Thursday, April 30, 2009

I made this little beaut this morning. I am pretty happy with how it turned out, though next time I have a pattern this big, I will pay more attention to pattern placement.

A philosophical moment from Seat Of My Pants:
Sometimes things work out in ways we don't understand. Other times thing work out in ways we thought would be a cinch, and we are surprised at how non-cinchy they actually are. At those times, we have to remember--I have to remember--that no matter, I am being watched over and cared for. Maybe it's hard to remember that, but it's true.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This afternoon I sold this super cute mermaid zippy pouch--it couldn't have had more than 4 views! That is some kind of record!

Naptime today allowed me to make two pouches like this one, and two fabulous Kaffe Fasset card wallets. I'm pleased with how they turned out.

I have finished the written part of my thesis. The revisions went well and easy last night. Printing--now that is a different story all together.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


On Friday, I will be submitting my thesis book, Bloomington Avenue.

What a tremendous sentence that is! Do you know what this means? This means that I am DONE!

Well, not quite. I am very nearly done though. This evening I am doing some final revisions (I feel like "final revisions" have included revisions that were far from final!) and preparing a draft to send off to a contest. In particular, there's this one poem about a tree that used to be across the street. One day a couple of summers ago, it started changing into its fall foliage in the middle of July--obviously it had died, or had been slowly dying over a long, long time. It was pretty remarkable to see a tree change that quickly in the middle of summer. Anyway, the poem has felt about half done since I wrote it and did initial revising back at the beginning of my MFA program experience. And last night, as I was contemplating a panel of instructors reading through my book, I realized that the poem was still very far from being done, and that if I turned in that draft, I would regret it. So I wrote some more! I think I took it a little bit too far--I have, evidently, this tendency to wax a little sentimental, particularly about the demise of things in the natural world--so I will be cleaning up a little excess from that poem tonight.

Then there's the task of page numbering. I somehow made it to the end of grad school without knowing how to properly format the page numbers in a paper where the first page needs no number, the table of contents need roman numerals, and the arabic numerals don't begin until page 4 or 5. I hate to resort to this, but I am not too proud to make a document that contains strictly page numbers and print them onto the already-printed draft.

I have high hopes for Bloomington Avenue. I think it is pretty solid as a book. I went with sections, which is something that I didn't think I would do! I had a working order of poems for quite a while, and as a strict academic exercise, I decided to shuffle them in to sections. What emerged were three sections that give the book some structure for its somewhat whimsical--and sometimes very short--poems.

So--off to revise. And then maybe sew.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So Close!

Check me out!

Evidently, on April 9, I was not featured on the front page of Etsy. But I was close!

Three cheers for What a lovely and useful tool for those Etsians who are a tad obsessive.

I love it when this happens!

This morning I was attempting to make a bi-fold card wallet. I made cut the fabric about 3/4 of an inch too narrow, though, which made it too narrow to hold a card. So I stitched up the sides and voila, glasses case. I prefer "spectacle case" though. I think it is more musical.

The design is not quite perfect--it was an accident after all--but this is a nice start.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Giraffe Bag

This is the messenger bag I made for my friend Lisa. It's made of a brown corduroy and (obviously!) a giraffe skin print. It's about 11 inches wide, 3 inches deep, and 12 inches tall. There are 2 big pockets inside.

I love that it is sunny enough outside to take these kinds of pictures again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fix It or Leave It?

I wonder if this would work: unsew the bottom stitches and the bottom pocket stitches, turn the thing inside out, unsew the sides halfway up, turn it right side out again, move the bottom pocket, turn it back inside out, sew the sides back up, turn it right side out again, and sew up the bottom once again.

Yes, that is how I would fix a checkbook cover whose bottom pocket is too high. Now, to test how long it takes to make such a repair. I would guess almost as long as it took to make the thing in the first place.

Darn Half Inch

It's really more like a quarter inch, but that little space has made the difference, I discovered today, between a sweet checkbook cover and one that doesn't close right. How annoying. I don't know how many times I am going to have to learn a lesson like this, but listen up in case you are like me: if you get the feeling that you should give it a good, thorough measuring before your proceed, you are probably correct. Stop what you are doing, go find 2 checkbooks, and make sure the thing closes all the way BEFORE you make 9 or 10 of them.

