Thursday, February 22, 2007

laces from places

When I was home visiting family in December, my dad presented Beebs and I with a box of old buttons, zippers, trims and bangles he had bought in a lot from ebay. The two of us and my two sisters had fun trying on all the bracelets and deciding which fit who's style and divvying them all up. Then Beebs and I made off with the notions.

These laces are from that box.
This is beautiful handmade lace that someone made, but never used.

handmade lace

The envelope says faintly at the top, "Sheet," so I think that it was meant to edge a bedsheet. But that didn't happen, and person number two wrote a note on the envelope to someone else, hoping that somewhere down the line, the lace would wind up in the hands of someone who appreciated the "handiwork". It finally did. And I'm going to use it. And I'm going to use any other of my favorite fabrics, because what's the point of saving them?

This, I like the pale pink on turquoise and the the "undetermined fiber content".

buckwheat honey

I'm really hoping that tea and scones with honey cure colds. I stayed home and ate way too many of these today. Do you know buckwheat honey? It's really different from most honeys and the favorite around here. It's more robust, and darker than your average honey. It's almost molasses-like, but without the tang. Elie's mom just sent us this jar from a favorite haunt.

Monday, February 19, 2007

what's my background?

what's your background?

These were my January blocks for the quilt block swap. I decided to fool around with background color. Surprisingly, I think I like the brown one better, but then again, I might really prefer the white background on a large bed quilt. My swap partner asked for red and yellow, so it was a great opportunity to test out the building blocks fabrics. (They work.)

I'm stepping out of quilt block swap for a while because I'll be starting a new, bi-monthly, ongoing swap soon. It's with a group of friends, half of which live near and the other half of which live far from me. At one point we all lived geographically close to each other, but I didn't know them all then. Does that make sense? I'm really interested to see what it will bring.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

remember I said I wanted to be rescued by Mr. Plow?

Friday night Eva and I went to an all-council Girl Scout lock-in. I didn't entirely think it was a good idea for us, she's only 6 and all. But, we went because she really wanted to go and I was feeling leader obligation. All in all, it wasn't too bad. We went to bed by 2:30 as opposed to staying up all night. (Awesome card catalog card maker here via bemused.)

gas station mosaic

So, it had snowed 3-4 inches overnight on top of the foot we already had. The roads weren't great, and in my effort to get home I spun out on the interstate and ended up in a drifted ditch. Everyone was completely fine but shaken. State Police said it would be a couple of hours until they could get to us. However, we were rescused from the side of the road by none other than Mr. Plow. How exciting! He took us to the nearest exit, about 15 miles from my exit, where we waited at the gas station convenience store for the police and tow truck to get to us. I had the camera with me so Beebs and I passed the time taking pictures. I love my pocket-size digital camera.

This is my 100th post! Yay! It's not very crafty. I'm kinda bummed about that. I promise I'll get crafty again real soon.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I think it technically was. I worked from home yesterday because it was too bad to go out. These are the grain elevators we see from our northern windows.

Beebs and I were out shoveling the driveway this morning at 6:30. She planned it the night before--so excited to "help me get to work on time". It was beautiful, cold, and all pink and sparkly from the early sunlight. Beebs dug out my tires and tried sweeping with a broom, but I wouldn't share our one snowshovel. Soon she gave it up and started building an igloo with the good chunks I was digging up.

As I shoveled, I thought about the last time I saw as much snow a few years ago while we were in DC. I was shoveling-out the driveway we shared with our neighbors. They spoke Spanish, but I think they sometimes forgot that I did too. It was Angela and her two sons. They were gentlemen in the traditional sense and always held the door for me if they saw me coming with the baby, and would carry my groceries up the three flights if they saw I had Beebs in tow. It was always greatly appreciated. So when Angela saw me out shoveling snow she said loudly to her sons in Spanish, "And where is her husband?!" I just had to smile and keep on shoveling. I thought of this this morning while I shoveled and Elie was in bed. (He did the noon shift of sidewalk and walkway. He's no slacker.) It would have been done more quickly had we been able to share the load. It's probably time to buy a second shovel.

By the end of the driveway I was less philisophical and appreciative of nature and more delirious. I had visions of Homer Simpson as Mr. Plow coming along to rescue me.

I got to try out my finished KoolAid yarn hat. I took a picture of me wearing it in the snow that came out so poorly that I will not share it. You can look really hot after you shovel a driveway.

Oh, and happy valentines day! I braved the terrible streets, in campus town of all places, to bring my sweeties the gift of Indian takeout.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Jeanne sent me this wonderful yarn that she spun. It's superwash merino, and it's so, so soft. I asked for superwash thinking that I would dye it, but now that I have it I really love its natural color. Is that wrong? I'm thinking about making something like the Knitty Calorimetry with it. It would be cozy and warm.

I spent a good part of Sunday working hard on another unfished housely project. I suggested that maybe I finish painting the stairs, and Elie suggested that maybe I finish the nearly-reupholstered chair in my living room. Good idea. My upholstery class ended late in November, and I hadn't been able to get back into it. That initial lifting of the tack hammer seemed too hard. You know, it's heavy. But, as part of my continued attempt to do projects which improve the general state of my house alongside projects of terrible cuteness, I've pushed through.
I love this stuff. The cotton that they use to pad chairs is very raw and unbelieveably soft. I think it would be great to make a puffy, yet weighty quilt. Kinda like this one Blair posted about a while back. It's smooth yet bumpy.

Mama Cat went to the Softie Awards pool. Thanks for having so many nice things to say about her! Beebs has taken to her pretty strongly, and it does my heart well. She gets carried by one arm up to bed. I think that Mama Cat may get some friends some day soon...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

mama cat (and her skirt-dwelling kittens)

Mama Cat

Oh, Mama Cat.

