31 March 2007

in the sketch stage - playing with inspiration

Besides bunnies, we've got bugs going on over here, specifically a series of praying manti that I am working on. So far, I am still at the sketch stage for most. These are some of the rough sketches:

Right now, I am happy to say that I have designed a pattern and cut the fabric for my good buddy "Gongylus gongylodes," and I am working on the pattern for the Malaysian Orchid Mantis. Two out of five started and the show is in May - I can do this....

I have to say that in all my research for great photos of manti, I have come across the most amazing Macro photographer, who is a self-described "mad scientist" and also happens to collect and breed manti (as pets) - Igor Siwanowicz. Igor's photos are nothing short of breath-taking with their luscious colors and intense detail. I am so happy to have stumbled across these, not only because they have proven to be such a valuable visual resource with all their clarity and fabulous displays of the mantis' form (as though it were architecture), but also because they are so inspiring and beautiful on their own as works of art. Warning - they are not for the squeamish, so please proceed with caution.

Back to work for me. I am actually on a roll with this today....

belated eye-candy friday - the tulip edition

This is one of the Black Parrot Tulips that I planted over the winter now growing on Matt's mom's window sill. Love the color. I've got to get some better photos to share. These are amazing as they bloom.

29 March 2007

meet iggy and nacho

They are both up at my etsy shop now.

28 March 2007

new bunnies, new folks, new books

Two new bunnies are done, and a few more are on the way. These will be up tomorrow on my etsy shop. I haven't named them yet, but I'll think of something. The one with the "man-bow" print looks like it's wearing a little "lucha-libre" mask, which was totally unintentional. However, now that I've noticed that, every time I look at it, I end up laughing to myself and thinking of "Nacho Libre."

Earlier today, I met with Abby from While She Naps and saw her wonderful exhibit at the Wellesley Public Library. Her creations are even more fantastic in person. (That Humpty Dumpty softie is just amazing!) Abby is great. Her "Bird with Gold Wings" is one of the five finalists for the Animal category in the Softie Awards.

This is my second day in a row of meeting up with other craft-bloggers/knit-bloggers, and I am really enjoying getting out there and meeting others within this community - seeing the faces behind the creations, hearing the actual voices, and talking about ideas, inspiration, anything. It is pretty darn cool.

After meeting with Abby, Matt and I drove to Porter Square Books where I finally picked up my copy of Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing. I have seen enough lovely projects from the book floating around in blog-land to finally seal the deal for me. I already have a cue of the projects I want to make from this, starting with the garden tote. The patterns in the book literally live up to the title; everything is super-simple, straightforward, basic design with absolutely no frills or fluffy-stuff. It's all clean and modern. It's also highly practical design, I think. I'm looking forward to getting started on the garden tote. It is, dare I say, exciting! ;P

27 March 2007

holy softie! (and the thanks just keep on rolling)

I just returned from the post office (and a lovely afternoon out that included good Indian food, yarn fondling, and handmade beauty products that were quite intriguing to feel and smell) after having shipped out my 100th etsy sale. I didn't realize it at the time, but when I checked my shop just now, I saw that indeed, that was it. Thanks Kate! Hope you love Magenta, your new Zaubermaus!

I'm such a sucker for personal milestones, but I have to admit, although I am really happy about my 100th sale (some might say, ecstatic, even), I am more amazed at the fact that over the last year I even made 100 squirrels and softies. Most of the body of that work I made in the last 4 to 6 months. That number doesn't include what up at the shop now, what's on my work table awaiting to be finished, nor the few pocket squirrels and softies I have sold outside of etsy. Wow. Huh, who would have thunk it? I am pleasantly surprised at myself. Sometimes I feel like such a slacker, wasting time online reading Gawker and Go Fug Yourself and The Sartorialist (thanks Diana, for reminding me how wonderful this site is - I have totally fallen in love with it all over again - and I kinda check it like 50 times a day because, you know, I'm obsessive like that) then going for a walk, getting up late then running around all day chanting like the White Rabbit while I work, taking LG out for a walk in the backyard and reading. It's good to know I've got something to show for myself here - and maybe I'm not such a slacker. I know there are other people who make 100 sales a week, and some even make 100 sales a day, so maybe that number isn't so impressive for some, but I'm holding myself to my own standards here.

