Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mend It Better

I can't sew. 
Not at all. 
I don't even attempt to sew on a button. 
The closest I've come to sewing since seventh grade home ec class was last year when I successfully used no-sew tape to make a "hemmed" edge on a big piece of fabric to use as a tablecloth for my craft show display.  I felt quite proud of myself.  Sad, huh?
And yet, I am fascinated by sewing.  I admire those who can create something with needle, thread, and fabric.  Because I know it is not something I will ever be able to do. 
I know how to thread a needle and I can do a simple, stab-stitch binding to make books.  Any fancy kind of stitch binding (think coptic) escapes me every time I attempt it.  I've actually broken a needle before.  Which totally befuddled my teacher, Kay. 

But, I think there may be a ray of hope for me.  Here it is:

Mend It Better by Kristin M. Roach

This is an awesome book, written by the multi-talented Kristin Roach.  If her name is familiar to you, maybe you've visited her fantastic blog & website, Craft Leftovers (  I met Kristin last year at Market Day when she purchased one of my journals, and was kind enough to blog about it afterwards.  This year, Kristin is one of the vendors at Market Day.  I was super-excited to get my hands on her book, even though I don't sew. 

First of all, it's just a gorgeous book.  From the pretty cover till the last page.  It's filled with great photos.  I like photos.  I looked through the photos a few times before I sat down to actually read.  Then I was delighted that the words were just as good as the photos.  There is a lot of information in this book.  Inspiring information.  There's some history of sewing, and Kristin tells us how about the role sewing has played in her life.  I like to learn about how and why people become makers of stuff.  Then there is lots of good info about sewing tools and some basics, and then there are all kinds of great projects in the book.  I know that I likely won't attempt  many of them (for safety reasons!), but there are some projects that I think I might be able to accomplish.  Which is mainly because Kristin and the other contributors provide good instructions.  Good instructions are always important in a how-to book, but they are especially important for the clumsy novice such as myself.  The combination of instructions and photos in this book might just help me get over my fear of sewing.  And that is no small feat. 

This book is not just for the clumsy novice, though; I think that creative sewers will love it too. 

If you want to get your hands on this book, visit for more info.  You can get it in stores and online.  Or, you can visit Kristin this Saturday at Market Day, and get yourself an autographed copy (what could be better?).  We'll be at the Kirkwood in downtown Des Moines (corner of 4th & Walnut) from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.  (visit for more info).

Happy Mending!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Around here: a little work, a little play

May is a busy month.  We are busy doing lots of different things:
Watering flowers and watching them grow.
Picking flowers. Okay, technically I think these are weeds, but Jacob and the neighbor boy think they are flowers, and they picked them for me, so flowers they are.  As I was snapping a few pics, Jacob told his friend: "I'm gonna get a lot for Mama."  So sweet. 
I picked up some new papers at ephemera recently.  They have some awesome new stuff.  I've already used all of these and they are wonderful.  I was pretty happy to find my favorite green velvet-flocked paper on the rack at ephemera, which means I can buy it locally at one of my favorite shops.  Incidentally, I just delivered a bunch of my journals to ephemera yesterday, as inventory was low.  Always a pleasure doing business with Arin and Karen.  Stop in and say hi next time you're in the East Village.  You will find their delightful, wonderful shop at 505 E. Locust. 
I work at home.  And so does Jacob.  The other morning he put on his hard hat and grabbed his tools, and he was ready to go.  Apparently when you're three, you can also work in your underwear. 
Last week Jacob and I took a little road trip to Iowa Falls.  A while back, I'd told him all about the swinging bridge, and of course, he didn't forget about it.  So we went.  And we had a great time.  First we stopped in Alden at a sweet park right on the Iowa River, the same one my grandpa and I used to go to.  They had some great new play equipment, but I was happy to see that the old swings that I used to swing on were still there.  Grandpa and I drove the five miles just to go to that park because there were often ducks on the river bank and those swings have long chains so I could go really high. 
In Iowa Falls, our first stop was the swinging bridge.  I remember going across it before they fixed it up and reinforced it--it was really pretty creaky and I was truly scared that it would break and I'd end up in the river.  Now, of course, it is safe to walk on, but I still felt a tiny bit nervous, I have to admit.  Not Jacob.  He marched right across that bridge as if he did it every day.  We hit two more parks in Iowa Falls, took a walk uptown and checked out what's new and what's the same (the Princess Cafe is now the Princess Grill & Pizzeria; the Red Rooster cafe is still open--thank goodness!) and then we went to Union Cemetery to decorate the graves of my great-grandmother and her siblings.  And of course, we had to stop for milkshakes before heading home.  All in all, a great day.  May is a great month for road trips, I think.  And just for playing, in general. 

Friday, May 18, 2012


Getting ready for Art in the Garden tomorrow....this is my first time at this show and I'm looking forward to it.  You can find it at Ted Lare Design Center, 2701 Cumming Ave. near Cumming.  There's more info via their website at:, just click on the events tab.  There will be a variety of art and artists at this show. 

I've brought a lot (and I do mean a lot, like upwards of 400 or so) old books into the house, courtesy of some very generous folks (big thanks to Mindy, Beth, Susan, and Kathy!) who rescued these treasures and passed them along to me.  I'm having a great time going through them and discovering some that I haven't come across before, like this one:
 I was totally delighted to find this book, because I love Lucy (many years ago I named my dear cats Lucy and Ricky, after all.)  And I have never seen a Lucy book before.  This is from 1963, a takeoff on "the popular television series featuring Lucille Ball." 

