Thursday, January 31, 2008

30 Days of ______________?

My "30 Days of the Everyday" project is coming to an end. Just 6 more days to go. And now I am wondering what photographic adventure to take next.

Perhaps, 30 Days of:

... Close-ups.
... the Handmade.
... the People in our Lives.
... Home.
... the Outdoors.
... My Neighborhood.
... Strangers. (see here for some great inspiration)

So, what do ya think??? Anyone want to join me as well?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tees for Toddlers, Teens and InBetweens.

I have posted some *freshly* made tees on Etsy:

I am very excited about them. I just adore the way they came out - as does Isaac. He thinks the figure on the teal tee is him :) The red ones didn't photograph well - but in all truth, I find them the most beautiful. The black on red is quite striking.

These tees are available in various sizes and colors. And more are on the way - including my favorite owl. I hope you enjoy them.



Monday, January 28, 2008

Try Some Paper Crafts.

I have always enjoyed working with fabric. It comes in so many colors, textures, themes, etc. I love collecting it, cutting it, touching it (oh, I love the touching :) and sewing it. But I had no idea, until recently, that working with paper could be so satisfying as well. I think I have found a new obsession ... I mean, hobby.

It all started with a simple snowflake book:

I bought it for $9.95 on Amazon.... and have been making snowflakes almost daily since! When I use a pattern in this book, I get a quick and beautiful result from paper and a just a few snips with the scissors. Not a bad way to spend 10 minutes. Now these snowflakes are taking over our house...

But it doesn't end there. I went on to buy this book as well:

I am having such fun with it. There are some amazing patterns in this book - and all are easily accomplished by anyone (that means you!) with some paper, sharp scissors and an exacto-knife. There are dragons, snowflakes, animals of all kinds, people, large scenes and small, etc... Truly something for everyone - at every level. Here was my very first attempt at cutting a pattern from this book:

No doubt - these little chickies will be multiplying all over the house this Easter.

Ahhh ... but of course, my paper obsession continued to grow, so I picked up this amazing book as well:

It has become an absolute favorite. I had been visiting this author's blog for quite some time, but though I admired her artwork, I assumed it was beyond my capabilities. Then I bought her book ... and I am taking such pleasure in creating personal collages... and lovin' the results:

She uses fabric in her collages as well (a step I haven't yet taken), so crafting in this way may be the ultimate blending of my two favorite materials. Oh, and paint is certainly alot of fun as well!

So, for those who have written me in the past, to say that they admire my sewing because they themselves are not "crafty", I say ... phooey.. you are wrong. We are all crafty, we all have art to share ... and perhaps you may want to start expressing yourself with some snowflakes ... and then move on from there :)


Love, Jodi

P.S. More papercrafting books are on their way to my mailbox (of course), so I will be sure to offer up more ideas as I receive them :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Missing Home Already (partly).

I am going to miss these country walks so very much when we finally make our move into Bangor. I am sure that I post WAY too many "outdoor walk" photos on this blog as well as on Flickr. But I can't help it ... these walks are often the highlights of our days... and they make for some great photographs.

These walks give Isaac and I time to be all alone ... to chat ... to discover ... to breathe deep.

And the freedom that our dogs enjoy when we walk our secluded country road is something I may never find at our new home ... so I am taking it all in now while I can. I will hope and pray that we can find a way to enjoy outdoor walks in the "city".

There are so many wonderful reasons for us to make this move ... and I am very excited for this new family adventure. However, I already know how deeply I will miss this silly old country road :) You will surely see more of it before we pack our last moving van.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lovin' the New Bag.

I am loving this new bag I made. Though it may look similar to many of the bags I have made in the past, it is actually quite different. I love the way the long shoulder strap slides through the shorter "strap" to close the bag. I love the pocket inside. And I love the size ... just perfect for a child to carry across their chest (I am thinking this one will make a great bag for Easter egg collecting :)

Though the appliques were my idea, the pattern is from Amy Karol's book: Bend-the-Rules Sewing. I reviewed this book a while back ( I would post the link but can't locate it right now) ... and have completed several projects included within ... but this one is a favorite.

