Holidays on ICE

If you are in the Atlanta area, you won’t want to miss the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Shopping Spectacular. It’s tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 15) from 11-6 at Ambient+ Photo Studio. There is a $5 admission but the money goes to Handmade Nation and Hagar House. Plus lots of great handmade goods to buy for all your gift-giving needs (because you know you have them!). The delightful Miss L and I plan to attend, so if you see us, be sure to say hi!

Thankful: 13. Candy Cane Oreos. Even the dog agrees. 14. Rain. Not fun for driving but we’ll take what we can get in this severe drought.

Festival Faves

One of the great things about living here is all the cool stuff there is to do on the weekends (and sometimes during the week). My favorite festival takes place every September and it worked out that Honey and I could head over there with Miss L on Friday, thus missing the massive crowds on the weekend.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Yellow Daisy Festival and I think there were more booths and vendors than I’ve seen before (we’ve been going the past five years). Just all kinds of great arts and crafts to check out, plus tons of food for sampling. I admitted to Honey as we were leaving that I spend more money at this festival than any other we attend. It’s just that great.

Every year, I hit up the Logan Turnpike Mill booth to re-stock our supply of Pioneer Porridge, grits and biscuit and panckage mixes. Everything tastes fabulous and I love how it’s made locally. Definitely worth the back ache I get hauling it to the car. (It’s always our last stop for that reason!)

One of our other must-dos is stopping by the booth of silhouette portrait artist Igor Nasibyan and having him cut a silhouette of Miss L. He’s done one every year and we’re thrilled to add a fourth to our collection. The bunny was not very cooperative this year but she did manage to sit still long enough for him to work.

I had a blast browsing Carol’s wares at the Kidbodies booth. She makes such beautiful clothes for girls and moms, and it was tough to narrow down our purchase to just one outfit. But Liesl was head over heels for this great pink crown tank (I’ll layer it over a black tee when it cools down here), so it and the great matching pants came home with us (along with a Kidbodies logo tank). And it was nice to get to chat with Carol. She’s just amazing and so sweet!

One of the coolest experiences of our visit was meeting Bronwyn Hanahan and her husband, who are from the same area where I grew up. I actually recognized her work from some local boutiques, so that made it especially cool to get to meet her. We added one of her lovely Christmas tree ornaments to our collection, personalized with L’s name and the year.

I’ve had to hide the little treasure I bought from The Bohemian Mushroom, a beautiful copper and ceramic mushroom that I’ll be adding to our garden. It seems a certain little blond cutie thinks it is hers. Yeah, nooooo. LOL!

Going to the Farmer’s Market

I know y’all must get tired of me falling in love with the things I sew, but I’ve done it again. I was lucky enough to be a tester for a pattern and used some Farmer’s Market and Park Slope fabrics to make this darling peasant-style dress with apron.

Love!

And I’m a bit bummed, too, because I only have enough for one — and it’s in my Etsy shop. I messed up when cutting out the dress so instead of having one for the bitsy and one to sell, I only have this one. Is it wrong that I hope no one buys it so I can sneak it into her closet?

The dress is part of another Trendy Textiles launch, so be sure to show my buddies some love and see all the great things they’ve made. The theme is “Mommy Took Me to the Farmer’s Market” and features lots of great things for girls and moms.

Fun With Park Slope

We’re at it again! Our Trendy Textiles design team is doing another launch, this one on our “home base” (Etsy). We’re up to 24 listings with more being added every day.

My contribution for this launch is probably my current favorite outfit. I love fall; it’s my favorite season. And sewing fall clothes is tons of fun for me. Of course, we are a long way from fall weather here in the South but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it. LOL!

I’m debuting a new top style with this set, The Tara Jumper top. This one uses a lovely brown babywale cord with that gorgeous orange fabric. The gauchos have an elastic waist and mostly straight legs, with a nice, big pocket on the outside of the right leg. There’s a touch of cluny lace on both pieces (the jumper hem and pants cuffs). I think I’m going to have to draft a pair of pants like this for me, complete with lace. They’d be so fun with a pair of boots or even tights and mary janes.

