Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Little Hat

The woman who commissioned me to make a baby hat some weeks ago loved the first one so much, she asked me to do another. This time for a newborn boy. Here's what I came up with. It's also in cashmere/merino and is so so soft! My model is a small vase, and it isn't perfect, but better than other things that I had around the house!

Don't forget about my music of the day. It is to the left of the screen. Today features a singer that is new to me: Marie Digby. I think she's relatively new to the scene but she's going to get big for sure. Her voice is really beautiful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Relaxed and Thawed

What a lovely weekend we had! We were celebrating Memorial Day; a day to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our military. We didn't go anywhere; no shopping, no errands. We just spent time together as a family. Brian strung up our hammock and Bronwyn and I read more from Charlotte's Web. We're 3/4 of the way through it now. Wilbur is just about to head off for the fair, while Charlotte is spinning her egg sac. I practiced the guitar. I've learned my first bar chord! F. I can now play A, A7, C, D, E, Em, E7, F, G, and G7. I think there must be a song in there somewhere, and I'm itching to play something meaningful. Scales and strumming chords is getting boring! I think Bronwyn would agree.

The garden got weeded. The laundry hung out on the line to dry. Our sheets smell like sunshine. All is well. Winter is behind me now, and I am feeling warmed through.

I am almost finished with that special clutch that I'm making. Pictures will come very soon!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day of Champions

Today I had so much fun with Bronwyn! Her school participated in an event called the "Day of Champions," which is a non-competitive track and field day for children with special needs. The energy was great! The school band came out and played, there were cheerleaders, and lots of older students who were volunteers for each station. Bronwyn's favorite event was a bean bag relay. I took her out of her wheelchair and we "ran" to a volunteer who had small bean bags. Bronwyn had to pick up a bean bag and run back to the starting line to drop the bag off. Then she turned around and repeated the process until all of the bags were at the starting line. She also did the long jump into a sand pit, the soccer kick, the discus throw, the shotput (with small foam balls), and she got to kick a huge striped ball around an obstacle course. I was participating with Bronwyn, so I wasn't able to get any pictures of her in action, but her teacher took some, so I hope to post them later on. For now, here are a couple to give you an idea of how much fun we had!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Color Inspiration

I love the color chartreuse or mustard yellow. I especially love it when paired with grey, but today, I saw this fabric in my local shop, Canvas Works, and fell in love! It's not a color that I can pull off wearing, but It excites me nonetheless.

While I was chatting with Nancy, the owner of Canvas Works, she mentioned to me that Kaffe Fassett and his partner Brandon Mably are going to be in town! Brandon is going to do a day long knitting workshop, and Kaffe is going to do an evening lecture and book signing. I am just so thrilled! Both of these men are intensely creative and inspiring. And while I don't always love everything that they do (heck, I don't love everything I do, and I like myself a lot!), I am inspired by them very very much and I can't wait to soak up anything that they are willing to impart. This will happen on October 5th, and it's already in my calendar! If any of you are planning to be in town, and are interested in attending this event, you can contact Nancy at Canvas Works to sign up. It's going to be amazing! I also purchased some of the koi fabric (not by Kaffe or Brandon) in two additional colorways: I thought it was lovely in all interpretations. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I love arugula. If you're not familiar with this most wonderful garden green, let me sing you a song of praise (it's silly, are you ready?):


A little spicy, you add succulence to salad, sandwiches, fruit! You are easy to grow, you make a fine row, you spread but I don't give a hoot. You are eager, impatient, the first to come up, you give the garden such confidence! Oh arugula I love you, I'll eat you with gratitude, your nutrients give me intelligence.


