Tuesday, August 28, 2007

U, V, W, X, Y, and Z

U is for Utah - the state where I grew up. When I was thinking about this post, I was almost going to write " the state where I was born," but then I realized that was not true. I was born in Oregon, but my family moved (back) to Utah when I was three months old. I love Utah for so many reasons - it really is such a beautiful state. I spent my childhood summers at lakes, in mountains, and at national parks and I never left the state. I love that Utah has four seasons. When we lived in California, I missed the winter most of all. I loved it when it would snow when we came home for the holidays. I went to and graduated from the University of Utah. All of my family (minus one cousin) lives in Utah. I'm glad I grew up in such a great state and have reason to go visit frequently!

This is Ryan and his sister shoveling snow on the day after Christmas 2003. I got to watch and take pictures because I was 5 months pregnant.

V is for varicose veins. I have some serious varicose veins. My legs look like the legs of a 75 year old woman. And I have my two boys and a rock repelling injury (this is a long story - e-mail me if you want more details) to thank for this. I will spare you pictures as they really are quite gross. Other people probably wish that I took more care to cover them up, but I don't. I like to wear skirts, but not pantyhose and I refuse to wear long pants during the summer So, if you know me in person, you have probably seen my yucky legs. I know I can get them fixed and I probably will once we are certain we are done having babies, though I'm not certain my legs will survive another pregnancy.

W is for Wee Wonderfuls. If I recall correctly, Wee Wonderfuls was the first craft blog I ever read. I don't remember how I found it. This was a little more than six months ago and I had been reading the blogs of a few of my friends and then suddenly I was reading craft blogs. I started here and then I would click on links to people in the comments to find other craft blogs. And before I knew it, I was using Bloglines and had subscribed to over 100 blogs. Yikes! So, we have Wee Wonderfuls to thank for my little obsession, me starting a craft blog (and an Etsy store too since I'm sure I wouldn't have run into Etsy without this start), and for helping me to meet all of you! I think it was great that I stumbled upon it!

X is for X-ray. I had several x-rays when I was a girl. When I was 8, I woke up one morning and I could not move. My back was killing me! I laid on a board on the floor for two straight days because this was the most comfortable position. When we went to the doctor, we found out that I had scoliosis. It was never so bad that I needed a brace, but I did have to go to get an x-ray every six months for the first little bit and then every year until I hit puberty to keep an eye on it and make sure my little curve wasn't getting any worse. And I am still crooked. When I am standing up straight and tall, one of my shoulders is lower than the other - nothing you would notice unless you were looking for it.

Y is for Yikes! Have you noticed that I use this word a lot?

Z is for Zoo. We love going to the zoo. Did you know that most zoos have a family pass that you can buy that will get you into your zoo and many other zoos around the country for a free or reduced price? We used our zoo pass this past weekend to visit the zoo in a city about an hour away from us (for free!). We were impressed by the variety and the general look of the zoo - it was pretty up to date in terms of the animal enclosures and such, especially for a relatively small city. And does every zoo have one of these lion drinking fountains? I've seen them at so many!
And there you have it, me from A to Z. It's been a fun little blog project. Thanks to Bella Dia for the idea. You can check her blog for links to more folks who are participating. And before the summer is gone, I think I'm going to take a little blogging break. I have some things at home that I need to do and a large wholesale order of purses, so I'll see you in a week or so! Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

R, S, T

R is for Red. I love the color red. Our couches are red. My wallet is red (red faux alligator - I thought I would get tired of it soon after purchasing. It's about two years old and it still makes me smile when I pull it out of my purse). I have a red purse. And one of my more recent red purchases (and an Etsy one) - My Bird of Happiness is Red by John W. Golden.

S is for Space - the theme in my boys' bedroom, inspired by this quilt, made by my amazingly talented Mom. She even made two, so there is one for each of the boys, once they are both in big boy beds and sharing a room. And the space theme continues with another John W. Golden purchase, although this one is still waiting to be framed.

