Sunday, December 9, 2012

Exactly What You Need

You never know when exactly the "right" thing is going to happen in your life.

This could be something big, like an unexpected raise, an invitation to something you've been dying to do...or it can be something small.

After a day filled with unpleasant unexpected surprises, I got a very special request.

A couple from the midwest contacted me thru my Etsy store.  They are adopting two little girls from Russia and wondered if I could make them another blanket so they could bring both girls home wrapped in them.

Who could say no to that?

Their sweet sweet story is exactly what I needed.

I had no idea.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's the Holiday Season

I found some new pals for my vintage christmas ornament collection a few months back.

 So many pink ones!

I cannot wait to get out the rest of my ornaments and start decorating.

What do you mean it's already December 8th?!?!?!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Hallows Eve

The last moments of light tonight

Thrifty score of the night
2.99 Minnetonkas

A good Halloween

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Turning 1 is a big deal

I can't believe I haven't shared the custom 1st birthday bibs I made for a couple clients this year!

They were super cute...and the special recipients were pretty adorable wearing them.

I love them.  I hope to make more...'cuz turning 1 is a big deal. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lucky Ones

My cousins and I?  We are the lucky ones.

We got to spend summers at my grandparents farm, learning lots of useful skills, without actually knowing it.  I perfected my top stitching there.  I learned where the phrase "like a chicken with it's head cut off" comes from first hand.  I learned how to herd sheep (sort of).

We had popcorn and apples for dinner when cooking just wasn't on the menu.  There was always some kind of baked good stashed in the freezer, or if it was winter, on the stairs leading up to the north and blue rooms.  If you're lucky, I'll make you one of my favorite treats -- Bugles with peanut butter dipped in chocolate.  Salty sweet goodness.

We learned valuable math skills while playing gin rummy, spelling (with the assistance of a huge ancient dictionary sometimes) by playing Scrabble and all around sportsmanship because Grandma didn't let us win.

Later, while in college a funny shaped box would show up in my SPO now and again.  Always recognizable on site, Grandma liked to reuse boxes from granola bars, cut down cereal boxes, etc.  Friends would wonder why I was getting a box of granola bars in the mail, but I knew there was homemade goodness to be found inside.  And I was happy to share...if I had to.

The lessons we didn't know we were learning were about being strong, and independent.  Always willing to lend a hand to someone in need...but unwilling to take any guff from anyone.  The bank teller always greeting my grandfather with a smile, he with a twinkle in his eye, taught kindness...even though our eye was on getting the lollipop for the drive home.

Honesty.  Intrgrity.  Compassion.  Kindness.  

Some would say these lessons are rooted in small town, rural middle America.  I say they are rooted in family, and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

May I strive to be the kind of woman that has a stream of guests coming to see her because she's been away from them from too long.  With a twinkle in my eye, and kindness in my heart I hope to always be a living example of all these lessons, even in what seems to be the darkest of hours.

See?  I told you.

We are the lucky ones.

(This is a rendering of a drop for THE ORPHANS HOME CYCLE) which hangs in my office and reminds me of my Grandparent's farm.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012


This is what happens when you find black dishcloth cotton on clearance, and the sale of the day is 50% off all red tag clearance items.  You KNOW how I can't pass up a good deal.  So much inspiration in .97 worth of yarn.

Four pink mosaic ballband dishcloths!  I love how the pink and white variegated yarn can produce such different results depending on where you start.  Plus, the cloth in the top left used up three tiny balls of left overs.  Some were so small to call them a ball is pushing it.  Gotta love NO WASTE!

I can't stop...three more small balls of leftovers is going into this one...
Coming soon to an etsy store near you!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shoppes on Grand

I've been rearranging things lately. Furniture, cabinets, what have you.

I came across these gems and immediately was transported to visiting my grandparents. Most vividly, I remember getting lunch with my grandma on a girls only outing. It involved a cup of soup, and probably 1/2 a sandwich. But this was normally in the summer...did we really have a cup of soup in the summer? I guess we did.

And now, it's time for me to continue the tradition...even if it is in my own kitchen, after running errands and cleaning house.

Here's to you, Grandma!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sometimes Trash is a Treasure

When I was in 6th grade, my mom picked me up from school in they alley that ran into the staff parking lot outside the 6th grade door.  To this day (and let's be honest, I was in 6th grade A WHILE ago) I can remember the day I got in the car and she said "we're going around the block and back down the alley."  As we drove down the alley, back toward the middle school I was instructed to get out and pick up the wheeled office chair that was out in someones trash. 

I was mortified.

That chair was missing a wheel ( was in the trash) but otherwise in decent shape.  But not for long.  A replacement wheel (a wooden one at that) soon took it's place on that chair, and suddenly we had two chairs for the sewing room that had wheels.  Awesome.

Remember how I said I was mortified?

