Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pick a Peck

Well, we are breaking records here with the wave-O-heat. It makes taking care of the daily routines a little tricky and sticky. I have been zapped of all craftiness and moving at a slugs pace. The only thing I managed to pull off this week was a 20 minute itty bitty purse for the upcoming festival this weekend. No beauty to be sure, but I imagine it will serve it's purpose just fine. Just slap on some patches and we are in business!

The only thing thriving in this heat is a certain section of the veg garden. The peppers are going gangbusters; Japanese eggplant at it's most utmost purpleness; and lemon cucumbers galore (my favorite)!

If you have left me a comment and I have not responded, please know that I so appreciate everyone of them and hope to be back in my usual form once the tempurature cooperates.
We are off to set up tents and find some shade whilst listening to lovely music. I will see you all next week. Until then, I am wishing you all a gorgeous weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One Hot Summer...and an anniversary

We are in the midst of a heat wave here in the northwest. At 7 a.m. our house was at 80 degrees F. and rising. For us mild weather folk, it is a bit of a wallop and makes for slow motion productivity. Keeping all creatures great and small hydrated is job one; trips to the community pool are required and Popsicles are a must have.

I want to thank everyone for all the positive responses to my Summer Wallet tutorial. Both Craft Gossip and One Pretty Thing featured my tutorial on their sites. If you have not stopped by these sites, go, go now and check out all the amazing resources these folks have collected for you. It may be a small thing but, it sure was a push I needed to get a wee more focused. So thank you. Again, if you have made a wallet using my tutorial I would love to see photos!

This week is going to be a busy one here at the cottage. Preparations are in full swing for our yearly trip to Pickathon. I posted about last year's fun here. Oh, my goodness! I just realized that Lola Nova's blog is over a year old! And what a year it has been. I have met so many wonderful and talented people through this humble blog. It has become an important part of my creative life. I have learned so much. Thanks to you all for hanging out with me here, you have made it a terrific year!

I thought I would leave you with a picture of some critters that have finally made it to their new home in Iowa. Diane from Loess Is More and I made a barter way back when. She sent some of her gorgeous photographs in trade for some animals made from her grandmother's blanket. What a wonderful project, I felt that I was working with old memories and hopefully helping create new ones. Well, Diane was incredibly patient with me and I finally sent the little buddies to her.

Have a lovely day you beautiful people!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Wallet Tutorial

As promised, direct from The Scrap Lab, The Summer Wallet tutorial!
First, a little bit about these wallets; they are meant to be a little loose and flexible. Perhaps I should say, they are free-spirited, ready to go at a moments the beach, a festival, fair, hike or farmer's market. Right, on with the show.

Details, details...

Some fabric scraps
Medium weight fusible interfacing
Various trims
4" piece of narrow elastic

Cutting guide:
Fabric A = cut one 9 1/2" X 4 1/2" rectangle (this is going to be the outside of your wallet. I recommend using a heavier wt. fabric like home decor, denim, canvas, etc.)
Fabric B = cut one 9 1/2" X 4 1/2" rectangle (inside of wallet)
Fabric C = cut one 9 1/2" X 6 1/2" rectangle (pocket 1)
Fabric D = cut one 9 1/2" X 5" rectangle (pocket 2)
Interfacing = cut one 9" X 4" rectangle

Please forgive the photos, they were taken in my dark as a mine basement sewing room, with a flash. Do click on them to magnify if you need a close up.

First, center the fusible facing on the wrong side of Fabric B and fuse following the manufacturers instructions, set aside.

Now, take your Fabric C & D rectangles and fold them in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press with an iron. You can then top stitch close to the folded edge. These are your two pockets.

Take your interfaced Fabric B and lay it right side up in front of you. Place your Fabric C pocket on top matching bottom and side raw edges. Repeat with Fabric D pocket. Pin in place, baste layers together close to the raw edges.