Park Slope Launch

The Trendy Textiles design team (of which I am a member!) is having an eBay launch featuring the new Park Slope line of fabrics by Erin McMorris. Totally in love with these fabrics and can’t wait to work with them some more!

You can see all the listings here, including the little set to the left here. I’m quite pleased with it and I think the little missy is loving it, too. Of course, it’s a little too warm to wear it with the pants right now but I think it’ll be perfect as two pieces when summer ends.

Treasure Hunting

The third weekend of every month in these parts is the Lakewood 400 Antiques Market. I’ve only been to Lakewood once in the nearly eight years of living in Atlanta, and that was at its previous location near the Lakewood Amphitheater. The market is cool; it’s just kind of a haul from my house. Today, I didn’t care. Honey and I hopped in ye olde momme mobile with Miss L in tow and headed out for some treasure hunting.

Yes, that’s really what I call it. It seems to keep L a great deal happier than telling her we’re going shopping. And, honestly, it’s not that far removed from the truth. My trusty 30D captured some of the cool finds we found. Our first stop was this outdoor yard filled with metal bits and pieces. Archways and plant stands and gossip benches. And a goodly amount of yard art. Who wouldn’t want a flying pig for the garden? (See the ginormous turtle behind it?) I thought the roosters were pretty cool, too, but my favorite was this dress form. I think Honey would have let me bring it home, but I didn’t ask.

I wish I could have captured the grandeur that was this post office counter and boxes. Instead, you’re stuck with just this little bit of it. “Magnificent” really is an understatement. It was like three wooden walls, with one of them all these old mail boxes. The others were the clerk counters, with windows and bars. The whole kit and caboodle. I really was trying to figure out how to justify buying such an eccentric piece. L had a blast on the opposite side, where she played postmaster for a good while.

Honey tells me there were names labeled to each of the boxes on the clerk side. He wasn’t sure if they were original to the piece but suspects they were. No idea how much the thing cost but I’m sure it was more than I could pay — not that I have any place to install a post office.

I had a wonderful chat with Patricia DiBona of Dibona Designs Studio. Her booth just drew me in with all of it’s beautiful collage pieces and ephemera and supplies for sale. I was so busy running my mouth that I never asked if I could take pictures, so you’ll just have to visit her site to see her offerings. If you don’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say they were absolutely lovely, very inspiring and just totally rocking the collage thing I’m into right now. I’m actually thinking that I need to drive up and attend one of her workshops. They just look like so much fun! And I could do with a dose of in-person artsy every now and then. (Couldn’t we all?)

One of my favorite finds at the Market today was a big bowl of old photos. On the front was a sign: “Instant Ancestors $1.50.” That just tickled me to no end.

Actually, I came home with very little today. Restraint can be a challenge for me but I’ve finally learned how to curb the impulse to buy every shiny object that catches my eye, instead buying just the ones that fit with whatever I’m working on right now. That’s why I brought home one of those cute paper dress forms with ribbon and buttons. Love! Mine is not in the photo but it’s just as darling. It was hard not to buy more ribbon there (“there” being Grosgrain Annie’s). Just a wonderland of ribbon. And old thread spools. And fabric. And more. I chatted with Jo Ann Rogers a bit; she’s the one to thank for the pictures because she saw my camera and told me I could take some. (Thank you, Jo Ann!) Really, it’s a shame I couldn’t stay in there long because I’d spot something new to check out every time I turned around.

Fun and Games

Let’s play a game of “Pretend.”

In this game of ours, we’ll pretend that this is post 299.

I have big plans for post 300 but have not yet gotten my act together with what I want to do. In the meantime, I have all these things I want to blog about. It’s like a laundry list of bloggy randomness at this point, because I’ve put off posting anything in anticipation of the big 3-0-0.

But if this is post 299, the point is moot. And I can babble away about the various and sundry things that have been on my mind.

