30 March 2008

Quick and easy

I love quick and easy projects. Ever since I've bought all this fabric recently, I've been having a bit of craft block. I have so many ideas for projects: new bags and zippy pouches, aprons, shirts, dresses, skirts, etc, etc, etc. But somehow, I'm just having trouble nailing down what fabric to use for what project, and just getting on with it. I'm making progress though. I've picked a couple of more straightforward projects and I'm just working on one at a time, hoping that the inspiration returns.

In the meantime, here's one of those straightforward projects. Ever since I saw this tutorial over at the Purl Bee, I knew I needed to make this. At the time, I had two friends having babies and I knew at least one of them would get this as a present. One of these friends has since had her baby, and little Penninah will be the lucky recipient of this cozy hooded towel.

Can I tell you how hard it is to take a photo of a baby hooded towel without a baby to model it. I tried to model it myself, thinking I could at least get a semi cute shot. I won't subject you to those. The hood is clearly too small for me and let's just say, it wasn't cute. Anyways, this project is super easy and probably would have only taken about an hour or so (I can't say for sure since I was-happily-interrupted by a few phone calls) and I would definitely recommend it for a quick baby shower present.

In any case, I did get a couple of other projects done today that I'll share with you all later this week. (Remember that blog giveaway I had, um, over a month ago? Yeah, those will finally get mailed this week. Sorry Emily, Kelly, and Melissa, they're coming soon!)

I also want to announce that I've posted a number of sale items over at my shop. I'll be putting some more up throughout the week, but I'm hoping to clear out my "studio" of some of these items to make room for new spring items. Check it out!

27 March 2008

san francisco in color

okay, i warned you all that it would be a slow week. hmm, i've got some crafty and thrifty things to share soon. i've got just a few more images from my trip that i wanted to share with you all. after months of mostly white and grey here in minnesota, it was very refreshing to see some bright colors out west, both inside and out.

happy thursday friends!

25 March 2008

and we're back.

and glad to be. I had a very lovely trip, thank you all for your well wishes. San Francisco was sunny and warm and busy and loud and colorful and eccentric and delicious and filled with loved ones and just how I left it (well, only sort of). I had a lot of running around meeting people, trying to make sure I saw everyone, and a lot of slow in between time, that I spent wandering and trying to take lots of photos. And of course, there was basking in the sun (did I tell you I even got sunburnt?! This is oddly really exciting for me right now, as I'm trying hard to ignore the fact that it is still not really spring here).

Jared and I stayed at his friend's apartment right on Haight Street in the Lower Haight (can someone say rent control?). This was the neighborhood that Jared lived in for about three years and one that became my second home only towards the end of my time living in the Bay Area. It still feels very weird to me that I didn't even go to Berkeley once (where I lived for almost two years), and I had a strange experience of meeting up with two of my close friends, and fellow Berkeley-ites in San Francisco. It was a bit of an alter-ego of my time there.

But it was lovely. Much warmer (how many times can I say this) than I expected it to be. Reconnecting with old (some very old) friends, and family members was so wonderful. It really recharged me. As much as I do love living in Minneapolis, and do not for a minute regret my (somewhat quick) decision to move here, I do miss living so close to family and some of my oldest and dearest friends that are out in California.

The first day that I arrived, I went from feeling really overwhelmed by the "big city-ness" of San Francisco to missing the hustle and bustle of living in a big city. But, I gotta say, by the end of my trip, as much as I was sad to leave my friends and family, I was ready to come home. Like I said, I definitely don't regret moving here to Minnesota. Although there are things about living in California that I do miss and probably always will, I think being back there for the first time since I moved away really cemented my confidence in having found a place that is really right for me.

I'm not going to go into detail about the whole trip or anything like that- you can see some more of my photos here. I must say, after getting into blogging fairly frequently before the trip, it was really nice to take a bit of a break. Just a warning- I may be a bit slow on the return. But I do have lots of plans and ideas flying around and around in my head and again, I'm hoping to get them out of my head and into the world soon. More to come soon.

17 March 2008

goodbye is too good a word babe, so i'll just say fare thee well*

1. blue, 2. another $6 gocco print, 3. pinkest, 4. warm in here, 5. in honor of leap day, 6. Watching Grass Grow, 7. away, 8. day dreaming, 9. paper flower bouquet

Alas, my friends, this two day week has already gotten away from me. I was hoping to share a few more things here before I took off tomorrow for a brief, but much needed vacation. But, as I had suspected, my eleven hour day at work has really taken it out of me, and I must finish packing and getting mentally prepared to get the heck outta here for the next six days.

