Monday, September 29, 2008

Ta Da! The Happy Apron

It's done, my very first apron! I'm calling it The Happy Apron, because it makes me so happy to look at it. Something about those happy fabrics together. And look: I even played with my double zigzag for a little embellishment.

The gathers were scary, but it actually worked!
Thanks to EllynAnne, the Apron Goddess, for the wonderful book she wrote that started this apron craze in my head! The instructions for the pattern were great, even for a rank beginner like myself.

Bounty and Love

One of the reasons I love my almost-ten year-old is because of what happened last night, before bed. Sylvan asked him to do a puppet show for him, instead of a book. Jonas said yes, and before I knew it, the tabletop was transformed with silks into a puppet stage. Two silk marionette puppets that I made (and very nearly got rid of yesterday---first attempts, not perfect,wrinkly, and I'm not proud of them) were rescued and played main parts in a story modeled after The Turnip That Wouldn't Budge story, except it was a giant tomato in this retelling. Notice it in the background:
Even the king was helpful enough to get off of his Mica throne and lend a hand:
(No matter that he is a mere 4 inches to the marionettes' 8!)

But finally, it was the pig, and the "flock" of hedgehogs that came to the rescue and helped to loosen that stubborn tomato.

Sylvan was so appreciative, as was I.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vintage Apron

So this is my own vintage apron, purchased in a tiny used bookshop in Stonington, Maine. When I saw it, I had the feeling that if I didn't buy it I would be really sad and dwell on not having it. I love its swishy-ness and femininity, its cheery yellowness, with the rickrack at the bottom edges and gathers.

EllynAnne of The Apron Book has a lovely blog and she's having a vintage apron give-away! Just in time for our very important elections, she is offering a cobbler-style patriotic apron---lots of red, white, and blue and the word "Vote" in the pattern of the fabric. Boy, would I love to walk into my tiny little town office in that saucy number!

And in sewing news, I have been in a small state of despair lately, feeling sad that my machine was not behaving well again. But good news, when I took it back to my sweet Sewing Machine Guru he informed me that *my needle was in backwards!* Oh the shame! But see, that's how much of a beginner I am, I had no idea there was a right and wrong way. And because he is the nicest, he told me to come by tomorrow and he would show me what he knows about my machine (which he thinks is of fine quality). And when I asked how much I would be paying him for his time...he said he doesn't charge anybody for changing their needle! Awww shucks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Six Random Things About Me

I was tagged to participate in providing you with Six Random Things About Me by Ana, and why not have some fun and play along? In high school Lillie and I would make surveys for each other, passing them note-style, between (or in) classes...This has the same appeal. Fun to get to know your blogging neighbors and readers, near and far!

So you may already know this, but I have a small obsession with hedgehogs ("hedgenogs" as they were famously once called by Sylvan). Here are a few members of the collection, two of which come from fellow-blogger-Mama Erna:
My Wedding Ring a replica of a Posy Ring, and it has all these words tucked inside of it: "Many are thee starrs I see, yet in my eye no starr like thee." Easier to imagine it all fitting inside my hubby's ring than my tiny one! Ours are white gold with blue enamel (which chips, but is still lovely):
Pride and Prejudice
Somehow I got this far in life without reading it. So I am now, and the language that initially turned me off as stilted and contrived, is actually captivating me this time around. Why are those Darcy types so darn appealing...arrogant and snarky and full of themselves?! (And again, note the bookmark, also from Erna!)
Recipe Books
Yup, I have serious Myers-Briggs "J" tendencies. I have two books of favored recipes (mostly from our favorite cooking mag, Cooks Illustrated), organized by type of food (Main Dishes: Chicken; Main Dishes: Vegetarian; Appetizers, etc.), and in plastic protective sleeves. Does it tell you anything else about me that one whole book is devoted to Baking?

I thought I had a nice picture, but it turns out it was blurry. In our house we have big and small spoons, and for me (forever), certain spoons are for certain things and I don't like to mix them up. All soups, hot cereal, yogurt and granola, and stews are Big Spoon meals. Cold cereal, all dessert items, and in hot beverages are Small Spoon occasions. This is way too fussy for my husband to understand.

The picture at the top of the post is the illustration for this entry. I love to hang out the laundry and catch a glimpse of it waving in the breeze from my bedroom window. I don't mind washing it, drying it, and folding it, but I lose steam at putting laundry away. I hate that part so much.

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

I'm tagging:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Beautiful Wedding

One of Sylvan's favorite people got married today and he was the ring bearer.

It was a sparkling blue, sunny, and brisk September day, and the wedding was right at the ocean. The scene was a perfect background for the sweet and heartfelt ceremony that we watched.
Are you loving the circa 1970 cut of Sylvan's suit?
I should mention that the lovely bride is also the talented crafter and shopkeeper Mosey Handmade, who created all of the adorable crowns for her flower girls and ring bearer: velvet ribbon and little millinery trimmings (as in the tiny acorns and apples, above) are one of her many media.

