Tuesday, May 29, 2007

guy gift

Handmade gifts for guys are not easy to think of. After I made the tote bag, I realized the wii party was meant to celebrate two birthdays, hers and his. Since he's a student, I thought a pencil case based on the one in Simple Sewing would do the trick. This one is quite a bit smaller, though, just a little taller than a pencil. My first go at appliqué worked out just fine considering how last minute this was. While I sewed, E printed some letters onto print n press inkjet iron-on transfer paper to add our friend's name to the crossword fabric. This is also how I'm doing the just-like-sew tags--transfers ironed onto twill tape.

Sorry for the blurry photos--like I said, I was running out the door taking these!

E's mii--his character looked the most like him, and we had the most trouble making mine look like me. Even when our friend's artist brother was enlisted to help, he had a difficult time translating me into a video game character! It was really fun.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

tea towel tote x 7

After finishing my new bag, it was a nice change to work on a familiar project--another tea towel bag for a friend's birthday. Amisha wrote recently about repetition and her experience with production on a larger scale, and I started thinking about my own desire to create something totally unique vs. something I've done several times before. While both are gratifying, today was a day for changing up an old favorite. Same basic design, different shape, different piecing. The more I use these Martha Stewart towels (7 bags made with them now), the more I think I need to replenish my stash!
I remembered to add the label at the right stage of construction this time!

Last night, E and I enjoyed an outdoor symphony concert and picnic with my parents. It was so much fun to people watch! The group next to us went all out-- a patriotic rooster centerpiece, wine goblets that must have been 6" in diameter, gazpacho, a dessert tray...the works. A relaxing evening, and I can't believe there are still 2 days left in this weekend. I hope everyone's having a good one!

Oh, I remembered just in time about this tea towel challenge--I think I'll submit this bag!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

now I can say it

Ta dah!

Once I put all my *necessities* into it, I was able to stop focusing on the imperfections. I think I'm satisfied with the final product.

My old everyday bag has straps with D-rings to cinch the bag around the top. Not motivated to drive half an hour for D-rings, I used magnetic snaps.

And I managed to find a spot to add my tag.

I've been drooling over these screen printed fabrics, now for sale in Lara's shop. I like the crane one best, but it's no longer available. More gorgeous fabrics here, by Kristen Doran .

Saturday, May 19, 2007

more unfinished business

So, in the spirit of showing progress rather than waiting for the final product, here are some updates. My bag--it needs to be top stitched and the lining stitched shut. And my fancy tag--forgot to sew it in!

The garden--there's green! Okra and yellow squash are on their way.

And going against what I said about showing off things I've bought--some estate sale finds from yesterday. A Buddha for the yard and some pretty Vera napkins, three of which are pretty as in pretty stained. Oh well. The one clean one still makes me happy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

in progress

I read something yesterday at Write, mama. Write. that made me think about what I've been doing and not posting about. I have, in fact, been doing creative things, but I don't have anything to show for it, yet. But isn't the process what we all enjoy so much? I mean, it wouldn't be that interesting if I came home from shopping every three days and posted "Ta dah. Look what I bought." So, why am I so focused on showing off my end product rather than the steps involved? I do enjoy seeing and reading about pieces of projects on others' blogs.

So here are some bits of current projects, nothing finished. My garden: grass torn out (and transplanted), seeds planted, now watering and waiting.My new everyday bag, to replace my well-loved and very worn one from the gap: plans drawn and redrawn, pieces assembled and disassembled, now adding pockets not in the original design.
And since I want this bag to make me as happy as my old one does, I'm adding details like a (somewhat) professional looking tag.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


All I can say is "wow" over and over. Just the other day, my mom was telling me about my soon to be sister-in-law's plans for the bridesmaids' bouquets. She said there might be vintage buttons involved, and!!! guess what I got in the mail... That's right: buttons that match our dresses perfectly!

LeeAnn was the recipient of a lemon towel tote bag in my little giveaway, and she so sweetly sent this surprise package. What a wonderful pick-me-up when I've been feeling kind of blah about blogging lately! Thank you so much LeeAnn.

