Life

With Pins and Needles

I’ve been doing some work with a photographer friend recently. It’s been fantastic on so many levels, but specifically for my own creativity. It’s not that I haven’t been doing creative things (I consider blogging creative) but that I haven’t really gotten my hands into projects or felt like I truly created anything for a long time. While in my friend’s studio, however, I saw some of the darling handmade prop items she has. Little bonnets, cute baby pants, little toys — they are so precious and at the same time so simple. I kept finding myself thinking that if I just got my sewing machine out I could make things, too. So two weekends ago I found my sewing machine, cleaned it up, took some time to relearn how to operate it, and decided to sew.

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My first project was a simple, slightly rustic baby bonnet. Why a bonnet? I have no idea. I have a baby boy who is definitely not the bonnet sort (he’s more into knit hats made by his Auntie Nery.) But I wanted to make a bonnet and so I gathered some random supplies from my thrift and scrap bags — bags that had been set aside for a long, long time — and just started forming and sewing. The result, a beautiful and in my opinion well made bonnet surprised me. It was so cute! It was well made! And all I wanted to do was make more. So I cleaned up the desk space in J.’s room and started thinking about projects that might be fun. A little quilt, perhaps. Some sweet baby headbands. Maybe some pants for J. I ended up being felled by a stomach flu before I could start anything, but now that I’m mostly on the mend the excitement is back.

I also started thinking about old blogs I used to read. Back in the early ’00s I spent every spare moment reading crafting blogs and trying their various tutorials. I taught myself various techniques, made some really cool projects, and even sold a few things on Etsy for awhile. So last night I decided to see if I could find some of those old blogs and, sure enough, I did. Going back over them I got inspired all over again and this time, now that I’m a mama with a little guy to sew for, some of the patterns and projects I’d skipped years before suddenly have interest to me now. So, now that the stomach flu is gone, I’ve lined up some projects. I think I’m going to start by making a faux Aden and Anais Burpy Bib and a minky-backed quilt for J. And of course, more adorable bonnets.

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House and Home

One corner at a time

I talk about it a lot, almost to the point of pride: I’m not a picture-perfect adult. My house is lived in to the point of sometimes being cluttered (even as I type this my carpets need vacuumed and I probably need to do dishes). I oversleep more often than I’d like. I leave the house without makeup, forgetting things, and most of my breakfasts are from the drive through. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a valid way to live, but it doesn’t match up to the standards or the idea I have of who I am. A long time ago (think high school and early college) I was that girl who had it together, was tidy and organized, and pretty much should have started a “how to be awesome” blog back on my Packard Bell desktop behemoth powered by 56k modem on dialup.

I would have killed it at the blog game back then. Homemade cupcakes, anyone?

The older I get the harder it is to live your life contrary to how you see yourself. One might say that the obvious answer is to just embrace who I am now and put the past away, but I’m not always one for the obvious. Sometimes I like to make changes because I like something else better. I’m not going to pretend: I was actually, truly happier with clean carpets and being organized. Did it take a little more time? Sure! Did it make my life easier and give me less stress? Oh heck yes. To that end I spend Saturday taking on an area that would have the most impact and make me feel accomplished.

I took on my master bedroom.

The major issues with my bedroom are usually straightforward: laundry not put away, a very cluttered dressing area, not putting jewelry back where it belongs. I come home from work, I take things off, I drop them wherever, I go relax as much as I can. The door to the bedroom being closed all the time provides an all too tempting dumping zone since no one goes in there except D. and myself. This private mess is largely why I chose this space first, but also because if I can start my day in a clean space it is inspiring. Start good, be good, right? So my three prong approach was simple: 1) create a dressing station where my jewelry can be displayed and kept in one place, 2) put away all of the laundry so I have an accurate idea of what my wardrobe looks like, and 3) give everything a general cleaning.

The jewelry/dressing station took me seven damn hours, but it was worth it. I started by emptying a small, child-size chest of drawers that has lived in a corner of my closet for storage for years, but usually ends up just as junk drawers. Then, I gathered up all of my jewelry and sorted them into categories (pins, earrings, pendants, necklaces, watches, misc.) I then designated visual display for the necklaces and earrings, a parking station of daily wear items (like my engagement ring) and then designated drawers for everything else and proper storage of jewelry-related items. I knew I had to go cheap with the visual storage so I found two great options: Command Clear Decorating Clips for my necklaces and a length of ribbon for all of my earrings to hang from. I put both the necklaces and the earrings at eye-level in a well lit area of my closet so that when I open up for the day, I can see what I have quickly and make choices that go with what I’m wearing. One the chest of drawer’s top, I situated my ring stand and a couple of other useful things (like my tray of fragrances).

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So far, I love this. It cost my less than ten dollars, I found things I hadn’t seen in years, and it has made getting ready a breeze. As for putting away the laundry and general cleaning? That was super quick and easy. Now I just have to tackle the next round of laundry.

Laundry never ends.

Neither does makeup. I still have to figure THAT storage out. To be continued…

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House and Home

Project of the Year.

I love quilts. My grandmother made quilts, my mother quilted, I grew up surrounded by the warmth and weight of beautiful quilts. It’s something I have always wanted to be able to do so this year I have decided I am just going to jump in and do it. My project for the year is to make a quilt.

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I’m going to do something that at least seems simple. I found this over at Katie Did and it not only seems right my style alley but also looks like something I could actually do. This is exciting. I’m going to print out the post and then spend the weekend reading it over and over, then looking into getting my supplies and scheduling some dedicated time for making my quilt. I’ll be sure to post my progress and with any luck and hard work, I’ll have a nice cuddly quilt soon.

I can’t wait!

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