Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Some sort of toothy spider/ant hybrid colony has taken over the plastic owl that is guarding our back porch  and my tiny herb garden.  Hopefully these things at least eat some bugs that may be harmful to my herbs!

Try it Tuesday: Hooded Baby Towel

(Excuse the wrinkles in my backdrop-I didn't notice them at the time!)  

Confession Time: this is not the first time I have used this excellent tutorial from Prudent Baby.  I already made one for a new niece, but it's such a great baby gift that I had to make another one! :) It's also pretty simple, but looks like it took some time!

 I used the same Alexander Henry "Ready, Set, Robots" fabric that I used for part of the soft blocks last week to make a little matching set (model not included).

This time I did have some trouble attaching the hood to the main towel, but that could have been the way the towel was cut (by me) or something about the way it was made.  It frayed more easily than the towel I used last time.  I can't wait to hear how the new parents like it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday Songs: Madonna Edition

SAD: Madonna- Take a Bow

This is another song that used to wake me up for middle school at a very dark time of the morning.  Of course, this is a great song, but no one wants to be awakened by music that could potentially make them cry!  Heady stuff for a sixth grader!

HAPPY: Madonna- Borderline

I know that the lyrics to this song are not especially positive, but it's always provided happy ambient noise for me at outlet malls, etc.

Can we talk about this video?  The plot is so convoluted!  Despite her boyfriend's better instincts, Madonna is lured away from her faux break dancing by a slick gentleman (hasn't she ever seen Fame?!).  She cheats on her boyfriend during a photoshoot, but still goes back to the billiards parlor to try and cuddle up to him.  Then she spray paints the photographer's car as her sign of rebellion and rejoins her boyfriend for billiards.  If we want to really analyze this, I think she's actually mad at herself for being charmed by his wealth!  And she's pushing her own love over the borderline, if you ask me!

Anyway, I still think this song is happy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shop Talk: Business Cards

My business cards finally came this week!  My talented husband did such a great job with the design!

The Indomitable Animal Spirit: Mason

Awww!  Little Mason crawled his way back to his family on two broken legs after he was picked up by a tornado in Alabama.  His family can't take care of him right now because their house appears to have been destroyed by the tornado, but he seems to be staying at a nice place.  Poor little guy!

(Via Dlisted)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Vintage Door

I was browsing Three Potato Four when I came across this door.  I've got to admit that I would love to have it, despite my initial skepticism.  

It's so interesting how everyday objects change over the years and decades.  There haven't been immense advances in the world of screen doors since then, but the little details are so perfect.  I can totally see Lassie scratching at this door to alert Timmy's mom that he's fallen in the well (again).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Try it Tuesday: Cloth baby blocks

This week I used a tutorial from Rachel at Smile and Wave to make some soft blocks as part of a baby gift.  The idea really grabbed my interest because of Rachel's description of how her baby was fascinated by graphic patterns (like those featured below).

The project was pretty simple and had some cute results...

though I do think my fiber fill needs to be pushed around some more to make it less lumpy!  I loved having a great opportunity to use some of my Alexander Henry "Ready, Set, Robots" fabric!

Hidden stitches are not among my favorite things, so I just stitched my seam closed.  I also took the advice of one of the commenters on Rachel's blog and stuck parts of a cereal bag inside to provide the blocks with some auditory interest.

I'm off to squeeze my lumpy block into shape!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Songs: Rapture Edition: Billy Joel/R.E.M.

                                             SAD: Billy Joel- We Didn't Start the Fire

I remember seeing this video on VH1 when I was little and finding it scary.  (I was watching it on VH1 because we weren't allowed to watch MTV.  Sometimes my sister and I would sneak the channel to MTV while my mom was doing something else and EVERY single time they would be playing Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love."  That video is so lame that we just gave up trying to watch MTV at all.)

Anyway, I'm assuming that the same reason that I found this unsettling when I was a little kid is the same reason that I find it sad today.  Time is passing so quickly in the song.  Lives seem so much less important due to the presentation.  That sounds pretty SAD to me!

                                           HAPPY: R.E.M.- It's the End of the World

My major memory of this song is when No Doubt performed it on New Year's Eve 1999/2000, on one of the other occasions the world was supposed to be ending.  I found it really annoying because Gwen Stefani just gave up at the end (even though she had cue cards).

