Pillow Talk

As you have probably already read, I have had a crazy summer.  One more week – I am counting the days – until my summer is “officially” over.  I have started going stir-crazy.

There are signifier for this phenomenon.  Mainly, the sudden urge to make a ton of frivolous things just because, the urge to rearrange furniture, and, for some reason, the urge to cut and dye my hair.  Well, obviously the first thing didn’t work, because I have moved on to rearranging the house.  Not just the furniture in one room, but everything in every room.  Yesterday, I measured all of the items, all of the floors and windows, and drew up a floor plan of our house.  Then, I cut out pieces to scale for every item of furniture we own.  The dining table is now covered with a miniature floor plan of our house.  Today, I started cleaning and moving things around.

But this post is aimed at showing you the frivolous items that were my first attempt at regaining control of my sanity.

I have been making pillows.  Perhaps the inspiration came from the desire for something comforting.  Pillows are great to hold on to in times of stress.  Perhaps it came from my new pillow book from Shannon Okey (okay, not really new, but I just received it in the mail not too long ago).   It could also be the enormous amount of crazy fabric I was gifted by the various interior decorating offices in our area (I love those discontinued sampler books!) and the bags of fiberfill I scavenged from Grandma’s craft room.

I made your basic rectangular pillow.  This one uses some of the trim from Grandma.

This is scraps of samplers.  I love the contrast of shape and the vivid lime color of the pieces.

Then I got bored and started experimenting with shapes.  This was a bit difficult to throw myself in to.  I actually sewed it together, turned inside out, let it sit there, stuffed it, let it sit there, and finally stitched it closed.  I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or not.  The other side is inverse of the circles (red background, beige circles).  Ellette seems to enjoy it though.

This I think is everyone’s favorite.  It is soft and fuzzy.  Ellette likes the splash of design from the circles.  It is a good pillow for bolstering yourself with on the couch.

I have tons more fabric, but I am running low on the stuffing.  I might have another two pillows to make before I run out and pillow making ceases.  But for now, I like the excess amount of comfy pillows laying around the house.

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Ode To Summer

Today marked Ellette’s first day of school.  For her, the summer is officially over.  On my days off, she will not be wandering the house, lamenting over how bored she is and how much work I have to do. One more week and my summer will be officially over as well.  While  I am somewhat sad to see it go, I am also rather grateful.  Summers are the busiest time of year for me, high stress levels and increasing boredom make it rough for us.

I thought I would see summer out with a little recap of our adventures.

We walked the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

We went to the beach.

Watched the fireworks on the 4th of July.

And we visited Six Flags Great America.

For much of the summer my studio looked like this, due to the fairy festivals and renaissance faires.

Now, fall is setting in, and the more regimented routine that follows.  I am trying desperately to get my house in order.  The chaos is getting to me.  I have started plotting projects and new products, hoping to get underway soon.  I kept myself going through the summer by telling myself things will slow down in September, and now that I am thinking about this September I realized things aren’t going to slow down for awhile.  I am working hard to eliminate KIPs just so I can cast on new items.  I have been sewing up a storm simply to use up the fabric scraps that have somehow overtaken my tabletops.  Over the next couple of weeks things should become slightly more organized, and more detailed photos of the projects I have undertaken will be available.

Until then, parents should enjoy the respite September brings!

Pixie Hats

Ellette graciously decided to let me photograph the new hats on her.  I realized they are just a tad too small for her head, but still look cute.  I was hoping to make a hat from one ball of this beautiful yarn (Nashua Handknits), but it looks like I have to increase my yardage.

I love how the colors are blending together.  The yarn is very soft and squishy – I just want to curl up in a bed of it.

There are more in the making, although these two colorways are limited.  They were on sale. I have a mighty temptation to quick hope onto the WEBS website and purchase everything that remains.

For the most part, the hats I am making will be placed in the consignment shops I work with.  anything excess will probably be on Etsy at the end of September/early October.  I do take custom orders, remember!

Disappearing Act

Today, I realized just how long it had been since my last update.  I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.

