Merry + Bright

It’s Christmas Eve and our house is quiet. My mom is drawing in the kitchen, K is off with a friend on a last-minute shopping expedition, M is also out and about — probably hunting for gifts as well. I am sitting by our tree, candles aglow, marveling at the snow that is drifting gently outside.

It’s been quite a year, my friends. I launched one book, completed another (out next September!). I had so many adventures near and far. There were ups and downs, joy and sadness, ebullience and exhaustion. Overall, however, it was a far better year than the previous one, which was one of the toughest. I feel lucky that everything turned out as well as we could have hoped for — there were some touch-and-go moments in 2016 due to some family health issues, and I’m so grateful that 2017 kept improving each month.

I haven’t been around much in the interwebs arena for a long while now. Part of it was intentional; I wanted to slow down and experience life directly. I was also taking care of many things and many people that I didn’t feel I could discuss on a blog, and it took all my focus to juggle the projects I had in the background.

This will be my last post of the year until January, when Ute and I will get the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange rolling — our fifth year!!! Last year blew us away with over 400 participants. So very many kind souls all around the globe! More details to come so stay tuned…

I am incredibly excited for 2018. I don’t know if I’ll post more here, but I would like to. I would like to start making lots and lots of things for the sheer fun of it. A variety of things in addition to books. I feel my energy coming back, and it’s lovely.

I am also profoundly appreciative of all the people I’ve met (in actuality and virtually) through this blog. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, comment, send emails, connect. Thank you for being so wonderful. Again, I feel so lucky to have such regular contact with uplifting, generous folks. M tells me it’s crazy magical and really rare, and I would have to agree.

Happy holidays to you and all your loved ones, and cheers to another year filled with more adventures! Let’s do this. xoxo

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! I’m having one of those weeks when nothing I do seems to turn out well. Case in point: the above photo is a muslin I was working on for K’s graduation dress, but I messed up the invisible zipper insertion and then accidentally tore the very thin rayon fabric in a very bad way when I attempted to unpick the seams. Unsalvageable.

At least it was the muslin, though I was secretly hoping that she’d like it so much that I wouldn’t need to make the final version in an even more finicky, sheer fabric. Ah well, serves me right for trying to shimmy out of extra sewing.

There have been a slew of other less-than-successful sewing and illustration projects, but I’ll spare you the details.

On the bright side, the garden that K and my mom planted a couple of months ago is thriving. So exciting! I’d never even attempted planting anything in our backyard because until recently I believed that I had the blackest of thumbs, but it turns out that K is a diligent gardener and I’m not too shabby either.

We’ve been enjoying salads with fresh lettuce and spinach plucked from the backyard, and oh, they’re delicious. They planted peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach and basil, along with a bunch of wildflower and sunflower. The basil isn’t doing too hot, and we have yet to see an actual carrot or pea pod, but the rest are growing rather nicely. However, some serious weeding needs to happen…

I’m going to take the spate of failed projects as a sign to go have a relaxing weekend. And I will probably eat some more salads. That sounds like a good idea.

Although it eluded me this week, I’m wishing you a success-filled weekend!

Canoeing, soccer,
A friend’s grad party and more
Maybe not so chill…*

*Is it just me and do I write this every year, or is the month of June completely bonkers schedule-wise? My body seems to be rebelling against the frenzied activities and I’m having the worst allergy reactions ever. Did you know? Soaking black tea bags in hot water, letting them cool a bit and putting them on the eyes helps a ton with swollen lids.

 

 

Happy Friday + Randomness

Happy Friday! We’re not into fancy trips. Or long ones. Last weekend, we went on one of our typical low-budget micro-vacations in Central Washington, and it fully reinforced how much we enjoy these.

We stayed in a town called Roslyn made famous via Northern Exposure, a cult TV classic from the 90s. Whenever we go to Roslyn, we avoid the Suncadia resort and stay at the Huckleberry House. We actually thought that the Huckleberry House had closed its doors to business, but I recently got an email announcing a spring special so I delightedly booked two nights.

We had so much fun! The restaurants are excellent, and we filled our bellies with homey deliciousness at the Red Bird Cafe and Roslyn Cafe; M and I also thoroughly savored the great coffee at Basecamp Books and Bites. I really love that combination of coffee shop + book shop, and if I ever retire early (M would argue that I have, in fact, already done that) it’s something I’d consider doing. M and K went biking while I took a walk and familiarized myself with their literary inventory — it’s small, but a well-curated one with an emphasis on outdoor activities and nature topics.

Though 30 long miles away, it was worth the drive to hit up the Ellensburg community pool recreational swim time. We laughed so hard trying to play water basketball, I snorted up an unhealthy amount of water. M forgot his “Dapper Dan” as he calls his hair grooming product, so we somehow ended up at a dollar store on a hilarious quest for some sort of Dapper Dan. He found some sketchy-looking hair gel and K scored some hairbands (exhibit A in photo above). There were 10 headbands in a pack, so each one effectively cost a dime. It made me wonder what you can buy with a dime these days. I feel like I wrote that exact same sentence before. Early Alzheimers… At any rate, after dinner, we cozied up in the well-appointed room filled with worn antiques/vintage furniture and watched Boss Baby on M’s laptop. Yep, un-fancy.

