Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out and About in Philly

Sometimes life is just good, fantastic, wonderful, amazing.... this weekend could be summed up by all of those words. Friday I left work a little bit early, picked up one of my best friends Katy at the train station and headed home. We went out to dinner with another friend. Delicious stuffed chicken and garlic mashed potatoes! Katy and I made it home in time for a little tv and lots of giggles (our specialty).

Saturday brought a wee bit of Old City and the Art Star Craft Bazaar. The show was so good! I managed to only buy a ring. I did manage to find a favorite new Etsy seller. I see this and this in my future. We stopped at a microbrew for a light lunch of onion rings and a honey wheat brew. After fighting traffic back to my neighborhood, we determine quality food was needed and headed to an Italian restaurant I hadn't tried before. Seriously delish pasta with shrimp and scallops!! I will definitely be going there again.

Today, after dropping Katy off at the train station, I was able to do a little baking and quilting. My old bananas were calling for a transformation. So, they are now yummy bread! And I got another quilt square done. I'm about half way done with the squares now.

Oh, and I forgot! Thursday, I went to the Grand Prix at the Devon Horse Show! It was a wonderful event. Laurel and I had grandstand seats, which were excellent. I really need to get literally back on the horse again... I miss it.

So remarkably content right now.... how about you?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It seems like a lot of little things have been going on in my world lately, keeping me happily occupied. I've been playing around in picnik, editing photos. This one is a favorite from yesterday. It's of a street in Old City Philadelphia in the fall. I love the little bits of color and the fuzziness.

I met my goal of four quilt blocks this past weekend. I sewed three on Saturday and then didn't get back to the machine for the fourth until Monday. I am pretty happy with them and am now half way done with creating blocks. I'm feeling good about the goal of getting the quilt done by the end of summer!

I've been out and about with friends lately.... good for my health and happiness, bad for the wallet. I need to do some activities that don't involve money but do involve lots of fun with friends. Hopefully this weekend, when my friend Katy is in town, will yield such results!

I've been ebaying... I sold two items and have about six more to list. Looking at when I last sold a number of items, it becomes obvious that the end of May is my spring cleaning time. I'm loving getting rid of clutter around the house (after all, it makes more space for fabric and yarn right?).

What's making you smile right now?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Heart Money Saving Deals!

What can less than $50 buy you at JoAnn's on Memorial Day Weekend when you have a 10% off your entire purchase coupon? Why all of this....
Yep, fan-freaking-tastic! Two rotary cutters and mat, 2 - 1/4 yards of fabric, 2 - 1/2 yards of fabric, 5 yards of fabric and one spool of thread. I am planning on quilt squares, napkins, a dress and a bib/burp cloth kit for the Etsy shop.

I also spent the last little bit of my weekend sewing quilt block #4 of the weekend, playing with a 3 year old, picnicking with friends, reading a magazine, watching tv, and taking a long walk with Rosy love. Ahhhhhhh! I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Campin' Out

With the start of June, comes tator tots, canoe trips and Summer Camp!! I'm definitely planning on teaching earring design with a bit of wire working right here in the blog. Look for a post on necessary tools during the first week of June. I'll be having four lessons total, spread out over each of the weeks of June. Have you thought about teaching something at camp? We'd love to have you! All of the teacher details are on the Summer Camp post, linked above. (Even Craftier magazine is getting in on the gig, planning to do a little summer camp coverage. Let's call them camp's own personal SPF!) If you can't teach, I hope you will be a camper.

Photo credit goes to New York YMCA Camp's flickr account.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Walk in the Wissahickon

Today, my friend Katie, Rosy and I went for a leisurely walk in Wissahickon Park, not far from my apartment.
Rosy got to wade in the creek and chase Canada Geese. The father was not too happy with any of us being so close to his babies.
This hill path, with its gravel, looked a little too "off roading" for flip flops.... next time for sure.
Nature continues to amaze me. Trees, creek, rocks, sky.... it's all amazing.
The bridge, just beautiful! What a wonderful way to cap off a Sunday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Knitting in the Wild

Narrator with dramatic Steve Irwin type inflections: Crikey, what is that? It's some sort of weird craft that I haven't seen in a long time.

(She slowly, carefully sneaks up upon it.)