Well, I'm not a poet, but sometimes these things just come out when you feel passionate. I hope you don't mind. This is the first harvest from my garden this year, and of course, it's arugula. I'm having it as a salad for breakfast! These are the thinnings, so they will be especially tender and are best eaten with little else so that you can really experience the full effect of their yumminess. Maybe a little olive oil?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Darlin' Here Comes the Sun

Woo-Hoo! It is sunny today. That means I'm kicking myself off of the computer for the day and will be outside working in the garden and drying off from all of the rain. I need to do some thinning today, and to plant my basil. I will also be hanging clothes on the line; one of my favorite and most satisfying of chores. Maybe I will practice the guitar outside, too: that sounds delightful. So much potential in sunshine, isn't there? The pictures here are of chives (top), Lettuce (left), and Swiss Chard.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Am I Crazy?

I've taken up yet another new hobby. Yes, really. Here is my insanity: there's always a good reason.

My husband and I have been looking for an activity for us to do together that doesn't involve spending a lot of money or having to leave the house. We tried playing cards at night, and board games but c'mon: how many games of scrabble can a couple really play before you look up and say, "I got nothin'. Wanna watch TV?"? So Brian suggested that we learn how to play guitar. What an awesome idea!

As it turns out, we both actually have our own guitars. Brian got them out of the deep recesses of our closet and brought them to the music shop for a tune up. He picked up a self-help book for guitar virgins and came home with our instruments.

Hope and promise shone from the velvet-lined cases and the brand new strings. My guitar is a classical, nylon stringed variety, while Brian's is an acoustic steel stringed version. We sat down. We started with tuning. Right away, I struggled with even being able to reach my fingers around the massive neck of this instrument (a classical guitar has a much wider neck than the other kind). My hands are small, and my fingers are a bit stubby. I was reminded of my first attempts at knitting when I thought, "Are you kidding me? This is just not natural!" And if I didn't have a mountain of evidence to the contrary I would've said, "I'm sorry, but this is just not possible." Giving up already?? No worries, let's switch guitars, says my sweet man. WHEW! Disaster is thwarted. But now I'm playing on steel strings! I am not exaggerating when I say that my fingertips are now white hot globs of stinging pain. And at the same time, they are numb, which I didn't know was possible. BUT, I can now switch between these chords smoothly (if I play slowly enough): E, A, and D. Pretty good, eh?

The picture of the guitar case is a vintage, 1970's. The painting is an original by a friend of my Mom's named Monica Rice. I remember her being a beautiful gypsy woman with insanely long blonde hair and she was not afraid to dress in costume. This guitar used to be my Mom's and so I am happy to be giving it life again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Morning

It is overcast and a little chilly today. And poor little Bronwyn; she has a late spring cold, and is very snorkely and is now coughing. She will miss most of a week's school, which is stressful because I rely on her time away to get work done. Oh well. I can pull a couple of late-nighters to make up for it.
We're currently reading the book "Charlotte's Web" aloud and she's really enjoying it! I think I was about 6 or 7 when I first heard it, so the timing is nearly right. We'll probably make it through a couple of chapters today. Luckily, Brian made some sauce from our rhubarb plant and it has that wonderful summery tang that will remind me that summer really is coming and that the clouds will soon pass.

In an earlier post, I wrote that I'm working on a project for a wedding. Here is a prototype of the design that I will use for the bridesmaids' clutches. I'm also making a couture clutch for the bride from that lovely dupioni silk that I scored a few weeks ago. I will be sure to take photos of that!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Introducing a Genius

Today I am going to do you a visual favor and introduce you to one of my favorite artists. (And so you know, just because I have a lot of favorite artists in no way diminishes the value of each and every one).

Today I give you Kathi Kimmins, woman of so many talents they are impossible to list. She just started blogging, which gives me no end of excitement because now I can see more of the inner workings of her mind. Here's her blog, The Contented Home. And her Etsy store, Ruby Valley is new, too! You can find it here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Story of a Bag: The End

This is the end of my tiny story of two big bags. Remember in my post a few days ago, I said that I wanted to take some better pictures of the Fireweed bag? Well, I sold it before I got the chance! So we'll have to make do with these cloudy day pictures until I make the next one. And while making these bags I remembered a great little tip that was passed on from my Great Grandmother, Ina. To keep her pins sharp, she would scrape the pin lightly through her hair before she inserted the pin into the fabric. The purpose of this was to put a micro layer of oil onto the pin so that it slid more easily into the fabric. I had purchased some new pins and they were very "sticky" when I was trying to work with them. I tried Grandma Ina's trick, and it really works! She actually would stuff her pincushions with the hair from her hairbrush and swore that it kept her pins in fine working order better than anything else.