To be honest, however, I regret to say that not much of interest has happened since last week, and even the post last week was a stretch (something I had been planning – and promising – to write for some time).  This week I have been strangely listless, not wanting to work on anything.  I set up a new apparatus for storing yarn, which failed on me in a horrible accident yesterday and now balls of yarn litter the floor of my studio, yet for some reason I have no desire to clean it up.

Yesterday was my birthday, which partly explains the lack of work.  Odin surprised me with a therapeutic massage.  I think every birthday I need an afternoon at the spa.  I felt fantastic afterwards.  Tonight, we drive to Milwaukee to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  She has also agreed to watch Ellette so Odin and I can go dancing.  I am very grateful for that.

As far as projects go, I have been working on the same thing nonstop!  Top hat orders are coming in faster than I can handle them, among orders that are pre-existing.  I have just been informed that La Paloma will be at the Kansas Renaissance Festival, and so will my top hats.  That gives me all of 10 days to send Pam off with two dozen hats.  While, of course, keeping all of the other shops stocked!  I still haven’t gotten a chance to post any of them to etsy!

I have also been racing to complete the Dodo wings for the Fall Into Wonderland fashion show in September.  Today, on my drive north, I am supposed to be unloading them, and a handful of other wings, to the designer’s mom.  Unfortunately, my sewing machine needle broke yesterday – yes, it was my last one – and I did not get a chance to replace it until this morning.

In a fit of impulsive irresponsibility, I made a hefty yarn purchase from WEBS which consisted of several balls of chunky weight wool that was on sale for extraordinarily low prices.  Since it has arrived, I have been consumed with designing pixie winter hats.  (No photos yet, I apologize).  It has distracted me from the top hat order and the dodo wing order and has taken all of my self control to regiment my schedule.

Coming up, I still have a pair of Celeste wings that were custom ordered and requested by Halloween, that Dr. Who scarf, which has also been requested in time for Halloween, Ellette’s knee high socks she has been begging me for, and my new winter inventory!

Besides all of that, I am desperate to making something for me!  I have been inspired with many designs, and while perusing Ravelry, many more patterns I want to make for myself.  My trouble is picking one, and finding the time to complete it.  I have the chess board to make (most of which has at least been written out!), the Catan board to remake, and two afghans in various stages of production.  I feel as though I will never have time for relaxation (although, Odin admitted the reason he sent me to the spa on my birthday was because he had some inkling as to how seriously I needed just an hour – if not more – of pampering and solitude).

UFO hunting

In cleaning my house, or rather – trying to clean my house – I came across several boxes of unfinished knitting projects.  I will share them with you, in hopes that the embarrassment of it all will spur me into action.  Unlikely, but worth a shot.

 

   

After laying everything out, I discovered things that were almost completed – the fairy dolls I began when I was in Arizona several years ago, a belt, the start of a shirt, and a competition project from a year or so ago.  I never did finish.  I think inspiration slammed the door on that one.

  

I found projects I had been intending to add to the shop – purses with interesting embroidered pictures like clouds and dandelions, and floral headbands that still need to be blocked and pieced together.

   

I found several project designs in their planning stages – some purses I was planning on needlefelting but got bored of.  The yarn was a cast off from another knitter and an undyed beige from Brown Sheep.  I designed a pair of steampunk Victorian gloves that took me to the fingers to realize I had made it too small, and didn’t actually like the pattern as much as I thought I would.  Elements of it have been stripped away for the next attempt.  I also discovered the dragon puppet scarf I was designing when I got stuck on the wings and cast aside.  I have the pattern written for everything except the wings, but something about this task is daunting and uninspired.

 

I found several projects that I had no clue as to why they were started.  The lace was being frogged slowly (which I completed after taking the photos) and the yarn will be used on some other project.

 

Of course, here is what I have of MAY and JUNE’s afghan squares!!  (Please ignore the fact that it is the middle of August and I am severely behind!)

 

The Settlers of Catan board that still needs to be reworked so the pieces are even.

The Cog scarf that I am still piecing together.

An entrelac purse that was sidelined for some other project.

