July 30, 2008

On My Desk

This is what was on my desk on Monday morning. It's now been moved into the closet so I can get to work without being distracted by cuteness. I got these at Hart's Fabric (they sell online) in Santa Cruz this past weekend. What an amazing test of will power.

Here's what's really on my desk. A bomb blew up in my sewing room yesterday. I'm currently working on 3 different bags at the same time. A diaper bag, a quilted tote and a new backpack design. I've got a farmer's market on Sunday so I"m trying to stock up on some bigger stuff.

Here's how far I've gotten. They'll all be done this morning so I can get some bibs & zipper pouches made later. I'd love to finish my new table skirts too.

July 28, 2008

Memories and a Hippo

Jenn Maruska did a great post last week about her first purse so I thought it'd be a great time for me to tell you about my hippo. I've been meaning to tell you about her for a long time.

Although she's not my first ever sewing project, she's probably the beginning of regular sewing for me. I made her in my home economics class in 7th grade. I remember it being somewhat of a big deal that I chose to use stripes for my hippo. She sat in a display case in front of the school for about a month.

Unlike Jenn, I don't recall any purses from my childhood, but here are a few of my favorite friends. My bunny and my lamb. The lamb has a little music box inside and played Mary Had a Little Lamb. She moved her head too, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I can remember the day I got this bunny rabbit. I begged my mom to take it home, haha.

Here are Nick's closest friends. Gromit's not that old, but he's very special to us. He's the first gift Nick ever gave me, he even helped Nick propose. Pooh has been with Nick since he was a little boy.

And this is my blankie. I think it was given to my mom as a shower gift, but I could be totally wrong. Anyway, it's been well loved as you can see. (Can you tell I was a kid in the 70's? ha!) I actually found a piece of this fabric at a thrift store about 10 years ago. Maybe I'll make another one when I have kids.

And last but not least, here's me taking a big bite out of something as a child. I show you this because I wanted you to see the sweet dresser behind me. That dresser has been passed around the family a few times. It's been olive green, chocolate brown, blue and now pale blue (as seen in the picture above). I painted it when we moved into our current house. I wonder what color it will be next.

July 24, 2008

On my Desk #2

A little late again this week, but I took the photo on the right day. That's something.

Click on the photo to see it with notes on Flickr.

I'm still hard at work on my paperwork & taxes. I'm hoping to find an accountant today because I completely don't understand the tax forms. Anyway, here's a snap of my computer desk in it's current state. I generally don't keep it quite this neat, but I've just gone through the piles & filed everything away. I think it's easier to work in a neat space. I guess that's why I kept my desk at Disney so plain and free from distractions, lol.

Speaking of distractions, I started a little Flickr Group for projects made from my sewing patterns. So far, I only have one pattern available but you gotta start somewhere, right? I'm still working on that tote pattern. My hands have been better, but now that I'm on the computer so much, I've had a big relapse of pain. I'll get there.
So, if you bought a pattern from me, please stop by & join the group. I'd love to see your handbags! :) And, don't forget the Monkey Travel Club Group. There have been over 300 monkeys adopted and not nearly enough photos.

July 22, 2008

Knee Deep or Hip High

My business taxes are due next week so that's what I'm working on right now. I haven't been the best at paperwork lately which is weird for a supposedly organized person. I'm still blaming any lack of organization on leaving my job at Disneyland. Two years later, I'm still rebelling. (I miss it desperately. The park, not the job.)

Here's what's upstairs calling my name, pushing me to get my homework done.

A little Katie Jump Rope and Park Slope. Purchased from a new shop on Etsy called Sew Love Fabrics. I want this too. For some reason I'm remembering the linen closet of my youth, hmmm.

Here's my latest "use what you have" project. I'm working on a new reversible quilted backpack design. I have lots of this fabric left over from a custom quilt I did at Christmas time. It's all cut out and now being quilted. If I like it, I'll make more and add the design to my future pattern list.

Thank goodness for having kitties underfoot. Always inspirational. Now, I have to get to work. Have a great day!

July 21, 2008

A Great Weekend

Nick and I went to San Jose this past weekend to see Coldplay. They're one of our favorite bands, so we were pretty excited. We were lucky enough to be in the section they chose to sing a song from out in the audience. Wow, that was something else!

