Holding On

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Milwaukee, to visit my mom and grandpa and help clean out my grandmother’s craft room.  My mom had told me of the piles of boxes and fabric and the cabinets nearly bursting with surprises.  I always wondered what exactly was in there, but was never permitted to look around.  My grandmother was a bit protective of her belongings.  I hear her voice echoing in my childhood constantly about not wearing shoes on her carpet, not playing in the living room where the tall glass cabinets held her china knick knacks and so on.

Sunday, then, was a bit surreal.  I arrived at my grandparents’ house, with news that my grandpa had taken a tumble and was in the hospital (and he is mending, thank goodness), and my mom wanted to get through the boxes as quickly as possible.  She had moved about half of the craft stuff out of the upstairs room and into the middle of the living room, where it would be easier to sort through.  We made three piles – one for mom, one for me, and one for donation.

I admit, it was a little strange, digging through piles of holiday crafts, never finished sewing projects, and boxes upon boxes of silk flowers.  I couldn’t help but wonder what she had planned to do with it all, and what she would think of what I was planning to do with it all.  I felt a little guilty in taking things from the pile and for not taking things.  My mother kept telling me that if I even had a short fused idea about an item, I ought to take it with me, because in this situation I would not be able to go back to get it.  After Sunday, it would be gone for good.

Needless to say, I ended up with far more than I know what to do with, and the promise of a trip in the not too distant future to clean out the other half of the craft room.

I took boxes of beads, buttons, and findings…

These funny little fuzzy animals, which Ellette quickly laid claim to…

Some beautiful fabric, which I am not quite sure what to make with…

Silk flowers….

And silk flowers…

And even more silk flowers.  Some of them were quite cool, however.  Like these metallic leaf bunches:

And these blue velvety roses

I took far more hats and baskets than I know what to do with

Ribbon and several boxes of lace

I am still cleaning up my studio and reorganizing to accomodate the sudden influx of supplies.  Much of it has caused inspiration (tons of the lace will look great on my top hats!)  So, if you keep checking back over the next month, I am sure you will see much of this stuff being used!

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Another Random Friday

In no particular order:

  • It’s SPRING!  Today was the first warm weather and sunshine day with flowers blooming and people out walking and playing.  The past week or so has been rainy and chilly and depressing.  I was getting awfully cranky.

  • I had today off.  I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I did go grocery shopping, talked to someone about my dieing car, and knit.  A lot.
  • I knit these:

  • Which, after dinner, I felted into these:

  • Most of this is leftover wool that I wanted to experiment with.  The yellow is Lamb’s Pride (don’t remember the name of the color), the black is a Berroco – I think?  The reddish brown is a new yarn I bought at Windy Knitty – called Monteza from Classic Elite.  It is 50/50 Wool and Llama.  I like how the stitches disappear when felting (the Lamb’s Pride is still too distinct) but it is so fuzzy!  I suppose I will have to make a decision once the item is complete.
  • Speaking of yarn, I fell in love at the yarn store.  To this:

  • Yeah, I thought so.  Madeline Tosh Merino.  It is ridiculously soft and squishy and dangerous.  I want to knit with it forever.  The colors are so intense.  And not just this green either!  All of them were like this.  The blues and reds.  Amazing.
  • Ellette is having a sleepover tomorrow.  She’s busy cleaning her room now.  I should be cleaning the house, too – but I imagine two six-year old girls will be romping around and causing enough trouble.  Why do twice the work?
  • Tomorrow, while the girls are out of the house with friends’ parents, I am going to be making Plushstaches.  This is currently my sewing station:

  • You guys have a good weekend.  I’ll let you know how many staches I get done tomorrow.  And maybe we’ll have a photo shoot.  Just maybe…

12 Dancing (Faery) Princesses

What a day!  I apologize for not posting yesterday like I had intended.  By the end of it I was significantly exhausted.  I curled up on the couch with a salad and watched The Lost Boys.

Anyway, I think we sucessfully turned our home into Neverland.

I was somewhat amused when guests began arriving.  I heard “charming,” “cute” and “beautiful” along with “Is this what your place always looks like?”  Do I seem like the kind of person that lives in Neverland always?  Haha.  Although, admittedly, part of me doesn’t want to take down the decorations.  I could just leave them up, but I don’t think the others in the house would appreciate that.  Ellette might, but not the boys.

Our cat, while a little shy at first, thoroughly enjoyed the attention she got from the gaggle of girls.  She especially like this girl here, who let the cat chase her wand (the cat also kept jumping at her skirt!)  Eventually, towards the conclusion of the party, the cat was exhausted and overstimulated, and took to hiding under the couch and avoiding the girls as best she could.

Odin, in his rather dashing top hat, helped the girls make their faery houses as I was in the other room doing facepainting.  It was a huge help to have the activities separated by room.  The guests arrived and were naturally drawn to the living room, where there were boxes of dress up clothes and wings strewn about.  Some of the girls changed their outfits and wings several times throughout the party.  I gave them all faery make-up, and then one girl asked for a dolphin on her arm as well as the make-up and I had half the party coming up to me asking for the same.  It’s amusing how easily the girls start micro trends.

Here’s the best group shot we have; Odin stood on the couch while we opened presents.  Ellette loved her haul, including mostly art supplies, many of which were faery themed, obviously.  She couldn’t wait to get started and hated that I told her to wait until her guests had left.

Afterwards, a massive dance party ensued:

Followed closely by Follow-the-Faery until mothers arrived to collect their children.  We all had a blast and I have no regrets about inviting a dozen little girls into my house for 2 hours.  I would do it again if that’s what Ellette wanted.

After everyone left, our cat fell asleep on the couch, and when I took a picture she gave me this look:

You may also have noticed that Ellette is wearing a certain lavender hand-knit dress in all of these pictures.

She loves her birthday dress!

One more picture before I leave.  Our neighbor’s son, Matthew, cheers for his older sister’s basketball team.  He’s sort of the cute 5-year-old tiger mascot.  Before the party, his dad brought him over to our house, where I completed his ensemble with a bit of facepaint:

Creating Neverland

I must say, putting together a 6-year old’s Faery Tea Party is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent.  I thought that it would be a piece of cake, seeing as how I have been a professional faery for a few years now.  However, being the one to organize the party, rather than just show up and be cute for an hour, has sort of kicked me in the butt.  Ellette wants a Faery Tea Party, and, of course, I have to go all out for her.  It is in my nature.  I hear the words “Faery” and “party” and I think: “Oh yes!  But of course!!  It must be colorful and magical and breathtaking!” and I have set out to make it so.

So, the party is tomorrow and I am still working on decorations.  I have tried to remind myself that they are 5 and 6, and being such don’t actually care for anything more than cake and presents, yet I feel compelled to make my daughter enviable.  Why is this happening to me??

While we have gotten most of the logistics out of the way (thank you, school, for the directory.  Every student in the class has been invited, along with a few of Ellette’s best friend’s from Milwaukee) and we have an estimation of the number of kindergartner’s that will be arriving at our house tomorrow afternoon.

So, today’s post is a segment on how I have been creating our own personal Nevervland for tomorrow’s insanity adventure.

I have been knitting these “vines” – as one might call them – for weeks now!!  Today, I finally finished them (mostly) and hung them up, along with bolts of fabric.  More of which will get put up tomorrow.

I also made these:

I found the pre-made ones for sale at a shop here in Evanston but out of my budget, so I came home, googled, and made my own on the cheap.  The how-to is located here.  Ellette and I made 5, and she absolutely loves them.

For some reason this afternoon I began rearranging furniture.  I guess I want to make the apartment feel bigger for tomorrow.  I ended up finding a lot more “faery” things than I thought I had.

There is still more to do before 2 tomorrow.  Tune in later in the evening for my rendition of How To Maintain Your Sanity with a Dozen Faery Princesses in the House.

Snow Day Checklist

Well, the midwest was hit by a monster of a storm last night.  Well, really it’s been over 24 hours.  I woke up Tuesday morning with several inches of snow on the ground.  Thought nothing of it as I trudged to work at 6am.  I kept marveling at how peaceful and beautiful the city seemed that early, all covered with a glowing snow as the sun was just starting to rise over the lake.  The only others crazy enough to be out at that time in those conditions were runners.  They gave me a pleasant good morning as we passed each other.

It wasn’t until I arrived home from work and Odin walked in the door that I was confused and looked outside.  Odin doesn’t usually get home until 7 most nights.  To have him home at 3 was very strange.  I got a call that after school activities were cancelled, and then that the Actor’s Gymnasium was shut down (and I was so looking forward to Ellette’s first day of gymnastics!!)  But then I looked, and the wind was blowing so fiercly 4 foot branches were falling out of trees.  Some have compared the sound of the wind to the sound of a tornado.  The snow drifts were higher than the cars, and snow somehow wedged it’s way in between the storm windows and the heavier windows in our apartment.

It’s still going, too.  I had hopes of getting outside for a snowball fight, but it just looks cold and maybe a little dangerous.  I keep looking out of the windows as I pass and watching tree trunks and cars disappear further.

So, at the moment, I am curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and the Leyfi sweater I am working on (the arms!) and thinking about everything I should get done today.  I’m not going to bother numbering, as I will not stick to an order, so you get bullet points!

