crafts, crumbs, sewing, thrifted!

Tic-Tac-Toe Game Set from Simple Quilts and Sewing

Simple quilts and sewing
A new issue of Simple Quilts and Sewing recently came out. And I’m in it!

Okay, I have to fess up… by “recently” I mean October. In the middle of our move, copies of the magazine came to me in the mail. I was so thrilled with the results—the folks at QUILT Magazine did such an amazing job with the photos, oh my heck I love them! And then I finished unpacking 178 boxes. I’m a little behind but trying to catch up.

This is my Tic-Tac-Toe Game Set, a simple project made from three pairs of thrifted jeans. It includes a foldable game board and ten bean-bag style game pieces.

Game

The game is a hit at our house. The boys love to play tic-tac-toe, but more than that they love to toss those game pieces around—into buckets, through hoops, at each other. At me. And me at them. Gotta love games that pull double duty.

I paired the game with a bag made from the same pairs of jeans as the game set. The bag also includes pockets for pens and a small notebook. Just in case the game gets serious and someone wants to keep score.

Bag

The bag really helps with keeping all the pieces together when clean-up time comes. The nice folks at the magazine made the bag into a bonus web pattern.

This part-sewing, part-quilting magazine flies off the shelves when it hits, which is only two times a year. The comments on this page are mostly like, “Aaah, aargh, I can’t find a copy!” Since it was published in October, you may not find a copy at your local grocery store anymore. But if you are interested in getting a copy online, you can order one on their “Back Issues” page. This issue is #122, the Winter 2011 issue of Simple Quilts and Sewing.

I have one more project coming up in the Spring issue of the magazine, which I will certainly share with you on time. We can fit one car into the garage now—I say we’re officially moved in.

Thanks to the team at Simple Quilts and Sewing for taking on this little project!

crumbs, family, holidays

Thankful 2011

Thanksgiving launches such a flurry of activity, doesn’t it? Feasts ready to be eaten. Gifts ready to be given. Songs ready to be sung. Stockings ready to be hung.

The holidays are beginning. Before you know it, they’ll be done.

The cute couple over at Young House Love recently shared a way to capture and save your own thankfuls on paper during the month of November, with printables to boot:

YHLsource

A jar, slips of paper, and a pen. I love their idea so much; it’s such a simple concept. We missed the opportunity to start this idea up during November. But hey, November doesn’t own a patent on thankful. So I think I’ll start today and go through December instead. And instead of paper—just for today—I’ll save my thankfuls right here.

* * *

Thankful for a new little one in our life—found in our backyard, just before the first major freeze of the season—who is reminding all of us to slow down, be gentle, and stay playful:

Dash1Meet Dash (or DJ, if you ask Charlie).

Dash2Yes. He does feel as cuddly and cozy as he looks. (Or she. Not sure just yet.)

Thankful for a fun furniture upcycling project that has happily turned my attention away from all those boxes still in the garage:
Cabinet1Before. (Those white streaks in the photo? Snow.)

Cabinet2After. I like! (The boxes are still in the garage. And that’s okay.)

Thankful for these people:

MomMy mom.

DaddyMy dad.

And their wonderful, caring new partners in life.

Thankful for a heck of a Black Friday sale. On books. Of the quilt and sew and knit variety.

Martingale2
No shirt? No shoes? No problem. (Unless a really weird mood overtakes me, however, I’ll be wearing a shirt Friday morning.)

Thankful for new ideas:

FlowerFlowers at Your Feet, part two, in progress.

LogcabinLog-Cabin-loaded thoughts scratched on sticky notes (and cool notepad pages from October’s Sewing Summit—did you know they just announced dates for 2012?).

After a creativity block during the move, the ideas are starting up again. No matter how they turn out, welcome back, ideas—I thought I’d lost you forever.

Thankful for these beautiful boys:

TheboysWho I want to spend every Thanksgiving with, always. And every other day of the year, too.

Thankful to you, for stopping by.

