Friday, August 24, 2007

japanese weekend



Jon and I were reminiscing about Japan last weekend, so we had a little theme day date.



First Jon whipped up some eel and cucumber rolls and tamago nigiri. He's getting much better at his inside out rolls and he equates this to perfecting his sushi mat saran wrapping skills. And the tamago is getting much neater too thanks to the tamago pan he bought in Japan. Sushi is a lot harder to make than it looks!



After lunch we headed to Novi, the Japanese mecca of Michigan, and checked out the bookstore/tea bar/DVD/souvenir store, Mirai, and the grocery store, One World Market.





I scored at the bookstore finding a craft book and an interesting craft/lifestyle magazine with great pictured directions. The US equivalent is probably something like Better Homes and Gardens or Real Simple. The magazine has gardening tips, clothes sewing projects, exercises, face washing/makeup application tips, and some interesting craft projects. I was a big fan of the price. It's 500 yen in Japan and only $7 at the store, so not a big mark-up at all. The photos aren't as inspiring as normal craft books, but the 4-6 pages of directions per project make the book worth the price.





bags made out of thrifted mens dress shirts





button artwork...I want to try a portrait like this one





this quilt is too cute. Not sure my first applique project should be from a book in Japanese, though!





squishy slippers made from rope covered in a thrifted towel. Jon wants me to make a pair for him for some indoor summer slippers around the house.





all of the project directions in this book are photographed and layed out like this. Great for a non-japanese reader.



Thursday, August 23, 2007

vintage stove embroidery



I'm not sure what exactly drew me to this pattern I found on Vintage Transfer Finds. Perhaps it was our vintage hunting cabin excursion earlier this summer.



I used a borrowed lightbox to trace the pattern onto my fabric and got stitching away. It took me quite a while to finish all those darn little X's...I am not a cross-stitcher, obviously!



So, I framed the finished embroidery in a little frame from IKEA. Not sure where it's going to end up in our house, but at least the project is finished, right?





Wednesday, August 22, 2007

beauty handbag



Here's my first project from one of my newer craft books, Bend the Rules Sewing. This bag didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped it would. I used some really cheap fabric that was a thick screen printed canvas type material. Turns out it was way too thick for this project and was not ironable, so my handles are all wonky and the bag was too thick around the pleats to top stitch. To top it off I sewed the pocket inside upside down. Ugh!



To say I was a bit disappointed with the results is an understatement! I really wanted this project to turn out well because I love the fabric combo I picked out.



Next time I might try making the bag scaled down in a smaller size and with a thinner material for the main part of the bag to avoid the thick seems. I really like the overall design and versatility of this bag.



stitchettes



I finally bit the bullet and bought the four seasons of the wee wonderfuls stitchettes.



My big fall and winter plan is to stitch up the 16 designs and make them into a patchwork quilt like this one with all of my fabric scraps and japanese fabric finds.



Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I love veggies



It’s been a crazy few weeks around our house. The big catalog deadline came and went at work and I made it through with most of my sanity left in tact. Thank goodness! To counteract all the stress at work I found myself relaxing by stitching anything and everything I can get my hands on. I guess you could say that my new obsession of the week is embroidery.





I finally got around to using my tea towel from the Stitch-It kit. I used the I luv veggies patterns from Sublime Stitching to embroider an onion, carrot, and tomato on the towel. We can’t get enough veggies around here so now they’re appearing on our kitchen linens, too.







Monday, August 20, 2007

turtle tote



Here’s a bag that I made for my cousin, Kari…another belated graduation gift. At least it was only a month late. I used some of my favorite turtle fabric from Japan that I’ve been meaning to use for quite a while and the pattern for a library tote from the book, The Crafter’s Companion .





I really like how the tote turned out, especially the gathered fabric for the front pocket.





Monday, August 13, 2007

weekend at the lake



Jon and I went up north to Gladwin, MI this weekend for a family weekend at my aunt and uncle's new lake house. The lake and the house were beautiful and we had a fun time hanging out with the fam...lots of eating, game playing, swimming, boating and relaxing.





Kari and I creamed Jon and Marsh in Sequence!





Hanging out on the deck for a coffee break with my grandparents...our age old summer pastime.



Funniest moment of the weekend: playing pictionary.

My little cousin, Casey, had the clue "New York." She drew one skyscraper, a box with squiggles in it and then finally a rough map of the east coast with a star on New York. We caught on after we saw the star on the map. After we had guessed correctly, we asked her what the box with the squiggles was supposed to be. "Oh, it's a sign that says, 'Welcome to New York.'"



Oh, yes, of course it did. I don't know how we all missed that! : )



Monday, August 6, 2007

embroidered tote bag

While Nuku Nuku was busy napping this weekend, I made a little tote bag to replace my current handbag.





I made the little circle pattern on the front of the bag in photoshop and then used a transfer marker to trace it onto the fabric. I just used the standard stem stitch and embroidery thread that matches the bag lining.





The bag came together quickly until I got to the handle assembly. A few hours, two sore thumbs and two sore forefingers later, I was able to turn them inside out and top-stitch them. Ouch that hurt. What hurt even more was reading about a much easier way to sew handles with linings in Bend the Rules Sewing...oh, well, next time right?





Saturday, August 4, 2007

Shinji's new hobby

Now we can't keep full glasses on the arm of the couch or on the coffee table without having this little visitor come to take his share. I guess the water bowl just isn't cutting it for him anymore!





Friday, August 3, 2007

everything is blooming

We've been enjoying some lovely tossed salads every evening and we haven't had to go to the grocery store for about a week (although the cupboards are getting pretty bare around here). The garden is finally starting to pay off and we love it. Jon and I have finally started to like eating all types of tomatoes. We normally avoided the fresh tomatoes in favor of stewed, sun-dried, roasted or chopped up in salsa tomatoes. Boy were we missing out.





These grape tomatoes can't seem to ever make it inside...they're all eaten on the spot whenever a red one pops up. It's a good thing that I don't work on a tomato farm harvesting grape tomatoes...the company would surely lose money with me around.





The green peppers are starting to bloom...we've got about 15-20 blooms in progress so far.





And the impulse buy dahlia plants that we bought at the tulip farm back in May are finally worth the $3.99 that we paid for them (lots of the other tubers we bought never sprouted). These blooms are huge...about 6" wide.







And, wow! I was just looking back at old posts...look how small the garden used to be! It's grown so much.



Thursday, August 2, 2007

stupid sock creature



My friend Kristen surprised me with this stupid sock creature last night after she found out one of my hidden talents is sewing. It's so soft and squishy and I love it. Aren't the lips hilarious? They sort of remind me of those ugly Nickelodeon cartoons from the 90's. She let me borrow the book, Stupid Sock Creatures, so I'm on the hunt for some cute, colorful, striped socks to try making one.



Wednesday, August 1, 2007

overheard in the car on Sunday while listening to a 90's pop station...



"What band is this...wait, let me guess. Green Day?"



"No"



"Weezer"



"No"



"Wait, don't tell me."



"Think: large vegetable."



"Eggplant, Squash...OH! The Smashing Pumpkins."