Monday, February 22, 2010

The Second in a Series of Three

I am behind, as usual.  I have been trying to finish a prototype for a smaller messenger bag for almost a year now.  I can't believe it's actually taken me this long, but that's neither here nor there.  Finally, I got my act together and drafted the pattern.  I finished my prototype, and .... it is still too big.  I'm trying to go for a smaller, more accessible price point, but this one will end up being just over $100...too much.  However, I actually think this bag is a practical size: it's perfect as a book bag. So here's what I'm thinking:  I will offer three sizes to pick from: The Kitchen Sink (my giant messenger), The Book Worm (a medium size), and the Tomboy, which will still hold a lot, but won't take up so much room on your body.  Of course this means that I'm back to the drawing board to re-scale the pattern once again, but it shouldn't take me a year to do it this time!  Here are the pictures of the medium sized bag: it's 12 inches (30.5 cm) wide, 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and 4inches (10cm) deep. I used fabric designed by Amy butler for both the inside and the outer flap and back.  This smaller size features two pockets on the back (not found on the bigger bag) and only two pockets on the inside instead of three. 
Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Good Morning, my friends.  My husband was away from home last night for work, and while I miss him and our routine, I also felt very liberated to have a night and a morning "to myself."  Even though our daughter and kitties become my sole responsibility while my sweetheart is away, it still feels like camp or something.  I told Bronwyn, "It's Girl's night tonight!"  We didn't do anything remarkable, but we giggled together and snuggled. 

I got up early this morning, did some stretching, made myself a cup of coffee, and got caught up on reading some blogs that I've been missing.  I also took these pictures of the blooming crocuses in our yard; it's frosty this morning, but the little droplets are just starting to melt.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eye on the Prize

I have to confess that I'm watching an awful lot of TV right now.  You see, I am an Olympic nut.  I have a passion for the Olympics that is difficult to explain.  Somehow, I am reduced to tears by events that I'm not even all that interested in.  But two nights ago, a young mogul skier, Alexandre Bilodeau, from Canada raced to the gold in honor of his older brother, who is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy.  Alexandre said that on the days when he just didn't feel like training or when things just felt too tiring, he would think of his brother, who is confined largely to a wheelchair.  "My best friend and brother can't walk. How would I feel if I were him?" Alexandre would ask himself.  He said that he wouldn't even be an Olympic contender without the inspiration of his brother. 

This, my friends, is what the Olympics is all about for me.  Inspiration.  Pushing onesself to excel, especially when it feel hard, impossible, or futile.  Even though I'm never going to be an elite athlete, I realized that there are lessons that I can learn from these young and genetically rare people: we are all special and not that different from one another.  You know what seperated the Gold medalist from the fourth place finisher in the men's alpine skiing race?  0.21 seconds.  We make a lot of winners and "not" winners, but really, they're so close as to be statistically insignificant.  It's nice to get a medal, and maybe that motivation helps to push through the pain and discomfort of training, but really the honor is in the journey, not the podium.  I find myself asking, "Am I doing my best today?"  "Am I bringing dignity and honor to myself through my actions?"  In my own way, I am in training to be an Olympian of my life, through my community, by being a good Friend, Mother, Wife, and person.  So in a wierd way, being on the couch, watching TV for a couple of hours each night, I am inspired to better myself.  It's not often that I could say that!

And I leave you now with a new little Cowgirl Wallet that I custom made recently.  I liked it so much, I made extras for my Etsy and Artfire shops!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking Care

While it is practically spring around here, elsewhere it is decidedly otherwise.  And truth be told, our bodies here aren't fully convinced that it is spring.  We even have another cold, just to put a fine point on it. 

This past weekend, it was 60 degrees and we decided to get the garden ready for planting time (still a few weeks away).  I harvested the rest of the leeks and onions and Brian and I shoveled and raked four inches of new compost over the whole bed. Our plot is now absolute pornography for the gardener.  The soil is lucious and black and ready to bring seeds to life.  Today it is 40 degrees, raining, and we all have the sniffles.  Luckily, we have leeks; washed and ready.  I'm making my favorite leek/potato soup: comfort food and healer of colds.  Here's my recipe for those of you who may also be up to your noses in snow and cold.
Colleen's Leek/Potato Soup:

4-5 nice fat leeks, or twice that many smaller ones, washed and sliced in thin rounds
1 yellow Spanish type onion, chopped
4 self-respecting potatoes.  I like the yellow, thin skinned kind, scrubbed and cubed. (If you only have bakers, peel them)
2 TB Olive Oil
1 TB Ground (powdered) mustard
2TB Bouillon (I like the brand, "Better Than Bouillon") either vegetable or chicken
Salt, to taste
Ground Pepper, to taste
8 Cups of water

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the leeks and onions.  Sautee until the onions begin to get soft and then add the potatoes and the ground mustard.
Sautee a little more (5 minutes) and add the remaining ingredients.
Simmer until the potatoes are tender, adjusting seasonings to taste.

If you like a smooth soup, you can blend it, but I personally like mine more chunky.

Serve with a lovely french bread, and feel better!

Monday, February 1, 2010


It may only be the beginning of February, but look! It's spring in my neck of the woods! This is a leaf emerging from one of the Red Flowering Currant bushes that populate our yard. This plant is a favorite of the hummingbirds, and so it is also one of mine. Daylight is coming back; we get an extra 5 minutes every day until the Summer Solstice and it feels so so good.
I'm also celebrating my third year on Etsy; it's my Etsy-versary on February 5th! To share the love, I'm offering 15% off everything in both my Artfire and Etsy shops for the entire month of February! On Etsy, your discount will be refunded after the transaction is complete. On Artfire, type in the coupon code, "Etsyversary" and your discount will be automatically applied. And here's the fine print: this discount cannot be combined with other discounts (sorry).
I just sent out my Spring Newsletter, did you get it? Do you want to get it? If so, sign up right here.
Happy Daylight, Northerners!