The directions required a little "tweeking", as the pattern sizes must have been misprinted in the book. And though I highly recommend this book for inspiration, it is flawed in its presentation. Basically, as many reviewers have noted, the book needs better editing. BUT, it is still one of my faves ... as the projects are sweet, fun & make wonderful templates for expressing your own creativity.

And, Amy created a wonderful Flickr group for sharing photos of the projects people make with her book (I will post these photos to it today :) Lots of inspiration! But even better than that are the discussions that are posted there as well. If and when someone has trouble with one of the patterns, they can get help from someone else ... or even from Amy herself. Check it out.

I leave you now with some additional pics of the previously mentioned bag:

If you are using her book as well, please leave a comment about your fave pattern.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Brief Reenactment

Isaac jumping on swivel computer chair.


Mommy: Isaac, be careful. If you fall, you will get hurt and then Mommy will be so sad.

Isaac: Am I you're best friend, Mama?

Mommy (while hugging him and taking him down from the chair) : Yes, you are my best friend.

Isaac (as he cheerfully walks away from the chair): Okay Mama ... and I'm a good boy too!

Moral of the Story:

Tell your kids why you are guiding them - because you love them so very much - and they just might listen :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Freezer Paper "Screen Printing"

My new friend, Celtic Mommy, suggested that my family might like to create our own "screen printed" t-shirts using a simple freezer paper method that she learned over at The Angry Chicken. I had heard of this type of craft before, but hadn't gotten around to trying it ... until I saw what she and her 3 year old produced - and then just had to participate!

So Isaac and I headed over to our best friend's house (Aunty Missy) ... with all the fixins' ... and began to create some masterpieces:

I have yet to produce any sort of tutorial on this blog, but the instructions for for making freezer-paper "screen printed" creations are pretty simple:

* Find or create the image that you would like to put on your cloth.
* Trace it onto the matte side of freezer paper.
*Carefully cut out image.
* Iron freezer paper onto cloth (shiny side down).
* Slip paper or cardboard inside of your shirt (or other material) so that your paint does not seep through.
* Liberally apply textile paint (other acrylic paints will also do) to your template - trying not to create brush strokes by applying pressure - just sort of move the paint around and let it seep in.
* Allow to dry for a couple hours OR blow-dry (we opted to blow dry).
* When dry - carefully peel off freezer paper, then heat set your work by placing a sheet of paper over the image and then iron over that paper. It is important not to iron the image directly at this point...but you may do so later.
* Lastly, ENJOY. And wash as normal.

My girlfriend "screen printed" the most amazing silhouette of her daughter on to a sweatshirt. She did this by using a photo she had taken of her daughter. She simply enlarged the photo on her computer, printed it out, traced the outline onto freezer paper, and followed the rest of the steps. It looks SO great ... and sh was able to carefully transfer some nice detail - like the feathering of her hair, etc. My girlfriend has an amazing way of taking every art project a step further:

She joked that she would apply a silhouette image of each of her children to the rear pockets of her jeans. I think its a great idea! Then her kids would move along to the beat of her booty :)

I hope you all find the time to share in the freezer paper fun. Please feel free to ask any questions, as my directions may be lacking.


~ Jodi

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr. ...

... that our family can look like this - is a testament to all that you worked to achieve. We are Haitian, Turkish, Native American and French/English. And we are family.


P.S. this picture was taken in 2006.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 13: Mama's Side of the Bed.

(Click on photo to see some notes. )
I hope you enjoyed a wonderful weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Swimming in Fabric... and About to Drown.

I have collected fabric for years. And I thought I had stashed away way more than I could ever use in a lifetime. But then, I inherited more ... lots more. I mean, LOTS more. So, slowly but surely, I have been weeding through it all in an effort to downsize my collection to a manageable size for our big move. It has not been easy. I mean, I LOVE fabric. And I am finding ever so many more uses for it all. But there is just no way that my new home (or any home for that matter) can support the sort of fabric fetish that I have going on.

So, part of my weekend will be spent sorting through fabric and reluctantly parting with pounds and pounds of it. And for anyone interested in purchasing some fabric treasures ... you can check out our sale site here:

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 10: Walking the Dog.

