Tuesday, January 30, 2007


January is almost over, and I wanted to post this before it was too late.

I found the most wonderful little letterpress calendar on Etsy last month. There is a different card for each month and they rest and stand in a CD jewel case flipped the wrong way. Each month is completely lovely. The maker is ilee.

I've been having a Friday mentality all day. Not so good and way optimistic for a Tuesday, really. I think it's because we stayed up last night and watch all three of the episodes of six feet under that Bravo was playing.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kristin and Sarah

Do your friends ever come in waves of first names? I've been putting together swap stuff and organizing email and the like, and I realized that I am fortunate enough to have a little explosion of Kristin and Sarah in my life.

This Sarah, most famously with an "h", leaves nice and helpful comments and makes the most awesome hats on her blog. Yesterday, I stalked this Sarah's local quilt shop (with her blessing) to get my hands on some of the fabric she shows here. She makes adorable softie's too.

Then there are the Kristins: Kristin who created the quilt block swap, Kristin my miniswap partner, plus another Kristin who is very talented with the felt and stitches, but who may be a little shy with her first name.

To top it all off, I have friends Kristin and Sarah from my non-bloggy life. (Photo above is from a b-day party hosted by said Kristin.) In the beginning, I messed it up a bunch. I always thought that any comments from Kristin or Sarah were from local Kristin and Sarah, and so I'd have conversations with them about stuff I'd made (which may have seemed out-of-the-blue, but they're very obliging), meanwhile, I was never responding to other, blog-type Kristin and Sarahs. Now doesn't that make life interesting?

A side note: Redwork swappers, if you haven't received a partner from me or any follow-up information, please shoot me an email. Everyone should be partnered up and ready to go!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

even more bitty booties

Maybe you thought I was not so serious about these?

striped bitty booties

The top ones were for my good friend Lisa's baby shower. They are from my favoritest red felt that came from an angora/mohair sweater. It felted up more nicely than any other I have seen. The result is so deep and rich and bright red! It's dense enough too that I could leave the edge clean and not need to blanket stitch it. I could have found some creamy felt and made them to match the beautiful, kimono-style layette that Lisa is crocheting for the very soon-to-be baby... I'm sorry Lisa, I just love the red too much!

The stripey pair is from another sweater, one that came pre-felted from Goodwill. Pre-felted thrift sweaters are always a bit of a bittersweet find because you know that the person who gave it away didn't mean for it to get like that.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

red addict

This is my favorite fabric of the moment. It's "sunny side" by alexander henry, bought here. It came yesterday in the mail along with some of the building blocks fabrics, including the fabled tape measure/ruler prints. I don't know what it is about red fabrics, but I can't seem to get enough of them. As much as I love most of my color world to be a sea of gray and blue, I need those little accents of red. I am particularly impressed with how good the above fabric looks with my gray velvet chair. I think it will be both a cushion and a skirt.

We woke up to snow this morning--our first real snowfall of the year. (I'm not counting that icy mess back a couple of months ago.) So, Beebs and I did winterday things, like having cocoa, reading stories, making tiny things, and playing scrabble. I think we played five hours of scrabble this weekend. We've played together at my mother's house before, but this was our first time playing at home. Scrabble is a favorite family pastime, given to us by my maternal grandmother, the reference librarian. Does she have a scrabble dictionary? You bet. It's so cool that Beebs can play now, and I think that I'm more amazed by her strategy than her spelling skills. She's so big with her "Q" on a triple letter score square. Sigh.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

recent swappage

things I sent

My open yours too package came at long last!

Way back in November, I made the above pincushions (and my first linen calendar) for this opened-ended swap hosted by Dawbis. (I was part of round 12.) I had a really good time making them, I think largely because each one was small, and they could be different, so I got to get out some previously unused, but very fun, fabric and play around with it. During that time I was also still taking the upholstery class, and I think that influenced the more tailored aspects of the cushions, like the blue piping on the one tree cushion. I have more pictures of these pincushions on flickr.

hat from bekka

And I got soooooo much. I took a picture of everthing altogether, and then realized that bekka's hat wasn't in it because I had been wearing it. See? I like it.

Then all these things: Moon pencil drawing from barbara, door knocker from shakty, beautiful handmade collage book from annie, sweet clay owl from amanda, little monster prints from zara, fairy sketch from larina, and wonderful appliance notecards from heather.

I've got a good group for the redwork swap, but it's still open through Monday if you know anyone else who'd like to join in. Beebs and I are also gearing up for miniswap. Beebs has been dying for a swap of her own. We are swapping with kristin of honeyflake and her daughter. Should be good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

redwork swap

redwork swap

Let's have a redwork swap!

We'll be swapping for a handmade item featuring embroidery done in red. If you'd like to join, email me at tumblingblocks AT gmail DOT com with your name, address, & blog if you have one. I'll leave the signup open until Monday and have partners out shortly thereafter. Your finished item should arrive at your partner's house by March 1.

I posted some ideas for projects below, but that's really just a beginning. If you'd like to get to know traditional redwork better, checkout Redwork in Germany. Her flickr profile has even more stuff. Let's see, more resources... Turkey feathers has some great patterns for vintage embroidery in her shop, Pattern Bee. Not all redwork need be traditional, though. Wee Wonderfuls used redwork for her elves, and someone else did a stitchette in redwork.