We stayed the night and then went to the Roaring Camp Railroad. I read about it on Amy's blog a few months ago and thought it was something that Nick and I would enjoy.

We took a narrow-gauge steam train through the redwoods.

We had such a great time.

July 18, 2008

Some Etsy Fun

I just had to share my latest Etsy purchases. The first, is a great little memo pad and matching magnets from new seller Robot Scrapyard. Aren't they pretty? Alan even enclosed a pin and a little note card because I was his first sale. Very nice. The magnets came attached to a piece of very thin wood! I love it when someone takes the time with presentation. Stop by & check out the shop, there are lots of pretty chiyogami creations.

And my second little present to myself was this cute felt donut. I'm a sucker for plush food, so it's amazing that this is my first acquisition. I got this donut to put in the window over my sewing machine. I'm always switching between needles and this will give me a safe spot to store them. Check out Girl Meets Craft for some yummy felt creations. I'm tempted by the pancakes, mmmm.

Hope you have a great weekend. Nick and I are headed down to San Jose for a concert tonight. We'll be staying the night and trying to hitch a train ride tomorrow. Should be fun!

July 17, 2008

On My Desk

So, I've decided to play along with a little blog game called "On My Desk", sponsored by Kootooyoo. I found myself inspired by this post. Who wouldn't be? Now, my desk or sewing room will never look like a picture from a magazine, but I thought it'd be fun anyway.

Here's what's on my "desk" at this very moment. I'm halfway through a new girly quilt. I made a new messenger and zipper pouch out of the cutest fabric that's been in the closet for 2 years (I believe I bought it the last time I was in Charlottetown, PEI. So, June '06!). And, last night my hands let me make 4 new monkeys!!! Oh, and in the corner there's a new quilted backpack in the works. If I play along correctly, I'll do an "On My Desk" post every Wednesday. Yeah, I already got it wrong and did it a day late. sigh

July 15, 2008

Heather Bailey Does It Again

Well, she's about to anyway. I may be sooo 5 minutes ago with this post but have you guys seen Heather Bailey's new fabric collections? They'll be hitting the stores any minute. I know a lot of you probably read her blog, HELLO my name is Heather. It's fun just to look at it, what with all the gorgeous pictures (she takes them herself...wow!), and her writing is fantastic too.

Image ©Heather Bailey used by permission

Anyway, if you haven't heard about Heather's new lines, Pop Garden & bijoux, you better rush on over & check out this beautiful slideshow and see for yourself (be sure to turn up the volume on your computer so you can hear the great song that goes with the show).

I cannot wait to get my hands on these fabrics. I'm currently stalking my favorite online shops in great anticipation.

THIS JUST IN: Heather's online shop will open on August 12, 2008. She's offering 10% off pre-sale orders. Go check it out. I'm all over this.

July 12, 2008


Today, Nick and I headed over the Golden Gate to check out the Renegade Craft Fair. It's Renegade's first year in San Francisco. The fair was pretty good, not too big, and well filled with people. It felt very much like walking around inside Etsy. A very trendy mix of crafters indeed.

I was very good, this is all I bought. A set of sock monkey cards from Hello Lucky and a little sausage dog journal from Rock Scissor Paper.

After the fair we walked to Ghirardelli Square for lunch and cupcakes. This was our first visit to Kara's Cupcakes. I had the Vanilla with Buttercream cupcake & Nick had the Java (I think I'll go for chocolate next time. The buttercream at Kara's is amazingly flavorless).

We had a great time and walked a lot (this made up for the naughty cupcakes). So nice to get out of the house and see a bit of the city we live so near. Now I'm back to the sewing machine.

p.s. My hands are feeling better today, perhaps I'm finally on the mend. Thanks for all the kind words.

July 11, 2008

Double Milestones

I can't believe that I've reached these Etsy milestones, let alone on the same day! Wow, thanks to all of you who've supported my shops.

Since moving the monkeys into their own location, iSew has been very slow. Perhaps it's the addition of the new sewing pattern that gave me the recent boost in sales. Whatever it is, it's given me new hope to keep going.

As for the monkey milestone, the new shop has made 150 sales. That's way more than I could have hoped for in 6 months. And according to my monkey list, I've actually created 304 monkeys to date. I had hoped to do a giveaway when I reached 300, but I just didn't have the time. Instead, I'd like to ask for some help.