This has been my public service announcement for the day.

Even though this (repeated) mistake is irritating, I discovered a solution to my 1/4 inch dilemma, and the covers I made this morning turned out very nicely. I will need to do something about the ones in my Etsy shop. I'll probably deactivate them and see what can be done. "See what can be done," that sounds so dire. It isn't dire, just annoying. And I have become a better seamstress because of this error, so it's not a complete wash.

Today I'm ordering the invitations to the Open House. Yay! They are SO stinking cute. I'll put them up here when they arrive. Purple, but that's OK.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Successful Naptime

I am so happy about our new schedule. Baby naps at 10, and by 10:30 the boy and I are up to the attic. Today he was getting bored of, and so I am going to have to sneak up and find him some new pages to play with. (Don't worry, he has no idea how to navigate the internet, and I am right there in the same room with him.) Today he was more curious about my fleece-covered pliers (key fob making, of course), my rotary cutter (sharp, don't touch!), the bobbins, and some knitting needles! In the midst of all of that, I made three more checkbook covers. I am really pleased about them, but they do demand an answer to a question: do people even use checks anymore?

I sure don't. Between plastic and the internet, I have very little use for them. I do still carry around a checkbook though, because I haven't abandoned them completely. I write checks for the offering at church, and I write checks to register for things like craft shows. Perhaps there are still some people out there who would like to toss that unsightly vinyl cover that came free from the bank with the checks--no disdain meant toward free things, mostly toward unsightly vinyl things!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I have been inspired. Inspired and busy!

I mentioned that I figured out how to make a cutey patootie checkbook cover yesterday. I made four of them! They are so super easy... I have been contemplating writing a tutorial and selling a DIY kit of pre-cut, pre-ironed-with-interfacing fabrics. Maybe some day when my Etsy shop is full and busy... although maybe that would help it to be full and busy, or busier. Hmmmm.

This evening I made a lovely shopping tote out of a vintage green tablecloth that my friend Joanne gave to me when she was clearing out her fabric stash last summer. The bag turned out really cool. I made a applique negative space A out of this adorable orange and yellow apple fabric.

Open House Progress

One of the aspects of my open house this year that I am most excited about is our raffle. Each of my fellow artists and I will be offering a really stupendous raffle prize, and today I finished mine!

(On a side note, I am able to sew during the daylight hours because our son is now able to be in the attic with me--maybe I've mentioned this already, but it is BIG news for me!)

I have made a medium tote, a checkbook cover (first ever!), a beautiful double-interfaced zippy pouch, and a card wallet. (I will be getting a new snap attacher soon. A certain 3-year old got ahold of it one day when I had it downstairs, and the little yellow washer is gone, gone, gone. This is somewhat timely, as I was already considering changing the type of snap I use... we shall see.)

So it was a productive afternoon. I also made a bunch of cute wash cloths for my friend Katie's baby. They turned out super cute. I used 8 inch flannel and terry cloth squares.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cloth Diapers for Earth Day

I thought that since I gave this big long speech about how I love cloth diapers about a month before our daughter was born that perhaps I should update on how it is going in real life.

I will not lie: disposable diapers are easier. But let me tell you this. Cloth diaps are about a thousand times less disgusting. How can this be, you ask. Be forewarned--this answer is not for the faint of heart.

Imagine a bag full of disposable diapers. Imagine that you are a normal human and the bag is pretty full. Imagine that it is garbage day. If you have not ever emptied the diaper pail of a heaving bag of disposables, you cannot imagine the stench you are in for. It is just inhumane. And why wouldn't it be? There's probably a couple dozen diaps in there after all.

Cloth diapers are different for a couple of reasons. We use these flushable liners that allow us to flush the solid stuff away--ingenious if you ask me. So all that ends up in the pail is wetness. And you can buy as many diapers as you want, but with the 24 that we have, there is no week-long build up, because after a day and a half, not only is the pail pretty full, we are nearly out of clean diapers! Yes, it is stinky, but it's nothing in comparison. And I said that they are less easy than disposables, but not by much.

