I’m drawn to embroidered items, as much for their backstory as their beauty. I like to imagine the crafter with the fabric in her hands, adding embellishment by the flicker of a fire or television screen, lost in the meditative quality of the work. I pick up pieces at estate sales and we actually use them.
I love that one of Eileen’s great (or great-great?) grandmas embroidered that napkin she now waves around in her banana cereal fist.
Embroidery seems to be having a moment now, and I’d like to get back to it and learn more intricate stitches.
I just ordered these pretty collar pins from Baobap Handmade as a girly/springy accent to my jean jacket. I love the concept of collar pins and had to refrain myself from also getting a space-themed pair, and succulent ones.
Happy Cactus is a fun instagram follow. Her custom embroidery is great, but I really love these fern notecards with images from embroidered pieces on them.
Alphabet embroidery is such a sweet baby shower idea. We have a blanket my aunt stitched hanging in the playroom, but this Miniature Rhino sampler is a slightly less ambitious option that could squeeze into the teeniest nursery:
Her zodiac and constellation patterns are sweet, too.
I’ll always also love Posie, and this Daisychain crewelwork ABC sampler. My mother made it for me as a gift for my first baby shower. I’ll treasure it forever!
It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted anything more involved than this simple home brewer cross-stitch I made for my brother for Christmas a few years back. It might be time to brush up on skills! This Creative Live e-course might also help me get those basic stitches down.
You know it’s the Christmas season when the kitchen table is covered in fabric and I’m trying not to step on straight pins!
I have my sewing machine out to finish up Eileen’s stocking, which involves quilting Moda Winterberry charms in a coordinating design to hang alongside her brother’s. (Pattern is a riff on this one from Prudent Baby).
The majority of my Instagram feed is either babies, dogs or fabric designers, and when I came across a festive tablesetting project on the fatquartershop feed, I was inspired to make it for my forever friend, Regina:
(I made my own template, but you can purchase them here.)
Regina and I got to meet up at my hometown Breakfast with Santa this past weekend and had to get a special photo with our baby girls.
My mom’s side of the family also celebrated, and this snap captures the feels from our family party:
Emmett’s wearing a Super Why cape my mom sewed for him. Super Why is a PBS superhero with The Power…To..Read! – obviously my favorite super power of all time.
Joe and I brought this New York Times chocolate whiskey cake, which features a half a cup of Irish whiskey and a bunch of coffee and pinch of pepper/clove. It was intoxicating.
I still have some last-minute crafting, so I’m going to cross my fingers the kids keep napping and put MAIDS’ new holiday song, “All About Xmas” on repeat. Softly.
P.S. I’m obsessed with all things Aziz Ansari right now. Joe and I listened to “Modern Romance” on our drive to/from Chicago and we’ve bingewatched “Master of None” and I laughed out loud watching his Madison Square Garden special on Netflix. He’s got this refreshing sincerity and feminism going on in the midst of all that funny.
Smart friends and witty puns make life all the more enjoyable, and when you can combine the two — it’s magic.
illustration via XO-LP
I’ve known illustrator/pun-master/connector Laura Palmer of XO-LP fame for most of my time in Des Moines, and it’s been amazing to watch her journey into #goingsolo to follow her entrepreneurial dreams.
We kept running into each other coming/going at events like the September issue DSM unveiling (I wrote a story on soon-to-open jazz club Noce and she’s featured in a style story) and decided we had to actually make a point to see each other beyond a quick wave.
So the other week we grabbed coffee at Zanzibar’s and we finally caught up on life. I highly recommend starting any day with puns and caffeine. I also picked up a hand-illustrated frame mat (only $5!) that was super chill to sit and color in my pajamas. Emmett’s been all about blasting off! lately – can’t wait to fill this.
LP and I talked about making things and momentum and I told her about how much fun I had crafting my clay pizza earrings the other week.
I guess that’s how we got to today’s giveaway: I had enough supplies left over to bake up a fresh pair of pizza earrings, and I wanted someone who appreciates a slice of life as much as we do to have them.
Head over to Laura’s blog to find out how you can win a one-of-a-kind pair of pizza party earrings!
And Laura’s never one to leave anyone empty-handed. Her shop is full of great items, and she has a whole section of free printables to reel you in, too.
A roundup of things I’m enjoying:
Mystery Show. I don’t have a long commute, and my car is so old (’97 Subaru Imprezza, what-what!) that is just plays CDs and so I rarely make time to listen to podcasts. But the other day I was working on a sewing project and so pulled up Mystery Show, which I’d heard about via “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” on IPR the day before.
Starlee Kine has contributed on “This American Life,” so her voice was familiar to me. The “mysteries” the show solves are pretty ridiculous (it’s the opposite of anything Law & Order), and the best part of the show is Kine’s ability to get random people to talk to her — really open up. She’d be the best dinner party guest. My favorite episode so far has been about locating the original owner of a mysterious belt buckle.
Pretty felt garlands. Our baby-prep to-do list this time around has been super lame, consisting mostly of thinking about getting our ductwork and carpets cleaned (appointments that have yet to be scheduled) and sorting through crazy piles of hand-me-down baby clothes. Baby girl’s crib will start off in a nook in our room, so there isn’t a lot of nursery decorating/nesting happening. But I think a sweet garland will make the space a little more special for her, and I’ve been crushing on this shop via Instagram.
