Monday, September 26, 2011

In the news!

This summer I received a call from a reporter doing an article on recycling clothes. We talked for a long time and here is what she wrote!

and now, the recycled+revamped 2011 purses and bags!

Without further ado, I give you the latest collection of recycled+revamped purses and bags! Inspired by an earlier design for blue star bags, a long adjustable strap was added along with a zippered pocket inside. Some of the bags have recycled jean or pants pockets on the front. All have a vintage button/elastic loop closure.There is a range of sizes, based on the size of the fabrics. At the show, these bags were priced at $40, and I'd love to extend that price to you this week! Just let me know which one you like and I will ship it to you (+shipping).

Thank you to those who already chose their new bags!

sage swirl with jean pocket

pinky patchwork tote

orange sprinkles blue star bag

honeycomb brown and gold with jean pocket

earthy stripes with cord front pocket

indigo blue star bag

herringbone aqua, green and orange

loopy orange and tweed blue star bag

Saturday, September 24, 2011

recycled+revamped 2011 harvest collection

Here it is, at long last. A new batch of purses in the work ! Last weekend I was scurrying about packing up for harvest gathering and working out the details of this collection, made from rescued swatches of rich fabrics. What would be the ideal purse for this event? One purse for a memorable experience. Colors that reflect the richness of autumn all around us. Warm late sunshine, local music by friends, full moon in a vast indigo starry sky.

Stacks of fabrics, components are gathered together and cut to size for the sewing spree that will ensue!

More on the 2011 harvest collection coming soon...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

recycled+revamped boy clothes - car jacket

The fabric on this jacket used to be a romper. Since my little guy is totally into cars, I used the fabric to cover over the giant logo on the back yoke of the jacket. There's a patch on the arm that says "road crew" so it works well as a car jacket! It's also fun to look at his 9 month old picture with the romper and compare it to this three year old photos!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

recycled tree swing

Last summer, we made a trade with a friend. A groovy shirt for a handmade wood swing to hang in the big maple tree in our front yard. It was something I had wanted for a while. Little f loves it and swings on it daily. He has now taken to doing tricks on it, standing up, moving to one rope, hanging off the back and more. Luckily, he has his father's agility!

It is made from an old piece of barnwood, shaped to be large enough for an adult and fairly thick. The rope is still rigged in there, until we get up into the tree to fasten in properly. Then we can hook up the bottom and tie it properly. But it works for now and we love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

recycled scrap garden flags

As we prepare for a harvest gathering this weekend, I wanted to show you what is going on in the garden this year. The flags are made from some of my favorite fabric scraps. I just cut then into triangles (about 6" wide and 6-7" long) with a wavy rotary blade. Pinking shears would give you the same effect. Then I choose 2 pieces for each flag, putting the right sides of the fabric facing out, folding over about 1/2" and sewing over a long piece of grosgrain ribbon. The ribbon was premeasured, so I knew where the posts would fall.

The garden markers are sticks with a tiny big shaved off the top. The idea is from Martha Stewart, and thanks to Amanda Blake Soule, over at soulemama for the inspiration to make it happen.

There are a lot of cherry, plum and paste tomatoes in the garden this year and they are producing more every day. We ate beans from the garden for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we will have potatoes!

The view over the "garden gate', which is more of the metal fencing used around the garden. It's fastened to a tall stick and wedged behind a log. The bungee cord holds it closed and is too tall for little hands to reach. A scrap of fabric makes it a little more colorful and visible.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

purse sighting at elberta beach

It's a blue star bag! Long adjustable strap and button closure make this bag great for the beach. Just add a book or project and you're off!

Friday, September 9, 2011

our new handpainted screen door

The story begins a few years ago at an art fair in Frankfort. We met a wonderful woman named Cathy Newstead who had a door like this in her booth. I love it the minute I saw it. While I knew it was out of my price range, I boldly approached and asked if she might be interested in a trade. In return, I offered anything from my booth or my sewing skills for some custom project. She chose both.

Now the interesting thing about trades is this: they always come at just the right time. When Cathy had the door finished, she called to say she had an opportunity to sell it. I was happy to wait for the next one. It took a  bit of time and patience. Once the door arrived here at our house, we realized there were some construction issues with our current door frame. You might be able to tell the door is propped in place here. The door frame needed replacing as it had rotted on the bottom and would not hold a hinge!

So we headed off to Odom with some old doorknobs and other reusable building supplies that I cleaned out of the shed. The door frame we found was just the right size and painted white already! Not only that, but we left with some credit for our next project. Very cool.

We decided to have some friends over for a bonfire that weekend. In another conversation about trading some blackberries from our patch in the backyard, the door project came up. The next day, our friend arrived and helped to install it. It turned out so much better than we ever imagined, with a great story too!

