Hiatus.

I’m sorry to announce that there’s not going to be any posting this week (or until I get a new camera, whichever comes first). I was the happy recipient of enough birthday money to get a nice point ‘n’ shoot, which will have to do until money starts falling from the sky and I can get the camera of my dreams. But first I have to figure out how to squeeze maximum camera value out of $200. Any suggestions along those lines?

Sylvia and Sarah Ben, thanks for all the wheatgrass suggestions. I did put a lot of seed in, but I think my grass might be hampered by the really shallow cups. When this batch dies – which shouldn’t take too long, considering how quickly I kill plants – I’ll try again in some deeper dishes.

The big garage sale on Saturday was pretty good; I didn’t get any small pieces of fabric, but I came away with 6 or 7 cotton/poly sheets with flowers and polka dots. I finally washed a load of my vintage scraps and stupidly let them dry all the way, which meant that I spent the next 2.5 hours (not an exaggeration) ironing in front of the tv. Afterward, I rewarded myself by putting them all into little heaps of coordinating colors and patterns, which was quite fun. I’ve decided that I simply must start using some vintage fabric if I’m to continue buying it. To that end, I hope to have some small sewn items at the Farmer’s Market (currently working on patchwork bib and small stuffed bird patterns).

Speaking of the Farmer’s Market, the Sing & Shout Crafts blog is up and running, so please stop by! As soon as we finalize our first market date, we’ll post it there. I hope that all of you locals will stop at our table to say hello, especially if you’re a lurker and I don’t know who you are.

When I return next Monday, I should have a lot of cards and sewing projects to show you. Until then, I hope you have a good week!

Weekend, please.

So, I stayed up late-ish last night watching Jaws with husband. Neither of us had seen it before, so nobody knew who was going to get eaten…and despite some residual 70s corniness, it’s a pretty scary movie. Josh likes scary movies a lot more than I do, but he is gradually increasing my tolerance. I have decided that movie-related stress is a very effective way to make you forget job-related stress and can almost* recommend it as a therapy tactic (*if you don’t mind never wanting to swim in the ocean again).

wheatgrass.jpg

I really wanted to plant wheatgrass in these cute Japanese cups I’ve been collecting, but it’s been growing a lot more sparsely than I had imagined. How do people get lush clumps of wheatgrass growing in their coffeecups, etc.? Did I just not use enough seed?

Weekend plans include thrifting (Palouse Area Garage Sale at Beasely Coliseum, 8 am-1 pm on Saturday) and some card design. I’m throwing my lot in with some other crafty ladies who are sharing a table at the Farmer’s Market this summer, and that means I have to have something to sell. Details and blog address will be provided at soon as we get our act together.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Back door curtain.

Our back door used to have a curtain made from eyelet lace and a blue-and-maroon-Americana-print ruffle. Ick. Last Saturday night, I decided that I couldn’t bear to let our guests see it and whipped up a substitute from an old sheet.

backdoor.jpg

It’s not spectacular, but the view is now much improved and it goes well with my aunt’s  daisy watercolor. Don’t you love the round frame?

Much stress at work this week. The problem with having multiple bosses is that they can all ask you to do something at once. And then call repeatedly to see how their project is going as you scramble to finish stuff for the other guy. Sometimes they even put you on speakerphone, and it’s such a nice treat to know that your “ums” and “ahs” are being amplified for whoever-else-is-in-the-room to hear.

I’m probably learning valuable lessons about priorities and time management, but I’d much rather that it be Friday already. 

Pillows.

Are you sick of my living room yet? If so, I promise that this will be the last photo for awhile (or until I make any more noteworthy changes).

These are the new couch accent pillows I finished last weekend. [I’m also keeping the brown pair for now because there’s a blue-and-brown picture on the wall opposite the couch above the tv, and I don’t have much else that’s brown.]

newpillows1.jpg

The new pillows pick up the ochre from the entryway and our oak furniture, the white helps to lighten the couch, and the black print matches the wallhanging and curtains without looking too matchy-matchy, if you know what I mean.

newpillows2.jpg

I am really happy with how these turned out, even though the fabric panel is upside down on one set (you didn’t notice, did you?).

newpillows3.jpg

The painting in the top right corner, above, is one of my estate sale finds from last weekend. It has all the right colors for the living room, so I’m just trying to decide whether I like it enough to hang above the white file cabinet. It’s not the most exciting painting ever, but it’s colorful and cheerful and – most importantly – not mine. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like hanging your own art in the living room to make you wish that you had used a little more blue and not added so much detail to the background. An anonymous artist, however, is generally above reproach. Funny how that works.

A real find.

Do you ever find something at a thrift store that you just have to buy because you can’t believe that it exists?

I had one of those moments last night. I think Josh thought I was crazy, but this is my new prize from Goodwill. I present to you…the Firm Believer.

fb1.jpg

I think the record cover speaks for itself, so I don’t have a lot of comments (other than Brothers and Sisters, I think we can do better than this).

fb2.jpg

fb31.jpg

fb4.jpg

I dunno, maybe you don’t find this as funny as I do.

Partay.

Before I had the chance to moan about the temporary demise of this blog (’cause what’s a craft blog with no photos?), I got a couple of camera-loan offers. My brother-in-law cheerfully handed over his Sony for a couple of days, and as a result I can show pictures of the little open house party we had yesterday.

openhouse1.jpg

For some reason, I have really been wanting to make cupcakes lately. So, I did a little online search for  recipes and found that some people are really, really into cupcakes. This lady seems a little crazy to me, but she provided this recipe, which garnered a lot of comments (as it should, considering how much butter it uses.) I made 1 1/2 batches and got 40 cupcakes, which was about right. And then I spent Saturday afternoon frosting them with yellow and pink and white. I haven’t frosted anything in a long time and my technique was a little shakey, but the beauty of cupcakes is that when you put 30 of them on display together, nobody notices which flowers have four petals instead of five.

I got a lot of comments about the display method, which I think I invented (although it gets hard to remember what is inspired by an old issue of Martha and what is straight from your imagination). It’s a really nice way of adding height to a table and doesn’t involve lots of fancy display dishes that don’t fit in your cabinet. You just alternate plates of different sizes with some non-wobbly glasses and stack them as high as you dare. Mine shook a little when pushed, but they survived a couple of 2-, 3-, and 4-year olds reaching for seconds.

 openhouse3.jpg

So, a good time was (hopefully) had by all and I’m already planning the big Christmas party I want to throw. With lots of Christmas cookies and candles and carols and mulled cider. Mmm.

I’m going to try to snap some pictures tonight of my weekend projects and estate sale finds, which were unusually good. At the moment, I think I can survive on borrowing until I have enough money this summer to get a nice camera of my own. Any suggestions for a reasonably-priced digital SLR? Pretty please?

Just doing my job.

Sometimes work can bite back in unexpected ways. Take this morning, for example.

This morning, I finally introduce myself to a girl/neighbor who rides my bus route. We go through the “what do you do” routine and it turns out that she’s interested in the graduate program I coordinate. Score! As we take our seats on the bus, I instantly flip into recruitment mode and begin to describe the many wonderful features of our program. As I do this, I stuff my travel mug into my anniversary-present canvas bag. This is normally not a problem, as I usually finish drinking all of my coffee beforehand. New friend and I chat all the way to Pullman, I feel pleased that I’ve found a good prospective student.

Fast forward three hours: I am reaching into my bag for chapstick and notice that things are a little wet. Uh oh. I quickly empty out the contents and discover that “wet” is an understatement. Coffee mug is instantly discovered to be the culprit, I instantly feel really dumb. The thing that makes this worse it that I tend to carry a ridiculous amount of stuff with me. Everything in the pockets (like the cell phone, thank you), is unscathed, but everything on the floor of the bag is drenched. Including my digital camera. I pulled the batteries out and let it dry for a while and I’ve found that I can coax it to turn on. Beyond that, it’s obvious that drinking coffee is not good for a camera. Coffee = 1, camera = 0, Paula = not enough $$ to get a new one. So, no new pics for a while, folks.

All because I was doing my job.

Pillows (in progress).

