Friday, October 17, 2014

Simple Autumn Headband

(i need to take some better photos! but these will work for now.)

i recently bought some really lovely isaac mizrahi yarn (sutton, in the amsterdam colorway).  after thinking about it for a while, i decided i wanted to replicate a cute thick knit headband i bought last winter.  a headband is nice for me in the winter, because wearing a hat as a woman with bangs can mess up my hair.  i know, i'm vain.  using the headband i bought as a template, i knit this up last night!

Simple Autumn Headband

You will need: bulky yarn of your choice

Needles: I used a size 15, but depending on how tight you knit and how thick your yarn is, you may need to adjust this.

Two buttons to fit through buttonholes.  I used buttons that were an inch wide.  

Gauge: will vary.
Sutton on size 15 needles knit up for me as follows: 10 stitches x 10 rows = a square 4 inches across and 3.5 inches tall.

This is a super simple pattern that you can probably customize a billion ways!

CO 8
Row 1: knit all
Row 2: purl all

Make button holes:
Row 3: Knit 1, k2tog, YO, knit 2, YO, k2tog, knit 1.

Row 4: purl all
Row 5: knit row, adding two stitches by knitting front and back on stitch 2 and 7
Row 6: purl all

Begin double moss stitch pattern:
Double moss stitch pattern (uses multiples of 4 sts plus 2)
Row 1: *k2, p2, repeat from *
Row 2: *p2, k2, repeat from *
Row 3: same as row 2
Row 4: same as row 1

Repeat until piece measures about fifteen inches (it’s a stretchy knit! and i have a medium sized head, for reference). End on a row 4.

Decrease back to 8 stitches
Knit 1, k2tog, knit 5, k2tog, knit 1

next row, purl all
knit a row
purl a row
bind off in knit stitch.

Add buttons, weave in ends, and wear all over.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

working girl

i made a wonky little box for my coasters. my husband liked it but was surprised i felt like they needed to be "corralled."  it's true, i'm not usually a neat freak, but making this little box was a fun experiment.   

i totally got a raise at work this week. which is weird. i mean, i knew that reviews were coming up, and i've been with the company for over 2 1/2 years now; i should know that reviews usually mean at least a tiny bump in pay. and yet, i am always surprised. always.i guess that's a good thing!

i'm putting together stock for the anacortes shipwreck festival! probably not working on that enough. i kind of spend this weekend hanging out around the house, drinking giant beers and watching tv. it was delightful.

this is the first border i'm working on for the round robin quilt.  i am not a huge fan of americana themed things (which is weird, considering how crazy about red i am), but the cool thing about this project is working on stuff you wouldn't ordinarily work on.  i made this friendship braid with the half-hexagon technique, and let me say this: cutting out the damn hexies was a pain in the ass.  next time i make one of these, i'm totally buying a hexie charm pack or something. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

3 years and counting

 this last week was my third wedding anniversary. which sounds weird to say out loud. i kind of feel like D and i hve been married forever, but we haven't. for our anniversary, i bought myself a pretty new wedding band to wear, with his and the kid's first initials on the inside.  it sounds weird that i bought myself a gift (it probably is) but it was actually kind of just a coincidence.  i wanted a band i could wear without my engagement ring, that was a bit thicker than my wedding band.  i just happened to get it a week before our anniversary.
we went to my niece's last weekend and spent time with her and her boyfriend and the baby. it was so nice. we had a barbeque and drank beers and spent some quality time together.  being with them reminds me of how fun bellingham can be! they live close to a sweet little park, and an awesome place to buy beer.  there is something so satisfying about walking around town!  we had a really nice time.  i've been looking forward to summer all spring, but this really made it feel like it was just around the corner.

i'm participating in a round robin quilt with the ladies at work.  the short explanation of a round robin is this; you make a center square, and then pass it on to the next quilter.  they adds a border, and then passes it on. more borders are added, until at the end, everyone has made part of every quilt.  this is my center square! not too wonky or weird, but definitely colorful. i didn't put any restrictions or guidelines on my sheet.  i said i like color and shapes, and if nothing matches, i'll still be super stoked.  that food truck fabric i used as the middle just kills me. i want to make a billion things out of it! 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

braids and baby and britain

i figured out how to do my hair up in milk maid braids. by "figure out" i mean, of course, youtube. hooray youtube!

the best thing about this hairstyle is that while it keeps my hair up and out of the way, it doesn't tire my scalp out. you know how if you wear a ponytail all day, or a bun, by the end of the day your head is like, "shit man, take this thing DOWN?" for whatever reason, these braids don't do that. i love that.  i love it so much. i've been doing my hair like this a lot lately, and i don't see it slowing down any time soon.  for one thing: summer is coming and when it's hot, i hate my hair. for another thing, i'm definitely going through a i-want-to-cut-it-all-off phase.  up and out of the way is just what the hair doctor ordered.
i have already bought like three different fabrics for my sister's new baby quilt.  this is the one i think is winning, though. those little red riding hoods just kill me. plus, the tiny bees match the fabric my sister picked out with my mom for the quilt mom is going to make her. this will come as a huge surprise, but this is an improvised quilt.  i started with some stacks of wonky squares and filler fabric, and am just going to town. i've been listening to a lot of elliott smith while working on it, because it's one of my and my sister's favorite singers.