Hmm, I think it might be genuine (pause) knitting. I think we've found actual knitting folks. Now this is a craft that has, it seems, become rare within blog. What we have appears to be a small gauge swatch, not legitimate knitting of the long term. But still knitting! And, occasionally the gauge swatch brings (pause) the casting on of an actual project. Hmm, we can only hope.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'll Take a Hot Dog Please!

This week has involved reading a lot of dense materials. I'm reading Home Buying for Dummies right now in an effort to provide me with the information I might need in order to buy a place down the road. I'm learning all sorts of things. The sheer amount of things to remember is A LOT. I've also been studying on and off for the GREs, in case I should decide to make a go of the test this summer and think about applying to go back to school (part time). I've learned just how much of my math I've forgotten. When the description of why the answer to a question is the answer doesn't make sense to you, you know you're in trouble!

Luckily, I have been able to crave out a little sewing time too. I finished two additional quilt blocks, bringing the total up to 10 (1/3 of the way there!).
I'm happier with the ninth (above) than the tenth. I think I was thinking of a lot of other things while working on ten. Plus, I broke two pins in the process... I took it as a sign to stop sewing for the night!

This weekend is filling up. Tomorrow, a number of neighbors in my complex are planning (very spur of the moment, might not happen) a BBQ. If it does happen, it is sure to be fun. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by lots of wonderful people.

Sunday is Ikea (yay!) and DSW with my friend Katie. And, perhaps a little picnic in Fairmount Park if the weather cooperates. Monday is another BBQ (because there are never enough!).

I just adore long weekends!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Only Wednesday But...

I'm seriously excited for the long weekend coming up. I have lots of little fun plans...
  • Make at least 4 quilt blocks. Probably more!
  • Visit Ikea for frames. Don't buy too much more.
  • Read. I'm working on a book, not for fun but for knowledge, right now. I need to get through more of it!
  • Visit with my friend Katie.
  • Enjoy the sunny, gorgeous weather we are supposed to have.
  • Relax and drink lemonade.
  • Marvel at my luck and life.
I can hardly wait!

Daily Rituals....

Morning time... alarm... although my body, accustomed to waking at 6:30, is sometimes already alert. I get up, throw on some additional clothes (PJs don't cut it outside) and walk this little love. We meander around the block, her stopping every so often for a wonderful little smell deposited since the last 'round the block. We see the changes - in nature, in the street recently stripped for repaving, in neighboring homes. We slowly, sometimes reluctantly return home to the morning preparation... shower, Today Show news, and then work. But that first walk, in the quiet of my small sphere of Philadelphia, reminds me of what I love.

For the Daily Rituals project at Curious Bird.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blocks and Knots

The joys of summer.... sewing, visiting with friends, commencement, sewing, long walks in the neighborhood (I love my neighborhood!), slow work days.....

I have gotten a few more blocks done for the quilt. I'm up to 8 1/2 (with the half finished after I post this). I'm guessing I will need about 30 total so I'm almost a third of the way there.

We had commencement yesterday at work. Some of my favorite students have now left the university, off to tackle the world. A number of them leave without jobs, a scary thing for them. I sincerely hope something excellent finds them soon. I didn't end up staying for the whole ceremony because I was quite cold and couldn't hear the speakers. If it was just one of those things, I probably would have stuck it out.

There hasn't been much knitting lately because the last two days I had a large knot in my shoulder. It was making my whole shoulder and part of my arm ache. I think it is finally gone (woohoo!) so perhaps there will be some quality knitting in the near future.

Oh, and I totally forgot.... I went to the aquarium this weekend. I was able to visit with a friend and her 4 year old daughter. The touch exhibits were a big hit, let me tell you! It was a wonderful way to spend Sunday morning. Something about sharks, hippos, seals and penguins gets me every time.

What's making you smile today?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Number 4

I had to buy a little more fabric for the quilt the other day. (Did you note I said had to buy? He he...I love having an excuse to buy fabric.) I was at JoAnn's anyway picking up thread and a few other things. So, I picked up quarter yards of four of the fabrics and a 1/2 yard of another. And, I got another yard of fabric - not pictured - in the mail. So it has been an excellent week fabric wise.

I also finished quilt square #4. I'm plugging along, having a good time determining what fabrics I like together as I go. I love the summer... I feel like I have more time to really embrace my creative side!

