Tuesday, September 23, 2008

a sewing space

We moved here into this home almost a year ago already, and I have been trying to get everything sorted out and all organised ever since. Lastly is my little workroom. Its been difficult to get things to work in such a small room (I believe it is about 80 square feet or less) but slowly and with compromises I have been getting it together.
One of my goals with my workroom is to have a dedicated place to sew, since I am doing quite a bit of that these days, and also because I am hoping that my little daughter will pick up this and other interests from me. Usually when I get a bit of sewing done, she is at my feet working on her little projects: arranging her scraps of fabrics, or drawing with her pencils and markers. I hope to be able to fit a small desk here for her, too, somehow.

sewing space by you.
Since the room is so small, I decided to make the closet into another place to work. I find that my closets just end up shoved full of junk if I am not careful, so I removed the standard bi-fold doors and the unattractive shelf and clothes rack that was inside to leave an open nook. I lined the back of the closet with some vintage tree wallpaper that I had found at a thrift shop years ago and was waiting for the perfect project to use. I didn't actually glue the paper to the wall, but rather just used some thumbtacks to hang it up! I then hung 3 ikea lack wall shelves for storage. I measured out the space and at a hardware store had them cut to size a remnant board to make a desktop. I used some table legs from ikea to form the desk, and covered it with heavy kraft paper. I am still considering covering the desktop with linen or other fabric one day, once I find the perfect yardage.

I have yet to find a brilliant method to storing fabrics, so finally I decided to simply sort them by colour and stack them up on my highest shelf. This has worked well as I can stand back and peek at them all at once, but they are out of the way so they don't get messed up easily.

I also added a small desk lamp, but because this closet is next to a window, on left, there is a lot of nice natural light to work by.
work wall by you.
p.s. thankyou to all who have posted in response to making tree quilts with me. If you would like to receive some of my green pieces for your own quilt, please send me an email at sharilyn at lovelydesign . com with your mailing address and I will mail you a little package! Other supplies you should have to make this quilt are a sewing machine, rotary cutter with a clear quilting ruler and cutting mat, other green and brown fabric pieces, and some muslin or other light coloured fabric.

Friday, September 19, 2008

surrounded by trees

These have been perfect days, sunny with a hint of Autumn in the air. September is my very favourite time of year, and I've always wished that it lasted longer here in the Pacific Northwest.
from the hill by you.
Addie and I have been taking full advantage of them by staying mostly out of doors with our many little projects: frog-hunting, wandering through the forest, trotting around the university, picking crab-apples, collecting treasures (pinecones, rocks), chalk drawing around the neighbourhood, and planting our little garden (We save seeds from our apples and make a mission together to go out and plant them - she loves this!)

Oh, and we've been looking for Owls, who we hear hoo-hooing at each other all night long. (I can hear them right now, outside my window!) It is such a beautiful but haunting sound, and everyone is fascinated by it, but most of all Adelaide. She has been spending a lot of her time pointing around and up at all of the places she thinks that the Owls may be. And we have been looking at a lot of Owls in books together, too.
little elf girl by you.
It is interesting to me that the things that Addie indentifies in books - pointing her tiny finger most decidedly - are almost exclusively natural types of things such as trees, leaves, flowers, pinecones, flowers, butterflies, bugs, ponds, ducks, birds, owls. Her very favourite books all have something to do with the natural world - Planting a Rainbow, The Sun Egg, I am a Bunny, Spring is Here - off the top of my head. I actually had to show her in books what a house and car were - all of the other things she just seemed to know and be a lot more interested in. Like they already are so much a part of her.
making trees with elliot by you.
Today the weather turned cooler and a little bit grey again and so while Adelaide slept I dragged out the tree quilt that I have been working on. So far I have made about 4 dozen little trees in about 25 different green fabrics. I have about 10 or so more green fabrics to make into trees, and then I will begin sewing these little patchworks together to make a quilt. I find this task satisfying and relaxing - the perfect task for a grey afternoon inside.
for a tree quilt by you.
I feel so lucky that these days I am surrounded by so many trees, both in my world and in my craft. I love them, and I'm pretty sure that they love me, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

handsome elliot


Elliot seems so handsome here (in fact, his tag reads "handsome elliot") but he has been a horrible self-mutilator ever since I brought him home all beat up and scrawny from the SPCA 6 years ago now. All these years I have been working with him, determined not to have to put him to sleep or put him on drugs like the many vets I have taken him all want.

The thing about Elliot is that he attacks his tail brutally, leaving blood everywhere (even on the ceiling) and his poor tail constantly mutilated. Nothing can stop him completely from doing this... I've researched in depth, tried everything with him from bitters on his tail to dietary changes, homeopathic drops, sporting him with a neck cone, trimming his nails regularly, on and on.

After all this time I have come to the conclusion that he has some sort of injury/nerve damage from the idiot who abused him and broke his tail, and I believe that he may also have some sort of brain damage as well. When he become irritated about something, anything, he automatically starts twitching his tail, and then soon he will attack. Like feral crazy cat fight attack, screaming, blood and all. It is truly horrible.

So I was really worried about Elliot when I was pregnant - if not having the bed made, or the house a little messy sets Elliot off - what about a new baby?? But I am amazed at the result with Elliot since bringing our little Adelaide home as he has become so much better with his tail since. I am not sure if it's the extra attention he gets, or the fact that I am home more often to give him his pats, or if our loose routine agrees with him, or if he feels that he has an important role in taking care of the new little one, or perhaps it is because I myself am generally happier and calmer as a person and he picks this up? Or maybe a little of all of these things.

Handsome Elliot is still far from perfect, he still has his attacks and I think he always will. I still spend a lot of time cleaning up blood. But this is the best I've ever seen him. I know he's trying, and he's pretty much perfect in every other way... I've been referred to as the lady with "that friendly orange cat" so many times! 

and, nobody is ever perfect... many times I feel like Elliot and I are meant to be together and he is here to teach me to have patience and faith in him, others, and myself.

coming to autumn


The past couple of weeks I've really noticed once again the days growing shorter and chillier. Between another road trip to Portland and Seattle, Adelaide and I have been busy with our many projects.  
I adore our Cedar Waxwing bird friends, they are so sweet! We often take a walk down to the marshes to visit them, and they always gather, swoop all around us and perch real close to watch us curiously. They are the most charming birds I have ever met and I am hoping that they will stay the winter but have a feeling they will be moving on real soon.
crabapple collecting by you.
Our neighbourhood is full of crabapple trees, so covered in fruit that their limbs are sagging and almost breaking from the weight. Adelaide took a little stool around with us and picked two big bowls. My mom came and we quartered and cored them all to make crabapple jelly and crabapple butter, and then a big batch of spicy crabapples to have at Thanksgiving.
Everything is so the most beautiful colour, our home smells amazing, and the results are delicious! There are so many crabapples left on the trees - no one seems to be interested in them but us - so I am thinking of gathering some more to make crabapple liqueur and rosy crab apple pie filler, too. And I still have yet to design up some labels for them all.
preserves by you.
favourite chair by you.
Charles and I recently discovered this beautiful old Eames rocker and now it lives with us, much to Adelaide's delight! It is now by far her favourite chair (and plaything) and it is so nice to have furniture that you love and is also child-proof. I love it.