T is for Tote. When Ginny showed the little birdie fabric she found, I loved it. A little bit ago, on an impulse, I sent her a convo to ask if she had any more totes made from it - two minutes later, she listed this one at isew.biz reserved it for me. Now that's service! And, those little birdies are just as lovely in person.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Q is for Quilt

Quilts have always been a part of my life. Let me share a few from my collection..,This quilt was the last full quilt quilted by my great grandmother. It was the quilt on my childhood bed. It doesn't have a fancy design or any intricate piecing, but it is completely hand quilted by her. I am proud to own this heirloom.

I made this quilt as a project for church when I was a teenager. The Young Women values are embroidered on fabric squares. It is machine pieced and hand quilted . It think I did this by myself, but I'm not sure. Mom - do you remember if you or grandma. helped me quilt this? I plan to hang this on my studio wall - once I have one, that is...

This is the wall hanging in my living room. It took me ten years to finish this. I started it in a quilting class that I took in college with my good friend Cayenne (who doesn't do much quilting anymore, but is an amazing knitter and spinner). To pass the class we had to finish the piecing and had to do it all by hand. I did that, but then it took me ten years to quilt it and bind it and such. I actually just finished it last fall. I love that it is done completely by hand - I am in love with totally handmade items, I just don't usually have the patience for them.

This is the quilt that my Grandma made for our wedding. I picked out the pattern and the fabrics and she made it. (How great is that?) I love it because it was made with love . I also love it because I remember my grandma not being so sure about my fabric choices, but really loving how the quilt turned out. I now will sometimes get consulted when she is picking out fabrics for quilts - she's making one for each of her grandchildren.And lastly, this Irish chain. I pieced it before I left for Argentina and I came home to a quilted quilt! Thanks Mom!

I love the art and the warmth of a quilt. I hope I make many more, some to keep and some to give, in my life. Do you have a quilt that you love?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

N, O, P

N is for needles and my little needlebook from Jenn - oh how I love it.
N is also for NPR. I listen to it while I sew, cut out, clean, in the car - yes, I really like NPR.

O is for over thinking because I just cannot think of something to go with O.

P is for pins and pincushions. I have one from Jenn and one that I ordered from Christina's last
week. That makes one to keep by the iron and one to keep by the sewing machine. My mom and grandma swear by magnetic pincushions, but I am always poking myself as I pick up pins when I use them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

K, L, M

K is for kindness - check this out.

L is for love - Ryan and I celebrated our 7th anniversary earlier this month (can't remember why I didn't post on the day - the 9th). Happy Anniversary to my guy!

M is for Music. I am a pianist and I play the organ (though I would not call myself an organist). I used to teach piano (hope to teach again in the future). Music has been a big part of my life - thanks to my Mom for always making sure I was able to have piano lessons!

Friday, August 17, 2007

J is for Jess, Jessi, Jessica

For today's post, a little discussion of my name (and a picture of me from last year with a few highlights)...

My given name is Jessica and I am told that I was named after the Allman Brothers song by the same name. You probably know this song if you have heard any of that good old stuff, but probably don't realize you know it because it is instrumental. It's a fun one, in my opinion. I was almost name after my great aunt Britta. I would've have loved that unique name,but apparently my father did not, so I was named Jessica and luckily before it was popular, so there weren't ten other Jessicas in my classes in school. Ten Jennys? yes, but Jessica? just me.

As far as nicknames go, I have two - Jessi and Jess. I have always used my nicknames to gauge how well a person feels like they know me (or just to tell me how much they like using nicknames if they call me by one of them in our first meeting). It's a good name for this. I usually introduce myself as Jessica and then see how long it takes for a nickname to take hold. Most of my close friends call me Jess and my family calls me Jess or Jessi (I'm not sure I remember the last time one of them called me by my full name) and in the general public, I am known as Jessica. And I decided to use Jessi (yes I spell it with just one i - it took my grandma years to get that right) for my online name to hopefully distinguish me from the bazillion other Jessica's that are out there.