There was also an adorable Wonder Book in the boxes.  This poor old book was literally falling apart, so it was ready to be turned into a journal.  This is the first Wonder Book journal I've done:

The illustrations are absolutely adorable, so I took the time to carefully cut each page of the book individually in order to include it.  The pages are pretty brittle, but I think they'll hold up okay.  This would make a great summer mini-book or garden journal or scrapbook.  Or just a book to write or draw in too. 

These are a couple of things I'll have in my booth at Art in the Garden tomorrow, should you want to drop by and say hello.  Lots of other new stuff as well.  The show goes from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Hope to see you there! 

Also, if anyone is looking for a scrapbook or guest book for a graduating senior....there's still time if you want something a little bit different.  Get in touch if I can help you out with that. 
Happy Friday, everyone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Market Day love & gratitude

Saturday was the first Market Day of 2012 and it was awesome.  Like, seriously awesome.  I was really busy, had great sales, met new customers and returning customers, and had fun catching up with fellow crafty vendors, some of whom I haven't seen since last year. 
Here are a few (admittedly poor-quality) photos I managed to snap:
This is my table at some point during the day.  I was pretty amazed that I actually remembered to 1. Bring my camera and 2. Take a few photos.  Usually I completely forget!

A glimpse of the hubub from my table location in the Kirkwood Lobby. 
That's DaniAWESOME's booth, Dani in the middle and Kristin Roach, author of the just-released fabulous book, Mend It Better, on the right.  I'll be posting more about Kristin's book soon!
Mimibird's awesome booth.  Read on for more about Mimi. 
It's always great to see Market Day regulars who attend each and every Market Day.  And it's great to see lots of new people who are just discovering Market Day for the first time.  We had over 2100 people attend on Saturday.  The Market Day team somehow manages to keep one-upping themselves, though I don't know how!  Thanks to Cat, Dani, Scott, and Laura for making this event possible. 

And a big thank you to my buddy Jason of Pajama Love ( for his help on Saturday.  While his wonderful wife, Jody, was doing their booth set-up and take-down, Jason was kind enough to help me unload and then pack up.  Such a treat to have help and I truly appreciate it!  That's just the kind of nice stuff that fellow vendors will do. 

My friend Mimi Solum of mimibird (you can find her on etsy!) is back at Market Day this year and I wish I had thought to snap photos of her stuff.  Because it is really, really great.  Mimi is a versatile artist and you can find more of her art beginning this Friday at the Rasmussen Center Gallery at Grand View University here in Des Moines:
I am planning to attend because I love her work, and I think you should too.  If you can't make it to the opening on Friday night, the exhibition will be up through August 3.  The Rasmussen Center Gallery is located at 2800 E. 14th Street here in Des Moines. 

Next up for me is a visit to Grimes this Saturday, where I'll be joining Kim Hutchinson of Jbirdstitch, Lisa of Abba's Hand Mosaics and Kari of Sweet William at New Morning Coffee House & Wine Bar for their Mother's Day open house.  9 a.m. to noon.  A great chance to shop and enjoy your morning coffee as well!  Also a good way to find a unique, handmade gift for your mom.  Or yourself.  Come and see us!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today is the third day of May

A special day, to me, for a few reasons.  It's my awesome friend Kate's birthday (Happy Birthday to you!) and it's also what I like to think of as my parents' un-anniversary.  Thirty-nine years ago today my mom and dad got married:
from left to right: my mom's parents, Louie & Aurelia, Mom & Dad, my dad's parents, Bessie & Bud. 
May 3, 1973.  Note how no one in this photo is smiling.  Love it. 
They had a small ceremony just a few blocks away from where we live now, at the Park Avenue Christian Church right here in Des Moines.  Then, ten years later, they got divorced.  But if they hadn't made the terrible decision to get married, I wouldn't be here, now would I?  I say terrible decision simply because my parents are about as opposite as two people can get.  Which is probably why I'm a bit crazy myself! 

Also, it's a new month, so that means a new calendar page:
Papers are from Stampington & Co., vintage measuring tape, and yellow flower trim that I can't remember the brand.
I am a little behind here, as I don't have a photo of Jacob on this yet....but we're headed to the park in a bit, so I will snap one this afternoon and stick it on. 

This week Jacob and I also started planting some flowers.  This year I'm trying out some new ones, including lilies:

These were on sale for a dollar each at the Hy-Vee garden tent, so I figured what the hell.  Gardening is a lot like gambling for me.  I spend a bunch of money without guaranteed results.  But it's sure fun digging in the dirt and seeing if I can manage not to kill a bunch of flowers.  I did okay last year, so I'm hoping I can keep most of what I bought alive! 

I've also been busy working on just a few more things for Market Day this Saturday:
Like a batch of Nancy Notebooks, since I managed to pick up quite a few old Nancy Drews at the book sale.  Jacob has also been busy being creative:
Man, does he love using the paint roller.  He really gets into it.  I mean, really gets into it.  It's fun to watch him go. 

All in all, a good start to what's probably my favorite month of the year.  May is busy.  There's always a lot going on.  Lots to celebrate.  Hope you have a fabulous month.  If you're in Des Moines this Saturday, come down to Market Day and say hello!  It's also the opening day of the Farmers' Market, which is always lots of fun.