Thank you so much Cathy and John! We love our new door and are very satisfied when we hear that summery sound of a screen door snapping closed. It has transformed the appearance of our home, and we hope it will impart peace both inside and out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

recycled banging wall

We saw a great banging wall at Blissfest last year and have been wanting to make one in our yard. I started collecting all our old pans, olive oil cans and anything else metal that would make a great sound. Tommy took some heavy wire and strung it between two posts (our hammock used to hang here but is now on the other side of the yard). He made a "banger" with an old water bottle and a tree branch, using a little duct tape. Now we can bang out all kinds of rhythms!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

for krista and jesse

Here are two of our very dear friends, Jesse and Krista, whom we just visited in chicago. This is at the baby shower, when Krista opened her new custom diaper bag. She requested something red and modern. More detail photos coming later.

In our conversations, we shared many of things we learned and discovered the year fyn was born.  Below is a listing of our favorites. Most of our small toys are stashed in baskets tucked onto a bookcase made by my grandpa, Louis Velting. I'm working on a list on Pinterest too.

Nova - for wood toys, including the paddlewheel boat! Wooden bowl, cup and spoon. Also has some great ideas about play and beautiful photos. The kitchen inspired our own kitchen, but you might like this diy project too! Beeswax block crayons and Stadler watercolors. Wood lawn mower.
Magic Cabin - wool felt, beeswax sheets, gnomes treehouse, pocket gnomes, tree blocks, balance board.

Palumba - Camden Rose is the company in Ann Arbor that sells via this catalog. We loved the wood iron and clothing rack, and the idea for a wicker laundry basket, clothesline and pins, enamel basin and washboard (found elsewhere). They also have a nice wood teether/rattle.

soft animals and wool veggies - These were fairly easy to make from felted wool sweaters or needle felting

wooden barn and farm animals - our is from Melissa and Doug, but I dream of the stable from Nova... A friend knitted the farm animals from a Debby Bliss pattern and I ordered some wood chickens and horses from etsy.

Birch Leaf Designs - some friends on etsy for wood teether, teething necklace (mom or pop wears it and baby chews on it, we bought and used a couple of these!). wood spoon, playsilks, play clips, parachute man, watercolor jars and painting board. They make a mini picnic table too, which we love, but is not posted, perhaps for shipping reasons.

Little Sapling Toys - on etsy, for wood stacker, organic wood column set

Wooden cars and trucks - thrifted

Small table and chairs - an endtable and some thrifted stools recovered to look like mushrooms

Dolls - made by my mom and one gifted. Nova has nice basic dolls that are similar to waldorf dolls at a much lower price and a really nice wood doll stroller too. I made a sling so fyn can carry his babies too.

Push toy and pull toy - thrifted

Rocking chair and rocking horse - thrifted

Musical Instruments - a child sized djembe drum, bongos, a xylophone (nova?), shakers (can use plastic bottles with lentils, rice or beans inside and electrical tape to seal), bells, tambourines, ukelele, and other wooden rhythm instruments, found at fair trade shops or thrifted.
Bath toys - rubber ducky, chain and stacking cups from discovery toys (went to a party and had to buy something), misc squirt bottles from recycling

Needle felting - I picked up a new craft and really love how simple and intuitive it is. Etsy is a good source for supplies and inspiration.

Children's books- at one of my showers, people brought their favorites. I found we only needed a few at home and could get the rest from the library, even board books. Tommy started reading Huckleberry Finn to both of us when little f was a tiny baby and now that he's 3, he listens to a chapter of pooh each night.
Gerda Mueller - wordless seasonal books, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are our top favorites for making up our own stories or just observing the pictures.
Sybille von Olfers - The root children, the princess in the forest, other seasonal "children" books
Elsa Beskow - so many beautifully illustrated stories that we love.
Old Mother West Wind - great stories about animals, like "why the chipmunk wears stripes".

Living Crafts
You are your child's first teacher - a good reference for basic parenting concepts
Heaven on earth - establishing family culture and rhythms
Seven times the sun - daily and seasonal rhythms
A Child's Seasonal Treasury - nice collection of fingerplays, poems and songs organized by season
Grimm's fairy tales - there's a guide of which ages are best for which stories in "You are your Child's First Teacher".
Wool toys - for needle felted animals


Nursing -
Motherhood Maternity nursing tank - I bought several in many colors and wore them out! They have a second layer of fabric underneath so you can pull over the top layer w/o giving a total show. The sleep bra worked well for me too.
Organic velour nursing pads like these
Bella band - a most brilliant invention for early to late maternity and nursing too b/c it covers your belly!
Each year added a few things for birthday and christmas, thanks to our families. They are still in use even now that fyn is three and I expect to have them around for a long time!

Wishing all the best to Krista and Jesse as they prepare to welcome Baby A and Baby B to their lives and their home!