Friday, October 30, 2009

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Some time ago, Denise from A Bun Can Dance, organized a letter writing swap. I thought it a rather swell idea as I have so missed receiving honest to goodness letters in the mail. Lovely, tangible, pen to paper landing in the post makes for an excitement and anticipation - that in this push button world, is sadly lacking. I wistfully recalled my younger self penning sheafs of longhand letters to friends and family. Wouldn't it be grand to get back to those nearly forgotten times? So, join up I did and waited for my partner to be revealed.

The very lovely Pia from Stockholm, Sweden, was my letter swap partner. She has a wonderful blog and takes amazing photos, go check her out! I am delighted with my swap partner, through her, I am learning more about the beautiful place that she lives and having the opportunity to get to know a new and lovely woman. She crochets stunning things, makes fantastic jewelry, and as I said before, takes gorgeous photographs.

I just received her letter the other day, I was filled with that same excitement and anticipation that I remembered from times past. What a wonderful package of happiness!

There was a sweet tote bag, some delicious smelling tea and chocolate (which I am saving for a quiet moment to try), a guide to Stockholm and of course, a handwritten letter of many pages. I waited till everyone was in bed and read the letter while curled up on the couch, such a treat.

She also included a pair of over the moon pretty earrings and a crocheted wrist cuff that she made. I have been wearing them since they arrived, oh lucky me!

I have to admit that letter writing is a habit not easily revived. I struggled with my own letter and found that the letter I wished to write had trouble finding it's way out of my head and onto the paper. It used to be so easy, or that is how I remember it, and it makes me a little sad that I have lost that. If I could just keep at it and cultivate that habit once again...

Despite getting some really awesome stuff in the post, the part that I have found most exciting about this swap, is the new friendship with someone I may have never known if it weren't for the swap. Many thanks to Denise for putting this together.

Have a grand, safe, and spooky weekend. I will be back on Monday with tales of thrifting goodness!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snakegirl Sighting

On Monday, I caught a rare glimpse of the elusive 'Snakegirl', she appeared out of the blue (as is often the case), with little warning, and I was awarded with a brief encounter with her. How lucky am I?
That would be my beautiful little sister and her partner 'The Bus Driver'. They were in town with the band and stopped by for a minute for hugs and stories. They drove their house over to my house. This is Buster, my sister's house.

We hung out for a minute in her house, then they hung out in mine. I don't get to see Snakegirl as often as I'd like, she's been spending most of her time in Northern California on a piece of land, with the occasional trip for a band gig.

It was so nice to see her smiling face and catch up a bit. She's part gypsy, part snake charmer, part songbird, and all heart. I miss her already.

Safe travels my lovely sister, until we meet again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blue Monday

It is still Monday is it not? I'm a little late today, much coming and going and stuff and junk, but I will get to that another day.

Over the weekend I decided to try a little sewing for myself. I don't like sewing clothing for myself, I'm funny that way. I had an old peasant style tunic that I had worn to thread bare and it was time to sadly let it go. I decided to cut it up carefully and attempt to recreate the pattern using the pieces as a template. I made up a muslin as a test. Shockingly, oh yes I was indeed surprised, it turned out rather well. Not perfect or stunning by any stretch of the imagination, but I did not sigh in defeat and wonder why I bothered at all. This is rare let me tell you. Being pleased as punch, I tried it on to adjust the sleeve length and The Bearded One said, "Looks like something you would wear in the lunatic asylum." Nice right? Though I did know what he meant, the color of unbleached muslin, the shapelessness of the tunic, and the overly long sleeves did have a straight jacket quality going on. Maybe even a little convent wear in style so...I added some vintage lace...

More pleasing but still...

I decided to try some iDye in brilliant blue. The package said it was meant for the washing machine, sounds good, less mess...let's give it a go. I highly recommend this dye, we shall see how it holds up in the long run but, easy to use and the color is lovely!

It turned out the prettiest blue color, just dreamy. Now, had I just remembered to use all cotton thread so that it would have turned blue too. Still for something I only intended as a test pattern, not so bad. Oh wait! Fraying at the neck line! What the devil?

Well, I was toying with the idea of adding some embroidery around the neck. Will that fraying be fixed with some decorative floss? Will I actually wear this out in public? What will become of this accidental shirt?

Stay tuned to find out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tom Waits For No One

Hey, it's nice to see your name on a poster, as long as it's not a WANTED poster.
I was invited to sing at a benefit for a fellow musician who was hit by a car while riding his bike. He's alright thank goodness, but the medical bills are big and well...he's a musician so can use all the help.

I just received the poster this morning. It will be a night of Tom Waits tunes played by some wonderfully talented folks. If you happen to be in Portland on November 19th come on down. Hey, it's a whole lot better than a stick in the eye!

