Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gratuitous Lucy Photo

As I mentioned in a previous post, Mitch bought himself a new Mac and has been in the process of transferring photos to this computer. Lucy and I have spent countless hours going through early photos of her to which she usually replies "Oh, I was so cute," which of course, she was. So I thought I would post one of my favorites. It's not a great picture of me but it really captures the moment. I think that this was later in the day after I gave birth to her.

What an angel.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fast and easy notions bags

Fun and easy bags, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I loved making these - super cute and easy. Quick as 1-2-3. The pattern is from Quilts and More Winter 2009 and uses the new Westminster Fibers laminated fabric. I finished my edges with a serger but you could just use pinking shears. Had I not been on a coffee cozy craze, I would have given these as gifts but I think I'll start sewing a bunch of them in the New Year to give out as gifts. They would work well as reusable snack bags!

It is unbelievably cold here which inspired me to make beef stew from this book. Yum yum.

And I just finished Cleaving. Still trying to get my head around this book. Julie Powell is a truly gifted writer with a clever way of describing her experiences with food. This book though is less about food and more about her struggles to not just to find her life passion but how she lost it. Complicated. I myself am not a great writer so I would never do her book justice by writing a synopsis here. Let me just sum it up with this: S & M, butchery, goat's blood, Buffy, world travels, alcoholism, adultery, narcissism and soul mates. If that doesn't peak your interest then I don't know what will.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Glittering Nature

Mitch bought himself a new Mac and I haven't figured out how to upload photos yet so an updated photo of the gingerbread house will have to wait. For now, please enjoy Lucy's glittered woodland collection. We gathered the bark, acorns and pine cones on a recent nature walk and then came home and glittered to our hearts' content. There's no better path to a happy day than with Martha Stewart glitter. I'm not kidding. One problem- it gets everywhere. It's not a big problem but it is a bit embarrassing to be at work and see red and pink glitter sparkling in your hairline! Oh well, it comes with the territory if you have a crafty girl (or two) in your house!

BTW, over at Martha Stewart you can enter your glittered projects into a photo contest. You can find our photo there amidst some seriously crazy glittered photos and other projects. I don't think we have the slightest chance of winning but it's worth a shot plus Lucy loves to see the photo of her project on the MSL website!

Hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays. The snow has certainly added to the Christmas spirit. My pink decorations look even cuter against a white background. Ha ha!

Keep warm!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is what happens when you go to work and leave your husband in charge of assembling the gingerbread house....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Tis The Season

Well, it's getting closer each day. I'm feeling very sparkly this year, in fact I just added two more strands of twinkle lights to my holiday decor and I feel like I need more! It's just that kind of year. Plus all that Martha Stewart glitter has made me super-giddy about sparkles.

This tree I picked up at Urban Outfitters 7 or 8 years ago. I love how sparse the branches are as well as their length. It's the perfect tree to display my collection of homemade ornaments. My mother sewed the felt ones and my great-aunt did the tatting as well as the sequined styrofoam balls. I have a few sets of these felt patterns that my mother never made but to be honest they're just too much work! I can't believe that she had the patience to do all of these - my brother has another dozen or so. But it was the 70's which were all about craft, kind of like now but using less glue. ha ha!

Keep warm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Amy Butler Field Bag

Amy Butler Field Bag, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

So here it is. At last. The Amy Butler Field Bag. It was a challenge as expected but well worth it. There are four large side pockets plus I added a small pocket for a cell phone or ipod. I put together 10 kits which are available at the shop plus I plan to teach a class in the spring.

Field Bag

This may be my last bag for a while only because there are so many things that I want to sew: baby blankets, pajamas, doll clothes.... And I need to figure out how to do more stuff on my serger - I'm just not taking advantage of its full potential.

I did manage to make an Eagles fleece poncho for my father-in-law. He's in a wheel chair so it's much easier to drape a poncho over him than a coat. It was fabulous! I gave it to him on game day when he was decked out in his oh-so-retro Eagles sweat suit from the 70's. I'll post a pic later this week. (My plan had been to make everyone pajama bottoms but that plan came to a grinding halt when I realized that I cut them a bit too short!)

Lots to do for the holidays. I decided to make fabric gift bags instead of wrap everything. The serger makes it super-easy plus it gives me an excuse to play with my stash!

Keep warm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Pink Christmas, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This is my pink tree and decorations collection. It's taken about 6 years to collect all of this stuff. I decided to display them together this year so that there could be a mass effect. What do you think? All I can say is that I grin each time I walk down the stairs and see all this PINK.

This ornament we found at Lord and Taylor. Lucy has shoes that match!

Pink Converse

My great-aunt tatted the two following ornaments. Each year she would send us a box filled with tatted Christmas trees, candy canes and snowflakes. I have about 4 dozen of them now!

