Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Sewing

I'd like to say that I've been handling my upcoming reunion (what the this Saturday?!?) with cool confidence, and though I haven't rushed out for any invasive dental whitening or mysterious waxing, I did have the classic wardrobe meltdown. But I'm broke. And shopping with the Littles is freaking impossible. So I've spent the past several evenings, while my husband gets his baby fix, with needle and thread. Enter idea #1.This bird print, originally a curtain, is my favorite fabric ever. I figured it'd make a nice simple top that I could wear dressed up or dressed down. Well, I was half right. It is a cute summery top, comfy and breezy and perfect for outings with the boys. But the old ball and chain gave it a definitive thumbs down for the reunion. He's right - it's sweet, but void of elegance. Besides he rarely has an opinion at all, so I heeded his advice and started on idea #2.
I know I'm a broken record on this point, but man, I love my cardigans. This one is made of the same gray knit the I used before, has short sleeves with elastic and a ruffle along the front. The ruffle is a little more intense than it was in my head, but all in all, it wins. Comfy, chic and very me. Plus it looks RAD with skinny jeans, red heels and a red belt. And, as icing on this cake, it adds some of the missing class to the bird shirt when they're paired together (though I still think I'll forgo it for Saturday night.)
I'm feeling really good about the strides Ive made in sewing in the last year. I used to enjoy the planning and sewing of a garment, but I'd rarely wear my creations more than once. But after lots of practice and tons of hard lessons, my own designs are now flattering, comfortable, washable and otherwise wearable and getting better all the time. It's pretty darn cool. Also cool that I have this blog as a record of the progress I've made. Pretty darn cool indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grandma Sue Sue's Sketches

I just got this email from my mom and thought I'd share.

"Had fun trying to capture my little friends. Poor Claire--I need to
work on her portrait, but I think I got the boys.

Actually, I was told to share by the artist herself - at which point I had to stifle a very petulant, 12 year old "Get your own blog, Mom!"

No, I'm kidding, I'm very proud to share these drawings. Aside from my wonky facial structure, they're wonderful. Beautiful renderings of my boys. I especially love her loose, suggested line quality and the way she uses shading as a focal accent. I'm way too chicken to even attempt portraits of my loved ones, so I'm impressed by her plain old guts too.

The little peeking Jonesie in the first drawing is my favorite part, all gesture and allusion - nothing overt. Lovely. Well done, Mom. You must be getting close to those 10,000 hours by now because you're looking every bit the expert these days!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flowers et al

I love collections, groupings etc, so this shouldn't have come as such a revelation, but it was. I have a new floral arranging manifesto - that vessels can and should be arranged too. I ended up making 5 smaller bouquets today, intending to bring a little color to a variety of spots around the house. But this collection of different flowers and vases is so much greater than the sum of its parts. I can't stop staring at it! So all 5 bouquets will stay together like this in one lush cacophonous display. Wouldn't it make a great centerpiece? I'll definitely be doing more multi-vase arrangements as long as the roof keeps blooming. As if I needed another excuse to hunt antique ink bottles and bud vases.

Morning Glory

I was up with the sun this morning. I took a cup of tea and my wakeful Calder out onto the roof to revel in the chill and dim. It never gets old for me, my garden, today was no exception. I love early Summer mornings, something that, prior to motherhood, I only experienced as really late Summer nights. I love the dewy air, and the pale green tint the sky takes on. I love the bird calls and the human silence. It was a lovely morning, well worth missing a bit of sleep.

Anyway, my plants are needing some trimming and the kitchen needs a bouquet, but I wanted to snap a few photos before I cut back to mostly green. Maybe I'll post the resulting bouquet later.In other news, the fabric has been ironed and is ready for printing! I just need to clear a little workspace. I also have some other, admittedly tangential, sewing gigs in the works. Old Helen may be awfully busy for the next week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Work in Progress

I'm working on a few ideas around here. I'd like to wear something hand made to my reunion next weekend, and I have this cockamamie scheme to print my own fabric for it. Crazy, I know given all the free time I don't have. But I made a little progress today, in the few rare moments to myself.

I had some of this Speedball Speedycut printing block left over from making our wedding invites (yay for hoarding art supplies!) I really like this stuff for simple prints. Once upon a time I was a linoleum purist, but this stuff is so quick and user friendly. Plus it seems to print better on fabric.

The whole project is pretty lo-fi, done entirely with stuff I had around the house so it may be a total and utter failure. I haven't done any relief printing in about 4 years, and I highly doubt it's like riding a bicycle. Or it may just end up looking cheap and cheesy. I'll keep you posted on this and my other reunion sewing exploits. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

I just finished this and feel like I've been held captive by it. Like only a fraction of me has been present here at home, and the rest of me has been gallivanting about Sweden, in constant peril and with increasing admiration for my captors. Or captor - singular - as in Stieg Larsson who has posthumously held me and countless others hostage in his novels.

As much as I enjoyed the 1st one, I've been completely engrossed in the last 2 books in this series. What a great ride. Violent and intense, morally sound yet ethically crooked. It's rare that a story can have such clearly defined "good guys" and "bad guys", and such blatantly idealistic good guys at that, but lack the predictability, shallowness and general cheese factor that these archetypes usually ooze.

Now I have that telltale listlessness that takes hold after a good read. What do I do with myself in the wake of Lisbeth Salander? I don't know, but I'm oddly compelled pick up the fine art of hacking and to sleep with a nail gun under my pillow. You know, just in case.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making Time for Making

I've been pretty much living in my wrap cardigans. Carrying the baby snuggled up, shading him from the sun, and of course concealing my ever-bared bosoms behind the drape. I don't really know how I lived without them when B was a newborn. So when I started to feel a little antsy about my idle hands, I figured another quick cardigan might just serve any number of purposes. I was so right. First of all, it was delicious to spend a few purely selfish minutes running fabric through my fingers. Secondly the result is my favorite cardigan yet. It's simple, flattering and sort of frill-free. I love the color, the super long sleeves and the weight and flounce of the jersey. I'm very happy with it, and very very happy I took the time to make it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reunited and it Feels so Good

I just committed to attending my 10 year high school reunion. Good Grief. What a curious tradition. There's so little left of the girl I was 10 years ago (and good riddance) that I'll be a virtual stranger to my classmates. But I'm sure it's the same with them. So why is a decade old shared history enough to warrant a big festive hooplah? I haven't a clue, but it is, and it's fascinating. I'm just hoping us music department geeks show up en masse.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Did I really ever look like that? Was that really a scant 3 weeks ago? Seems like another lifetime. That person and that belly are almost strangers to me now. It looks like a prosthetic!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pinback - Fortress

I've had this song stuck in my head since seeing these guys live across the street last week. Easily one of the best live music experiences of my life. Incidentally, I also had the best vodka-cranberry experience of my life that night. You know, absence makes the heart grow thirstier and all. Anyway, I heart the song - which has become my unofficial summer anthem, and I heart the video - which makes me want to make things. So, I thought I'd share.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jonesie on a Sunday

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Room with a View

This is where we spent the day. The Sandcastle at Birch Bay, Wa. We played and swam, threw rocks and had ice cream cones, making it a classic Summer vacation - except that it was only for the day, that it was only 20 miles away from home, and that it was totally unplanned until late this morning. Spontaneous trips are always my faves - today was no exception. Perfect.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer is Here

The mercury has risen here in the Northwest, after a long, gloomy Spring. I, for one, did not lament the rain and now am faced with surviving the heat. Pardon the melodrama, it's really been lovely, but with 2 kids now my M.O. of high tailin' it to the nearest swimmin' hole is kind of out. And it isn't even that hot, I'm just a big Seattle-raised whiner.
I did my best today to enjoy the fact that Summer has finally arrived so I threw together this little impromptu water play table. Nothing fancy, just a storage bin, some bath toys and a few kitchen items, but we're talking hours of entertainment. I even got in a little gardening while the baby napped in the shade. Pretty great way to spend a sunny late morning. We just might survive the heat after all.

In other news, last night I came into the living room to find my husband rocking a wide awake, but calm, little Jonesie singing "Hello?... Is it me you're looking at?" Ha! Cracked me up. I may have to start calling him Zionel.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Night Out

There are husbands, and then there are husbands.

The kind of husband who takes on a fussy, gassy, 12 day old newborn and his mama's boy brother so his wife can have a minute alone to see the core duo of one of her all time favorite bands is just ridiculous. The kind of husband that plans such an outing to surprise his wife (who wasn't even remotely aware that said duo was in town) just doesn't exist. Except that he does. And he's mine.

Also, this is that rare moment when living across the street from a live music bar proves advantageous. 99% of the time we curse the sloppy drunks and sloppier musicians.

Right now I'm just trying to wrap my head around wearing a non-maternity outfit that doesn't have to coordinate with my Moby Wrap, and hoping that the unwashed state of my hair comes off as emo irreverence. Mostly, as much as I crave time by myself, I'm wishing ZB could be my date tonight. Because he's the best. Even if he refuses to be pictured on his wife's blog.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Life is Beautiful

Life is beautiful. Zion's at work, Beckett is off riding commuter trains with his grandparents, and I'm here with my little one, reveling in his every sigh, and enjoying these pictures from the last few days. Of course I'm also desperately missing B, the laundry has taken on a life of its own and I'm a little too happy to have found Speed on tv, but let's just keep this high brow, shall we?