It was a BYOP (Bring Your Own Pie, sweet or savory) wedding, in addition to the many amazing dishes provided---so yummy---and they had Apple Hour following the ceremony (sparkling apple cider, fresh apples, apple tartlets, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies, and the BEST caramel apples ever). You so wish you were there. My boys loved that this little sweet feast was served BEFORE dinner!
Heirloom Tomato tart with mustard, cheddar and herbes de Provence, our offering.

That's me and my boy, who loved it when the groom stomped on the traditional glass before kissing the bride! Oh, and yes, I do have another son who is currently quite fussy about being photographed...sigh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ATC and Art Journal News

The above ATC is glued right into my Art Journal...

Our Saturday Swap did an ATC Round Robin. So much fun. We all started a card and then passed it on after five minutes or so. The results were really surprising and interesting! It was also a great exercise in letting your art go...into another person's creative hands. Whose art is is really? Hmmm.
And the Press stopped by! Check it out here (you'll have to scroll down a bit, or read the whole thing, it's a cool glimpse of our diverse community!).
The above card was made collaboratively by me and Ella on Friday night, and glued right into the Art Journal. So here are some more pictures from that project, first mentioned in this post. This is Robinsunnes's new book, and YES, they will be for sale! I will keep you posted. Check out her blog to see some images of what she's been doing with hers lately! Leave her a comment if you're interested!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Apron Love

I am waiting on some duck fabric for my owl bag to protect the bottom, so in the meantime I am already dreaming of the next projects...A couple of aprons and a very special bag for a very special older girl (something to hold those girly products that are a monthly necessity). Those folks at Fabric Hound are sure speedy with their deliveries.

Joanie loaned me The Apron Book by EllynAnne Geisel which is full of fun apron lore, history of aprons, and some simple patterns. I pretty much devoured it in one sitting and it got the wheels turning.

First off, I'm going to try a simple waist apron, from a pattern in the book:
The main fabric will be the green floral, the contrast the pink polka dots:

Next, and this will require some help from an experienced seamstress, perhaps Joanie, I fell in love with this very feminine and oh-so-adorable vintage apron---no pattern, just the photo:
In these fabrics, again the floral as the main, with contrast/edging in brown with white polkas:

But before I will allow myself to cut out any apron fabric, I ironed all of my skirts for this week and am about to do some homework for my internship. I am a work before play kind of girl...Happy Sunday to you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm an Art Guinea Pig!

Hey, I got a great invitation to be Robinsunne's art guinea pig! She is working on a new book and wanted some feedback. Art Journals are in my head a lot these days (remember the one I made for Jonas when he went traveling this summer?), so it felt perfect to get to try out this concept for Robinsunne and offer her my feedback about the experience.

She is hoping to take these to press soon, so I also have a deadline....see how much I can do in it in one week (that will be next Wednesday). This works well for a girl who loved homework! There are many pages of blank colored cardstock, as the one below (my response after my first day of my internship at the Camden Rockport Middle School Library):
But there are also pages that include a word or image or photocopied "texture" to work from:Do you recognize my owl fabric? I am working on my Owl Bag and this was a scrap:
This page has the look of blue tissue paper glued to a purple background, that Robinsunne then photocopied:

And do you see that little silver word, "love," above? That is a little extra surprise: tucked into the back of the book, a handmade envelope includes several shiny metallic tape embellishments with words on them. And the last few pages of the book have stuff to cut up and play with: fairy wings, stamps, labels, and art-y sayings and encouragements.

SO MUCH FUN. It's great because I can pick it up and put it down...start a page and come back to it later...Just go with what comes to me. She asked for my family's participation, we'll see if that happens! This would be perfect as a gift for someone as a way to introduce them to the fun of "visual" journaling.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In the Studio

I use the term studio loosely here. You may be picturing some kind of light-filled oasis with lots of shelving and work surfaces, but I use the term "studio" to describe my house and its various parts. Sometimes the studio is in the kitchen, sometimes at my art table in the living room, the dining room table is handy for cutting out fabric. Mostly, the studio is wherever I need it to be for whatever I am doing.

I used my first kid-free day at home (both at school!) to make ATCs and to prepare fabric for my next sewing adventure...a bag for me that I have dreamed up, using the owl fabric with green floral lining. Well, that and housework.

The Why Cheap Art Manifesto, by Bread and Puppet, was the inspiration (thanks, Robinsunne---who is having a little giveaway participatory art project right now! Go check it out.) for these cards, with the backgrounds I prepared earlier:

Here is Sylvan, 6, on our George's motorcycle (plumber, adopted grandpa, friend). Sylvan is sporting his ski helmet, cowboy boots, his famous "sport pants," and my brother's tiny little leather biker coat: