Work + progress.

The “work” refers both to my office and the heaped up pile of sewing projects in my craft room. “Progress” means that I am chipping away at both of them, although it’s been kinda slow going.

As part of my weekend cleaning/organizing extraveganza [last post] I also decided to redo my craft room, which had turned into nothing more than storage space for all my fabric and art supplies. Not anymore! I moved the desk away from the logical place next to the window, stuck it next to a wall, added a few lamps, and jumbled all of my shelves and drawers until they fit.  I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down at the desk before, but I’ve been sewing there the last couple of nights and it’s been lovely (I can’t watch tv anymore, but that probably only increases my productivity). And now there’s not a messy heap of thread and fabric all over the dining room table when someone stops by unexpectedly.

Sewing (in progress).

The room still isn’t pretty enough to take a full picture, but I’m really liking the idea of a whole room devoted to sewing and crafting. And drawing, when I get around to it.

The dolls are still in pieces (I can’t decide whether or not I find the small array of arms and legs macabre), but I think I’ll get to the assembly stage on Thursday night so I can post some cute pics. Am going to see Die Hard 4 tonight instead of sewing…a girl’s got to have her priorities straight.

The market and a new chair.

I got my photos up on Flickr yesterday but couldn’t find the time to write a post..sorry! I’m so excited to show you my new weekend find (can I call it “thrifting” when I got it for free?). But first, some photos from Saturday’s farmer’s market.

Abby, Hannah, and Laura were gone, so Mackenzie Miller and Bethany Hicks and helped Liz and I fill out our table.

New purses.

Mackenzie’s purses, little girls’ shirts, and flopsy bunnies were a very popular addition. (One of the bunnies kept my new cards company.)

Bunny and the new birdy cards.

Many small customers stopped to inspect the merchandise.

Inspecting the merchandise.

Bethany made the dog leashes, which were quite attractive to people who owned only cats (“I’d buy one but I don’t have a dog…”). Dog owners, where were you?

New dog leashes and another bunny.

We had a good time hanging out, which somewhat compensated for the lack of buying customers. I think the Sing & Shout girls are slowly coming to conclusion that people come to the market to buy food, not handcrafts (I guess that’s why it’s called the Farmer’s Market, huh?). Quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s worth our time to go very often unless we know that there will be more people. Perhaps when the students come back in August? I’m pinning more of my hopes on the Lentil Festival or the fall Arts & Crafts Fair, where – I hope – people are really looking for gifts or souvenirs.

But enough of the market – on to my new chair!

New chair (free!).

I’ve been looking for a little midcentury chair for a while now. My criteria were that it had to be small (can’t fit a big stuffed chair in the living room), comfortable, and having a wood frame. Oh, and cheap. And no shipping costs.  That sounds easy, right?

I regularly scan the furniture on our local Craigslist, the Goodwill and couple of other thrift stores but never found the perfect chair. Until my friend Alisha and I went to Palouse, WA, last Saturday to check out the big antique store there (the “Open Eye”). As we walked up, a man was putting a couple of pieces of furniture on the sidewalk with a free sign on them. I immediately see the chair and my heart skips a beat.

[Paraphrased conversation]
Me: “Um, is this furniture really free?”
Him: “Yes, we’re moving to a new building down the street and want to get rid of it.”
Me: {Gulp} “Including the blue chair?”
Him: “Yep – do you want it?”
Me: Lots of nodding.

Hurray!! And that’s not even the best part – when I flipped the chair over to put it in the car I found an extra surprise. It’s a genuine Knoll! I don’t know the designer, but I found a chair with the exact same back on an office-style wheel base selling for $225 on ebay. I mean, it’s no Eames, but I really like it. And it’s comfortable. Ahhhh. I don’t know how anyone could think that God does not care about thrifting when He pretty regularly throws great things on the sidewalk right in front of our feet.

The surprise underneath.


I almost forgot one last weekend project. (If you can’t tell, the weekend was more about house-ing than crafting, including some much-needed vacuuming and scrubbing.) After bringing the chair home on Saturday afternoon, I decided that the time had come to do something about our highly-visible and rather messy bookshelves. So, I pulled all the books off and began color-coordinating them. It’s still a work in progress and I in no way claim to be the originator of this idea, but I really like the way it turned out. Yes, it will be harder to find things, but arranging books by color instead of subject brings out new – and slightly strange – relationships between them (Complete Guide to Papillons next to True Spirituality?) and helps you to decide whether or not you really need all of them after all (Dad? Mom?). I highly recommend it.

Reorganized bookcase.

Guess what?

My board came in third in the decor8/Amy Butler mood board contest – take a look! If you’re in love with Amy Butler but missed the deadline, Holly is also giving one last chance to win some free patterns. I’ll be sure to show you what I do with mine…I think I’m most interested in the hat, at the moment, since I’ve been wanting one to keep the sun off my face.

