Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A (ginger) Blissful Event

I'm back! It feels like ages since I've blogged, but it's been a really busy week and I'm finally getting all caught up :) I've been making lots of gifts (pics to come) and working hard on following leads to beef up my business a bit. I'm thinking of designing a custom buckle to go with my belts, and am also going to be carrying *a lot* of Japanese fabric imports in the months to come. I love the stuff. Cute, classy, unique... all things that I love in a good yard of fabric :)

I also connected with Hoodie of Hoodies Collection and I'll be stocked with her yummy patterns when she returns from her trip over-seas. Be sure to check in thru Feb to see if I have received my order - I can't wait!

In case any of you ever wondered how I got into this whole selling fabric/patterns thing, it's really quite simple :) I sell products that I like and the designers that I believe in. I love supporting women designers and "the little people". I won't ever get rich, but I sure have fun doing what I do!

So onto some projects... The focus last week was on finishing up some baby gifts for a baby shower that was held on Sunday. Note that I didn't say "that I attended on Sunday".... Long story short, I think I'll be asking for GPS for my birthday. I got so heinously lost that it was actually funny. Urgh. I lived in Boston for many years, but the Quincy/South Shore area is still (and looks to always be) a mystery to me.

The best part of making these gifts was that I got a chance to visit my stash. It's like visiting old friends.... Syd and I sat down with my big box of Amy Butler and picked out a few gems. My preggers friend loves elephants, so I used a curtain panel from Amy Coe's adorable elephant line to make a nursing pillow, bibs/burp cloths, and a water-proof lined zippered bag. I needed some coordinating accessories, so the Ginger Bliss line popped into mind (lots of green/brown/purple). We don't know the sex of the baby, so things had to be neutral (but cute!).

Here's a large diaper and wipes pouch (with a pocket in the front to put creams). I made it bigger b/c she plans on cloth diapering as well, and the regular sized ones aren't big enough. I might change this pattern a bit to have a zippered top, instead of the velcro.

Here's some more of the loot: Upper left (elephants) and upper right (Amy Butler Market umbrellas) are zippered wet-bags; Wubbanub (the *best* binkies ever - see my EBAY store to snatch one up); elephant bibs/burp cloths; Red Sox bibs/burp coths; and bottom left: Nursing Apron (Amy Butler Eggplant Kimono/Cathedral Windows)

And lastly, here's the boppy and some cloth diapers. I also bought her some diaper covers, but put them inside the dipe/wipe pouch with a travel sized wipes case.

I still can't believe that I got lost....

Anyways, I also got around to taking some pics of the knitting case that I made a couple of weeks ago. Again, I have some things I want to change in the pattern, but overall I really like it. I used my favorite bird fabric from a favorite designer (who I hope to soon be supporting) - it's a nicely weighted canvas. Perfect for this project.

Outside: (awesome LARGE vintage button from Auntie Re's stash)


Inside with flap raised (can you tell that I like to knit with the big needles?)

I also started a dress for Sydney to wear to the baby shower, but on Friday morning (a moment of silence please), my sewing machine died... It's a temporary death, but still, it is gone and I miss it sew (hee, hee). It is now in MD visiting Jenny for some work and I'm thinking of planning a party for when it comes back. I have a back-up machine that I despise, but it gets the basics done.

Needless to say, I only got this far with Syd's dress: (it's actually a deep purple colored corduroy)

I picked up another super cute pattern for her:

I've been looking for a pattern to make a wrap-style dress and haven't found anything. I'll try this pattern and see if it's easy to just make the top longer. I'll keep you posted :)

As it's been quite chilly up here the past week (0 degrees at night!), I've been curled up with a blanket, cocoa and knitting most nights. I picked up this super cute pink/red yarn that I thought would be great for a scarf for my niece, Jordan, but I've since decided that it's not soft enough. It screams Valentine's Day to me, so I'll think of something to make for her before the big day. Maybe a little zippered pouch? (my repertoire isn't too big...)

I'm almost done with this crocheted pink baby scarf. Don't ask why, but I feel like babies need scarves too. It's so darned chilly out - no bare necks! This one will be going to a friend in NJ, Cara - her daughter Katie just turned one!

Speaking of baby scarves, I finished up a ribbed one (K2,P2) for Lucas, my nephew. I tried my hardest to get Syd to model it, but crawling into my lap is much more fun :) You can get the idea from the picture - it's a key-hole scarf and is sooooooooooo soft. (the pink yarn above and the blue yarn below is the same SIMPLY SOFT yarn). It's ~ $2.50 /skein at JoAnne's and each scarf only uses a skein. I like this knitting thing... very economical. *EXCEPT* that I have now started a yarn stash. I vowed not to, that I would only keep what I could store in my metal tin that Sue gave me.... I admit it... I'm weak...