Oh--and there's also the blowout situation. I can't tell you how many times a disposable dipaer let me down with our son. Is there any worse laundry-related endeavor than scrubbing out the poo-poos? My answer will always be NO WAY! We have had zero poopy blowouts with cloth diapers, and the wet leaks have been minimal.

So if you are expecting a baby and have been considering cloth, absolutely go for it, friend! It feels so good to wash diapers and know that at least these won't be sitting in a landfill (or festering in the diaper pail till trash day). It feels even better not to thump that big stinky bag out to the curb!

Monday, April 20, 2009

National Poetry Month Celebration

Today I celebrated National Poetry Month by participation in a community poetry reading event at the College of Wooster. My friend and classmate Joanne helped to organize it and invited me as a community member to share a few poems from my thesis. No sweat, I thought! Since Wednesday is Earth Day, I decided to read some tree poems and some dog poems. (One would think that I would be done writing about trees and dogs 7 years after I turned in my I.S. that featured... trees and dogs... but not so!) I was so nervous. I had no idea how worked up I would be by the time I got there. It was a good warning for my thesis defense this summer, that is for sure! I was trembling a little, didn't know what to do with my arms--ak, it wasn't pretty, but now at least I know what I need to work on. Learning experiences all over the place.

Desperately Good (spoiler!)

When Desperate Housewives began several years ago, I had an unspoken boycott on the show due to the unsavoryness of the characters' collective integrities. I have to tell you, for the most part, I am glad I do not know these ladies (and really creepy gentlemen). BUT--I have never watched a serial drama that was so grippingly written. I love the dialouge and the plot. I love the development of each of the characters, and how we get little glimpses into their pasts that explain why they are the way they are. Each character sounds like herself. I hate to be critical of anything with Sally Field in it, even Boniva commercials, but everybody on Brothers and Sisters sounds exactly the same--flustered fast-talkers! Maybe that is hereditary, but I kind of don't think it's good for the show. Anyway, I love the variety of DH. I was really irritated when I saw a spoiler on the cover of a magazine at Buehler's the other day.

I like the way they addressed Edie's death. I liked the vignettes about the handyman a few episodes ago too. Maybe using that format is a cop-out, easy way to say goodbye to a character. But I don't care. I think they do it well.

Somewhat related... Edie inspired my curiosity last evening, and indeed there are urns for sale on I decided that when I die (we all die, I am not being morbid!), I would like my ashes to be scattered somewhere beautiful, and completely scattered--rinse out that container, I say, because they only thing weirder than a full urn is a mostly empty urn.

Amy's bags

Here are a few of the bags Amy has at Heritage Photography. These are all my Medium Tote size, and they have coordinating key fobs. Can I tell you how much I like key fobs? They are so fun and cute. And truthfully, my keys are so much more easier to find now.

I love these fabrics. Here I have used fabrics from Heather Ross, Heather Bailey, Marcus Brothers, Alexander Henry, and Tina Givens. They rock my socks!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


How I like to make bags!

This week I have had the distinct pleasure of dropping off a batch of bags for consignment at the studio of a lovely and talented pair of photographers in Canal Fulton, Heritage Photography. I am so excited, so excited, and so happy that Amy found my shop.

On a slightly related note, I am so directionally challenged! Before I got to Heritage, I got to some plumbing-type of place, Route 21, a Canal, and a Burger King. Getting home was colorful! When your brain works like mine does, you are surprised a lot. Even when its something like, oh, the highway signs didn't lie! Woo hoo!

Amy's email really inspired me. This week I made 6 bags for her shop, and my next batch will be made from an absolutely delicious collection of fabrics. Since our son is now a big boy, evidently, he has been joining me up in the attic. It has been joyous to sew with him during his sister's nap time.

I am also inspired about the plans for a summer open house. This year, some other lovely artists will be joining me for the event, so in addition to my bags we will have polymer clay creations, vintage-vogue jewelry, and beautiful and delicious cookies. We have been planning, and it is going to be so much fun.

In other news, I am almost done with my thesis book, Bloomington Avenue. It is a book of poems. This evening I worked on a bunch of revisions and I'm feeling pretty good about it. This summer I will defend, and the it's time to find a publisher. Tomorrow, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I will be participating in a poetry reading at The College of Wooster, and will be reading a few poems from Bloomington Ave.