With such milestones come a little bit of introspection and reassessment. I think it's time to step up my game some. My new goal for myself is to make a softie a day. Soooooooooooo, let's see how that goes.

Many MANY THANKS to everyone who has visited my etsy shop and everyone who has purchased one of my softies or pocket squirrels or any other shop goodies. Thank you all so much! And thank you for reading! :)

P.S. - The photos in the mosaic above are all from my Flickr, info as follows:
1. Nutmeg - face, 2. May - face, 3. Magenta - face, 4. Hazel - face, 5. Dolly - nose (detail), 6. Dolly - face, 7. sewasyougo-closeup, 8. sew as you go - DONE!, 9. Nellie the Newt - in a chair, 10. Stuart the Squirrel - face, 11. Charlie the Squirrel, 12. Tulane the Kitty, 13. Ziggy the Zaubermaus closeup, 14. critters in progress on board, 15. critters - ready for their details, 16. critters - hallo there!, 17. critters - Fiddly the zaubermaus overhead, 18. critters - awaiting parts, 19. alien, 20. critters - happy together, 21. critters - Roy the squirrel, 22. Manny the mantis, 23. critters - Bob-O & ZeeZee, 24. Manny the mantis- preying on LG, 25. squirrel #9, 26. squirrel #8 - flip, 27. squirrel #12 - flip, 28. squirrel #12, 29. Squirrel for Amanda, 30. big blue squirrel, 31. valentine dolls, 32. fishies! (2), 33. birdy cat toy, 34. love squirrels, 35. happy smiley bunny - front, 36. happy kitschy bunny - face detail

26 March 2007

putting the "unity" in community

First off, let me say, I LOVE Flickr. The sense of community over there is ridiculous, it is so hopping! I love the constant exchange and feedback. I love the knitalongs and craftalongs, which are super-easy to partake in as most groups are public, and it only takes a click on a button to add your uploaded photos to the group pools. And the group pools are fantastic! Such enthusiasm abounds there, and it is highly contagious. Love it!

Granted, I still think Explore is kinda funny and don't fully understand it. Here are the 8 photos I have on Explore today, down from 10 that I had yesterday (go figure):

1. chevron scarf - closeup, 2. soft trees in sunlight, 3. i love my studio in this light, 4. Matt's Socks - DONE!, 5. doll quilt - log cabin/courthouse steps variation - top, 6. flowerbox pincushion, 7. Pillow for Jane, 8. shrinky-dink pin-heads

I can't believe that anyone in their right mind would find a photo of Matt wearing the socks I knit for him "interesting," but whatever. To each their own! (coughcoughfootfreakscough)

Now, a word about blogs and blogging, because it seems to be "the" topic lately, and everybody's got something to say about it. I deleted my old blog (knottybits, for anyone who doesn't know and might be curious) because I didn't like the direction it had taken. When I first started blogging, I started with the intention of having a knitting blog. Because I have my hand in so many other things (patchwork, sewing, toy-making, art criticism), it was hard to get it to stick to any formula. Ultimately, I made sure to make it clear to anyone who asked that my blog was not strictly a knitting blog, which seemed to alienate me from the community of knit-bloggers. Oh well.... Lately, however, it was really all over the shop. One day, there would be knitting, then there would be three entries on quilting, then two entries about softies, then knitting again, then a commentary about some movie I saw. I needed to focus more. Strangely, this was about the time, after 1 1/2 years of blogging, that I started to get comments on a regular basis. It seemed that people were tuning in, but I wasn't happy with what was going on because I felt so all-over-the-place. Add to that the fact that around this time, I became keenly aware that real life friends were reading the blog and not commenting, which made me feel... I don't even know how to begin to describe it. I felt like I was being spied on, like I wasn't part of a give-and-take but was performing for someone else's voyeuristic pleasure. I have no idea why, but it hurt. I know that when you blog, you put it out there, and people who don't know you read about your life and take a peek into your world. It felt different knowing that people I knew in real life were peeking in with nothing to say. I felt like I was being silently judged. In a sense, we are all being silently judged. However, being aware of all this made the needle skip on my record.

