Monday, April 30, 2007

This is it

I am typing this in the very last minutes I have at home before I have to...*sigh*...go back to work. It has been a nice long hiatus. I have been able to do so much sewing and other general crafting. I have been very productive. Just look at this! And this! And this!
I really do like my job, I'm just sad because I know how tonight is going to be. Get home at 7:30 at the earliest, make some dinner, eat some dinner and not have the teeniest amount of energy to do any sewing. Poo. Oh well, how else will I feed my stash? Not to mention my cats! Or me!
I am going to try my darnedest to stay motivated and productive even while working. The last three months have been so wonderful and I don't want to lose that. And you, internet, you! You're great. Thanks so much for all of the sweet, helpful and encouraging comments! You are amazing!
So, I'll leave you with this:
That's what I'll look like in an hour. I'll miss you!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spring Sack

Well, old mister so-and-so says that I shouldn't share any pictures of the puppets I am working on until the film is done. That is ok, it will be worth the wait. I have been making some super cute little costumes here.
I finished one puppet yesterday and before diving into the second one I took a little break to make something that I can show you.
A sweet little springtime purse, made with the fabric that adorns my living room wall. A couple of years ago I told Harv the importance of changing purses with the changing seasons and he has since been very comically aware of whether I am carrying an appropriate purse or not.
I made this similar bag about a month ago to use when we went to Europe. I made it from Butterick pattern 4944. It is a great big bag, perfect of for carrying all of your sightseeing necessities without looking like a dopey tourist with a big backpack or (gasp!) a fanny pack. When I travel I try to look and act as much like I would in the city where I live as possible. The big purse is a must. The only change I made to the pattern was I lengthened the strap so that I could where it across my chest. The pattern has a really short strap that just goes over one shoulder.
I loved this pattern. It was so easy to make and I really like the look of it. The new bag is much smaller. I wanted an everyday purse and I know that if I have a large bag to carry around with me I will fill it up and I don't need to be lugging around 15 pounds of Advil, paperbacks and tampons. I was going to scan the original pattern into the computer and resize it but I decided that it was simple enough that I could just draw a new one myself. It was very easy and there was only a tiny bit of arithmetic that made my brain hurt. (Have I mentioned that math and arithmetic are different? Not all math majors are good at arithmetic. Please don't judge me!) I used the actual pattern pieces for the closure strap, the handle and the two side tabs, just shortening the closure strap.
I also changed the inside pocket. The one in the pattern is way too shallow and your stuff just falls out but it is easy enough to make your own.
So with a back-to-school purse and back-to-school hair(greatest haircut of my life, by the way, but kind of flat in this picture...haven't washed it yet, don't tell) I am hopefully ready to go back to school (work) on Monday!

PS Buy this! It just came out on Tuesday and is so funny and wonderful. The episode called "Love" has my best animation on this DVD. Watch it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No news.

Hi internet, sorry I've been such a pokey poster lately. I have been working on some puppets pretty much non-stop for the last 5 or 6 days. They are for a friend and I'm not sure how much I can devulge here at this time. I will find out though because there is some super cute mini costuming going on that I think you would like.
I don't have time to post much of anything right now as I am running out the door to get my hair chopped! Yeeps! I have only had trims since mid-2003. It's pretty long and I feel like a change. Harv doesn't know that I made an appointment for today though. Double yeeps! Quelle suprise!
Ok I have to go but before I do I want to give you something pretty to look at, even though I didn't make it.Isn't that amazing? Very inspirational. Read a little more here. It makes me want to stop all of this puppet nonsense and get back to my darling.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rainy day blues

As you may have guessed, most of my interests and activities take place indoors. I love to be outside but there is just so much sewing and crocheting and internetting to be done indoors. Living in Southern California we don't get many days that force us to stay inside. I don't like that! I need a little balance in my weather. I need days that tell me it's ok to sit inside watching a movie in my pajamas. Too much sunshine makes me feel like a bum, like I should be outside ALL day and I just don't do that!
I grew up in Connecticut where we have four very distinct seasons. I miss it so much! The seasons help you to measure time passing. They refresh and renew your spirit as well as nature. Spring can really only be fully appreciated after suffering through a cold and blustery winter. Rainy days give you the perfect excuse to snuggle up with someone soft and not feel like you're wasting your time. Too much sun makes me feel like a bad person for holing up in my craft room and watching Arrested Development.
I don't want you to think that I'm complaining. The weather here is great. I miss the snow and seasons of New England but I always say that if we're going to give all that up at least we're giving it up for beautiful year round sunshine.
The point is, I've been waiting for a rainy day. Today it is raining. There is nothing I want to do more than sit on the couch, watch DVDs and work on this all day.
But I have to go out! Outside! In the rain! Hiatus is slipping through my fingers like drops of rain on my bone dry lawn. Oh well, perhaps the rain will continue tomorrow. Sad.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Circle is Unbroken

I got a very special treat in the mail yesterday...
My very own doll quilt from the doll quilt swap! Can you believe it?
Lynn made this for me and I can't tell you how much I love it! It's amazing! It totally suits my tastes but at the same time it's not something that I would ever come up with! Isn't that wonderful? How does that happen?
I think that she did some sort of machine appliqueing here. What is that? I certainly know nothing about no machine applique! I am intrigued.
Lynn also sent some sweet treats that I recognize from my (near-daily) trips to Trader Joe's, the grocery store closest to my heart. Thank you so much Lynn, you are the total best! So so talented and creative.

This was my very first ever swap and I am so thrilled! I can't imagine a better experience. It's so wonderful to share craftiness with such talented people. I love it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Reviews Are In

I am a happy little camper! My Doll Quilt Swap partner Kristin recieved the package I sent, and it was well recieved. I am so excited! This swapping thing is great.
Since the puss is out of the bag, here are some pictures I took before sending off the quilt.
I am so happy with this experience. Isn't the internet awesome? Look who I'm asking...of course you're awesome! I heart you internet.
Now, this has gotten me super fired up to start some hand-quilting. I have a week and a half left of sweet sweet hiatus. Can I do it? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Effervescing All Over the Place

I must type this real quick like because I am going to do some actual work today! At an actual workplace that is not my home! Yeeps! But don't worry, it is just for one day and I will be back in the craft room tomorrow.
My very bubbly quilt top is complete! I am so happy with it. All of the circles are appliqued and I made them using this handy trick as I mentioned before. I am going to hand quilt this baby with lots of little circles to add to the bubbliness. I am not sure what to use to draw the quilting circles on the top. I have had some bum luck in the past with certain pencils and chalk. Any tips?

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Well internet, have I told you about this?
I didn't think so. Long story very short, our friend Eric needed an old Winnebago and Harv thought it would be fun to go in on it with him. It's a 1972 Winnebago in decent condition with awesome 70's shag carpet and panelling.
It's awesome. I have many dreams of retro 70's curtains and cushion covers for the benches and front seats.
It's like a house that I can decorate in a way that I would never ever want to decorate my actual house. Like a themed decorating challenge. And it will be a challenge because I want to be very authentic, not hokey at all and the three of us owners (me, Harv and Eric) only experienced about 2 years, 5 months of the '70's between us. It will also be difficult because because I have visions of pom-pommed curtains and granny squares on the bed but I know that I need to keep the cuteness level at about a four or five, to be fair to the two gentlemen.
So we invested in the RV, we had it fixed up, it was given a clean bill of health. Yesterday the three of us set off on our very first adventure in the beast: camping on the coast, about 40 miles north of LA. Eric's sister Jenny was following us in her car because she wanted to come but could not stay the night. Thank goodness for that.
We set off on our merry way,
Eric driving, Harv rocking out and me happily rippling away in the back, all of us dreaming of the beer and hot dogs we would be enjoying by the campfire that night.
We were about ten miles from our campsite when we got a call from Jenny, saying the RV was on fire. Yes, there were flames coming out of the general vicinity of the back right wheel. So naturally, we pulled over, naturally, we had no fire extinguisher and managed to extinguish the (not so large) fire with bottled water.
Well folks, the adventure was over. Actually it wasn't entirely over until at least three hours later when we all managed to cram ourselves and our camping gear (you know, pillows, board games, more pillows) into Jenny's car and leave our sad little Winnebago to return home in defeat.
I won't bore you with the automotive details, mostly because I don't want to bore myself. There is still hope though and my decorating dreams may still come to fruition. I will keep you abreast.
Anyway, we came home. We still got to eat our wieners and drink our beer and we still got to build a campfire and we even got to share it with those non-campers among us.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Complete Package

I know that I said I was sending out my doll quilt a few days ago but I didn't actually do it until yesterday. That's just me. You know how it is. Well maybe you don't but Harv knows how it is, with me at least.
But it is now in the mail so I thought I would share with you some little peeks at packaging Lady-style.
First, there has to be a very Denyse Schmidt-y card. This one is a little mini card with a mini envelope that is leftover from our wedding (we had a weird postcard theme that extended to little mailbox favors with mini mail inside).
Second, I stuff the card and the sweet little quilt (goodbye my love!) into a lovely handmade (by me) envelope. The envelope is made out of craft paper and sewn together, not glued. I fold over the top, sew it shut and then,
step three, add a handmade Lady Harvatine sticker! Voila.