This song is speeding through life at the same speed as "We Didn't Start the Fire," but has a distinctly optimistic feeling and therefore must be HAPPY.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Samorga Bag Organizer

I love this purse organizer!  My purse is generally a big mess, and something this cute would be a fun way to whip it into shape!

                                                            Photo via Samorga (Etsy)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Try It Tuesday: Stuffed Elephant

This week's Try It Tuesday is this adorable elephant from Bustle and Sew!  

He was completely hand sewn and a lot of fun to make!  I really enjoyed making a stuffed animal that didn't involve turning anything inside out, so I could tell right away if something wasn't working out.  There is something so soothing about stitching this way.  (Geez, how many times did I use compound words ending with "thing" in this passage?!)

I thought the grey felt was perfect for elephant skin! 

I made this little guy for Valentine's Day for my husband.  He has a small heart with his initial on his other side.  I couldn't resist showing him with the delicious cupcakes my husband got me for Valentine's Day from the Cupcake Shoppe here in Raleigh!

I've picked out the tutorial for next week and I'm excited to give it a try! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Songs: Strange Conceptions: Heart/Ace of Base

SAD: Heart- All I Wanna To Do Is Make Love To You

Maybe you've never really listened to the lyrics to this song, but it is super depressing and weird.  I don't have a specific memory of hearing this song, though I undoubtedly did in Rose's while I picked out my orange New Kids on the Block lunchbox.  Anyway, if you haven't paid close attention to the parts of the song that don't include the words "make love" (which confused me so much as a kid due to their various tricky uses in songs, i.e. Shelby Lynne's "What About the Love We Made), then you've probably been assuming this is a happy song.  

Alas, the narrator is a woman who sleeps with various hitchhiking drifters because she can't have a baby with her husband.  In the song, she describes picking up a hitchhiker and taking him to a hotel, which is a place she "knew well" (thus confirming that we are talking about drifters and not just a drifter) and gets pregnant.  She also leaves the random hitchhiker a note reading:

"I am the flower, you are the seed
We walked in the garden, we planted a tree
Don't try to find me, please don't you dare

Just live in my memory, you'll always be there"

Gross.  Anyway, some time in the future she accidentally comes across the kid's real father at an...oven repair store (?) and he's really upset and acts as though they were married once or something.  Thus, this song is SAD.

HAPPY: Ace of Base- All That She Wants

This week's happy song is also seemingly about having a baby.  I always wondered as a kid (most notably in the grocery store looking at R.L. Stine books at a stop in the way to a weekend vacation in Nags Head, NC) why the subject of this song needed "another baby."  That wording makes me think that she already has one baby.  Isn't that baby good enough for her?  Yet in this video, there is no baby, just someone living their "lonely life."  This song must suffer from some kind of translation issue.  "Baby" can certainly refer to a significant other rather than a child, but that doesn't make much sense either.  

Oh well, no Ace of Base song could be that sad.  That means this song must be HAPPY.

(My apologies for these videos attaching themselves to various strange spots.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Wants: Lany Devening

I've had Lany Devening's Etsy store on my favorites list for a long time, but some of her more recent paintings/screen prints are so beautiful!

Photo via: Etsy

Photo via: Etsy

I love how this series seems to make the idea of home seem mystical.  I don't even know which one I would pick!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Try it Tuesday: The YUDU

A couple of year ago, my sweet husband bought me a YUDU screen printer for Valentine's Day.  Sadly, I am just getting around to printing on it now!

Warning: technical talk ahead!

This Try it Tuesday actually started several days ago when I realized I had lost the emulsions needed to make the screen (that block off areas, creating a stencil-like effect).  We moved this summer, and I remember thinking they may be damaged by heat and taking them out of the box with the other YUDU stuff.  I must have put them in some really safe place from which they will never be extracted, because my search produced nothing.

Anyway, I tracked down some more emulsions and read up on the application process.  I have screen printing experience from grad school, but we applied a wet emulsion rather than sheets.  My first attempt at this new type of emulsion was a total flop.  The emulsion came right off like wet saran wrap...which was disgusting.  Upon closer inspection of the directions, it turns out there is a "tip" that really needs to be considered an essential step that allowed the whole process to work.  I'll spare you the details.

