Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Like to Make Things...

I made this doll house furniture about 7 years ago. There used to be 4 chairs, but I'm not sure where the other 3 are now. I photographed it this morning because I was putting a wider selection of art work together for a package I delivered to a local toy company that is looking for a graphic designer. I'm kind of a strange hybrid creative, and still trying to find a new place to fit in. I don't have the web skills that many graphic designers have (I did design Practically Necessary, but there is little coding involved, and a limited number of pages to negotiate). I love a new challenge, and to make things I have never made before.

This week I made a robe for Leo. His old robe was so outgrown, but he loves it so he was still wearing it. A robe is the kind of thing that it might be more cost effective to buy, but that is so personal I really wanted to make it for him. The materials and the pattern came to about $13 - when you add in a half day's labor, it definitely would have been cheaper to go to Kohls. When Leo tried it on and said "it's so great, AND it's handmade, I knew it was worth the time and effort.

I'm also working on an identity design for Unity Temple, a project I find rather daunting. Partly because I am a member, but mostly because it is such a beloved institution with a rich history that I am insecure about being able to create the appropriate design - the design that will express the correct aesthetic. I'll be going over my preliminary designs with my editor soon (my husband Marc) and hopefully will be ready to show something to my contact at UT soon.

How does this all add up? I'm not sure. I like to make things, I like a challenge, and I'm sometimes a little unsure about my abilities. Probably a description for many of us...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rotating and Managing the Textiles

I know it should be time to get rid of this cropped blouse...

Every year at this time I am struck by the importance of one of my biggest tasks: Managing the Textiles. It's time to go through the closets and move summer clothes down to the basement, and then move the fall and winter clothes up. I like to do it in 2-3 rounds, which makes it a more manageable task. I find that there are some warm weather clothes I like to have around a little longer than others (I probably won't wear my summer dresses anymore, but I keep the blouses upstairs longer). The same is true of the fall/winter clothes. I know many people hate this task, but I find it really satisfying.

Of course it's a difficult process to go through the clothes and make decisions about what to keep and what to toss. The old "have I worn this in the last 2 seasons?" rule doesn't always work for me. Being sort of a collector of vintage clothing I feel a special responsibility to some items, especially the home made items - vintage home-made is definitely my favorite kind of clothing. Oddly, I find it easier to get rid of items that I have made - probably because I'm getting rid of them because they were failures, and who wants to be reminded of that??

At this point in my life there is also the issue of "am I too old to wear this?" My cropped "Shapely" shirt with the tiny penguins on it (a favorite at July 4th) should probably be tossed, but I just can't bring myself to.

I love our clothing, and it's such an important part of managing the house that I take it pretty seriously - This year especially as we have to make room for Marc's 18 year old daughter Francesca, she is coming to live with us in November. She will be moving into Marc's den, which contains the closet shown below.

This is actually the way he keeps his closet right now. He claims it's because we are rearranging this room (it also holds one of our 2 computers). How he can keep a plant stand (and what a pathetic plant!) in front of his closet is a mystery to me, but I digress.

This is the closet that Marc and I will soon be sharing. As you can see, I am not ready for him to move in yet!

This is our basement storage. I made a huge "give away" pile and asked Marc to go through it with EXTREME PREJUDICE. He didn't keep a single item - and he took it all to the Brown Elephant. Hurray!

The lovely Francesca. Shown here fresh off the stage after starring in "High School Musical" last year. Mae was just a little impressed :) She has graduated from high school but will be taking a year off before starting college. It is sure to be an adventure for us...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Amy's Apron

I finished "Amy's Apron" yesterday. It's the first full apron I have made from the "Pom's Farm" fabric. Everyone who voted chose "Pom's Farm" - so my decision was easy! I used part of the border for the pocket, and a red polka dot print for the bib lining.

Previously I used 3 large panels to make Mae's curtains. Most of the panels have some issues, but when used as curtains you can barely notice them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oh That's So Romantic!

Amy Dickinson and Bruno Schickel

I've been reading the Vows column of the New York Times every Sunday since it was still in the back of the Sports section. I always found it so delightful and unexpected in that location! It's still my favorite part of the Sunday paper (call me shallow, or romantic - I can take it).

Amy Dickinson replaced Ann Landers as the advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune in 2003, and I started reading her column soon after. She gives the most level headed and sane advice, I just love her attitude. Last year at a Christmas party I had the pleasure of meeting Amy, and we talked aprons, (of course!) I'm pretty sure she told me that she's a full apron type of gal, and I also remember that she was pretty petite. I haven't decided which apron to send her yet - either a full version of Pom's Farm (she's from the Finger Lakes town of Freeville NY), or the full version of Who's Counting? (she might appreciate the funny fabric). I'm still waiting to hear from my friend Peter Sagal (the Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me host) to get me her address, so I've got a little time to ponder. Read the Vows column featuring Amy and Bruno here.If you have an opinion about which apron to send, please let me know!