A cue to be thankful. A reminder. Because no matter how lucky, fortunate, or blessed we are—or how stressed out, bummed out, or down in the dumps we get—prompts to be thankful from time to time are good.

Toss your slip of paper in the jar—what are you thankful for today?

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to you in the states, and a very happy day to you everywhere else!

crumbs, family, farmville

home.

Home1
Empty-rooms
Home4Empty rooms.

Home7
Home8One final grape harvest (and 24 containers of freezer jelly to show for it). Well worth the effort in the midst of our move.

Home19Goodbye, Kaysville. September 24.

We’ve been in our new house for a month now. Odd—sometimes I feel like I’ve been here only a few short days. The move from a bustling suburb to the expanse and quiet of a farming community has been . . . strange. There are some characteristics of this town that I’m sure my new neighbors—some of whom have lived here their whole lives–don’t even notice. But I just can’t seem to get over them. Things like:

Home9No sidewalks. No cars.

I walk down the middle of the road for a mile to pick up Jack from school. We walk in the middle of the road for a mile to make our way home. If Jack walked in the middle of the road in the ‘burbs, I guarantee he’d be grounded.

Home11So much . . . S P A C E. (Two children walking through a massive field to get home from school.)

I’ve lived in suburban neighborhoods all my life. There, every piece of land is used with efficiency. Each plot has a purpose. Here? Well, yes. And no. I keep wondering what the people that own all this space are going to do with it. I’m starting to realize that the answer may be nothing. Nothing at all. It’s simply to have space.

Home10Barns.
Barn2
In all colors, sizes, and states of order and disorder. I’m charmed.

CornCorn fields.

These fields, bordering our backyard, are being harvested now. Rumbling Christmas-green John Deere tractors pull towering, Christmas-red machines behind them. Somehow the red machine pulls the corn stalks from the ground and tosses them into itself. I haven’t gotten close enough to see how it all works yet. But I’m very curious about the farmers in this town. I want to meet one of them. I want to ask how it all works. I hope one of them will share a story or two with me, sometime.

There are onion farms around here too. Over the last several weeks I’ve seen dozens of dump trucks driving along, filled with so many onions you can see them crowning on top of each load. Papery onion skins flutter behind the trucks like a swarm of brown (or white, or purple) butterflies.

I saw my first onion truck on the first day I walked to school to pick up Jack. The truck whizzed by, onion skins flying. I stopped, surprised, and turned to watch it pass. When I looked to the road ahead of me again, there lay a little onion, one side slightly broken from its fall out of the truck. I carried it all the way to the school and then home, thinking about how that onion came to be in my hand. After all the effort of seeding, growing, watering, feeding, harvesting, and trucking, I couldn’t leave it on the road. We had the good half in our dinner that night.

StampedeStampedes.

Okay, there’s only been one so far. And we missed it! Apparently when we were gone one day a neighbor’s cows got loose. As another neighbor tells it, the cows always like to escape to our backyard. Their hooves left deep impressions in our grass. In a few years I might find the holes irritating. This year, I find it amusing.

Meanwhile, as a family, we’re getting used to our new home. The boys are:

Home12Exploring space. Flat. Even. Wide. Open. Space.

Home13While I’m still getting used to all the space, the boys are simply getting a kick out of it.

Home15Enjoying harvests. From a nearby farm.

Home16Playing with empty boxes. Rocket ship? Yes. Space-age sleeping capsule for two? Yes! The possibilities are seemingly endless.

But the newest farming-town novelty for us?

Home17A fire pit!

Bretty dug a hole far from the house one day, deep and perfectly round. That night, we put it to the test.

Home18Charlie’s first time roasting marshmallows.

We still can’t get over that we can build a fire in our backyard. Sure we’ve sat fireside, camping in the mountains with our tents and sleeping bags and coolers. But in our backyard? With a fully-plumbed potty only a few steps away? What a treat!

* * * * *

I’ve spent most of my life living against the mountains—always just a few short miles, or even blocks, from a mountain trailhead. Spent several years on the bench. Moving far away from the mountains, I thought I would miss being so close. I thought I would miss seeing the details of their craggy rocks from my yard. Instead, I’m enjoying the mountains in a whole new way. Against the backdrop of big sky.

