Saturday, March 31, 2012

a custom calligraphy

Several years ago the siblings teamed up to make a family crest
as a gift to Benjamin's parents.

The oldest brother drew it,
the middle brother decorated it with celtic knotwork
(you can see some of his work here),
and I added the family name and motto in calligraphy.
(In case you wondered, Benjamin is brother number three.)

Longer ago than I want to admit,
Benjamin's mom requested a coordinating calligraphy verse
to display with the family crest.
I finally prioritized finishing it last week.

I am not comfortable with this script,
but am fairly satisfied with how it turned out.
I left plenty of margin because the middle brother
is once again going to add his celtic knotwork.

We hope to be able to surprise her with
the finished art
for Mother's Day.

Perhaps next time we visit
I'll be able to take a photo of the completed work.

Friday, March 30, 2012

set of two custom calligraphies

Benjamin has a lovely aunt who likes my art.

Not too long ago she commissioned a pink and brown bag,
and this year she requested a set of calligraphies
featuring two of her favorite sayings.

Putting these small, elegantly whimsical pieces together
was pure delight.

I'm looking forward to seeing photos
of how they look, all framed in their new home.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

another I Corinthians 13 calligraphy

I still love this design.
It remains my best selling calligraphy,
and in spite of some near tears moments
(I hate making stupid mistakes)
I really did enjoy making this latest version
for a customer who wanted to give it as a shower gift.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

heart on her sleeve

I have this brown striped shirt that I love.  It's perfectly cottony soft and comfy and fits me just so, but it has one problem.  It keeps getting little holes in the sleeves where the colors meet.  I wasn't quite ready to get rid of it, so I decided to patch it--with quirky little hearts!

So does this mean I wear my heart on my sleeve?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

budding calligrapher

A while ago I was referencing one of my favorite calligraphy books.  Little Man asked to look at it, and after studying it intently for a while, he announced: "I can make some of these letters!"
And he did.  I couldn't be more delighted with my observant Little Man, my budding calligrapher.

Monday, March 26, 2012

monday menu

[bread dough and vintage pyrex]

It looks like the week ahead will be the perfect blend of laid back and busy.  I'm looking forward to trying some more new recipes this week as well as using some familiar standbys.

M-white chili over rice (I'll make a crock pot full of shredded chicken for use in this recipe and to put in the freezer for use over the next few weeks.)
T- chicken cacciatore
W-something easy (probably grilled cheese and tomato soup or french toast and scrambled eggs--Wednesday night is our worship team practice night.  Benjamin is the director, so he's there every week, and I'm there a lot of the time too playing my flute alongside him, so I need a quick, fuss free dinner.)
Th-a bean concoction (loosely based on this recipe) topped with corn bread (I just randomly had the idea; we'll see how it actually works. It looks a lot crazier written down than it sounded in my head.)
F-beef with broccoli over rice

What are your favorite fuss-free meals for busy nights?

Friday, March 23, 2012

lil pink rabbit

I needed a quick, just-for-fun sewing project, so I made something I've been wanting to make for a while: a mooshy belly bunny.  It was quick and easy, and even though there are things I'd do differently if I make it again (which I probably will), it's adorable and squeezable and sweet.
Sweet Pea doesn't seem to have any complaints.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

baby gift

Simple and sweet:
two bibs and a dainty purple hat
for friends who are expecting their third little one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March photo challenge

As you may recall, I decided to take part of the Project 12 photo challenge this year.  Well, apparently the one-theme-per-month challenge resulted in general outcry, so Project 12 has been changed to Project MCP, which has four challenges per month instead of one.  I procrastinated and missed February's challenge, so I got right on March's and did all four in the first week of the month.

Challenge #1: "Take a photo from a high vantage point, from above your subject."  This is probably the one I am least happy with.  The general idea is what I was aiming for, but I had hoped to include a little more of Sweet Pea's face.  With baby models you have to take what you can get, though. : )

Challenge #2: "Capture a photo using natural light."  I take nearly all of my photos in natural light, so I was a little at a loss for something new and creative for this one.  When slicing open an apple for the boys to eat, I noticed that it was sprouting and snapped a couple of photos. I loved how it turned out, so I decided to make it my natural light photo.