Tatted ornament

Tatted and beaded ornament

Lucy and I are way into Martha Stewart glitter. It's everywhere - in our hair, on our face, imbedded into the carpet. But that's ok. Everyone needs a little sparkle this time of year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mitch got this book for me as a belated birthday present. Actually, the exchange went something like this:
Me "I have coupons at Barnes and Noble that need to be used today if you want to buy some presents for your dad."
Mitch "OK. I can get him a couple of bestsellers."
Me "That's a good idea. One of the coupons is for any book in the store."
Mitch "Is there anything that you want?"
Me "Yes, I would like a copy of The Sartorialist."
Mitch "You know, this book is just a bunch of pictures."
Me "Yes, I know that. His blog is essentially a display of people wearing clothes."
Mitch "OK, as long as you know what it is."
Even later:
Mitch "Here's the book you wanted. Happy Birthday."
Me "Thanks. How thoughtful of you."
The book is FABULOUS beyond belief. I am going to pour over it for hours and hours just studying the outfits, hair, shoes, bags - basically everything. If it's not already on your
holiday wish list you need to add it. But if you'd rather not have another book in your house that will collect dust, then just visit the blog.
Have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And She Sews!

Minnie Mouse Sewing Machine, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I'm fresh off the plane from Disney World. Whew. That was an exhausting trip though it was tons of fun. Lucy loved meeting all of her favorite characters and princesses. As I scanned through my pics today this one stuck out - Minnie's Sewing Machine. Minnie's house was adorable and included an entire craft room. There in the corner was this little pink beauty. Who wouldn't want to sew on a machine like that? And you can't see it in this pic, but off to the side is a bowl of yarn. Minnie is one crafty chic.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

American Girl Sewing

Chrissa's Maxi Dress, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

Lucy got this doll for her birthday last month and since then she has been busy making clothing requests. I made this maxi dress inspired by the one in Weekend Sewing. Lucy and I have the same one. I also made a nightgown and another summer outfit using Kaffe Fasset/Brandon Mably fabrics (below). I have to admit that it is quite fun to sew for a doll and my serger makes it sooo easy!

Chrissa and Kaffe Fasset!

I took Lucy to the shop to pick out fabric for coordinating outfits and she wasy so funny about it. She new exactly which fabrics she wanted and she also had strong opinions about how much we needed. In the queue are the following: coordinating Holiday Pajamas, sundresses and another skirt.

Oh, and did you know that this doll, Chrissa, is a crafty girl? She even has a sewing table and machine. So of course, I had to get that for Lucy. Lucy already decorated it with stickers from craft pudding like the ones I have on my machine.

Girls are just awesome.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have been busy

Instead of blogging, I have been busy...

1. Selling unused yarn and patterns on ebay
2. Planning Lucy's 5th Birthday Party
3. Decorating the sewing room
4. Recovering from a cold that turned into a sinus infection
5. Finishing the Field Bag kit for the quilt store
6. Sewing clothes for Lucy's new American Girl Doll, Chrissa
7. Buying stuff on etsy using money made from the first thing on this list

I will post pics of numbers 3 , 5, 6 and 7 soon.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bento Boxes

Other lunch ideas can be found in this article from the NY Times. I did some of this for Lucy last year but have to admit that there are many days where I just peel an apple, throw in a hard-boiled egg, some carrots and milk.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Getting Ready for Back-to-School: Lunch

I love this time of year. The air is crisp, the leaves change color and the stores are bursting with fabulous back-to-school products! I can never resist buying new pens, pencil cases and colorful spiral bound notebooks never mind that I've been out of school for over a decade.

Recently I made a trip to The Container Store. My family used to make a yearly pilgrimage there to buy organizing supplies. I loved to stock up on all sizes of these plastic containers - they were perfect for holding precious stickers, paperclips and earrings. The purpose of my recent trip was to buy organizing supplies for the sewing room but I was quickly distracted by the lunch section. I love the BPA-free containers featured here as well as these Klip-it containers. Lucy needed a new lunch bag so I spent quite a bit of time trying out different options and finally settled on the pink version of this one - it is roomy, insulated and won't show too much dirt (a must for a 4 year-old.) And I couldn't leave the store without a few color-coordinated freeze blocks!

For those of you are interested in a more homemade lunch box, check out etsy for a huge supply of reusable snack and sandwich bags. My preference is for the ones lined with vinyl - I think that they would be easier to clean. I'm sure that these little bags are very easy to make but these crafters have done such a nice job choosing the fabrics and to be honest, I have too many projects in queue.

The time will come when back-to-school will mean buying pens, paper and notebooks. For now I'm content with buying lunch boxes.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Sweaters: Start to Finish

I've been cleaning out my yarn/knitting stash over the last few weeks with the goal of having it all in one place instead of "hidden" throughout the house. Some of the yarn and a few of the patterns/magazines have landed themselves on ebay. It's hard to do but I think it's a necessary evil; this way I will have room for the supplies that I really really like not just the ones that I kinda like. Plus, with my earnings, I can buy yarn to make myself one of those infinity/moebius scarf things that seem to be all over the fashion magazine!