Friday, May 02, 2014

guild time!

some ladies where i work have a quilting group.  they call it a quilting guild, although there aren't any dues, so i don't know if it's "official." although, to be frank, i don't care if it is or isn't. it's fun to be around people who like to quilt and are making things.  we meet once a month at work and bring things to show or talk about the latest charity quilt.  that's one of the very cool things about the group; they make a charity quilt or two a year, and either give it away or auction it off and donate the proceeds to a group.  i think the next one they are working on is going to be a quilt that is donated to a hospice house.

i keep saying "they" because i'm not so sure about joining.  on one hand, yay, quilters! on the other hand, some of them are kind of uptight.  i really like my weirdo quilts. i like to work without a pattern. i like modern quilts, and improvising as i go. i like to buy fabric with no idea of what it will or won't become. a few of the ladies take very expensive classes and only make quilts with fabrics from the same line and designer, and are very serious about the art and technique of it.  i think all creative people face this; you have painters who prefer realism, and painters who prefer abstract forms and color.

one of the ladies has a physical reaction to my work. a "back up in my chair" reaction.  she spends all of her time looking at my stuff and saying, "no, no, no, i couldn't do this." which is fine, i get it. abstract isn't her thing, heirlooms are. at the same time, i like suggesting she try to loosen up.  she might like it. the same way i might like doing something more traditional. right now i'm just really into color and weirdness, but that doesn't mean that i think the work she does is any lesser than my own. traditional designs are gorgeous, and her quilts are really very beautiful.

there's a snobbery in quilting, though, that i can't get into. it's so hard for me to want to be a part of this thing and wanting to roll my eyes when someone goes on and on about juried shows.  i know that as women our art is often considered "craft," and that things that are useful are often relegated to less than art status. pottery made by men for no reason is art, a lovely water jug made by a woman who uses it daily is craft, for example. what i want is for the quilts i create to be BOTH. useful and beautiful and art.  abstract and homey and make-do. i want it all. i don't want to have to fight to be considered art, and i don't want to argue about why craft is important.  at the same time, i'm probably not carrying as many years of discrimination and disregard as this lady in my group. her work is considered frivolous and in the way, her partner rolls his eyes at the time and expense it costs her.  i have a family and partner who think what i do is amazing. who are supportive and open to new ideas.  i don't have to justify the fabric i buy or the room i use or the time i spend doing what i refer to as "work." i don't have to carve out time for it, i expect it and am given it. it helps that my kids are older and my husband is a hippie. i know not everyone is as lucky. i also think that as women, we internalize what society tells us. that our desires are too much, that our crafts are too distracting from our work, that the way we express our artistic selves is just a hobby. there isn't a lot of value given to women having alone time, to just create without purpose. to play. to explore and make and try new things.

to which i say, as my mother said before me, fuck that noise. let's make quilts and afghans and paintings and design bathrooms that feel like underwater grottoes and gardens that are home for fairies and gnomes. let's not feel bad about taking time to do what we want. let's be kind to ourselves. let's support other women and not make everything into a goddamn competition. life is short. make good stuff.   

Sunday, April 27, 2014

no one is surprised by this

i went to the fabric store to buy white filler fabric.  that's all. i wanted some bleached muslin.  this isn't even everything i walked out with! stupid joann's was having a GIANT sale.  there were so many disgruntled husbands and kids in that store. that part was kind of hilarious. i bought some good blender fabric, some flannels for baby blankets, and i did get three yards of bleached muslin.  so hooray!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

post-post comicon update

oh man, i never updated my blog about comicon! i'm the worst!  at the very least, you have to see this photo of me looking dorky next to ron perlman while my children look fabulous:

my hair literally never does that fucked-up bang thing anywhere unless there is a camera nearby.  also, i am going to be a perpetually short parent.

meeting ron perlman was exactly like when ralphy met santa in a christmas story.  i basically clammed up until we were walking away.  he seemed nice and gracious, though, and i have photographic proof that hellboy lives. what more could i want?

