Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Reading


Within our walls exist 
a dear hubby that works from home,
three quite grown up "children,"
and a bichon pup with severe separation anxiety issues.
To expect our day to day
(or night to night)
to flow in a leisurely summer manner
would be asking a miracle...
and so I don't.

Instead, I read.
This year I even went so far as to create a 
summer reading curriculum. It includes a selection of books 
picked with lifestyle dreams in mind since I figure you 
can't redirect your daily path if you're
not quite sure where you
want to go
yet. 



I started with a few favorite authors....


combined with an interest in remote coastal living,


a tad of cozy housekeeping love,


and a hint of New England nostalgia.


I suppose the cherry on top is this one...


I've had it in my possession for ages and am shamed to say have not yet even 
browsed it's pages. Strange, especially considering Tasha Tudor 
wrote the introduction. Perhaps it needed to be saved 
especially for this summer.


It might be just the inspiration needed to 
hurl myself out and actually go visit someplace beyond my own dooryard.
They do have tours of the island you know!


Speaking of traveling out and beyond....
a gathering of wee friends made their way out into the world this week.
What brave little hearts they have!


Only two remain.
Both also have a bent for adventure 
so I've promised to provide just that by posting them 
over Etsy way come Friday morning.
I do believe a few Pinelopes
intend to join the fun 
as well!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

What's Up?


Quite literally the most exciting thing up in our neck of the woods 
is a brand new chandelier....

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever live in a home with such elegance,
I feel like Cinderella! Our previous boring old light fixture developed a habit 
of popping and smoking whenever the switch was turned on 
and so a venture out to Home Depot was in order.

I found an amazing assortment of sleek and oh so grown up specimens to choose from, 
unfortunately I am not a very sleek or grown up individual.
In fact I felt very Goldilock-ish in that nothing felt just right.....
too big,
too bright,
and
too boring.

But then, way down low I spied something of interest, 
a relatively tiny box with a hint of glimmer to it.
The home improvement fairies must have secreted it away just for me
for the box contained what was marketed as a 
"Miniature Chandelier."

Oh the power of words....
I
was
SOLD!

Add to that a can of Robin's Egg Blue spray paint,
an agreeable dear hubby, a bewildered electrician and here I am,
living like a princess!


But what else do I fill my days with aside from selecting ball gowns and eating bonbons?

Well I'm trying to remember how to take photos for some listings I 
want to get in the shop....the poor thing has been 
as empty as Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard for ages upon ages now!


I've also a fair share of goodies I need to get delivered....


.....and so many more in the works!


I've got a wish list of inventory I'm hoping to take with me to 
the Southern New Hampshire Doll Show and Sale this September and a lack of available elves to help with the production so it looks like my fingers will be busy!


All in all I'd say it's a happily ever after adventure.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Well Lookie There!


Long time no see....at least around these parts that is!
Like everyone else I've been busy with this, that, and the other but as of today...

IT"S OFFICIALLY SUMMER!

To say I am delighted is an understatement.
I am so looking forward to the longer days, the warmer weather, and a chance to really 
enjoy the pleasures of taking stitches.

I'm even hoping to pop in here much more often....
but if not so frequent as planned
I already know the culprit to be that dratted phone of mine
and it's ever so easy link to the world of 

It's quick, it's fun, but also lacking in ways I can't quite wrap my head around.

Quite simply...

I
Miss
My
Blog.

I'm so glad your still here!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Maybe Someday, Maybe Never


So the New Year's plan was to orchestrate a series of monthly shop updates.
Each was to be developed around a theme of sorts such as Hitty goodies, doll beds, or pin toppers.
I thought this plan of action would keep me organized and focused.
Trouble was, I thought wrong.

It turned out to be a case of too many pots in the fire.
Chaos reined in my work spaces and in my head
and as a result
not one item made it into the shop
nor into the hands of some VERY patient individuals.

It's no longer a new year, but it is day one of a new month.
And for this fine month of February ahead I have developed a new plan.
It's called the 
"I'll Do What I Can Plan."

What it means is this...
I'll do what I can with what time I am afforded and only with a feeling of joy in my heart.
I want each individual stitch to be enjoyed, each paint stroke applied with peace, 
and each completed project to smile back at me.

Working under a deadline and at the expense of family, friends, and sleep 
is the perfect recipe for mishap and mayhem on the work table. 
(It also makes for one cranky mama
 and more than a few 
miserable meals...just ask the kiddos!)

Items made under an air of misfortune are not something I wish to share with others.
To do so would turn all of this into a job and not a joy. 
That would be sad.

I'll still be creating on a small scale and curating my little shop...
day by day,
stitch by stitch,
item by item,
 but always with a whole lot of happiness in the heart!



Friday, October 14, 2016

My New Best Friend


Apologies for the omission of an introduction!
Please do meet my now "not so new" helper,
the Lap App.

It was a "whim" purchase last spring. One of those "I'VE GOT TO HAVE IT" acquisitions that are made without really rationalizing whether or not the item is really suited for you.
Most often I come to regret such impulses and yet continually fail 
to learn from such impulses....
to which I say,
"THANK GOODNESS!!!!"

It is sold here at The Lap App Store under the premise of being a lap table, which it is to be sure.
But....using it atop my work space has proved to be my favorite means 
of hanging out with my new friend.


