Sunday, June 29, 2008

We have twins!

OK, so I know they're not really twins, but in my pre-menapausal-living-with-teenagers-missing-my-babies state of mind, I'm thrilled to have two fawns living in our backyard, not one as we had suspected. Here's a picture Haley took through the kitchen window:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Come to my Virtual Book Signing!

It's easy! Just order Altered You! or Mostly Metals (or both). Send me an email ( or post on this blog and I'll send you a custom, signed book plate for your book. Thanks!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

At least I have a plan

I've finally figured out what to do with my skirt. I love this skirt. It's a nice, long, straight denim skirt. It was made long enough ago that it's real denim, no lycra added. I guess that's why it ripped out right at the critical seam. You see, although I picture myself gliding gracefully through the day, I usually end up compromised in some way. As I recall, this was a bead-shopping tragedy. I had to find the perfect bead, it was in a lower case, way in the back, I found my self crouched near the floor, peering into the case ... and ripped out my skirt because I'm not graceful at all. Oh, well. It sat in the back of my closet for nearly 4 years, waiting for a new life.

Why has it taken so long? First, I was a little hung up on the construction. Do I distress things more, or work just in the front where the problem is? Second, I was fretting over the perfect fabric to add. It needed to be subtle, but pretty. Should I add it all around, or just where the repair is needed? And then, I had to think about how I would wear the skirt. Denim is great as a neutral. If I added too much pattern and flash, I would change what I love about this skirt. Third, altering to fix a problem area needs to solve the problem: My alteration needs to relieve the stress on that seam so it doesn't happen again. Finally, I had to make sure the skirt still fit after four years (it does, yea!) So, I've been mulling it over and I finally have a plan (I think). I can't get to work until this afternoon, because I have a bazillion chores and errands to get done first. But I'm motivated, so I'll post a little later on my work in progress.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quote of the day

"Never eat more than you can lift," Miss Piggy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A crafty day

Today was a great crafty day -- even better, it was an Altered You! day. First I did some errands including a stop at my local craft store. Much to my surprise, they had two copies of Altered You! on display. I offered to sign them, and then I showed them all projects in the book that used supplies from their store. How fun.

After errands, I sat down to craft. I ignored cleaning and all the nagging things calling to me, and set aside some time to just work. Here's what I made:

Warmup project #1 Hair jewelry. I found this project on the Bluelines website (don't even get me started on how much I miss that magazine and how sad I am that this is about the only thing Martha didn't succeed at). Here's the link to the project. Here are my versions, modeled by the lovely Meredith (don't you wish you had her hair??)

The first one is a vintage pearl button (sorry about the glare) and the second one is a faux gold JHB button.

Warm up project #2: My younger daughter received the cutest pair of pajamas (when she was seven) from her best friend. She has been wearing them ever since, and now she's 13! Needless to say, she finally busted through the hip seams and we thought all was lost. But wait! It's the perfect altering opportunity. Here's the before:

Note the flared capri leg... it comes in handy in a few minutes.
I cut one leg off at about mid thigh. I turned it inside out, and sewed a double seam across the bottom. Then, I turned what used to be the bottom of the leg over by half and sewed around. This made a perfect channel for a drawstring, and I only had to sew one seam. No turning edges. Then, turn the whole thing right side out, and run a ribbon through the channel. Here's the end result: She now has a cute drawstring bag to hold her hairbrush and comb for the next sleepover. I can't wait to give it to her when she comes home from band camp!

Now that I was all warmed up, it was time to really work. The first order of business was to take my jeans that were about and inch too short to be wearable and alter them up into a pair of summer capris. (This same project is in Altered You! to solve the growth spurt clothing problem.) I trimmed about 12 inches from the bottom, and added a border of fabric to cover the raw edge. Here I am, modeling my new creation:

What's next, you ask? Of course there's more. I was also having trouble with this great bag I picked up a few years ago at Urban Outfitters. I really had to have it. It spoke to me, and whispered how useful it would be on shopping trips, when I needed to stash small purchases, or for basketball games, when I needed to bring extra water bottles, or for whenever I needed some expandable space. I listened to it, and most likely paid more that I should. I carried it dutifully, but what happened was that as I walked, the bag would bounce and spin on my hip and before I knew it the rope handles had spun together and were slowly cutting off my circulation. Slave to fashion that I am, though, I continued to carry it despite the quite obvious design flaw. Here's the bag:

And here are some Martha Stewart kitchen towels from Kmart (love, love, love Martha, except for that Blueprint/Bluelines thing).