the kids and i had a great time in the city.  we took taxis everywhere, which feels so cosmopolitan. we watched a lot of cartoons on the tv in the hotel.  we spent too much time and money at uwajimaya.  we came home with a billion comics and toys, and the girlchild thought of all the costumes we can make for next year.  she digs the steampunk, and i feel like we will be learning how to make corsets and rayguns this year.  lucky for me, steampunk fashion is friendly toward chub scouts.

see? i'm not always shiny and weird looking! that kid, though, is always cute.

i met bwana spoons like five minutes into walking into the convention.  right after i had said to the girlchild, "yeah, i try not to buy too much on the first day; it's really just a day for looking."  he had some tiny original watercolor and ink paintings, though, and i knew they would go fast.  i've always been a big fan of bwana, and had that dopey star-struck moment.  i actually said to him, "um, i didn't think you would be here." and he said, "yeah, me either.  i got a booth at the last minute."

the boychik and i also discovered, quite happily, skinner.  not only was skinner a nice young man, but his art is amazing and disgusting and wonderful.  i bought the boychik a critical hit shirt because it was boss, and now i wish i had one.  i have a strict rule at comicon though: i buy one shirt.  only one tshirt because let's face it, i have a ton of black tshirts.  this year, i scored and found an anton lavey shirt that my husband LOOOOOVES.  (no, he hates it.) 

it was great to have both kids at the con this year, and i hope i get to take them both for a few mores years to come.  if they ever get too old to go to comicon, i'm going to be sad. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


i know it really is that time of year; the danger of frost has passed, and i need to get out in my raised bed garden and plant some stuff.  i like my little garden.  this will be year three (!) of living here, and my third attempt at having a real, honest, veggie garden.  the first year was pretty slapdash; we ripped some azaleas out and plunked in some seeds.  the second year, we put in a three raised beds. two did great, one was too shallow.  this year, my plans are pretty modest. i want to grow some beets (i want to grow a billion beets), some peas, some carrots, and a bushel of kale.  the kale from last year actually wintered over! that stuff is amazing. 

i went to my mom's this year for easter.  i love my in-laws, but they get pretty much every holiday, and to be honest, i did not want to have a jesus-easter. i know, i'm a terrible person. the last holiday at their house had a lot of jesus talk (one of D's brothers is getting back into it, and my father-in-law is also very religious) and it just makes me uncomfortable. i'm not like an angry skeptic/slash/atheist, but i had some bad experiences with people who talked a lot about jesus when i was a kid and the whole thing just makes me cringe.  i never say anything, and don't plan on it, but i spend a lot of time worrying at some point i'll get caught rolling my eyes or being an asshole.  i just wanted to eat my mom's ham and be with my sister's kids and my aunt.  it ended up being a very quiet day, and it was great. 

i spent the whole weekend at mom's, which was very nice.  my relationship with my hometown  suffered after my dad passed away.  i used to love going back, but after he died every trip became a nightmare.  i admit, 9 out of 10 times i still burst into tears at some point driving onto the island. weird little things trip me up; baby cows in fields, his favorite grocery store, random memories.  it's probably worse because i drive his truck now and i banked hundreds of hours in that thing with him traveling to and from school. it still smells like his cigarettes on a hot day.  this is really why i will never part with the truck. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

unashamed weirdness

i've been working on incorporating leftover bits of fabric into free-form-ish quilt blocks.  i take the scraps from the bags i'm working on, and sew them together, with various strips and scraps and pretty bits of other things.  it's becoming this giant quilt that i am seriously in love with. the improvisational, wonky, random nature of it really appeals to me. 

i've always felt kind of artistic and happiest when working on a project of some sort. the past few years i've worked really hard on a few things i did not feel confident in: color theory and sewing proficiency.  color theory is such a strange thing. you think to yourself, "for shit's sake, color is color and as kids we know what we like and what matches."  but do you really? what about color values? what about things that don't match? playing with colors is quite possibly the best way to work out whatever color theory means to you. sewing is the best way i know of, currently, for me to work on color.  work with color. to just sew things together; sometimes with great forethought, sometimes with none.  to see what happens and what i like.  what i've learned is this: i really do like red. i really, really, truly, 100% love the color red. it resonates with me. i want to use it in everything. in fact, did you know i only sew with red thread? if you can see it through the white fabric i'm using, even better. i've been doing that for years, and i realized why i do it and why i will never stop.  red is just my thing. like cocktails in mugs and wearing too many black t-shirts, red is my color. red is my spirit animal.

currently i am working on my stock and plotting out craft fairs and shows i want to do this summer and fall.  this means i am going to need to buy a phone that is nicer and can go online, so i can take credit cards and debit cards when i'm out.  i am not, and have never really been, into making pinprick a full time gig. i love it too much to put that kind of pressure on it. i also love sales and schmoozing and selling stuff i make. it gives me space to create for myself, and funding for other projects. it also gives me an ego boost.  i like it when people like what i make. 

i've had to do some tough-love, not-the-fun-parent shit the past few weeks and let me tell you, it gets old fast. i understand now why my parents hated grounding me. it's such a pain in the ass to enforce that shit.  lately i've also really missed having both kids at home. i know the boychik is doing his thing and becoming a mensch and all that, but i wish he were here. the worst part about step-parenting are the years you lose.  i sometimes feel like i'm playing catch-up, trying to make up for lost time.  i know they don't think of it that way, so i should chill out.  (but you know, i'm kind of neurotic. go figure.) 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

working girl

i've been taking the leftover bits from my pouches and sewing them up with random bits of fabric scrap to make what i lovingly refer to as "franken-squares."  the squares are getting bigger and tonight i started to frame them in solid fabrics.  my plan is to give them some solid space to float in, because a whole quilt made of franken-squares side-by-side is too much for the eye to take in all at once.

i've also been working on new additions to the shop, like these adorable coasters.  they are truly quilted, with some flannel as the filling. they're soft, but not smooshy, if that makes any sense. i didn't want to use real batting because i didn't want them to be all big and weird. these are firm and solid, but lay nice and flat.
my truck has this weird fuel leak, too, so i couldn't really go anywhere today. don't cry for me argentina, though: you can buy fabric online.  dammit.

so spent the day listening to podcasts and sewing fabric together. i also made a delicious indian curry (everyone in my house says "oh, i hate curry" then eat it all when i make it. how can anyone hate curry? it's awesome.) and discovered my newfound love of two podcasts in particular:

  • oh no ross and carrie: in which two delightful skeptics try out religions and movements and give honest, not-asshole, feedback.  they're funny and irreverent but still super kind about the subjects of their investigations.  i love them.
  • sawbones: a wife who is a doctor, and a husband who is not, discuss medical weirdness from years past. tonight i listened to them talk about medical marijuana as well as mesmerism. i loved every minute of it. 
i literally listened to hours of radio today and sewed for miles. it was amazing. dear saturday, you were a good time.  love, amanda

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

i was doing so well this year!

with the blogging, i mean. i'd been writing pretty consistently for a few months, but obviously i slacked a bit lately. 

i'm still working on the on-line business stuff.  making pouches, making plans for going to some markets/fairs later this year.  a lady i work with is doing some fundraising for race for the cure, and i donated a pouch because i figured it's both good karma and some advertising.  i need to make up some more stuff for my shop and then i might do some search ads on etsy for a week or two and see what happens.  i put a widget in my sidebar, if you are interested!

at the end of february, vincent wandered off.  it's been exactly a month since we saw him last, and i don't know what to say.  while i was out looking for him one afternoon a neighbor helpfully said, "yeah, cats don't do well outside here."  thanks, friend, why couldn't you have mentioned that sooner? he wasn't even a year old! we've looked in shelters and donated money (because seriously, good karma must come in handy sometime, right?!), been all over and around the neighborhood, and no sign of our sweet boy.  since then, tali's become much more friendly.  before, he was always a nice enough gato, but kind of aloof. he didn't cuddle much, and he spoke so rarely that it was always squeaky and funny like he had a frog in his throat. now he sleeps with me almost every night, talks up a storm, and demands lots of pets and cuddles.  this is him in his gato basket in the nook. he patiently naps while i sew, and gets up on occasion to jump on the table and demand some belly rubs.  i had always liked tali, but i'm pretty smitten with the boy now. needless to say, he is not allowed at night anymore. he also doesn't seem to want to go out as often anymore, or as far. i can't keep him inside all the time, that genie is out of the bottle, but i know that larger predatory animals prefer dusk and darkness, so he gets the lockdown during those times.  i feel like the world's worst cat mom for letting vincent out, even though he was usually only out for a bit and came right back. i miss my boy.
that got sad, sorry. you'll be pleased to know the nook is still tidy and in working condition. i finished the mystery quilt and it's totally amazing and i love it. the kids and are i going to the emerald city comicon this weekend (squeee!).  i'm still employed. my sister found out she's having a girl (so new niece on the way!).  it's not all sad around here, but i admit that this month had it's share of no bueno news.    

