Monday, January 31

Snow! Books!

Here in central Illinois, we are about to get dumped on by a huge winter storm. I think I heard that 30 states will be hit by this front, with a possible accumulation between 12-24 inches (you'd think there would be more accuracy on the range). I told Dan he should work from home tomorrow and Wednesday - in response he said the IL. House of Representatives has called off their session for the rest of the week, so I think everyone is happy to stay inside for this one.

I, however, have the pleasure of living two block from work, so I'll be going in for my shift at 7:30. It will be slow, but at least we'll get a lot of projects done! Yay books!

I've been enjoying the benefits of working at the bookstore again - in that I get to check out any book that has a dust jacket for up to two weeks. With prompting from my sister, and just about every bookseller at BN, I've read through the Hunger Games trilogy (2nd: Catching Fire, 3rd: Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins. They are lively and exciting, and have elements of social commentary I enjoy, like the books The Handmaid's Tale, A Brave New World, The Giver, and the short stories The Lottery, and Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and "Welcome to the Monkey House". I also am a sucker for a strong female character in YA books, and Katniss hits the spot.

Other YA books I've enjoyed recently are The Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card and (I'm currently reading) The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi.

With all the news stations blabbing about the snow and because of general need, I stopped by the store on the way home to find this (see photo) waiting for me. That little white thing there is Baxter's back paw. I don't know how he got himself in there so snuggly, but I think he has the right idea with all the flurries headed out way. Batten down the hatches!

I hope you are all safe and warm, and that you have a kitty and good book close by.

Friday, January 28

To business cards, or not to business cards

Happy Friday world. It has been a great week here in Jane Land (although the Bears not going to the Super Bowl = sad panda.) I have some of the greatest friends, and they, of their own accord, are getting the word around about my sewing. I have been putting off getting business card made (for no good reason. Can you be afraid of success?) but I think it's to the point where that bullet must be bitten. Over on Oh Happy Day they just posted some great cards their new letter press department has made, and it's giving me some ideas. I like this one:

I also am fond of classic black on white with no image or fancy font, so I don't really need to put this off any longer.

I've also been looking into Spring fabrics and looks for my bags and clasp purses, and I saw these.

I'm so small at this point that it wouldn't be cost effective to order from them, or to order bulk from the frame manufacturer in Japan, but I found these on Etsy and think they might make it happen. Aren't the colored balls adorable?

Monday, January 24

Beige messenger bag

Hello friends! I've had a lovely morning, listening to The Lady and The Unicorn on cassette tapes (!!!) and sewing. Here is my latest. Adios!

Umbrellas lights are great

The weather is cold and a little scary today. I worry about roads between Bloomington and Springfield, with Dan now driving back and forth during the week. To perk us all up, here is a beautiful shot for a Monday morning. These whimsicle umbrella lights are is from a blog called The Bedlam of Beefy.

And, did you know I have adorable cats? They have won over Grumpy Dan and thought I'd share proof. The first is Baxter, and below is Kodak (you can see some of my color organized bookshelf in the bottom picture too!).

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, January 19

Special Order

Here is my newest special order I put together today for an Etsy guest of mine. She wanted a waterproof lining, laptop pocket, and a wide webbing strap. This was my first time working with oilcloth and I'm happy with the results. The best advice I have is use new, heavy duty needles. This bag is going all the way to Melbourne!


Sunday, January 16

Happy birthday to me!

I had some great friends over today to celebrate my 28th birthday. It was so fun seeing everyone, hearing what they are up to, and getting to have some laughs. We ate sweets and had some cocktails, but my favorite part was decorating cookies and playing Apples to Apples!

Thanks friends for taking the time to celebrate with me!

Saturday, January 15

Birthday weekend

My birthday is tomorrow! I always get super excited about my birthday, and this year I'm trowing a little shindig with some gal and guy friends. There will be lots of treats (I've been baking cookies for a few days) and a couple tasty beverages. I am a bit bummed, as I ordered some stripy straws and they didn't arrive, but the rest of my plans are coming together.

Today, I made lip balm for party favors. I have wanted to do this for a while, and I figured my friends are pretty good guinea pigs and they will be honest about texture and usefulness. It was super fun and easy.

If you are interested, it went like this:
4 Tablespoons organic beeswax, shaved for easy melting
2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
5-8 drops of your favorite essential oil

I also want to share a present my sister gave me:

She had a stamp made with my name from the Etsy shop Primele.
I love it! Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, January 11

Photo by Tom Fowlks

I found a new (to me) site called Art Hound.
I don't know if I like this photo because of the blatant juxtaposition of its elements, or because those Elk heads are so huge and look to be in a conversation about how they got themselves in this crazy predicament.

There are other, less taxidermic, photos you might enjoy on the site.

Monday, January 10

My cats have it pretty good.