And, here's my solution to the spinning rope handles:

Have you had enough? Thanks for letting me share. Now, I better get those chores done.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Altered You! What’s not in the book

You’d think I’d be telling you about the big projects in Altered You!, but I’m just as proud of the little ones. You’ll find lots of little bonus projects that you can make out of left over scraps from the bigger projects. I got a little carried away when I was writing the book and made a few too many samples. So, here’s a sneak peak of three little bracelets that didn’t fit in the book:

(Meredith has adopted the black one and wears it daily – I had to snag it back for the photo). You’ll find their big-sister bracelet, along with the easy directions, on page 85.

Wouldn’t these be a cute present topper for a birthday gift? I always think the wrapping should be almost as fun as the present itself!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's all in a name

I’ve always wanted a labyrinth in my back yard (haven’t you?) but every time I mentioned it to DH he kind of changed the subject or gave me an “uh-huh I’ll file that under never” look. Now don’t get me wrong. DH is patient and kind and handy and almost perfect -- all that this girl wants in a man. But the labyrinth just wasn’t going to happen. Flash forward a few years and our dear friends approached us with a proposition: they were giving their son a dirt bike, but there wasn’t a good riding space in their subdivision. Could we help? DH revved to the idea. Must be the woeful imbalance of estrogen-to-testosterone in his life, but before you could say “grab your helmet” he was mowing trails into our fields. Our friend, his son, my DH, and our herding-obsessed dog are having a delightful summer biking through the tall grass and occasionally taking a jump over the septic mound. Life is good for the men.

And, I got what I wanted, too. Dubbed the “serenity trail” on non-dirt-biking days, I filled the paths with wind chimes and sun catchers. Now when my friends visit, or when I need to clear my head, I have peaceful paths to follow. Not exactly a labyrinth, but the trail circles around and overlaps, so it works for me. This year I’m transplanting daisies and sprinkling wildflowers around the edges in hopes of adding beauty to serenity. I feel like Miss Rumphius. Won't you come walk with me?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quote of the day

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." e.e. cummings

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thanks to my loyal readers

I just wanted to thank Monette and Tracy for loyally reading my blog and keeping me from feeling like I'm talking to myself. Monette is the queen of shiny things. She's a lovely lady from Florida. She paints! She draws! She knits! She crochets! She knits and crochets combined! She amazes me with her creativity. I think it's interesting that she's one day older than me -- I think that's why we connected so easily when I became her editor. Must be a Libra thing.

I've known Tracy for almost 18 years now (wow). She was the first friend I met when I moved to Rochester in 1990 and we've been friends ever since. I've watched her go from an unsure cook to almost winning the Pillsbury Bakeoff, twice! You'll have to ask her about the special dessert she brought to our home the first time we shared a meal together. I was fascinated by this perfectly layered (1/8"layers) striped light and dark brown cake. My desserts are always something "rustic" which means messy but tasty. I couldn't imagine how she made this perfect cake.

So thanks, ladies. I'm happy to have readers!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thanks, Lesley!

I just came across a review for Mostly Metals by Lesley Wiess, posted on the Bead & Button magazine Editor's blog. Thanks, Lesley! I love reading the Editor's blogs because they always have something interesting to share. And, I've had fun watching Lesley (formerly of Books) grow into her new (well, not really new anymore) position as Assistant Editor for Bead & Button. What a great feeling it must have been when she won reader's choice for her custom necklace design featuring this year's commemorative show bead.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Making Things

I've been frustrated that I haven't had much time for crafting lately, and I really believe in making something (even something small) almost every day. But then, I got to thinking that I really have been making things after all:
* making lunches
* making beds
* making trips around town with DD who is practicing for her driver's license
* making my dog happy with two walks a day now that the weather is nice
* making healthy food for my family almost every night -- time consuming but oh-so-worth-it
* making excellent books at work -- I'm at a fun stage in the editing process with two exciting jewelry books
* making my gardens beautiful (well, at least weed-free)

So now I guess I need to focus on making time! What have you been making lately?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why I live here

The storms have cleared, the air has changed, and this picture says it all:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Silver Lining

It was a dark and stormy night...and morning, and afternoon, and night again. Well, it's been a dark and stormy month.

Our area received nearly 5 in. of rain on Sat. alone. The June total is over 9 in. and it's only the 9th!! Meredith took this picture right before we took cover:

Silver lining #1: I finally had some down time in the basement to put away all the little things that had been on loan to my publisher for Altered You! photoshoots... Mod Podge, paints and brushes, punches and papers, ribbons, the be-dazzler, endless sewing notions. I'm happy to have everything out of the bin and back to its rightful spot. Now, if I ever have free time to craft, I'll know where to find my stuff!

The wind and rain did terrible damage to the flowers that were just coming out. After waiting through such a long, long, winter, it was sad to see the lovely blooms all over the ground.

Silver lining #2: I dashed out between thunder storms and gathered armloads of iris. I now have huge bouquets in the dining room and living room:

I've just come back from a great week at the Bead&Button show. I'll fill you in on everything in my next post. And, yes, I hope to be crafting again soon!