Challenge #3: "Express the following word in a photo: Transition"  Transitioning from white yarn to brown as I made stripes in Little Man's alpaca yarn hat.

Challenge #4: "Create a 'guess what' photo - this is a photo that is so close up that the subject becomes abstract."  Can you guess what it it?  It's not too hard, really, but it's of one of my favorite living room decor accents, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

alpaca yarn

One of the vendors at the event I was a part of a couple of weeks ago is the owner of an alpaca farm. We had an enjoyable time chatting, and I hope to take the boys out to have an alpaca farm field trip when the weather is nicer.  In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that her puppies had gotten into some of her yarn, and she couldn't sell it, so she gave me three skeins to try out!

I've been crocheting my new alpaca yarn into hats for my little guys.  It's beautiful: fuzzy and softer than wool, lighter than cotton, and warmer than acrylic.  It's been a joy to work with, and I'm strongly inclined to look into purchasing some more from her next time I need more yarn for a project.

Monday, March 19, 2012

monday menu

["the juice and zest of one lemon"]

Speaking of lemon zest, last week I discovered that stirring a little lemon zest into my honey lemon tea along with the usual honey and lemon juice adds a nice, extra lemony zing. (I don't like chunks of stuff in my beverages, though, so I strained it out before sipping away.)

This week will be a little different than usual since Sweet Pea and I are travelling with Benjamin to a work conference at the beginning of the week while the boys stay with my parents.  He's attending the conference while we get some extra sleep and do some shopping and sight seeing.

M-out to dinner to eat something nice that we don't get in our small town
T-we'll probably pick something up on the drive home
W-grilled cheese and tomato soup
Th-creamy chicken orzo soup (This is a new one, and hopefully it'll taste okay. I'm not usually a fan of cabbagey things, but we have cabbage left over from our St. Patrick's day dinner, and I don't want it to go to waste.)
F-chick pea casserole (I love chick peas, and in this recipe, they're just fabulous.)

What's on your to-make list this week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

concerning covered buttons

I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love covered buttons.  They can be customized to match anything, plus they are oh, so simple and fun to make.  You can get brand new ones in a variety of sizes, but I prefer picking up vintage ones at second hand stores.

The vintage covered button kits are nearly identical to the ones you can get new, except that the vintage packaging is cooler, and they usually cost much less.  You cut out a little circle of your selected fabric, place it wrong side down over the rubbery white piece included, press the metal top-of-the-button piece into it, tuck the fabric edges in, then top it all with the metal bottom-of-the-button piece which you press down into the top-of-the-button-piece.

Then you pop the finished button out the the white, rubbery piece, and ta-da!  You have a perfectly coordinating, smoothly covered button.  It's so simple, so sleek.  Yes, I a good fabric covered button. : )

Friday, March 16, 2012

adult hats

A little over a year ago, I made a wool hat as a gift for my brother-in-law.  I bought vintage wool suits and upcycled the fabric to make them.  The hat turned out nicely, and I even made a couple more, but I was still left with a bulky pile of partially cut up suits.  To save space in my studio (Ha. It sounds so pretentious to call my little crafty space a studio, but I like it.), I cut the remaining usable fabric into hat pieces and discarded the rest.

These hat pieces have been sitting, waiting to be turned into adorable hats than I want to admit. It turns out that even though I can make a decent hat, millinery is not my passion.  All those picky curved seams that must be pressed open drive me crazy.  I finally buckled down, though, and three berets and six newsboy caps later, I am done with hat making (if not forever, then at least for a long, long time).  Now all that I have left is the somewhat more relaxing task of making the remaining wool scraps into coordinating flower pins.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

baby hats

In addition to finally completing my stack of  already-cut-out baby bibs, I have also recently finished the last of my stockpile of cotton yarn for baby hats. I like having something to keep my hands busy (something other than picking at my poor abused cuticles and fingernails, that is) while I'm relaxing, and crocheting is one of the activities that fits the bill perfectly.

