Friday, June 25, 2010

My new summer top

I have had this pattern cut out and ready to sew for a little while now. I even set up my sewing machine at home hoping that this and other projects would get done. Well, that didn't happen. I spent several days at my parents' house this week helping pack boxes for their upcoming move. In the evenings we found some time to sew and I was able to finish this project with, as usual, a little help from my mom. It is not that I can't do certain things, but that mom can do them more quickly and skillfully. I figure I should take advantage of that help for as long as I can!

This sweet top is Simplicity 4589, view B, with a modification to the sleeves. I used a cotton voile print from Anna Maria Horner, which I'm crazy about. The fabric is butter soft and really beautiful. This pattern is so popular that there is a flickr group dedicated to it, so I had a feeling it would be a good one. View B had flutter sleeves that are supposed to ruffle up on their own. Well, mine weren't ruffling, instead they flattened on top and had a hump in the front and back, not attractive at all. This surprised me since the fabric is so soft and lightweight. The sleeves may have settled down and ruffled properly with washing and wearing, but I wasn't going to be wearing them the way they were! Mom helped me take little tucks in each sleeve so that they would be tamed and to create permanent ruffles. I love the way they turned out, check out the detail shots below. I definitely plan to make more versions of this pattern.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My first art business

In the summer of 1990, the summer after ninth grade, I invited my friend Gretchen over to make purses. We had been friends in middle school, a tiny school with only about 40 in our ninth grade class, but had never hung out outside of school. Well, that purse making adventure turned into a lifelong friendship, and we have now been friends for twenty years! We have been in each others weddings and still have much in common, especially art. Gretchen is a talented printmaker and the art director of Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland. We only get to spend time together about twice a year now, and unfortunately I have not gotten to visit her in Maryland yet. Gretchen is still one of my closest and bestest friends in the world. It made me so happy to find this article while going through my parents stuff to pack for their move. If you click on the image the article should be large enough to read. This was written up that summer in our small town paper. My first business venture and my first press! Love you G!

I have also found several of the purses that we made and will be sure to share those soon. They are pretty funny.

This article was also in the same paper. My family hosted exchange students from Japan twice for a weekend each time. They were wonderful experiences and I still remember how to fold and origami crane! Sorry this story is cut off at the bottom, but you get the idea.

Story about my family hosting exchange students

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Kool-Aid Dyeing Workshop

Saturday morning was my Kool-Aid Dyeing workshop. Last summer I presented my Kool-Aid dyed yarn babette to my sister-in-law for a baby shower gift. Two of my mom's friends were interested in learning and we finally got around to doing this workshop. It was just the four of us, me, mom, Lu and Michelle, but we had a blast! I had made this Kool-Aid yarn color chart last week and really had fun with that.

We each tried painting skeins and dyeing a solid skein. Here are two of the painted skeins that I did.

I have one more painted and my solid that were still drying at my parents' house.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flowers in the Hill Country

Last Friday Mom, Kathy and I toured two lavender farms and the Blanco square, all part of the Blanco Lavender festival. The small farms that we toured were beautiful and smelled delicious. I love that there is so much going on in that part of Texas.

We also happened upon the blue barn with a fresh cut flower market inside, part of Arnosky family farms. We briefly saw the proprietor, but she had to run out and said the market was self service that day, where can you find that kind of trust these days?! I'm jealous that mom will have access to Texas wildflower bouquets right down the road. I can get the same bouquets grown in Blanco at our local gourmet grocery store, but somehow it doesn't seem the same. I noticed that they were also selling goat cheese, one of my favorites, from another local farm. There are many more farm tours to be had in the area, I'm sure!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An up close look


I photographed these fallen sticks laden with lichen at my parents new place in Wimberley last weekend. I found the details in the lichen to be endlessly fascinating. You can see much more in these macro photos than with the naked eye. I love the shapes and textures and can't believe how much variety there is in these little mini epiphytes. I feel the urge to investigate these plants further.

me on the property

Our airstreams' new home-ready for guests

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A baby shower gift

I shared a peek at this baby gift a couple of weeks ago. I was so excited about the blanket that I just couldn't help it. These gifts were made for my mom's best friend's daughter who is expecting her first baby in August. I chose this granny ripple pattern which was a breeze and is now going to be my go-to baby gift. I finished the blanket in two weeks but could have finished faster. The yarn is Crayon from Knit Picks and is soooooo soft and comes in lovely colors. The only think that I didn't like about the yarn is that it is hard to see your stitches with the texture. The pattern I chose was perfect for this yarn though as in a granny stitch you don't really have to see your stitches!

After making the blanket I decided that it needed a pillow to go with it. I drew out a pattern for a standard pillow size. I cut out the sun from hand dyed quilting cotton, ironed on interfacing to the back, clipped and turned under the edges about 1/4" all around. I then ironed the sun to the backing fabric and top stitched it with the sewing machine all around the edges. I used a light box and a wash away marker on the fabric to trace the clouds and lettering and then hand embroidered those. I sewed it up with the little green ball trim and I think it is so cute! I'm really happy with the results and I think it will be a well loved gift by both baby and parents.

The pillow on my bed after I finished

The gift recipient and host of the shower showing off the blanket and pillow.
In the baby room

Monday, June 14, 2010

Learn to dye with Kool-Aid!

I'm teaching a Kool-Aid yarn dyeing workshop this weekend and there is still time to sign up. If you are in the DFW area and are interested check out the evite for more info. I do need to know asap so that I can order the yarn, so please let me know if you want to join us.

In the Garden

I have been taking photographs out in my front garden all spring. I love watching how things change and different plants cycle between bloom and rest. We put this garden in probably seven years ago, of course we added more and more plants over the years. Now it is almost no maintenance! I do have to trim and take out the baby pecan trees that grow up where the squirrels plant our pecans. Mostly though this garden just gives and gives and gives and we feel so lucky to have such a beautiful front yard.

The first thing to bloom are the larkspur. I collected these wildflower seeds when I worked at Home to Garden and loved seeing them bloom in the early spring there.

Here is the garden in late April. My Red Cascade rose seemed to have more blooms than ever before, and the Mexican Bird of Paradise was loaded down as well.

Mexican Bird of Paradise up close. This is one of my favorite plants.

This bloom is on our Desert Willow tree, the variety is called 'Bubba'.

A miniature pink rose with Santolina and Golden Oregano.

Spineless Prickly Pear with Blue Larkspur and a native Texas yellow flowering plant that I forgot the name of.

Mexican Feather grass, another favorite, with blooming Santolina.

My Cardoon in bloom, it's taller than me!

A view of the whole garden