Anyway, the great benefit of this sort of cleaning project is that I have found a few of my early purchases. The first is a pattern for a cotton sweater that I started when I was 13. My mother helped me pick out the yarn and knit the project but then we had a car accident, I grew bigger and honestly I never could make it past those pockets! I found the actual project a few years back and will probably come across it again once my mom sells her house. I think I was knitting it in a light dusty pink. My mother was knitting a sweater out of the same yarn. Hers was a Calvin Klein pattern knit from sleeve end to sleeve end with cables. I remember sitting with her in her bed while she recovered, both of us knitting. Maybe that's why we never finished either project - once she was healed we just didn't want to look back.

First sweater I started

The other pattern I found is this Lopi one. I started this project my sophomore year in college. Maine is a very cold and dark place in the winter so I was looking for something to do to keep me busy (I was too prude to do the other things people do when it's cold and dark.) Plus, lots of the co-eds were knitting and everyone was knitting with Lopi. I couldn't stand the colors of this sweater so I knit mine in mint green with pink and lavender. Unfortunately I didn't yet understand or appreciate the value of gauge swatches so I ran out of yarn...twice. The thing was monstrously huge. I swear that we could have fit two or 3 of us in there, in fact I think we tried. But lest you think I was a ninny, part of the reason I became such an avid knitter is that there was a very cute boy living downstairs who could knit. Often I would knock on his door and ask for help - I could never remember how to cast on. Never mind the fact that I had been knitting since I was very young - he was cute and like I said it was cold and dark in Maine. Nothing exciting ever happened there but I did finish that sweater. My mom "misplaced" it somewhere along the way - it was a mess with poorly woven ends and an occasional hole but I loved it. Maybe I will make it again, this time with the correct size needles!

First sweater I ever finished

So the moral to the story is: check your gauge and make friends with cute people who knit. ha ha!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inspiring Stories

I went to see the movie "Julie and Julia" the other night with two of my other foodie friends. The movie was absolutely delightful - truly a joyful movie-going experience, something that doesn't happen too often these days. It's not to say that it was perfect - at times both of the women's' stories seemed over-simplified but overall it was well done and certainly worth the price of admission.

I have a number of very early memories associated with Julia Child. Back in the 70's before everyone had cable, there were the standard 3 channels, a few UHF channels that only showed The Little Rascals, Laurel and Hardy movies and bad sci-fi movies from Japan and PBS. My parents didn't like commercial television so my brother and I were often forced to watch PBS. A lot of PBS. Sunday nights were for Masterpiece Theater. Weekdays were NOVA. Saturday mornings and afternoons were dedicated to Julia Child and This Old House. We turned it off when the crazy-hair oil-painting guy came on.

I loved watching Julia. My mother and I would watch each show waiting to see when she would throw something to the floor and often wondered about the poor person who had to clean up that mess! We daydreamed of having someone who could clean up our messes - an imaginary intern who would dutifully catch our scraps of pastry, chicken fat or ground meat. When I was 13, my family was in a bad car accident. My mother was bedridden for 4 weeks in the hospital and then another 4-6 weeks at home. On the weekends that we visited her at the hospital we would watch Julia and look forward to the moment when mom would come home and we could cook again. At home, I would come to her room when Julia was on and watch with her, hoping that my presence would help my mom heal faster and inspire her to get out of bed.

Eventually, my mother's bones healed and we continued watching Julia together. It became a Saturday morning ritual, at least until I became a full-blown teenager and was too busy on Saturday mornings to allow for TV watching.

As I got older, more channels came and then I went off to college. I would watch Julia when I was home or later, in grad school, on my tiny (not an exaggeration) TV. But it wasn't until after I was married and faced with my own first real health crisis that Julia Child came into my kitchen.

While volunteering at a local charity gift shop, I came across a second edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I didn't have a copy of my own but remembered my years of watching Julia and my mother talking obsessively about the boeuf bourguignon. I bought the copy for $2, took it home and read it at night. Her writing was so sassy and fun. Who knew that I had been making scrambled eggs wrong all these years! Eggs were cheap and a staple of our menu while my husband was in residency, so I read the egg chapter with particular attention. Needless to say, we had lots of omelets.

Around this time we realized that we were going down the long and challenging road of infertility. I quit my job as a midwife so that I could devote my attention to getting pregnant. I also decided that I would dive into being a real housewife: I would scrub floors (we let the cleaning lady go), iron all of Mitchell's shirts and cook all our meals. Housekeeping would be my new ambition and I was determined to do it well, really really well. It worked for a few weeks but after slaving away at scrubbing floors and ironing shirts I was ready to go back to work so I went back to the knitting store where I had worked off and on during our time in Pittsburgh. But the cooking, the cooking I wasn't ready to give up. I enjoyed planning the meals, shopping for ingredients and watching the whole thing come to life. Plus my husband and his hungry friends were always eager to eat my offerings.

