Archive for January, 2010

It’s cold outside, so instead of bundling up and facing the elements, I wandered through the building where I work. It’s an old warehouse that once held the John Deere factory. Like about a hundred years ago. There are still a few signs of those times, and riding in the gigantic freight elevator is one of them. Enjoy.

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My brother and his family had to say goodbye to their beautiful Abby last week. She was 13 years old and so very sweet and gentle. She greeted them with a wagging tail each time they brought one of their babies home from the hospital. They have four. She was patient and let them crawl over and around and under her. All she asked for were a few tennis balls, a few throws of the frisbee and a few treats from little hands. I took this shot at the end of last summer. Two tennis balls at once. She hit the jackpot.

Abby, you will be missed.

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Ikea Fabrics

Ikea can be a dangerous store. It’s almost as bad as Target where things you didn’t know you needed just jump into your cart. Last week Jen reminded me that Ikea has fabric. Great.  Just what I need: an excuse to go to Ikea and shop for fabric. But I went out there and actually had some self control. I bought three yards. With two I plan to make a pillow for the TV room and the third? No idea. I really love it, so maybe a bag or a little backpack. Any ideas?

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A while back I bought a great pattern from Danger Craft’s Etsy page of this adorable monster. Her name is Penelope. Now that the holidays are over and we’re back from Mexico, I decided to finally start it. I realized I can’t work on sewing projects in front of the TV, so knitting is the answer. But I”m a beginning knitter, I’ve been limited to scarfs and scarfetts. This monster is a big undertaking. Jen came over last night to help me work through some issues, but now I’m ready to get moving. Wish me luck!

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(Okay, so maybe it was from a walk LAST Wednesday, but I figured the sights in sunny Cozumel are more interesting than cold, frozen, gray Minnesota. Enjoy!)

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Sewing Books

As you (probably) know, I’m trying to learn to sew. But instead of buying a ton of (expensive) sewing books, I borrowed a stack from the library. And I’m so glad I did. They’re brilliant!

I’ll probably end up buying a couple of these, or at least one of the Amy Butler books. The projects in all of them are a lot of fun and from what I can tell (haven’t tried anything yet) appear fairly easy, or at least easy to understand. A few projects that have post-it notes on the pages include large floor pillows, placemats, a simple pillow cover and of course a dress and a few toys for Daughter. I’ll get started this weekend, I promise.

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There are dozens and hundreds of jewelry stores in Cozumel. They range from trinkety bracelets with your name on them to Cartier. From what I could tell, most of them were loaded with tacky silver jewelry that may or may not be made with any true silver. I bought a bracelet at one of these stores and was able to negotiate a bargain for myself. But as I wandered around the town, I was drawn to one store repeatedly. Most of their inventory was the same that I saw elsewhere, except slightly less tacky and a bit more legitimate. But then I came across a display case filled with the work of Mexican Jewelry Designer Martha Vargas.

I was immediately drawn to her bracelets made of wood and silver, but reality had me checking out this simple necklace instead.

I love it. I originally thought the black dots were a stone, but it turns out they’re wood. Makes sense. I’m absolutely thrilled that I bought it for myself. Check out her site and her beautiful work. I contacted her US rep and they are working on adding her work to this site.

Here is an artist statement I found from her:

“Today, with these hands, to the rhythm of my woman’s heart, I model the materials of the earth and mix silver, wood, stones and crystals, adding bursts of light.”

Beautiful, isn’t she?

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I Made a Skirt

It’s Finished! Yes, I made a skirt. It was my first project with the new sewing machine and I love it. I chose a “simple” A-line pattern, that included a wasitband and a zipper. (Why did I chose a pattern with a zipper?) I chose two beautiful Amy Butler fabrics. When I had questions on the zipper (of course) I brought the skirt to Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul and the wonderful, knowledgable sales staff helped me out. (BTW – they are amazing, ask them anything!)

And the best part? I finished it just in time to bring it to Mexico and wear it on the beach. Okay, so a safety pin helped me out, but it was close enough.

As for the sewing machine? I love it. It is so easy to use, but more importantly, it’s easy to fix when something goes wrong. I was proud of myself for figuring out the few little issues that came up.

I have a lot of projects in the queue, so stay tuned for more sewing!

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Outta Here…

Can’t take any more snow, cold, wind chills or icy sidewalks. So I’m heading to the beach for a week. Take care, stay warm, and I’ll try to bring back some sunshine.


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I spent the afternoon of New Year’s Day Snowshoeing with a few very good friends. We went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which is a very beautiful and amazing place. If you’ve never been, swing by there sometime. Or at least visit their website. There’s so much to learn and see and do there! We just bundled up and trudged through the crispy snow, making jokes and laughing at with each other.

Thanks ladies (and John), for helping me celebrate the end of a beautiful year!

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