Have you ever done a performance in front of a crowd? Anyone here ever been part of a school play or community theater? Any stand-up comics out there? Performance artists? In my limited experience doing performance, it works best to go into a zone when you perform, to lose yourself in your character and in your interactions on stage. Once you are aware of the audience, you are, for lack of a better word, fucked. Your performance becomes insincere and affected, unless your performance depends on interacting with the audience - like musicians. (Ask me about the time I saw Robbie Williams perform. He was the best showman I have ever seen, and he totally engaged with the audience.) You are performing for someone now. I mean, you know when you perform that you are performing for someone, but to be hyper-aware of it on conscious level as you do so alters the actual performance. As I was writing, I could see the faces in the crowd, and I felt like my words were hollow, like everything was an false act. It was a yucky feeling. So I deleted the blog and started a new one that deals for the most part with my softie-making venture, the softies themselves and the creative process behind them. Every now and then I veer into knitting or sewing or some other crafting, but I want that to be limited. (Wanna see all my endeavors? Check out my Flick page.) I was hesitant to post about this on here, as this is not my space to vent, but I believe that this is pertinent to all of us as bloggers. We need to every now and then examine why we choose to do this and how we go about it. I like what I am doing here, and I hope to develop significantly as a toy-maker and an artist (not to mention as a writer, as well).

As for comments, (you saw that one coming) I comment freely on blogs when I feel that I have something to share, add, or just say in general. I think that people should hear it when they do something that is beautiful, inspiring, unique, or just plain freaking cool. And I think if someone asks for help or suggestions, they should get some response as well. Sometimes, I get a little shy and keep my opinion or ideas to myself, especially if someone beat me to what I thought would be a somewhat original comment, as in the case with Jess at Fig and Plum's recent post where she asked for book suggestions. As I was reading through the comments, I thought, "I can't believe no one has recommended 'If on a winter's night a traveler....' by Italo Calvino," only to finally come across it in like the 123rd or 125th comment. (For the record, Jess' blog is one of the blogs that inspired me to start a blog in the first place.)

I have been participating in this exchange with other bloggers for a long time now (two to three years - since before I had a blog, to when I had my old "not-quite-a-knitting-blog," to the present - obviously), and to be perfectly honest, it is not always an exchange. There are many bloggers who swear they respond to every comment who are simply not being honest with their public or with themselves. I can't tell you how many times I have left a comment on one of the "queen-B" sites and gotten absolutely no response. (Yet Eunny responded to my well-wishes on her new position at Interweave - in fact, she responded to every comment! She had over 800 comments and still made the time to do this. One of the millions of reasons why she is amazing!) Not everyone has the time or capacity to respond to every comment, to be perfectly fair. I can't even respond to every comment I get because unless the commenter enters their email address or has their Blogger settings a certain way, Blogger won't let me. I still comment when I have something to say, because my fingers are as uncontrollable as my mouth I guess, and because if I am impressed by someone's work, I like to share that much with them. There are many bloggers who have established their little community and like to keep it as such, rarely welcoming a newcomer. They can come off as clique-ish, I suppose, but so be it. It might be a little intimidating for people who are not a part of it (like me, for instance), but that's not to say they're (or rather, we're) excluded from commenting. They just will not get the same appreciation they are giving. That's fine, because ultimately, it is about finding that group of people who you "click" with, isn't it?

I have finally found my community - a group of other knitting and crafting bloggers who I have an open exchange with. They leave comments for me; I leave comments for them. We knitalong with each other. We craftalong with each other. We are supportive or each other. And you know what? I like this little community that I see developing, and I am damn happy to be a part of it.