Have a wonderful weekend all!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Playing House in My Creative Space

Just playing around whilst awaiting my muse. She's gone missing and I can't do a thing without her.

Check much more creative spaces here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Small Scale Madness

I have had a wee bee in my bonnet for weeks now. My mind has been sputtering and hiccuping over several ideas and I am finding it a trial to get it to go smooth. Yes, I have been in the deep end considering vignettes and restyles and pondering paint. If you are wondering just what I am blathering on about, 'tis this: I have been wanting to make happen some sort of re-do to The Cottage. The living room to be precise, I have been itching to paint and change and generally cause no end of frustration to The Bearded One. Each time I bring this scenario up in conversation, I am met with the most befuddled of looks and a long slow pause before he speaks, "What color? Really? Why? I like our paint!" I will have to admit, I actually have no sound concept to answer him. The truth is, it's a bit beyond our doing at the moment, because honestly, the floors are in desperate need of sanding and sealing, we have a 4 year old who still creates masterpieces on the walls and our budget as well as time allotment make it out of reach. Still, like I said, I am just itching for some sort of interior design mayhem.

There is a good chance that I have become slightly unhinged, because whilst I was tidying up I spied this...

...and then I actually thought, 'Ooh, I could make over an entire house!!' Perhaps I am suffering from a twinge of fever. The bedroom would be the first bit of business. The royal blue on the wardrobe has to go, new coverlets and pillows for the bed, wee garlands hanging brightly and a crochet rug to warm the toes. Oh dear.

(apologies for the atrocious photos, dark days for snapping pics)

This particular bit of madness then led to complete bedlam in my mind. I had visions of The Bearded One crafting more dollhouses, I would put out the call to all my crafty blogger folk to design and create rooms in each house, all leading to some sort of artsy installation most grand and what fun! Ummmm...

I think I need to have a sit down and a cuppa. A few deep breaths and sanity restored, one hopes.

Was it all just an excuse to avoid the dishes in the sink and play dollhouse?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Collection

A few views of the fall collection.

I will be back tomorrow with some words and whatnot. Happy Monday!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Practice Makes Better

Well, the weather has definitely turned. Cold, gray and wet. You would think it was perfect weather for crafting but, I have what appears to be a crafting block. I seem to be a bit stuck. This is terrible timing as I have a shop to keep hopping and holidays coming up. Still, it seems I keep busying myself with the housecleaning and laundry. So, we shall have to ride out the slump and hope for craftier days.

In the meantime...I have been practicing my crochet. I decided I would keep it simple and make a bunch of squares to be put together later. This method is improving my stitch consistency however, the first squares are tight and small compared to the later squares so...I may end up with a small wonky blanket in the end. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


What do you do when the weather has gone all dark and stormy? What do you do when the wee lass throws a drama of the utmost kind begging for a new princess to play with "the one with all the sparkly stuff, in a married dress and, and, pleeeeeeeze!"? What do you do when you tell the wee lass that perhaps she can put it on her list for holiday gifts and the suggestion causes even more drama? What do you do when an explanation about "a challenge of the utmost kind" falls on determinedly stubborn 4 year old ears?

You pull out some clothes pegs, a fine tip Sharpie pen (no craft paints on hand), and a bit of lace. Then you quickly bring to life Princess Peg, who then needs a Prince...and then as if by magic - wee lass spends the next few hours playing happily with The Royal Pegs. It doesn't even matter that Mama's drawing skills are less than.
...and Mama gets to enjoy her morning cuppa jo.

I must give thanks to the Aussie Waffler for the inspiration.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Doings

There were big doings going on over at the cottage and in the city this weekend. Seeing as the sun was shining and not knowing how long it would last, we decided to throw a little welcome to fall BBQ on Saturday. The 'Summer Tent' was all dressed up in bunting and quilts, the tables laid with cloths and candles, and folks were wearing their cozy vests in the crisp October afternoon.

As evening fell and the temperature dropped, a fire was laid in the pit and we all gathered 'round to swap stories while our skin chapped in the cold.

On Sunday morning we made our way down to The Convention Center for Wordstock, an annual event of writers reading their works, workshops, book signings and other literary goings on.

We heard my friend Stacey read from her book, wonderful as ever! We caught one other poet and would have liked to see more but, the wee lass had been very patient for well over an hour and thought it best to head out while everyone was still in good spirits.

Later that afternoon, it was with wistful industry that we took down the 'The Summer Tent'. With a real change in the weather upon us, we cleaned up the yard and settled into the change of season with a fire in the fireplace, hot cocoa with cream and me with a hook in hand practicing and hoping for even stitches.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday On My Mind

Well, it's been quite a week! The shop has been open a little over a week, I have had 2 sales and was featured on a Treasury, I feel pretty good about that. I was laid out by the sickness but, I am almost all better. I have made 6 loaves of bread, 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, an apple pie and mountains of dishes.