Monday, February 17, 2014

the nook

BEHOLD! before....

and after!!!
i love the nook, but it had become something of a hot mess.  the shower rod i was using as a curtain rod wouldn't stay up. i was doing a bunch of sewing in the downstairs den because i wanted to use the big table.  the nook became a good spot to dump things, but not to work in.

today i spent a lot of time (four podcasts of wiretap long time, plus some this american life) moving things around, throwing things away, vacuuming and making the nook into a working space again.

it's not the greatest set up right now; i wish i had a better storage solution for my fabric, and there are still boxes of craft stuff that i should sort through.  however, it's miles better than it was, and three grocery sized bags of garbage came out of this.

i dropped my stuff off at the lucky dumpster this weekend! i am officially artist #86 on the roster now.  the gentleman that owns the store is wonderful, and suggested i start selling them at a higher price than i thought might sell because moving down to a lower price is easier than raising the price of a thing. which is fair and good advice.  he said it might take a bit longer to find the right price, but when i do, it will the highest price, not too low.  D came with me too, and he really liked the store and the owner.  i came home and ordered some fancy woven labels to mark my stuff with, and felt good about myself. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

modern love

my therapist works in downtown mt. vernon, right around the corner from the cutest little quilting shop.  i hadn't been in there in years probably when a few weeks ago i popped in after an exceptionally good session to treat myself.

i normally do not get acknowledged at quilt shops. usually there is a nice looking older lady behind the counter, or at the back of the shop, who gives me a cursory look over and goes back to what they're doing.  i know i wear too much black. i know that i'm too old for ridiculous t-shirts. i know that with my round face i look younger than i am.  it doesn't bug me unless they're rude or outright ignore me if i ask for help.  however, two weeks ago i walked into this quilt shop and the lady behind the counter was awesome! she was friendly and excited and asked me questions about what kind of fabric i like, and we had a great talk.  i felt comfortable. i showed her what i was looking at and she found other stuff i might like. she asked what i was making and i showed her the little patchwork bags.

at one point she said to me, "you look very modern, do you only make modern quilts?" i said no, i like to make all kinds of quilts.  i did admit that modern quilts are pretty fun, though.  it made me giggle later that she called me modern because i think she thought that because i was wearing a lot of black and stripes.

tonight i went back in and she was there and i was so excited to see her! she showed me some new neat things, and then said, "you know, you inspired me to make a modern quilt last week.  i even blogged about it, about how you came in and you seemed so modern and had that hair, and i had to make something."  how fucking nice is that?! like, she made a thing because i made her think of a thing.  i was blown away.  she works mainly on thursdays, and guess what? she's totally got a customer for life now.  quilters unite!!!

my good news this week was that the lucky dumpster, one of my favorite stores ever (you know that, i mention it all the time), is going to sell my bags on consignment!  i sent them an email weeks ago, and didn't hear back and thought, "well, at least i put myself out there." which i'm still kind of proud of.  but i'm also really excited to make a thing that will be sold in a shop that i think is amazing, run by amazing artists, and in a very special part of the skagit valley.  oh, who am i kidding? i'm crazy about all of the valley.  if i can't live on the island, this is where i want to be.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

selfie madness!

i got a haircut today after work and it was rad.  there is nothing like the feel of freshly cut hair! yes, it's pretty much the same hair i've rocked for a while now, but what can i say? i like myself with bangs. i also like long hair, even though i don't do much with it.  my hairdresser is also one of my favorite bartenders, and it was great to catch up and let her pamper me a bit.  honestly, my favorite part of any haircut is the hair brushing and shampooing part.  i am a super sucker for hair-touching.

when i got home from my awesome new haircut, i put on some makeup and took some photos! i like the idea of selfies as self-love. it's nice to remind myself that i can be cute! 

work is seriously stressing me out, which is hilarious because work has been seriously stressing me out for a while now. i can't decide if this stress is going to be worth it in the long run, in working on my "career*" or if it's just going to grind me down into a semi-nutritive paste to be consumed by The Man.  ugh. work has always been a means to an end, and the end was always just paying rent and having money for goofing off and travel and time to do the things i really love doing.  work as a product in and of itself is kind of foreign to me. i also struggle with how much of my time and energy and emotion i put into work, when i'm not sure that what i'm doing is of particular importance.  life is short, and i'll be dead, and who will really care if i adjusted some insurance claims? i feel like what's honestly important is to spend time with the people i love, keep myself and them happy, create art of any and all kinds.  write and draw and paint and sew and knit, read books and listen to music, support other artists and craftsmen, go out and have new experiences: that's what's important.  i do less of that when i'm stressed out about work deadlines and how there are not enough people to handle the work load, and how there's so much freaking pressure to have the right answer, right away. 

to try to work with my stress, instead of fighting against it, i'm taking time every day to write in a paper journal about how i feel, and jot down my dreams after i wake up. i find the act of just writing for a bit every day, just to write, is good for me.  i help clear my brain out, and makes it easier to sleep.  i'm trying to be kind toward myself, and not hold myself up to exceeding high standards.  i'm trying to be flexible and open and sometimes just work instead of worrying that i'm wasting my life on a job instead of being the next lynda barry or aline kominsky crumb, or any of the other artists i admire so much.  even if i had all the time in the world to devote to "higher" callings, i'd still find something to worry and fret about.  grass is always greener, and all that jazz. 