I’m still trying to finish the new throw pillows for the couch…they’re a very simple design, but it will probably take a few more days. Am trying to heed some gentle words from husband regarding my need to be “productive” all the time. He’s a lot wiser than I am about these things.

pillows1.jpg

I went to WSU’s MFA exhibit during lunch yesterday because I’m always curious about what a mediocre state school’s art department churns out (answer =  about what you’d expect). There were a number of mystefying sculpture exhibits, some boring screenprinting, a couple of installations, and one painter who could paint. If you’re around, I recommend visiting sometime during the month to take a good long look at the work of Isaac Powell and short, amused look at everything else. I finish with a clip from the WSU news service, which pretty much sums it up:

Chris Watts, a professor in the WSU Fine Arts department, and this year’s graduate advisor, has been the formal coordinator of the MFA students for seven years. When asked if the exhibit will have an overall theme, he said, “the strength of the Fine Arts department and the MFA program is we don’t have a certain style, each student is allowed to shine on their own–find their own path. This year’s group was no exception; they continued the long standing tradition of creativity and excellence.” 

Mmm, I’d hate to be the one to break it to him that some paths are better than others.

The bus and the curtains.

For some reason, I consistently almost miss the bus on Monday mornings. Since moving to Moscow, I have happily adapted to taking the ol’ Wheatland Express to Pullman every morning. However, if I happen to miss the 7:45 am route, I have to sit around for an hour until the next one shows up. This is bad form and bad for the work schedule.

Back to the Mondays, though. Last Monday, I was running late and asked Josh to drop me off on his way to Montrose. The bus pulled away before we reached my usual stop, so we decided to try and catch it on the other side of its little UI-campus loop. We pulled up alongside the SUB just as the bus was pulling away, but Josh flagged the driver down and he stopped long enough for me to hop on (only in small towns…).

This morning, I was on foot and a little late out the door. This, combined with the fact that the driver has been early the past week, led me to break into a jog as I cut through Friendship Square. Thus, I had a perfect view through the parking lot as the bus majestically pulled away from the stop next to Otto’s produce market. My jog became a run and I decided to try to catch up with it by the SUB (again). So there I was, dressed in corduroys + tweed jacket + chuck taylors + large purse, dodging engineering students and pounding down the sidewalk. The bus had already pulled away from the stop when I got to the corner, but (thank you, Jesus) the light was red and the driver let me on.

All that to say, if you witnessed the spectacle of my-very-out-of-shape-self dashing through the streets of Moscow, ID, this morning, this is why. Stressful way to start the day, I tell ya.

One of my major goals last weekend was to sew the living room curtains and wall-hanging, and I am happy to say my sewing machine has returned and I managed to finish both. Sewing machine repair is expensive, but my Singer has been (mostly) purring like a kitten ever since. It’s practically a new machine.

The curtains have three three pieces: a flat piece of unbleached muslin that covers the glass and two decorative panels made from printed cotton + an off-white linen blend.

newcurtains2.jpg

Curtains seem like the easiest project in the world, until you stretch three yards of fabric across your living room floor and try to cut or rip it in a straight line. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have a really hard time making sure that my panels are perfect rectangles with even seams. So it was with some trepidation that I carefully ironed the final product and carried it to the window, crossing my fingers that my math was right and they wouldn’t be too short, long, wide, or narrow.

They were just right.

newcurtains3.jpg

The fabric at the top is part of my effort to get maximum usage out of the printed bedspread I ordered from Urban Outfitters. After looking at all manner of sheets and shower curtains online, Urban Outfitters won the design + affordability contest hands down. Sure, I would have preferred to chop up some Dwell sheets, but that’s a little out of budget.

Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for and I lost some sq. feet of fabric because the print wasn’t cut straight. And then it was a long and agonizing task to balance the repeat properly on the wallhanging and curtains (you can’t tell, but the print on both curtain panels is exactly lined up). In the end, however, I ended up with enough fabric for the wallhanging, two curtains, and (hopefully) an accent for some new couch pillows.

newcurtains40.jpg

I also potted a bunch of plants last weekend, but this one lovely pansy (in a $1 thrifted pot!) looks the best. We plan to have a little herb garden growing on the sill, but I don’t think the muslin lets quite enough light in.  I plan to to add some curtain loops so I can hook the bottom half up.

newcurtains5.jpg

So here’s the up-to-date living room, which (you can tell) has got something of a black + white theme going on. I hope to whip up two couch cushion covers this week, and I’m still searching for the perfect lamp base. I wouldn’t mind adding some spots of color somewhere (turquoise or ochre/yellow would fit the best), but I haven’t decided where. Am open to suggestions…