June 30, 2008

so many books, so little time!

We are a family who loves books and reading.

When I was a little girl, I would often spend an entire day reading a whole Nancy Drew book, start to finish. Thanks to my Mother, I've loved books and libraries and writing as long as I can remember. Luckily, I managed to pass this on to all three of my kids, too. I read to them from the time they could sit up in my lap. We went to the library regularly, and bedtime included 30 minutes of reading to themselves in bed before lights out every night. They are all adults now and we all enjoy telling each other about the latest great book we just read and passing them around to each other.

I read cookbooks from cover to cover. I like a good biography. I love most things by John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany and Hotel New Hampshire). I always have several books on my bedside table. What will I be in the mood to read tonight?

Daughter reads all kinds of things. She loves anything by Jane Austen. We both love Pat Conroy (Beach Music and Prince of Tides). We both love children's literature. (If you don't already know the series of books by Russell Hoban about Frances the Badger, please go the library and spend 20 minutes in the children's section reading one or two of them! My Mother read them to me as a child and I own them all.....)

Oldest Son (a Sheriff's Detective) reads a lot of criminology related books, fiction and non-fiction, and military themed novels.

Youngest Son ( a Chef) reads a lot of Chefographies and food related books, cookbooks, and anything related to WWI history.

All 5 grandkids are avid readers. 12 yr. old always has a current young adult novel around. 11 yr. old finished all 7 Harry Potter books a year ago and loves science fiction and fantasy. 7 yr. old reads far ahead of her age level, with such beautiful voice expression and even does each characters voice. The little ones love her to read to them and I told her she should be doing a storytime at the library! A favorite gift for these girls on any occasion is a gift card to Barnes and Noble!
I have often thought about the fact that there are people in this world that hate to read or who have never owned a book. My heart aches for them and what they are missing. I am so thankful that in this country, for those who want them, there is an endless supply. In our 3 generation household we have many, many books of many kinds:

One of my greatest pleasures is seeing a member of my family off by themselves, enjoying a quiet moment with a book.

This past weekend it gave me much joy to take 3 and 4 yr. old to the library to get their "own Library card"!! They signed the applications themselves
and proudly handed the 'Library Lady" their own cards this time. They are enjoying these books even more this time because they checked them out themselves!

When we got home, I ran to the fabric store (YES! an excuse for fabric shopping!) and spent the afternoon making them each a library bag,
complete with an inside pocket for holding those special cards.


June 28, 2008

My ETSY shop is open!

I finally did it!

After much procrastination I have finally opened my ETSY shop. For those of you who don't know about ETSY, it's a website where anyone can have a webpage to sell handmade items of any kind. I had an EBAY store for a while but came to the conclusion that people don't necessarily go to EBAY looking for handmade things. EVERYTHING on ETSY is handmade. You can find jewelry, pottery, clothing, shoes, purses, stationery, cards, matted photos, and just about any kind of craft or even craft supplies you could possibly think of.

I've listed some of the aprons I've made over the past year and will be listing new things on a regular basis. I can really feel my creative juices flowing and am anxious to try some new things that have been bouncing around in my head for a while now. It's time for me to get busy and really make a dent in my much-too-large fabric stash! I just hope I make some sales! There are a lot of people selling aprons.

I've added a permanent link to my shop over on the right, but you can just click here .

It's going to be a work in progress so there's not much there yet, so I hope you'll check back regularly to see what's new...and tell your friends, too! A little word-of-mouth would be great!

June 23, 2008

Mimi's Sewing Class #2

This past weekend was the second Mimi's sewing class with 2 of my granddaughters plus a friend and one of my nieces. Two girls are intermediate sewers and 2 are beginners, so we had 2 sessions:


I took #1 Granddaughter (almost 13) and her best friend fabric shopping 2 days earlier. So many choices! They each picked something completely different and we agreed on a pattern, since this would be a first for me too.

(we made view B, the red/white one)

This project taught them about using fusible interfacing, turning inside out, top stitching, and paying attention to the pattern (since I ignored some of it initially and had to go back and re-cut and re-do the bottom myself!)

Both girls worked pretty well with minimal supervision. This pattern actually was very easy and the girls think they might want to make more for gifts!

In less than 2 hours from start to finish we had 2 lovely purses and 2 very pleased girls!

(oops! note to self for next time: teach them about matching stripes....)
#3 Granddaughter (7 yrs) and niece (11 yrs) picked out 2 flannels each.
This is a perfect beginners project: 2 yds. each of co-ordinating fabric. Trim edges even, pin together and sew once around. Trim corners, turn inside out and press.
Edge stitch all the way around again, closing opening. VOILA! finished.....and 2 very pleased beginners with lovely finished blankets!
(she hopes to be a designer someday!...)
Granddaughter had actually done this once before (see here) and ran off to bigger and better things before I could get a photo, but look how pleased Niece is!
Stay tuned for Mimi's Sewing Class #3! We'll be making Pound Puppies........

