Friday, August 28, 2009

Gone Fishing.

I think we're the last people to take a summer vacation. It's even a bit chilly and rainy today, and yet, I'm packing for a week on the lake. Lots of talk in town of teachers, and school supplies and finishing those summer homework packets (yuck). So, it seems strange to be going away when I feel like I should be in the thick of getting ready.

And yet.

Why not have a week together out of the house. To be a unit unto ourselves. To spend more time outdoors and change our view. We're heading to a house on a lake in New Hampshire. Different house, different lake than last year, but hopefully much the same.

enjoy your week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Patchwork bag and I'm thinking of Christmas.

Patchwork bag
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio
Every year I vow that I'll start my holiday shopping/gift making about NOW instead of late November. I find it much more enjoyable to think about making gifts when it still feels leisurely, rather than pressured. I might make a few of these shoppers/totes for teachers/in-laws/friends, doable if I can make them production-line style now. I have enough fabric, Lord knows, to crank these out. I based the pattern on my enviro-sac, which I do adore. You can't beat a shopper that you can keep in your purse.

Hate to bring it up already, but do you have any thoughts about holiday gifts?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Print your Pics

A funny thing happened on Friday.

Mark took the kids to work in the a.m and I joined them around noon. He works in an advertising agency which means rooms full of fun toys -- giant printers and exacto knives and foam core and mounting stations. Most of all, lots of work space, a world of apple computers and savvy tech folks. Anyway, I printed some of my flickr photos as 11x14s to use for painting reference, since my painting season is about to begin again. Well, they were spectacular. So much better than the screen versions which I stare at day after day. I do make hardback books occasionally via iphoto/ so I see things in print, but this was better. I printed out a stack and decorated Mark's bullentin board while he was in a meeting. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. Just a few of the boys in the office (they were much more interested in the cereal station and the rolling chairs). Anyway, perhaps I am alone in this lack of printing, but it was rather eye opening and too much fun. I can't recommend it enough and I can't wait to go back and do more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Few hours on the Beach

Are never wasted.

No one wanted to go to the beach. I know. That's when you've hit the summer wall. Time for someone to get bossy (ahem) and make everyone get. in .the. car. We didn't get there until 6, and stayed until 8:30. No lovely dinner picnic (original plan), just some peaches & popsicles. The water felt warm as a bath though and the sky was breathtaking. Jack declared the clouds "snuggly" and said he liked the green ones best. hmmm....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Huck Finn Pants for my Little Imp

Yes, I'm still sewing small projects. That's the time and space I have right now. Plus, it's mighty hot in that grey cottage studio.

Made a wee pair of monkey pants from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing. Well, she calls them Huck Finn pants, which at least makes them sound boyish, though they're certainly unisex. The sock monkey print is just the sort of novelty print I usually dismiss, but I thought it suited a two-year-old boy who likes curious George. I bought it from the one of the only two local fabric shops around here with just these pants in mind. I have my doubts about quilting cotton for a pair of little boy pants, but they only have to last a few wearings before the season changes.

I didn't have 1/2" elastic on hand, but my little guy was wearing a pair of elastic waisted pants that looked a bit small when he wandered out to find me. I sat him down, took his pants and used a seam ripper to take out the elastic. I installed it in the new pants, and voila.

I'm nothing if not impatient, I mean, resourceful.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zip it. Zipperhead. (In which I attempt a zipper)

Inside my bag is always a proceed-at-your-own-risk proposition. There are markers and tampons and lollipops and receipts from CVS promising $5 the next purchase. Somewhere there's a wallet and a notebook and hopefully a little pink felt pouch of pens. Well, today, I had a wee bit of time and of course, all kinds of fabric, so I went for the small-and-easily-finished unlined zip pouch. I used the zip pouch from Denyse Schmidt Quilts for my basic idea then zoomed off with some IKEA fabric, some leftover country faire and a red zipper I had in a sundries bin. And, voila. The zipper is funky on one end, and really, I would have preferred a lined bag. But this little pouch will do just fine to corral the little guys, wooden animals and such who populate my bag and jump out when toddlers need entertaining.

Next I think I'll make one with a tether for inside the pool bag to hold the sunscreens & bug spray.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Beautiful New (to me) Blogs

I have branched out a bit lately and freshened the blog list to include other artists and, shall we say artistics, whom I enjoy reading.

More photography/lifestyle than crafting or cooking per se (Lord knows, I have a stash of those too.) Thought you'd might like to see the simple beauty of a view to. She's a stylist/photographer who lives in Germany and France. I mean really, do you need more enticement than that?

Here's one from a NY magazine writer who has a great eye (check those engagement photos -- so gorgeous) for photography and design and just little beautiful things. She's young and newly engaged -- just such a different p.o.v. than so many of the mom-blogs I read. It's a cup of Jo and worth a perusal.

Anything new (to you) out there that you like lately?

Sometimes I wonder at the amount of time I fritter away on the internet, but I really watch very little TV, so count it as my mindless TV time. Can I? Please?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Other Things in the Making

Finally. Time to make.

While the kids were at the beach and I had a whole day alone (bliss!) I spent time sewing and whipped up a pillow (technical difficulty very high on this one, but hey, I wanted to finish something) and I made two types of freezer jam: Italian plum and peach. Both recipes from the Internet. The plum. Wow. Hard not to eat the entire jar with a spoon.

Oh, there was more plum-merriment. I also made this gorgeous, delicious clafoutis from Gourmet magazine. No pics of my version, too dark out when it came out of the oven and not enough left in the day light. The plums macerated extra long and were nice and boozy. A great dessert, or as I've learned, a wonderful breakfast.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's My Party...

Where to begin? My life is settling. I feel the promise of an easy-going August looming in a wonderful way, sure to go much too quickly before we are back on the hamster wheel again. The boys sloved their four weeks at cub scout camp (day camp), but I'm so happy to ditch the daily drive and let go of the morning rush. I have big plans and summer projects and trips to the city, the zoo, the country, the beach, the back yard...I am a summer mom.

Oh how was my big 4-0 b-day party? Well, house full of best friends, kids away at Grandma's house at the beach, husband with an extra day-off, a road-trip all alone to pick up said kids. What was not to love? All of my preparations seemed so silly once the house filled up with old friends. It was the friends that mattered. They only needed a soft spot to sit, a cold beer and some great food to make it work. We did play my all-time favorite board game: Balderdash. I made everyone gather in the family room after our big group-cooked dinner and play Balderdash until 1am. We laughed until we cried and flexed our creative muscles a bit. Two of my favorite things to do.

After everyone left on Sunday, Mark & I still had a day alone together. We saw a 4:00 movie, went for a long bike-ride, ate a late dinner and read together on the couch. Just the two of us for the day really capped the wonderful weekend. I'm telling you, I'm digging this whole 40 thing. If this is what 40 is, bring it!

More on my five days at the beach later. Tonight, I'm feeling knitty for the first time in a while. I think there's a colorful hat waiting to be made from a ball of yarn.