I'd like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who comments on here, to everyone who has bought a soto softie, to everyone who has posted photos of their softies and linked to my blog or my etsy shop, to everyone who has been to my etsy shop or my Flickr page, to everyone who has linked to me, to everyone who has responded to a comment I have left for them, to everyone who has taken the time to send a thoughtful email. Thank you to everyone who has joined the Chevron Scarf Knitalong and the Green Sock Knitalong on Flickr. Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me and included me as a part of their community. Not to get all schmaltzy on you all (I'm not planning on getting run over on my way to the post office later), but seriously, thank you for everything!

Oh, also, a few final notes:

Quantity does not always determine quality. Having a large readership doesn't always mean that a blog is good. Same goes for comments. Just love what you do - do what you love. The right people will eventually pick up on it. And it's better to have a few people who "get" you and genuinely like you than a ton of people who blindly kiss your ass because "the cool kids" are doing it.

Finally, in the words of Ashley: "Go forth and like yourselves."

24 March 2007

hooray for the little things - safety dance in the springtime

I got my shipment of safety eyes yesterday (super-fast!), which means no more cat eyes on bunnies or squirrels. It's round pupils for everyone! I love how they look in the sunlight, too.

I started cutting the fabric for a Big Footed Bunny for the nephew. I hope to have that finished soon.

Speaking of cutting fabric, I have to do so for my next mantis at some point today. However, I don't feel much like working. I know I should; I have a pile of "soto softie" bunny parts next to the machine that need to be sewn together and a pile of squirrels as well. Everything is so close to completion, if only I could get myself to focus today. Not that I'm complaining by any means as this is a much welcome distraction. This is a dangerous time of season for me because all I want to do is play. It is so gorgeous out today, and my heart is outdoors. It's lovely to read outdoors or knit outdoors, but I don't think I can take the sewing machine out onto the deck. I've gone out with Mali twice - once for a walk, and once to play fetch in the backyard. I wasn't going to go to the post office this morning because I prefer to ship on Mondays (just because I know that mail usually doesn't move too far on Saturdays), but the thought of the walk was enticing enough to get me to package up my orders and go. It did not disappoint. It is so wonderfully sunny out, and all the birds are out in full force. There's a rowdy group of Blue Jays just going bananas over here. I even took LG into the backyard for about half an hour (on his kitty harness, of course), and he was mesmerized by the Blue Jays and the rest of the assortment of merry-making birdies. He was so absolutely enthralled by all the smells and sounds around him; it was great to watch his reactions. And he was really good about actually walking with me on the harness, which anyone who has tried to walk a cat on a harness knows is highly unusual for the first attempt. In fact, very few cats take to walking with a harness. JJ won't walk at all, and Anaïs freaks out if we even put the harness on her.

I have all the windows open and a funny black cat looking at me imploringly as I sit here now. All I can smell is Spring, and I want to go out again. I think I'll work for an hour then take LG out again. Yep, that's my plan....

23 March 2007


Thank you all for your comments regarding Manny. It means a lot to me. This is the toy I have been meaning to make for so long, and now that I have made him, it feels great to know that he is so well-received. Thanks again!

May is now up on my etsy shop, for anyone who is interested. I was in such a rush to get out the door yesterday that I only posted three of the four bunnies. DOH! There will be more bunnies over the weekend, so stay tuned for that.

Also, voting is up now at The Softie Awards, so please go and vote. It will not be an easy choice for any of the categories; there are a lot of wonderful softies up there. Voting ends on March 30th, and the winners will be announced on the site.

I am taking the rest of the day off to go to the Flower Show with Matt. Happy Friday everyone!

22 March 2007

i've got bunnies bouncing on my brain

There are bunnies bouncing and bounding everywhere 'round here today:

This batch of bunnies will be up on my etsy shop shortly. I am happy to say that I managed to whip these up in one day. I started cutting the fabric yesterday, and I was so excited that I just couldn't stop until there was a warren on my work table. (I had been threatening to get started on Saturday, but that didn't happen. Ahem.) I was having a rough time taking photos today. I need to implement a system when I photograph my softies because today was total chaos as far as lighting was concerned. I was shifting around the apartment trying to find the best light as the sun was doing its thing and shifting across the sky, leaving me frustrated and with less than stellar photos. Eh, we'll work on that....

