Friday, March 22, 2013

Sketch Portfolio

In ancient Greece when someone was creative it was said that they had a genius, some kind of ethereal creature that would inhabit the walls of their creative space, helping them or guiding them in their work.
This kind of approach to the creative process lifted an enormous bulk of complicated emotions that artist nowadays carry. If someone is a genius then they have the possible stress of wondering what it would say about them should their next production be less appealing or meaningful than their last. Or perhaps it turns out very well and now they have to struggle with keeping their ego in check should lest they lose their friends.
Anyways, I didn't come up with the idea for this project on my own: I saw it in a genius of a book entitled "Improv Sewing". I loosely adapted it to fit the needs of my little artist, and am happy to say that my genius didn't let me down.
This was my first time "drawing" with the sewing machine (see bubbles and letters on front). You set the tension of the presser foot as light as it will go, or you don't engage it at all. Your stitches should be small, 1 1/2 or 2 at the biggest. Keep the needle going fairly quickly and move slowly. It's unsettling at first to have it stitching so fast without moving your fabric to match, but you get used to it and it makes the smoothest result.
Next time I will do the drawing before I attatch the inner lining(in this case the pink piece) because I can see the reverse image inside when the book isn't in. But oh well.
So next time you're feeling all Van Gogh about a creative hurdle tell your genius it's time for it to pitch in and pull it's own weight. You showed up for your bit; if it doesn't turn out the way you pictured, don't take off your ear for it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Out With The (Months) Old

So, over the summer last year I cleaned up and re-upholstered some antiques that I had found. I pressured myself to pick out an uphostery fabric in one afternoon because I had a babysitter and I just wanted these chairs to be finished yesterday, sit-able, waiting in my living room for guests!
I ended up with a fabric that I wasnt crazy about, oh, maybe a week later.
Oh well. Live and learn.
 And I did. After I'd decided to re-cover them I slowed down and decided what I was looking for. And then I waited. And waited. And then last week I was alone at a fabric store, and I saw it! On the "Sale" pile, none the less...
Here are my "new" chairs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Goofing On The Sofa Saturday Afternoon

Go, Dog, Go.

On the last run of Spencer's last snowboarding class of
 the season he wiped out bad and got a black eye^^

Love and hugs!

A Not So Local Business - Boomerang

 So yesterday we went shopping in Brattleboro with our Auntie Sheila and cousin Lauren. Shopping with other people and all those extra hands makes me wonder how I do it when I'm alone! We had so much fun at Boomerang, a vintage and contemporary consignment shop. London tried to convince me the entire rack of knee socks was her size and she took a shine to this be-feathered fedora.



How To Celebrate Winter The Day Before Spring...

15 inches of snow, that's how. We went to bed last night with lilies and irises spreading their green next to the foundation, and awoke to 7 inches of sticky mashed potato snow. And it kept snowing all day! School was canceled so Spencer slept at his grandparents last night. Tyson took today off instead of tomorrow and did some work on our decrepit dining room. I did some laundry, painted with London, worked on a wrap dress(yes, during naptime, post to follow), and made some mushroom soup. And then, right before dinner we made a snowman.

London added some extra eyes^^


And after making a snowman, we went back to our warm and fragrant kitchen to make scones! I pulled out my favorite scone recipe, assembled the dry stuff and then, THEN, found the we had no milk. They turned out ok, but I'll give you unabridged version. Getting the right texture can be tricky with scones because most recipes call for you to cut in the butter, but this one uses melted butter and I've never had them turn out anything less than light and flaky. Enjoy.
Oatmeal Raisin Scones
Mix together:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oats
1/2 raisins
Stir together and add all at once to the dry ingredients:
10 ounces melted butter, cooled
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
Stir just until the dry stuff isn't dry anymore.
Turn out onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or a lightly greased sheet.
Gently pat into a circle about 3/4 inch thick and slice into 8 pizza slices.
 You can brush the top with milk if you want them a little crispy or leave dry.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Also great with all sorts of different substitutions in place of raisins.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Happens During Naptime- Yellow Sun Dress

I do get more done than sewing when it's nap time, but I'm not going to show you the clean dining room closet.

I've started the spring sewing spree for the Toddler2T. The dresses go so fast when the longest seam is about 8 inches. For this dress I used a standard quilting cotton in a very neat cotton ball pattern (I'm you can see it, because that doesn't sound very neat), and for the skirt I cut one of my t-shirts just under the arms and gathered the raw edge until it fit with the bodice. The bottom was already finished because of it's being a shirt, so i saved myself the tedium of making a hem that won't fray.

If you start looking at clothes that you might want to upcycle into other things, always keep an eye out for any edges or buttons that you might be able to use to your advantage. Once you start you'll get good at, and it can save you a ton of time and effort. You can see one of the ways that I use old jeans in a previous posting about upcycled grocery bags and backpacks.