2 weeks with the "challenge of the utmost kind", has found me in tip top shape, with no ill side effects what so ever. Easy peasy so far. When confronted yesterday by a shredded bedroom curtain (I do believe a certain wee lass and a particular Buddha cat share the blame), with no time to stitch up a replacement, no need to fret...throw an old lace tablecloth up and we're in business.

I'm all worded out so, I bid you fond adieu until Monday. Have a lovely weekend my sweets!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Woman Pressed for Time

I seem to have lost some time somewhere, if any of you have seen it, would you kindly send it back to me care of Lola Nova? Well, wherever it's disappeared to I just don't know, perhaps it's gone to the same place that my rose colored glasses have runaway to. In any case, just a quick post before I ready my gear and safari hat to go 'in search of'.

Today I will be putting two new items up in the shop. I had hoped for a slightly larger number but, as we have already established, there's that whole time situation working against me.

The first is the Something to Crow About Journal. Seasonally festive and full of potential.

Secondly, and my very most favorite thing right now, is the Lovely Leilani Cushion. I admit to becoming so smitten that I almost kept the beauty for myself. Something about the colors of peridot green and aquamarine (or is it duck egg blue?).

See the sweet vintage doily? You are welcome to think that the other bits are snowflakes, the bearded one made that observation as well. They are actually hand cut Hawaiian Naupaka flowers in the style of traditional Hawaiian quilting. As with many things Aloha, there is a legend that goes with the Naupaka flower.
This has been a little break through for me, you see I have been longing to find a way to bring some Hawaii into my making, I lived there as a child and some of my heart still belongs there. So, I think this will be popping up in my designs for a bit.
So, stop by the shop if you wanna see more. Until next time my dears, have a lovely day!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Living With Handmade

Thank you all for your speedy recovery wishes last week, they indeed made me feel better. Whilst I'm not quite back to my hale and hardy self just yet, I am feeling loads better and am mostly upright.

During my lay in, I had a few moments to think about this "challenge of the utmost kind" I'd gotten myself all mixed up in. I realized I never told you about my reasons for doing so. I got to thinking that I should, I should tell y'all why.
I'm not generally a 'Joiner', which has a little something to do with the way I was brought up, and a lot to do with the whole 'Columbia House Debacle' of 1982.

Still, I have been trying to open myself up a bit, the blogging community offers so many worthy 'Join In' opportunities. So, sign up and commit I did (after giving it some thought in my favorite thinking spot). And I do have reasons.

But today, I am going to address only one - and that is: Handmade
I'm for it!
We are definitely a handmade family. History is in the handmade. Certainly, we have all received something handmade at one time in our lives, that we did not fully appreciate (I'm thinking of one bedazzled pink sweatshirt in particular). Still, there is something pretty amazing about things made by hand. They just seem to have more 'soul'.

I started looking around my house and noticing just how much we live with handmade. Things we use everyday, that are integral to our lives that have been handmade by us, or others. These are things that I cherish, that seem to have a longer, more meaningful life in our home. Much like the pile of quilts made by many hands.

Small things - like our cloth napkins that we use everyday. Though they don't look quite so pristine anymore.

The beautiful TV and stereo cupboard that my very talented man made.

My pottery that has been in constant use since I took a class some years ago.

These are but a few of the things in our home that I see everyday that are part of our handmade life. I read somewhere about some ladies in the States who were hand crocheting bandages for lepers in a distant land. When asked why not just buy some gauze bandages and send them over, they explained that in practical terms - the handmade bandages were stronger, lasted longer and could be sterilized and re-used (unlike gauze). The part that got me though was this...the lepers believe that the karma of the makers are in the handmade bandages and that this helped heal. I can believe it.

So, buying handmade and making myself, yes. I am also thinking that this challenge might spark some creativity as yet untapped. Encourage me to make even more for my home. Things that have lasting integrity and meaningfulness.

Long post I know, hey I've been kinda quiet during my sickness so...
Happy Monday all, I will be back with more handmade news and hopefully a shop update!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Green and Fuzzy - My Creative Space

Well, the sickness has taken me. One of those real wallop of an ick that has laid me out. I had so much I wanted to catch up on here but, I fear my capacity for sentence formation is next to nil. So, It's all going to have to wait. Instead, I will share with you my re-entry into the world of crochet.

While glued to the couch yesterday, I took up some old bulky yarn and a fat hook (my first time using one) and commenced to crochet a neck warmer. Oh sad little thing it turned out to be. I was less than impressed with my first foray into hooking in over 3 years. Still, I am going to be brave and give you a gander. The color did nothing to improve my ill pallor I can tell you.

Yes, much work is needed to improve my stitch consistency. I will try again.
I will also be back when my head is in less a deep dark fog.

Have a lovely day!