A photo shoot class

Our neighbor is a photographer, and is such a nice person.  He and his wife go on amazing trips, share some of their photos from the road, and they come home full of stories, that I love hearing about.

They also listen to what our kids have to say and what they are doing and making.  The last conversation was about Siena’s making and her new Etsy shop and we asked him to give us  a little help in the photo-taking area.

I find it so hard to take good pictures that will show the details of something.  And for the shop, of Siena’s little creations, so hard to keep it all in mind.


He then gave us a morning of his time to show us a better way to take photos for our creations, on the Etsy store, as well as for some of the pictures and videos they make in other times.  (Like the videos and photos for their Lego Blog.)

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I think we might start by making a small light box like this one and this one maybe (same idea.)  I can see us having lots of fun with it.

Portland Thorns

Few weeks ago some friends invited Lucas and Siena to go see a Portland Thorns Game.  Siena came back home that night with a plan.  Her friend mentioned she really wanted to buy one of the stuffed bear with the Thorns t-shirt, but I guess she has lots of teddy bears, and wasn’t sure if she wanted to spend her money on that.

So the next day, Siena asked secretly to her mom for one of her friend’s special teddy bears, so she could “Thorn-ize it.”  Our friend’s mom (also a friend), brought two of her special stuffies, a Thorns buff, and Siena got to work.


She knew exactly what she wanted to do.  She is so good at that.  She has a vision and can bring it to reality.  I love watching her do that.

IMG_1457 She used an old t-shirt and cut it and sewed it to make it fit to this dog (I think it is.)

IMG_1458 She glued and sewed the Thorns logo from the buff.

IMG_1461 After much thought and some trials, this other stuffy friend got a scarf and a flag.  Siena tried to make him a t-shirt, but was harder because it is a hand puppet.  So then she tried a vest.  I think this was the best idea.

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That same day, Siena took them to her friend and I guess she was surprised and really liked them.  Now they are also ready to cheer the team.  Go Thorns! 

Making : new pillows

IMG_1492 After making the quilt with the indigo dyed fabrics from last year, I’ve been thinking and planning on making a few other things.  I really like the blue…


So I decided to make a pillow for Siena.  She had asked me if she could keep the quilt in her room, and I thought it looked nice in the living room, to have for those moments someone needs something warm (I know we are not short on blankets, we have lots of other quilts handy as well, but I guess it is fun to see it laying around, since I just made it.)

So I made a (modern) log cabin block for the front and just added the back, with a fold over.  Easy to change the cover (to that Paris cover I made them last year.)  IMG_1505 I thought this fabric for the back matched the blue tone in the front, and I knew Siena would like that.

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(Having it outside in that blue chair, might be a little too much blue but I liked the light outside.)IMG_1499 IMG_1522

So for a day or so the pillow was in the living room, and looked really good with the indigo quilt.


Siena likes blues.  She really does.  I think it might a connection to the water (and pool and swimming) she loves so much.  She did take her pillow to her room soon.  And after I looked around for the quilt, I knew exactly where I would find it. IMG_1874

It does look cute in her room.  And I like it that she likes keeping it organized and matchy.  And what else can I ask for, right?  Sneaking Mama-made things to her room, to make it look nice is a real compliment.  I’ll take it!


So then I made a new pillow cover for Lucas.  I’ve had these baseball fabrics for years, and it is baseball season after all!

IMG_1871 It jumped from outside. To inside.

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To Lucas’s bedroom.  He does have few things red and polka dots, but not everything.  It is just when he chooses this comforter, everything seem really dotted and red. IMG_1879

I’ll keep sewing if I’ll get this model to show me how good it works, right?

Making :: a baby blanket

One of Mark’s co-workers and friend, just became a grandma.  And so I had to make a little baby blanket.

IMG_1363 I cut up 5×5 squares of flannel.

IMG_1364 IMG_1366 Sewed them together.


And ta da!IMG_1369

He’s a little boy, so I put a truck flannel in the back with a fabric I had bought to make something for Lucas… and I never did.  So I am so glad I got to use it for another little boy.


I put a cotton batting and didn’t put binding, I turned it instead, to make it with soft edges.


I didn’t get a picture of it finished(darn it!), but I ended up tying it with blue cotton thread that I think tied it well with the blue in the back.  I just love flannel blankets and their softness.

The sling shots


Two Christmases ago, the kids received a sling shot each, made especially for them by our friend.  She remembered how she made them when she was growing up, and told us the stories of how her and her brothers made them, and how her mom used to get mad at them for cutting the tongue of their leather shoes, so they could make these.  She has 6 siblings, so I bet their mom did get upset!  (I wonder if they each cut the tongue of their own shoe, ruining 7 pairs, or if they cut both tongues of a pair, and so ruining just 3 pairs?  I wonder…)

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Anyway.  She made Lucas and Siena a sling shot each, and apologize in advance for any damage they might cause.  We loved all of it, and will take the consequences, I guess (I hope my kids are not reading this one.)  This time she cut leather from a glove she had.  For the elastic part, she couldn’t find a good rubber even after going to the bike shop to get a popped tired.  She says the tires are not elastic enough these days, different from heydays growing up.  So she had to get surgical tubing.  And it works perfectly!


We liked when she told us about her stories from growing up, as much as her stories on how she was trying to make them this time, and her thinking of all the possibilities they could use these now…. here in the city, as oppose to the farm she grew up at.

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The kids took their sling shot when we went for a hike here and there, but it was way more fun in Idaho.  DSC_0038 DSC_0039

They of course, were not throwing at anything to injure.  They were rocks, rabbit and deer poop sent to the air, or to touch the water, or reach the other side of the pond.  Real testing of what it could do.