I'm getting pretty good at making my own flower patterns.  I'm not so good at remembering how I made them so that I can write down the pattern, though.  Each one turns out a bit different than the last even when I try to replicate it precisely!  I guess that's one of the beauties of handmade.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

baby bibs

I think I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago I vended some of my surplus crafty goodness at a small local craft/independent sales fair.  Not only was it a great opportunity to get my name out there and make a few sales, but it was also great motivation to finish up some of the projects have been waiting to be completed.
I worked on baby bibs intermittently through January and February (I got my original idea for baby bib making here) and was so happy to finally complete them.  I made nearly 40.  They're a bit of a pain to make, but they're so cute and functional that I just keep making them. I love the feeling of taking discarded clothes and making something fresh with a whole new life of usefulness ahead of it.
I kept half a dozen or so of my favorites for Sweet Pea which leaves more than enough for gifting and selling.      I'd call that a job well done.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

new custom calligraphy in the shop

I finally completed a calligraphy
that I've been planning for a while.

I made it as a wedding gift
for one of my lovely flute students,
and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

Do you like it too?
You could order

Monday, March 12, 2012

i still can't quite believe that i'm doing this...

Have you ever heard of the clothing store Maurices?  Well, during out last shopping trip to the "big city" I noticed posters advertising their upcoming Main Street Model Search, a competition in which they select a dozen normal girls of all shapes and sizes to model their clothing.  The bulk of the prize is $7,500 to donate to the local charity of the winner's choice.

Long story short, I ended up entering the competition.  The first round is a round of voting open to the public.  I would love to have the fun opportunity to model, but even more, I'd love to see New Hope Pregnancy Clinic and Support, an organization making a difference the lives of young families in my community, have the chance to get some extra funding which would enable them to make an even bigger dent in the needs surrounding us.

Will you please vote for me? In addition to helping me out, each time you vote, you get a coupon and a chance to win gift cards to Maurices.  The voting is open until Monday, the 19th, and you can vote once every 24 hours.  Thank you, thank you in advance!

monday menu

[apple salsa]

Short and sweet, here's this week's plan for dinners:

T-Brazilian style beans and rice
W-something quick and easy
Th-grilled chicken, garlic-lemon roasted potatoes, and roasted broccoli (I've never tried the roasted broccoli before; I hope it's good.)
F-homemade pizza

What are you making?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

seven months

Yesterday was Sweet Pea's seven month birthday.

Right now Sweet Pea...

lights up when she sees her brothers
(and often squeals and "talks" to them too)
is tickled when she gets her hands on some of their toys
loves sitting near them and watching them play
is flatteringly amused when they do something funny

loves to snuggle with me
hams it up when she sees me with the camera
sits in her booster seat near me when I'm working in the kitchen

really enjoys Daddy's music
launches herself at him when she wants him to hold her
is fascinated with trying to grab his face
gets a kick out of watching him practice his golf swing

loves to make eye contact
is enthusiastic when she sees her grandparents
studies strangers seriously
isn't usually very impressed by loud, effervescent grownups
but loves to meet other children, loud or quiet

sits up by herself
(just this morning she sat herself up from a reclining position)
can scoot several feet across the floor on her bottom
sits up very straight in the grocery cart when we're shopping
rolls both directions
scoots herself backwards while on her back

studies toys intently
especially likes ones that rattle or crinkle
can find and pick up tiny objects that I don't see on the floor
loves splashing in the tub
is still intrigued by her toes

has suddenly decided that being put in her bed is scream-worthy
sleeps unswaddled most of the time now
enjoys sampling an ever-broadening variety of solid foods
(the latest was peas which she liked)
doesn't really like avocado
can pick up cheerios but has yet to get one in her mouth

delights us all every day

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

rite of childhood

[hot chocolate after chilly outdoor play]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

menu on Tuesday

[one of Benjamin's excellent breakfast sandwiches]

Sorry for falling off the face of bloggyland last week. I had a rather crazy, sleep-deprived week, taking care or sick children, trying to finish projects, and preparing to vend at a small local craft/direct sales fair.  Plus I was in a strange, anti-social mood and did not feel like taking photos and writing.  This week I am in a more sane frame of mind, and since I just finished a bunch of projects, prepare for an avalanche of posts.

Here is what I'm making this week if everything goes according to plan:

T-black beans and rice with chicken and apple salsa
W-pancakes, scrambled eggs, fruit
Th-ginger lime stir fry
F-creamy-sauced pasta of some sort

What are you making this week?