Procrastinating

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I’m one of those super productive procrastinators. At the moment, I have a load of laundry going, dinner is prepped, I’ve cleaned off my desk, unpacked the luggage meant for the canceled teepee camping, paid bills, and have polished off a satisfying meal consisting of an avocado-tomato-egg sandwich. I even almost started to bake bread from scratch.

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In short, I’ve done everything except what I’m supposed to be doing: working on the illustrations for book #3. But look! I’ve taken a small sampling of my many, many watercolor sets and spent an unconscionable number of minutes arranging them for a photo and I’ve also been painting color charts because those are undeniably useful though admittedly not necessary.

The surest way for me to get motivated to take care of domestic duties and superfluous tasks is to dangle a work-related deadline in my direction. It doesn’t matter how much I enjoy the actual work for said deadline, I seem to find ways to avoid doing it until push comes to shove. Sigh.

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Alright, enough procrastinating. I will be back on Friday with a lovely giveaway!

P.S. The photos show my favorite watercolors that I use the most these days:

Schmincke

Maimeri Blu

Angora

Greenleaf & Blueberry

Kuretake Gansai Tambi (I have the 18- and 36-color set — these may actually be my very very favorite)

P.P.S. The giveaway bundle winner is Audie, congrats!!

Good-bye Little Girl Room

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Poor M pulled a muscle in his back on Friday, so we figured teepee camping was probably not the best idea. Since the camp site is so close and the rate was on the economical side, we didn’t feel too guilty about canceling and had a quiet, at-home fête of three.

But K had been looking forward to the teepee and was a bit bummed out (I suspect what she really wanted was the s’mores). Partly to assuage her and partly because we’ve been talking about it forever, K and I hit IKEA to finally update her room from pink and purple sparkle-ness to something a little more grown-up. I was rather impressed by her decisiveness when it came to selecting the rug, bedding, and curtains. As you can see, she went with a subdued palette. That swivel-chair was her favorite purchase, fyi. I was surprised that she chose black because it comes in cute colors like green, pink, blue, light grey…

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The Nordis sheer curtains were too long, so I shortened them, which was the highlight of my sewing over the weekend though I am working on my secret sewing project for M (spoiler: it’s not going well – if you saw my sneak peek on Instagram, that is by far the best-looking part of the project).

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This. This curtain rod and double brackets had me pulling out my hair, proving, yet again, that I am so not handy. “Mama, there’s an awful lot of ‘ow!’, ‘oops!’, ‘AAAAAGH’s going on,” K commented, as I tried to wrangle the power drill to tame the uncooperative screws. The curtain brackets are from IKEA as well and a monkey could have easily installed them, but I am obviously not as dextrous as a monkey.

Because K’s room is east-facing, it’s like a broiler in there during the summer months, but her original curtain rod had broken and we’d been trying to shield the sun with foam boards that I happened to have on hand. Not a classy look, let me tell you. I’ve known for a long time that I should put up blackout curtains, but laziness kept winning out, and I was willing to live with the shanty-town look.

But it’s my girl’s 10th birthday in five days and she deserves better. Clearly sheer curtains weren’t going to cut it. Hence the double curtain rods and blackout curtains. I’m quite proud that I finally got everything measured, screwed in and acceptably installed. The curtain rod with the glass finial is from Amazon as is the grey-ish white blackout curtains — they were a good deal! They initially looked really cheap, but I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised by  how put-together it all seems.

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All this talk of curtains and bedding is well and good, but the most important part of her room is directly across from her bunk bed: the studio. This is where my musical child practices her instruments and composes songs and generally blows me away. She recently recorded a song with her piano/guitar/voice instructor (yes, one teacher for all three) and I couldn’t believe it was K when I heard it in the recording studio. I tried to upload the MP3, but it says the size exceeds the limit for WordPress…oh technology! At any rate, it’s pretty awesome to watch the blossoming of a talent through perseverance.

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And then, of course, there are the signs of approaching teenage-hood on her door.

Alright, all that drilling and redecorating wiped me out! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Happy Friday + Randomness

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Happy Friday! While we were in Michigan with M’s family a couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law quietly handed me a box while I was reading and nodding off on their cottage deck. It was from her mother, my grandmother-in-law as it were, who passed away last September. “Sanae,” her elegant handwritten script had labeled the plain Kraft paper box.

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Inside was a meticulously folded origami box.

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And inside of that, beautiful shibori-dyed fabric. Ronia Marie is a textile artist based in Indiana, where M’s family is from.

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I love ’em. I love, especially, that a woman I’d met only twice who hardly knew me but enfolded me into her family, selected such a thoughtful and appropriate gift.  And that an ancient art form from Japan is practiced with care in Indiana — the heartland of America — where my husband’s family has deep, deep roots. It all feels interconnected.

These handkerchief-sized habotai silk pieces are proffered as jewelry. K immediately beelined for them as soon as I started snapping these photos. I guess we’ll be sharing. We’ll wear shibori bracelets together and think about Great-Grandmom as K knows her, and we’ll learn more about dyeing fabric because I actually don’t know a lot about it and have wanted to dip my toes into what looks like messy fun. Have you done any fabric dyeing? I adore Morgan’s experimentation with shibori (I’ve been asking her to give me lessons for years), and Ute has featured a gorgeous book (I can only find the German version online — I might have to get it anyway) and A Verb For Keeping Warm (of the tunic pattern from earlier this week) also has a heavy focus on textile dyeing — this book by AVFKW owner Kristine Vejar looks amazing.