So, there you have it - my name. And now that I feel like Gus in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where he tries to show that the root of every word is Greek, I will end by wishing you a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I is for Ice Cream

Yes, we are quite the ice cream fanatics in our family. I believe I can take most of the credit for this. Ryan tells me that he never ate so much chocolate or ice cream before he married me. I just think ice cream is so much better when everyone in the family is enjoying a bowl, so I had to convert him. Ice cream is what kept me alive during Little P's pregnancy (I could only eat Olde Fashioned Ice Cream in Vanilla). Ice cream is probably my number two craving (after chocolate). On Saturday, we went to our local zoo for the ice cream zoofari - does every zoo have this? I know our last zoo had one too. There are ice cream scooping stations set up around the zoo and you can eat as much as you want! It was fun! I meant to take pictures because I was thinking of this post, but I forgot to take the camera. So, the pictures are from another ice cream adventure this summer - we stopped to get ice cream and cheese at a dairy on our way to see family - YUM!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

H is for Happy

Just a few things that are helping to keep a smile on my face today....

  1. I discovered yesterday that Little P likes green beans - both raw and cooked versions.
  2. I woke up this morning, turned on my computer and found and e-mail telling me I'd been featured here.
  3. There is no more chocolate in the house - nothing to tempt me. It's overdue, I know, but I am really trying to lose this baby weight.
  4. Yesterday I got some more purses cut out from Amy Butler fabrics. I can't wait to sew them up!
  5. I also cleaned my carpet yesterday - it was so filthy and now I can enjoy it's lovely cleanness.
  6. I got some serious comment love on my last post! Thanks everyone! I should cook and take pictures of it more often.
I hear Baby N whining for me upstairs, so I guess it's time for the day to begin...hope you're having a lovely one!

Monday, August 13, 2007

G is for Garden Fresh

Wednesday's CSA share had tomatoes, basil, and green onions - perfect for making my own little version of this. I'll get to those summer squash today. YUM! Don't you just love summer eating?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

F is for Fancy Flowers for a Friend

This week I made these onesies a little more fancy (two with another of my favorite F words - flowers) for a friend who just had her first baby girl after two boys. It's so fun to make fancy little girls things!

Happy Weekend Everyone! I'm off to hit some garage sales and thrift stores. It's been a while since I've had a proper Saturday morning of thrifting . I gave it up at the end of the Use What You Have Challenge - it was just too tempting and then we were out of town last weekend. And then with Little P being sick this week (he's feeling much better - thanks to those of you who sent well wishes), we've been inside almost all week so I can't wait to get out! See you later!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

E is for Et Cetera

E is for Et Cetera - a few random facts about me, thanks to a tag from Missy.

What was I doing ten years ago?

It was the summer before my last year of college. I was working 50+ hours a week in a biology lab and 10+ hours a week cleaning houses, trying to save money to go to Argentina (even though I didn't know at the time that was where I was going.)

What was I doing one year ago?

We were living in California, Ryan was finishing up his dissertation, Baby N was really a baby - 3 months old, and we were preparing to move, but we didn't have anywhere to go - kind of stressful.

5 snacks I enjoy...

1. half a peanut butter sandwich on bran bread
2. anything chocolate
3. a tall glass of cold Crystal Light Fruit Punch
4. watermelon
5. toast

5 songs I know all the words to...

I'm skipping this one - I can't think of any that I know off the top of my head except for children's songs. My memory is so terrible - especially when it comes to non-essentials.

5 things I would do if I had a million dollars

1. Buy an old house and remodel it.
2. Fulfill all of my fabric dreams!
3. Fund several small loan projects.
4. Join a gym (I really need to do this and I use the cost as an excuse/reason not to.)
5. Share the the joy with my family - gifts for everyone!

5 of my bad habits...

1. Not cleaning up after myself - this has been my plague since childhood - ask my mom!
2. Saying Ummm...
3. Not flossing - though after my four recent cavities, I am making great improvements in this area.
4. Chocolate
5. Not doing things for myself that I should - like exercise, take time for myself, etc.
Most of my bad habits are not having good habits, does that make them better?

5 things I like doing...

1. thrift shopping
2. Crafting/sewing
3. trying new recipes.
4. Vacuuming - really I find this so satisfying since I have kids who drop stuff all over the place. It's so nice to go from dirty to clean in just a few minutes.
5. Talking to Ryan - I love to hash things out with him. I know sometimes he wonders if I will ever leave him be, but secretly he loves it!

