Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keep it clean

I'm a little bit in love with this fabric. Maybe a lot in love. It's from the Old Lady Collection, 100% vintage.

I'd been wanting to use it for a while,  so I was kind of excited when Amber chose it for the main print on her birthday napkins.

It's not  hard to make cloth napkins:  1. cut out squares, 2. sew.  (And there are lots of good tutorials out there.)  But I experimented a lot with different combinations of interfacing and lining fabric to get the right weight and feel.  In the end, they're all a little different, but still perfectly suited for dabbing at a spill or wiping crumbs from your lips.  (I say "your" lips because not "my" lips because cloth napkins are pretty useless around here.  Our messes require the power washer/ beach towel approach.  And if I'm putting something in my lap to catch spills, a tarp is really more appropriate.   Why protect my lap but leave the surrounding area exposed?)  But anyway, I'm sure these will do just fine when Amber invites the Queen for a picnic brunch.  As long as she doesn't invite me too.

It's all stash fabric, except for the blue print.  That I purchased from Jo Ann just for this project.  I hardly ever do that -- wander around the store with fabric swatches looking for something specific.  Usually, I scour the remnants and clearance fabrics, and if I find something cheap and pretty I take it home.  Then when I find a project I want to tackle I shop my own shelves.  (And by "shelves" I mean "shelves and bins and closets," cause we're a little past neat piles at this point.  It's time to recommence stash reduction.  Who's in?)

More than Meets the Eye

For Daniel, who likes Transformers.  Watch out kid.  Your pants are on fire.

PS:  If you think those pants are hideous here (and I do), you should see them on a child.  Both of my kids tried them, and in both cases I wanted to gouge out my eyes.  They're too  '80s post-Hammer pants for my liking.  But I guess they work with the shirt.  As pajamas.  For someone else's kid.    Sorry Margaret.
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Friday, August 13, 2010


I recently traveled to Utah!  With my parents!  And my three kids!  And my cousin!  And her baby!  By van!  We had many wonderful adventures and beautiful moments with family and friends.    But it wasn't what you'd call a relaxing trip.
And that's why my mother's childhood friend, Kathleen, was such a saint to host us.  She knew what to expect -- our family has been staying at her house every-other-year for decades now -- and yet she welcomed us enthusiastically.  This time there were seven of us sprawled throughout her home (me, my parents, my three kids, and my sister), plus all my other siblings (7 more) and their kids (25 more) visiting throughout the week.  We were a loud and messy crowd.
But Kathleen is the world's most gracious hostess, and didn't seem to mind our crash 'n trash protocol one bit.  With closets full of toys and freezers full of homemade ice cream, her home was a haven.  My kids couldn't wait to get back there after each daily adventure.  They even begged during our two-night stay at a mountain ranch -- where they could swim, ride horses, paddle boats and eat snow cones -- to "go back to Kath-a-leen's house" so they could play with legos.  Needless to say, we all  had a wonderful time!
So I wanted to make Kathleen something special to thank her for her hospitality.  Her house is full of vintage linens, precious collectibles, and artwork by Thomas Kinkade.   With that in mind, I wanted to come up with something delicate and floral. I didn't have my full stash at my disposal, just a few basic supplies (tools, chain, jump rings) and some miscellaneous items I'd ordered from Fire Mountain Gem's clearance section and had shipped to meet me in Utah.  (The majority of the order was jewelry for my sister's wedding, but I'll get to that later.)

I lucked out with this pendant/ brooch, which I ordered on a whim, thinking it looked nice enough, and that at 84 cents it wasn't much of a risk.  It's so much prettier in person than it was on the website, and I'm kicking myself now for not stocking up!     
It came with a removable stick pin you can slide through two brackets at the back so that it can be worn separately.
photo from Fire Mountain Gems
And because I love versatility, I also wanted the chain to be pretty enough to be worn alone, single or doubled, clasped in front or back.  When worn together, the pendant can be hooked to the heart-shaped clasp, like so.

I'm very happy with the result.  And I'm still kicking myself for only ordering one pendant/brooch.

I hope Kathleen gets lots of use out of this.  And I hope that when she wears it she doesn't dread our (possible) return in 2012.

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