Regarding the winners, I think the first place entry is definitely the best-designed – the color scheme is very attractive, and she manages to combine a lot of images into the whole without it looking too busy. I was really interested to find out what other people chose out of all the options; I had some guesses, but other than the winner I was pretty off. It was such a fun contest idea, and I *really* can’t believe that I’m in the top four.

Okay, on to Ali’s meme. I figure that I do these in lieu of fortifying my “about” page, which seems kind of boring by contrast. I’ve sent one of these around before so I’m not going to tag anyone this time. If you’re reading and you want to share, leave me a note and I’ll happily come read a bunch of facts about you, too.

If these bore you, carry on and enjoy your Friday afternoon + weekend.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? The apostle Paul, I think (although they might have just liked the name…now I can’t remember).
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? When I left for work on Thursday knowing that I wouldn’t see husband again till Sunday night.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to – it used to be very precise, but it’s been getting messier every year since high school graduation.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LUNCH MEAT? Not a huge fan of lunch meat, actually. It kind of grosses me out.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Not yet.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Not so much anymore.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope, and now I get an icky cough in lieu of (or in addition to) a sore throat. I don’t recommend having them out.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I can’t think of a good reason why.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL? Kashi variations.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Not after holding an 18 month old kid for a while.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Are they actually talking to me or are they thinking about something else?
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Am going to pass on answering this on the internet.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandmother.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A milkshake from Ferdinand’s (it’s Friday, okay?).
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? iTunes on shuffle – currently (njosnavelin) by Sigur Ros.
22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE? I haven’t used crayons in so long that I don’t have a favorite color anymore.
23. FAVOURITE SMELLS? Pine needles in the woods; the neighbors’ wild rose bush.
25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I don’t know her very well (= at all). But some blog catchup makes me think I would.
26. FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I have thanked my husband several times for not liking to watch sports.
27. HAIR COLOUR? Brown with a couple of alarming greys.
28. EYE COLOUR? Brown/green.
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No, except for very special occasions when I’m going to be photographed (like my wedding). Switching between glasses and contacts gives me huge headaches.
30. FAVOURITE FOOD? Does “good food” count?
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Mmm, used to hate scary movies. But since husband puts up with my screaming and eye-covering, I’ve been increasing my tolerance.
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Been spending a lot of quality time with Mulder and Scully lately…I guess “Breach” was probably the last real movie.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Spring or fall.
35. HUGS OR KISSES? From whom?
38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Still not getting it.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? The Farthest Shore by Ursula LeGuin (don’t know how I missed these when I was in high school).
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I use the touchpad on my laptop, which drives a lot of people nuts.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? See no. 32 (in my defense, I’ve been sewing at the same time).
42. FAVOURITE SOUND? I’ve never really thought about this.
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Baku, Azerbaijan, was 12 hours off from Pullman, so I figure I was on the opposite side of the world.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Define “special.”
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? About 10 miles from here.
47. WHAT SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU LIKE? I would really like to fly – I don’t care how. Wouldn’t that be fun?

A printing success story (finally!).

I’ve been tagged by Ali from domesticali with a longish meme that includes some fun + random facts. Unfortunately, it’s getting (temporarily) pushed to the back burner by the exciting news that Overnight Prints did a great job printing my new notecards!

New sparrow notecards.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that finding a good printer has caused all manner of stress in the past. I heard about Overnight Prints via another crafty blog and was pleased to find out that they’ll do greeting cards in very small runs (as small as 10), versus the 250 or so that seems to be industry standard. 250 cards is a lot of capital for me, especially since I like to sell sets with multiple designs. So, despite reading some negative customer feedback online, I gave OP a chance and they came through with flying colors.

New quail notecards.

I decided to redesign my notecards a bit for this project and added a wrap-around piece of 4 of my favorite vintage fabric finds.

New card backs (from my vintage fabric stash).

I also printed the birds on white, since printing on fabric led to some problems getting the bird to stand out from the pattern (if you follow the link, you can see four of my old notecard designs at the bottom).

Printing detail.

The colors are lovely, the finish is nice, and they look a lot more professional than my Kinko’s/Stinko’s versions. I’ll be selling some sets of 4 at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday – Liz and I are going to set up a table for two, since the other Sing ‘n’ Shout girls are out of town. Come say hi and check the new cards out. :)

Flowers from the garden.

I’ve been meaning for some time to write a post called, “My backyard, the jungle.” But I waited too long and the yard has been growing considerably less jungle-like every week as the landlord cuts down bushes and mows the grass. I’m grateful that he takes an interest in the property (not true of all landlords, eh?), but I kind of miss the secret-garden feel that the yard used to have: tall grass, ivy, a hidden bench, a little bird bath. It’s much more tame and open now.

