While driving to the Post Office this morning to ship out this little spring kitty for one lucky lady's Easter Basket, I heard on the radio that this is the first March without snow in Minneapolis since 1870. Happy 2010! Wow, so this is what the rest of the country lives like. I think I could get used to this. Hope you're all enjoying the signs of spring where you are. I have tulips, daffodils, and primroses in my yard all green and showing signs of blooming in the near future. What's happening in your yard?
While out at an opening I ran into Jenna Hein, a woman I went to undergrad with... since I saw her last, she's started her enormously successful calligraphy business. I have some nice handwriting, but I've got nothing on this fine lady- her work is incredibly beautiful.
So last week while cleaning up the studio, I spent some time going though all my materials. Admittedly have a really good stash of fabric but looking at it all got me thinking about Erin's amazing collection of Vintage Feedsack Fabrics. This is a collection to strive for- when she posted them a few weeks ago it sent me out into the ebay vortex - searching and searching for my favorites. To see more of her stash here... and all of her beautiful work at Bird and Banner.
We've all seen this beautiful way of displaying buttons, but I just found this post on Design Sponge and I love the way they created a second template for trims. Better yet- scraps of fabric! I think I could love that.... And for everyone with a small studio, what a nice way to display all the trims and items you have tucked away.
Here's one of the out takes from shooting last week- I really like it. Quite often I look at photographs of myself and I think- I don't feel like that girl. Well, I feel like this lady. Yup, that's me and my boy.
I've been taking break from the studio and in this down time I've started a new knitting project. I post often about starting my new projects and I'm making a mental note to actually post about the finished ones- I think I have yet to do that. Note made. At any rate, I inherited this navy blue yarn and while it's not my favorite color I really like the stripe I've worked out for this sweater for Claude. Now I'm fully aware that it's getting warmer and (fingers crossed) he won't have too much use for a sweater all that much longer but inevitably it will get cool again, so I guess I'm planning ahead. My good friend Jennie made this pattern for baby Claude and while it still fits I'm certain he'll have outgrown it by fall- and I can't imagine a winter without one so I'm trying my hand at it. Wish me luck.
As I've made abundantly clear at this point- I'm kinda obsessive about making quilts. I haven't really finished all that many, but it's the thing I think about making whenever I have a moment to daydream. This morning while looking at Hop Skip Jump, Fiona mentioned these outrageously beautiful quilt color studies. One of my many quilt plans had been to hand dye a whole bunch of fabric and make something really similar. Now that I've seen it done and done so well, I'm really hooked on the idea. Who needs to sleep right?! Who am I kidding, sleep is one of the last things to go. Let's be honest- who needs to make it to the gym this week?!
For the last few days I've been photographing my studio for an upcoming issue of Where Women Create. While the magazine would have sent someone to shoot my space, I thought it might be fun to do it all myself. It had been a while since I'd shot interiors but I used to do a lot of photo work... that said, I was surprised how out of practice I'd become. I was starting to feel really frustrated and I began questioning if any of the images I was making would even be interesting to anyone when I came across this photograph from Fine Little Day. I could go on and on about why I think it's such a great photograph, but the most important thing is that it simply renewed my excitement and got me back to shooting. There is nothing quite as exciting as being offered a true glimpse into someones studio/world. None of my photographs are going to be even close to this good but I'm trying to enjoy this whole process and give in to the outcome.
Ok, so in cleaning out my studio I found this big bag full of cotton scraps (some new- some vintage) I've accumulated from the last 4 quilts I've made. I've saved these thinking of all the fun little projects which could come from these goodies, but I just need to clean everything out- So, I'll be happy to give this away to one lucky commenter. I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday!
It may not be spring, but I'm picking things up the studio. It really doesn't look all that different but it's kinda nice to feel like you're starting fresh. I'm tossing out all the scraps and putting all the clutter back in it's place. All I need is a bouquet of flowers in here- something that smells nice. Yup- I'll be heading out for those later today. Happy Thursday Everyone.
I stayed up late to dye a bunch of new colors for a special bear for Claude. I'd started this while home visiting my parents some weeks ago- but that batch of colors had to be abandoned after I realized in my sleep deprived state I didn't draw out enough pattern pieces- so I didn't have enough fabric to make a whole bear. That was frustrating to say the least... So coming into the studio this morning I was so pleased to see a bunch of beautiful colors and a half made little bear. I'm looking forward to making more of these in different color combinations- I wonder which I'll end up giving Claude? Maybe I'll let him pick.
