Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DIY: Sparkling Personality

 I've had my vintage paper doll collection stuffed in envelopes for months because I just couldn't think of a way to display them. So when Christmas rolled around and I was in a decorating frenzy, it came to me to dress my tree in vintage. 

I am about to go off on a wee bit of a rant. Before I do, I would like to preface my upcoming comments with the following bit of info. Try as I might, I do not have a Sparkling Personality. If it's morning, I am slumpy (that's sleepy + grumpy), before lunch I am often hangry (that's hunger induced anger) and in the evenings, I'm occasionally exhausticated (exhausted with a desire to self-medicate). This leaves just a few hours of the day for me to sparkle. And I'm no Edward Cullen, 'kay?

 While shopping in some little boutiques this past weekend, I saw the cutest ever glittery clothespins. For $25. Wait, what? Um, no. So I went to http://www.michaels.com/ and picked up these mini clothespins along with some finely ground glitter. I coated the top in Modge Podge, dipped in glitter, added another coat of M.P. and viola! Glittery Clothespins for under $5.

That being said, I have made one of my resolutions to "fake it till I make it". Meaning, to work through whatever unpleasant mood I am in and turn it around to a positive one. Of course, I do think that it is fine, maybe even healthy, to be grouchy, angry and grumpy at times...as long as it is not directed with the intent to hurt others. So that's my plan.
One of the items I did pick up at a local boutique. Some sweet little DIY paper chains made by this company http://www.eastofindia.co.uk/

Wow, so that was a lot of prefacing. Now on to the rant. When my family was in town this past weekend, we did some shopping in one of the cutest areas near my home, downtown Franklin. If you're not familiar, it has the feel of an old fashioned town square brimming with boutiques and restaurants. It's also a place where  you can "shop local", if you're into that sort of thing.
Since I loved seeing my dolls on the tree, I didn't want to pack them back into the envelopes just yet. I knew they needed a place in my sewing room but space is pretty tight, as you can see. So I assembled my paper chains, attached the ladies with my glitter clothespins, and strung them above my framed collection of vintage notions. 

I was sad to see that several of the shop keepers/employees where just plain rude to us. When we entered several of the stores, we were not greeted or asked if we needed help. In fact, when we did approach some folk, it seemed that we were a real bother as they were texting or browsing on their computer. I have a habit of calling out "thank you!" when I leave a shop which was met on two occasions with a grunt.
Not wanting to put more nail holes in the wall (which already looks like a shooting range), I put stick pins in the wall and hung the chains over them.

As stated earlier, I'm not so great at masking my moods so I can relate to crankiness. But, really. With little local shops sinking faster than the Titanic, you'd think they'd work a little harder on their customer service. So I'm not sporting a name brand pair of heels or a headful of hundred dollar highlights. What I am carrying is a no-name brand purse with a knockoff wallet inside chuck full of Christmas cash I'm ready to spend. But not at your shop.
The funny thing is, I've never been treated like that when I walk into the franchise shops. Starbucks is one of the friendliest places around. It's no wonder to me that the little chocolate and coffee shop that was once next door where I was treated like dirt is no longer around. And good riddance.
It's not like I'm asking these people to go nuts when I enter the store, just fake it. Fake it till you make it. There, rant over.
Now, let me tell you about the shops in downtown Franklin that are local and experts at customer service. Here's a list of my favorite, always polite, strongly recommended shops: The Shoppes on Main http://www.theshoppesonmain.net/

And, my favorite, The What's In Store http://www.whats-in-store.com/

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

DIY: Back to Blogging!

 The above photo was taken this past July when I finished quilting a chevron pattern that I used to cover an ottoman.
Hi, there. I know, it's been a while. A year or three. But I've got the urge to start blogging again. I've really missed it, mostly because I like the idea of documenting what I'm doing. I don't keep a diary or a sketchbook so this is the closest thing I've got to remembering what I've been up to. I've got a terrible memory (which I seriously attribute to the consumption of too many Diet Cokes. It's the devil's nectar, people) and I'm pretty lazy so I'm hoping this will hold me accountable. And keep me off the streets.
I used this very easy chevron pattern found here...http://www.quilterscache.com/C/ChevronBlock.htmlI picked up the 4" foam from JoAnn's and a wooden board and legs purchased at Lowe's as the base.
 Over the summer, I decided to recover my homemade ottoman with a chevron pattern. I found this insanely easy pattern online (please don't let the cheesy outdated website fool you) and whipped this bad boy up. Maybe it's just me, but I'm still happy when I see it. Especially now that we've moved a couch into the room and it makes for a pretty awesome footstool. So I got it in my head that I could quilt. Me. Quilt. Haha, I'm so delusional.
Image from that dangerous temptress of a store that goes by the name http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/index.jsp. Has anyone hit their sales lately? I went on Black Friday, and as a buddy of mine said "I absolutely lost all sense of reason." 50% off sale items? Then, yes, I do need a feather and shell encrusted clutch in the shape of a hedgehog.
 Being the quilting expert that I am, I decided that I could quilt the incredible Navajo-meets-Chevron pattern as seen on the above anthro rug. Without a pattern. Or any idea how to make it happen. And with 1" squares. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I was planning on covering another ottoman. One that just happens to be 80" in length. Yeah. So I got this far...
And I just had to stop. Because I was becoming homocidal. I was working with linen because it's so stinking pretty but not a great quilting fabric. The weave in linen is big and tends to unravel easily. And I'm the worst at math so, as you can see, my edges just weren't matching up. I did more seam ripping and cursing than I did sewing. Finally a voice of reason (ahem, hubs) told me that maybe I should reconsider.

And so I have. What I love so much about the chevron pattern is the optical illusion effect. A tumbling blocks pattern has an even stronger effect so I've decided to give it a shot. I actually am going to sketch this one out as the pattern is difficult for my little brain. And I'm going to dedicate some of my blog posts to the making of it to hopefully hold myself accountable. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spinning Top

You know you are surrounded by die-hard fans when people start throwin' their underwear at the Star Wars characters...and the underwear happen to be mens briefs. 

I'm feeling a little dizzy. Been saying Yes! Let's do it! and Oh! Count me in! to one too many things lately. I feel like a spinning top, whirling around, trying to do more and more while going faster and faster.
Chewbacca attempting to autograph some kids hat which is difficult when you have furry man hands. At least that is what I'm told. I wouldn't know as I have the delicate hands of a lady. Except for that wicked middle finger which has a mind of it's own.

Don't get me wrong, it's all been great fun. Like Star Wars weekend with hubs, going to see Chihuly with some girlfriends, hosting an art party this time with kids and without grown-up drinks (which may or may not have helped us all) ... and all that in a week's time. Yeah, that's a lot. Now you see why I'm dizzy.
Can you tell I  like this project? The end result is just amazing. I think I'll kick off the school year with a similar project, now that I've got this lesson perfected.

 And while I love having fun things to do, it's when I try doing too much I hit spinning top mode: crashing into things and making huge messes while wobbling out of control. So, I'm going to slow down. Focus. Lock myself in my craft room and make stuff.
The Loft at Henpeck Market. I now have belts in this great shop. If you have never been you must go -- it is a country grocery store and restaurant on the first level (the look that Cracker Barrel attempts) and the most surprisingly big and fun shop on the second level. I am in the best part of the Loft: Jondie Boutique!

Because I've got plenty of work to do. Turns out that I've not only been saying count me in to friends, but other belt-related stuff too. Eek! Much to do!
All of which I plan to do...right after returning from this place: Sandestin, Florida. I've never been. Usually our Florida encounters involve theme parks but not beaches. I'm very excited. And a little nervous. I'm going with a group of pals from school...and I keep hearing this voice-over in my head:

This is the true story... of seven strangers... picked to live in a house...work together and have their lives taped... to find out what happens... when people stop being polite... and start getting real...The Real World.

Yeah, I think we'll pass on the "lives taped" portion of Sandestin: The Real World. No one needs to see this spinning top in a bikini!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How are you?

 Some new belts, reversible and embroidered. 
Lovin' my sewing machine and all it's bells and whistles.

If you were one of the two people that read my last post (thanks, Mom and Alison), then you may recall that I said I was gonna take the summer easy. That would be AFTER my first week of up-and-at-'em's, go-get-'ems and let's hop to it's. In keeping with that short-lived theme, I was up at 4:30am this morning and out the door running by 5.
 ...look who's been cooking! And by "cooking", I mean tearing open a box of something, throwing it in a bowl with some butter and zapping it in the micro. Just like Grandma used to make!

