Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Resting Time

It has been unseasonably cold here for a long stretch. We still have hummingbirds (the Anna's is a year 'round resident) and we had taken to bringing a fresh feeder of food out every morning and bringing the previous day's food in (it was a solid block of ice after being out all night). The little guys would hover and chirp in anticipation of their breakfast. Here is a picture that our friend, Dick Logan, took of a male staying warm. I took one of our little guy, but my camera is a wimp compared to Dick's! Now it is warm and raining, and the hummers are happy again.

I have been very busy with BCharmer, sewing and packaging and shipping for the holiday season. I feel so grateful for all of my wonderful customers, who have kept me busy all year. I have now closed both of my shops so that I can pay attention to my poor neglected family. I will re-open in 2010! I hope to have fresh inventory and a couple of new designs to show off. I recently purchased some new fabric from Joel Dewberry's "Deer Valley" line, and I'm smitten. Here are a couple of examples of items that I've made with it so far:

I wish you all a happy, safe, and healthy holiday. I'll see you in 2010!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sunshine on the Frost

Dear Friends,

First of all, I want to say, "Thank-You" from the bottom to the top of my heart for your loving and supporting words when I had a hard time in my last post. Today, when I dropped Bronwyn off at school, I had an amazing surprise! The photographer had miraculously gotten a shot of Bronwyn in between her wiggles and seizures, and guess what? the picture turned out great! I honestly think it might be her best school picture yet. I feel like such a dummy now.

I have been VERY busy with holiday orders through my shop (YIPPEE!!!) but I got a nasty computer virus before the Thanksgiving Holiday, and that made it pretty tough to stay in touch as much as I like to. Now I am back online, thanks to the genius that is my husband, and am trying to get caught up. I have lots to talk about, but I will try to be organized about it and put it into several posts so that nobody gets overwhelmed! For now, I would like to celebrate Bronwyn's great school picture, and remind myself that things do work out in the end, one way or another.

Here's a sunny little wallet that I recently made. I call it "Satsuma Lace." It reminds me of an indoor tea party situated in front of a giant picture window. It is cold outside, but warm within. There are fancy sandwiches with no crusts, little satsuma oranges, delicious hot tea, and good friends. And even though our pinkies are turned up while holding our fancy tea cups, we're doing it for fun.

Outside my house it is sunny and frosty, just like my story.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just Keep Swimming

This morning was tough, but only by my own design (hey, I am a designer after all). Outwardly, everything was great: Bronwyn slept well, was cheerful in the morning, and we got off to school without a hitch. But inside, there was anxiety brewing. It was picture day at school today. We missed the first go 'round because Bronwyn was sick, so today was our last chance for a school picture (the re-take day). I don't know why it feels so important to me to get a nice school picture. I have a camera, and I have reasonable skills with it, but somehow, getting a school picture feels like an important part of being "normal" in life.

Weeks before picture day, I talked with Bronwyn's teacher about the best way to go about the physical part of photographing her: Should we keep her in her wheelchair? Should we try another type of seating? How much time do we have for the shot? Do I get to participate? Her teacher assured me that the photographers were used to taking photos of kids with special needs, and that they were very patient and accommodating. I backed away from the cliff a little.
Upon arrival at school this morning, we went straight away to the photo session.
There was a long line.
Bronwyn got crabby.
It was our turn.
Bronwyn couldn't keep her head still.
She had a seizure.
She cried.
The photographer said she didn't have time to let Bronwyn calm down and try again.
We didn't get a picture.
DEEP BREATH: I put on a brave face and when we returned to the classroom I said that it was okay, but I was having a hard time not crying! I felt so devastated... why???
I went to the gym and got some exercise. I reminded myself of what is really important.
I told myself that I had put too much emotional energy into something that wasn't really a big deal.
But my heart didn't want to listen. Maybe I just need to have an emotional day; sometimes it's just the thing. Life's a sea of emotion, and it's best to keep on swimming through.

Today's photos are of the new pinnafore that I made for Bronwyn for picture day. She sure does look adorable in it, even if I can't show you with a picture of her wearing it right now. Today's Song: "No New Tale to Tell" by Love and Rockets. Click ont the icon on the right hand side of the blog to hear it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thinking Soft

I am having a really good time making pillow covers (when I have time). It's a different way to play with fabric combinations to create a mood, and gets my mind working in new ways. Yesterday, I purchased a small selection of plain colored cottons in hopes of making more pillows in combination with coordinating prints. These sumptuous colors rock my world!

