Where the heck did I go? Well about two weeks ago we found out Mark got a tenure track job in Louisville, Kentucky! We’re very excited! We’re very busy! We have to move in a couple of months! Thankfully it’s only a 2 hour drive from Bloomington. Most of my creative time these days has been taken up with the tasks of finding schools for the kids and a house to live in.  But…


The machine from Mom arrived! I took it apart! I cleaned and oiled it! The motor might need some work. I haven’t gotten up the courage to tackle that one yet, but soon.

1-DSC_0670Look! Aren’t my kids cute?!

And, because things are especially slow here, I give you….

1-DSC_0671Cat One and Cat Two



Paper Weight

Two things: First a rant, then some sewing.

A Rant on the Computerized Sewing Machine.

My Bernina was a gift. A very generous and much appreciated gift.  It’s a Bernina. My Mom has one. Hers is from the early 1970’s. Hers still works. I could buy a used one, like my Mom’s, and still pay $400-$500 for it. Because they still work. Hers does not have a computer. Hers is made of metal.

My Bernina is about 6 years old (no photo could be found on the Bernina website). My Bernina has a motherboard. My Bernina is nearly identical to my Mom’s, only I have buttons to press, she has knobs and dials. Mine has plastic parts. Mine cost more than my Mother’s yet I could not pay someone to take it. Mine does not work. The motherboard is shot. That repair alone is estimated to cost about $500. 

Now, I understand that we consumers generally have to cope with planned obsolescence. Whether we like it or not. And that computers are a part of life. Whether we like it or not. But I’m drawing a line in the sand here. When I can still purchase a sewing machine made 100 years ago and it still works, it still sews fabric together at a rate comparable to modern machines, why would I bother with planned obsolescence? I have therefore decided, as much as I like my pretty new Bernina, I like sewing more and I do not like being forced to pay ungodly amounts of money every few years to greedy sewing machine companies. Poop on them.

My Mommy is sending me a loaner (a machine intended for my older sister. Nikki, I promise to fix it up and send it to you once I replace my machine!), and I’m going to learn how to repair sewing machines myself and find a great, sturdy, metal, mechanical machine.

I’m gettin’ off the grid ladies!

As far as sewing machines are concerned. When my laptop breaks I’ll just….have to call you all more often!

Okay, I did manage to move forward a little this week.

Twinkle Twinkle Little French Knots…

My First Book!
I’ve been dying to get this project going. I plan to make little fabric covered books, but I’ve gone ahead and started with a paper covered one. Following along with the instructions for a sewn butterfly book from “The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books” by Gabrielle Fox I was able to put this little guy together with some half used printer paper, embroidery floss and a long forgotten piece of Yuzen paper. This was just for practice, I have more to come! 😉
1-DSC_0633And the muslin for my skirt is mostly done….

This week, really, I’m going to spend some time on fabric design. And sewing machine repair. And mountain biking.

Happy Sunday!

ps. And Another Thing! On the computerization of our mechanical “necessities,” apparently if our newish car (which we love) runs out of gas the computer will break and it will have to be towed to the dealer. I think that is stupid. Maybe I’ll be fixing cars next.

Today in Pictures

I got this wild idea, from somewhere on the internets, to document my day photographically. You’re welcome.

7am: Breakfast, abandoned for some very complex game…

8:15am: In the car, ready to go to school!

8:40am: Ugh.

10am: A good friend returns!

10:15am: Spoiled Kittehs.

10:30am: Jillian, it’s been 30 days and I am not yet ripped, what gives?

11:45am: Lunch, eaten very slowly, mouth still numb…

12:30pm: Kids home, playdate commences, “soup” is made.

3pm: Playdate disbands, but there’s still cooking to do…

4pm: after short “resting period” Mom awakens to find the children in need of some outdoor time and herself in need of some handwork time. And some Teeccino (have you tried it yet? totally awesome coffee replacement).1-DSC_0630

5pm: Time to check on our seedlings.

After that there was dinner, clean-up, nap on couch, more clean-up, baths, jammies, vitamins, toothbrushing and flossing, stories, tucks, requests for water, requests for more stories. Then sleep.


My attempts to get a little focused weren’t entirely unsuccessful. I did manage to make headway on my skirt pattern, the muslin is all ready to be sewn together. I think I’m going to go without pockets and make myself some more little aprons so I can have pockets when I need them. I am also going to attempt a bias binding for the waist band and see how that goes. Just as soon as I get my sewing machine back. I may have to look into getting a back up machine. Apparently my Mom has a number of “extra” machines floating around her house. If she didn’t live 2,000,000 miles away I would be borrowing one right now.

But instead I started planning another quilt! 1-DSC_0568

I posted this photo on FB so it’s not entirely new, and I have a few piecing issues to sort out…and a sewing machine, I need a sewing machine.  Obviously it is also garden themed. 😉

For the rest of the week I will be waiting for a call from the sewing machine shop. I’m not going to accomplish anything. Maybe I’ll spend some of my free time taking pictures.  You can find me on Pinterest if you need me! Happy Wednesday.

