summer’s early end (and more embroidery)

Well, here it is again: the first day of school. I remember when I was of school age, summer vacation began at the start of June and didn’t end until the after Labor day – a full three month stretch. Now, where we live at least, it’s right around two months, which seems painfully short to me. It was a great summer this year, though. It was the first summer since Bella was 17 months old that I was able to spend it at home with her. Being home with the kids is fantastic and hard and fun and exhausting (did I mention that I’m tired?), but mostly it’s wonderful, and really is just what I have always wanted. I am extremely grateful to be here with them, and to have been able to be fully present for Bella’s summer break.

Our last little trip of the summer was to Portland, Oregon. My youngest cousin on my father’s side was married in Salem, so Bella and I took the trip up with my parents to attend the wedding and visit for a few days with family afterward. I love it up there. It’s cool and green and wide, wide open, with rivers, mountains and farms, all near the beautiful city of Portland. I have long dreamed of leaving California for someplace farther north, and this area in particular is very appealing to me.

We had wonderful visiting time with my lovely Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live up there; they are warm and generous, and so much fun. I so wish we were nearer to them so that our connection could grow deeper – they really are some of my most favorite people on Earth.

For my cousin’s wedding gift, I wanted to embroider towels like I did for Nat & Buck, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a design that I thought was appropriate. I am not at all sure of their personal tastes, since we live so far from one another and the age difference between myself and my cousin is relatively large. They had designed their wedding invitations in a very particular way though, using symbols and styles that I though must be expressive of their taste, since it was all so unique. So, not really knowing the meaning of all of the included designs, I decided to use them, in their chosen colors, on the towels instead of the usual girly stuff I would be inclined to include.

I drew the designs from the invitation at a larger scale onto tracing paper, then went over the drawings with a transfer pencil. I then used an iron to transfer them to the towels. Easy.

Though to me they’re not necessarily the prettiest towels I have ever seen, they were made with love and I hope they are meaningful to Kara & Kevin.

sweet surprises

Yesterday we attended a backyard party celebrating the upcoming birth of a new baby girl, yet to be named. She has chosen for her parents the loveliest, most genuinely kind and full-of-love people I know. We were blessed to have been included in the lovely event, where friends and family gathered together to celebrate them and the new life they have lovingly created. Little did we know that what we had already considered to be the perfect day would be made utterly so by a surprise wedding, known ahead of time by only close family members and a few involved friends. The ceremony was gorgeous and touching and I couldn’t contain my tears of delight.

In token of my love for the beautiful couple and their sure-to-be surpassingly beautiful baby girl, I made these little booties. I love summer, and friends, and parties and surprises, and love itself… almost as much as I love baby feet.

Here’s to all those things.

I created these baby shoes using a pattern from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones. It has tons of awesome baby stuff in it; my little guy has a several things made from patterns found inside. If you have or know babies that you’d like to sew for, you will get so much use from this great book.

a beautiful birthday

Somehow nine years have passed since I gave birth to to sweetest, most beautiful girl in the world.

It really does seem like just a moment ago I was holding her tiny body in my arms for the very first time, those big blue eyes staring back at me, so impossibly calm and wise.

Bella has given me so much these past nine years, and I only hope I can teach her half of what she so beautifully teaches me each and every day. I am so proud to be her mama.

We had a fun weekend celebrating, first by playing miniature golf and riding go-carts at the local fun park along with two of B’s girlfriends. The next day, her birthday, we had a small family party at our house, where we served some of her favorite foods: turkey and bacon croissant sandwiches, fresh berries, cold shrimp, and lemon cream cake with raspberries.

I sewed a banner with her name on it to go along with a few other decorations, including a bouquet of wildflowers I picked in our yard.

birthday banner

birthday banner

wildflowers

wildflowers

It was a beautiful day for a beautiful girl. Happy birthday, my sweet.

Oh yeah! Stay tuned for the lemon cake recipe, which I’ll post tomorrow.

embroidered needle book

I made this needle book last week from some scrap material I had left over from a previous project. It was really simple and cost virtually nothing to make, as I used things I already had. Even if you had to go pick up a few supplies, we’re taking CHEAP.

What a sweet, handmade gift idea for the girl who likes to sew! Mother’s Day is coming up, you know.

HERE, IN A NUTSHELL, IS HOW I DID IT

  • The fabric already had a floral print, so I just outlined some of the flowers with different colored thread in varying stitches.
  • I chose an arbitrary size for the book, and then cut it out so that there would be enough fabric to line the inside and outside of the book, with a little seam allowance.
  • I first sewed the bottom (long) seam of the book, leaving the ends open, and inserted cardstock lined on either side with felt, to give the cover some padding and stiffness. I used two pieces, one each for the front and back, using a little tacky glue to hold them in place.
  • I then used soft wool felt, cut into three pieces for the pages, and sewed it onto the cover with one seam down the middle.
  • Next I sewed closed the two open sides of the cover by hand, and into the back cover I sewed in a looped rope of braided embroidery thread for the fastener.
  • Lastly, I sewed a button onto the front cover, for the loop to go around, to hold the book closed.
front cover

front cover

inside cover

inside cover

pages

pages

closure

closure

open book

open book