Home20Sunup, from the back porch.

So much space. What to do with it all? We have lots of ideas. But this fall, while we’re still getting our bearings, it’s been decided. What will we do with our new space? Nothing. This year, we’re taking a cue from how this little farming town lives. This year, we’ll use our space simply to have space.

But spring? Spring’s another story. Stay tuned.

Charlietalk, crumbs, family, ReSew

the unwritten summer

Summer is gone. Jack starts school on Monday.

Summer is gone.

I had lofty plans for the blog this summer. And now, here we are at the end. I’m realizing that my many, many goals went unrealized. For instance…

I had plans to: post about several pieces of pink Depression glass I inherited when my wonderfully sassy Aunt Dawnaline passed away earlier this year. Her home had pink dishes on the walls, pink dishes on the counters, pink dishes in the bathrooms, pink dishes in the cabinets. Did you know that during the Depression, cereal companies put these dishes inside cereal boxes as an incentive to buy? I think they’re beautiful.

Pinkglass1

Pinkglass2
I had plans to: put up this little tutorial for a denim doormat that I thought might turn out kind of fun.

Doormat1

Doormat2

Doormat3

Doormat4

Doormat5

Doormat6

Still in progress.

I had plans to: share a bit about our trip to St. George and Zion, where we had a wonderful week with my brother and his family:

Zion 1

Zion 2

I had plans to: show off this incredible shawl that was given to me as a gift by a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time—about seven years. She’s this wonderful quilt-book author. Her name is Ursula, and she has a heart of gold. Obviously, she has hands of gold as well.

Shawl1

Shawl2 I lost my breath when I saw this shawl, and fought off tears to save you and I the embarrassment… thank you, Ursula. (And for the gorgeous cupcakes too.) Cold weather can't get here fast enough.

I had plans to: keep up with Jackspeaks and Charlietalks, like this one (rated PG):

Me: “Charlie, I heard that you said, ‘What the hell?’ in front of your cousin.”

Charlie: “Yeah.”

“Well, remember, we talked about that. Those are the kinds of words that aren’t for little boys.”

“I know.”

“Okay then.”

“Can I say ‘What the poop?’”

“No.”

“Can I say “What the pee?’”

“Nope.”

“Can I say, ‘What the penis?’”

“No!”

“Can I say, ‘What the nipples?’”

“Dude, I don’t even know what you mean when you say that. How about you can say, ‘What the heck.’”

Charlie is silent.

Me: “Go on, try it. What the heck?”

Charlie: “Um… what the heck.”

“C’mon, really say it. Say it loud. What the HECK?!?”

“WHAT THE HECK!?!??”

“Yeah!”

“Hmm. Well, I guess. I guess I can say that.”

“Thank you.”

I had plans to: announce that ReSew is now an eBook. You can have all 144 pages on your desktop in less than five minutes. Isn’t that cool? Yay for instant gratification!

Resew ebook

I had plans to: write a post attesting to the fact that sewing connects us globally. Case in point: someone in China linked to a recent tutorial of mine. I used Google Translate to find out what they wrote, hoping it was positive. According to Google, the post says:

The skirt to dress? Have this possible? In the end how to modify it?
We take a look at the WildCards. This site provides good ideas.
Please link to practice page. Another trick is to cut the original T-shirt dress with the upper half.
After reading this demonstration for change clothes. Is not so that we have another new enlightenment?

Google Translate needs some work. (But I was thrilled to see that the post was, indeed, positive. I think.)

But now, at the end of our summer, none of those posts have come to be.

Instead, we’re doing this:

Boxes

We’re moving.