*i can't use that term with a straight face yet. i know it's ridiculous to be 36 and feel so strange about the trappings of what i think of as adulthood.  i'm deeply uncomfortable with the notion that i am actually a grown-up. the kids, the husband, the mortgage, the job...i often feel like i'm play-acting.  is that because i'm spoiled and terrible and lazy? is it just me being neurotic? at the same time, i'm kind of proud of being the adult i am, and feel like focusing on career goals is the right thing to do right now. i feel like it's time. it's also challenging for me, which is good.  i need something tough to push me out of my comfort zone.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014


i used to loooooove perfume and all things scented. i used to have (and still do!) a giant perfume collection. a few years ago, though, i started becoming really sensitive to scented things.  i'd wear a perfume i had always loved, and found myself sneezing all day and ending up with a headache.  the boychik and D are also super sensitive to scents, and when i moved in with them, i had to start using unscented laundry soap and couldn't burn any scented candles. i don't know if my sensitivity to scented things came after that because i wasn't exposed to them as much, or if it would have happened anyway. it bums me out, though, because i still think a nice perfume is awesome, but i can hardly wear them. 

i dyed my hair today (which i haven't done in forever) because i'm not super fond of my grey hairs, and the smell of the dye is killing me.  ugh.  i used to love dying my hair! while i am enjoying less grey hairs and all the shine, i know for a fact that this will end up with my taking something for a headache. 

i also made a new thing with my stripe scraps!  a cuff bracelet!
one of the awesome things about my new machine is the decorative stitches.  i love this little kite tail design.
it's a simple little thing, but i think it turned out cute.

things at work are becoming stranger and more stressful, with two people leaving my department and the work of five suddenly being handled by three.  i had a good talk with my therapist about it the other day, though, and i decided that while it's okay to be stressed out, it's important that i try to go with the flow and try not to thing of too many "what if" scenarios. 

all the sewing and making stuff is also helpful.  i sold a few bags last week and it felt so good to have someone like what i made.  it's not like money is the epitome of value, but to have someone say, "i appreciate the time and work that went into this, let me trade you money for this" is still pretty satisfying.  plus, it's so much less stressful than my day job.  my plan right now is to keep making things, updating my etsy store, and try to keep a stash of stuff for selling this summer.  i'd like to do a farmer's market or two, or a craft show this year. nothing crazy, but get out there with my work. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

i did not sew anything today

and that felt very, very strange.  it's become definitely something i do when i come home, after i get cozy and get my pjs and headband going. 

instead of sewing, tonight the girlchild and i went out for my niece's birthday part.  she's eight.  i can hardly believe it! part of me is sad she's not my baby anymore, but part of me loves having conversations with her about things, and hearing all her ideas and thoughts, and seeing her grow into her own person. she's very curious, loving, funny and bright.  i like she makes art and is creative and goofy.  i like that she is still small enough to crawl into my lap and tell me secrets. i'm feeling all sentimental and mushy about it right now.  i'm feeling very fortunate that she's in my life. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

bigger pouches!

this one turned out nicer than the last one because i used my zipper foot.  however, i'll be the first to admit my zipper skills are not the best. still kinda pinchy on one side.  but still, there is something that feels really good about sewing strips together and then making them into something else. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

a couple of weeks ago i applied to be a test quilter for sherri lynn wood's upcoming book, but didn't really think i'd be chosen.  my quilting skills are okay, but i definitely need to work on a few things (like binding) and color theory.  i was suprised to get the email telling me i'd been picked!  super happy surprised.  i can't tell you anything about the quilt pattern i'm working on, until the book is published, but i can admit i used this as a good excuse to go buy some fabric. kona solids are awesome, and i've been wanting to incorporate more solid colors into my work, and they were on sale. in fact, stopping at joann's yesterday was a great idea because it was the last day of this amazing sale that had all quilting stuff 1/2 off.  i got a big hoop for hand quilting, some tailor's chalk, and a fancy thimble, along with this fabric, for much less than i should have.  hooray!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

rainy saturday craft

today is a lousy, dark, windy, rainy mess of a day. i took a shower, but i will not put on a bra! i've spent the day inside, crafting and listening to music and feeding my cats treats.  best use of a saturday, really.  i made a thing that is cute though, so i'm going to show you what it is and how to do it yourself!