We tried IVF once, it failed. The second time ended in a miscarriage. By this time we were back in Philly and I was working part-time in a knitting store and an OB/Gyn clinic but I was still cooking. I became determined to make boeuf bourguignon. I studied the recipe, picked a day when I wasn't working, bought the ingredients and started cooking. I used every pot we had and nearly every spoon all the while filling the apartment with the most amazing aromas. We invited my brother-in-law and sister-in-law over to taste my triumph. It was beyond delicious - worth all the effort and then some. We each enjoyed the meal and I felt satisfied. Not just with the food but with that moment.

The rest is history. We did another IVF cycle and this time I carried to term and gave birth to darling Lucy. It would be a stretch to say the Julia Child made it possible. I have doctors, drugs and acupuncture to thank for that. But she did calm my soul and help me find peace along our journey.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vacation Posting

I wrote this while on vacation but haven't had a chance to post it since that time! More to come.

“You’re a really bad vacationer.”

This is what my husband said to me as I plopped down next to him on the plastic wicker loveseat on the balcony of our beach rental. This is what he said to me as he drank the delicious French press coffee that I made for him. This is what he said to me as he enjoyed the triple berry scones (from this book) that I got up early and made for him and Lucy.

And he’s right.

I’m horrible at it. I’m not really sure why. We never vacationed like this when I was a kid – that is we didn’t take vacations where we laid around near a lake or ocean or mountain. Our vacations were destinations, an opportunity for my parents to expose us to the world outside of Oklahoma City. We went to Santa Fe, Boston, and Washington DC. And we went to Dallas. A lot. Shopping was abysmal in OKC so we made the 4 hour journey at least 4 times a year. But that’s another blog entry.

When I was a bit older, we flew to Maine for a few weeks each summer, staying with family friends. These were true vacations but by that time I was a sour teenager and couldn’t appreciate it. I just wanted to go to Freehold and do some shopping.

So now, at the ripe of age of 37, I take vacations. Real ones. To the beach, to Florida, to Maine and I’m just not good at it. I get anxious. I can’t relax. What to do when there is nothing to do?

So this is what I do. I cook, mostly bake. For a week or two before our annual vacations to a rental (either NJ or Maine), I peruse all of my favorite cookbooks and decide which treats I’m going to make. There are the staples: vegetable frittatas, chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins. And then there are the treats like this morning with the berry scones. Last year we made ice cream.

One of the reasons that my husband says that I’m a terrible vacationer is that when I get to said rental, I immediately go through the kitchen and figure out what they have and what they don’t. Then I lament to my husband who dutifully tells me to go to the store and just buy the baking sheet/measuring spoons/whisk or whatever it is that is lacking.

I did just that last night and bought all those things. Oh and a hand mixer too (who doesn’t have a mixer in the kitchen?) I woke early due to the pitter patter of rain and decided to get to work on breakfast. First I made the coffee. Then I started the scones. No food processor – no worries. My hands dug right in, kneading the butter into small pieces. I forgot to buy the buttermilk – no worries. A little lemon juice in 2%milk should do the trick. No currants – no problem. Chopped cranberries made a delightful substitution.

With the buzz of the coffee coming on, I was feeling pretty good. I turned on the oven. Mitch and Lucy were up by this point. I offered them fresh berries while they waited for the scones. All was well. Until I realized that the oven wasn’t working. Then the panic set in. No oven? How am I ever to relax without an oven? Others may come to the shore to body surf, build sandcastles or sunbathe but I come to bake! Mitch could sense that I was on the verge of tears and tried to calm me down but he knew that his efforts were futile so he went back out to the deck and suggested that I call the landlady.

After a bit of tinkering, we got the oven working. I could feel myself relax. The oven heated up beautifully, baking the scones to crisp perfection. While they baked, I brewed tea for my ice tea/lemonade drink.

So when I sat down with Mitch, even though everything had worked out ok, he could still feel the lingering tension. Of course, his observation only made me annoyed and defensive but then something else happened: I took Lucy on a bike ride. After that, I packed the two of us up for the beach (Mitch had to go to the city for a family funeral.). At the beach, I read Michael Polan’s article on food shows (another blog entry) and then helped Lucy make chocolate stew – my job consisted of walking back and forth to the ocean carrying pails of water. When it stated raining, we came home, took showers and then ate our snacks while we watched the downpour. And now, Lucy is doing princess watercolors and I’m writing. For fun. It feels great.

So I may be a bad vacationer but today I’m making the commitment to becoming a better one.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Good morning

Strawberry Rhubarb jam, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I ate the last of the jam the other day. It was so yummy. Rhubarb and strawberry - really is there anything better?? (The answer is no.) I just used lots of strawberries, cut up rhubarb and followed the cooking recipe from the sure-jell box. Turned out perfect. Don't tell anyone, but I had on occassion just eaten it by the spoonfulls from the jar. Makes me think of this clip.