Aside from saving jeans, another thing that I always save is the button strips on dress shirts. Leave them buttoned and then cut out the stiff part that the buttons and buttonholes are sewn on to, leaving yourself plenty of material on either side. You have installed buttons and buttonholes that you know are going to match up, and you can add them into anything the way you would a zipper. I've also added them to upholstery covers.

There are my tips for the day! One of these times I'll have to show you the potholders I make out of the back pockets of the jeans...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In the Eye of the Beholder

So much of my perspective has changed since having kids in my life. Experiencing music, for example. So much of it has anger or violence just in the sounds. Or the words are about relationships that I would never ever want my little people to feel. And the volume! I hate the idea that the thoughts of someone else might be so loud that they could stop an original idea from taking place inside of them.

But this week I've been thinking so much about beauty. When pregnant, I was so determined that my daughter (and I was sure it was a daughter) would not be dressed in pink frilly stuff. I didn't want her thinking that being beautiful hinged on what was on you or what other people thought should be on you. I didn't want her thinking that she had to like certain things. Beauty isn't posessed by the person that is It, It's posessed by the people that view it. I don't want her posessed by anyone!

I stopped dying my hair when I found out that I was pregnant. Ironically, I'd been dying my hair dark brown (and occasionally cherry red) since I was fourteen. And when the chemicals had grown out, my hair was dark brown. With reddish highlights. I kid you not...
I started thinking about the message I would be sending to my little girl if she saw me changing myself. It was a really big topic to have churning inside my brain. The storm hasn't really settled yet...

But as it turns out, London loves pink. And accessories. And dresses. Yesterday she insisted on wearing a long flowery dress out in the mud. She was brokenhearted that she needed a coat because she couldn't see part of her dress. And then after lunch she started telling me that she wanted her hair "up, Nina. Hair. Up." Nina is a two and half year old girl that often has high pigtails.
So, I was bent on protecting her so that she could be herself and decide what she likes. And it turns out she really does like this stuff, without the advertising and the disney movies.
So now I have to decide if I am ok with this. Do I let her be pink and girly, recognizing that she doesn't know the other qualities that are associated with this? The teasing, flirty, queeny side that so many other people might think of? Because that's what I'm really afraid of. The personality behind the choices of appearance that I see other people make.

I know I'm not the first to wrestle with this. And I'm probably over thinking this to an astronomical degree. She likes cars and trains. When she falls down she jumps up and says "Whoa!" and runs off. She cares about other peoples feelings and says please and thank you. Those are the important things.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is It Summer Yet?

 Cabin fever, baby. I'm so ready for it to be warm enough to plant and ride bikes and eat outside. But it's only the first third of March. We could still get feet, feet!, of snow. So we're just trying to make the most of the mind days we've had. My hands and arms are all scratched up from climbing the apple tree and wrestling the unruly lilac tree and our boots are caked in mud.
                                                                        So serious...
                                                                 Okay, done with this mess

         We're off to find an adventure! Or the neighbours cat, which ever comes first...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Random Moments From The Week

^The side of the best bakery in town^

^^Magical little moment of observation^^

^^Saturday was a perfect weather day. We packed the stroller and walked around downtown, ending with a break at Prime Roast. I carry raw cashews at all times for London^^

^^A rare photo of both of us!^^

^^ One of our favorite things: BATHTIME!^^

Just chillin' with the kiddos. Hope you're all enjoying the first glimpes of spring as much as we are!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Local Business- Prime Roast

I thought I would stick with the coffee shop theme.
If my previous entry can be called a local roaster, this one is in house. If you're there on the right day you can stand and watch the roaster turning the beans as they darken from light green to the appropriate level of goodness.

Checking out her purchase. Chocolate covered blueberries!

Lounging, watching the world go by...

We usually go from the library to the comfy window seat

                                Check out these awesome hand made mugs that their using lately^^
 On either side of the shop they have all these interesting and curious coffee makers displayed.
  Yet another comfortable sitting spot

 Freshly made, smelling amazing...
 The chocolate covered fruit (not pictured, but also available, choco-covered espresso beans!)
 Local maple syrup sniffed out by my little sweet tooth
Here's an employee measuring out the raw beans. I guess I was ten minutes early for a roasting picture.
(This is also THE guy that you want making your latte.... We think his name is Ty.)

 London discovered my red chai latte. I'm not sure I like that she likes it. She drank almost half.
 More of those mugs being kept warm for the next person on top of the espresso maker.

The wall of their impressive variety. I can't drink caffeine anymore, and sometimes this takes the fun out of going to a "ahem" COFFEE shop, but between their delicious decaf and the red chai, I'm way too happy at this place.

So stop by if you're ever in Keene. Sit and be comfortable with your warm of mug of somthin' or take home some beans for someone else. Or yourself...