Brett and I have been talking a lot about our family. Brett just noted yesterday that it’s been a full year since we started talking. It’s turned into a pivotal, enlightening discussion about who we’ve been, who we’ve become, and who we want to be. And through so many talks, we decided what is important to us right now:

  • To find a place where our boys can run. And run. And run.
  • To grow a little closer to the earth. All of us.
  • To hear quiet.
  • To see billions of stars at night–instead of scant millions, you know.
  • To smell fresh-cut hay. (Brett’s favorite. It makes him happy.)
  • To produce a freaking HUGE vegetable garden.

So, we imagined a place. We didn’t know where this imaginary place was until just this week. (In fact, when I started this post a while back, I titled it “On a Road to Nowhere.”)

The imaginary place isn’t imaginary anymore. It’s real. And we’re moving there.

I think we may have just turned our year-long talk—our dream, really—into reality.

I am elated. I am scared.

I was recently lamenting at the dinner table about possibly moving Jack from one school to another in the middle of the year. I was afraid for him. I was going on and on and on and on about it.

Suddenly, Jack interrupted me. He said, “Mom, we’re moving. Get over it.”

Oh. Well. That does seem like the easier route. Thanks, my sweet Jacky. Thanks for letting me know you’re game for this adventure, too.

And although we're now moving to a new home, what I’ve learned through this year-long process is that home isn’t where your house is. It’s where the people you love are. For me, it’s where Bretty and Jacky and Charlie-Barley are. Everything else will fall into place. I believe it.

I recently came across this quote (introduced to me via Soulemama). For me, it was the kind of thing that stopped me cold. I read it several times, and then felt a need to print it out and hang it on my design wall. It says:

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
–Mary Oliver

Wild and precious. Yes. And one. Only one.

What is it you plan to do?

crumbs, family, jackspeak

Seven years.

Our Jacky turned seven years old this week.

Teeth

Fall 2010. The morning after losing the second front tooth.

Boy, have I learned a lot about you this year, Jack. One thing I’ve learned is that, after a full year of first grade behind you—and after a painfully shy babyhood—you are really good in social situations. You excel at making friends. You are friendly, accommodating, polite, and thoughtful. At the family birthday party, you blew out your candles and said your wish out loud. You said, “I wish that my entire family stays healthy.” I saw a few family members’ jaws drop. But not mine. Because at your best, you are selfless.

You’re also a charmer. How do I know this? Because of the stack of love letters you received from—ahem—several girls this past year at school. You’ve told me about the ones you like, and the ones you love. But don’t you worry. I’ll keep your secrets about who is who so you can play the field as long as you need to.

There are also some things that haven’t changed.

You are still… not wearing clothes much. Snow, rain, sunshine—it’s always the same. You enter the house, throw pants, shirt, and shoes in a pile on your bed, and hang out in your undies. I’m still under the impression that you will outgrow this little quirk of yours. I was under that same impression last year. Guess I’ll check back next year.

The paragraph above should explain several upcoming photos.

You are still… creating.

Makingthings1with legos

Makingthings2 paper

Makingthings3 buttons

Makingthings4 wooden tool thingy parts

Makingthings5 and more legos. And tiny ninjas and purple rubber frogs.

You are still… loving dress up.

Costume2One of this year’s favorites for me: the bandana loincloth.
(I’ve got pictures of the back too.)

Costume3 You were very proud of this warrior mask. So innocent. You even taped it to your face! I didn’t have the heart to tell you what it reminded me of. I didn’t want to spoil your fun or choke your creativity. The politics of it are for another time.

Costume-4 Modeling a scuba-diving balloon creation given to you by our neighbor.
(More of Marc’s amazing balloon stuff here.)

Costume1 Sometimes your dress up is a little more realistic than I would like.
Yikes! But that’s the actor in you.

(which leads to)

You are still… acting.

Whether you’re portraying a robotic dinosaur:

Ham1
a sad little girl from old Russia:

Ham2
or an old man sneezing…

It’s always entertaining. Bravo.

(Just in case anyone wonders, that’s magic marker on Jack’s chest. It’s an Ironman thing.)

You are still… not swimming.

SwimBut you’re getting braver by the day.