Day dreams….

I really can’t tell you just how much I love the recent arrival of Spring. Here, we’ve had 70 degree days (yes, multiple, consecutive!) and the warmth and light just wash away winter like nothing else can. The kids are out playing ALL day, coming in only to get more buckets of water (the hoses aren’t hooked up yet) and maybe a snack (if I remind them).  Mark and I, beside ourselves with wonder, wander the house trying to keep busy. Then we laugh a little, sit on the porch and read and talk and read. It’s amazing! The peace that has descended upon our home is a welcome change from the the panic and anxiety of the past….too many years…

The kids were off from school on Friday and we had flower seeds we wanted to get started! It’s not exactly a sentiment garden, but it goes something like this:

Poppies: “Poppies will put them to sleep!” followed by maniacal laughter from Ellen

Sunflowers: “We want flowers that will be taller than Mom!” I’m 5’4″, not a huge challenge.

Purple Coneflowers: “Mom loves purple.” I said that.

Purple Blazing Star: “Mom loves purple.” again

Globe amaranth: “We collected the seeds last fall, we can’t just not plant them.” again, I also said that.

No, I haven’t gotten anything done this week. I am in full day dream mode. Here, look at this pinterest board I put together.  I wanted to start a board of things that are me, on the inside. I started with all of my favorites on Etsy, and when an idea pops into my head I search around to see what I can find. Like today I realized that I want to live in a “villa” but I didn’t know what that meant, technically. So I found a great photo that explains exactly what I’m talking about….that’s why it’s called “dreaming.”

This week should be a little more productive, I hope. If I’m lucky I’ll get my sewing machine back and can make myself some skirts, but I need to draft the patterns first! And, right after I post this I’m going to sit down, watch more of Downton Abbey and knit.

I might have a cupcake first.



Again, here we are and I don’t have any photos for you! Sorry!

Here look at someone else’s photos.

I’m not linking up to WIP Wednesday because as far as creative work goes I am completely paralyzed. I think part of the problem is my MIA sewing machine, usually I can keep my hands busy stitching when I’m feeling funky. Knitting, crochet and embroidery don’t cut it, they take too long and are too repetitive. There I said it. I love those arts, but I really need to sew.  With my machine.

So off we ramble….

I was digging through the deisgn-seeds  website more and more trying to figure out just what she was doing. And how. I’ve been working off the notion that somehow working with color will require coaxing my computer to agree with my eyes. I’ve felt like there should be some way to use this computer machine to make color work. But it can’t, it won’t, it’s not able. My eyes are the only appropriate tool here. This realization helped. It set me free, a little. When she pulls colors from a photo it seems so perfect, so obvious, but only the human eye can process that information.

The message here was to trust my own eyes.

With this I think I can finally start to move forward with the fabric designs, little by little.  What’s more, it occurred to me, I really need to see more clearly the end use, what do I want to make with all this fabric? I sure don’t mind buying fabric just because it’s pretty, boy howdy, but I suspect the exercise of designing the end will help me better articulate my means (you realize of course I’m making this up as I go).

Also, it is Spring. Which means it’s skirt and dress sewing season, so I may veer off in that direction as well. One more week before I get my machine back. Fingers crossed.


Disclaimer: You’re going to have to follow the links for pretty pictures, I’m sorry I don’t have any this week. They’re all in my head.

These days it’s hard to find the path. We are in the home stretch of a very long wait, wondering where we’ll be living next Fall. The possibilities are all exciting, but for now we have to wait. Which means, for me, lots of daydreaming. Wondering “what if?” all day long keeps me from really focusing on the present.  So off I ramble….

My fabric swatches came from Spoonflower yesterday! I don’t like them, entirely.  I don’t really know how to properly choose colors. At all. I spent some time at the Design Seeds website drooling over color palettes and then learned how to create a color swatch from a photo in Photoshop, but all I can imagine is wouldn’t our new (completely hypothetical) kitchen look great in those colors? No, we haven’t looked at houses. Don’t even know which city we’ll be living in. But that’s where my mind goes. I’m not even the decorating type, I have not hung one thing on the walls of our current house. Yet, this is where I am and since there’s nothing to do but wait here’s the board I started on pinterest just for this…

Then there are the sentiment gardens. What am I doing planning gardens? But nevermind….:

Garden One (of course I will have more than one garden): Words to live by.

Dahlia – Gratitude

Thyme – Courage

Elderberry – Compassion

Forget-me-not – Hope

Violet – Humility

Sweet Marjoram – Joy

Gardenia – Peace

Creeping Jennie – Forgiveness

Other gardens will include….

Garden of Love: roses and roses and roses (red, pink & white), probably climbing roses….like the rose tunnel at Pt. Defiance (sorry I couldn’t find any good photos!).

Garden of Whimsy: clematis, peony, chrysanthemum, sweet-william, coral bells, corn flowers, pink tulips, sweet phlox, lemon balm, hyacinth, bells of Ireland

Garden of Welcome: Pineapple mint, Wisteria, Stonecrop, lemon scented geranium, comfrey, lavender

Garden of Health: delphinium, parsley, fennel, garlic, hops, feverfew

Garden of Mourning: rosemary, calendula, marigold, gerbera daisy, primrose, yarrow, yew, sage

The Children’s Garden: dirt, shovels, buckets, the hose. (this one is already set up)

and last but not least

a Fairy Garden

True day dreams. I don’t even know if all of these can really grow near each other…I’ve been day dreaming, not researching. I expect I will spend some of this week working out my color issues, a little time making more boards on pinterest, a few hours sewing and knitting, and lots of time day dreaming….;) Happy Spring, Easter & Passover!

WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Another week and a few more things accomplished!

1. Crochet flower headbands for the girls! One done, one to do.

2. Flower portrait! Some progress was made on the embroidery, still lots to go!

3. Lazy Daisy applique! All done, now I think I’ll turn this into a decorative pillow! (don’t tell Mark!)

4. Spoonflower fabrics! I monkeyed around with the colors and ordered some swatches. We’ll see. I might hate them and have to start over!

5. Knitting a winter hat! I managed one more round. But now I have more Downton Abbey episodes to watch so the pace should pick up a little.

Projects not progressing: Stars miniquilt (but I know what I’m going to do now), Skirt patterns, book binding (I have a really neat idea!).

Next Week:
1. Make progress on those things that were ignored last week.

ps. I really want to start something new, but I’m at a complete loss. Seriously. I may crochet little purses for the girls if I get ahead enough….and I have at least two more weeks before I get my machine back.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Waiting for Snow….and flowers….

Today the all mighty weather people have declared “There Will Be Snow.” So we’re waiting for that. I’ve got a whole list of things the kids and I can do to keep us busy, especially if school is cancelled tomorrow, but for now we’re just waiting. We’re all kind of hoping the snow doesn’t happen because we’re all ready for Spring and flowers and warmth. So we’re waiting.

For this week’s PQ Challenge we were to celebrate Spring. Flowers. Duh. What else is there? It’s all that’s on my mind. We’ll be planting our seeds in a couple more weeks, sunflowers, poppies, cone flowers and some tall purple thing and I can hardly stand the wait! But I did have an idea….

A few weeks ago I read a book, recommended by this awesome blogger, called “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was such a good read, I was captivated from start to finish. One of those books you sacrifice sleep for. I loved the idea of sending messages in flowers and I love even more growing a garden with meaning. Obviously I can’t have this garden all year, I don’t live in Santa Barbara anymore (sigh), so during those winter months it must come inside in fabric form. Obviously.

So combining inspiration from Jean Wells’ “Portraits from Nature” and Laura Wasilowski’s fusing fabulousness I give you…

Phlox: Harmony (6″ x 6″)
It’s not anywhere close to being done. And I wish I could plan on sitting quietly in my rocker sipping tea and sewing while the snow blows outside our window and the kids play happily.

But that is not my life.

My life has a lot more in common with this Mom than it does with Laura Ingalls. Undeterred though I shall continue with this project so by next winter we’ll have our indoor “sentiment garden” and can start planning our outdoor version.

What would you like to grow in your garden?
(hint: check out this Wikipedia article for flower meanings that may or may not be accurate)

WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Here we go!
From last week:

Great big stars mini quilt: No progress, but there’s a good reason!

Toothfairy purse: Done, and another one made.

Earthy Mitered Squares: Done!

Ellen’s pleated skirt: Done!

My fairy wallet: Done!

Ok now for the “good reason” that the great big stars miniquilt was ignored…..
My sewing machine is broken! Huh? Bear with me here. That mini quilt really just needs some hand quilting, when I realized despairingly that my machine wasn’t going to get better (it doesn’t have the flu, unfortunately), I decided I needed to focus on the things I could sew with it before I took it in to the shop. Currently the wait is 3 weeks. Since I’ll need all the handwork I can find to keep myself busy in the interim I thought leaving that one for later would be best. It makes sense, right? Doesn’t really matter, though.

What’s coming up this week?

1. Yeah, yeah, that miniquilt…

2. Some knitting, a winter hat just in time?

3. Some crocheting, I keep seeing these great crocheted flowers chained together all over Pinterest and I thought they’d make a lovely headband…

4. Some fusing, a flower portrait a la Jean Wells/Laura Wasilowski for the last PQ challenge, phlox, for harmony. We could all use a little more harmony (yes, that’s the sound of my kids fighting over plastic food in the background).

5. Some applique

5. And some pattern making, skirts for Spring, so I’ll be ready when the machine returns!

6. Back to my fabric designs on Spoonflower, not for sale yet. Soon, I hope.

7. And some book binding, for flower fairy books.

Ok, so obviously I’ve planned too many things to finish, but progress is what I’m looking for. Just progress.

Now click on the WIP thingy and go see what everyone else is up to!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced