Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Busy, Busy Beaver

It is workshop time, my little beaver friends. And I am looking forward to having a class full of students and getting down the business of reading and writing.

So for now, repurpose is on a short hiatus. No time for sewing or crafting this week. I will however try to wrangle up some photos of repurposed projects that I haven't shared with you yet. In the meantime, enjoy this. Oh, and you'll definitely want to check out this. I highly recommend it. (Check out the podcasts now and wear your new outfit from Anthropologie to the first show of Season Three at the Ritz on Saturday, September 2.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Done and Done

I love making lists. Actually, I love crossing things off of lists. It runs in the family. My mother has been known to write down things after she has done them, just so she can cross them off of her list.

I had several things on my list to do before school officially starts next Tuesday.

Make a new fall purse
Sew a couple of new back-to-school skirts
Work on present for my soon-to-arrive neice or nephew

I can now cross each of these items off of my list. I actually made two bags...the outside is some cool barkcloth I got at Mill End and the lining is a repurposed vintage pillowcase with butterflies.
And this one with a mix of four different fabrics: three vintage reproductions and some of the vintage pillowcase from the first bag.
They are both soft and swingy and I plan to fill them up with knitting needles and yarn to knit scarves to keep everyone toasty this winter.

And I still had time to make another needlebook. It's made with vintage reproduction fabric, wool felt and a vintage button. This one will go in the Etsy shop soon.

Here's to having a productive day!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Non Compos Mentis for Tablecloths

So I love tablecloths. Vintage tablecloths to be exact. So much so that I planned my wedding around them. Seriously. I knew that I wanted to use my collection (and having a reason to shop for more didn't hurt either,) so I went through my stash, found a predominant color theme, and here we are, two years later. As our anniversary was yesterday, indulge me by looking at some of my favorite wedding tablecloth shots. (More shots here.)

Here is a shot of all the tablecloths at the reception beside our house on Grand in St. Paul.

Mmmm....cupcakes and tablecloths. Delicious!
Notice how the food matches the tablecloths.
So what does one do with all of those tablecloths, you ask? Well, one thing I've done is make dishtowels. This works especially well with ones that have pesky stains on them from your wedding guests. I just trim out a dishtowel-sized, stain-free section, hem the sides, add a cute little ribbon hanger and viola! A lovely new dishtowel!

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's a Wristlet World Swap

I'm pretty sure that my partner has received their wristlet, so I thought I'd post my first try at making one. I was inspired by the swap that African Kelli organized and decided to use some of my favorite fabrics to represent the seasons here in Fargo, North Dakota. The green is for spring, the pink for summer and the brown for fall. The wristlet is lined with soft white batting to represent the snow that covers us for a large chunk of our year. I also used a vintage button (had to repurpose somehow!)

I've made a couple more of these and will be posting them in my etsy shop sometime this weekend.

It's been raining here and it makes me feel like cocoa and cozy sweaters and actually wearing socks. I know fall is around the corner when I choose to put socks on my feet during the day. Just mentioning this longing for autumn will of course bring on a heatwave, so I won't retire my flipflops just yet.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finding Your Way to Simplicity

Check out this incredible post on voluntary simplicity over at Worsted Witch.

We can all make a change in our own lives that will ripple out into the world around us. Things like using a handmade tote for your shopping or recycling your yogurt containers in creative ways or buying local make big differences in our lives. And along the way, they change the world, too. Fewer grocery bags clog our landfills, creativity goes out into the universe and local farmers are able to prosper as part of the food chain.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? But it can also feel like a lot of work or like giving something up. Even as I try to move towards simplicity in my life, I struggle. There are times that I have to have a certain book or CD or pair of shoes. Sometimes I want sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese in January. I'm not perfect and I'm never going to be. So, I eat my insalata caprese and I do what I can.

And so can you. You don't have to stop eating seafood because it isn't local and cancel your electricity and stop wearing cute shoes. Pick a few little things and incorporate them into your life. It can be as simple as taking something you already own and repurposing it in a new and creative way. There is great enjoyment to be found in using what you have. And I am getting better at it all the time.

So, I encourage you to give it a try. And let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear about your repurposing adventures as you find your way to simplicity.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

History Chicks

I spent last week being a history geek. As part of a conference on History Day, I got to see the basement of the Minnesota History Center, look through their archives, talk to other history geeks and best of all, I got to go on a field trip that didn't include 140 middle school students.

