the wings onto each bird body. I simply used a straight stitch on my machine and stitched close to the edge, slowly.

For the next step I used a glue stick to set the pieces how I wanted them. You could also use a spray adhesive for fabric. I then stitched again, close to the edge of each piece with a straight stitch on the machine. I finished with a french knot embroidery stitch for the bird eyes, and voila!

This would be darling worked with hand embroidery. Make it into a pillow, sew it on a jacket or applique the birds and hearts onto a tea towel.
I made mine into a little Valentine Treat Bag for my girl since I wont be with her on Valentines day. I will fill it with special treats and fun stuff for grandma to give to her on the 14th.

If anyone wants directions for the bag, I would be happy to share that as well. Just leave me a comment or send me an email and I will get it to you.
Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I haven't made this bread in such a long time, I forgot how good it is. I usually try to make bread that's a little bit on the healthy side, you know - of the whole wheat, seed and dense variety but, today I made egg bread. It's of the moist, eggy and slightly sweet variety. Oh my heavens, this stuff is so tasty. It makes the best peanut butter and jam sandwiches, I tell you what!

This picture was taken 5 minutes after it came out of the oven, seriously. Half of the loaf just disappeared.

This bread recipe is for the bread machine. I don't know where I originally got this from, it's been in my personal cook book for a few years. The following recipe makes one large loaf.

Egg Bread

If your bread machine has a 1.5 lb. setting, set it there.
Select the Dough setting on your machine.
Place all ingredients in bread pan in order given.

3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar (you can use a little less if you like)
3 cups Bread Flour
2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

Press Start on machine. After about ten minutes of kneading take a look at your dough, if it is too dry or stiff add more milk one Tbs. at a time until it looks right. (a smooth, soft ball that is slightly tacky to the touch)
Let machine continue to end of dough cycle. Preheat oven to 350. Remove dough and shape into a greased, lightly floured 9x5x3 loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for another 20 - 30 min. Place bread on the middle wrack of oven and bake for...ok this is where I am really bad - I don't time my bread, I just watch for it to become a lovely golden brown and sounds hollow when I thump it. So, I'd say you should keep an eye on it at 20 min. Sorry guys. I will try to remember to time it next time.
When done, carefully remove loaf from pan and let cool on wire wrack until you can't stand it anymore and enjoy!

Now you could let it bake in your machine but, to tell you the truth, I get much better results by baking in the oven.

I just had to post this picture, it cracked me up. I have been trying to use clear visual cues for my daughter - to help reinforce information for better processing. I think it might be useful for Mama too!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lovebirds #1

Stained Glass Lovebirds

Today I was trying to come up with an artsy craftsy thing to do with my girl. With the holiday of hearts just around the corner I was thinking of other symbols of love. So, I pulled out the old art of ironing crayon shavings between two pieces of wax paper. (I found a link to some directions here but, I don't think Martha has a 3 year old on staff, so hers look a little more polished than ours.) I wanted some shapes that weren't hearts and thus the lovebirds were hatched.

We ended up with a huge mess,I will be days in cleaning up errant crayon bits. The truth is, sometimes a good mess is just what you need. I had a great time and the Little Bean thought it was pretty cool too.

They look so sweet with the afternoon sun coming through the curtain.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Someday Sunday

As it's January, I've been hearing a lot of talk and reading a good amount of text dedicated to a new start. Change, resolution, fresh beginnings and all the hopeful things that make you take a deep breath and slowly sigh. This is good. Another thing I have noticed in connection with this, is the sprouting of lists. To Do lists, Create lists, Wish lists, 1000 places to see before you die lists, Gratitude lists... and it got me thinking. What are some things that I'd like to do someday? Big or little, silly or mundane, it all counts. O.K., but just one at a time.

I like to fish, I don't go a lot but, I enjoy it. I also like camping, Andrew and I spent our honeymoon on a 7 day camping/road trip (it was awesome). A few years ago I ran across Sisters On The Fly. A group of ladies that organize these great fishing trips to beautiful places and camp. Many of them have these amazing vintage travel trailers that they bring. Check out the cowgirl caravan page, I love it! So...since then I thought that someday I would like to learn to fly fish, get myself one of those cute little trailers and take one of those trips.