Need a good laugh. Check out this little cartoon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flowers and A Shout Out

fresh flowers, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I'm pretty pleased with this arrangement. The snapdragons are from the farm where we have our CSA membership and the hydrangeas are from outside my front door. Snapdragons are my absolute favorite and this color in particular makes me very happy. I had to search through rows of flowers to find them - clearly they make other people happy too. And the hydrangea - well I have my friend Tania to thank for those. A few years back she went up to Connecticut to get a few plants for the spring holidays and offered to buy them for anyone who was interested. I bought two - kept one for myself which I later planted outside the front door and the other for my brother and sister-in-law which they nearly killed. I'm nursing it back to health determined that it will someday be as big as mine. Each year it sports more blooms as if to say "You can't kill me!"

And a shout out to my friend Candace who is in Salt Lake City right now. There's an article about SLC in this month's BUST - I promise I will visit next year!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grommet Love/Grommet Hate

Summer Tote

I meant to post a pic of this sooo long ago but honestly I completely forgot about it. Oops. I love the bag and so do a lot of the employees and patrons of the shop but for some reason there are like 6 kits left (out of 9.) I seem to be having bad kit karma. Not sure why. My next one is going to be awesome (I hope) and will hopefully break my bad streak.

The pattern is from Stitch magazine and the fabric is Heather Bailey, of course. To be honest, I think that I was drawn to this bag because of the grommets. There are 8 total which means a lot of hammer use - an awesome way to work out pent up aggression. Not that I have any pent up aggression.... Anyway, I got a bit nervous because the anvil got stuck in one of them but fortunately it released. Now if some quilters would just buy the kit, I could take this bag home and carry some yarn or some other project around in it.

After I made this bag, I became so enthralled with grommets that I decided to use them in another bag I was making for a friend's 40th birthday. This time I wasn't so lucky. For the bag I used some "vintage" Amy Butler (circa 2006.) Cute fabric though a bit more bold than her latest designs. Anyway, after putting it together, I proceeded downstairs to the garage, grommets and hammer in hand. I got everything ready and inserted the grommets as instructed on the back of the box. A few whacks later I was ready to see the completed grommet but when I went to pull out the grommet tool thingy it was stuck. Horror of horrors. I pulled, tugged, banged from the other end but it would not budge one bit. At the time I was upset but mildly amused. Reminded me of Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in Rabbit's front door after eating too much honey but in this case, depriving the tool of food wasn't going to help. For some insane reason I decided to try again with another tool set and again, the whole thing got stuck. At this point I was really getting frustrated. I went upstairs, got my rotary cutter, whacked the top off and left the mutilated bag and the stuck grommets on the cutting table until I could stomach it again. A few days later, I decided to just put handles on the bag the regular way. My friend was none the wiser.

I look at my grommet collection every now and then, briefly considering that I should try them again. But for now, I'm a bit grommet shy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I've Been Doing

I have not written for a while. I've been busy with life and the blog has taken a back seat. I think about it often, wondering if its still out there and if anyone is reading it. The problem is that although I sew ALL the time, I do other things too. Things that I want to write about. Things that keep me busy and distracted and engaged. So in no particular order, here is what I have been doing:

Recovering from my triathlon. It was incredibly hard - aside from childbirth, the hardest thing I have ever done. The swim was cancelled because of too many CFUs in the river (don't ask) so instead I had to run/bike/run and it was beyond horrible. I cried. I would have quit except that Lucy was standing outside the transition area with a sign that said "Go Mommy Go". I wiped my tears, changed into my running shoes and hobbled another 3 miles to the finish line where Lucy stood, cheering me on. I cried some more. And I plan to do it again next year.

Reading. A lot. Crossing to Safety. Julie and Julia. A Homemade Life. Anne of Green Gables. Plus The New Yorker, Wall Street and Times (to remove the bad taste that the Wall Street Journal leaves).

Sewing. I have gotten kind of addicted to those coffee cozies and now my friends have put in "orders" as in Me: "Can I borrow a couple of bucks for coffee." Friend: "Sure, just pay me back me a cozy." Not a bad system really. And I'm also addicted to smocked summer dresses after seeing Heather Ross on MSL. The free pattern is great - do have it printed at Kinkos. So easy and worth the 5 or 6 bucks. Finally there's the Amy Butler bag that will (eventually) be a kit. I cut out all of the many many fabric pieces as well as the ridiculous number of interfacing pieces. I just need to fuse and sew and sew and sew. It will be a great bag and probably a fun class.

What else? Just life. My mother and father got divorced so my mom is cleaning out the house to sell it. Very strange actually. I guess that life moves on but I'm not ready for her to move, for some other family to live in the house, sleep in my room. I try not to think about it but my mom calls daily to see if I want this or that, should she sell the bolts of Ralph Lauren fabric or do I want them? And your toys, should we keep those? Do you want some china? My response is often to just sell it all and move on but move on.

But I'm no dummy - I am keeping the Rowan yarn and Liberty fabric.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Coffee Cozy and Sandwich Bag

I wanted to prove that I actually have been sewing, not just talking about it. The coffee cozy pattern can be found here and the lunch/gift bag pattern can be found here. Both are super easy and would be perfect as gifts, particularly for the holidays. I could see giving a matched set of one cozy, one bag, maybe one matching large tote and perhaps a little cosmetic bag. That would be a nice gift, don't you think? I'd sure like to receive it!

As for the fabric, the coffee cozies are Heather Bailey Pop Garden and the lunch bag is Anna Maria Horner's latest oilcoth! It was actually pretty easy to work with, I just used a denim needle and a longer stitch length.

Tomorrow I'll post a pic of the bag kit. I'm going to finish putting the kits together right now while watching this chick flick.

Good night.

Retro Knitting Bag

Retro Knitting Bag, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This is yet another find from my mom's garage. She used it in college and then my grandmother used it to store her projects. We're using it to hold library books as I don't need another vessel for yarn! The colors are perfect in my living room though I'm sure that at some point, I thought the colors were putrid. Amazing how colors can come back into fashion. Another blogger found a similar one at a garage sale - love the fabric!

Retro Knitting Bag

I'm headed to the quilt store this afternoon to put together a really cute bag kit. I'm hoping that the kits sell quickly as I'd like to carry the bag before summer's end! I'll post a picture of it tomorrow.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Found Stuff

Vintage Valentine's Cards, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This morning I opened the rest of the boxes that I sent back from OKC. There's all sorts of stuff in them - books, toys, my grandmother's wedding dress (the first one, she was married 4 times.) Anyway, I found this set of Valentines sitting on top of a pile of stuff in my mom's garage. They're just too precious. The plastic wrap is open just a little so I think that Dorothy used a few of them. There are two sheets intact. I plan to just admire them for a while and then maybe frame a few or send them to very very special friends.

Vintage Valentine's Cards

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dress-Up Tea Party

Tea Party, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

A couple of weeks ago, Lucy and I hosted her very first tea party. It was a truly delightful event. Lucy's little friends came dressed in their very best and displayed their best manners. We read two books: "Tea for Ruby" and "When I Have a Little Girl" then the children did crafts and played with tea sets, including my grandmother's silver tea service! Here's the menu:

Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches
Cream cheese and maraschino cherry sandwiches
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Mellon balls
Mini chocolate muffins
Petit Fours
Gingerbread cookies and
Pink sparkling lemonade!

Getting ready for tea

I loved setting the table with family heirlooms, vintage finds and wedding presents. Entertaining provides a wonderful opportunity to share with others your creativity but most of all, I enjoy hosting friends in our home. I hope that Lucy will learn to enjoy this too.

Lucy at her tea party

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Betsey Johnson knitting designs

So here is the first of future posts of stuff I found in my mom's house. I love these Betsey Johnson patterns! Can't believe how young Lulu is here in these pics! The article comes from the July/August 1981 McCall's Needlework and Crafts Magazine. Don't you think Lucy and I need those matching sweaters?

Betsy Johnson knitting designs

And I love love love this pattern with the telephone!! Phone number on cap is "411." Totally fabulous, don't you think? And those roller skates that Lulu is wearing in the other picture - great! And those yarn braids - oh, my!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Checking In

Still training. This triathlon is starting to seem like a very very bad idea....

Just got back from OKC. I sent almost all of my childhood books back to Princeton as well as some seriously awesome craft magazines from the early 1980's. And I found some fabulous fabric and unfinished sewing projects including a Liberty peasant blouse ready to be sewn together!

On the way back home, Lucy and I ran into Dan Zanes in the Memphis airport. Very random. He is quite nice and even gave Lucy a guitar pick. I admit, I felt a bit like a silly suburban mom, particularly when I told him that we've been to all his concerts in Princeton. Really silly.

I'm missing flickr and blogging so I'm planning to be back very soon. Plus I have so much to post - I just finished my first shirt made on the serger. Loved it! How did I ever function without one?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What I've Been Doing

I have been sewing quite a lot and enjoying my new serger. Pillowcases, bags, curtains and gifts. But I'm also busy training for a triathlon, the Philly Women's Triathlon to be exact. It seemed like a good idea a few months ago - a way to motivate (scare) me into getting to the gym. Now that it's coming up in 6 weeks I'm a bit terrified and spending most of my free time swimming, biking or running. The process of training has been inspiring. Each day I am a bit surprised at what I am able to do and how much stronger I seem. My amazing trainer has really helped in this process as well. My body seems to be doing what it wants to do - work and work hard. One day he told me that the human body is one of the few things that will actually breakdown from lack of use. We were meant to walk, reach, carry, jump, run.

I wish that I could report that my body has turned into some version of Sarah Conner from Terminator but that hasn't happened and I'm ok with it. I'm doing this not to look like an amazonian women, but rather to better myself for now and going forward. I have a lot of things I want to do in the coming years and I need to take better care of myself in order to make that happen. Plus, I have to get in better shape to keep up with Lucy! I swear, at four, that she can run faster than I can.

So, I will be back with pictures and knitting and sewing projects. After the tri, if I survive, I will write more. Plus, I want to get a jump on my holiday projects and not wait until the very last minute.....

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Latest Book Obsession

I love this book! Especially the cover quilt though I'm pretty sure that I don't have the time or patience to make it right now. Still this is a great book - full of inspiration and ideas based on classic quilt designs. The quilters are based in Australia though one of them, Kathy Doughty, hales from Ohio! And Kaffe Fasset wrote the intro so you know it has to be interesting.
And while we're on the topic of reading material, check out the latest issue of "Stitch" from Quilting Arts. I have to admit that I wasn't too impressed with the first issue last Winter but this one is better - great colors and a range of projects. In fact, I'm heading to the quilt store on Monday to purchase materials to make one of the bags.
Anything else, hmm. I did make this cute little project as a shop sample. Great for recessionista lunches. I used Anna Maria Horner's oilcloth version of her latest collection. Perfect. My friend Jess recommended that I make a coordinating reusable sandwich wrap and placement like this. I'd like to design something I can make with my lovely new serger.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Serger Love

The serger is here. In my house. Threaded and ready for use. I promise to post projects and updates soon. The sewing room is nearly complete - I just need to finish and hang the curtains as well as buy a simple bed frame for the daybed. This one from West Elm is the primary contender.

The little one is upstairs in bed sick so I need to get back to her. More in the coming weeks....

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Birds

Birds for Hadley, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

I bought this book a while back and was so enchanted by the birds on the front cover. My intention has been to make them for quite a while and I finally got an inspiration - Lucy's friend, Hadley, was having a bird birthday party. My first one was a bit wonky but the next three were lovely. I have cut out quite a few more - all from 30's fabric - and hope to get to them after my sewing room is put back together.

And, then today I came across this post which led me to this blog. Given my work at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, I found the mission for 100 birds in Cooper's memory particularly touching. Please read her story. If you can sew, sew birds, if you can knit, knit birds. If you can't do either, just feel comforted in knowing that there are people out there who turn horrible losses into beautiful gifts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick houses

A quick post with a quick link! I love love love this tutorial for making free-style houses. Check it out here. Tomorrow I was planning on sewing another shirt for me but I made need to make one (or two) of these instead!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Skirts for Lucy

Seams to Me Bo Peep Skirt, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

The quilt store recently started carrying Bernina sewing machines and sergers. I've been drooling over them since their arrival, particularly the sergers. I have no need for another machine but a serger - well I would happily add one to my sewing room.

I wanted to try them out so I chose this project from "Seams to Me" by Anna Maria Horner. I finished the seams and the edges with the serger and then completed this skirt using a Bernette 56 which is a lovely and simple first sewing machine. I used leftover scraps from my samples of the Portobello Pixie patterns. The skirt is adorable! Even Lucy loves it but for now it is hanging in the shop as a sample.

I also made the following skirt for Lucy quite a while back. It's made using this super-easy pattern - it probably took only an hour from start to finish. I would be much much faster with a serger! My favorite part of the pic is the "matching" tights and Smurfette t-shirt.

Easy Skirt

So, I'm saving for a serger. My hope is to have it in my hot stitching hands by mid-summer, just in time to sew for the holidays and create my own winter wardrobe....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sewing Room Inspiration

Currently I'm hard at work picking colors to paint the upstairs and just get everything pulled together. Almost 5 years ago we moved into this house while I mas 6 months pregnant. My priority was Lucy's room and the downstairs. We just have never gotten around to painting and decorating the upstairs - mainly our room and the extra/sewing room. Mitch has finally conceded the extra room to me but it will still need to serve the function of a guest room. My plan is to convert the closet into a sewing/craft storage space and buy a sewing table that I can fold up and roll into the closet so that when guests are here, they don't have to look at (admire) my sewing projects.

I have bought two wonderful books to help me along the process and also discovered the magazine above, which doesn't come out until next month. The books can be found here and here on amazon and you can visit the crafter whose room is on the cover of the magazine here.

Basically, I need to get a painter hired and going so that I can keep my momentum. I'll post updates as they happen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gratuitous Lucy Photo and Lily Allen


I'm posting this picture for no reason other that I think it's a fabulous photo of Lucy. We were at the airport eating a bit of breakfast before getting on the plane. She has this sassy, bored and just-so-Lucy look on her face. I love it!

And if you haven't bought it yet - go buy Lily Allen's latest album RIGHT NOW! I love her. I woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face knowing that her album would be waiting for me to download on itunes - I bought it a few weeks ago so that I could have it today. Can't remember the last time I did that. Probably Pink's sophomore release in 2001 - it came out on my birthday (November 15th for the record.)