Lastly is an adult scarf for a surprise gift to a friend down in NY. A little hug from NH :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Angels and Cheesecake

I knew there was another reason to play with yarn! Once I figure the hat thing out, I'll definitely be donating some knit/crochet hats to our local hospital for the nurses to give to newborns - I still have the one that Sydney received and loved that someone had actually made it! Here's another worthwhile group to support: ANGELS FOR HOPE. Here's the ditty that is on their home page:

Angels for Hope is a nonprofit organization that offers free crocheted angels for anyone in need of hope. We attach a small card with the angel to say to an injured or ill person, you are not alone, others do care, and you are in our thoughts and prayers. At your request we can let it be known that you requested the item. In addition to crocheted angels, we also offer butterflies and smiley faces. We reached our goal of touching 50,000 lives in 2005!!!!! We were so excited. So we have set a new goal for 2006: to touch 65,000 lives!

You can help them by donating money, supplies, or crocheted goodies - there are links on their site to get you going. Check it out!

On another note, last night was the monthly mom's night out where a handful of us local mom's get together and eat, drink, and be without child...Usually we treat ourselves to a nice dinner at a local eatery, but one mom's hubby was away so she decided to host. I think we all actually prefer this set-up anyways :) We show up essentially in our jammies and lounge around for the night eating sinful desserts and drinking wine. Ahhhh.... *AND* it's always an excuse to make my favorite dessert of all time: CHEESECAKE! I shared this recipe a few months ago with Tara, but I think it's only fair to spread the word. What's the point of a fantastic recipe if it is kept a secret? Warning: it's not a light recipe by any means.... I am a believer in the "real thing" when it comes to dessert!

1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter (melted)
5 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
Grated 1 rind of lemon
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Butter a 10 inch spring form pan 2 ¼ inches deep and press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of pan. Beat cheese until fluffy. Mix sugar and flour; gradually blend into cheese. Add grated rinds and vanilla extract. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in cream. Turn into crust.

Bake in oven at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake ~ 1 hour longer (until center is just about set – barely wiggly when you tap it). Remove from oven and allow cake to cool. Refrigerate until cold. Garnish as desired (I usually add sliced strawberries/raspberries and sometimes caramel).

Friday, January 19, 2007

New Friends and Goodies

So... the Lion Brand catalog came the other day and my list of free patterns/projects to download is huge!!! I still have a ton of learning to do before I tackle some of them, but I'm hoping that the EASY tag on them all will help some. I'm completely drawn to the new organic yarn line:

...and would *love* to make this for Sydney:

I'll post more of my favorites next week after I look them all up. Thankfully Walmart has a pretty decent Lion Brand selection :)

Have you had a chance to check out Betz White's blog yet? If not, here's a sampling of what you've been missing: (she gives instructions on making a Felted Brooch - adorable!)

It's been a very busy, but happy week for me. I have had the opportunity to work on some projects for myself / family (although I have felt a little guilty.... spring is around the corner and I'd love to launch some new products). I love my new crocheted scarf! It looks like Sydney could swim in it, but I think she kind of liked wearing it:

Also made some fun headbands for *me* :) using Heather Bailey's fabulous free pattern: (I have short hair and these work wonderfully!)

The fabric that these headbands are nesting on is Amy Butler's Burgundy Gothic Rose - I finally made myself a much needed new zippered wetbag for Syd's cloth diapers when I'm out and about. My old one is almost a year old and really tired. I hope to soon carry these in my online stores.

Syd also at last got a new sleep-sac! I broke down and bought a pattern and I'm pretty pleased with it (given that I usually am pretty horrible following patterns - I did greatly miss the clear instructions that the folks at Amy Butler give!). I made it with little mittens in case her hands get cold, but then she can't get her binky... oh well! I just turned the end of the sleeves under and it works just fine.

Syd also got some new friends this week from Jen at BeeBee Mod: Gerald the Giraffe and Bertha the Cow. I have a thing for cows, so I pretty much couldn't resist getting these when I saw them.

And yes, the fabric under Gerald and Bertha is my favorite fabric from Etsuko Furuya. I made a knitting needle case for myself (pics to come) and have another cut out for my sister-in-law's birthday this weekend.

Speaking of which, this will definitely be a busy weekend for us - we're still working on redoing the craft/guest room, we're visiting family all day Sunday, and I have 12 belts to make! In the past 24 hours I have sold 12 custom belts... I think it's a record...I hope it keeps up!

Have a fabulous (and warm!) weekend everyone! PS: Check out my EBAY listings for sales on Amy Butler's Belle (and 2 new LOTUS listings)!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This Week's Eye Candy...