Thanks! Let me know if you have questions or ideas.


Monday, January 15, 2007

redwork swap anyone?

I've been thinking about it. Would any of you out there like to do a redwork swap? The item itself could be anything: tea towel, 2-d dolly, potholder, apron, ATC, wall hanging, you name it. It would just need to featue embroidery done in red.

If you're interested, drop a quick note below, and if I get a good response, I'll start an official signup!

Yes, Henrietta. You are a linen-ish sort of cat.

I'm enjoying a rare Monday at home witht the Beebs. We are making stuff. It has just begun to snow a little, and we're listening to Arcade Fire, which is very snowy, wintry music. The dryer is making good clean laundry sounds. I think this will be a good day.

Friday, January 12, 2007

the outpouring of babies into the world

When I was home over the holidays there were sooooo many babies. It was so nice to meet them and hang out and pinch them. Oh, I am such a baby pincher.

It's possible that all new babies I know will get a pair of the Bitty Booties because I just don't see myself ever getting tired of their incredible cuteness. They are so simple and so dear and make a nice little handmade gift. The ones above I did for my new nephew, who I met on my trip East. (I was a little late on the fall acorn-themed making spree.) I also got to see these ones that I made months ago in action on the actual baby's feet! Then I pinched them.

Elie read my last post and says that I put my clauses in all the wrong places. Edgar also puts his clauses in all the wrong places, namely my wingback chair. Poo poo to us.

Monday, January 08, 2007



We love marzipan, and sometimes a bit of it finds its way into our Christmas stockings. This is the first year I have ever seen pig-shaped marzipan, though. It came in a package labeled "lucky". There was also a marzipan die in the container, but it got eaten. I can see how a die is related to luck, as well as the four leaf clover, but I'm a little puzzled about the pig and the mushroom. These are surely the lucky items of a culture I am not too familiar with. Do you know?

And speaking of such things, the mini Boden catalog has a pajama set with "jam sarnies" on it. I don't know what these are either, but at least in Boden's world, there are on par with milk and cookies.

The candies in the photo which are not marzipan are homemade licorice taffy. My colleague's mother makes them every year at Christmas. If you love strong licorice, which I do, they are wonderful. Homemade candy pretty much goes down on the list of "why I love the midwest". Or maybe I just don't come from candy-making people back east. Either way, it's delicious.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

next stop, the ice capades

These are my November swap blocks, sent to me by Sandi. The are beautifully, painstakingly pieced in icy winter blues and grays. I like 'em a lot.

And speaking of ice, today we actually got out and had a fun family activity--ice skating! We went to the University's ice arena--the unseasonably warm weather we're having makes pond skating out of the question. It was Beebs first time skating and the first time for Elie and I in years. I dusted off the same old pair of skates that I used to wear when I was tweleve. (My younger sister was Kristi Yamaguchi obsessed, and I got to go along for the ride.) I found out that my husband not only enjoys skating, but also has "moves". At one point he pulled to a stop in a down-on-one-knee, prince charming kneel right next to me. Cracked me up. Beebs loved it, and I'm pretty sure that we will become ice arena regulars. Sometimes we get so busy doing our projects, we forget to go out and have fun like that.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Things made for others

I made a handful of handmade gifts for loved ones at Christmas, but I only took a picture of the above. It's not a terribly descriptive picture of the scarf, but holiday snapshots are bound to illustrate something different. (That's my dad and Lucy.) The scarf is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I also made my mom the pouch on the cover, but no picture. I'm liking the book a lot, although "last minute" is relative. I'm still fairly novice at the knitting, so it took me a bit longer than the book estimated. No problem---I started early.

I think my next knitting project will be a hat for myself (pattern also from the above book) from the kool aid yarn I dyed months ago. I'll start it when I finish the birthday present I am sneakily making for Elie. Heh,heh,heh.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Low Light

moss in flasks

I am embarking on a quest to understand my relatively new digital camera. I got it a few months back, but have never read the actual instructions. It doesn't do so well in low light situations and the steady cam seems to work selectively.

Pink chalk studio had a hint on adjusting the ISO speed. My camera can do that! I tried it above and it works pretty well. I've got to get a handle on the low light. That's all there really is here this time of year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Scrappy New Year!


Hello! It's so nice to be back blogging and visiting everyone else in blogland. I had a wonderful visit with my family back in Jersey. I think I saw everybody I am related to. Almost.

So, I think I'm going to try and post every day, or at least nearly every day, in January to make up for my fairly lackluster December. I've really enjoyed reading the blogs of some who did NaBloPoMO (???) or have otherwise been doing daily posting.

Incidentally, looking around the blogs, I've noticed that many people are taking breaks, or at least taking it easy for December. This makes me happy. I think that the crafty blog world could have easily gone totally nuts with adorable/fantastic blog postings during the holiday season, but we didn't. We took some time for other important things too, including the very basic realxing and doing nothing. Good for us. Either that or we just couldn't post the things we were making because they were presents :-).