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I remember I used to have one too growing up.  I wonder how many of us used to play with one, and how many kids today have one.  It was fun to see the kids play with it and not having to worry to damage anything or anyone was a big bonus!  Our friend knows us well, I guess.   Thank you Linda!

Making :: the indigo quilt


Once we had the boxes and things almost all packed away and organized from our last fair (thanks mostly to Siena), I found myself with an afternoon, free for whatever I wanted to do.  IMG_1066

After I organized some of the fabrics in the shelf, I had been thinking about all those pieces we dyed last fall with indigo.  I got them out, ironed them and figured which ones were of similar weight and quality, and what can be used for a new quilt.

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Because… well you know, we needed a new quilt.  Let’s just say, we didn’t have an all-blue one!


I really like how it turned out.  IMG_1303

The spring craft fair


… Breathe in… breathe out…. Phew!  A fun (and very busy) weekend we had, filled with colors, and beautiful handmade goods, of all sorts.  Ceramics, photography, textiles, paper, leather, jewelry, clothes, and even music and performances by the students of the school the craft fair was (that I wish we could have been closer so we could watch and hear better.)

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It was a busy and tiring two days.  Loooong hours, but we survived and had fun.  Siena did great, and after we get our check, we’ll have a chance to talk and decide what we’d do different and the same, and what we’d like to do for next time.


We didn’t really have time to shop or look much to all the tables, maybe to and from here and there.  But we got to meet and spend all weekend with our table partner, a mom, jewelry maker filled with beautiful hand-mades.  She was so nice, and her daughter was too, and both really fun to hang out for all those hours.  Interesting for Siena too, get to talk and even get a trade!


Now, all put away, boxes organized, and thinking what we’ll do next and Siena already making new things.  She’s on top of things!  I think I’m going to finish my Christmas quilt when I get a chance.

Making for the fair

For months, we’ve been making, getting ready for the fair this weekend.

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I can say probably, for years we’ve been making.  Yes, I’ve always been a crafter, growing up with my mom, and my grandmas (both of them), there’s always been sewing projects or canning or knitting or needlework, surrounding my life.

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I’ve always liked to try making new things, new methods, new ways, new products.  You can check with any member of my family, and they’ll tell you I have too many (cool) pens, and too much (fun) yarn and (soft) wool and (bright, soft) fabric, and (cool) paper… I totally agree.  But I have to say, this girl down here, especially, is not much different than me.

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Thank goodness, because I love seeing her creativity.  She sees something in a book or magazine, or online, and takes it her own way.  And many times she thinks about it and makes it and keeps going at it, until she likes what she comes up with.


The thing my family won’t tell you, though? Is that if their creativity wakes them up in the middle of the night, or before dinner, and we need a special supply right away, they know they can check with me or go to our Art Studio and they can probably find it, and be able to produce their project as dreamt.  Thanks to my assortment of tape or glue and papers or a specific fabric that we have out there.  I think in the end, they are thankful I like those cool pens and fabrics after all!


And I have to say, that those wool felt pieces, all organized, in rainbow order, were Siena’s Christmas present this past winter, and she’s been using them and loves to have them on the ready for when she needs them.   And can you see my wobbly piles of fabric around it?  I’m glad she’s more organized than me.  She keeps me on task.

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And so this weekend we have our first spring craft fair.  There’s been some shuffling of what we have, some new ideas turned into something, and we really can’t wait to see how it goes.  A new place, a new experience for sure.

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Spring is in the air, and on our tables.

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Things are getting finished and packed and ready to go.


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Some music, old seasons of Car Talk, or a book on tape (OK, audiobook) is usually on the radio to keep us going.


Even though it doesn’t look like it in this picture… we are ready for this weekend.

If you are in town (Portland, Oregon), come and see us at the Buckman Art Show & Sell this weekend.


Making : A Christmas quilt

For years, I’ve been wanting to make a Christmas quilt.  But by the time the decorating for Christmas arrives in our house, we are deep in activities.  Between birthday celebrations, swim meets, and all the making that we need to do for the craft fairs, it leaves little time for just sewing, sewing for us.  After the crafts are done, then I have the list of gifts I’d like to make for our family and friends.  So, there’s not much time until after the holidays.


So this year, I decided to go ahead and get started, after all the holiday making was done.

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I had a pattern in mind, so it was a matter of picking the fabrics that I wanted to use for this quilt.  And started cutting.


Started matching them up and sewing.


Then the blocks.

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Now, the top is done.  I have the back for it (an old sheet) and and the fabric I want to use for the binding.  I’ll finish it after we are done with this next craft fair coming up.

Making : Hot pads

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A good friend of ours had her birthday this month, and even though she said she doesn’t have a birthday this year, we gave her a non-birthday present.

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They went to France few months ago so I thought I’d make her some pot holders with the Paris fabric I have from the quilts I made for Lucas and Siena (a post on that coming up) and the one I made for us.DSC_0004 copy

I sewed the strips together and added a bottom strip, to make it a little bigger, since the frame of those postcard-type fabric, wasn’t big enough.  I layered the top and the bottom with cotton batting and insulated lining (Insul-Bright.)

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I thought they turned out pretty cute, so I made some for us too.

DSC_0001 I used the rest of the frames I had and used the left over strips I had from the kids’ quilts.

DSC_0004 So they were all different, but look similar I think.

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I stitched it around the seams so the batting doesn’t move around, so a very simple quilt. And instead of binding I sewed the pieces inside out, and then turned it (making sure I sewed a ribbon for hanging them), and top stitched all the way around the edge to close the opening where I turned it right side out.


Pretty simple after all and it’s always fun to have something just made in the kitchen, that we use every day, and reminds us of our adventures.