Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Things I love.

Some things I love about the weather we've been having:
Linen skirts.
Screen doors.

Hope to post more soon--it's another of those non-stop work weeks. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blue and Grey

I watched some DVRed episodes of Project Runway this week, and one of them from season 2 (I think) was about the inspiration behind a garment. It made me start thinking about what inspires me. Some things are obvious, like the colors of the sand and ocean on a vacation we took last year. Other times, I really have to think about what gave me an idea. Right now, I'm finding a lot of inspiration in light blues and greys, and realized I have been stuck on these colors for quite some time. (I took a photo of the blues and greys of our bathroom, not realizing how bad the mirror needs to be cleaned!) I love the way the grey pants and striped shirt I bought yesterday look together--once again, that combination. And, last, but not least, the most obvious evidence of my attraction to these colors: my quilt-in-progress. The top is done, and the back almost there. These colors are really making me happy and inspiring me to create right now. Oh, and have you noticed the colors of my blog?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

the thrifted sheet

Aren't thrift stores great? I've always loved to shop at thrift stores, although I must say, they seemed to have way better stuff when I was in high school--or maybe I just wasn't as picky as now. I have had some great finds, though, since I've been shopping for fabrics.

On my first fabric trip to Goodwill a while back, I picked up a table cloth and a sheet that I used for my first quilting project--placemats--with batting and binding and all. I already had some coordinating green fabrics that I had planned to use to make placemats and just added the thrifted fabrics to the plan. I made them extra large, as we can be messy eaters. It's funny now how many times I've seen this same flowery sheet, also thrifted, on different blogs. It's the blue/green/white one used as the border. I first recognized it in Amanda's fabric book (and I think she's used it in some other projects), and then Sally's stack of florals, and most recently I think I saw it as a skirt on another blog (but can't find it now, sorry!). I would guess maybe Goodwill was given a lot of this sheet from a factory, but mine's pretty worn. The design must have been a popular one when they were new! I wonder if any other bloggers have it...

It's been a hectic week, and it's not over yet. But I am going to try to start a little bit tonight on a quilt.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Well I finally came up with something for the school art show. Even though it's a contest for students, they were asking if the instructors would display something. I wasn't feeling so inspired, but E didn't like the idea of me taking something not newly created. So I considered painting or sewing, but couldn't think of the right project. A craft would require following certain steps to end up with something functional, but I just wasn't in the mood to make sure it turned out 'right.' When I was doing this bird, I loved the feeling of just messing around on the sewing machine--it didn't matter if the final product was functional. It was more like painting, where you just let your instinct guide you. Instead of getting bogged down in the measuring and precise cutting, I produced a happily imperfect piece. The talk about working with clay makes me want to find a pottery class to do more instinct-guided creating.
I didn't do it completely free-handed, but first drew the bird on freezer paper, ironed it down and sewed over the outline. Then the concentric squares around the edges--I love the tight parallel quilting lines on Lisa's pillows. The overall size is about 10"x10".There may be more of these to come, especially since I've committed (only to myself) to make new sofa quilts. The fleece blankets we have are acting like giant swiffers collecting dog hair.
Enjoy your day!! Even though I have to work, E is off for presidents' day, so it's like a day off from house duties for me! Thanks, E.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I'm glad I saved a few strawberries for E and me because the ones I took to school were all gobbled up. When I got home from work, I had a few delicious surprises from my parents. My dad had made this rich chocolate blackberry torte. This is all that's left of it.
As much as I LOVE dark chocolate, I was even more excited about my new Lotta Jansdotter stationery set from my mom--thanks, mom! I could never get enough of these kind of letter kits, and the stock I bought on our last Japan trip is almost depleted. I'm ecstatic to know now that I can get these locally! At the risk of sounding sappy--my parents have taught me so much about what love is--their love for each other, us kids, and everything they do. I'm glad we have days like Valentines to remind me of this. Last, the beautiful cherry blossom valentine from them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Art Contest