In other news, look at what I did!
Can you see it? I installed a sprinkler! Yes, I know, hold your applause. We had this ugly patch of nothing in front of our house and since I wanted to plant some vegetables this year I thought this would be a perfect spot for them. There was already one sprinkle in the ugly patch but it didn't reach the entire area so I dug up the pipe, chopped off the end, added more pipe and another sprinkler! It was great! Then of course I buried it all and planted my vegetables. So fingers crossed. This is my biggest gardening attempt ever. I'm hoping to be up to my eyeballs in tomatoes this summer. It's going to be great!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Goings On

Remember this? I have just been plugging away at it over here, taking full advantage of the full days I can spend sewing right now.
Also, listening to a little of this and having MAJOR high school English flashbacks. I'm pretty sure I never actually finished reading it back then. So maybe the ending will be a surprise.
And last, we let the cats out in the backyard for a little bit on Easter and they have not gotten over it yet. We have been dealing with a lot of whiny Stabone and a lot of this:
You can just see in her face, she really thinks I'm going to open that door.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Suitable Swap

I couldn't help but jump right in to my doll quilting. I did a bit of snooping at my partner's blog and flickr page. I was very happy to find that we seem to share fairly similar tastes, at least I seem to like most everything that she likes. I guess I can't say that she necessarily likes the things that I do.
This is a great comfort to me. I was very worried that I would not be able to come up with a suitable swap that would leave both parties (myself and my swappee) happily satisfied with whatever I produced. This is a constant gift giving dilemma for me. Of course one always wants to give gifts that suit the recipient's tastes but in most cases we give what fits into our own interpretation of a giftee's tastes. We send their likes and dislikes through a filter of our own and whatever makes it through to the other side is an acceptable gift. I know that this is almost impossible to avoid yet it seems so silly when I think about how very very different my tastes are from those of some of the people I regularly exchange gifts with (I will name no names in so public a forum as this).
Maybe I have more of a conflict over this than others do. I hate to give people gifts from wish lists or things that they have specifically asked for. I love surprises and I love to surprise others. A gift is not something owed. I value the thought put into a gift so much more than the gift itself. I think perhaps I get a little carried away with this ideal of romantic gift giving and of course it has happened many times that I have made a mad dash for Amazon wish lists a week before Christmas because I have been unable to come up with anything else.
Am I rambling? It's ok, you can tell me if I am. Anyway, I've done it! I have finished my doll quilt swap doll quilt and will be sending it out tomorrow. I would like so much to post some pictures of it right now but I will resist. Well ok, I will leave you with this:
I love sweet little birds and I think that the person I am sending this to likes them as well. I hope so!
These little birds will be flying away to their new home and when they arrive I will share the pictures of the entire quilt.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Three Weeks and Counting

Well the weekend is over and it's time to face facts: summer vacation is coming to an end. Yes internet, three weeks from today Harv and I will be back to work. No more long lazy days of crafting and cooking and eating and Wii-ing. It's all coming to an end.
Of course a lot can be accomplished in three weeks. I'm not trying to set any real, definitive deadlines on myself here because I know how I am and when I have to do something I want to do it a lot less. There are some things, though, that will get done simply because I want to do them. First, Harv and I will be making and animating some puppets for a stop-motion film that a friend is making. It is a collaborative sort of thing and I know that most of you are probably not too interested in animation I think that the puppet building might make for some good craft blog fodder. We shall see.
Second (although I will probably work on this first) very first ever swap! Yes, I have done it. I am participating in the Doll Quilt Swap organized by Lisa K. I have my swap partner and after a little reconnaissance work at her blog and flickr page I have settled on an idea of sorts. I will be using the following fabrics,
Fabric for a doll quilt
and I think that I may utilize the old paper piecing technique since I would like to have some fairly small pieces. I don't have a real pattern in mind. I am just going to wing it and see what happens. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quilty Mug