And now, off to do a bit of knitting!! How's your crafting going?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slow Mo or Fast Forward: I Can't Tell

I feel as though my life is in slow motion and fast forward lately. It's weird, both at the same time. There is so much going on... the thought about potentially becoming a home owner and all that comes with that, lots of little crafting and opening the Etsy store, fun times with friends, wrapping up the school year and saying good-bye to some amazing students, the random joys of May including my birthday and studying for the GREs (although not nearly as much as I should be!). The slow motion on the other hand, is kind of nice. I just want to sit back and enjoy life. I like the quiet of being alone and just taking care of myself (and Rosy of course). The hushed hum of summer.... that speaks of relaxation and joy to me.
It reminds me of this song. Should I rush or should I slow down?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Things That Make Me Love Summer

lightning bugs
the breeze from the ceiling fan
walks in the woods
sitting outside with my neighbors while the dogs play
strawberries, especially self-picked
genuine free time
trips to see friends
walks along the Niagara River
ice cream
the farmer's market
flea markets
sweet corn on the cob
open windows
outdoor concerts
flip flops
the cheerful music from the passing ice cream truck
green grass and trees

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Did It!

Well, it's official! I opened the Etsy store. You can visit it here. The earrings you saw in this post are listed. Any orders placed before my stepfather's birthday on Thursday will receive 10% off. Just enter OPEN09 at checkout and I'll send a revised invoice. Woohoo!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pink Out

I finally started quilt #2 on Sunday. The plan is that all of the blocks will be pink and green. The other fabrics will be brown most likely. Binding, I'm not sure...maybe a light pink. I am kind of liking this block even though I did it without a plan. I think I put off starting the blocks for a while because I hate changing thread colors. Silly reason I know but I try to keep it to a minimum. Anywho, I'm hoping to keep working on blocks over the next month or so. By then, I'll hopefully have enough of them for a full sized quilt for my bed.

Sunday was also filled with a long walk with Rosy, the jewelry photo shoot, visiting with a neighbor and her dog Truman and some sloth-like behavior. I love days that allow for pure relaxation. What did you do?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Earring Day

Saturday was Earring Day. I went bead shopping followed by earring making. I had a gift I needed to make for one of my students, which was just the fire I needed to get started building an inventory of earrings to sell. This first pair are the ones for Drew. I bought an extra set of the beads because I thought the blue was so pretty.
These are rose quartz and Czech glass.
These are amethyst. The purple is such a nice light lavender and the cut catches the light so nicely.
I love the fan cut of this bead. It seemed so summery and pretty to me... perfect earrings for a white sleeveless dress and flip flops!
And, lastly my slightly imperfect pair... I'll sell these for cheap as one of the beads on the top is flat and the other is round. Quite honestly, no one would ever know but the owner but I don't feel it is appropriate to charge full amount.
It was so nice to dig out the pliers and play with wire again! The sun being out for my little photo shoot was a lovely little bonus too.

(I'm sure Amy will appreciate my "stolen" paint chips as backdrops... perfect for the earrings!)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Creating Your Own Patterns...

might not be an ideal thing.

I finally worked on owl #3. He seems a bit better but still not a wide enough base to stand on his own. I used different buttons this time and think this little guy is pretty cute. I think his name is Roger and he'll probably go live with my mom.However, I could use some advice here... should I make them bigger? How can I make 'em so they stand well on their own?

I also worked on (and by worked on, I mean designed and finished) the dress for my friend Julie's soon-to-be one year old. I ripped out the original skirt and made this a bit wider to accommodate chubby little legs.
At the narrowest place, it is 18 inches around. I had a mom tell me the pattern looked right for a one year old. I'm just nervous it might be too narrow. Am I off base? I think a trip to Target's childrens clothes with a tape measure might be in my future!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Upcoming Babies

So, I swear there is something in the water. Everyone is pregnant! I have lots of little babies to make things for....
  • My friend Denise (of the yellow and green baby blanket). She's having a boy.
  • My friend Tracie... due soon, also having a boy.
  • My oldest friend ever, Kirsten, who I recently reconnected with via Facebook (P.S. I'm an addict, seek help). No update on her yet.
  • And, about 4 others that I can't think of right now but will be added here later.
Plus, my friend Julie's daughter (of the baby sweater fame last summer) is about to turn 1! So I'm planning on making a summer dress. I drew the pattern today and had a mom review for appropriate sizing. I certainly hope I have enough girly fabric at home so I can do it this weekend without having to make a trip to JoAnn's. (Those trips always end up more expensive than planned.)

