Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Last Bit of Encouragement--and Some Nice Photos of the Girl

I totally lifted these pictures from the lovely Mean Mama (who is--I'm happy to report--not at all mean). We ran into her on our rounds at Picnic, which we happily attended as customers this year, and basically hijacked her day. (Iced coffee at Bard? Check. A walk through downtown? Check. A wade in the cement pond at the park? Check.) The three of us window-shopped the place pretty darned thoroughly, and both A. and I actually purchased something (more of a stretch for me than for her, probably). She got this great little brown corduroy cap--is it normal for eleven-year-olds to experience a sudden interest in personal style? That's what's going on Annabelle-wise, it seems.
And I bought cards from the radiant (and Portland-departing) proprietress of Swallowfield. They feature this print and are not strictly meant for Christmas, but I'm going to use them thusly, thereby relieving myself of the must-make-my-own-holiday-cards stress that visits me every year on some sadly-late date in December.

And--one last push--if you've not yet submitted your entry for Embroidereading, I'll accept images at the flickr group until the final moments of September 1. Just saying.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Bit of Winter--

--and this time, I'm not gonna apologize. ;-) The temperatures are climbing in our neck of the woods, summer having one last go at us, and since we'd already started shopping for cardigans and sifting through the soup recipes, we're a little surprised. We'll take it, sure, but working on this little winter village is having a welcomed cooling effect on me today.
I'm using a wool-blend from National Nonwovens--they have a number of different kinds of felt (including the bamboo stuff I've been experimenting with), and this kind is pretty good indeed--a pleasing combination of smooth and wooly, texture-wise, and the colors? Delish.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chuck-Chic and Other Annabelle-Related Projects

My girl's been busy. Like me, she hates boredom worse than a toothache, so she finds projects in likely and unlikely places--in the case of the first photo up there, she found a must-do task in a pair of dirty old sneakers. Those are her new, pink, crocheted laces (and she made turquoise ones for me, too!).
And then there's this--a very Science-0f-Sleep-esque, hand-sewn pirate doll she spent most of the day making yesterday (whilst listening to an audiobook--despite the fact that she looks like a carbon copy of her father, this is definitely my kid). I can't tell you how much I love this thing--it was all I could do not to steal it from her room last night.
I think all the industry around here is related to the slight fallishness we can smell on the air--we're making home-school plans (more Shakespeare, the American Revolution, a return to our Spanish studies), and I'm sure to have some reports on that in the coming weeks, whether you want 'em or not. And as for all of you industrious ladies, don't forget the deadline for the Embroidereading is fast approaching--September 1. There's still time, but not much! Can't wait to see what you're cooking up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Well, it's my birthday, too. And in keeping with my tradition, I have taken some bad photos of myself in my bathroom to document what 36 looks like on me. So far, it's a good fit--I've had breakfast-in-bed (sourdough-cinnamon toast somehow made to look like flower--who knew my husband had these skills?), a yummy sushi lunch (oh, hello, Inari--if you aren't already spoken for, I'd like to marry you), a lovely blue bowl (thanks, Ab!), Annabelle-crocheted turquoise laces for my chucks, vegan cookies-and-cream cupcakes (too soon to cheat on Mr. Inari?). An embarrassment of birthday riches, really.
Right now the dad is reading Harry Potter to the girl, and I'm waiting for the chance to curl up on the couch with said dad for some popcorn, a movie, and--yes--a bit of a birthday snog, if you must know. ;-) This aging stuff ain't so bad folks. No, really.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Gift Hoop on Board

He's here! This is just a practice-hoop baby, but I will confess, Eliot is the name we had chosen for Miss Annabelle if, you know, she'd been born with other bits.
I think we both imagined our son would be dark haired and thoughtful, small and fiercely loyal--like that little guy in E.T. (and something like me as a girl). On the other hand, our daughter is the image of her father, with his honey-blond-brown hair, his perfect nose, and his unshakable sense of right and wrong. I'll keep the bundle I've got, for sure, but it was fun imagining this little guy. And wool felt birthing hurts a lot less, folks (even with the pricked fingers and chipped tooth).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Experimental Tuesday

I took your advice, smartypantses (that's my best guess for a plural form of "smartypants"--or maybe it should work like mothers-in-law. . . smartiespants?), and I listed the customizable wedding hoop from two posts ago. Turns out it's been quite popular, so get ready to hear from me on all my decisions--whole wheat or rye? regular or unleaded? watch a movie or do a crossword puzzle? Yes, it's going to be a lot of work, but I know you're up to it!