This is probably where I should explain my definition of "running". Imagine a tired toddler chasing after a deflated ball and you've got me. So why not call this "jogging"? Because that would be a stretch. It's more like jalking. Anything to prevent the onset of sweat and the burning of calories, says me.
 I am very excited to now be in the What's In Store! Thank you, Rebecca!

I swear I was going somewhere with this, it's just taking me a while. Kinda like me jalking. Anyway, while I was out this morning, I encountered a real runner who, when passing me by at  break neck speed, asked the age old question: How are you? 
 To celebrate the end of the school year, we had a Art/Yay-the-Kids-Are-Gone party at my house last week. These masterpieces were created by some undiscovered talents -- amazing!

I paused before answering this question. To really ponder it. Or maybe to catch my freakin' breath. It was then that I realized that my initial response to this question is usually either something negative or sarcastic. But since I hardly had enough wind to breathe, let alone complete a sentence, I managed a "Fine, you?"
My quilt-a-holic music teacher friend created this one.

Okay, I have to tell you, this dude was old. Like, white hair, running outfit from the 1970's, more wrinkles than my clothes on any given day: OLD. So when he responded "I am terrific. It is a great day!", I thought, well of course you think the day's great, you don't have very many of 'em left.
These ladies are so creative and willing to try anything new. My friend Jeni came up with a different technique and took the project to another level. But she's like that...

Then I thought harder (after which smoke and a burning smell soon followed) and realized why didn't I think the day was great also? The sun was just rising, there was a wonderful combination of warm air and cool breeze, my day's agenda consists of visiting a friend, shopping and packing for a trip: What's not great about that? 
 Taking this guy to Nashville Clothing Company today. Another amazing shop!

Even if my to-do list was less interesting, shouldn't I regard every day as Grrr-eat (yes, I just channeled Tony the Tiger)? I'm gonna try. Which shouldn't be too much of a stretch for the next couple of months. Ask me again on August 4th and we'll see what kind of answer I come up with!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Summertime in the Sixties
  Clockwise starting with the blurry laughing lady: Grandma Marilyn, Grandpa John (who appears to be tweaking my grandma), Uncle Keith, Aunt Donna, my mother (guess who I inherited my big mouth from) and my Aunt Lottie in the middle.

I'm down to the hours before my summer vacay begins. I absolutely cannot wait. The first week off from school, I'm always so gung ho: waking up early, scratching items off my to-do list, cooking, cleaning, yard working. By the second week, that's all pretty much ended and I slide into my summertime routine.
 Mom getting her belly rubbed by Grandma while it looks as though someone's about to cool off my Grandpa. I would love see a Part 2 to this photo as my drenched Grandpa chases after who I assume was my Uncle Keith.

My real summer routine involves sleeping in, eating ice cream at least twice daily, reading trashy Brit-chic novels and thrifting. Every school year I day dream of all of the things I am going to accomplish during the summer and every summer I manage to do a whole lotta nuthin. But this summer is gonna be different.
Summertime in the Seventies
Left to right: Me, Cuz Angie, Aunt Judy. My Grandpa Eddy made our dining table and chairs. I love the red wagon and the Sit -n- Spin in the background.

And when I say "different" it's not because I plan to change or improve or actually do something about my lack of accomplishment. I plan to embrace the laziness. Love it. Wrap my arms around it and squeeze it. I mean, it's what summer is all about, right? At the end of every summer, I always beat myself up over not accomplishing this or that. Not any more.
Summertime in the Eighties
My Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Eddy (her second hubs after G-pa John) took the three of us girls to Florida almost every summer growing up. She sent this postcard to mom.
My Grandma loved Florida...and I love that she signed the postcard "Florida People". I miss those summers with her.

My to-do list is going to involve the following: catching up with friends, watching some old movies (Hitchcock, preferably)  and eating deep fried snack foods with reckless abandon because they are delicious. Oh, and doing silly stuff with cat hair. For this, hubs and I decided to get a jump-start...
Um, yeah. That's all Asha hair. She's been shedding (and hairballing) like madness lately, so Mitch decided to give her a little brushing. We're planning on opening our own Troll Doll factory.

Needless to say, Asha was not impressed with our creative endeavor. I can read her kitty-cat mind: Boy, it's gonna be a long summer.