  • Ideally, finish the Leyfi sweater
  • Find my camera cord to give you guys the photos that have been building up on it!
  • maybe, when the wind stops blowing, shovel the walk
  • Impending snowball fight with the neighborhood?
  • clean up my studio a bit
  • finish making those purses I have all cut out
  • make chocolate chip cookies with Ellette
  • Show Ellette the joys of water colors
  • hot chocolate, wine, and movies
  • organize my yarn stash
  • finish the baby present for the bossman and his wifey.
  • wish I could distract Ellette long enough to work on her dress
  • Clean the house and do laundry (like that’s going to happen!)

So, there you have it.  Current time is 10:08.  How many more hours are left in the day?

Odin just pointed out that I forgot to list “EAT” on that list.

Getting There

There are several physical shops that carry my items, with various contracts stipulating length of time items can be displayed, percentage taken, advertising and communication, etc.  Today, I received a nice little box in the mail from Sparrow Collective in Milwaukee, returning items that just weren’t selling.  Fair enough.  It actually helps my stash deficit by having these items returned to me;  several coffee cozies, some of my rose hair clips, and the baby onesies that I figured would be a hit or miss at this shop.

This put me in mind of the task list I put up yesterday, and the items on that list I was able to check off, as well as the – umm – distractions – that ensued.

I did manage to make one half of the curtain for my studio.  I am absolutely in love with it.  I went to Vogue Fabrics yesterday in search of a zipper for the tie dress I am crafting (no pictures as of yet, sorry) and came away with several fabric remnants and 2 curtain rods.

The cat loves them as well, and I have found myself chastising the poor thing several times daily to preserve the integrity of the fabric.  The curtain – soon to be curtains – serve their purpose of separation very well.  My studio now feels like my personal space for work, and inspires me to continue working – with one exception.  The curtains also work to conserve heat.  The big open doorway between my studio space and the general living space meant that our furnace was cranking out heat rather frequently to keep the space warm, but with the curtain the heat stays relatively contained in each room.  However, the heat ends up mostly in the living space, and my studio with it’s big light capturing breezy windows is slightly chilly.  This situation must be rectified soon, but I’m not quite sure how.

I went to the post office, and when I arrived realized that the parcel wasn’t actually ready to mail, so I turned around.  I never did make it back.  That is on my to-do list for tomorrow.

Coffee Cozies and Coasters were constructed, mostly.  I have a few odds and ends to wrap up – clipping stray threads, sewing on buttons, and ironing on labels.  There is no urgent call to complete these, although I would like to stock up the coffee shop before we leave for Virginia.

I also allowed myself to be distracted, on this trip to the post office, by Tom Thumb, a craft store just down the street from the PO.  I went inside, in search of the paper I wrap by boxes in to ship, and instead bought several dozen sheets of felt, with which to make Plustasches…

Yep – clip on, plush, mustaches.  Brilliant.  I had so much fun!  This is the design that is on the back of the ceramic coffee mugs at the Other Brother Coffeehouse, where I work.  I gave the original to my boss this morning as a holiday gift.  He was laughing so hard it made me proud.  I am going to experiment with different styles of mustaches and in different colors.  I have brown, gray, and blond felt as well.

There is still so much to get done, though!  One day I will learn how to slow down time so I have enough time to work, keep house, raise a child, manage my own business, and not lose my sanity.  One day…

Insurmountable

I feel today is if the tasks set before me are monstrous.  There is work that I have been putting off.  The chill in this old house seems to seep to my bones and I want to do nothing more than curl up with a cup of tea, a blanket, and a basket of knitting and while away the hours.  So, in recent weeks, it has been difficult to actually kick butt and make things happen.

The ten days we are taking off to spend the holidays with Odin’s mother in Virginia have really pushed me into gear, however, and I have begun working non-stop to complete the tasks I now must force myself to do.

1) curtains for the studio.  It has been getting rather bothersome to try to work while others are in the house.  I have begun work on the curtains – a brilliant blue jacquard that has a very lovely and inspiring feel to it and a soft floral weave.

2) More coffee cozies and coasters for the coffee shop, and in general.  Hopefully I will have enough of a surplus to actually go out and do the marketing I need to.

3) I need to sew more baby wings!  I have some cut out and ready to sew onto the onesies; it’s simply a matter of doing it now!  One reason I have been a tad lazy here is that it is surprisingly difficult to sew on the wings without wrinkling the fabric.  Several curse words get muttered in the making of these.

4) Post office to mail a wing and tutu set from my excess stock  bin.  I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of wings I have in holding right now, simply because they are difficult to transport safely, and some sets have been transported across the country.  It is time they find a good home and I clear space for new inspiration!

5) I still have to finish my lace earring hangers.  I finished one in time for my sister’s birthday.  She has picked up the hobby of making earrings to use up her free time when her children are at their father’s for the weekend.  She is getting quite talented, and I wanted to encourage her to continue making beautiful earrings.

I am proud of myself so far in the morning as having worked rather diligently on several things on this list.  I have to keep hopping between tasks so I don’t get bored, put in a movie, and work on my sweater.

Discipline is key!

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