Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Swap Stuff!

Our final package arrived today all the way from New Zealand. What fun! Handmade coloring books--what a great idea, handmade notebooks of colored paper, laminated playboards, flower hair clips and chocolate. I think my daughters have a lot in common with two little girls in New Zealand--they both love coloring and writing in little books made of paper stapled together and two of their favorite movies are Totoro and the Incredibles. Ivy sat down at the dining room table and colored her book right away. Thank you, Spangle!

Finished four kimonos for my Etsy shop

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Banner Over Me

Oh man, I have just spent all day trying to figure out how to make a banner for a website. I want to make my own, I have a specific drawing I want to use and I just can't do it. I did figure out some cool features of Corel Photo-Paint I never knew existed, and I have had the software for 6 years...Geez, I can write HTML code, I can edit pictures, why can't I figure this out? I am so frustrated. I'm ready to just draw the banner, scan it and use that.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I bought this wonderful poppy print fabric at a local thrift shop and intended to make a child's kimono top out of it.

I already had it cut out and was pinning it together to sew when I noticed there is a small pinprick spot of a few pulled threads-- you can see it at the top of the one leaf.

I'm rather annoyed. If it were for personal use I would go ahead and sew it, but I was going to put it in my Etsy shop and now I am afraid it will fray and turn into a larger hole. It's too small for Miranda and too large for Ivy. I am going to put it aside and see if I can think up some sort of embroidery or applique to cover it up. This particular thrift still uses staples to attach the price tags, and not just one, they use 4 or 5 so people can't remove them. I don't buy tshirts from them because it's so hard to remove the price tag without a few small holes. I thought I had removed this one carefully, but I guess not. It's a profitable store, there are four of them in the area and they have been around since the mid-eighties, I don't know why they don't invest in a price-tag thingy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Have you ever had a job where you thought a vacation would be just the thing to refresh you and you would return to work eager to start, and instead when you returned all you could think about was how nice it was when you were on vacation, not working. I am starting to feel that way about my daily routine, the little breaks I get aren't enough to make enthusiastic about the return. I'm being selfish, there are so many moms who have far more strenous schedules than I do, with breaks few and far between. But I am getting a bit weary of the same old thing, day after day. This summer has been particularly tedious--Brian had rehearsals for the summer Shakespeare festival, then went to Toronto a week, and now that he's finished with King Lear, he's moving straight into rehearsals for Hamlet. So it's been just me and the girls around the house a lot, all day long.

I have managed to accomplish quite a bit over the past few days. Ivy and Miranda have been relatively content to sit at the dining room table and draw while I sew.

These are for Ivy, they just need elastic in the waist. The fabric is corduroy from the thrift shop. That patch pocket on the side turned out huge, didn't it! I'll see how it looks when she is wearing the pants.

These are for Miranda, blue corduroy pants with a fox patch pocket. I'm really pleased how the fox turned out, I had a lot of trouble with it at first.

This is a smock for Ivy to wear over long sleeved shirts. I just love this pattern, it's so easy but it looks so cute when she is wearing it. It's from ISBN4579110544

This is another kimono for my Etsy website. The fabric is a cream colored flannel with a red floral print. There is Japanese kanji scattered throughout the print, but I think it's just random words. I still need to do the Sashiko embroidery around the neck and sleeves.

It's going to be a strange night, I fear. Miranda's been running a fever all day, she's been sleeping since around 7PM. Brian was feeling sleepy as well, so is taking a nap so he can be awake if she wakes up in the middle of the night. If Ivy cooperates and falls asleep soon, I will actually have a bit of time to myself, but that is a big if.

Teeny Tiny Swap

The girls and I are participated in the Teeny Tiny Swap organized by Amanda at Zhinka Dinka Doo. I was so concerned with getting our package out ontime I forgot to take photos, but our own swap packages have been arriving in the mail.

This package arrived from Shannon at Sacred Waters Soaps. Supplies and instructions for a fairy house!