So, what are you waiting for, head over to itunes or amazon and get that album. You will love it!

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Finished Project!!

"Claire" Dress, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

This dress was made using the "Claire" Pattern from PortabelloPixie Boutique Patterns. the fabrics are Heather Bailey of course. Overall, it's an easy pattern - my only source of frustration was the machine applique of the flowers on the apron but that has less to do with the pattern and more to do with me and my machine (more on that later in this post.) I wish that I could show you a picture of Lucy modeling the dress but she refused to try it on for no apparent reason other than that I asked her to. Now it is hanging in the shop to inspire others. I hope they don't look too closely at my applique....

Back of "Claire" Dress

Now to my machine. Grrr. I can't get the tension to be right. I've messed with the bobbin and the tension on the top thread with no success. I broke down and took it in for a service which I know is the right thing to do but really I want a new machine. The shop is going to start carrying them in a month (yeah!) which is great for the owner but bad for me - too much temptation. I am trying to stay focused on my quest for a serger. I may just have to put blinders on when I walk in and ignore the whole machine section. ha! That will never happen.

I bought this pattern from Wee Wonderfuls hoping that Lucy and I can work on them together. My mother made me Raggedy Ann and Andy as a kid and they are still my favorites, aside from Mandy and Jenny of course. So, once my machine returns from the sewing machine "hospital" Lucy and I will get to work.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The written word

I really miss receiving and sending mail. Also, I love the concept of calling cards. Whenever I read Jane Austen or watch Masterpiece Theater, I wish that I had a few calling cards in my back pocket. Or even just little cards to jot down a website or phone number for a friend or new acquaintance. Well, at last I think I have found the perfect solution. These notecards and little cards from the Small Object are just adorable. And better yet, they're available as a PDF so you can print as many as you like. So, if you are my friend or relative, get ready. I have cards and I am prepared to use them!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On a Happier Note

Yesterday I picked up this little book and have been pleasantly surprised by its contents. The pictures are crisp and the projects are inviting. Plus, Jenny Ryan writes for BUST, my new favorite magazine so the book has to be great. In theory, I don't need a book of patterns to make the projects she describes but that's really not the point. What's nice here is the inspiration and the way that she uses notions such as ribbons, ric-rac and buttons. Also the vintage towels and sheets look modern and fresh as purses, sewing machine covers and baby doll blankets. Very recessionista. I recommend it for new sewers and old (read experienced) who are looking for something different and an excuse to stay up late reading sewing books. In fact, that is what I'm going to do right now. Ta ta.

Magazine Blues

First Martha Stewart Kids, then Blueprint, then Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion and now Domino! I can't believe it. All that's left is Martha Stewart Living and some random Euro design magazines. Plus all the Better Homes and Gardens Special Decorating Issues. Oh, and dwell - that will probably be cancelled too. I guess I will have to start reading Real Simple again though I swear their target audience is a divorced 40 year-old executive mom. Not a chocolate-eating-crafty-part-time nurse-midwife-married-mother. Come to think of it, Bust sounds like it's more my style. I just got a subscription which sadly means that it will probably be discontinued in a month or two. Sorry.

PS - I love Atomic Ranch but I don't dare get a subscription to that. It contains all my hopes and dreams for my perfect 50's ranch-style home. I need something to look forward to at the bookstore!

Monday, February 02, 2009


I'm still around just not blogging much. We went on vacation for a week and since then I've been trying to recover from it. Why is that? It is so true that I feel like I need a vacation after vacation to recover from vacation!

Currently I am working on one of Sandi Henderson's dress patterns and hope to have the dress finished this week. It's adorable. In the meantime, here's a link to my friend's finished dresses. She did a great job - can you believe these were her first dress projects? Go Candace!

I'll be back soon with pics.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lucy's cupcake

Lucy's cupcake, originally uploaded by stitchingpink.

Lucy gave me the book Hello Cupcake for the holidays and has been asking to make cupcakes everyday since then. We made these this past Sunday and it really was fun. I used this Vanilla Vanilla recipe on the MSL website, courtesy of Billy's Bakery. I also used the butter cream recipe that went with the cupcakes, just adding more powdered sugar to thicken the icing. Then we decorated much to Lucy's delight and my own. These are covered with sprinkles and twizzlers cut into small pieces.

Our other cupcakes may not look perfect but they are tasty and weren't around for long!

Cupcake family

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lucy in Portabello Pixie Gracie Dress

Can't believe that I never posted this! Things got super-busy with the holidays: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas! I loved making this dress - for now it's at Pennington Quilt works. Now that the holidays are over, I'm busy with a pair of pants and another dress from the same pattern collection.

Lots of posting to come this month. Plus I've noticed that many people come looking for Mandy and Jenny patterns/inspiration. I'm going to post more about those too in the coming months.

Happy New Year!