Twist elastic into a loop, pin to the center of the right end on top of the stack, baste in place. (With the loop part of elastic facing in)

Next, it's time to get creative! Pull out your ribbons and trims and play around with them until you are tickled with the result. Attach them to the right side of one end of your Fabric A rectangle, like so...(I just sewed on some ribbon and ric-rac)
Take Fabric A and place on top of stack right sides facing, matching all raw edges. Making sure that the embellished end of Fabric A is opposite the end with the elastic loop. Pin in place and stitch through all layers with a scant 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 3 inch opening at the top long edge for turning.

Now clip your corners.

It's time to turn your wallet right side out, taking time to shape it nicely. Turn the seam allowances of the top opening towards the inside and press thoroughly. Top stitch 1/8" around all outer edges.

Now find the center point of your wallet on the inside. I use a ruler and a fabric marker or quilting pencil to mark a line down the middle. Stitch down the line from bottom to top with a straight stitch to create divided pockets.

Fold the wallet in half and press carefully along fold on outside. Mark button placement according to elastic on front of wallet and hand sew a button to the front.

All that is left is for you to grab your essential wallet fare and head out on an adventure!

Extra Bits:
*You do not have to use all different fabrics, do whatever suits your fancy.
*Using old jeans, curtains, tea towels...for this project is a great way to recycle.
*You can choose a different closure method than the elastic. Such as; snaps, Velcro, magnetic closures and in the case of the wallet I made for myself, I added no closure at all.
*If you have any questions, or suggestions to make this tutorial better, just drop me a line.

If you make one of these wallets I would love if you emailed me a picture

Here is a rough sketch and reference for print out. Just click on the picture below and print.

Thank you and happy sewing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pulp Sewing

I've been doing some summer sewing. It's like summer reading, nothing too intense, just light, easy and fun. Projects that come in under the 2 hour mark seem to fit the bill. I found a breezy little sundress pattern in the May 2009 issue of Sew Hip Magazine, by Oliver + S. It looked like a quick, I jumped right in. The whole thing took about an hour and a half to finish, super easy and very cute. Of course I made it a size too big, which is better than a size too small I suppose. I used all vintage fabrics, the bicycle print is one of my favorites (wish I had more of it). Here is my jumping jack model sporting her dress not quite hemmed yet.

Then there are these little bits of whimsy:

Summer wallets! Just big enough to carry the essentials, so that you wont be weighed down whilst off on a grand Summer Adventure. These belong in Tales from the Scrap Heap, since they are great for using up scraps of fabric from your stash. They are so much fun to whip up that I think I'm getting a little carried away.

I made up a simple pattern, tweaked it a couple of times, and now have it down. So, the big news is...
The next time I post, I will have a tutorial on how to make a summer wallet or 5 for yourself!

What have you been making this summer?

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're having tea in the tent

(This was supposed to post yesterday but, there was a computer glitch)

So come on over. Just come on to the back yard and join me in the summer tent. Sit back and sigh as a perfect Summer Sunday evening winds it's way down to night. We can watch the ladies strutting and scratching in their little red house; I've picked them a fresh batch of dandelion greens (their favorite). The small one is snug in her bed after stories of flying horses in forests of dappled sunlight. It's time to relax.
I am comfortably tired after a good day. Our family spent the morning on bicycle; first to the farmers market and then to be part of Sunday Parkways, thousands of our neighbors on closed streets riding bikes, walking, running, rolling down the lanes on a bluebird day. Check out this video.

Tell me, how was your weekend? Sit here and share with me. That chair is open and draped with a cheerful quilt. We have two types of tea, a fruity herbal with a hint of cinnamon and a black tea Irish/Assam blend; both are iced. The Marionberry cobbler is cooling in the kitchen and there is homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer.

The Marionberries were left over from the jam we made on Saturday. A nice drive to the country farm for sweet summer fruit; apricots, Bing cherries, peaches and of course the Marionberries. I love the taste of summer!