Sunday I was taking a box of things I no longer needed to goodwill...along the way I spotted an older blue suitcase on the left side of the road.  I passed it by, but continued to think about it.  I almost turned around.  But I felt like I'd gone too far.  Then I passed a huge basket on the right that looked like it was full of frames.  I'm in the market for some different, low cost artwork for my house, and since this was the second curbside find I'd driven past, I drove around the block and stopped back at the basket of frames.  I picked out two, put them in the trunk and went on my merry way to goodwill.

But I couldn't stop thinking about those suitcases!

On my way back home (after a trip to the grocery and a long line at the goodwill drop off) I drove home, fingers crossed that my blue suitcase would still be there.

It was.  And there was a bonus inside.  A smaller version of it's self.  Both are in excellent condition. 

I guess I owe my mom a big thank you for making me get over my own pride, and pick that chair out of the trash.  I scored some great new craft show display items!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thrifting in your own home

Sometimes the thriftiest things don't cost you a dime.

I "discovered" a box in the basement this week which contained various antique linens that I didn't know I had.  Admittedly, once I started looking thru the box, I did vaguely remember where these items had come from, but hadn't considered them for years, and certainly wouldn't have remembered them if I was in the market for some linens for decorating.

Here are some of my faces

How sweet is that middle one with the hand appliqu├ęd flowers?  It's currently trying out a new spot on top of my treadle sewing machine toped with my retro "rotary" dial phone.  See that plaid pile?  That is a card table tablecloth with matching napkins which have hand embroidered scottie dogs.  CUTE!  I feel the need to have a card party...hmmm...

This hankie has got to take the cake however.
Connecticut living.  Hilarious.  I actually found TWO of these...wonder who I should gift one to?

What'd you find on your latest thrifty excursion?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

They're heeeeeeeeeere!

The droolies have arrived!


Check them out in our easy shop -- Boutique Girl -- the perfect gift for the next baby shower you need to attend.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweater -- second time around

Many of you may remember the sweet sweater I made for a friend whose baby was due last February.

I have had the great fortune of getting to know that sweet baby over the past year, and luckily she seems to like me *almost* as much as I like her.  The sweater was a huge hit with her parents, and only recently was it packed lovingly away, waiting for the next child to be born into this amazing family.

Baby's first birthday was last weekend, and I decided that since she, and her mama, seem to be fans of handknits, that I would knit her another sweater.

So I whipped up this little ditty.

I had made the Saroyan shawl for myself this fall, and had a great time with the fun leaves on the edge, so knew that those same leaves down the front would be super cute.  This is my first top down raglan pattern, and was so much easier than I thought "real" sweater knitting would be.  I have been thinking about making one for myself (a top down raglan, that is) but fear I am delusional about how much knitting time one for me will take.  I'm significantly larger than a 1 year old.

I wasn't around for present opening time, but have been told that after the sweater was opened, Lady Z walked over to it, picked it up and started rubbing it against her face.  A lover of handknits turned one last Friday, to be sure.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Keeping it Simple

When I decorated for Christmas I used less than 1/4 of the decorations I own.  I needed my house to seem like Christmas, but I needed it to be simple.  Not a lot of time putting things up, and not a lot of time taking them down.  I put up some of my favorites (remember the bowl of antique ornaments) and called it a day.

I don't normally decorate for Valentines Day.  It's all I can do to get Christmas put away in a timely manner.  But this year, I wanted to.  I was sure I had decorations waiting in a bin that never get put out.

I found one ornament.


Then I remembered some springy wreaths I'd thrifted a while back.  

So I put them together.  

It makes me smile.

Sometimes keeping it simple is all you need.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Calendars

We've finished the third week of 2012.

I've spent 9 days in the office.

I have no 2012 calendar.

It's making me batty.

So many things that I do on a daily basis revolve around dates.  Reviewing contracts.  Making season calendars.  I sent out an email to the board committee I'm responsible for about an upcoming meeting, and after I hit send I panicked that the 19th is not actually Thursday.  And I had nothing to look up and reassure myself that I was remembering the schedule correctly.  (It is Thursday, by the way.)

Usually I spend the days following Christmas looking for a deal on the next year's calendar.  I mean why pay full price?  This year I was blessed to be gifted two calendars.  One of scenes Iowa in all seasons.  It's pretty great to see fantastic photos of the place I grew up every month...some are of places I've actually been!

The other is a great indy designed calendar my sister found on Etsy.  I've been looking at it every night on my kitchen calendar, in it's plastic sleeve thinking how I needed to get a frame for it.  And then I remembered I had a frame that I had from my first craft shows that I wasn't using anymore.  It was on top of the dryer.  And had been for some time.

I finally pulled it up from the basement (why is it so difficult to walk down those stairs sometimes?) scrubbed off the caked on dryer lint (ok, not really, that makes my laundry situation sound like a fire hazard.  It was just dusty.) and put it together.

On Friday I gave it a place of honor on top of my (also dusty) PC tower.

Watcha think?

I rather like it.

Maybe next year the "indy designer" who supplies my office calendar will BE my sister.  Check out some of the great stuff she's designed!