Love for the Mail Carrier

This Saturday, the postal carriers in the United States are collecting non-perishable food for donation to food pantries. It truly is one of my favorite things. I think the fact that they work together to collect from people all across the country is fantastic. I put together a bag of food last night by raiding my cupboards. I think I might hit up the grocery store today too so I can add a few more goods. After I put this bag together last night, I thought about how wonderful it is that they are committed to doing this, even when the USPS income in faltering. And, I decided to channel Maria a little and be a bit of a Kindness Bandit. So I wrote a little note for inclusion. I figured even if my mail carrier didn't get the note, someone within the postal system would. And, they'd know they were appreciated!

If you are in the US, don't forget to leave some non-perishables for your mailman (or woman) tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yay for a FO

I ended up tearing out the stitches where the bodice and skirt meet in the front twice. I re-distributed the stitches once, tried it on and found that I managed to put more on the right side than the left. Good golly Stacy! That wasn't going to work so it was back to the seam ripper.
Anywho, I think it is *complete* now. It's even ironed. So if it ever gets warm again (end of the week maybe?) I'll be ready! I'm simply adoring the red trim. I have all sorts of summery plans for this baby....

** I look so dopey in that photo... note, I shouldn't rush to take pics in the morning before work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Deep Breath With Eyes Closed

It is amazing how the soft hum of my days moves forward when my job is quiet. As we have approached the period of final exams and recessing for summer, the din of the daily grind decelerates. I’m able to stop and think about what I love, who I want to be and what I want to accomplish over the next few months or years. Lately, I’m focused on home. I have been contemplating making my current home more comfortable, whether through a new larger rug in the living room, painting the bedroom, washing all of the bed linens, rearranging the closets or a variety of other things. I’ve been looking forward to my next home, thinking about making an eventual leap into homeownership. There are many steps I need to complete to make that vision a reality. But buying something, if I’m going to make Philly home, is practical. It would be cheaper than renting and I can paint without worry. Plus I’d love to have a two bedroom to have a craft room that can double as a guest room as needed. I need to spend time working on making that reality.

I’ve been embracing the buzz of the creative spirit. I’ve been thinking about the owl design. It needs to be perfected and hopefully a plethora of owls will follow. I have a bunch of jewelry designs bouncing around in my head. I have been thinking of that lovely lavender yarn I purchased about a month ago and how I really should knit a little gauge swatch with it so I can cast on the cardigan. My knitting has been focused on that baby blanket lately, a project that requires little thought. And as much as I love watching it come together, I need something that challenges my mind a bit more. And lastly, I need to finish the brown dress. I decided to pull out a bunch of stitches on the front between the bodice and the skirt to re-work the gathering. Tonight, I’m hoping to re-attach those two pieces and move closer to finishing. And, I need to figure out what pattern my gorgeous kelly green fabric will emerge as….

I’ve been taking a little longer to stop and smell the roses, both figuratively and literally. Rosy and I have enjoyed more walks, breathing in the variety of blooming plants in the neighborhood. I have allowed my brain to go still for (slightly) longer. I have listened to the lyrics of songs more, marveling at the way the words are woven together forming a verbal tapestry. I’ve written thank you notes to those who offer blessings to my life. I’ve been better at savoring every minute. I love the stillness of summer, the possibilities a more open schedule affords me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away; Come Back Another Day

It's been raining and raining and raining. All weekend while my mom was visiting, it rained. It rained out our golf plan on Friday morning. It rained a bit on the Mt. Airy Day festival we attended on Saturday. It rained all day yesterday, causing us to go to the movies rather than do anything outside. (Monsters vrs. Aliens on IMAX in 3D totally rocked!) And, this morning I walked Rosy and found this:
Now large, seemingly healthy looking branches are falling from heaven too! Oh why? And, thankfully it didn't hit the building and thus someone's bedroom.

Mom was off for home this morning. We celebrated my birthday and Mother's Day a bit early. I had a wonderful time with her. I miss her already, as does Rosy who kept looking for her to return after I bid her farewell this morning. Back to just the two of us....