Well, that is one of the bigger ones. Next time I might keep it small. I also really like Diane's idea of a "Do It" and "Did It" list.

I even have my grandfather's fishing creels to bring along.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

All the Pretty Little Horses

I went swimsuit shopping this morning. I know, it’s January but, I have my reasons. Let’s just say I’m 40 and not flaunting it, it’s more of a “fake it ‘till you make it” situation. “No really, a tankini is much more forgiving than you might think,” the sales girl tells me handing me a polka dotty halter. As she walks away, I am left wondering just what it is I need to be forgiven for. “Oh,” I sigh to myself at myself in the mirror. “This is going to take fortitude and endurance” I say to myself in my best There Will Be Blood accent. I left the poor sales girl with a dressing room full of fallout, the scattered pieces of off-the-wrack and ruin. I finally exited the store with an all black retro granny number and a pair of “surf” shorts, red. I did the best I could and hope not to have to do it again any time soon.

When I returned home I found that my dear friend, Stacey Lynn Brown, had sent me an autographed copy of her new book of poetry Cradle Song. Oh, have mercy it’s beautiful! Originally from Atlanta, Stacey moved out West some years ago and down along the line we became fast friends. I remember slow red wine evenings in her apartment, listening to music, smoking cigarettes and reading over her latest revisions. This work has taken it’s time and gone down some hard roads to reach fruition - becoming an art labored of heart and hand, so stunning because it’s true.

(I'd love to quote from it but, I don't know if I am allowed to do that.)

I read it cover to cover while walking from room to room, stopping only to get my daughter something to eat, my husband an envelope, to let out the cat. I laughed and I wept. Stacey, I wish you lived closer so I could hug you. Thank you, thank you for my gift and congratulations, you so deserve - and it is wonderful!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tho' I Mourn

I also celebrate.

Yesterday we lost a dear friend. She succumbed to her battle with cancer. We will miss her greatly. Such a vibrant, genuine, beautiful woman with a wicked sense of humor. She touched a community deeply. It will be so strange not to see her smiling face, always ready with a hug for you. While I am sad, I am also so blessed to have known her and want to celebrate her wonderful life. Shirley, you were loved and we thank you for your lovely spark.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Professor Crazy Pants

Finally finished up the first pair of pants for my girl. They are made out of a dark chocolate two-way cord, a corduroy print and a bit of pink stripey cotton I had in my scraps. They are wild. I used the Berit pattern from Farbenmix in German. Of course I added to and changed the original, 'cause I just can't help myself. These patterns really do encourage a lot of creativity and personalization. The pants were very difficult to photograph well - something with the cord and stripes. I had a hard time capturing all the detail.

On a side note; Blogger has been doing bad things to my photos upon upload. They look like a poorly optimized web photo, yuck! This seems to have started happening last month. I wish it would stop, I don't like. I have even tried re-sizing, optimizing and messing about in photoshop luck. Phooey! Fuzzy, crinkly pics no good.

...but back to the pants, I like them pretty well and my girl seems to think they're great. There are some vintage pink velvet ribbons with charms attached to them in one of the side insets that I don't think showed up on these photos. Those are a big hit and will be showing up more in my clothing. I need to enlist the help of my mom for some cool charms (she makes jewelry with vintage beads). Now, on to the next project.

Yes Indeed

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's The Law!

Murphy's Law, that is.
This past week has been ruled by Murphy, pesky little feller.

There was an episode with our Ford 250 truck, Bessie, where the Chilton led us astray and the DIY spirit may have cost us a transmission.

In other vehicle news; the new (to us) Toyota we got to replace our old wagon - has stirred up a Title issue that might have us spending a fortune in phone calls to Arkansas and on a tedious treasure hunt for missing paperwork.