Urban Chicks from MODA (I am in *complete* love with these little guys - unfortunately Hancocks of Paducah is out of stock and I can't find any other vendors!)

Fun New Patterns from HOODIE'S COLLECTION : (I've requested some pricing/"how-to-get" info - stay tuned!)

Fabulous guitar fabric (perfect for baby boy bibs!)

Fun Dogs from Heather Ross

Who doesn't love Candyland?!

Prime Real Estate

I laugh every morning at our silliest pooch, Cody... As soon as my husband gets out of the bed, Cody hops right into the toasty spot and stays there all morning (or until he hears some Cheerios hit the ground). In the afternoon, he and Higgins take turns keeping the spot warm. Cracks me up.

This weekend's trip to Joanne's was relatively successful. I had intended on ordering some drapery fabric to make curtains for a friend, but things didn't quite work out the way I had planned. Note to self: don't take Sydney to the fabric store when you need to be able to sit down and do calculations. It actually turned out for the best though b/c I found the fabric that she wanted for much cheaper (even with the 50% off sale and my VIP card) at Great prices... great stock... I just hope they have the yardage that I ordered!
Oh! Check out these cuties (buttons)! I have no idea what I'll use them for, but they were too darling to pass up.

And what, may you ask are these darlings nesting on? Well.. this weekend I learned to crochet! It wasn't a planned thing - my sister-in-law came up to watch Syd so Frank and I could go out on a date (it was the first time we were alone in the car since our journey down to the hospital for Syd's birth last year). We headed to Walmart to get a few things, and of course wandered by the yarn section to see if anything good caught our attention. I have been drawn to this GRASS colored yarn by Lion Brand so I picked up 2 skeins. Lin *loves* to crochet and decided that I needed to learn too. We spent a few hours Sat. night trying to teach me... I made up my own technique at one point that seemed so much more difficult than what Lin was doing. I finally figured out what to do, and now I can happily single crochet. I've had some issues with dropping stitches, but I'll blame it on trying to watch 24 and crochet at the same time :) My first little project was a rectangle that I'll make into a zipped pouch, and my second is a scarf that I am absolutely in love with. (see next pic).

Who doesn't love the LITTLE PEOPLE sets? Syd received 2 sets for Christmas (one is in the attic waiting for her 1st birthday - I learned that trick from a few moms up here - brilliant!), and an accessory pack to the Farm set had this little llama. I'm calling him an alpaca because I love them so :)

While I am still sewing quite a lot these days, I have taken to knitting/crocheting as my preferred night-time activity. The stash is growing, but I need some more vibrant colors I think... I am really drawn to neutrals, *BUT* there are 4 skeins of bright raspberry yarn lurking in the bottom of this yarn canister (gift from crafty sister-in-law Sue), waiting for me to learn how to make it into a sweater for Sydney... I am on the hunt for the perfect buttons for it, so if you know of any sites, please do drop me a note!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Snuggle Duckies

Well, winter is at last here... I've had this fun fleece fabric (and some cow print) for a while now with the intentions of making Syd a sleep sac. Finally got around to it last night, using this tutorial for some rough guidelines. Fleece is a total pain to sew with sometimes, but I'm determined to figure the stuff out. It's up there with the minky dot fabric that I have a love/hate relationship with...

Unfortunately I didn't have a spare sleep sac lying around to use as a template, so I eye-balled it using one of her footed sleepers. I thought that it would fit her, but when I held it up to her this morning, it was literally 4 or so inches too short. URGH! Luckily I have a lot more fabric left, and I'm headed to Walmart in a bit to get some more zippers and freezer paper. Freezer paper? YEP! Check out Autum's awesome project she finished this week. I'm thinking of trying it with dish cloths - pears and apples perhaps?!

The great thing about having friends and family with babies is that nothing goes to waste. The duckies are now in the mail to my sister-in-law in PA, where I hope they are snuggled with well by their 7 month old son, Lucas. I guess I could also send it down to the poor folks in Texas!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Some eye candy to start off the day right :)

New packaging for the MADISON BAG pattern (note the gorgeous LOTUS fabric!)