June 21, 2008

Flirty Independence Day Swap

The second FLIRTY APRON SWAP had an Independence Day theme: red, white, and blue, stars, fireworks, etc. It was to include paper goods to go along with the theme.........

I received this lovely apron from SHARON in MN today!

The fabric has sparkly stars and stripes and polka-dot rick-rack! The pattern is really unique and has extra long ties to wrap around my extra long middle! I can't wait to wear it for our family swim/potluck on the 4th of July weekend.....
She sent along some extra goodies, too. A magnetic notepad & pen, star-covered napkins, 2 little spreaders (or "childrens knives", according to the grandkids) and some fun tattoos.
Thank you so much SHARON! Your package was a fun surprise.....

June 17, 2008

Studio dreams....

Several times on this blog I've mentioned how much I dream of having a sewing "studio". I even just love the term "studio"! It sounds so artistic and professional.

It would be a large space with several different kinds of sewing machines, a cutting table area, ironing area, lots of storage for FABRIC and PATTERNS and projects in different stages. An office corner would be nice, too, for a computer and whatever else a studio needs........

I enjoyed a little taste of what this might be like this past weekend when I had the house to myself for 5 days. I dragged all my sewing stuff downstairs and set up my "studio" in the family room/kitchen in front of the big screen T.V. (that was a bonus I hadn't considered! I'll have to factor in a big T.V. for the future studio!) I set up the cutting area on the kitchen island. I set up my machine on our huge dining room table. I lined up the intended projects......AND I HAD A 3 DAY SEWING BINGE!! It was so nice to just leave things out at the end of the day and it was all waiting for me in the morning just as I left it!

I embellished a set of kitchen towels for Daughters new kitchen :

I made 4 dishtowel aprons for the (open any day now) ETSY shop:

I made 3 flannel blankets for a long-time co-worker who announced recently that they are expecting TRIPLETS!!! 2 boys and a girl! (I am so excited for them! He says I will be the "office" Mimi !)

...and lots of cutting! I hate the cutting part, but with so much space to work in and a big screen T.V. to watch, it wasn't so bad. I got quite a few future projects all cut and ready to go.

Part way through all this my Viking machine, my $800, less-than-a-year-old Viking, seized up! I took it immediately to the repair shop where I had to leave it for the next 10 DAYS! NOOOO! What bad timing!

WELL...... in my future studio I would of course just use one of the many other machines that would be on hand, so I dug out my long neglected, trusty old Kenmore that I got 33 years ago on my 18th birthday!

I oiled her up, somehow found all her accessories, and got back down to business. And for the life of me, I don't remember why I thought I ever needed a new machine! She (are all sewing machines female?) just hummed right along and did a beautiful job. She appliques even better than my new, fancier Viking! I didn't realize how much I'd missed her!

While looking for Kenmore's accessories, I came across some real treasure! Several boxes of forgotten fabric, patterns, and unfinished projects, including a little dress I started on Daughter's 1st birthday (she just turned 34!). Thinking of the future studio's organization and storage, I collected every sewing related thing I own and put it all together in a small area of the garage.

I've had such a good, productive time playing "sewing studio", but it's time to put everything back upstairs in my room.....the family will be coming home tomorrow...(YAY!!)

June 15, 2008

I've been tagged!

Hey! I just noticed that I've been tagged by BELLA of SOUTH OF PURPLE!

OK....so here are my answers to the current questions:

What was I doing 10 years ago? I was living by myself in an apartment, trying to adjust to an empty nest. My youngest son had just graduated from high school and gone off to work at a Christian Camp for the summer. Talk about an adjustment! It had been just the two of us for 5 years and I did not have an easy time of it!

What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? Sew 3 flannel baby blankets for a friend having triplets, finish 4 dishtowel aprons, take my sewing machine to get fixed, grocery shopping, clean out shed so I can fit son's belongings into it since he moved this week to Martha's Vineyard and is only taking minimal stuff.

Snacks that I enjoy: Chips and salsa with a diet coke/lots of ice. Wheat Thins w/ cheddar cheese. Sourdough toast w/peanut butter. Fuji apples, sliced, with a sprinkle of salt.

Things that I would do if I were a billionare: First the obvious: pay off all my kids bills and mortgages, put all the grandkids in Christian School, get a tummy tuck! Then I would buy the house next door to us for myself and let the kids have this one. I would put in a pool and make a connecting gate between our houses. I'd make the entire upstairs into a sewing/craft studio. ...Oh! and get all new commercial appliances for my new kitchen!

Places I have lived: All in California: La Mirada, La Habra, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Murrieta.

Jobs I have had: Sandwich maker at Swensen's ice cream; deli at Albertsons; fabric cutter at Pumpkin Patch Baby Bedding; office manager at Harvest Time Produce for the last 23 years!