There is also my embarrassing gaffe in the blogosphere. I was so kindly presented with an award and proudly displayed said award but, failed to follow through with the rules of the award...
"The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate 10 blogs that show gratitude or great attitude or both
3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post
4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog

5. Share the love and link this post to the person whom you received your award from"

I didn't just ignore that part, honest. I have fleeting and sometimes few moments with the computer. I grab the time I can and often take a day or two to finish a post. On the award post day, I had intended to finish it up with my nominees, for some reason I scheduled the post instead of just saving it as a, the post appeared in all it's selfish glory. I forgot to, excuses. In trying to rectify the situation I found that all the blogs I thought to nominate had already received this award recently, and now? I wouldn't be surprised if the award given to me for gratitude and attitude were rescinded.

Then, there is my annoying overuse of ellipsis in the previous paragraph.

...and the dozen other little things that went askew.

It has simply been a crazy mixed up week, nothing soul crushing nor insurmountable, just a little humbling. It actually makes me realize how fortunate we really are. I have this great family that gets through with humor, hard work and comfort food. It also helps me understand that in the midst of things going wrong, so much is going right that I have to thank my lucky stars.

...and Murphy, I'm sure I'll be seeing you around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Woman is an Island

...but sometimes...

I feel I have been remiss in my reportage of news from these parts. Recently the Northwest was hit by torrential rains, causing flooding to many of our "neighbors". My heart goes out to those affected by this and I am hoping these last two days of sun-break will do much to dry them out.

The sun coming out finally brought me out. I surveyed my back yard for the first time since the snow. It's a shameless shambles I'm afraid. I didn't get to my usual pre-winter clean up last year and things are a wreck. I'm pretty sure we lost our two new favorite plants - a scented geranium which was thriving and growing like gangbusters - and a black and blue salvia that I fell in love with. Both plants came from The Thyme Garden last Summer. We picked them up on one of our visits to the beach. I love this place. I've been going there and ordering from them for years. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere (they do a big mail order/online business), the property is beautiful and the gardens divine. The whole place is very peaceful and dreamy. Of course they have a wonderful selection of herbs. I don't think I have mentioned before my great passion for herbs. (I once even had a tiny herb related business many years ago.) In fact, this is the first yard I have gardened that I haven't put in a medicinal herb garden. Oh, oh, I have my first real New Year's Revolution to work on, this is exciting!
Excuse the tangent, now where was I? Oh yes, the yard. Well, I am hoping that my Black Elderberry comes back from the freeze, after 3 years it was finally taking off. I lost an Elderberry in 2005 due to snow. My ornamental grasses never got their late Fall haircut and now just look like soggy mops, but they should be fine. The raspberries never got pruned (what the heck was I doing last Fall?) they need to come out anyway. We also need to build two more raised beds for the vegie garden. The good news is, the two new sweet Columbines I planted have already set out a bunch of leaves. The garlic and shallots we planted late Fall are poking through and our mammoth Daphne; while a little frost bitten on the edges, is putting out buds - the smell from the blossoms in February is heavenly.

Well now, I think I might sit down with some tea, polish off some of last night's cornbread and sketch out a garden plan.

Thank You!

Claire over at Is this heaven? No, this is Iowa! Awarded me with this lovely Lemonade Stand blog award for "gratitude and/or a great attitude." How awesome is that? Pretty awesome. Claire and her blog have often made my day with something that makes me laugh, inspires me or with a supportive comment on my blog. Now she's done it again with this award. I am grateful for the community I am just beginning to connect with here in the blogosphere and the great attitude so many have shown me. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

Or sewing room...There is no doubt that my girl needs some new clothes. She's grown 2 inches in six months and all her pants have hit the high water mark. With all the holiday making and such, I haven't been keeping up with my usual sewing. Luckily, I just received some patterns that I ordered from Mostly Farbenmix and mostly in German; I don't know any German. If they were in French, I'd have a better chance at a more well rounded understanding. In Chinese, easy, I'd scan them and send them to my friend in China for translation. Fortunately, even in German, I get by most of the time. These are good patterns and pretty straight forward so, my rudimentary knowledge of sewing gets me through.

I have decided exactly what to do with the new Owl fabric. A dress on the horizon. Necessity requires immediate attention to pants production however. So, I'll go through my stash of corduroy and see what I can come up with.

In other news, I was reading blogs and came across a few posts about homemade bread, inspiration. Ah just the thing for a wet winter day. So, I turned out a batch of whole wheat hamburger buns. Delish.