Today is the Update- Come to my Esty Store to Shop today at 12noon CST. (Enjoy the preview below!)
It has been so much fun to work on all these boys- This is the first time I've posted each piece in an edition for everyone to choose their favorite. It's a shift which opened up my process of working and allowed me a little more freedom in the studio. I was less concerned with making them all look exactly the same, and instead I was able to make three big families of sextuplets. (Wow, Sextuplets. Even writing that words makes me tired.) Hope you all enjoy this view into my process- and these big families of lucky lucky boys.
I've been dying a little ribbon. I needed a specific color to match a muted gold I'd dyed months ago and while I wasn't totally successful all these colors lined up on the ironing board made me happy. I'll have to work on that tricky gold a little later this afternoon.
Happy Anniversary Everyone! Well well well... It was around this time last year that I posted my first entry on this blog. Needless to say a lot has changed in the last 365 days. I moved out of my huge, beautiful, sun-filled studio into a newly renovated space in my home, bringing my whole life under one roof. I gave birth to my first child, sweet Claude last July and I've spent the last 7+ months trying to figure out what it means to run a business, be a mom, and keep everything in balance.
The question I've been asked more than any other in the last year is "how do you do it all?". Well, the only honest answer is: I have a lot of help.
Most people don't have the luxury of demanding creative time in their day whether it's not lucrative, not valued or there are to many other demands which are inflexible - it becomes the thing that is pushed aside. I've carved out a space in my life for making in large part by splitting my days with Jay. Since we're both artists our schedules are fluid and we're able to give each other more or less time in the studio depending on our current work load. We have nannydays once a week, and I have an assistant who comes in a few hours here and there to help keep the studio tidy and running tiptop. Even with all the help, trying to get everything done is a daily challenge and I've found that readjusting my expectations has been the hardest thing about parenthood.
It all comes back to balance. That elusive, desirable, and oohh so difficult to attain sweet spot. I find the harder I try to hold it all perfectly together in preconceived order, the quicker everything falls apart and I'm left feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. On good days I'm able to float though with grace and ease- caring for Claude's needs, getting a post on the blog, sewing a bit, answering all my emails, and if it's a really good day maybe getting a little knitting in before I settle into bed. Those are good days. The bad days look a little different- I'm frazzled, running around seemingly aimless, getting nothing accomplished and all the while not being the best mom either. Really, most days fall somewhere in the middle.
I hate the idea that I've created some unrealistic example for women to- get it all done- all the time- with the full time demands of caring for children. While I feel unqualified to be dispensing words of wisdom... I guess this is what I come back to when I've had a bad day:
Just keep simple.
Enjoy being with my child when I'm with him.
Focus all my attention on work when I have the chance to be in the studio.
Take full advantage of nap time.
Make time for myself.
Cultivate gratitude for the love in my life and the joy that's all around me daily.
That may sound overly simplified and it is, but I think that may be the point- and today that's the best most honest answer I've got. Thank you all for spending the last year, months, days with me on the blog... it's been a very good year and I'm glad I've been able to share it.
Monday March 8th at 12noon CST) (10am Pacific, 11am Mountain, 1pm Eastern)
This update will be a little different than unusual. Instead of posting all the new pieces on my website I'll be making all 18 new bears available on my Etsy Shop. In addition to the location switch up, I'll be posting each bear in the 3 editions separately. Meaning the 3 different bear designs each have 6 pieces in each edition = 18 new bears. I thought it would be fun to see the slight variation in the pieces and create rare opportunity to choose a favorite from the whole edition.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with Etsy (create an account, see how shops are set up, and learn the details of checking out) before Monday if you'd like to shop. One tip: items are not reserved for you if they're your cart- you have to complete checkout to finalize the sale.
It's hard to admit that spring is still a few months away, but I've begun to take action. Saturday I spent the day cleaning my house- it may not be all that "picked up" but it's clean- like Mmmmm Ohhhh. That clean. As a little gift to myself (as if a clean house isn't enough of a gift) I bought this brightbeautiful blanket. I just put it into the washer and took it out to the line- My neighbors look at me like I'm crazy when I hang our laundry outside at 10below, but since it's nearly 40F today I feel like anyone using their dryer is just plain mad. It may take a little longer but catching the sunshine in your blankets to bring inside is worth the effort. When I close my eyes tonight I might just fall asleep believing the windows have been thrown open and we've made it- Spring has arrive in all her glory...