Pizza, pizza, pizza! We celebrated my friend Danny’s 30th b-day with a pizza crawl tonight, and I had a vision of making/wearing giant, obnoxious pizza earrings. A trip to Michael’s for FIMO clay and earring supplies and a little late-night crafting and I felt ready to rock the first two stops, to Gusto Pizza and Noah’s Ark. We even got a babysitter and I put on eyeliner. Serious partytime. (Fun fact: When I was a pre-teen, I had an earring company with my childhood best friend and it was awesome.)
Have a great weekend!
I hope you had a lovely holiday season! We were lucky enough to spend this Christmas break making memories with both Joe’s family in Council Bluffs and my family outside Chicago. I love days when you can stay in your pajamas as late as you like. (Because sleeping in isn’t really an option these days, with a toddler who wakes up before dawn.)
Here are a few favorites from 2015:
Seeing the stocking I finally sewed for Emmett hanging from the fireplace. I bought the Christmas fabric forever ago (October 2011?) at a shop in Dubuque but didn’t have my DIY act together together in time for his first Christmas. I pieced and quilted it over Thanksgiving with my mom, and used this free pattern and tutorial to base the shape.
Cooking a Polish family favorite with my father-in-law. Joe’s family feasts typically feature golumpki, a dish of ground beef and pork and onions and rice rolled in a steamed cabbage leaf. This year, Joe’s mom had to work and Joe was
hung over resting all morning, so it was up to me and Stevo to fire up the stove. I really enjoyed making these! I didn’t take photos because, well, my hands were covered in raw meat, but you can watch Martha Stewart make them with her mom in this video. Playing Suspend at both family parties.
My niece Mia got Suspend
for Christmas and brought it over in the morning. Such a fun multi-generational family game! You have to figure out how to hang and dangle the metal pieces without them falling. Kind of like Jenga.
Reading for pleasure.
There are few things more relaxing for me than getting lost in a good book. I downloaded Station Eleven
, my next book club book on the Kindle app this time, so I could read in the car during the nighttime drives. The interwoven story lines are gripping.
Handmaking gifts is always a favorite
, although unfortunately I didn’t do very much this year. (I did sew new pillowcases for my mom using the APQ sewathon roll-up pattern
.) Emmett got lucky in this department, though. My brother made him the IKEA-hack learning tower
so he can be a kitchen helper. And my mom and aunt made a way-awesome “quiet book” together! I can appreciate the hours and hours they spent on it:
I have a few days off and a to-do list a mile long, so blogging is the perfect procrastination. I’m hoping to put down words about motherhood at 18 months, because everything feels different as we’ve hit new developmental milestones.
This past weekend, Meredith Corporation hosted the American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge 24-hour sewathon as part of an effort to make a million pillowcases for charity.
Whenever my mom comes to town, we end up doing some epic crafting, so it was perfect timing to put some of that creative energy towards a good cause. We stopped into the sewathon in the evening and contributed four pillowcases each to the goal. It was a really cool setup (volunteers didn’t need to bring a single thing!) and we learned a brilliant, super-easy roll-it-up pillowcase technique. Watch a how-to video on the APQ site.
It was my first time using a serger and I fell in love. These instructions show you how to make the roll-it-up pillowcase using a regular sewing machine. Even if you couldn’t make it to the sewathon, you can participate in the challenge and whip up some pillowcases for charity. I’m thinking of making some as gifts for the kids in my life, too.
Speaking of kid crafts, after our pillowcases were complete, we worked on a few other projects. I made a fun felt pizza and cherry pie for my niece Norah’s second birthday. I got the idea when I saw that the lights for our closet came in what looked like mini pizza boxes.
I made a felt crust by blanket stitching some plate-sizes pieces of beige felt together for stability, and then just freestyled cutting sauce/toppings and berry filling/lattice topper. I decorated the box to look more like a pizza/pie box than something from the hardware store, and it was good to go. I love when a project that’s been in the back of my mind finally becomes a reality.
When I’m tired, it’s really easy for me to kill 45 minutes curled up on the couch, tapping away at my phone, re-checking Instagram or Facebook. I wish I had more time to read, or work on projects, and then I realize I do – I just threw away an hour mindlessly scrolling away. I think I’m going to just shut my phone down after 7 or so a couple nights a week to just completely eliminate the itch.
I’m almost finished with “The Most of Nora Ephron,” a collection of news stories, essays, a novel, a play, screenplay and magazine pieces by the late writer.
I appreciate her personal, chatty style, and have found it interesting to see how her life experiences recycle throughout her work. Certain themes – food, marriage, divorce, infidelity, Jewishness, etc. run throughout all of the pieces, and certain anecdotes show up multiple times in some form or other.
It’s a brick, but a quick read. It was a good book to bring on our road trip to Saint Louis – short chapters or at least easy spots to leave off and pick up. I’m sad I missed my book club’s discussion, though!
Last night I actually used the sewing machine that I had sitting in a corner of the dining room. It felt good to sew and accomplish something tactile after spending hours at the computer. I mean, these sweet fabrics are hard to resist.
What are your weekend plans? Joe got an invite to a Winefest event where he might meet Lynne Rossetto Kasper! Otherwise, we don’t have much on the docket aside from babysitting and maybe swinging by CelebrAsian.