Quilt using Amy's LOTUS fabric (fabric should be in my store by the end of the month!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007



Sorry about that little outburst - I was PSYCHED to see these little guys this morning :)

It's almost mid-January and I've been thinking a bit about what I resolve to improve upon/achieve this year. Usually the list includes running a marathon, volunteering more, and eating better. Well, to be honest, we're hoping to get pregnant again this year, so I'm off the hook for the first one. #2 still stands and #3 I think we've got down pretty well by now. I'm not giving up brownies and ice cream, EVER! We eat mostly vegetarian or white meat/fish with a little Italian thrown in there. Room for improvement exists I'm sure, but we're pretty okay with how things are :)

So what's on the list?!
1) Exercise more. I can't believe that I have to write that one... I have been an avid runner for years and years, but having a baby and breastfeeding has thrown me for a loop. We're going to be weaning soon though, so I can get back to the AM runs!
2) Buy more organic and locally grown foods. My sister-in-law, Sue, recently got me hooked on this fabulous woman named MARY JANE from Idaho. Check her out - she's like the Martha Stewart of farming and Americana.
3) Open an Etsy store. I just opened an account to ask BeeBee Mod a question. That's step one!
4) Sell my hand-made goodies in local stores.
5) Go hiking as much as we can this spring and summer. Last year was tough with Syd being so young, but this year I think we'll fare much better! We live in the heart of the mountains and need to just set aside time to enjoy it all... can't wait!
6) Find an old armoire at a thrift/good will store and completely refinish it (to be a craft armoire possibly?)
7) Learn to applique and embroider well.
8) Wear my dishgloves everyday. I know, it's a bit odd, but since my finger injury I've been wearing them and I swear that my hands aren't as dry as they used to be!

I can't believe it's Wed. already! My room re-do project is going pretty slowly. There are a lot of damaged areas on the wall (some from the prior owners and some from us taking shelving off the wall). Here's a pic of me this afternoon before heading back in to sand. Such the glamour girl! The respirator mask is a must though - I tried sanding the spackle without it yesterday and I thought my lungs were going to crawl out of my body and strangle me.

As for sewing projects, I started off the week with this little pile

and finished up the black canvas zinnia tote yesterday, and some more bibs and burp cloths for some friends. I can get a bib and a burp cloth out of one fat quarter :) The Nappy is getting attacked tonight! I'm off!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Changes all around :)

I'm sitting here at my newly arranged desk, watching the critters scurry about on the ice-covered snow that is covering the back yard. I'm happy that we filled the bird feeders in the front yard - the bears are well into their hibernation so the birds and squirrels can take complete advantage of the fat-laden goodies we have left for them. And people ask if we like living in New Hampshire :)

This week we have begun the destruction of my coveted craft room. We have put off updating this room and our bedroom since we moved in last year, but at last the time has come! New hardwood floors, book-shelves, paint, curtains and some new furniture are all on the agenda. We have stuff *everywhere* now... my primary sewing spot is in the dining room downstairs (which I am actually enjoying b/c the lighting is fantastic, and Syd has lots of room to play), and the computer and other "stuff" is now residing in our bedroom. Makes me realize that with better organization, we could really make great use of the space in this house. Maybe the computer or scrapbooking station could stay in the bedroom...

While re-arranging things in our bedroom/den/"place that we all sleep" I realized that I never posted on the fun crafty Christmas gifts my mom and sister-in-law gave last month. Here's a run-down of the books on my "to-read" and "do" list:
- KNITTING RULES by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
- SUBLIME STITCHING (hundreds of hip embroidery patterns and how-to) by Jenny Hart
- ONE SKEIN (30 quick projects to knit and crochet) by Leigh Radford
- ITTY BITTY HATS (cute and cuddly caps to knit for babies and toddlers) by Susan B. Anderson

Mom also bought KNIT PICKS OPTIONS - I have to figure out how to use them, but the concept is intriguing. I'm hoping that Tara gets it as well from her hubby so she can help me out :)
Set Includes
US Sizes: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,10.5 and 11
2 each of 24" and 32" lengths
1 Knitting Needle Case with 6 Knitting Needle Pockets (2 single, 2 double, 2 triple), 8 End Caps and 2 Cable Keys

I've been pretty busy this week with some more baby gifts and belts. Want a quick, cute and inexpensive baby gift idea? (I credit my sister-in-law, Sue with this one). I always pop by the Walmart baby clearance section and buy plain white onesies (long or short-sleeve) if they are a good deal. If they aren't on sale, then just pick up some packages of different sized ones (they aren't expensive). Then pop by the craft section and pick up some iron-on appliques. Iron them on, and oila! You've got a really cute and practical gift. You can tie-dye the onesies first, but that of course requires prior planning :)

Hmmm... what else... I feel a bit scattered with this entry, but oh well! Ah! The biggest news for us lately is that Sydney learned to crawl on New Year's Eve! It's like a button clicked on... she loves it and is just so darned pleased with herself!

Before I pop off, I want to share some gorgeous prints by Etsuko Furuya - I'm thinking of carrying some of her fabrics and would love feedback from you all!

And how fun is this pear print by Yurio Seki ?!