I returned yesterday from a work conference in south Florida, and I feel re-inspired and reinvigorated about my teaching. There's something about being around tons of colleagues with the same interests that just renews your passion for what you do. There was lots of talk about the K-12 issues with NCLB (like standardized testing of new in the country English language learners after just one year here), and Jim Cummins gave an empowering end-of-conference talk that was just was those teachers needed to hear. And even though it was focused on teaching children, I was reminded how important the concept of 'self' is in any type of learning, even adults. It's easy to treat students as just that, and not let their identity (cultural, linguistic) play a part in their education, but so much more learning takes place when the student is engaged and personally invested in what they're studying. It helps that I have really great students right now, too. I'm so thankful I have a job I love.
Happy Mothers' Day!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

windows of my home

I tend to get overly sentimental about silly things. Sometimes, this can be good, like the way I've come to love the little imperfections of our 'lived-in' house. But other times, I know I need to let go but can't. Like our windows--I love the charm of our 1940s wood rope and pulley windows. They let in so much light throughout the day. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that new ones will be better--energy wise, health wise (no mildew), and just the fact that they will open--and they've already been ordered! BUT I'm really going to miss the one old window next to my side of the bed. It's the only old one that's not painted shut, the one that I've napped next to, relishing in the intense sun and soft breeze coming through it, the one I taught Kobe to jump through before we had a door out back. Yes, the new window will let in light and wind, but there's just something about the giant opening when the window's up and the bits of paint that never got completely scraped off the panes.

Part of getting new windows is pulling down the old mini-blinds, which creates the perfect opportunity to change some of the window treatments. I'm still thinking about Roman shades. My brother-in-law was able to use his old blinds parts to make Roman shades, so maybe I'll do that.
I'm photographing the cracks and (bb?) holes in the old windows--can you tell I'm trying to convince myself they're old and need to go? It's hard to see the hole (up above the street), but I loved the way you can see the reflection of Kobe basking in the sun behind me.

Well, back to enjoying that morning sun before a UV coating blocks it out :)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

two treats

I treated myself today after an afternoon of appointment making and errand running (my last day off before the new semester). What was the treat? A stop at Michael's to see the new Martha craft line. And this light at the end of the tunnel really did give me the push I needed to finish all those chores I'd been putting off. As I expected, it was a bit pricey, but I found some pretty ribbons, different than any I've seen at Joann.

This is the second time I've made the panzanella recipe I mentioned last week. This time with white no-knead bread, garbanzos and balsamic vinegar. Yum. What a treat. I think this will become a regular weeknight meal this summer since it's so easy, and who wants to cook in a hot kitchen?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

cruising and crafting

Passing through the jetties that lead the St. John's river into the Atlantic Ocean. It was so nice and easy to be able to cruise right out of our own city.

We returned yesterday from our cruise. Before the trip, I wasn't too sure how I felt about cruising, but I found it pretty relaxing. The combination of having everything planned out for us on the ship and still being able to get off and explore on our own was a good balance. And most importantly, I think E's mom (and everyone else) really enjoyed being together.Looking up through the aquarium at Atlantis.

What's a cruise without a monkey head coconut drink?

I had planned to post before leaving last week, to share the clutch I had made from a pattern in Hip Handbags. It's supposed to have bangles attached as handles, but I couldn't find any, so it just has a fabric strap. I carried it to dinner every night because it was the perfect size for the camera and room key. I used the ubiquitous flea market fabric, with a turquoise lining and a turquoise zipper from my estate sale stash.

During the vacation, I noticed how I wasn't really missing reading blogs or blogging, so it got me thinking about how I'm spending and balancing my time. I think a lot of bloggers have been thinking about what we put into and get out of this form of expression and communication. So, I'm turning over some ideas in my head, trying to figure out where I want to go with my creativity. That's the main purpose (for me at least) of the blog-- to be inspired and be motivated to be creative (almost) everyday. I'll still be posting, but I'll also be thinking about how I want to continue with the medium. Thank you, as always, for reading and posting and sharing your thoughts and ideas!