We settled ourselves into the comfortable old sofas in a lounge area and played board games and read a lot during down time. About a year ago, I got this digital book subscription for K that she LOVES. It’s called Epic, and for 5 bucks a month, K can read as many books as she wants from the thousands upon thousands available in digital format. This includes award-winning books and comics and even audio books. Similar to Amazon, the app will list books that she might like based on previous selections, and she adores this feature. I like that I get a weekly report on how much she’s reading as well as what she’s reading, and her numbers are impressive. She clocks in about 500 to 700 minutes a week. And this is just for Epic. She’s a true bookworm and loves good ole analog books too. All this to say, in the photo above K is using the Epic app on my iPad Mini. These are the times when I think technology is awesome.

We were back in Seattle by early afternoon on Sunday, totally refreshed. Ahhhhh. Yet another successful micro-vacation! There will be more in the future!

Have you been on a trip recently? Or do you have plans for an upcoming out-of-town adventure?

Time for me to go back to illustrating. Have a fantastic weekend, my friends! And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!

The micro-vacays
have become my specialties
I love to plan them

Happy Friday + Randomness

holidayplantsHappy Friday! I’ve been pretty under the weather these past few days and I was surprised by how unfamiliar illness feels. The last time I was this sick was back in April, when my mom was visiting and unfortunately caught the flu and then passed it onto me.

holidayplants2

I’m all puffy everywhere and not the most lovely sight to behold. I had plans of showing you my many, many Linden sweatshirts today, but trust me, it’s a public service that I’m not assaulting you with my mug and swollen bod. The flora is pretty though, right?

holidayplants3

Although I’m not feeling my level best at this moment, I’m pleased with how relatively healthy I’ve been throughout the year. Sadly, I can’t say the same for everyone in my family, but we’ve made major headway and are confident that improvement is inevitable. I’ve been deeply involved in a care-taking role and it’s part of the reason my online presence has been a lot quieter this year. We’ve had a tough few months. At the same time, I’ve had a much needed resetting of priorities because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from life, it’s that the same lessons seem to rear their heads repeatedly until I fully absorb them.

Anyway. I just wanted to pop in and say “have a wonderful weekend!” I love this time of year with all the glittering, shimmering, magical lights. As December wraps itself up in a flurry of holiday gifts and year-end merriment, I try to sneak away to sit and reflect for a few hours. 12 months! How quickly it all goes by. I relish writing down the major events of every month, reaching far into the recesses of my mind, occasionally flipping through the calendar and journals from the year. It’s my comforting ritual. Speaking of which, I just might go do that now.

Haiku by K:

The days are shorter
Bundle up well for the cold
And enjoy your break

 

 

 

Happy Friday + Randomness + New Look Patterns

Happy Friday! I am deep, deep into edits for the next book and have come up for brief air. Wait, let me change that. I should be deep, deep into edits but as usual, I’m finding ways to put off the necessary task at hand. However, I’m getting close to finishing up, and as long as I submit everything by Halloween, I’m good to go.

That’s K’s unicorn drawing for me that I keep in my journal these days. I like that even its flatulence is rainbow-shaped. Dreaming and imagining are important. Believing in the intangible and supposedly impossible is also important.

So I am believing that I WILL complete K’s unicorn costume (so close) and my edits and a few other projects. If anyone will be in the Pierce County area tomorrow, I’ll be doing a short presentation at the DIY Fest through the Pierce County Library System at 11:30am. Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun!

Aside from random blog posts, another favorite pastime (read: procrastination) is to plan all the marvelous things I’ll sew when I finally have this mythical, abundance of unicorn-like time.

I was picking up something from JoAnn’s the other day and was pleasantly surprised by the rebranding that New Look seems to be going through, at least for women’s wear. More neutral, a bit more chic. And then I saw them — tween patterns!

newlookpatterns

I grabbed a few, along with three patterns for myself. With my dodgy memory, I’m already starting to forget which ones K wanted me to make for her, so we’ll use this space as my record-keeping method. As far as I can remember, the only New Look pattern I’ve sewn is 6648, which I talked about here and here. The New Look brand is under the umbrella of Simplicity — I wonder what the difference is? Maybe they’re easier to make?

Anyhow, here are the ones K liked:

New Look 6241 // View B

newlook6241

New Look 6297 // Views A, C + D

newlook6297

New Look 6320 // View A

newlook6320

New Look 6338 // All of them

newlook6338

New Look 6487 // Views B and C (She hates view A, which is the one I would have made had I not known…)

newlook6487

“Please start with 6338 and 6297,” she said in her matter-of-fact, efficient way. She even agreed to get rid of some of her existing clothes so I’ll sew more clothes. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

For myself:

New Look 6482 // Views A, B + D

newlook6482

New Look 6449 // Views A, B + C

newlook6449

New Look 6414 // Views A + B

newlook6414Ahhhhhh, imaginary sewing continues to be my happy place. Alright, I’ll be back next week and until then, have a spectacular weekend!

Happy Halloween!
Our resident unicorn
is beside herself 

P.S. Furoku members! I’m shooting to get #20 to you by November 1st, but I might need a couple of extra days…thank you!!