I have three adorable cats in my house right now. I love them, but when I want to be productive, their cuddly nature and scratch-able bellies make doing thinks like, oh, finishing a sewing project or making the bed hard to do. I hope you are having a productive Monday.

Friday, January 7

Blog share

I came across this today via A Cup of Jo: A man living in New York has started a blog to his future wife. I have no idea if he is with her now, or if this is a plan to help the Universe place her in his world. Either way, I still like reading his little lines. My favorite so far -

December 24th:
THE RADIO I won’t mess with your presets.

Because, you know, sometimes it really is about the little things.

Striped Shirleys

This year for my birthday, I'm throwing a small little get together. I've been scouring the webs for party inspiration and look what I've found! I love the striped straws! Oh, I can't wait!

Thursday, January 6

New bag prototype

I've been playing with an idea for some time and tonight I made it. I don't know quite what to make of it, but I like it. Is it practical? I don't know. Is it fun to look at and fun to hold. Sure. Can I imagine someone else thinking it is cool? Yeah.

It has two zippered ends, and it can be folded in the middle to hold as a clutch bag. Keeping both sides together is a magnet clasp.

One zippered side has a pouch that spans the entire length of the bag.

The other zippered end has a shallow pocket, the depth of the bag when it is folded and clasped with the magnet.

As is I like it, but I could dress it up with some of my fabric flowers. I made all sorts of mistakes in this first one, but the spacial geometry is nestled much better in my brain now. What do you think?

The Quiet House

Yes, yes, yes. I just posted about getting the Internet today. Woo hoo for me and all that, but what I wanted to share is something that really makes my day...

Since December 19th (the day we moved in all of Dan's stuff in then drove to Chicago to enjoy the Cookie Party) we've had free TV. Dan hooked the cable into the plug to see what would happen, and it turns out the cable company hadn't turned off the feed. Oops! So, Since then, I've been overwhelmed with things like HGtv, TLC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, and The Food Network. It was amazing. Having not had tv for three years, I was shocked this was in my house.

Tonight though, with the internet came the disconnecting of that old stream and the adding of the one we pay for. No more HGtv. No more Food Network. And this is where I insert my happy dance.

The house has been noisy, not just because there is another human here who is doing his own things, but because of that damned tv living out its free stream glory. With the spare parts of the house being full to the brim, I couldn't get away from it, and for some reason, shutting it off was like killing a child - unthinkable.

But since 3:45, Dan and I are back to our ways in Carbondale, he reading the news and listing to podcasts, me reading my blogs and getting the office in some working order.

I am so happy I have a place to cut and sew and craft. The other side of the room has Dan's desk, but that is still a terror of ugly - he'll get to it when he needs it.

And, to top this happy day of quiet and planning, have a Baxter moment on me:

Internet at the house!

Raise your glass everyone - we have Internet at the house! (My drink selection tonight comes courtesy of Trish. Thanks Trish!) The nice man from Comcast came by at 3:45 and got all of the bits and bytes flying in the appropriate configuration. I spent the next 30 minutes getting all of the wireless stuffs working right, and poof! I'm in the office now, and Dan is in the living room - both using the happy connection to our hearts' delight.

After a few false starts, tonight Dan and I made Swedish meatballs with a yummy glaze and egg noodles. Dan was responsible for making the sauce, seen above sauteing the mushrooms and onions. The kitchen is still trying to figure out how to hold all of the new things that are living there, but for our first meal with more than three steps in its preparation, we did alright. (Dan was happy to get to use his iPad and the Epicurious app to give us not only instruction, but shopping lists too!)

To give you the full view of the kitchen (expansion), here you can see the bookshelf we've turned into out dish rack and dry storage shelves. Next to it on the right, we're saving what little counter space we have by having our microwave, mixer, and toaster on low cart. If I weren't self conscious of the messy counter with things still trying to find a usable home, I would have a better photo. More to come I guess.

PS - our dinner was super good.

Sunday, January 2

Vivian Meier photos


While making a cup of coffee in the Swift's kitchen, Linda was sharing a story about photo negatives which were recently unearthed. Vivian Meier took photos from the 1950's-1990's mostly in the Chicago area. She seemed to take photos solely for her own enjoyment, as there are more than 100,000 negatives to be sorted and organized which she never shared with others. There are some of Meier's images on a blog by John Maloof, who acquired them through an auction house after Meier's storage locker was sold due to delinquent payments. John Maloof has started to unearth information about her, and from his blog he writes:

Vivian came here from France in the early 1930's and worked in a sweat shop in New York when she was about 11 or 12. She was not Jewish but a Catholic, or as they said, an anti-Catholic. She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone.

Vivian Meier died in 2009. Her work is going on display for the first time on January 8th though April 3rd at the Chicago Cultural Center.
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