Birdie Bunting
(or any kind of pretty paper bunting)
what you will need: paper, scissors, thread, tape, tiny hole punch (or awl or sharp needle).  i used a bird-a-day calendar the girlchild got me last year for xmas. it was just too pretty to toss!  i also used a teeny hole punch rather than an awl to punch holes in the paper, and perle cotton thread and a needle for stringing. 

i have a punch that cuts out 1 and a quarter inch circles that came with my button maker. i love this thing. it's heavy duty and works like a charm. if you do not have one of these, no biggie! pick something circular to use as your template, and just trace around the images you want and cut out with scissors. they also make large circular paper punchers for scrapbooking that you could use. OR you could use some other cute shape. i used circles because i could. 

if you are lucky enough to have a kitten helper, then you are awesome. i put the circles i punched out in a crock that was nearby, and tali had a good time sorting through them. 
i tried a few different way of stringing the circles on some scrap paper.  there are probably a bunch of ways to do it, but i liked the string through the back, on the top of the picture. 

to hold the circles where i wanted them, i used a teensy bit of washi tape. you can use any tape or glue you want! did i need to use washi tape? no. you aren't really supposed to see the back, after all. i used it because it was cute, dammit.  i like cute. 

after i strung up all my sweet birdies, i hung is like this! (the picture above is a great print of a watercolor painting of my hometown's main street {coupeville represent!} that my aunt got me for my wedding anniversary.  she's the best.)
and a close up of the birdie faces.  this isn't even a whole month's worth of birds cut out, so i have a feeling i will be making more of these.  i'll probably send some to friends, and then festoon my house with cheerful bird friends. 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

bowie be!

vicente! surprised!
it's david bowie's birthday!  so i'm listening to his albums (thanks to youtube, i can listen to the ones i don't own, like a jerk), singing along, and having a cocktail made of glitter of sass in his honor.  wait, did i say glitter and sass? i mean rum and pepsi. 

one of my tumblr idols (i have them! they are real!) got a fucking david bowie tattoo today.  she's a swoon-worthy gorgon on an ordinary day, but today she is my hero.  i immediately thought, "ooh, i could get a scary monster's era pierrot bowie tattoo!" i love all bowie's, don't get me wrong, but the sad pierrot made an impact on my psyche as a kid.  david bowie was my first crush as a kid, my first foray into tingle-town as a girl.  (too much?) he was so pretty and interesting and his songs were amazing and he had a million different versions of himself. 

as a grown woman, my love of him has only increased.  he truly is talented and funny and smart and the handsome just never ends, does it? plus, he's not afraid to try new things, to wear the outrageous, to mine our uncomfortable emotional and social depths for art.  he's remarkable.  he still makes me tingle.   

the steri-strips on my incision came off in the shower this morning.  what's underneath is a lumpy, grumpy scar.  i let it out to breathe today, but have it covered with a gauze right now because D was like, "um, that looks angry. maybe cover it up to protect it?"  i bothered my nurse sister-in-law (i have two of those, because i'm the luckiest little hypochondriac i know) about how much it still hurt today.  she pointed out, nicely enough, that a week really isn't that long, and that incision sites are often uncomfortable. i'm also a lot less numb, which is increasing my pain.  so yay! i can feel my face again, but boo! my face feels terrible and achy. 

go hit up youtube and listen to some david bowie.  have a blessed bowie birthday, and may bowie protect and keep you and yours. 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

what the blog?

this is what happens when you let a drunk amanda shop on the internet.  new year's eve, evidently i bid on some jewelry on ebay! i won some too.  this is only one of two new pieces.  i don't know if i should be chagrined, or stoked that drunk me has excellent taste. 

my doctor called today and my lump is benign! no cancer! just a weird lymph node and an overactive imagination.  well, that's not entirely fair.  when you have a parent who had a form of lymphatic cancer, it's okay to be a bit more cautious.  i'm still very sore from the surgery (i think because i have to talk at work), but relieved that it wasn't something serious. 

i had a dream last night where the girlchild was driving the boychik and i around.  it was awesome to not be the one driving.  i told her tonight that i'm seriously looking forward to her getting a license and then carting me around everywhere. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

stashing fabric

i probably shouldn't have as much fabric as i do, but these flannels were on sale, and my sister is i used that as an excuse to buy these.  the food flannel on the right will become a blanket with the green on the left.  the middle fabrics will likely become burp cloths.  it's all in the washer now, so i can play with it soon! i might need to take a nap first, though.  i left the house today and am now exhausted. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

how is this cat not internet famous?