The allium in my backyard.

It took me a long time to identify the allium for what it is – I watched as the plant grew taller and taller (the stems must be at least four feet long), wondering what it would turn out to be. Last week the little purple blossoms appeared and I knew. I wish I could get a satisfactory photo of the entire thing – it’s quite amazing in life.

Roses and white bluebells.

The roses and white bluebells are from the profusion of flowers in my parents’ yard. My own back yard has few enough flowers that I think my neighbors would notice if I picked them, but my parents’ rose bushes have been vigorously blooming for a month and you can’t tell if I pick 5 or 10.

I’ve been cutting out small doll arms and legs and bodies at night but haven’t managed to start assembling them yet. Tonight, maybe? I decided to handsew the hair and shoes again, so that’s taking a little while. I’m going to embroider the faces right afterward, which is one of my favorite parts.

I made a little discovery during lunch yesterday: instead of sitting at my desk, glued to my monitor for my entire break, I got up and went to another room and read a book. This happily resulted in no afternoon headache (thereby reducing my somewhat troubling advil consumption), so I think I need to rearrange my blogging/computer schedule to allow this to happen more often. Internet-land, I love you, but you’re not very good for my eyes.

Thanks for the comments regarding husband’s little party, by the way. I appreciate your feedback a lot!

A special birthday.

What’s a girl to do when her husband happens to love music? And turns 26?

Birthday invitations.

Throw him a special birthday party, perhaps?

Apartment entryway.

This was my first theme party, and the decorating was a lot of fun.

Records over the doors.

I brought home a dozen old records that no one should ever want to play again and turned them into wall decor and record bowls.

Record bowls.

The bowls are easy, if you want to try this at home (I used the instructions here and they worked well). The plastic folds into wonderfully organic shapes – I think mine look a little bit like big black clams.

We also rounded up enough old CDs for me to make a “chandelier” of sorts. It’s not as sparkly as I thought it might be, but the slowly spinning circles are quite hypnotic.

Happy birthday banner.

The birthday banner was made from the more colorful record inserts and some bias tape (the lettering doesn’t show up very well, unfortunately). It’s definitely re-usable, so family members can expect to see this again. :)

I’m afraid that I forgot to take photos during the party itself because the food took longer than I thought it would and there was a lot of scurrying around the kitchen. Josh barbecued so much meat and veggies that I thought we’d have tons of leftovers (wrong!) and I made Elvis Presley’s favorite poundcake with strawberries and whipped cream. It all turned out to be pretty delish. Good company + good food + good drinks + good music + good reason to celebrate = a very good time.

Happy birthday again, my dear; it was a very special day.

And the winner is…



*That’s my sister and brother-in-law, for those not in the know. 

I’m not sure which half won…the one that left that left the “*laughing” comment (Marian?). Before you think that I’m patronizing my own family – and saving on shipping –  I have to say that this was a very fair drawing and I in no way tried to prejudice the outcome, unlike certain brothers. ;) I will post the playlist for the rest of you to see when I remember to take a photo.

Well, the day off was cancelled half way through with a phone call from my boss. But I did manage to accomplish the Bathing Of The Dog, which has been needed for some time now.


I guess we’ll have to stop calling her “Stinky” for a while.


Have a good weekend and don’t forget to vote for my board!

Remember us?

My stress level (and email inbox) runneth over at work, so I’m practising a little lunchtime diversion by thinking about the other projects I want to work on this weekend. [Edit: Okay, maybe this isn’t the best stress-reduction tactic.]

I’m hoping to take tomorrow off to do some sewing, and if that happens I’ll be working on something like this.

Ready for lunch.

Remember these? My little packaging-and-layout-project-turned-crafty from last Christmas? I had a request to make one more, and because it’s more fun + productive to make a batch I’m going to see if I can finish 4 or 5 in the next couple of weeks.


They won’t look exactly the same as Claire and Nelly, since I want to make the new ones a little bigger and work out some of the problems in the original design. But they will have the same vintage fabric dresses and embroidered faces. So stay tuned for some fabric cuteness.

Holding hands.

Our home internet seems to be working (fingers crossed) at the moment, so even if I’m home I’ll be able to post the cd winner tomorrow. Also, not that you’ve been holding your breath, but I don’t think the Sing & Shout girls will make it to the Farmer’s Market this weekend or the next. Sorry ’bout that…we’re all a little swamped at the moment.

In the running.

Guess what? Holly picked my inspiration board to be one of the finalists for the decor8 Amy Butler contest! You can see my entry here, along with her very nice comments. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!! There’s going to be some kind of online vote in a day or two to pick the winners, so make sure you stop by decor8 and pick your favorites.

P.S. Don’t forget the CD giveaway. You’ve got to leave your comment by 4:00 pm tomorrow, if you haven’t already.