Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today.

slept in
went to church
took the youngest shopping, then proceeded to whack her in the head with the cart (oops)
made fudge (with a secret ingredient! if you're my friend on facebook, you may know what it is!)
ate fudge
watched some 30 Rock episodes on Netflix
dozed on the couch
had a spur-of-the-moment showing on the house
drove through the misty evening (while the house was being shown)
bought a Christmas gift at Starbucks
had a cocktail
made dinner
ate some more fudge

realizing that, today, life is pretty good

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am humbled by the many, many things I have to be thankful for. It can be easy to remember the big things in life, but how often do we really ponder our basic needs and how lucky we are to have them?

Today, I am thankful for the simple and quietly normal life I lead.
I have a solid house that is comfortable and safe.
I can turn the heat up when it gets cold.
I can go to the grocery store and pay for a cart of groceries any time I want.
I am not hungry.
I have a reliable car.
I can pay for gas in the same way I pay for my groceries.
I have wool socks on my feet.
I have a bin full of hats and scarves and gloves.
I have a husband who loves me.
I have three children who love me, too.
We are all healthy.
My husband has a good job.
I have wonderful friends.
I live in a free country.

I could go on. I am blessed to live this life, and sometimes I question why I am allowed to enjoy a simple and comfortable life when others cannot. I guess instead of questioning why, I will instead simply trust God in His plan for my life and continue to be thankful every day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coming along.




The new house is coming along, as you can see! Of course I continue to operate iCraft, though I admit that my "job" recently has been to oversee the hundreds (thousands?) of details that will go into making this board and concrete and Tyvek-wrapped creation a home. Daunting? Yes. But fun too!

Also getting geared up for another craft show the Saturday after Thanksgiving. If you're in the Omaha area that day, stop by Millard South High School (I'll be in the gym) for some Christmas shopping!

Unrelated, I am hosting Thanksgiving for the second year in a row! The only thing I don't like to do is clean the turkey and cook the innards for gravy. Blech. However, I plan to do like I did last year and cook my potatoes the night before, then put them in the crockpot on Thanksgiving day. Super-great time saver! Because really, who wants to stand over a pot of boiling potatoes when they can be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween costumes (part 2 and 3).

So I know it's like a week after the fact, but please bear with me as I have been battling a cold and lost my voice for several days. Even now, you'd think I smoked a pack a day for the last 10 years judging by the gravelly, Kathleen Turner-ish quality of my voice! (For the record, I don't smoke!)

Halloween was a huge success around here and since I shared Lauren's costume I am compelled to share the other two. Earlier this fall I convinced Grace that she should be a witch for Halloween. As a preschooler, I wore the same witch's costume for probably three years running, so I was thinking it would be nice if at least one of my daughters followed suit! She agreed, and we put together an outfit consisting of a black and purple tutu (handmade), sparkly witch's broom, and hat. We also figured a black and purple witch-themed Halloween t-shirt and a pair of black leggings would be good to round out everything (thanks, Target, for the broom, hat, and tee!). Here she is in the Halloween parade at school - totally crummy photo but it's the best one with the whole ensemble:

I must note that she wasn't thrilled with the witch thing after all. I think there were a few too many in her class, and she ended up pleading with me to let her wear fairy wings with it for trick-or-treating, to be a "Butterfly Witch." Luckily she sort of forgot that request by the time they were running out the door, so I didn't have to track down the wings after all. Whew!

And the other costume? Well, that involved quite the decision-making process for Reed (the boy who has a tough time getting excited about any Halloween costume)...and as you can see, he decided upon being abducted by an alien. We expect him home any day.

Seriously, this costume was work. But it was worth it, even though he didn't care for the scores of moms who took his picture at school because they liked the costume and wanted to save the idea for next year. He told me, "Mom, that must be what it feels like to be a celebrity, with the paparazzi taking your picture all the time." I know he secretly enjoyed the attention and he was pleased that so many people were visibly taken aback by the illusion of the costume. If you want the skinny on how to accomplish this look, go to Family Fun and take a gander at the instructions. I will warn you - it involves paper mache, paint, and lots of safety pins.

I have to admit that I am glad Halloween is over. I enjoy the event itself, just not all of the hoopla that leads up to it! I guess I'm a traditionalist and I want to properly enjoy each holiday in its own time! Which means I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, and will not put up any Christmasy thing until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Call me old-fashioned...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween costumes (part 1).