So I leave you with a few of my recent favorite images from flickr. I thought it would be nice to give you something pretty to look at while I'm away. And I'm hoping that Minneapolis will look a little bit more like these spring-y images when I get back here on Monday morning! I may pop in here or, more likely, here over the week to say hello, but I'm thinking it might just be best to unplug for a few days. So fare thee well my friends. I'll be back next week!

*from one of my all time favorite songs, and definitely my favorite dylan song.

16 March 2008

And another one. Still learning.

Here is the other fabric that didn't make it into the photos from my last post (this one was also from Sally's Tag Sale-a vintage "made especially for JoAnn Stores"). When I was buying most of this fabric, I did actually have loose ideas for what I would use them for. Interestingly, most of those ideas were various articles of clothing for myself. Hmmm. Of course, now that I actually have all the fabric in hand, I'm feeling quite indecisive. What I originally thought would be perfect for a shirt, now maybe looks like it would be better as a skirt, and on and on and on like that.

Well, I bit the bullet with one of them and turned out another one of these. I lengthened it a bit to make it more like a tunic, and widened the neck and armhole facing pieces a little- mostly to make them easier to work with, but I ended up liking the way it changed the look just a little bit. Once it was done, I realized it was freaking huge on me. (Does this sound familiar?). WTF?! So I very carefully (since this fabric is quite thin, and I have not yet caught on that I should really be making muslins here) ripped the pieces apart and took in the sides a good 2 1/2 inches each and added two darts to the upper back piece. Much better.

I'm really happy with how it finally turned out. I had been really hoping to make myself something new to take to California so I'm glad that I was able to finish this in time. (For the record, I've already worn it two days in a row- but then again, isn't that what you're supposed to do with brand new clothes?).

For a while now, I've been working on some ideas for clothing designs, but I am absolutely terrified of making up my own pattern. I know I'll get there eventually, but it just seems so daunting. How am I supposed to know measurements and all that? Aside from the obvious just copying an existing garment- or is that what I'm supposed to do? Who knows. In any case, I certainly feel like I've made eons of progress in the last year. (I think it was right around this time a year ago when I was getting myself psyched up to try to follow a pattern). So I'm hoping that this learning curve just keeps on going and I'll be making my own designs (at least for myself- to start anyways) soon enough.

{Scarf knitted by my mom, definitely up there with the best Hanukkah presents ever. It's so amazingly soft, and happens to match this shirt beautifully}

14 March 2008

inspiration::new materials

I know I've been teasing about a shop update recently, and I still have ideas in the works for that. I was really hoping that I would have that ready before I left for California, so I could update by the end of the month, but I have to admit that I'm painfully behind and haven't made one thing yet. I'm now shooting for the beginning of April for this, just so you know. And I'm thinking that maybe before I have an update, I'll have a big sale and try to clear out some of the items that I've been carting around for months, so stick around for news on that, it'll probably be soon after I get back from the left coast.

Anyways, in an attempt to get the gears turning for some of these new ideas that I have, I've been making a few purchases here and there...My local fabric shop (which I am so lucky to be able to call my local fabric shop) is moving in a couple weeks (luckily they're only moving a few blocks from their current location) and was having a major sale on some fabric (I'm talking $2/yard) to save them the trouble of moving so much stuff. Who am I to turn down a fabric sale? I hurried over there last weekend and picked up some serious yardage. I'm thinking summer dresses. I mean, items for the shop (this may explain my problem).

And speaking of sales, I finally snagged a couple fabrics from Sally's Tag Sale-the one on top with the little letters as well another one that got cut up before this picture could be taken. (Stay tuned for that one- maybe tomorrow)...

I was also able to pick up a few beautiful fabrics, some vintage, some otherwise, from Jennifer's destash sale over in her shop. I'm so excited about these. Especially this gingham, and the tablecloth on the bottom, which I think I'll just use as a tablecloth. I'm not sure I can bear to cut it up.

And finally, a special package from Japan. Recently I was reading about all the lovely mail that Emily had been receiving. And she mentioned some fabric that she had ordered from Leslie. I literally clicked on the link, and proceeded to spend over half an hour pouring over each and every item in her shop. It became clear that I would need to purchase some of her "goodness" and I painstakingly narrowed down what I wanted to order. I'm so excited about all of this fabric (especially the Lotta Jansdotter prints) and these adorable stamps! She even threw in some yummy Japanese candies and these incredible mini-clothespins (which reminded me that it may be time to switch up the wire, for even more inspiration).

So these are my recent inspiring purchases. Meg wrote the other day about a bit of crafter's block that sometimes arises when one is staring at a huge pile of new fabric. I must admit that I, too, am a bit overwhelmed by all of these new materials. But I am also very inspired. I think I need to take some time this weekend, maybe at a cozy coffee shop, to hang out with my sketch book and nail down some of these ideas that have been floating around my head for weeks. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. What do you all do to move the inspirations from floating ideas to finished products? I'd love to hear. Thanks for joining me this week. Have a lovely weekend friends!

13 March 2008

It might just be here.

Spring, that is. I'm trying not to get too excited, because I'm sure there will be at least one more snowstorm before spring is really here. But people, it was fifty degrees today. I stopped at one of my favorite neighborhood spots on the way home from turning in my taxes (another reason to smile) and got a huge chocolate cookie and an iced coffee. That's right. I said iced coffee. It was that nice out.

And that cookie was so needed after the long day that I had. I'm trying to keep my head out of the clouds and get my work done before I take off for San Francisco next Tuesday, but it's oh so hard when the weather is like this. Sigh. (a good sigh) Be back tomorrow to show off some beautiful treats that have graced my mailbox recently...

11 March 2008

Dreaming of the garden

In all of my recent longing for spring (which is most definitely here-at least as a tease-Jared picked me up from work with the sunroof open today!) I have been thinking a lot about my garden for this summer. I had so much fun, and learned a lot, last summer. And I can't wait for year number two. At the end of last summer, I made a list of things I wanted to do differently next year. Right about now is when I'm feeling really proud of myself for having that foresight because I certainly didn't remember all of the other things that I was wishing I had planted last year.

I know I ended up complaining a lot about all of the zucchini that were infiltrating my kitchen last summer (and I only had one zucchini plant, it was incredible!). But right about now I'm really happy about all of that zucchini that I grated up and froze in 1 cup batches, especially for baking. This weekend, I revived/adapted my mom's zucchini bread recipe that I spent all of last summer bugging her about finding, and whipped up a most delicious batch of muffins on Sunday morning (after being shocked that I had slept until 8am, only to remember that it was even later than I thought- 9am people!). So here they are, my...

"wishing summer would come already, but I'll gladly settle for spring" zucchini muffins, aka: mom's zucchini bread gets transformed into vegan zucchini muffins:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini, pressed to drain out liquid
2 tbl ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbl water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Add sugar, zucchini, flax/water mixture, oil, and soymilk. Mix well. Add vanilla, nuts and chocolate chips. Bake 20-25 minutes in a greased muffin tin (until a toothpick comes out clean-it may take longer than this, I just realized I didn't take good notes on the cooking time- sorry!). Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes or so before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

10 March 2008

Like a breath...

...of fresh air. The sun came out. And it warmed up (I do believe that 35 degrees counts as warming up these days). I couldn't help but take a nice long walk around the frozen lake in my local park. Shari has been majorly inspiring me with all of her beautiful walks and her water's edge series. It truly was a breath of fresh air.

Walking around the lake. Noticing the little details. And the big ones. Having a nice chat with my dad on the phone. Thinking about my grandma, who left us three years ago today. And my grandpa, how Jared and I took this very same walk just over one year ago after he passed. All the beautiful memories and lessons learned. I can still hear their voices calling my name. Like it was yesterday.

I've got much to share this week. And life is feeling much more calm these days. I think I'll take a deep breath. And relish in the fact that it's almost seven o'clock, and the sun has not yet set. Spring is not yet here, but I can now see it coming. As lives pass, and others begin. I try to follow the advice that is engraved on a bracelet that my parents gave me for my graduation, and that I wear each and every day as a reminder: Remember the past, Live the present, Believe in the future. A good lesson I think.

{More photos of my walk here}

07 March 2008

Green: 3

I'm trying really hard to be happy with the sun right now. I know I talked a lot last month about the funk. And I'm pretty positive that I'm even more tired of talking about it than you are tired of hearing about it. But I can't help it. It's negative six degrees right now.

But I'm trying really hard to be happy with the sun. Because it has been sunny. And that makes a difference. And I'm gearing up for a trip. Did you know that it will be a high of sixty-seven degrees in Berkeley, CA today? That's a whole lot warmer than negative six. *Sigh.* After six trips, I will finally get to tag along with Jared to San Francisco in a few weeks! I lived there for about two years, and haven't been back once since we moved here about a year and a half ago. I am jumping out of my skin to see my family, friends, and just to be there.