  • My oldest child has finally gotten a job. I was so focused on the fact that I’d no longer have to pay for his gasoline that it took a couple of friends to point out the benefits of having a child who works at a craft store. Um, like, duuuuuuuh.
  • I convinced Honey to let us join a pool this year. It’s a Swim and Racquet Club. Doesn’t that sound fancy schmancy? LOL! We have a nice public pool and outdoor water park not far from our house but it stays packed. Our pool is in a neighborhood that’s about as close to home as the public one and much less busy. Plus, better hours. So far, I’m loving it and the kids are, too.
  • I got through a few customs (including the one here) this week (boy, is it great to have teenagers home to help with the little one!) and decided to do a little crafting before the next round of sewing. So far, it’s shaping up nicely. No pics yet but I will give you a hint: it involves wood
  • At the last minute, my sewing class at the quilt shop last weekend ended up with only one student in attendance. What a sweet, sweet girl! She works at the shop and signed up at the last minute, encouraged by the shop owner to do so, even though she’d never sewn before. And I have to tell you, it was such an amazing experience to not only teach someone to sew but to have her leave at the end of the class with a finished skirt. She was so excited and wore it upstairs, over her jeans, to show it off before heading to her grandmother’s house to do a fashion show there. It really made me realize how much I enjoy sewing and the teaching process. (BTW, if you are in the area and interested in learning how to draft your own A-line skirt, I’m teaching a class on it at the end of the month. Drop me a line and I can send you the details.)
  • Last weekend also marked lucky number seven for the Indie Craft Experience. I have been waiting to attend for more than a year (we missed last year due to a last-minute trip out of town to visit family) and it was a-maz-ing. Loved it, wished I could have stayed longer, can’t wait to go again. Met some great, talented people, including the folks from Janome’s Threadbangers, the Sublime Stitching gang and one of the people behind the upcoming Handmade Nation documentary. After we left, Honey said, “It must be really nice to be among your people,” and he was right on about that. There’s more I want to share but I’ll just give you hint No. 2: swag is good!
  • A couple of folks I know are behind the new Pimp Stitch site. If you’re into embroidery — or just interested in giving it a try — then you won’t want to miss it. To mark the launch, they are giving away some free patterns each week and they are majorly cute. I love Missy and Amy’s art, so I couldn’t wait to download the patterns.
  • The lovely and talented Melissa is busy working on the next issue of her online parenting ‘zine, Root & Sprout. If you haven’t visited, go now! And if you enjoy it (and I’m sure you will), you should definitely consider submitting an article.

Whew! See, I told you it was going to be all over the place. Now that you’ve made it through all of that, here’s what you have to look forward to for my next post, No. 300: a giveaway. Actually, TWO giveaways. I can’t guarantee that the post will be ramble free, though.

I Work Here

When I decided to take the plunge and buy a new sewing machine and serger (and then my first cover stitcher), I knew I needed to revamp my sewing space before I moved in my new machines.

I think I’m like a lot of other folks when I say that I made do with what I had. I started out sewing in my dining room. That worked when I sewed only occasionally but quickly became a hassle when that pace picked up (and a serger on the table didn’t lend itself to mealtimes). We actually use our dining room, so repurposing it was just not going to happen. Instead, I decided to take over ask Honey if I could use his desk/office area, since he rarely used it anymore.

Our downstairs has been largely unused since we bought our house 4.5 years ago. It’s a pretty big space but oddly shaped (a big L) and poorly lit. My sewing space is at the right-most side of the L’s bottom leg, running along the wall between the door to the garage and the door to the laundry room, right at the bottom of the stairs.

Originally, the space had an L-shaped arrangement of desks (a regular sized desk and a laptop desk), with my serger on the small desk and sewing machine on the big desk. This didn’t work for me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Lots of wasted space on the corner of the large desk adjacent to the small desk. It just would end up buried in piles.
  2. The rolling stool I used would lower with each spin, so I’d have to get up and raise it every 20 minutes or so.
  3. Add in my cutting table, and the space just seemed really claustrophobic.

Here’s my new, improved sewing space (as seen from the stairs)!