Meanwhile, more bunnies abound, with Dawn's fabulous bunnies getting a write up in WhipUp! I am so excited for her! Go Dawn!

AND, (oh yes, I am thrilled about this) I believe a pattern book for Hillary's Big Footed Bunny is awaiting me in the mail today. I have never made one of Hillary's toys before, but I have long admired them. I can't wait to make one for my nephew and to learn a thing or two about three-dimensional construction as I do so. If you would like a Big Footed Bunny Pattern Book of your own, go here.

I should have more of my own bunnies done by Saturday, so if you don't see any that cry out to you in this batch, another one is soon on its way....

21 March 2007

the "squee" heard 'round the blog

Oh. My. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDD!!!! Go here! Please! Check it out! Tell me I am not hallucinating! (Hmmmmm, I could have sworn those were shitake mushrooms or maybe baby portobello.) Manny has been selected as one of the five finalists for the animal category in the Softie Awards! And we're in excellent company there - one of Dawn's walruses is up there as is Abby's Bird #4.

I cannot believe this! I really didn't think Manny and I stood a chance, considering all the amazing softies that were in the running. I have looked through the Flickr group every day, and I have been consistently impressed with the imagination, inventiveness, humor, talent, and attention to detail I see there. There are truly a lot of fantastic softie makers out there! Thank you Therese, for organizing such a fun and friendly competition! I am so glad that this is what motivated me to get up off my butt and move forward from my sketch stage and finally make Manny, which is pretty much the toy I dreamed of having as a child.

You can go see all of the finalists for all of the categories in the Softie Awards here. Voting starts next week, so please remember to check back and vote!

20 March 2007

blue blue, electric blue, that's the color of my room

Blue blue! I am sitting on my blue chair in my blue room and knitting a blue mitt. You know, I love Project Spectrum. What a great idea, and kudos to Lolly for organizing it. However, I have really fallen behind in my blue/gray/white projects, despite my initial enthusiasm for Project Spectrum. I've kinda had my hands full with so many other projects (that are all in a million colors but rarely blue - go figure). I had pretty much decided from the get-go that I wouldn't be touching gray or white. I know this color-along allows you the opportunity to explore colors you normally wouldn't touch, which is one of the things that I think is great about it, but I've pretty much locked into blue. Can't help it. I am surrounded by blue, and I love it. Could you have guessed?

I have been meaning to make myself a pair of Eunny's Endpaper Mitts ever since I made a pair for Jolie, and this yarn that I got in an exchange with Kris is just perfect for the project! It's a beautiful silk/alpaca blend. Although I have recently discovered that I am just a little bit (and by a little, I actually mean, a lot) allergic to alpaca, this doesn't seem to bother me at all. Maybe because of the silk blend, or maybe it's spun a little tighter. Either way, I am so glad this yarn is agreeing with me because the colors are great and the subtle sheen of the yarn itself is pretty hard to resist. I love it! (Thanks again, Kris!)

And March isn't over yet! I may play with my original idea for blue for Project Spectrum, which is to make a cake that is all blue - light blue frosting over dark blue cake. It may sound a little frightening, but I'm thinking Yves Klein here. Well, okay, that might actually be kinda gross (and would not be part of my goal at all), but I have to admit, I love that Klein took the experimentation with blue that far. I may bake this; I may not. We'll see....

19 March 2007

there's that magic mouse now

Actually, there are two magic mice, and they are in the shop now. Meet Dolly:

"Hello there!"

... and Magenta:


I'm working on a batch of a different type of rodent now. You'll see soon enough. Mwahahahaha!!!