You are still… reading! More than 100 books during the school year. Lots of summer reading too. I’m so very proud that you enjoy it. Chalking that up to me and your dad, reading aloud, reading aloud, and then reading aloud some more. Backs patted.

You are still… loving your brother.

Jandc1

Jandc3

Jandc4

Sleep“Two peas in a pod” never made more sense to me.

* * * * *

I remember when you were a baby, Jacky. That painfully shy babyhood. You were so, so very shy. You held on to me so tightly when we were meeting someone new. So tightly. I didn’t want to force you. So I just squeezed back. I wondered if you would ever gather up the courage to let go.

Jackbaby

These days, you’ll still hold my hand. But if there’s someone new to meet, you let go. You let go of my hand to meet them. And that makes me happy.

I’m starting to realize it’s me that needs to gather up the courage to let go.

I promise I’ll work on loosening my grip a bit. If you’ll promise to, if only once in awhile, hold my hand tight. Like now. Hold my hand, bean, and I’ll hold on to yours. Let’s walk together.

Birthday7 Onto year eight.

crumbs, style

My life. In hair.

In the past few weeks I've seen several posts on blogs I follow about new haircuts. Those posts reminded me of something:

Hey, I was gonna do that.

According to the date on my photo scans, I was planning to document my hair history back in 2009.

Got a new haircut last week.

Pixie1See?

Somehow it feels like the right time to use the photos I so meticulously scanned two years ago. Otherwise, it'd be an awful waste of computer memory.

With that, I give you my personal history. In hair. Mine is a journey filled with innocence and simplicity. With rebellion, lies, and deceit. With dangerous chemical abuse. With dozens and dozens of cases of cheap hairspray. (Seriously, cheap stuff only, please. I need it to work like glue.).

Here goes the long and short–and long and short, and long and short–of it. You'll see what I mean.

Exhibit A: The innocent years. With and without perms.

Hair01 Kindergarten. There are a few photos of
myself that I love. This is one of them.

Hair02Shortly thereafter, we find Dorothy Hamill in her
living room sorting Girl Scout cookies
.

During my growing years, I begin to notice that genetics are going to assure me a lifetime of arrow-straight locks. Thin and limp? Envision a chewed-up piece of bubble gum stretched between two lamp posts. In an attempt to battle nature–and with mom's help–I try a perm. At home.

Yes. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the DO-NOT-TRY-THIS-AT-HOME home perm.

Hair-3-4-5 That's my sister Melainie in both shots above, and my old friend Cathy.
I love the bottom photo. Magically, with a home perm I can become
almost as handsome as my brother-in-law. We’re practically twins!

Luckily, home perms fall out of my hair as quickly as a toddler falls out of a tantrum when you give him a sucker.

And anyway, perms are out. Even though they were never in. Fancy feathering becomes all the rage.

Hair-6-7-8I would've had the hippest hair around…

Teen-idols  … if I had been a boy.
photo photo photo

At some point during my teen years, I decided to take hair matters into my own hands.

Exhibit B: The rebellious years. With and without bleach.

Hair09
Perhaps I worked on this ‘do above just for the photo; perhaps I was on my way to school. It’s hard to know for sure. At the time, I would try anything. Except dyeing my hair.

I wanted to dye my hair so very badly. But mom wouldn’t let me. So secretly, I started “dyeing” my own hair. With bleach. Just a secret spritz every morning from a trial-size spray bottle.

Hair011 I’m sure my mom never noticed.

Hair012If mom ever said anything about my hair, I was planning to
blame it on these guys–my high-school buddies.
I mean, look at the hair here. Major peer pressure.

Now that I'm looking closely at the photo of my friends, I guess perms were in.

Somehow, my hair survived those years. It didn’t fall out, and I don’t think the bleach gave me cancer or anything. Yet.

Exhibit C: The college years. With and without politics.

Hair013 Arm-wrestling a mannequin at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Above: early college. Major: education. When I cried the first time I taught a class because an 8-year-old called me a name, I decided teaching wasn’t for me.

Hair014
Above: late college. Major: women’s studies. And the hair to prove it.