Left: My cutting table was a sale purchase from Joann’s, as was my cutting mat. The little “paint can” on my cutting table came from Archiver’s. I cut some of the paper I used for my sewing table so it would match. The inspiration piece for my revamped workspace is actually on the floor underneath my cutting table: my vintage sewing box, which I won from Lisa’s blog. It’s roomy and fun, and now I actually have a place to put it! LOL!

Right: We have a few 6-foot folding tables and I pulled one out of storage to use as my main sewing table. One of the great things about having lived near a university (while Honey was in law school) was being able to pick up stuff like that on the cheap when kids graduated. I think I paid $15 for one table and dragged the other two home from the trash at our apartment complex. I bought a roll of adhesive-backed paper at Target to liven up the table. It wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole table top, so I overlapped it by rolling it along the long edge on one side of the table and then the other. (There are close-ups of the tabletop further down.) On the left, behind my cover stitcher, is a basket I bought at Michael’s; it stores the patterns I’m about to use, plus current reading material.

Here’s kind of an overview of the space from the other side of the room. You can really tell from this photo how poorly the area is lit. I actually need to go shopping for a new light fixture soon because I can’t stand the cave-like feeling that’s down there.

Continuing the tour … To the right of my sewing table is a trash can. Big deal, right? Well, it is for me! Until now, I’ve relied on the trashcan in the laundry room. It’s actually not that convenient, so I often would just make a pile on the floor while I was working. It’s so much nicer to have a dedicated trash can right there.

For most of the past year, I’ve been using a stool I bought at Ikea. I love it, but the previously mentioned problem with it lowering makes it less-than-ideal for my needs. The replacement is not only more comfortable, it’s also a little taller, which means I can actually sit at my cutting table now (instead of under it).

Underneath the table, you can see my cheapie Brother sewing machine, which is set up for shirring. It handles it better than my old sewing machine, although I have not tried it on my new Janome. Regardless, I do it enough that it’s nice to have a dedicated machine for it.

The door on the left, behind my cutting table, is my hobby closet. There’ll be a tour of it later.

Welcome to Janomeville!

I picked up this two-sided bulletin board on clearance at Hobby Lobby. The right-hand side is a corkboard. I unscrewed the backing, pulled out the corkboard and covered it with a piece of fabric (a Japanese Little Red Riding Hood print), then slid it back in and closed up the back. Easy peasey! The chalkboard side is magnetic and the new home of the cute magnets Amy sent me (she made them!). I plan to use this as a to-do list and inspiration board, but right now I’m just enjoying looking at the pretty fabric.

I have managed to avoid hanging any artwork downstairs and am glad to say I’ve rectified that now. The frames were picked up on the cheap from Big Lots. They needed to be cleaned up a little but were otherwise perfect. I was delighted to not only find these two pieces of art on Etsy but also that the artist (KJ of The Dreamy Giraffe) was able to accommodate my request for same-sized prints. I need to get some matts cut to fit, but that’s easy enough to obtain. Right now, I’m enjoying having such beautiful things to inspire me every day!

Now, on to the shiny clean craft closet!

The view of my closet from the outside. It’s not a huge space and actually occupies the underside of the stairs leading to our living room and other main living spaces. Fabric is stacked on the left and right side of the doorway. I also store my scrapbooking paper in here, some photography gear (backdrop stand and my formerly lost tripod), rubber stamping supplies, Xyron machines and a few other things.

Honey also uses this closet to store his lawyer books. He is far happier with the renovated closet, since now it’s possible for him to open the door, walk in, find what he needs and retreat without commenting on my fabric stash. (That last bit may be wishful thinking on my part.)

We also have things like big coats down here, plus my tutu-making supplies (gotta keep all that tulle somewhere!). When I need to, I can fold down my cutting table and roll it in here, too.

The fabric is sorted by color, more or less. I separated out the corduroy, flannel, linen, silk and Japanese fabrics (both from Japan and Asian-inspired prints). Since reorganizing it like this, I’ve found it easier to locate specific fabric and also to find coordinates.

But enough yapping. Here are more pictures!