A few years ago, I had a student who was extremely motivated to learn English and enter our university's jazz piano program. We became friends and have kept in touch since she was accepted to the program (!) and became a regular university student, and now her boyfriend is one of my students. He's super quiet, and improving his English has been a real challenge for him --and his instructors. He's an artist, so I try to get him to talk about his art. Here's a painting he gave me:Anyway, on Friday the director of our program announced that our English program will be having an art contest. This student has been put in charge of creating flyers and informing fellow students about the contest.In the weeks leading up to the big announcement, he was so excited that he spoke English with me almost everyday! Finally, a break through. I'm so glad that this contest has given us a way to see our students through something other than just language. It's easy to see someone from just one angle when you know them only in that context. In my case, it's too often that I view my students as only students rather than the complete, interesting individuals that they are. I can't wait to see their art!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I can STOP now.

Yesterday I stayed inside with a very sick pup while E and his dad made major progress on the bug outside. By the end of the day, we were able to take it for a ride, and the brakes work! Still a little nervous about driving in traffic or on the highway, though. But, while they were working, I was productive, too:

I used to drool over the racks of cute aprons like these in Japan and wish they were skirts I could actually wear out. After seeing others' enthusiasm for aprons, like at tie one on, I bought one for myself at an estate sale. I enjoy wearing it so much that I decided to make another. I love how heavy the linen nautical print is. It came from superbuzzy a while back. I modeled the pocket, with the parallel stitches, after an old cargo skirt.
I saw these flower kits a while ago, maybe in a magazine, and filed the idea away for the right occasion. These are headed to my good friend in Chicago for Valentines Day. Last March, we made a ton of crepe paper flowers for her wedding, so I think she'll like them. Since I was little, I've always fantasized about living in a stationery or art supplies store, and Paper Source sells all the things I would want to have in my store/house. Did you see the Martha Stewart wedding episode where the bride loved all things paper? Her dress was even crinkled like paper. They made the most life-like flowers from vintage crepe paper. These and these paper flowers, also from Martha, look pretty cool, too.

Friday, February 9, 2007

spring cleaning

The project of the day has been cleaning up a mess of recent photos, so I thought I'd share a few here.Azaleas we planted last summer that are fully blooming for the first time.
Vines and the St Johns river from the garden of the Cummer Museum, where E and I had one of our first dates and our wedding reception. We took a field trip there this week. If you squint, you can see the back side of our neighborhood across the river.
A camelia and some good ol' Spanish moss, also in the garden of the museum.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Great Scott!

Haven't had much time for crafting since the oven mitt, but I did make a little shrinky dink pin for a student. It cracks me up the way he adopts phrases he sees and hears into his everyday speech. Most recently he says "dad-dad-daddy-o" like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Before that, it was "Great Scott!" and "Doing the most good"--the Salvation Army slogan, which is what's on the pin. He just soaks up all the language around him; I wish I could be such a good foreign language student!
I came across a piece I had already shrunk, but never used, so I strung it on some thread thinking I could wear it today. In the process of photographing it, though, it fell apart. Oh well, I still like the colors --it's a photo I printed onto the shrinky dink paper. You don't need the special printer shrinky dink paper--just select 'transparency film' as your paper type in print properties, and it won't come out too inky. Sorry about the quality of the photo--this was the best I could get.
Since I've seen lots of pet photos in blogland lately, my bud can't be left out. Meet Kobe [KObay].Oh, and I saw an inventive idea for storing fabric on craftster. This is something I've been trying to figure out lately. Any other ideas for organizing and storing lots of fabric--all different size pieces?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Fun Fabrics

Some fun fabrics that just came in the mail from repro depot, bought with a Christmas gift certificate. I'm excited about these large scale prints, especially the two Amy Butler ones on the left. Definitely some new patchwork projects on the horizon. Maybe an apron. I love the ones over at moonstitches. Speaking of fabric, mr. monkeysuit posted some resources for fun Japanese fabrics.
I had started this oven mitt as a Christmas gift, but now it's finished in time for my friend's birthday. Began with the piecing following the Denyse Schmidt instructions, but I finished it more like the ladybug bag. Now that I understand the concept of lining, from this pattern, I thought it gave a finished look, without any trim.
Excited about the Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood comedy show that's coming tonight to the university where I work!