Anywho--today I decided to work up an example of a customizable baby gift hoop--more on that when it's finished, folks. Cuz, you know, it doesn't happen without your say-so. No pressure.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Palette Play

One of the benefits of cutting most of my scraps into circles (to be used, primarily, as flower fodder) is the wonderful color fun that ensues--felt comes in the dreamiest and richest array of shades, and chance combinations of felty circles can result in some pretty good surprises.

Since beginning to work with wool felt about two years ago, I've had a pretty distinct and consistent (rigid?) palette--deep cranberry, celery, white, creamy yellow, olive, teal, and--of course--palest pink. Today, though, I was crushing pretty hard on this melon-inspired configuration. Maybe we're in for a bit of a sea-change around here. Probably not. But you never know.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Wedding--and a Warning

Just finished this cheerful wedding-gift hoop, ordered by Mark's lovely co-worker, Luisa (and am thinking of creating a listing in the shop for this sort of semi-custom / customizable piece--what do you think?).
And as for the warning part of the title? Well, I've suffered a sewing injury (ahem) I figured you should all know about. Nope--it's not repetitive motion syndrome, and it's not a needle stick (though I've got those, too). Get ready. I chipped a tooth biting off my embroidery floss. With the scissors sitting right next to me on the arm of the sofa. I feel like a huge dope for not knowing this could happen, so consider this my PSA for the year. ;-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Doodle Stitching for Fun and Relaxation

It's been, let's just say, one of those weeks.

Above you can see my chosen method of meditation. Start to panic? Cut a piece of lovely, white organic cotton, and fasten it tight-as-a-drum into the hoop. Begin to lose your temper? Sharpen the pencil to a needle tip, and doodle your heart out on this blank-and-ready surface. A throbbing at the temples? Select the prettiest colors from your drawer-of-floss, and doodle-stitch till your cool returns. (And if it doesn't, add chocolate.) Aaah. Now that's better.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Don't Hate Me

Yup--I'm crafting autumn, folks. But you have to forgive me--I certainly don't want to rush summer. I'm clinging to every last day--walking to the swimming pool, cooking up a mess of corn on the cob, putting on sunscreen whether I need it or not. I'm still in. I promise.
But the deal is, if you're gonna run a shop, you have to think a little ahead. Picture this: I'm walking through the craft store a few days ago, getting my embroidery hoop fix and cursing the corporation for putting out Halloween decorations in July. And then I think, well... maybe I ought to take a fall-themed crack at that joyful little clover girl I made last year. So if you're mad, blame the craft store. I just couldn't help myself. (And just in case you can't help yourself, either, here she is--in all her autumn glory, in the shop!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wee Neighbors and Wee Text

Hooray! I'm thrilled about all the responses so far to the Embroidereading Contest. I feel like this is going to be a great way for me to see the work and words of so many of you who have supported my own through your reading and commenting on this blog. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for this idea--I think we're going to have loads of fun!

Meanwhile, you may want to check out Corinne's brilliant Tips for Teeny Tiny Text. While I don't use a computer font when I embroider text (preferring as I do the "handwritten" look--ahem), you may want to go this route. And even if you don't, the tips are useful for words-type embroidery.

And in that photo up there? My first time using the tiny version of the oval hoop, and I decided to do wee neighbors in a garden. If you wanted to make something similar, I think it would be quite simple to modify my pink house tutorial--let me know if you try!