Wow! That was fun..... and somewhat theraputic! Thanks Bella!

Now I'll tag these friends & family.....

Shannon @ http://thethreedaughtercircus.blogspot.com

Caitlin @ http://caitlinshirley.blogspot.com

June 14, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion?

My D-I-L Megan suggested that I should make myself an apron for advertising purposes, using my business card, and carry some of the cards in a special pocket. So I did exactly that! I enlarged my business card, printed it onto fabric, and appliqued it on the front of the apron.

I added some photos of the grandkids on the pocket just to show what I can do with photos.

I wore it today while I was out and about, doing errands. I wore it to JOANN fabrics and noticed several people really looking at it, but because the store was unusually quiet (the big "Firefly Sale" starts tomorrow) I didn't get a chance to have any conversation with anyone, even the usually chatty fabric cutters.
Then, at Walmart I sort of forgot I was wearing it until, wondering why so many people seemed to be staring at me, I remembered "oh yeah! I'm wearing my apron!". In the fabric department, My Apron started the perfect conversation with another customer about her friend who makes fancy aprons for gift shops in Del Mar! She gave me a few good ideas, too! Then the fabric cutter said " you know, I get a lot of people asking me for aprons and we don't carry any! Well how about that! And I just happened have a bunch of business cards to give her. She put them under her counter and said she would certainly give them out the next time someone asked (fingers crossed!)..........
Mission accomplished! A little shameless self-promotion. (Also a few awkward moments when 2 different people though I was a Walmart employee just because I was wearing an apron! One was a customer and one was an employee herself! I mean, come on, my apron does not look anything like a Walmart apron!!
Megan, I'm officially making you my VP of Marketing! Keep those great ideas coming!
(now I just need to teach you how to sew)

June 7, 2008

Something for every taste......

I make custom aprons. I get requests for certain themes or hobbies and can usually find fabric to fulfill these specific requests. I have come to the conclusion that somewhere out there, especially with the internet, you can find anything printed on fabric if you look hard enough!

My mother requested an apron for my niece who works at a school for the deaf. I told her I couldn't imagine how I could do that, and then look what I found!

A friend wanted an apron for his wife with bricks on it, since her nickname is " Brick House" (I'll bet she loves that). I found 6 different fabrics that look like a brick wall! I mean, how many people are looking for fabric like that? Who knew?

Which brings me to the reason for bringing this up (stay with me here, this will make sense by the end, I promise).........

!I am terrified of grasshoppers !!

I don't have any valid reason for it, but they scare me to death. I'm not afraid of snakes or spiders or bees....just grasshoppers. Especially the big, brown ones.

Naturally, my family finds this quite hilarious, especially the grandkids. I can see the humour in it myself, so we all laugh about it together. I have been given grasshopper "gifts" on more than one occassion. The bigger and scarier, the better.

(thats a 4 yr. old hand, so you can see how HUGE that thing is!!! and the plush one makes a hideous sound!)

I've had grasshoppers made just for me at preschool.

( I LOVE this little guy!!)

The twelve yr.old takes pictures of the biggest, scariest ones she sees and sends them to me on my cell phone!

And I, of course, love all of this grasshopper-y good natured fun.

SO......look what I found at the fabric store!

Flannel fabric made just for me! I assume it was made with me in mind because who else could possibly care about grasshopper fabric? Of course I had to have some. The grandkids love that I bought it. I'll probably just make myself a pillowcase out of it. I just hope it doesn't give me nightmares!!

See what I mean? There truly is fabric out there for every taste....

June 4, 2008


I got a package from Tasmania, Australia today!

Look what MARITA made me for the Sassy Summer Apron Swap!
She made my apron from a fun, summery fabric, red with daisies, and rick-rack accents. Notice how roomy the pockets are? I love pockets.The swap was to include an embellished kitchen towel of some kind. She made bias tape out of the same fabric and look at her beautiful embroidery work!
There is also a potholder, lavender sachet, and cute note pad. She even included a handmade card with a tiny little apron made out of the apron fabric! Thank you Marita for such a lovely package. You really made my day.
These apron swaps are so much fun! Who doesn't love getting a suprise in the mail?

June 1, 2008

Women on Target

Look what I did yesterday!

I stepped WAY outside my usual comfort zone and learned to shoot a pistol and rifle! And believe me, anything that doesn't involve a sewing machine or young grandchildren is outside my comfort zone!!! But since I live in a household with guns (my son is a Detective with the Sheriff's Department) I thought I should at least learn some gun safety.
So when Jenny, one of my closest friends invited me to attend, I said yes.

Her husband Kurt is one of the instructors.

I can't believe how much fun I had! It was really a blast! (pun intended. sorry!)

I got an almost perfect score on the rifle range.....