And this pillow is one that was made by special request for my dear friend, Sam. I liked it so much that I made another for my Artfire and Etsy shop.

Friday, November 13, 2009


It is a busy time of year for me, and I am having a hard time finding the time for all of the bits and pieces (like keeping up with my blog). Here I will show you a new messenger bag that I just finished. It was inspired long ago in this post by my garden. I named this the "Sweet Potato" Messenger because of the color and the vining, organic nature of the print. The lining is a Civil War reproduction stripe in cheddar.

Today I am working on completing a donation to the YMCA for their charity auction, and then it's back to keeping up on inventory for the holidays. I just inherited a bag of gorgeous wool sweaters that I plan to make up into throw pillow covers. Stay tuned!

In home news, Bronwyn lost her top front tooth. She looks older to me already! Here she is, feeling proud of herself!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Something New

As I promised in my first newsletter, I am introducing Home Decor items to my shops. I am beginning with pillow covers. I have a love of linen: the texture, the drape, and it's unfussy elegance draw me in. The first two covers that I've made feature a bit of linen with a satiny, home decor weight cotton twill and also a standard woven cotton. This first one is made with colors that I am surrounded by right now. And even though the print is snowberries, I was inspired by this pebble and moss photo that I took a while back:

This is the back side of the snowberry cover. It is in a cotton twill called, "Olive Oil." Isn't that a great name?

The second cover that I made has a linen back and cotton front:

It was inspired by the contrast between the soft, pearly light of the Pacific Northwest and the fall leaves.

Stay snug, my friends!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Making Light

We have entered the late phase of fall. We live in the Northern Hemisphere. Not the northern most hemisphere, but we're closer to the pole than many. This means that the days get shorter and shorter as the winter comes closer. By Winter solstice, it is dark here by 4:00 in the afternoon. This can be tough for a sun-loving gal like myself, and so I do what I can to invite the light into my life whenever possible. For Halloween this past weekend, Bronwyn and I set up luminaria along our driveway and fun and spooky pumpkins on our porch to invite the goblins to our door. I used three candles in each pumpkin instead of just one, and the effect was very cheerful (if a spooky pumpkin can be described that way).

We had a great time seeing everyone's creative costumes and got rid of most of our candy!
I hope everyone else had a fun and safe Halloween!

In the realm of BCharmer news, I am excited to tell you that I have started a newsletter! I'm not sure how often it will come out yet (maybe quarterly?), but the first one has already been sent out. If you would like to receive it (with coupons and extra studio news), you can sign up on the right hand side of my blog here. It's easy to sign up; just enter your name and e-mail address, and then confirm your e-mail when prompted to. That's it! Cheers!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Fun Little Suprise! (For Me)

Happy Sunday! I just got a fun notification that I thought I would share with you.

A while back, Bronwyn and I went to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and had a great time with My Mom and newly adopted sisters. I took lots of pictures and posted them on my Flickr Page and also blogged about our experience. About a month ago, I was contacted by Emma Williams, the Managing Editor for the online publication SCHMAP! asking for permission to use one of my photos for their Seattle guide. Of course I agreed, and the guide is now published. My photo is this one:

I like this picture, but you should see the others that were also chosen to feature the zoo! Mine is pretty shabby when I look at those. But still, my ego is a little puffy (I'm like a chickadee in winter right now) because someone liked my picture enough to publish it! Here's a link to the Woodland Park Zoo Shmap feature, where you can see my photo as well as the others:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fashion Magazines

VivaLaModa magazine

This morning we are feeling a wee bit better, but I have been more creative in my mind than with my hands. So this post will be a little different. I read a blog post yesterday by the fabulous Kristina of Inaluxe that got me thinking. She talked about how fashion and home magazines are always placing limitations on us rather than empowering us to express our true style. I almost never read fashion magazines for this very reason (plus they always make me feel fat), but I did a little research and came across a gem: Viva la Moda, a fashion magazine dedicated to personal style through the handmade movement and vintage items.

Viva la Moda is a bi-monthly magazine, and features fashion spots for adults and children. Additionally there are articles about green products and home decor. I was perusing the magazine and found a great article about Sicily and it was written by a good friend of mine, Judit Wild of Vadjuka! What a fun discovery. In short, this is a magazine that offers fashion inspiration, supports artists, helps the planet, and it is readable! WOW. I think my faith has been renewed.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Inspiration

We are sick. Again. It feels like this happens every October, and I really dread it. But I'm trying to stay positive, so I'll focus on the things that October brings that I enjoy:


Sumptuous moss.

Jewel toned leaves.