You wear clothes, an apron because you're both very busy an very tidy. Your children are all very well dressed and you keep them close to you, snug and tight in your skirt. Look at your three wonderful children.

I've been working on her for the past couple weeks in the same way I'd play with a doll. "Oh, what should we do with Mama Cat today?" Slowly, and with a lot of thought and memory, she's become who she is and a little reminder of things I've loved and continue to love. I had a doll kind of like her when I was a small child. It was a mother bunny with tiny round bunny babies kept in her skirt. A friend of my mother made it. Toys like this are fun because the self storage is more like a secret compartment, and I think that sort of magic makes dolls seem more real.

how it works

She's Beebs' now. It was a surprise, even though she watched me make her. Beebs fell for the dollies as I was putting them together, and even though I feel like a bit of a tormenter by not letting her know the kitties were for her, I think she liked watching the doll take shape.

Mama Cat's outfit was greatly inspired by this book. Gosh, I was inspired by so much while I was making this--the sometimes creepy big skirt lady in the Nutcracker (you know, all the polichinelles come out from under her skirt and dance?), Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories with their cloth dolls with dresses, childhood memories of that bunny doll, the linen & the way the blue fabric looks against the pink gingham, and all the wonderful things all of you crafters do with a needle and a thread.

family-photo style
family photo style

She may end up over here. I haven't decided yet.

So, two things before I forget. First, thank you for all the bathroom love. I can't wait to actually bathe in the tub instead of just looking at it. Second, if you're wondering what honeyflake got from us in the miniswap, it's over here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

housely things


First of all, anyone who wanted fabric in the last post gets fabric. Please send me your address at tumblingblocksATgmailDOTcom. Hooray!

I actually did work on our house this weekend. Yup, this blog was supposed to be a place to keep track of our progress on the house as well as my crafty endeavors. You can see what direction that took...

ticking covered cushions

So among other things, I finally covered the cushions of our Morris chair. The chair has had a couple of covers during my lifetime---a red-orange bumpy textured something with fabric- covered buttons when I was a kid (my mom made it), and then later, a subdued rose cover with a well-rouched gusset. I took the latter cover off about 5 months ago, and the cushions have been sitting on the chair all cotton-wrapped since then. This weekend I finally decided to finish what I started.

I used black and white ticking, which I first bought a bit of way back when for Mo's backtack III ticky kitty. I liked it so much and the price was right, so I bought lots more. I think it looks nice and tidy.

salvaged tub, recently painted

Our bathroom is making excellent progress. We got strong and careful movers to lift our salvaged clawfoot tub and marble countertop upstairs, so the bathroom looks like an actual bathroon now. I am so impressed with Elie's craftsman skills. He's cut and routed and polished all the stone himself, and it just looks so great.

half-done vanity

So that's it. Progress. Brought to you by a less-harried me. I think that's why I could finally get back into the big projects. All the work that made oct-dec completely nutty have stopped and I've done enough relaxing to feel like being useful again. The fun little self-centered projects (like puncushions!) totally make my tough times bearable.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

prettiest miniswap ever & a giveaway

Casa tumblingblocks received its miniswap from casa honeyflake! Where to start? How about the box it all came in? It's painted by a little girl who really loves to paint in what happens to be my favorite shade of blue. Beebs tore into it quickly and then slowly and methodically lifted everything out. The softie got big snuggles and the tiny woolly people got a tiny special home. Each individual shell and piece of seaglass got fingered and rubbed and categorized. The little buttons got enthusiastically added to a button collection, and all the little letters got read with the gentle enthusiasm of an older child excited to see the learning of another one. ("oh, look, she can write my name!")

miniswap mosaic
1. the softie, 2. the mail, 3. finish the picture!, 4. miniswap by the sea, 5. miniswap!, 6. beautiful tube of pipecleaners, 7. best blue, 8. softie hug action shot, 9. hoods and cloaks

I can't get over the tiny felt work and the clever fill-in-the-face collage kiddo. Kristin also included a sack backpack, appropriate, I think, for a few nature hikes of our own. Thanks so much, Kristin!

Miniswap has been such a great experience and I've been generally feeling the love lately, so I'm going to do a little giveaway. I loved these fabrics so much that I would have been excited to get even a little piece of them. Maybe you feel the same way? If you do, leave a comment below and on Sunday night at 9:00 CST I will pull 5 people to get one 6x6 square of each color.

Friday, February 02, 2007

wintry pincushion & wip

Earlier this month my sister Lizzie (the one who has recently taken up quilting) asked me if I would make her a pincushion. Would I? Sure!

snowflake star with a lot of light

You all had so many nice things to say about these ones (thank you!!), that I'm sure you won't mind seeing another in the same vein. I really love making them because I get to quilt and stuff and embroider all at once. Plus, a six pointed star is very snowflake-ish, and therefore appropriate for the January Pincushion Challenge, dontcha know.

snowflake pincushion at night

I had some real problms getting a good picture, though, so I give you many. I think pincushions can be generally hard to photograph because you want to get the details on the top, but also the whole view from the side. The one was especially difficult because the white and gray contrast so much, and the white part is made from quilt batting, whoose fluffy fibers give the camera's auto focus a hard time.

kool aid yarn WIP

The wip:
I'm finally using this kool aid yarn.

miniswap waiting

Eeeeeee! The letter carrier just dropped this on my porch. I think it's miniswap from kristin. I'm home with a sick Beebs today, so I think I'll just let it rest there until she finishes watching Narnia...