The first of 3 costumes this year is done, thank you very much! With two days to spare before the class Halloween parties! I have to say I am pleased this year that all of my kids decided (well, more like agreed) to have at least a portion of their costume handmade. I am a big fan of pulling together a costume with what you have, not so much by going out and buying a prepackaged get-up. Don't get me wrong...we've had plenty of those (Thomas the Train, Mr. Incredible, Minnie Mouse, Superman, The Cat in the Hat, I could go on...). The prepackaged ones were actually great when they were littler - easy to put on, the effect was instantaneous, and it was, well, easy. Not everything can be easy with 3 kids all just 2 years apart.

Anyway, this year we came up with some good ideas I think. Lauren is going to be a zookeeper, which fits well with her love of animals and her current second-grade ambition to become a zookeeper someday. The costume was SIMPLE! I spent a grand total of $2.50 at Goodwill for a khaki shirt (which is corduroy, luckily she didn't care) and a greenish-khaki bucket hat. She has a laminated name tag from a zoo camp she did this summer, and plans to carry her favorite stuffed tiger, "Cubby."

The final piece of the costume? She requested patches for the shirt. Hmmm. I considered going to the zoo and looking in the gift shop, but at the last minute had a brainstorm to see if I could make patches myself. Here's what I did:

Got online and found images of several logos for our local zoo. I then copied them over to a blank document in Publisher, and included a khaki-colored box behind the image (my first attempt didn't include the box, but then the "patches" ended up being too white). I printed the images onto "inkjet fabric sheets" (purchased at Joann's awhile ago, so I had these on hand), then followed the instructions to make the ink colorfast. Next I sewed each image onto a piece of fusible interfacing, then trimmed and ironed onto the shirt. The final touch - a tight zigzag stitch around all edges to firmly attach to the shirt. I think they turned out well, and I know my little zookeeper will love the extra detail!


The great thing about these patches is that you could adapt this to a lot of different costumes. Flags or NASA images for an astronaut comes to mind, or anything that needs a logo to look more "official." If the inkjet fabric is too complicated, you could easily print it out on paper and run it through a sticker machine to adhere to the costume...you could even sew paper or cardstock onto the costume. Just remember that if you use a logo, it truly has to be for personal use - not for anything you'd consider reselling!

OK, one down, two to go...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More minky to share.


Kudos to Chelsey Brakke from Itzy Bitzy Baby for creating this gorgeous Minky blanket! I love the addition of the loops along the edge...so fun for a baby to play with! And I am seriously loving the argyle print with the lovely chocolate brown. It's a little known fact that I am a sucker for argyle! Check out her shop, she has lots of goodies for babies including more of the minky "loveys," headbands, bows, and super-cute leggings. Thanks for the photos, Chelsey, you did a fantastic job!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The big dig.


Construction has begun. Hooray!

Minky blanket.



Check it out, Tamara in Kansas City made this gorgeous Minky blanket for her niece! Excellent job, what a lucky girl to receive this!

As I've said before, I would LOVE for you to send me photos of your creations, either from a tutorial or from fabric you've purchased from me. I'll post the photos and link to your blog or shop as well!

I'm pleased that so many of you have found my tutorial helpful. I have a few other tutorials in mind, including a zippered pouch, a simple tote bag, and an easy strap for a bag. What do you think, which would you like to see first?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work.

I remind myself that I am lucky. I sit here in my pajamas, coffee by my side, snow outside the window (again, sigh), while conversing through my laptop with a woman in Ukraine about a fabric order. Later I will cut and package an order to be sent to France, another to go to Singapore. Am I really a worldly woman of international business? Or just a gal in pj's with some fabric to sell?

I love this little business of mine. Yet, with all three kids at school and a college degree sitting dormant, there is a part of me that is feeling left behind. I've been looking into re-entering the official work force and truthfully, it scares me! I have been home for almost 10 years! I feel like a 34 year-old dinosaur with very few qualifications. I can make a mean PB&J, and I can predict how high a fever is quite accurately with just a kiss to the forehead...but I don't think those skills will translate well to a resume.

I am lucky. I know this. I don't have to find a job today, and I can be picky in regards to what I want to pursue. And in the meantime I can sell some fabric, all from the comfort of my pj's.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For real?

Last time I checked, it was still October...but it looks like December decided to make a surprise visit in the night!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Coffee break.

i brought the Starbucks, he gave me a tour of the remodeled bathroom. then, we talked houses and jobs. love spending time with my dad.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good Folks quilt.

My iCraft fabric shop on Etsy has been on vacation lately, have you noticed? With everything going on with the house, and with the sewing flurry for the upcoming show, it just made sense. I am a terrible multitasker (if you don't believe me, ask my kids!) and I do SO much better when I can focus on one thing at a time. Hence putting iCraft on vacation.

But while I have been away it is evident that great things are coming from the pretty textiles I sell. Take a look at the gorgeous quilt made by Linda Hall, using blues and greens from Anna Maria's Good Folks collection. Such talent!

Monday, September 28, 2009

House, craft show, and other random things.

House - So, if it wasn't official before it certainly is now - we are building a house and selling our current one! We own the lot (see previous post photo), the construction will begin soon-ish, and the For Sale sign is up in our yard. Now that the house is perfectly clean (as in, dusting-with-a-toothbrush-clean), it hasn't been too bad trying to keep things tidy for open houses, etc. It does beg the question of why I don't just keep things this clean on a regular basis? Hmmm. Guess it's not really in my nature.

Craft show - If you're an Omaha local, come visit me this Saturday at the Millard West Fall Craft Show from 9 to 4! I'm knee-deep this week frantically trying to get things in order, making sure I have enough of everything, and trying to remember how I had it organized in the spring. I admit I am most looking forward to spending the entire day with my mom again - she was an awesome help last spring! And so rare for us to spend that much time together at once.

Other random things - Read this book last week and LOVED it. Couldn't put it down. Haven't seen the movie, and frankly can't imagine it being as good as the book (are they ever?) I'm still thinking about it days later and wishing I had another good one in its place! Secondly, I love, love, love this YouTube video...this kid is amazing! I will admit that it took me a good minute (or two, or three) before I realized it was the same person, edited together to look like an a cappella group. Duh. Also, despite my aversion to all things Rachael Ray, I have watched a few episodes of 30 Minute Meals while eating lunch lately. I am planning to make this and this soon. The true test will be if a) I actually make it, and b) it really takes 30 or so minutes. I may continue to watch more episodes, but I will likely press "mute" when she starts going off on "EVOO."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Does this make it official?

The sign says it all, as it sits on a nice stretch of land that will be ours very soon. Yes, that's right, house construction is in the works! More to come soon!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Keeping busy.

Blogging has gone by the wayside lately as I have been finding a new pattern for my days. My quiet days, ahem. Between work and continuing household projects I'm frankly amazed how fast the days go! I'm also equally amazed at how much I can get done between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Seriously, amazing.

Anyway, lots has been happening around here. I finally finished the huge project of the week which was painting Reed's room. It had awesome navy blue walls - really dark, but really cool for a boy. However in light of trying to sell the house, we knew it was time to brighten the room back up! So, one coat of primer and one coat of incredible paint (who knew I could cover that blue in such a little amount of primer/paint?), and it's done. And looks awesome. Can you see me patting myself on the back?

With that done, I'm now moving on to iCraft central and trying to declutter my fabric scraps. What I really should do is package them up by type and sell scrap bags. Would this interest anyone out there? Because as you can see, there is a LOT of excess laying around!

a happy little stack of Denyse Schmidt fabrics


and some Echino I forgot about...


and my mannequin, who is double-bagging it for the time being




Friday, August 21, 2009

Paris.

This slideshow is making me happy. Oh, how I would love to buy a couple of plane tickets right now! When we were there 10 years ago we saw many of these sights, but not all. I have been loving all things French, particularly all things Paris lately. For a wonderful glimpse at real-life, on-the-street Paris, check out Nichole's blog, Little Brown Pen. And don't forget to look at her "More Posts from our time in Paris" link.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Alexander Henry.

Boule in Multi

Petite Boule in Multi

Petite Boule in Amethyst

I have had a lot of questions about these new fabrics, and realized I haven't featured them yet on the blog! They are new Alexander Henry prints - "Boule" features large circles (6") and "Petite Boule" features smaller circles (1"). Artsy, modern, and certainly colorful. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A creative outing.

I have to admit, I am digging this being home by myself business. The quiet is, well, quiet. I can think. I can eat lunch while reading a book. I can work on iCraft or Jenny Hofer Designs (which re-opened today!) or I can continue to plug away at household projects. Weeds sprayed? Check! Rose bush planted? Check! Kids books organized by size and genre? Check, check, and double check!

Yet I still have the need to get out of the house on a daily basis. I mean, the dog is great and all but she doesn't exactly hold up her end of the conversation! My sanity definitely involves getting out. However, when there are no particular errands to be run I am stuck thinking, "I want to get out. But what do I go do?"

Today, I got out and did some product photography, kind of on a whim. I went to a local arboretum with a handful of tote bags, searching for the perfect place to get some good shots. I felt a little self-conscious when the landscaping crews kept driving back and forth around me, but maybe they're used to seeing women carting around colorful bags and propping them up on trees! Anyway, it was fun. Getting out of the home element of my studio space and racks of fabric is a perfect way to feed my creative spirit.

Here are a few of my favorite shots. Of course I couldn't resist the landscaping either!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A new chapter.


My baby went off to kindergarten today. I must admit, I have actually been quite excited to get to this point, particularly last year when the afternoons got long and my mothering fuse was short. So many times Grace and I would sit on the front steps, waiting for the bus to go by, and I would tell her, "What am I going to do next year when YOU are on that bus, too?"

Well, today was that day, and I was sitting out front all alone.

I do harbor a piece of myself that has been increasingly sad over the last few days. Not so much for Grace to actually be in kindergarten, but moreso for myself and acknowledging the passage of time. To think that my days with babies are over. There will be no more nap times, or preschool programs, or playgroups. I am done with babies and toddlers and preschoolers and yes, a part of me is mourning the idea of saying goodbye to that time in my life.

Yet, with this sense of sadness comes excitement at the idea of change. What will happen in our lives during this next chapter? What lies just over the horizon? How will we grow, and change as a family? How will God help us lead our family through the new waters before us?

So much to think about.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alexander Henry.

Camden Fair

Camden Chain

Avedon

Finally, some Alexander Henry to brighten the day. These are so, so lovely! More AH to come later this summer, but for now, enjoy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer hiatus.











Life moves at a pretty decent clip, and we are doing our best to capture the magical moments.
Hope you're having a wonderful summer!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clutter busting.

When we bought our current house, we were impressed by the large amount of storage - a plethora of walk-in closets, a wall of cupboards in the laundry room, and two storage rooms. Sounds great, right? It has been, for the most part, until now when we contemplate selling this and moving to a new house. Because, friends, all of that storage space means that lots has been stored in there. A lot! Some stuff even made a lateral move from our old house, from one dark corner to a dark cupboard, never to be seen again. And now we have started the process of clearing the clutter, trying to make everything appear spacious and new-buyer-worthy.
Some things go straight to the trash, a lot of stuff goes to Goodwill, and a few things have been going to a "Will-we-or-won't-we-keep-it" halfway house set up in our bedroom (the closets are getting cleaned, but that room is a mess!). As I go through the mountains of stuff, I am occasionally sad - like when I found the sweet bug pj's that Reed wore when he was one. Or the tiny gray wool clogs the girls wore when they were two. Yet other things, like the random tapes (yes, I said tapes, not CD's) I had in junior high were easy to toss. (Question - why do I even still have those?) I'm not generally a pack rat or overly sentimental about our things; I guess having lots of storage just means you're never really forced to decide what is truly important to keep, and what things have served their purpose and need to move on to a new home!

p.s. That photo above? That's stuff to go to Goodwill, from Lauren and Grace's closet, plus the laundry room cupboards.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Loving this.

I have kids who drink water - and lots of it - and enjoy having it on the go (or sitting next to them while they watch tv). We had a few cheapy water bottles from Target but after a year they were chewed up and leaked horribly. I decided to spend a little more and get a better quality product this year, ending up at Scheels to make my purchase. I bought this - the CamelBak Better Bottle - and got it in 3 colors (each of our kids is assigned a color - avoids fights!). They have been great! The blue part of the straw is one you actually have to bite on to be able to suck water through. Thus, no backwash. For a family with kids known for a nasty backwash, this is a huge bonus! Now mom or dad can share water with a child and NOT say, "ewww, gross." I paid $12 a piece, but I see online they're cheaper. No leaks, BPA free, and the straw stays nice since it's meant to be bitten.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lucky 13.

It was a good day today. Trip to the bookstore, a new library card, some painting supplies from the craft store, a haircut and color, fudgesicles with Grandma, an impromptu playdate for the boy. Later, a family dinner of pizza followed by strawberry wedding cake. The latter in honor of our anniversary, number 13. Funny, they've all felt pretty lucky.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer is here.

A view of my world for the next three months or so. When I'm not cutting fabric, that is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rainbow.

Have a happy, rainbow-filled weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New.

Anna Maria's Good Folks, as promised. Much, much prettier in person than any image found online! Whole yards to be listed tonight, with full yard and half yard sets likely posted tomorrow. Enjoy!