The fan shawl I started in Denmark and the pair of socks I promised Ellette.  Just after this photo I tried the sock in progress on Ellette and realized they were too small.  They were frogged immediately and I haven’t had the heart to try again.  On a lighter note, I did take the shawl with me for a while and get some work completed.

These are all the projects that just needed the ends woven in – most of which have been completed while watching tv.

And, the racerback tank, which I haven’t actually worn yet but I am happy to have completed before the end of summer.

 

I also have many projects in the line up (why is my work never done???)  I have Dodo wings to make, as well as another wing commission.  Dog wings to make for several people (but, fair enough, I haven’t been paid yet, so it doesn’t exactly count in my things to do list)  I have also been commissioned to make a Doctor Who scarf (check out this website, it rocks!)  I have also been dieing to make the chess board I have been in the process of designing, finish the aviator hat, catch up on the afghan (and begin the afghan I have been designing in my head.)

So, my sanity may be hanging by a thread at the moment, and somehow, when the chaos starts to thin, I add more.  Why is that?

 

Summer Faeries

This past weekend, I attended the World of Faeries festival in South Elgin, Ill.  This was my first year attending, and I did not know what to expect.  It was a pleasant break from my current routine.

Ellette proved to be a wonderful help this weekend.  She became very knowledgable about the craft and how to sell the wings.  Her eyes lit up with excitement when she sold a pair and I gave her a commission.  She has been learning about working and earning money.

When she grew bored of helping, she laid down on the tarp to keep her white dress as clean as possible and watched the faeries walking by.

Jeremiah Wiggins – Faery Ambassador

There was a Green Man Parade:

A raven:

And falconry:

There was much carousing and music.  Plenty of faerie folk to talk to, and some humans new to the faerie realm.

Sunday morning, I arrived back at the site to begin setting up, and around 9:30, experienced a downpour.

The vendors and performers all hoped it would be over quickly, and that the sun would come out to dry everything and bring the faeries – because, you know, faeries can’t fly in the rain.  The kids, on the other hand, kicked off their shoes and went dancing in the puddles.

And by 10:30 the storm had passed and the sun started coming out.  The lanes began to dry and the patrons arrived.

Half an hour before our official close, clouds rolled in and covered the sun.  Someone looked at a radar reading on their phone and passed it around – a heavy thunderstorm headed our way.  Everyone broke down their tents quickly, loaded their cars, and started pulling away just as the rain started falling.  Folks who were ready to leave stayed out in the rain to help others.  Everyone departed, and the site was abandoned.  The only sign that there had been a faery gathering was the tamped down ring of grass where our little village had stood.

A Celebration

This week has been heavy with warm wishes and celebration.  August tends to be filled with parties and adventures.  There are many birthdays and events happening this month.

For starters, my brother turned 25 on Tuesday.  He does his own thing, although I did get a chance to wish him well.

On Wednesday, Odin celebrated his birthday as well.  Tuesday night we decided to take a trip up to Milwaukee for Tuesday Night Swing at the Milwaukee AleHouse.  This is where I learned to dance, where Odin and I spent many Tuesday nights flirting and getting to know each other when we first started dating, and where we both cultivated many wonderful friendships with other dancers, intellectuals, and crazy folk.

We had shots, photos, dances, and of course, the obligatory birthday jam:

We also celebrated the temporary return of our dear friend Caroline, who has been off with the Peace Corps. doing good deeds and making her dreams come true.  She was overwhelmed with the love we showed her, the hugs, and the photographs.

The fact that Caroline was back around Odin’s birthday was pretty spectacular.  It was wonderful to be reunited with our old friends whom we have sorely missed since our move to Chicago.

We stayed out until bar close.  I saw Odin truly drunk for the first time since I met him (it was pretty fun to watch).  We stayed over at our old house, and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking and catching up.  I was strewn across the pull out bed as my head started to droop.  The boys continued talking as I tried to stay awake.  I ended up falling asleep anyway, and instead of trying to right me on the bed, Odin just curled up next to me, our feet dangling off the edge of the mattress.

In the morning our bed was bombarded by a very lazy and loving cat – Dexter –

Odin had a wonderful birthday.  Caroline enjoyed her brief visit home.  Happiness was shared by all.

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