I have almost caught up from our holiday away and I am looking forward to getting full recovery of our normal routine. If only there was a little more time in each day. Oh, look - the sun is coming out, hurray!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I've got a hitch in my get-along

Lola Nova was just a little twinkle in my eye about 3 years ago. I've been making, planning, designing and working towards starting my own small home business in that time. I was really hoping to get an ETSY shop up by March. I was getting excited for 2009 to be the beginning of a new chapter in my creative life. I was busy with organization and feeling bolder than ever, heading out on a new journey. Now suddenly, I'm at full stop and taken aback.
It's this whole CPSIA business. I touched on it in a previous post, a good summary can be found at and if you are so inclined, you can wade through the actual bill and other info here.
So, it's a complex and confusing situation, I have read what I can from many sources and I'm still baffled. As far as I can gather small businesses that make any children's products are basically up a creek. Yes, this Act includes children's clothing, which was to be the focus of Lola Nova. I mean, that's how this whole thing began for me, designing and sewing clothes for my girl. I absolutely can not afford unit testing on my products so, I can not make these products and sell them to anyone legally. So, now what?

Well, time and activism will tell if this Act will be appropriately amended, I just cannot imagine that handmade children's products will be eradicated completely from the marketplace or made contraband. What a terrible message to send to future generations and what a blow to our already fragile economy. Of course I will continue to sew clothes for my own family and friends but, as far as making for putting up for sale...I don't see the prudence in investing the time and care at this point. I will have to wait and see, ooh I hate that!

In the meantime, although I am a little heart sick and deflated, I am not crawling under any rocks yet. I do make items for grown up folks and I will just have to keep on keepin' on with that. It may take me a little longer to launch a shop, to come up with enough good ideas and to reshape Lola Nova but, I am willing to give it a shot.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What a Vision

We found out a few weeks ago that my girl needed glasses. We finally picked them up today and I have to say she's pretty cute.

She is however; less than thrilled with this new development. I think keeping them on her head is going to be a challenge. Ah well, stickers are wonderful motivators these days, especially if they are sparkly.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fabric Fantastic

While I was in Kansas I stopped in at what has to be one of my favorite fabric stores, Charlotte's Sew Natural. I allowed myself only two pieces of fabric, man was that a hard choice!
The first is a Hoffman "California", for the love of owls and will make a dress for my girl.
The other is a wild retro print by Urban Chiks for Moda. I may save this one for myself, a skirt perhaps. I don't particularly like sewing for myself for some reason but, this fabric is yummy.

Charlotte's Sew Natural is an amazing store, and Charlotte herself is an amazing woman. She remembers me everytime I come in even though I only visit every other year or so. This time she even remembered the pattern and fabric that I picked up last time. They have great kits for those of the quilting passion and a well thought out selection of fabrics. I haven't shopped the online store yet, no doubt it's just a matter of time. If you are in the market for fabric and great service you should check them out.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year Journals

So, these felt journals are my new favorite project. A variation on my letter case. I have another journal/scrapbook project for kids that I hope to show you soon. I am also working on providing some templates and patterns for earlier projects on this blog. We have obtained a new scanner and as soon as time allows, I hope to get some freebies up for those inclined. So much to do...

Putting It On

Here is the apron I made for my mother in-law. It's very Christmasy and I had a great time making it. It is from the Flirty Skirty pattern by Jan Lutz. I love this pattern. She also makes a "Little Flirty Skirty" Apron pattern as well which I made up a while ago, you can see it here.Pocket Detailand it's reversable...

I love aprons. I have a lovely little collection of vintage aprons from my grandmother, maybe I will show them off here some time. For an apron fix you should pop over to Tie One On "for all things aprony".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

To The New

with a nod to the old.
Just back from our big Kansas adventure and I am feeling out of sorts. I was disconnected from the computer for over 8 days (not a bad thing) and I feel like I have much to catch up on. So, I have decided to claim tomorrow's Monday morning as my official New Year kick off and take it from there.

We had a lovely visit with family, good times with friends, exploration and a little horsing around.
I can now show you some of the other makings for the Holiday; now that the gifts have been given there is no danger of spoiling a surprise.Here is to the coming year, anything is possible.