I also have a little bit of news from my other shop at Art Garage Sale: there's a BIG BIG giveaway happening sponsored by 16 artists from the Art Garage, including me! You can enter the giveaway at ScoutieGirl for your chance to win ALL 16 items! This is a value of over $600.00 worth of great handmade items, including one of my wallets. HOORAY for free art!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Someone's Mama

Happy Mother's Day to all of you nurturing women out there! I got the honor of being a special kind of Mama this spring! Here's the abridged story:

Bronwyn and I were out working in the garden a couple of weeks ago when we heard a lot of commotion in our big Eucalyptus trees nearby. Then a crash. I went over and found a little baby squirrel lying there. His eyes had just opened. I have done wildlife rehabilitation in the past, and so I made sure he was okay, but then put him in the crook of the tree so that his Mama could find him. He hollered and cried for a long time, and still no Mama. So I thought I would help him out and then try again to reunite him with his nest later. He was very hungry!

The next day, I put him back in the tree, and still no Mama. Well, usually the Moms come right away when they hear their babies crying, so I think something must have happened to her. Anyhow, this is Rocky! He stayed with us for a couple of weeks on got very fat and sassy! Then we found a woman nearby that is licensed to rehabilitate small mamals, and we decided to take Rocky to her place. He was begining to be a very busy boy, but he didn't want to be too far away from me. I thought he should be with other squirrels so that he could learn how to do squirrely things! So we said goodbye to Rocky this morning, but I'm sure he will have a very happy life.

Friday, May 8, 2009

All Done, Part One

Finally, I have finished the Story bags. I will feature one today, and it is the one that will ship off to my Mom. It reminds me of pansies, even though the shapes aren't right, the color overwhelmingly says "Pansy" to me. I have finished the other bag, but I was unhappy with the photo shoot: cloudy days just are the worst, and I can't stand shooting with artificial lighting... sunshine tomorrow, I hope!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby B. by BCharmer Designs

Something about spring and summer increases my levels of busy-ness exponentially. It happens every year, and yet I'm always caught off guard. There's the garden, the yard, the housework, family and friend comitments, and, of course, my business. This year is no different and I've become a juggler again. It's a good thing I thrive on constant movement! I have recently gotten two commissions to make gifts for weddings, which is one of my all time favorite things to do. What a priviledge to take part in someone's most special event. Additionally, I'm making 4 diaper bags for upcoming new babies! WOW! I'm feeling the love, that's for sure!

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my story of a bag bags: they're almost finished, really! I know I promised pictures a week ago, but you'll have to wait just a little bit longer... In the meantime, this cute little hat is one that I made for a lovely customer who is helping to welcome her friend's new baby into the world this June. The hat is sized for a 6 month old, so that she can be warm this winter in New York. It's cashmere and merino: SO soft!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Story of a Bag: Part 2

The two bags are coming along now! I have finished up the "fussy" part, which is to put the zippers in and the front pockets. Once that is done, the rest feels pretty smooth and rhythmic. It's very satisfying to see the pieces coming together. I find that as the bag starts to take shape it's difficult for me to stop working on it. I think, "I'll just finish up this topstitching detail, and then I'll stop." And then it progresses and I think, "I have to see how the pockets will look on the sides; I'll just add those and then I'll stop." A few hours later, my blood sugar is in the basement and I'm shaky and agitated and making mistakes. But you all know how it goes... obsession is obsession! It could be SO much worse, as my Mother in Law points out.
I'm hoping to finish these today so that I can show you pictures of the ready bags tomorrow!