Once I finally got down to business, my first time screen printing at home was really awesome!  I am looking forward to printing again soon!

Here's a sneak peek of what I made!  Look for the whole design in my store soon!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Songs: Bread/Next

SAD:  Bread- If

I have always loved Bread!  Bread was one of the cassettes we used to listen to on long car trips and I used to want to rewind "Diary" over and over again.  Ultimately, this song is a lot sadder since it paints a very convincing picture of the world ending.  Also, this may have been the tape that was playing when my puppy threw up on my face on one of those car trips.  Other than that, this makes me think of traveling in the dark.

(Apparently, everyone loves to cover this song on youtube, but all the videos with the original recording have been hit with copyright problems.  The above video is from a more recent concert, but you can find the real deal here in this (un-embedding) video.)

HAPPY: Next- Too Close

Songs with thinly veiled references that become huge radio hits crack me up every time!

(Apologies if these videos don't seem centered, etc...they don't respond to my edits.)

My tiny attempt at a garden

When you have my inconsistent track record with plants, it's best to start small!   This is my first time actually planting anything (at least since elementary school) and I have high hopes!

I got the three little herbs (rosemary, lavender, and peppermint) in Lancaster a few weeks ago and the largest one (lemon thyme) was given to me for Teacher Appreciation week just in time to be planted with the others.  I'm hoping to be able to use some of the herbs to cook with at some point!  We'll see!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shop Talk: My labels are here!

My new labels came in the mail today!  I am so excited to put one in/on my first product!  

Wednesday Wants: Flux Glass

I love, love, love (three loves for three birds) this set of bird mirrors from Flux Glass based in Asheville, NC!  These mirrors, made by Dennis Smith, are the only items I've come across in person that I already had as a favorite on Etsy.  

                                                                   Photo via Flux Glass

I was lucky enough to scoop up a bird mirror similar to the one below at the Woolworth Gallery in Asheville.

                                                                   Photo via Flux Glass

There are a ton of other original mirror designs in the Flux Glass Etsy store, including deer heads and mirrors in the shapes of states.  I'm going to have a hard time resisting if I see Virginia!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Try it Tuesday: Chickummyjigs

Welcome to my first "Try It Tuesday," where I will posting the results of my frequent attempts on various projects found on the internet, books, or any other applicable place!

This tutorial, the Chickummyjig, can be found at Myrtle & Eunice (which I found via Whip Up) if you'd like to try making one of your own.  I came across this tutorial a week before Easter and could not resist making five of my own for presents. 

Here is my flock before they joined new homes.  (The yellow one with the dark green eyes still lives with me!)

Since I was making five, I simplified the tutorial a bit and used felt for the wings in addition to the the feet and comb. 

I also used embroidery floss for the eyes instead of buttons.  I must confess that next time I will definitely be using buttons!

I really enjoyed this tutorial, not only for the super cute product, but for adding to my confidence in making stuffed toys.  It always seems so daunting until you get started! :)

Do you have any favorite tutorials?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Songs: Bonnie Raitt/Jefferson Starship

As most people are, I'm strongly affected by music.  My husband and I are always joking around about why a particular song makes us feel a particular way or the context in which we usually heard it and generally these are a bit unexpected.  I've decided to commemorate some of my favorite happy/sad songs here.  I hope you enjoy!


SAD: Bonnie Raitt- "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Maybe I shouldn't start with what I feel is the saddest song ever, but here we go.  Other than the obvious reasons, I feel this song is especially melancholy because it always used to wake me up on my alarm clock radio at 6 am when it was still dark outside (in middle school).  Don't get me wrong, I love this song, but there is definitely something about it that makes it seem like it should be playing at an empty small town diner that is about to close forever as the sun goes down.  

HAPPY: Jefferson Starship- "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"

Since I started off the sad section with my saddest song of all, I had to combine it with my happiest!  Get excited!  This song was love at first listen to my young ears.  After watching "Mannequin 2: On the Move" every day all summer long in elementary school, this song was a part of my daily life.  "Whooo, Kristy Swanson got away from the evil Count Spritzel with that guy from Howard's Head!"  This is one of the only songs that I even sing along with the guitar solo...unfortunately for anyone nearby.  

"BERMUDA!" (If any fellow "Mannequin 2" lovers are out there like my husband's Uncle Kevin, then you know why I just had to say it.)