304 is a lot of monkeys to name. Usually I pre-print name tags and have them ready when monkeys are made. I just flip through until I find a name that suits the monkey. Well, I'm down to my last two and I'm ready to print a new batch. I try not to use the same name twice, at least for the same kind of monkey, so you can see why I'd run out of ideas. And yes, I've used the baby naming websites! Please help me with your suggestions. I'm desperately trying to get some new monkeys made and I wouldn't want them to be nameless, would you?

July 08, 2008

Some New Things

I am slowly trying to get things made and listed in my shop though my hands haven't improved at all. I can still sew as long as I don't do any one task for too long. Mass amounts of rotary cutting have proven very painful. Anyway, I've managed to get a few things made from that cool monkey fabric I picked up last week.

I'm pleased with each of the monkey bags and hope to come up with some more later in the week. I've got some custom items to get made first.

I also started listing my new mini wallets. I hope to add the pattern for this design to the shop at some point too. And if you're wondering about the shopper tote pattern, it's coming along slowly. It takes quite a long time to get a sewing pattern laid out and written, and my hands don't enjoy spending much time on the computer. I'll get there, some day. It's amazing how little you can do when your hands are out of commission. It's very hard for me, being one of those people who can't sit still.

I'm just going to go watch my morning dose of Little House while coveting my new fabrics. I can dream, can't I?

Oh! And remember to stop by Jenn's blog today and wish her a Happy Birthday! She's 29 again and giving something away too.

July 05, 2008


When I had a regular job, I suffered a lot of pain from my work station. The trouble seemed to subside when I left work, but it's definitely back. Overuse is the cause, but I think the way I work has been a problem too.

The first step toward feeling better was my sewing table. Nick has built me a wonderful new table for my sewing machine!
The new table has rounded edges so I don't have to rest my arms on a sharp surface. This is a huge improvement over my old cabinet (it's made for the job, but is not well designed for comfort). I've also got more room to sit directly in front of the machine. The old cabinet would not allow me to sit far enough to the left, so I was always pressing my leg against a hard edge and twisting my back. This new desk is a wonderful treat and I love it. Thanks Nick!

Some other steps I've taken to avoid permanent damage to my nerves....

An ergonomic seam ripper. Much easier to hold than the old skinny kind.

A new ergonomic rotary cutter. I got mine at Beverly's with a 40% off coupon.

I picked up a new ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I have a lot of trouble at the computer, I'm hoping these will help.

This mouse helps me relax my hand a little. I tend to tense up too much and put a lot of strain on my hands.

I've also got a nice tall cutting table and a good chair to sit on. I've placed an order for some squishy sleeves for my crochet hooks, I've read lots of good things about them. It's important to set up your work area with proper ergonomics in mind. Take a look at OSHA's website for some tips on how to do it. And remember to take breaks. Repetitive activities are soo hard on the body. I know this from experience. Be careful and take good care of yourself, or marry a handy woodworking type and he'll build you a gorgeous new desk. ;)

July 03, 2008

A Great Wednesday

That's all I'm saying.

July 01, 2008

Oh Bamboo

Today's post is all about bamboo, batting that is. I picked up a package of this stuff a while back and have finally found some time to give it a try. I have to say, I really like it. I tried another environmentally friendly batting back in January. Remember? That one was made of corn. It was alright, but ended up very thin after ironing and washing.

Lately I've been using either 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. I like all cotton batting, but this bamboo batting is going to be taking 100% cotton's place at my house.

Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, a plus for many folks who suffer from allergies & such. The bamboo batting is made from 50% bamboo fiber and 50% organic cotton. I feel better using a renewable resource and a portion of the proceeds go to help support environmental and ecological initiatives. That's pretty cool. Check out the poly-fil website to read more.

It's hard to tell this apart from the 100% cotton batting. It looks and feels very similar, just softer and a tiny bit thinner.

And after washing this new quilt in the machine, I'm super happy with the weight and look. I'm a big fan of those wrinkles you get with washing and this batting offers an estimated shrinkage rate of 2-3%. I'd say that's accurate.

You can get bamboo batting online in lots of places. I believe the 60x60in. pack I bought retails for about $14. I got mine 40% off with a coupon at JoAnn.

p.s. While I'm on the subject of environmental awareness, let's wish our Canadian friends a Happy Canada Day! The environment is one of the top 3 priorities at election time in Canada. Awesome.

Oh Canada