The added height and the ability to adjust the angle of my work surface 
are benefits I would not have anticipated. The thimble printed cover is removable and underneath is a non slip surface for tracing. An alternate heat resistant cover for ironing is also included.
Handy extras can be found in the three spindles for thread storage, a magnet for keeping needles safe, and my very favorite... a petite pocket for holding scissors.

I do think we will be friends for life!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Castaway Returns


Long time no "sea" dear friends!

So long in fact that my secret project is no longer undisclosed.
As such, how about we start back at the beginning.....
.....the very beginning, which just so happens 
to involve an introduction to this young at heart lady here,

Having once lived a good number of years on Cape Cod it was a given 
that I would be familiar with the whimsical work of Ralph Cahoon
Reproductions of his seaside paintings were in abundance as framed prints, 
his museum was passed many a day as I made my way to Dick and Ellie's Flea Market, 
and I do believe I received more than one birthday card featuring his lovely mermaids. 

It wasn't until many moons later, when I actually took the time to step foot into the museum,
that I discovered the remarkable Martha. She was an artist in her own right both before 
and after her almost 50 year stint of marriage to Ralph and, in my mind at least, 
a huge inspiration behind the direction his work took.

She is also a tremendous inspiration to me.
Wife, mother, housekeeper, cook and still quite prolific in her work...
...what is there not to admire about such a woman?


I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of  
Simple Pleasures: The Art of Martha Cahoon while visiting the museum that day. 
It's a little gem of a book that led me to explore seacoast themes in art of all sorts....paintings, hooked rugs, and especially Sailor's Valentines. 

The thought of creating something in that vein tickled my fancy 
but the outlet in which to do it had long evaded me until dear hubby gifted me the solution in the form of a book that celebrates the art of "painting" with fabric...

This book is almost as amazing as Takahara herself.
Being another one of those "young at hearters," I cannot help but imagine
she and Martha would have gotten along fabulously!


Now, somewhere along the way in this story a wedding invitation was received. 
Had I thought it through I would have taken a picture of it 
but since I didn't I'll substitute this one of 
the courting Martha and Ralph instead.
Kinda cute isn't it?

My own courting couple is pretty cute too, but better yet, they are very much
kindred with the Cape and Islands. Their wedding was to be on the the Cape, they often visit  Nantucket, and nautical themed art frequents their walls.

In them I found the kick in the pants I needed to try my hand
at some whimsy and should all go as planned
I'd have a wedding gift to boot! 
  

Some serious perusing of the ins and outs of  
Sailor's Valentines.....


,,,along with an exploration of the more romantic mermaid depictions, 


led to a shopping trip for fabrics inspired by my discoveries.


The day I actually sat down to set sail with my first stitches was very exciting to say the least.
It also looks a bit crowded but I don't seemed to remember feeling that way at the time,
probably because I was so hyper focused on that 8x8 inch  
"canvas" sitting in front of me.


At first it was truly smooth sailing,


and the only waves were friendly ones!


As the project progressed however, and the applique pieces became smaller and smaller, 
the devil in the details reared his ugly head. There was definitely a learning 
curve involved in this process.


Round about the "hankie"clouds on the horizon is where I left off with my earlier blogging posts.
Not only was the stitching time consuming but I often spent just about as
much time ripping things out as I did putting them in.


The islands were my turning point. 
While the pieces might have been on the smaller side 
the fabric itself was sturdier  
and my needle skills a bit more practiced.


I found I could telescope my vision and see the ultimate destination within reach.


Bit by bit pieces fell into place...


...until a cute little couple of my own making came to be!


Another vintage hankie was put to use. 
I loved the trim on this one and thought it would be 
lovely along the border edge...


...but I will admit it was very hard to make the first cut into it!


English paper piecing lent a hand,
and what better function for some miniature hexie pieces...


...than to use them in the construction of some corner units that help create an octagonal frame
reminiscent of those that house a Sailor's Valentines? 


Since every sea needs some shells I considered myself very fortunate to get access
to a handful of  teeny tiny specimens to scatter about.

This lead me to become severely tempted to nestle a single pearl
in the half shell on the bottom but, since pearls at a wedding are considered 
bad luck, I played the superstitious sailor 
and refrained.


A desolate horizon was remedied with a lighthouse,


a ship, and of course some seagulls.


And then, all at once, it was done.


My first story block...
but fingers crossed, not the last.
Next time I'd like to see more english paper piecing,
more 3-D elements,
more varied materials,
and of course a pearl or two!!!

Until then, however, this one still had a journey to complete...


thus it was signed,


sealed,


and delivered.

May they sail away 
into the land 
of
Happily Ever After!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back to Work


There is a lot I can't show yet without spoiling the "giftie surprise" of the project but.....
I did want to let you in on the double duty my hankie washing 
the other day provided.

Not only did it alleviate my frustration, 
it also supplied perfect fabric needed for a more "wispy" area.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It Was a Wash....Literally


No I did not know what I was doing the last time I popped in around these parts. 
Several times over I appliqued pieces on and then promptly removed them. Let me just say my frustration level was near to having me jump ship. Luckily, I decided it was myself 
I needed to remove.....

......and so I did!
 I put my hands to work on a bit of housekeeping that involved
a recently acquired stash of vintage hankies.


This little dapper duck was especially charming, even if he was of the applique variety!


Several good soaks were required to remove years of mustiness.


Finally, a quiet spell hanging them up to dry.....


.....and my mood was officially lifted!
I was back to the drawing board this morning and am delighted to say 
things are smooth sailing now.