16 March 2007

crafting under the influence

I realize now that I forgot to mention in yesterday's post how after I finished the sew-as-you-go softie (which at the end of the day is supposed to be a deer), I realized that in this spontaneous little project, you can clearly see some of my influences - a reflection of the work of the people I respect and admire as artists and artisans. It's interesting to see how the art that you love eventually comes to inform your own. Some of those people whose work I adore and am influenced by are:

Takashi Murakami - I love the anime-inspired, playful quality of his work, and those huge cartoonish eyes and the crazy lashes on the deer are clearly inspired by his drawings & prints, although I was not conscious of it at all at the time.

Yoshitomo Nara - Another Japanese artist whose work I love - playful and cute yet slightly dark - I didn't even realize his influence (despite having postcards of his work all over my studio space) until I did a search just now and came up with this image. It's in the ears.

Jess Hutch
- I first heard of Jess when she printed her fabulous little book of knit toys patterns, Unusual Toys For You To Knit and Enjoy. Since then, I have been a huge fan of her work. I feel that in its proportions, with a larger head than body, this toy bears the mark of her influence.

Dawn of LookWhatICanDo - I was afraid of using plastic safety eyes until I saw Dawn's work. She has taught me that not only are they okay to use, but you can do some pretty cool things with them in order to give your softies character. And her softies have such personality!

There are many more artists and crafters who inspire me every day, but I'll get to those as I get to those. Happy Friday folks!

15 March 2007

sew as you go

This is my worktable on an average day:

This is my worktable whenever I go away:

I always clean it off so that no kitties sleep on the ironing board or nestle in the piles of scraps, spreading their fur like they spread their kitty-love. I would love for my everyday work table to not be so cluttered. I think I have come up with a great plan to take care of this. Do you folks remember Scrappaliscious, my scrap-happy quilt-top (that I have yet to finish - please correct Kona cotton, get here soon)? That was a great way to use up random scraps! Going forward I have decided that at the end of each work day, I am going through all my scraps and doing one of the following:
  1. cutting them into 2 1/2 inch or hopefully larger squares, to use for quilting or patchwork
  2. or using the discarded bits to make a unique, pattern-free softy, sewing as I go, which will hopefully mean that I have a new one-of-a-kind softy every day or every other day, like this one that I started the other day:

I even documented the progress of this freaky little softy, just because I thought it was so much fun to make:

14 March 2007

woah nellie!

Greetings from the studio!

Today, I would like to introduce you to Nellie the Newt:

I love his funny smile and hope you do too. Nellie is up at my etsy shop right now. More critters will be up tomorrow.

13 March 2007

you make me wanna pick up a guitar (and celebrate the myriad ways that i love you)

I've said it before, and I will say it again: I adore Matt! Just when I think I couldn't possibly get any luckier, he goes and does something that makes me fall even more head over heels. Recently, a friend of his who has a studio in the South End offered him use of the studio while he goes to Germany. The time he will be away happens to coincide with the Open Studio Weekend in May (May 19-20), and he is urging Matt to take him up on his offer since it will give Matt a chance to showcase his work here and meet other artists in the area. Matt, of course, agreed to take him up on his offer but asked if I could use the space as well. His friend was super-enthusiastic about it, even offering us use of his three sewing machines, which I have yet to check out. I cannot even begin to tell you how super-excited I am about this. I am incredibly grateful to his friend and so looking forward to doing this joint venture with my husband. I am just besides myself with giddiness. I have so many ideas already and have been bouncing them around with Matt. I'll have more to share on this as we develop where we're going and what we're doing.

The sprinkles on this sundae of joy? Not only does Matt give me this great news, but last week, when I was in a most foul mood (after running around all day doing errands and meeting frustration at every corner just about), I get home to find this waiting for me:

Yes, it's just a little two-serving café press, but the reason this little café press makes me so happy is because we have a running dispute here over coffee. More specifically, the dispute is over who gets the coffee. I make a pot in the morning, and it disappears before I can even refill my cup. I can't stand the thought of bothering to make just one cup. I just walk up to Matt, ask him what happened to the coffee as though that would make more coffee magically appear, then walk away lamenting the loss of our last café press. We've gone through two actually, and both met the same fate in bits and pieces, sadly. Now, the problem is solved because I can just make a pot of coffee for him and make my own separately in this adorable little press. Thank you so much Boo!