5 things I will never wear again...

1. neon
2. denim jumpers
3. pegged jeans
4. leg warmers - I know they're coming back, but I just can't do it!
5. feathered bangs

5 of my favorite toys...

1. my sewing machine
2. my ipod
3. my laptop
4. my remote unlocking car doors (love these with the kids!)
5. any sort of bath additive - bubbles, salts, soaks - I love a good bath!

D is for Dresses

These are some of my dresses from when I was a young girl. I keep saving them to perhaps put on my own little girl. And if that doesn't happen, I think they would look really great hung on the wall of my future studio, like this. All of them were handmade for me, I'm assuming by my mom, but some could have been made by my grandma. I love how very 1970s they are - bright colors and lots of polyester fabrics. And even if no one ever wears them again or they don't get displayed, I keep them to remind me of who I am.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

C is for Colors

I know, I know - this idea has already been done and I mentioned a different topic yesterday, but Little P has been under the weather. Yesterday we sat and watched PBS all day (our station shows kids programming all day - I still haven't decided if this is good or bad) while Little P leaned on me or sat with me and tried not to puke. Today he's doing a little better, but still not his usual self, so I didn't have time to put together the photos for my original idea. I think I can still work that post into this little blogging project somewhere though.

So, last night, while watching Pride and Prejudice (yet again), I arranged this little set of embroidery floss by color. I picked the set up at the thrift store a week or so ago. I already have a decent set of floss colors, so I couldn't decide whether to get it or not, but I'm so glad I did. I love how this looks - so inspiring and so easy to find just the right shade of green with all of the green right together. I have really been wanting to do more embroidery, so hopefully that's something you'll see more of here. This makes me want to arrange my books by color.

Monday, August 6, 2007

B is for Blond

My Kindergarten School Picture

My First Grade School Picture

B is for Blond! That's right - I used to be a blond..until kindergarten! And poof! In one year I turned into a brunette! I sure do talk about this aspect of my life a lot, even though now my blond years are a very small portion of my total life. Being blond must have meant a lot to me. I contemplate going back to that youthful look sometimes, but the cost of maintaining it scares me away (although my brunette now is from a bottle to cover my untimely grays, so it probably wouldn't be too much more than I'm already spending.). Anyone have any thoughts on this - have you gone blond and been oh so glad that you did? Or have you gone blond and then gone straight back to brunette, or red, or whatever you were before? Should I give it a try? I've had some fairly serious highlights before and I really liked them, so maybe I would like taking it all the way to blond.

And on a crafty sidenote - my mom made both of those outfits. She made a lot of my clothes when I was a kid. More on that tomorrow!

A is for Argentina

So, I'm getting a late start, but I still want to participate in Bella Dia's Encyclopedia of Me Meme, so here it goes....

A is for Argentina

I went on an 18 month mission to Argentina for my church. I've been back for seven years and I still think about my experiences there almost daily. I have certainly been changed by that experience. I loved giving cheek kisses as greetings. I was almost a vegetarian before I left and came back a full-fledged meat eater. I'm not proud of this (I keep trying to get back to my vegetarian ways, but once you've had a nice cut of fresh meat, raised on the Pampa, it's hard to go back), but vegetarian is almost a curse word in Argentina. The Argentines I met were very confused by the concept of not eating meat. On a more serious note, I can never look at what I have and not truly be grateful for having such abundance, opportunities for education and economic stability. I lived in Argentina in the years just before its economy collapsed - these were difficult times for them and I learned just how much I took for granted as a US citizen. I am thankful for the experiences I had here that touched me and made me a more thoughtful person. I am still in love with the warmth of the Argentine people. And I hope I never forget what I learned there.

p.s. I DID try to scan some of my actual pics from Argentina and add them to this post. See them below. This little project is going to be a good time for me to learn how to use the scanner and not forget the next day (Ryan has showed me multiple times).

I was going to scan individual pictures, but realized most of my photos from Argentina had been scrap booked during my very brief-lived scrap booking days. So, I just scanned entire pages - you should be able to click on each page to see a larger version.