There is something special about the Bay Area. Something that wasn't quite right for me permanently. But something that I will always value and miss a bit, too. Also, I kind of need a vacation...So I'm thinking about that. I'm thinking about needing a new dress for this trip, and I'm thinking about getting ready for a shop update before the end of this month, I'm thinking about all of the new (to me) fabric that I've just ordered and whose arrival I am anxiously awaiting for a bit of new inspiration. And I'm thinking that I hope you all have a lovely, sunny, fun weekend that is full of inspiration and maybe even a bit of excitement.

{The scarf above is one of the few things I knit last year, sweater by my mom. It's getting a lot of mileage this year. Below: I bought this shirt at a thrift store years ago and it's lived under my bed almost ever since waiting to be cut up and repurposed. I've recently rediscovered it and decided to extend its life as a shirt.}

05 March 2008

Green: 2

Not a whole lot going on here that's worth sharing (mostly very busy at work and trying not to think about how cold it is and the fact that it's definitely not spring yet). So I'm thinking that I'm really grateful to Emily for giving me something to blog about for the rest of the week.

I know I already went into my love of this granola. Here is my second batch of Molly's recipe. It turned out pretty darn delicious, like the first one.

And hey look! There's even a green pot in the background there and I didn't even plan that! Yeah. I'm pretty clever like that.

04 March 2008

For the little ones

I mentioned last week that I was working on an exciting project. I hope I didn't build it up to much, because now that it's finished, it sorta doesn't seem like that big of a deal. But I guess it was. One of my crafty goals for 2008 was to make clothing for someone other than myself. I must admit, that I kind of had this project in mind when I set that goal, but I'm happy to report that it has been achieved.

This first piece of clothing was for Jared's nephew's third birthday present this past weekend. It was a challenge, and I think I did a pretty good job. It's certainly not perfect, but what is these days? Seriously, is this not the cutest hoodie you've ever seen? Look at those little pocket openings. I'm in love.

This was my first time working with knit jersey, my first time following a pattern from Ottobre, and it may have been the most detailed pattern that I've ever used with the least detailed instructions. Amanda first told me about Ottobre last summer when I asked her for suggestions for cute patterns for little boys. I know I've detailed the saga involved in actually getting this magazine before, so I won't repeat myself. What I will say is that I really love this magazine. The patterns are super cute and pretty easy to follow. Like the Japanese book I've been using, you have to sort of follow a combination of the instructions and your judgment of what the finished product is supposed to look like (although these instruction are in English, so it's not even comparable to the level of confusion experienced while trying to follow a pattern in another language). So I would say that you kind of need to have some sewing experience to be able to follow these instructions without tearing your hair out. But you definitely do not need to be an expert.

This second piece is for my cousin's baby who turns two this weekend. I slightly miscalculated the amount of fabric I needed, but I was only short a little and it still turned out great. Again, not perfect, but I think it's super cute! I just hope it fits her since it's been over a year since I last saw her.

I love all the patterns in this magazine and am now thinking of other children that I know who might need some handmade clothing....I'm still working on checking projects off the list, but I'm also thinking that a shop update may be in store sometime later this month. I've got some new ideas brewing and I think I may finally be over my holiday rush overload. I'll keep you all posted. Back tomorrow with another installment of green week.

03 March 2008


Rabbit. Rabbit. Rabbit. I know I'm a couple of days late, but we made it my friends! Happy March. Unfortunately, we've got a windchill of -8 right now, but let's not talk about it.

In order to welcome spring (ahem) Emily is hosting a green week this week. I'll be participating sporadically, especially since there's not really any (natural at least) green outside these days. Despite the cold, the sun is streaming through the windows right now, so here's my contribution for today: some sunny green around my home.

I love my plants. When I lived in Berkeley, my roommate and I had so many plants, there was hardly room for furniture in the living room and I had a friend who called our apartment the botanical gardens. What could we do? We had huge sunny windows and plants love northern California! I only brought six plants with me on the drive to MN, but I'm told that the rest are all still doing well back in CA. Many of my plants (especially the ones I've had for a long time) have names, too. I'll introduce you. From the top we have: Alfred, Delilah Jr., and Sir Hiss. The bottom one, sadly, does not yet have a name? Any suggestions? I acquired it (along with many others in our apartment right now) from our old neighbors who were moving to Portland, and couldn't take their plants along for the cross country trip.

Also, I did finish my project last week, as well as another one. I'll be back tomorrow to show them both off.

I still have not heard from Melissa or Kloth & Bolt, two of the winners of my giveaway. Please send me an email with your address, and if I do not hear from you by the end of this week, I will choose two new winners.