I have for some time needed some sort of travel mug. What I have been doing is simply taking whatever regular mug I happen to be drinking out of into the car with me, often with disasterous results. Well, not really disasterous. Mostly just embarassing. Like having to walk around work all day with a coffee stain on my thigh.
I have been holding out for a really great travel mug though. Something really worthy of holding my precious tea and coffee. I've also had the idea for my own little quilty mug design floating around in the back of my tiny little brain so I was p-syched to find a customizable mug at Target the other day.
So behold: Half-Assed Tutorial #2, The Quilty Mug

You will need:
  • A customizable travel mug (see step 1)
  • enough canvas or muslin to wrap around said mug
  • a whole mess of scraps
  • thread and maybe stitch witchery
  • hot or cold beverage of your choice (suggestions: coffee, tea, iced coffee, iced tea, etc.)

1. Get your grubby little hands on a mug like this:The bottom can be unscrewed and the decorative sleeve can be replaced with anything that your crafty heart desires. I bought mine at Target and it is made by Target but it is not on their website. I did however find this alternative mug available for purchase on the good old internet.

2. Remove (probably hideous) paper sleeve from inside of mug. If paper is glued end to end as mine was, cut straight up the side to make it lay flat. This is your template!
Trace paper on your canvas or muslin adding about 1/2 inch on one straight side. Cut that sucker out. This is your foundation.

3. Take your little scraps and just go string piecing nuts all over that foundation like so:
If you don't know how to string piece you can read about it in pretty much any quilting book ever written. I am sorry that I cannot teach you here but if I did I think that this would be more of a Three Quarters-Assed Tutorial and that's just a little too much ass for me right now.

4. Once your foundation is entirely covered with scraps flip it over like so,
and trim the excess fabric all the way around the foundation, leaving about 1/2 inch extra on one of the straight sides.

5. Fold this extra bit to the back so that it covers the edge of the foundation and press. You can either sew this down or use some stitch witchery to hold it in place.
This edge will overlap the other raw edge when you put it in your mug.

6. Insert your new quilty sleeve into your mug making sure your pretty folded edge is covering your ugly raw edge. You may have to do a little bit of trimming. I had to cut about a half inch off of the top of my sleeve because it was too fat to fit at the very top where the mug fits together more snuggly. You'll figure it out, you're smart.

7. Fill your mug with the beverage of your choice and chug-a-lug!
PS The robe was not donned for the sake of this lovely photo shoot. I just haven't gotten dressed yet. Still. As I write this. At 12:45.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Hatching new friends

Sweet little birds are hatching all over the place here in Make Out City. First, I took my new treasures from ReproDepot along with some frames from Ikea and put together some easy-as-pie artwork.
I love love love these fabrics and picked them out especially for this purpose. But of course now I have a whole bunch left over, ripe for the sewing. It's always so difficult for me to come up with projects that I deem worthy for truly wonderful fabrics like these. I definitely think that the bees may be destined for a purse though.
The second hatchling is this:
I made the pattern myself. I think he may be a little too fat but he will be added to the Easter tree nonetheless.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Easter

As promised, I dove right into bunny making the other day. Here are our two new friends:
I heart Hillary Lang and all of her wonderful creations. I can't wait for these sweet babies to come to my house.
In addition to the buns, I bought some pussy willows at the farmer's market today and put together a little Easter "tree".
All of the decorations on it are new purchases I made on our trip.
I bought the little wooden ornaments in Munich.
The eggs (three real and one felted) I bought in Salzburg. The real eggs are from this AMAZING shop that has thousands of handpainted eggs. It was wonderful. I have a real soft spot for painted eggs. I used to make pysanky, Ukranian Easter eggs. I haven't made any in a little while but I think I might try to replenish my dye supplies this week and make some before Easter. If we hadn't been away I think that I might have tried to make some to sell in my Etsy shop. You can see some of the eggs I've made in the past here at the long neglected
One last thing:
Don't ever say that I'm not one to hop on the band wagon. It's every blogger's favorite, no-knead bread! I used the recipe found here. So so tasty and so so easy. The biggest baking dish that I had was 2.5 qts but it worked out fine. I've never made bread before and I am very happy with the experience. We're going to some friends' house for dinner soon and it's all I can do to keep from eating the whole loaf!