Raindrops suspended in webs.


Flannel sheets.

Looking inward



Really it's a longer list than any reader would have the attention for. But it's good to remember a few of them when I'm feeling lonely from our quarantine.
Bronwyn and I went out for some air yesterday. There was a break in the rain and we really needed to breathe. We didn't go far, but even around our house we saw many of the lovely things that I love this time of year. I don't have the energy for creating right now, so I'll share with you some pictures that I took on our walk.

Friday, October 16, 2009

There is Warmth in Rain

It has been raining and winding for the past coulple of days; darkness is setting in, and I find myself feeling more groggy in the morning. At the same time, I find warmth and beauty in this weather. The trees are still turning, and the moss is greening up. A heavy comforter on my bed insulates me in the night. I am snug.

My neighbor commissioned this special scarf from me; it is made from vintage Japanese silk and an Italian silk twill. I think the colors of the Japanese silk are so perfect for this weather; it's grey, blue, rust, brown, yellow, and more. And even though the scarf weighs almost nothing, it is incredibly warm! If only silk weren't such a fussy sew, I would use it more often!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

I have come down with a pretty bad sore throat, and can hardly speak! As a child I almost never got sick, but now that I have a child, I think I'm getting all of the ailments that I missed out on before.


I'll keep it short today, but I wanted to share with you this cheerful new wallet that I added to my Tomboy series. I made it for my good friend, Dianna, who wanted a sunny yellow, happy wallet. I liked it so much that I cut out another one for my artfire and etsy shops. I have to admit, it makes me feel better, just looking at it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sometimes you have to Suck it and See

Today I want to talk a little bit more about one of the things that I realized when I was immersed in my color workshop a few days ago. In that post, I said that I thought that the creation of art was a lot like life. Let me elaborate a little bit on this topic.

One of the first things that helped me with this realization was when Brandon (the workshop leader) showed me how different my piece looked from a distance, compared to how it looked in my lap. As I had been working on it, I really didn't like how it was turning out. Brandon emphasized that it was critical to hang your work up on the wall and stand back to get perspective. "When your work is 10 cm from your nose," he said, "You are blind to it."

Now I ask myself: how many times have I had an inter-personal struggle (at work, at home, with my child, with myself) that was basically solved when I stepped back to see another side of the story? How many times have I been overwhelmed by a difficult moment in my day, only to realize that it is only one piece of a complex puzzle which is composed of both joyous and hard pieces?

Brandon pointed out that at a distance, you can see what is working and what isn't. And one of the rules of the workshop was "No undoing what is already done." If something wasn't working, we were encouraged to change our method, change our color pallette, change what needed to be changed and move on. After the change was made and worked up for a while, then we were to step back again and compare our change to what came before; to examine improvements, and also see what could be changed yet again.
With every step of the workshop, the life analogies became more and more obvious; so much so that sometimes I'd let out a little giggle. "What's so funny, Blossom?" Brandon would ask. "Oh nothing, just enjoying myself," I'd reply. I mean, in life there's no backspace; there's no "delete" button. You have to either ignore your mistakes and keep on making them over and over again, or you recognize them and say, "let's not do that again if we can help it, okay?" The value of the "No undoing your work" policy in the workshop was that your "mistakes" served as a lesson that you could witness. You got to make an improvement, with your mistake being your guide. In this way, I realized that mistakes are actually my friend! WOW!
At one moment in the class, I was struggling with choosing another color and went to Brandon for help. I asked what additional color he thought my pallette needed, and he said, "well, let's go to our materials and find out." I was struck by this because, 1) He didn't have the answer in his head, and 2) his method was exactly what mine would have been, had I not had someone there to ask: he went to our yarns, laid my work down amongst them, and just picked through different colors to see what he thought would look good. In this way, I realized that I am trustworthy. I actually do know what to do. I have my own perspective, which is unique and interesting and worth expressing. Both in life and in art. I ask myself, "Will I like this flavor of candy?" and the answer is that I will just have to Suck it and See! Maybe it will be bitter, maybe it will be just right; I'll never know until I try.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Thoughtful Reprise

Good Day! I am still reeling from my intense workshop on color, and I have more to say about my experience and what I learned. But for today, I will keep it short. First, I'm excited to tell you that I did a brief interview about my fabric stash with the lovely Mary Beth of the amazing blog True Up: a blog devoted to fabric. You can read the interview here and see photos of my fabric stash here:

And I will leave you with one of the little card wallets that I made from fabric designed by Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Studio. This fabric line is called, "Dogwood" and it is so lovely!