made a pompom. sprinkled it with catnip. watched tali destroy it.  it was a fun few moments while it lasted! he's sleeping it off now. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

best-of lists

given my propensity for lists, i'm always surprised i don't make more of them.  well, i'm surprised i don't blog more of them, if you want me to be honest*.  i wanted to make a best-of 2013 list but not rank my best-of's.  i'm just going to list the cool things that happened this year that i enjoyed, and tell you why. 
  •   my niece and her boyfriend and their beautiful baby boy moved to town! meaning, now they are 30 mins away, not states away.  being able to hang out with them and meet the newest member of the family has been wonderful. (marrying D and getting to be a part of his family has brought people into my life that are so awesome.) 
  • my mom got her first tattoo.  because she's badass.  for xmas, i gave her a tattoo gift certificate because i'd like to encourage this kind of behavior.  
  • my nephew calvin decided i was okay and now hugs me and gives me the tiny pats on the back.  he cuddles up to me and gives kisses, and it kills me. 
  • i got to take a whole weekend away with my best friend, with no kidlets or hubbies.  i love our kids, i love our husbands, but what a great, relaxing vacation we had.  three days! sleeping in late! talking! watching movies on cable tv.  i think it was really good for me, and i'm totally planning on doing it again.
  • my sister got knocked up again! i am pretty stoked about this. next summer, new baby times for us.  
  • she also got engaged, and is so happy to be planning a wedding. it feels great to know she gets to have a wedding and is having so much fun planning it.  i didn't get it before i had my own wedding, but just the whole ceremony of it feels really good, and i'm glad she gets to do it.  plus, i get to buy a fancy dress.  
  • it's bittersweet for me that the boychik moved out, but he seems happy and healthy and still lets me make him the occasional sandwich and pester him via text message.  i feel like this is good for him, even if it is hard for me.  
  • the girlchild is definitely growing up and into herself.  i've enjoyed the one-on-one time we've had this year together, and while D thinks sometime i'm overbearing and opinionated (because let's face it, i am not shy with opinions), i feel like we're constantly getting to know each other better.  she's done amazing things with art and fashion and creating stuff, and i have this amazing, built-in partner to take field trips with. i am loving it.
  • kittens!!! i miss my LuLu all the time, don't misunderstand, but the brothers butthole (which is what we call the two of them; like the brothers karamazov!) are amazing gatos in their own right.  tali and vince are fun, cuddly, irritating and delightful. i hate having to clean two litter boxes, especially when they are capable of pooping anywhere in the great outdoors, but i love those jerks.  
  • i have a lot to say about my husband, for sure, but i can boil it down to this: there is no one in the world i think loves me or cares about me the way he does. he's honestly on my side, and backs me up in everything. he's also kind of pushy, and wants me to do more, expects good things from me. i had no idea this is what marriage could be like. plus, cute butt.   
yeah, it's a sappy list. maybe it's the medication. maybe it's the moon. i know i feel like 2013 had a lot of good things in it, and most of those things i owe to my loved ones.  i feel good about 2014.

*i have blogged an awful lot lately.  now i'm up because vicodin is one of those things that doesn't make me sleepy, but instead makes me want to do stuff.  how do you think i could explain this glorious feeling to my shrink and not have her think i was just nuts about drugs? ugh.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 to 2014

champagne with frozen pineapple
 new year's eve was delightful. i drank too much "champagne," meaning i drank too much barefoot bubbly.  i love their sparkling pinot gris. i especially love it with frozen pineapple. it becomes insanely cold, and then you have sweet chunks of fruit to eat at the end.  it's a win win WIN.  my husband made this insane-o spread of nibbles, that included chips and dips, a giant crudité tray, fresh ceviche and salsa, cheese and crackers, salami and paté.  it was amazing. 
last selfie of 2013 in a ridiculous sweater
 i wore this ridiculous sweater i found at forever 21 with the girlchild.  boxy sweaters are a fat-girl's friend at places like forever 21! (this forever 21 doesn't carry the plus line, but they should.)  i blurred the bottom of the photo out because there is an awful lot of toothpaste on my bathroom mirror. 
crazy quilting in action
 i started working on a crazy quilt top for a pillow i've had laying around.  i've really been enjoying my new sewing machine.  i have a few projects that i'm hoping to finish this year that i started last year, or even back in 2012.  hooray for long-lasting projects!

my first big thing of 2014 was that i had my very first surgery today.  i think getting to 36 without going under any knife is pretty good, don't you think?  i mean, i had my wisdom teeth taken out, but this was a real, operating room surgery.  about two months ago i noticed a hard lump on my neck, about the size and shape of an olive pit.  it was weird and it stuck out and it made me nervous. a visit to the doctor and an ultrasound confirmed it was a rogue lymph node.  now, since my dad had lymphoma, i'm kind of cautious with my own nodes.  the doctor's thought this was pretty reasonable. we watched it for a bit, then i had to decide if i would have a biopsy or just have it removed.  the node was only about a centimeter and a half long; a biopsy might not have gotten enough tissue. plus, i'd still have the weird lump on my neck that made me self-conscious.  removing it seemed like a better idea, as we'd know then exactly what it was, and either way, no lump on me. 

i've included a photo after the jump, which is just a bit of bloody steri-strip. you can skip it if you want!