We put the finished house on our Nature Table for the gnomes--they appear to be quite happy to have a cozy home with autumn approaching

The second package arrived from Purlyshells. A fun package of goodies! Stickers, stamps, magnets, a crane mobile, a CD of summer lullabies and 2 bracelets.

Ivy modeling her bracelet

Thank you, Amanda for organizing such a fun swap!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Little Details

I am not much of a writer, but this website is fascinating me: Little Details

About a year ago I decided I wanted to teach myself Japanese. Actually, what I wanted to do was incorporate learning Japanese into our homeschooling, but I became so fascinated I began to focus more on my own learning. A year later I really don't know that much--it's difficult to find time to study. A few months ago I found out from another homeschooling mom that as an Ohio resident I can access Rosetta Stone for free through the Columbus Metropolitan Library . All I had to do was apply for an library card online, it was mailed to me and now I just sign in to the website for free language lessons. Rosetta Stone does have some shortcomings, I do feel it needs to be supplemented but being able to access it for free is wonderful. If you are interested in learning a language, it might be worthwhile to check the libraries in your area and see if they have made it available to patrons.

I am kind of hoping tomorrow is cold and rainy so I can sit the girls in front of the television without feeling guilty. My pile of cut-out projects in getting higher and higher, I need to start sewing them. I was going to start tonight, but first Ivy and Miranda were making little books at the dining room table, and then Miranda and Brian played a game. I need a craft room!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Spiders and Butterflies

There is a stack of pants and kimonos on the dining room, cut out and ready to be sewn. They've been sitting there for several days because we've been busy with other things such as observing large spiders:

This beautiful garden spider has the scientific name Miranda aurantia, much to daughter Miranda's delight. This is the biggest one I have ever seen, it's bigger than the palm of my hand. I am both fascinated and a bit repulsed. I am glad it's in the garden!

This is a weed called Japanese knotweed. It's horribly invasive, and for the past five years I have been battling it's attempts to take over my vegetable garden. But if you look closely, you will see it's now inhabited by monarch butterflies. There must be nearly a hundred butterflies flitting around and hanging off the blossoms, it's one of the most amazing things I have seen in my backyard. I don't know why there are so many this year, generally we glimpse a few but nothing like this.

We've also been playing with the new tent we picked up at a garage sale for 5.00. The girls were going to try to sleep outdoors, but after a huge slug crawled onto the quilts, all bets were off as they ran screaming towards the house. But it's a lot of fun to hang out in during the day.

It's also been hard to get sewing done when I have been socializing more than I used to. I've gotten to be good friends with my next door neighbor--given my social anxiety, this is no easy feat for me. Last night we sat in the yard and talked over beers while the girls took turns sliding down her carpeted stairs in sleeping bags. Today I had to explain to Ivy that since our stairs have no carpetting, this would not be a good idea. We'll just have to wait until we can visit Jessie again.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

You're so creative!

Sometimes when my sister sees things I have made, she will comment, "oh, you always were the creative one!" in an admiring tone of voice. And I feel a bit embarrassed, because while I like the things I make, I don't always see them as being "creative". I take a pattern, change it slightly, add a bit of embroidery or some fancy buttons. It's something I think anyone could do--but not everyone does. What makes us creative? Is it the way we were brought up? My sister and I are two years about, were brought up pretty much the same. What sort of environment encourages creativity?

I grew up comfortable, but with a large family and not always a lot of money for extras. So I loved the idea of being able to create the things I wanted. This turned into being able to create things that were different from what anyone else had--a bit different from my sister, who enjoyed dressing in the same manner of her peers. This attitude has carried over into how I dress my children--I enjoy making clothing that is slightly different, with unique touches that makes it apparent they weren't just bought at the store. But sometimes I still feel I have to work at being creative, that my ideas are just copies of things I admire. As I look to a wider range of inspiration, I am starting to feel I have acquired my own style, but I still feel a bit wobbly.