We went to the Oliver Kelley Farm which is near Elk River, MN. It is the site of the first grange meeting in the United States. Some of you are saying "Grange? What is a grange?" Don't worry, I said the same thing. A grange is a farmers cooperative of sorts. Back in the early pioneer days of Minnesota, farmers banded together to buy equipment, ship their crops, learn farming techniques and build community. They were involved in the women's suffrage movement, and fought for civil rights and fair labor laws. And granges are all about repurposing: sharing resources, using things in new ways, combining efforts to create something new.

While on the farm, I got to wash cucumbers for pickling, harvest gherkins, eat fresh tomatoes and cucumbers off the vine, and thresh oats. On the way out, I saw this sweet lady and her little ones. It reminded me that soon I will be her, with my new flock of students as I start the school year. Hopefully, I can turn some of my kids into history geeks, too!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Friday WIP

Two things I am currently working on include: An embroidery project that exemplifies the Red River Valley and setting up and organizing my new sewing space (which also happens to be the closet in the master bedroom.) I had been sewing in the garage, but the heat and the crickets finally got to me. I found this great desk and chair at a furniture store in Fargo called "Restyled." I can't wait to get home from our little retreat and start organizing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

From Beatlemania to Business Man

My baby's curls are gone. This is what happens when you let Daddy have the baby while you go shopping with your nieces. Daddy takes baby to the zoo and baby gets his first major "ouch" (as he calls it) when he falls and scrapes half of his knee off. Daddy then takes baby to the hair place and has all of baby's hair cut off. Daddy then surprises Mommy with all this news, making her cry at the mall.

He does look pretty cute with his business man haircut though, doesn't he?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, we closed on our house. The year has gone by so quickly and things have changed so completely. Oscar is no longer a little baby who stays in one spot and mainly sleeps and eats. He is now a very busy and very inquisitive 16-month-old who I love more and more every day (who knew my heart could stretch this much?)

Our house has also changed dramatically. Much of that is due to my husband's discerning eye and to my family's ladders, babysitting services and labor. Without our families, we would still have that horrendous light fixture and beige walls. So thanks for all the hours spent painting, wiring, answering questions and occupying Oscar. And when would be a convenient time for you to help us install the tile and the hardwood floors?

Notice the light fixture over the dining area? Sold at a recent garage sale for $10. So you can forget about asking for it. Sorry to crush your dreams. Everything was beige or a sort of sandstone color when we moved in. Nothing is now. Even the inside of the coat closet has been painted a gorgeous bright red.

This is a bit of an off-center shot, but it showcases Oscar's love of ceiling fans and shows many of the changes we've made. It truly has become our home sweet home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

In My Ears and On My Nightstand

What you need to be reading now is "The New Crewel: Exquisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery" by Katherine Shaughnessy. I love, love, love this book. It is cool, modern, funky and so, so easy to understand. I've got at least six projects started using Katherine's incredible designs. Don't be surprised if you receive something lovely from this book (or the book itself) from me for the holidays.

"Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" by Neko Case. Oh, Neko. How you make me long for a lonely night and an unrequited love. If you love songs about rusty knives and John the Baptist, this CD is for you.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Modern Patchwork

Looking for the latest in patchwork fashion? Look no further. Found recently at the local thrift store, this gem of a book is full of bright, fun and "modern" patchwork. Strangely enough, the color scheme is the same as a quilt I am working on for Oscar. Perhaps I should use the fabric to make myself a new back to school skirt.

Instead, I think I'll make a cool new t-shirt like the brilliant one here from the lovely Wise Craft to add to my stash of back to school clothes. And one for Oscar, too. I think everyone needs back to school clothes. And this is a fun way to create something unique. I'm going to do it with an image from one of O's favorite books. Just trace the outline, cut it out of a cute fabric, fusible web it to the garment and stitch around. Blair at WC also makes the most perfect handbags on the planet and I am hoping we see some in her etsy shop soon. I think I may need one for my back to school pile.

Speaking of stitching around, tomorrow is another d-day for me. Or should I say e(embroidery)-day. Those crafty folks over at Wee Wonderfuls will be putting the adorable Stitchettes into the shop at twelve noon, Chicago time. I've got three alarms set and a stern warning into B that he'd better remind me or else. I just have to have them. I've got a long car trip coming up and nothing would make me happier than having these ladies along for the ride. So cross your fingers for me. And get one for yourself while you are at it!