Exhibit D: The get-a-job years. Where the growing gets tough.

Hair016Our first year in Seattle. Slowly leaving the pixie cut behind.

Hair017Still short at my first Quilt Market as a copywriter
for Martingale & Company, but growing.

Three years later, we moved back to Utah. Hair can grow a lot in three years. I was growing it long for one reason. An impending wedding.

Hair021Sometimes I wore my hair down. (I like this picture of
me. I like this picture of Bretty even more.)

Hair-22-23-24
More often than not, though, I wore my hair up. No patience for fussing and flyaways. (Flanked by my gorgeous, now all-grown-up niece and nephew, top right. Both valedictorians and full-ride scholarshippers, yo! Okay, I'm braggin'.)

Hair026Aaah, the wedding day. Long hair, curled
and flowing. As much as my hair can curl and flow.

Wedding’s done. Long hair, be gone! Or . . . not.

Exhibit E: The baby years. A hairdentity crisis.

Hair027In the time of baby Jack. Short.

Hair029In the time of toddler Jack. Medium. (This scarf was featured
in
Quilts and More magazine; pattern here.)

Hair028 Another perm? Really, Jenny, you should know better.

Hair030In the time of growing Charlie. Long.

Oh my goodness, I was so very pregnant.

It is so very nice to not be pregnant.

Hair031In the time of kid Jack, toddler Charlie. Short again.

Hair032These photos were taken for ReSew by a
wonderful photographer out of Southern Utah, Juanita B.

I've pretty much worn the haircut above for the past two years. Until last week.

So that brings us back to present-day hair. What a long, confusing, indecisive journey it has been. But rather than confusing and indecisive, I prefer to call it "creative." Yes. A creative journey.

That's my hair story. And I'm sticking to it.

The other day, my sweet husband–who has always leaned toward liking long hair on me–said of my new haircut, "You look so cute. You look great with short hair. Yeah, keep the short hair."

Between the two of us, it's decided. Welcome back, pixie!

At least, for now.

Pixie2

crafts, crumbs, sewing

the makings of many little monsters

I have a monster story to share. (Don't worry. Not scary.)

Since announcing the goals of this humanitarian group a few weeks back, I’ve received many emails from people about the endeavor. Some wrote to share their own experiences with similar undertakings. Some suggested easy projects that could be made in multiples. Some offered help in making items with their own hands. One is even sending dozens of books all the way from Pennsylvania to help fill our welcome bags (thank you again, Liri!). And some just dropped a note to say they think we are doing a good thing.

For those of you who have reached out, you know who you are. Thank you, YOU!

One friend of mine sent me a pattern, offering to make several of these projects if I thought they would be a good fit for the welcome bags. The project is simple. It is economical. And it is adorable. So after telling her yes please!, I had to make one too.

Mabel Meet Mabel. The Positive Attitude Monster.

This fun monster sewing pattern comes from Rebecca Danger. She’s a knitter by passion and author of the Big Book of Knitted Monsters. I imagine she created this sewn monster design, Max the Monster, for her fans who don’t knit. (Or for her fans who don’t knit well. Like me.) The pattern offers three monster sizes (just one fat quarter needed for the littlest), along with scores of possibilities for personal touches. I chose to hand-embroider around the heart and added extra-large perle cotton eyes.

Heart Whenever I see that wonky red heart and that gentle grin, I get a happy little charge. So lately, she’s been following us around the house. In her happy-little-charge fashion, she’s been encouraging us all the while.

Drawers
Guitar
Laundry
Painting
Legos Superhero She’s just a sweet, upbeat kind of gal. Rubs off on ya.

(I think she needs hair… agree?)

In addition to simple, economical, and adorable, I can also add addictive to the cast of supporting words for this little sewing project. I’m already making space in my sewing room for the impending monster metropolis. For the humanitarian project, of course. But each family member will own a Mabel of their own soon. Even the awesome painter.

I just can’t help myself.

Do-your-bestYou bet I will, Mabel. You bet I will!