Wednesday, July 8, 2015


stories :: hand lettering
hand lettering

I would pull out a stack of books, almost bigger than myself, and snuggle in with my dad on the big black chair with the orange and yellow stitching.  As I would plead, Just one more story, he would feign sleep.  His voice getting tired from all the reading and reading and reading.  It's hard to say if that love of hearing stories was developed then or just something innate.  Still, I love listening to stories.  Books on "tape" for the long drives between San Luis Obispo and San Diego the summer after I graduated and Lukas was interning at a manufacturing company.  Podcasts, now, on the bus ride to work - This American Life, Serial, Invisibilia, The Moth, and Radio Lab.  

I had a friend in middle school who lived down the street from me.  We'd meet half way and walk to her house to practice gymnastics in the big, octagonal room at the back of her house.  In the summer, we'd climb the wooden ladder to sit on the top of the shed in the backyard with our clear plastic jelly shoes going soft and slightly sticky against the asphalt shingles.  In my memory, her mom always had the radio in the kitchen tuned to NPR.  As a kid, that was supposed to be so boring.  I had no idea what they were really talking about and only ever heard snatches of the stories.  But the cadence and rhythm of the voices pulled me in.  They were telling stories and even if I didn't understand, part of me wanted to stay in the kitchen and just listen.  

Like the voices telling the stories that pull me in and hold my attention - even with just the sounds of their words - I want to work on finding my voice.  My voice for telling the stories that make up my life.  Telling a good story isn't simply about getting the facts down correctly.  It might not even be about that at all.  It's about rhythm and timing and melody and feeling.  And, I'm sure, it takes practice.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

going :: home

going home
Shawna + Adrian

I was incredibly excited when the estimated time of arrival showed 30 minutes earlier than expected. But then I ended up circling for 1/2 an hour and getting through customs and baggage claim took longer than expected. I had all my camera settings ready to snap a quick "you've just arrived picture", but the threat of the bicycle helmet wearing, move-it-along authority kept the camera in the car while we hurried big suitcases into the back and pulled away from the curb.  My sister is here!  All the way from Singapore {with her boyfriend too!}.

We headed up the coast to the folks Friday morning with a lunch stop along the way for tasty sandwiches and smoothies in Willits.  Smoothies were very much required because the A/C on the car only works in 20 minute intervals.  The trip was filled was hanging out, playing buzz word {poor international people didn't stand a chance}, a walk to the school, a manual driving lesson, and cooking Father's Day breakfast.  All good stuff... all over too quickly.  

Looking forward to seeing even more family in just a few days for my brother's wedding!!  

going home
my pretty sister

going home
getting it out of his system before the wedding {I think}

going home
good morning, Sunshine!

going home
Emu + Shawna + Adrian

going home
all smiles

going home
Daddy + Daughter

going home
remember to turn the camera on first

going home
TJ goes for a swim post driving lesson

going home
Visiting the first house I lived in

going home
missing Matt

Friday, June 19, 2015

growing :: herb garden reboot

herb garden + lettuce
new :: starting again
The herb garden was in a serious need of a reboot.  The plants were looking mighty sad.  The herb garden beds held hardly growing squash instead of herbs.  The basil bolted almost instantly.  Things needed to be refreshed. 

Last weekend I hit up three nurseries and came home with a pallet of herbs {and lettuce} and more bags of dirt.  Out went the dirt that was more like twigs and in went the fresh dirt that is having much success in the other raised beds.  This time, multiples of all the plants were sown so that we won't be afraid to chop off what we need for cooking.  

Grow little garden, grow!   
lettuce + early green tomato
glamour shots :: little lettuce + little green tomato

Monday, June 8, 2015

making :: pink + elephants {handmade style by noodlehead}

making :: handmade style {travel makeup case}
elephants on parade!
The new book, Handmade Style, by Anna Graham {of noodlehead} came in the mail just a week ago.  I love the way the book is laid out - pictures in the front, directions in the back.  All the projects look great... and many are quickly making it to my must sew list.  This one just had to be first though because I knew exactly who I wanted to make it for... my soon-to-be sister in law!  

Her bridal shower was just a little over a week away when the book came in the mail.  I went online shopping for the perfect fabric, but then realized it wouldn't get here quick enough for me to get the sewing done in time.  Then I found the pink elephants fabric from a 1/2 yard bundle I'd won ages ago.  And it turned out to be perfect!  

I also didn't have time to track down {buy online} the perfect sized zippers that the pattern called for. But I was able to make it work with the offerings from Joann's and I think none was the wiser.  The seam ripper came out a few times - sewing through all those layers and getting everything just right can be a challenge.  I was getting frustrated with quilting the top panels since the outer fabric stretches compared to the thick canvas that is used as the base when doing the quilting.  Basting around the edges {as called for in the pattern} seemed to give me unwanted puckers.  I think if I had more time to take it slow that method could have worked but I need to get this done fast.  So I used a bit of thin, double-sided interfacing {wonder under} fused to the backside of the elephants and then fused to hold the quilt sandwich together.  It worked like a charm! 

For the outer zipper I used two 20" heavy jacket zips and overlapped the tapes where they met in the middle of the case.  I couldn't decide if I should have overlapped or folded back the ends.  But I thought I could get a cleaner finish and have them meet closer if I overlapped.  I only broke two needles trying to carefully sew over the metal zipper ends where they met the hinge pieces.  Oops!  But I probably should be changing my needles more often anyways.

The inside zipper was also a bit smaller than the requested size.  To accommodate that, I added tabs to the ends - just stitched through the wrong side of a leftover piece of the fabric pocket onto the zipper as close to the metal teeth as possible, folded back, pressed, and top stitched.  I trimmed it to 11.5" as the pattern suggested, but wish I had made it 12" since that was the size of the lining piece it would go on.  Since I was adding the tabs any ways I could have made that adjustment, but didn't because I was just following the pattern.

In the end, I finished it just in time.  One late night sewing session + waking up and sewing first thing the day of the shower and it was done with enough time to snap a few pictures, get it wrapped and out the door to make it there on time.  

Now for the rest of the pictures...

making :: handmade style {zipper detail - how to use two zippers}
pink + elephants

making :: handmade style {all the pockets - travel makeup case}

making :: handmade style {travel makeup case - detail}
inner zippered pocket with added zipper tab

making :: handmade style
all filled and ready for honeymoon travels

making :: handmade style (zipper detail on the travel makeup case from Handmade Style}
overlapped zipper ends {making do}

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

growing :: this little garden

in the garden
zucchini + butternut squash 
This little garden of mine is just growing like crazy {or at least parts of it are}.  Here's just a quick photo tour of the {better looking parts of the} backyard.

in the garden
Don't look too closely.  We're still working on reclaiming the rest of the yard.
in the garden
cilantro + pumpkins + marigolds
in the garden
zucchini + peas + PURPLE! cauliflower 

And just to remember where things started... the marigolds got moved to the bed along the fence. Good thing too, as they would have been swallowed whole by the tomatoes in the back bed.
newest garden box
it looked so empty...