I am 10 days into my "30 Days of the Everyday" photography project and am lovin' it. What a great way to photographically chronicle our lives - by participating in these sorts of group projects via Flickr. My cousin has begun participating in the "Project 365" project ... and there are so many others to join in or create on your own.
Here are a few to check out:

Own a camera? Well, check them out! There is something for everybody on Flickr. So much inspiration as well.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Inspiration: Chief Mankiller

Many years ago I read this great book by and about an Indian chief who achieved amazing things for her people against incredible odds. Her story was such an inspiration to me. At that time I was just beginning my journey into womanhood ... I had just left home to get married ... and I had no clue yet about the wonder, beauty and power of women. Chief Mankiller , and many other inspirational female authors, helped to initiate my self-exploration into what it meant to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a member of my community, etc.

And today, by divine intervention, I came across the following quote:

"When people cease waiting for great leaders or prophets to solve entrenched problems and look, instead, within themselves - trusting their own thinking, believing in their own power - and to their families and communities for solutions, change will follow. In traditional indigenous communities, there is an understanding that our lives play themselves out within a set of reciprocal relationships. If each human being in the world could fully understand that we all are interdependent and responsible for one another, it would save the world." ~ Wilma Mankiller

I am now reminded of the power of me (& you), of the beauty of the reciprocal relationships I (we) share with so many others, and of my (our) responsibility to the whole of humanity. I was thankful to have found it today, and thought I would pass along the book title that inspired me so many years ago ...

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People

Much Love,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We Are On Our Way ...

... to a corn-free diet!

And let me tell you, this is not an easy task. I made it my New Year's resolution to free our fridge and cupboards from anything that contained corn, high fructose corn syrup and any meats that were from corn-fed animals. I decided that this was in the best interest of my family, humanity, and the earth after I listened to THIS program on NPR.

Believe me, I SO knew this would not be an easy task ... especially given that my husband's favorite meals are Frosted Flakes and Salsa on Tortilla Chips. But, he has conceded that in the best interest of our son, he will have to eat those meals by himself - out of my son's sight (sorry Daddy). And I am sure we can do this.

And now, after a couple weeks of searching, I am so glad to report that I have found a new breakfast cereal that is not only corn-free (try to find one and see how hard it is) but is also organic! And - get this - it tastes so good! And if all that weren't good enough ... the box also contains the picture of one of my son's favorite tv characters... Clifford Crunch. Have I hit the jackpot or what ??!!

There is a down side though, and that is cost. These 12.25 oz boxes go for about $4.50 each. But, I have also found a way around that as well. I went to Ebay and purchased 20 $1 off coupons for $3 ... thus saving me $17 on the 20 boxes I am now going to stock up on. Not bad.

Now, if you are still wondering why I would even care to take on this task of freeing our lives of corn, I offer you the following videos to check out:


FOOD NEWS: A Conversation with 'King Corn' Filmmaker

FOOD NEWS: A Conversation with 'King Corn' Filmmaker: 2

FOOD NEWS: A Conversation with King Corn Filmmaker: 3


Monday, January 14, 2008

Stationery Sets For Etsy

I love everything about making these ... the sketching, painting, the printing, the patchworking, etc. I plan to make these in all sorts of themes... they are just way fun to make and use. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Day 6: "30 Days of the Everyday"

Okay, Halis and I may have been the only people left in America who had not yet seen the television hit show LOST ... until this week. (Go ahead, laugh it up ... we are so pop culture deprived). And we are now insatiably hooked. We are attempting to watch all of the past three seasons - via ABC HD Streaming - before the new season's first episode airs on January 31st. This means we are spending ALOT of time in front of our computers ... and it also means that we are dorks. But it is winter here in Maine, and Halis keeps reminding me that it is okay to be lazy this time of year. Of course, he still stacked a couple cords of wood this morning anyway - just for good measure.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Squirrel Obsession.

So, speaking of squirrels … Isaac and I have had quite the obsession with them lately. The recent warm weather in Maine (yesterday was 45 degrees) has caused many a critter to venture out of their warm nests to scout for food. And the best location to watch these funny little guys is at my neighbor’s side porch … where she keeps about five loaded bird feeders.

We sort of invited ourselves over to her porch yesterday while she was away from home. And we sat there for nearly an hour – watching and laughing while ten or more squirrels battled for the best feeder locations. We enjoyed some silly birds too.

And the whole while my son giggled and proclaimed, “This is fun, huh Mama?” as he swung his dangling legs from the side of the porch. So darn cute.

Before we left the feeders to make our way back home, I thought I would be a “cool” Mom and try to pat one of the squirrels to show Isaac another one of my many talents. To my delight, I was able to tickle the haunches of one very preoccupied squirrel. However, Isaac wasn’t so sure how cool that was … and it only made him quite concerned about whether or not squirrels bite (something he never mentioned before). Oh, the many unintentional ways in which we traumatize our children.

Anyway, we are thankful for squirrels and for the neighbor’s who attract them.

May you enjoy your squirrels as well …


Day 3 of “30 Days of the Everyday”.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Ordinary & the Everyday.

My dad hates dandelions. And I don't get it. He will plant yellow Mums of all sorts around his property, but he gets so angry when these sweet little yellow dandelions pop up all over his yard. Dandelions are free and abundant, therefore they are ordinary, unimportant and a nuisance. To him, dandelions are ugly and Mums (remarkably similar to the look of dandelions) are beautiful.
He also hates squirrels. They are everywhere in his yard ... and they are always "stealing" the food that he leaves out for the other animals ... the more scarce creatures like bears and ravens. Squirrels are ordinary. Bears and ravens are extraordinary.

On the other hand, I love dandelions popping up throughout my grassy yard. They are free, they are pretty and they are reliable. In fact, you can even eat the greens of their leaves or use them to make dandelion wine. And squirrels, heck... they can be endlessly entertaining. They, too, are "free", pretty and reliable. They can be found wherever there are trees. Maybe they are ordinary ... and maybe I like ordinary.

Show me something that makes frequent, pleasant and reliable appearances in my world, and I will show you something that I understand, love and appreciate. I hope.

The tender kiss my husband places on my cheek every morning before he leaves for work, the way the sunlight comes through my windows and warms my home, the way the birds flutter around my yard and dodge to and fro to avoid my rambunctious dog, the daily phone calls from my Mom and best-friend, the way my son dances around my living room as a daily ritual ... these are all the ordinary ... and the oh-so-extraordinary everyday occurrences of my life. And I strive to better appreciate them.

Soule Mama and her friend Jessie Fields have decided to take a photographic journey through their everyday lives. And I have decided to join them. They have titled their project: 30 Days of the Everyday. I am excited to join in this exercise of seeing my daily life in a different way ... and appreciating all the beauty contained within my everyday, ordinary, and oh-so-extraordinary life.

Perhaps you would like to join us as well?

Here is wishing you a day filled with all that you love --- may you better appreciate the beauty in your "everyday".


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Craft Book Love.

Ahhh ... I can't tell you how happy my recent surge in craft book collecting has made me lately. I used to buy maybe three or four new craft books a year. But in the past two months or so, I have added at least 10 to my collection, and I am almost giddy with excitement. There is nothing like an inspirational craft book to get my creative juices flowing. And I have been well inspired by some of my recent picks.

So, here is a list of the goodies I have obtained ... with some comments on why I love them so ... and some links if you are interested in purchasing your own copies. (Just click on the titles for more info and buying information). Enjoy :

Fabric Art Journals: Making, Sewing, and Embellishing Journals from Cloth and Fibers One of my absolute favorites. The first part of the book gives you all the information you need to get started, including techniques, tools, stitches, etc. All well explained, including visuals. Perfect for beginners & advanced crafters alike. The second part is full of gorgeous projects with step-by-step instruction. All are well within the capabilities of any level of crafter, as it is not so much the construction of the books that is inspired, but rather it is what you do to embellish them that is key. And the last part of the book gives you several pages of examples of cloth books made by others. Lots of inspiration on the possibilites of various embellishment techniques there. I am just wild for this book and am itching to get started!