This was the most beautiful city - Balcarce. It was known for its lovely hills and its potatoes. It was home to a Simplot plant - sort of funny because I am again living in a town with a Simplot plant.

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. I am sweating and we are outside having a nighttime picnic. This was actually great - I never missed Christmas much because it felt more like the 4th of July.

Some of the wonderful, friendly folks I was privileged to know.

The skyline of a city in La Pampa, called General Pico. I lived in this unfinished cement house, pictured in the bottom right corner.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thrifty Thursday

Wow - is it Thursday already? Where did the week go? After a not so great day on Tuesday, yesterday I decided I would make sure to take a trip to the thrift store in the hopes of making myself feel a bit better. And did I! Some great finds and I remembered about five minutes before I set off that yesterday was August 1st and I could buy my beloved fabric and sheets again, now that the Use What You Have Challenge is over (although I should probably really keep going with that for a while longer!). So, without further delay, here are the finds...

Is it possible to hit the holy grail twice in one year? Yes it is! That's right folks, another fully assembled quilt top with great retro prints. Not quite as bright or polyester-y as the last one, but still lots of fun. I'm not sure if I'll actually turn this one into a quilt - maybe I'll cut it up and make it into totes or something. Anyone else have any ideas for how to re-purpose this treasure?
Some fun retro Christmas prints - there's not much of these, but they are perfect for a little Christmas project I have up my sleeve.
These were in a grab bag of fabric, that when I opened it, I saw these! Ahhh! I love it when this happens. The edges are unfinished on these little embroidered tea cups, but they could be used for appliques or pockets. I'll think of something special to do with them.

And I bought about 40 retro patterns, which brings me to my next announcement. I've opened another Etsy store in which to sell these patterns (I have one serious collection now) and other vintage finds and fabrics. I know, I know - Etsy discourages sellers from having more than one store, but having one store just wasn't working out for me. Does anyone remember when I had patterns in Jump Up and Down? After I started putting handmade items in that shop, I felt like the patterns were overwhelming and distracted from my creations. So, I just took them out (there weren't very many at that point). And then I couldn't decide what to do - I still really wanted to sell patterns, but there was this whole two shop issue. So, I hemmed and hawed about it for a long time and I finally decided that despite Etsy's discouragement (which I think is mainly because they don't want people with two shops to be buying things from themselves, giving themselves feedback and basically breaking rules), I would go ahead with another shop - and The J Shop was born, about two weeks ago. I've already made a few pattern sales and I listed my first vintage items and fabric last night. And I have so much more to list - this will probably take a while. Go take a look!

Oh and to top off what was already a fabulous day, I recently found out that Sandi Henderson of Portabellopixie lives in the same town as me. I contacted her on Tuesday night and she invited me over yesterday to see the strike offs of her new fabric line!!! WOW! Have you ever seen fabric in it's making stages - so exciting and fun! Yesterday she shared a sneak peek with everyone on her blog, so you can have a look too. And Sandi is such a nice and friendly gal - thanks Sandi!

Happy Thrifting everyone and have a great weekend! We are off tonight to visit family.

P.S. Check me out here today and check out what I bought here. Thanks Leslie!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Swap Package is Here!

Hooray! It came today! My Sweet Goodness Swap package from Jane arrived while I was out at the thrift store (more on that tomorrow) and it was definitely worth waiting for.

First off was the fabulous container - a vintage travel case that she painted! What a talented lady! My grandmother had one of these when I was a kid and I always wanted one.

And then inside, there is a piece of yellow chiffon fabric, a Vera sunshine scarf (I've got to figure out something to wear this with before summer is over), some daisy stickers, and entire roll of yellow ric rac (like yards and yards of it!), some great orange and yellow paper, bits and pieces of trim - perfect for artsy projects, and an owl painting (I'm assuming that Jane did this as well as it is very similar to the paisley on the container). Oh yes, and a little container that has an owl topper - so fun! Little P decided this needed to be his right away. I had a hard time taking this picture because he wouldn't leave the owl alone.

Thanks Jane - I love it all!