And because every good café press deserves a good cozy:

I was inspired by this cozy I saw at little birds some time ago and julie ree's wonderful sewing machine cover. This little project was actually full of little lessons for me. It's the first time I have ever quilted in anything but straight lines - freehand quilting, I guess you could say:

It's also the first time I have ever sewn on a binding:

I used this excellent tutorial I found at the purl bee (granted they're talking about napkins, but the rules still apply, and their directions are so clear - it's great). My binding here is not perfect, but it's not too shabby for my first-time ever. My biggest problem was ironing my binding. I used the bias tape maker by Clover, and I really need to learn to use it properly. I guess this might be a case where practice make perfect. As I was pulling the tape maker along my strip of fabric, funny stuff was happening, and not funny-ha-ha but funny-ew. There were little wavering, uneven edges. When I sewed on the binding, there were two points where despite sewing in a straight line, I did not pick up the binding on the other side. I was able to fix these boo-boos by hand, though, and it looks pretty decent on the outside. I'm pretty happy with how it came out. Now I have coffee AND a neat little cozy to keep it warm.

there's a zaubermaus in the house, ya

Meet Ziggy! Ziggy played guitar! Yep. He is one rockin' little magic mouse. And he is now available at my etsy shop.

12 March 2007

restocked and ready

Tulane is now available through my etsy shop:

I also put up a bunch of squirrels:

I'll be adding more items in the next few days, like a new batch of squirrels, Nellie the Newt, more Zaubermaus and a couple of garden friends. Hope you like 'em!

11 March 2007

i loathe doing laundry, but i love washing new fabric

Go figure, huh? Matt and I went to the city this weekend (how long before I stop referring to NYC as "the city?"), and we had such a great time. Normally, going back "home" to visit makes me uneasy, but this time, it was really enjoyable. We celebrated my mother's birthday, albeit belatedly. She was so surprised when we walked in with a cake for her. I got to spend time with my beloved nephew, who is now toddling and talking - too cute!

Thursday, Carolyn hosted a wonderful dinner at her place where I was able to catch up with my old stitch-n-bitchers. To say it was hilarious would actually be an understatement. I laughed so hard, I choked. Then Friday, I bopped around the city with Jolie and Beth. I bought some fabulous new fabrics at Purl Patchwork.

Oh the joy! Seriously, these prints make my heart sing. Recognize this one?

It's the same fabric whose praises were recently sung by Sally from Shim + Sons. My interest in this Alexander Henry print was piqued when I first saw it on her blog, but seeing it in person, I decided that I had to have some. Joelle from Purl described it as a "manly rainbow." I then dubbed it "the man-bow" print. I originally thought I would use it for softies, then thought perhaps I would use it to line the tote bag I have been meaning to make (inspired by Sally's use of the fabric). Seeing it juxtaposed with the blue of my bedroom walls, I think it might actually make for a great set of curtains.

I'm not sure what I will eventually use it for, but I'm sure I'll figure that out soon enough. Meanwhile, I am feeling the Alexander Henry love.

08 March 2007

the softie awards - a moment of shameless self-promotion

The Softie Awards deadline is tomorrow! Have you looked through the Softie Awards Flickr group? There is some amazing stuff in there! So much creativity and humor! I was going to try to finish my second mantis (the orchid mantis) in time for tomorrow's deadline, but being as we are leaving for NYC shortly, I think I'll pass on that for now. There's always next time. In the meanwhile, I have already submitted these three softies:

... Manny the Mantis - you can see more photos of Manny here...

... Roy the Squirrel, one of the first batch of critters that I made last week, who is now happily living in someone's sunny sewing room...

... and our little Space Alien friend, who is now lucky enough to be cold-chillin' in California.

And I plan on finishing the little orchid mantis when we return, just because I want to make a whole garden party of strange critters.