The Impatient Patchworker: 20 Great Projects You Can Make in a Hurry This is one of those books that should be a staple in any crafter's home. Though it is certainly a beginner's book - it serves as a reminder to advanced crafters of the possibilites of quick and simple gift-making. The instructions are clear and come with detailed illustration of almost every step. I have used this book for making several gifts, including patchworked potholders (not your Grandma's potholders either - these are way more hip), and patchworked pillows (again with the "hip").

Kids Embroidery: Projects for Kids of All Ages I fully intended to give this book to Meaghan for Christmas, but found that I cannot let go of it! I guess the "...for Kids of All Ages" applied to me. There are some sweet and simple craft projects in here that I just have to try. But more than that, the instruction is so well-illustrated that I am going to keep this book as a reference to guide me through the various embroidery stitches that I tend to forget how to do only minutes after doing them.

Quilted Memories: Journaling, Scrapbooking & Creating Keepsakes with Fabric This is the first craft book that I actually read. I mean, I usually just skim these books for what I need, but this book was so intriguing, inspired and well-written, that I was compelled to lay in bed and read the whole book. It is just wonderful. There are some nice instructions for those that want to make similar projects, but the beauty of this book is the inspiration it gives for coming up with your own unique pieces. Incorporating my photography with my sewing has become a goal of mine, and this book gives me basically all I need to get started on doing so. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

How To Make Books : Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book I found this book on several other blogs that I read. For a while, this book was all the rage in the blogging world. And although it was so far from my current interests (I hadn't really crafted in paper at all), I thought I would check it out anyway. And I am now yet another blogger who sings the praises of this book - and will begin to explore the possibilites of my own book making... as it looks so much simpler than I ever would have thought. There is even instruction for making a book out of one sheet of paper ... and it is not as basic as you might imagine. The book is well written and quirky-fun. Perhaps the illustrations are somewha lacking fr my taste, as I need things to be visualy "spelled out" for me. But I think the text makes up for this. Anyway, I have now begun to journey into the world of paper craft and am getting exited about it.

Chic Bags: 22 Handbags, Purses, Totes and Accessories to Make My husband gave this book to me for Christmas this year and I was pleasantly surprised by his insight! In fact, just weeks prior, I had been drooling over this very book at my local Borders Bookstore. The patterns contained range from beginner to advanced and all are quite accessible. The illustrated directions are well laid out and easy to follow. And the bags are all quite unique. Some of the fabric choices are hideous (in my humble opinion), but it is not a far stretch for me to imagine the bags in my own fabric choices. And as I am learning, a girl can never have too many bags!

Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts If a craft book can be "classy", then this one is. It is very well-written, so well-organized and the photography is absolute eye-candy. The book is divided into sections of projects that are grouped together by how long they will take you to complete: Less-than-2-Hour Gifts, 2- to 4-Hour Gifts, and so on. Gift projects range from Scrapbooks and coasters ... to pillowcases and tablecloths... to stuffed elephants and quilts. All sorts of goodies. All well described and illustrated. Such a great book!

Crafts to Celebrate the Seasons I have to admit that this is my least favorite of all my recent book purchases. And in fact, I did not purchase this one, but rather I mooched it on (the other above titles are not available on Bookmooch at this time). I do think Mary Engelbreit's cheerful artistry is fun & whimsical ... and I appreciate it and am interested in incorporating some of it in my new home, but this book just seems downright silly and unworthy of the rest of my list. But I included it for balance ... and it is not without some charming projects - like the sweet mittens in the above photo. I say, borrow it from a library because you won't need it for long. Quite uninspiring, brief and way-too-quirky (the eggshell Easter projects seem ridiculous).

So There It Is! I hope you enjoyed this list ... and I hope you found some gems within it to add to your own bookshelves. I think that I will make this a regular part of my blogging ... sharing book lists like this one. I have an enormous collection and am always adding to it, so perhaps readers can benefit from these sorts of book reviews.

Please feel free to add some of your recent craft book purchases to the comment section as well as some of your own thoughts on the above mentioned titles.

Thank You & Enjoy the Day!

~ Jodi