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Anyway. Wishing you all a terrific weekend! We’re gearing up for this weekend and will be celebrating up a storm for M’s birthday.

A little ferry
Will take us to an island
To our sweet teepee

 

Potential Birthday Tops for a 10-Year-Old

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July is teeming with birthdays in our cozy circle of family and friends, and it feels like we’re celebrating every other day. But the two that matter the most in our household are coming up this weekend and next. This Saturday is M’s special day and we’ve got a teepee booked. He loves those teepees, and I hope we can slumber without any moose scares.

And then the following Saturday, K turns 10!!! A while ago, I found this amazing silk fabric with pink horses and nothing was going to stop me from getting it for K even though a) it’s silk, which is an impractical textile option for a kid and b) it wasn’t, as I’d initially thought, pink unicorns. K is going through a humongo unicorn phase right now.

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I know that she’ll adore it though.

I’ve been so scattered lately. It wasn’t until yesterday that it dawned on me that I have less than two weeks until her birthday and I’ve done so little planning. I’ve totally dropped the ball on this one. If nothing else, I’m determined to sew her a sweet top because she noticed that I’ve been sewing for myself again and said, “No fair! I want you to sew for me!!”

Because the fabric was a bit spendy, I only got a yard and a quarter, which limits what I can make. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following:

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From this book.

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From this book.

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From this book.

I’m leaning towards that last one. The silk would flow so prettily and I might be able to reduce the width a bit to squeeze the pattern pieces out of the small amount I have. What do you think? Which one would you go with? Or do you know of other tween-worthy patterns that could be made from 1.25 yards? I suppose I could combine it with some lawn fabric I have (which is what I might have to do with the very top option with the lace inset), but I don’t know…this one deserves to shine on its own.

I better get crackin’. There’s a sewing project I want to try for M as well, but that one is fairly ambitious so I highly doubt I’ll be able to complete it in time. You know me, always biting off more than I can chew — what would be the sewing equivalent of that? Threading more than the eye of the needle can hold? Cutting more fabric than the pattern requires? My brain is not cooperating…More later!

Endless Summer Tunics

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Good morning! Looky here — I sewed something! In fact, I sewed two somethings:

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This is the Endless Summer Tunic pattern by A Verb For Keeping Warm (have you seen the IG feed? Stunning). How is it that I didn’t know about this pattern?

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I made the grey linen one first — complete with pockets — and used the same fabric as this top for the yoke facing and pocket linings. I should mention that I’ve long since donated that polka dot button down because I felt sloppy and frumpola in it every time I tried it on. No regrets! Marie Kondo would be proud of me.

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Here you can see what it looks like on the inside. It’s an interesting pattern. At first glance it seems super easy and quick but in fact, I timed myself and it took me six hours to make this grey version of the tunic. Most of that was due to hand sewing the armhole bindings and facings, which is recommended though they can easily be machine-stitched. The hand sewing results in a sleeker finish, but man, I’m slow when it comes to stitching by hand. Both the front and back pieces are cut as two pieces instead of on the fold because the center line is slightly curved to provide subtle shaping. I found that this created a flattering silhouette.

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I’m a fan of the gathered detailing on the shoulders and back, though I’m finding more and more that these types of back gathers tend to render me hunch-backed in appearance. Maybe it’s the way I stand?

There was much hemming and hawing over which fabric to use for the pattern, and I’m so glad I started with the linen. I LOVE this tunic. Though I completed it four days ago, I’ve already worn it twice and have gotten quite a few compliments on it!

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Spurred by this newfound sewing mojo, I proceeded to cut out this tutti-frutti-fun-fetti looking fabric I got from here. I can’t find it on their site anymore, but it’s German lightweight cotton according to my receipt as there’s no selvage info on the fabric itself.

I shortened this version by 4 inches, omitted pockets and used a pretty dusty pink/rose cotton gauze for the armhole binding and yoke facing. For this shorter tunic, I didn’t bother with interfacing the back yoke. Maybe it’s because of that and the stretchiness of the gauze, but the armholes are huge!

endless-summer-tunic7I cut the 41″ finished bust size and the fit is spot on for the grey version, but I feel like I should have gone down one size for tutti-frutti-fun-fetti. Fingers crossed that this will shrink some in the wash, because there’s some embarrassing gaping that happens around the armholes and this might have to be a swimsuit cover. I guess I can always wear a tank top underneath, but the point of a summer tunic is to stay cool and not layer up, right?

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Still, it’s cute enough and I like that it’s a departure from my usual color scheme (or is it? It does have pink and navy and mint, which are all high on my list of preferred colors).

The first Endless Summer Tunic I stitched up is probably going to get a lot more wear. Linen. Grey. Loose, long, comfy yet stylish. Pockets. Easily mistaken for maternity wear. It’s got everything I look for in a garment.

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Have you tried this pattern? What do you think of it? Would it be too much if I made a third one out of dark denim shirting? I would lengthen it by a few inches so I could wear it as a full-on dress. Mmmmm…I just might do it.