Here is the low down on Marionberries just in case you are not familiar with this gorgeous fruit.
From Wikipedia:"The marionberry was developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. It was bred by George F. Waldo, as a mix between the small, flavorful 'Chehalem' berry and the larger, better-producing 'Olallie' berry. Both the 'Chehalem' and 'Olallie' berries are caneberry hybrids as well. The marionberry's growing conditions are perfectly adapted to the mild, maritime Oregon climate, with its mild rains and warm summers." Basically, it's like a blackberry but, larger with a more tart and complex flavor. YUM!

You are all invited to rest a spell and soak up a little tranquility. Be sure and pet the Buddha cat and be on the look out for dragon flies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Growing Up Cloud Gazing

It's harder than it looks.

In keeping with my current quilt craze, I bought myself a new gadget to go with my sewing machine. A free motion quilting foot. I have been wanting to give this a try for a while now. I put together a very small whole cloth quilt (think doll sized) to make my practice run. The style I tried first is called stippling. It's kind of like doodling continuous random squiggles, only on your sewing machine with thread. Seriously, how hard could it be?
Well, it's sort of like rubbing your belly and patting your head while running an obstacle course, or not. Anyway, it's harder than it looks. Let's just say that it is a good thing my daughter was not around to hear some of the choice words that escaped my mouth. This is going to take some practice. It's hard to imagine doing this on a full sized quilt. At one point I realized that my jaw was painfully clenched, my shoulders were super glued to my ears, and it was time for a break. So, I went outside to take a deep breath and do some cloud gazing.

This seemed to help. I finished quilting, quickly attached some binding and threw it in the wash to give it the cool wrinkle look. I will practice more later when my shoulders and back recover. Who knew that sitting at the sewing machine could be so physically strenuous?

Now for something completely different...
I took a good long look at my sweet girl the other day, good gravy she's growing up! In an attempt to take the trike for a spin, it was discovered that it is time to move on to bigger bikes (pink please). So, the classic little red tricycle was loaded up and sent on over to her younger cousin's house. Milestones for sure.

I know, I know...they grow up so fast. It is truly amazing to see this beautiful child change and grow. It is also a little bittersweet. Maybe even harder than it looks.

I took my girl outside for a deep breath and some cloud gazing. It seemed to help.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When Quilts Attack!

I've been thinking... nay obsessing, over quilts these days. I have been lost lately while gazing covetously at the wondrous quilties that I have spied out in blogland. Big ones, little ones, quilts that lay on rocks - I am mushing over them all. Good heavens, my heart is pounding as I think of all the comfy lovelies I'd like to make! So, what's stopping me? Time, space and sure I'll say it, fear. Fear of quilts you ask, surely not? Well...sort of. You see, quilts are strange creatures and fickle to boot. They are all for getting started, jumping out the gate with wild enthusiasm, but when it comes to the finish line, they are easily distracted and poky. Then there is the whole business of certain skill sets I have not quite wrapped my head around yet. Oh, come on, get over yourself! I hear you say.

I found some odd cut rectangles in a box in my sewing room, hmmmm...a few more and I could put a little something together. I decided not to go through my usual song and dance routine with the picking out of fabric. Lord, that alone could take days, weeks even! With little thought, I cut some more pieces from my scrap box. I just started sewing them together with the occasional peek at color flow. I had to stop myself more than a couple of times when I found myself fussing and fiddling too much.

Keep it small, very small. It's been well over 4 years since I last made a quilt, better not to get too overwhelmed. I have sewn my strips and I'm still playing with layout.

It could make a sweet stroller quilt or car seat blanket for the wee ones. No pressure though. I mean, I might end up with a few very nice pot holders.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July in the Garden

Summer love...

This is a photo intensive post, showing off the best bits of the flora here at the cottage. I am coming to realize that the pictures I most enjoy taking, are of the garden. So, breathe deep and stroll through the fruit and flowers.

...and some of the harvest.
Shallots and garlic hanging in the larder.
Baby new potatoes of all sorts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Watcha Wearing Wednesday

I keep forgetting to do this so...I just ran outside and snapped a photo.
Badly scuffed red nail polish on my summer feet and a skirt I made from this amazing vintage seer sucker my mom found for me.

Ta da!