Monday, March 31, 2008

Sisterly sewing project

My mom discovered this purse on a blog recently and shared it with me. I fell head-over-heels in LOVE. Could there be a more perfect spring, fun, mama purse? I figured that I could put just about anything I could need these days in a purse like that.

But then I remembered that I've been on a personal project hiatus. Oh yes, finishing the organizing project in my craft room/ basement office. I've only been working on things that were for other people or pressing deadlines, like the Lego t-shirts.

Oh, but wouldn't a trip to Crafty Planet's new digs be fun? Or an opportunity to sew this with someone, like my sister and sister-in-law that I don't get to see often enough?

That was all I needed. Here's the fabric that Krista, Tonya and I picked. Mine is the middle, Krista is the blue and Tonya's was some she had on hand from another project. The Amy Butler fabrics are so delightful that I want to eat them. Here's a close up on Krista's.
And Tonya's. Her fabric is thicker, an upholstery fabric of sorts. A lovely weight.

And mine. I think orange has become my new favorite color. It sneaked into my life somehow without me noticing. Perhaps because I now have a baby girl and I'm not a *pink mom*. I like it, but I don't think that girls should ONLY be dressed in pink. Besides, with Louise's coloring, she looks adorable in orange.

The pattern can be found on the tutorial and is a pdf file. This was my first time following a tutorial for a sewing project. I was quite impressed, though we did have a hard time with a few tricky parts of deciphering the instructions.

Here we are: Jenn

And Tonya, with (my brother )Erik in the background working on tiling his backsplash.

We began the process at 8:00 p.m. cutting out our fabric. Sewing followed. Working together on the same project was amazing, as we were able to help trouble shoot for one another and stick together. The seam ripper came in handy in one section, but mostly, we followed the instructions diligently. At 11:30 we called it quits... Tonya's sewing machine was acting up and needed some tech support from my mom, it was late, a "school night" for Tonya and Krista. And, we had reached the point in the pattern where we needed to baste and gather. Baste and gather in the same sentence at 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night-- not a good combination. We decided to set another sewing date and finish them together.

When I arrived home at midnight I realized that a little breather from the project had done me well. I quietly set up my machine at the dining room table while the rest of my family snoozed in their beds. "Oh, I'll just do ONE of the baste and gathers," I told myself. At 12:37 I shut off the machine, put down my completed purse and went to bed. All that remained was a section to be stiched by hand. I love my new purse. A picture will follow.

A big thank you to Krista and Tonya for the fun evening. I will join you to finish yours when we reconvene. I have a few pointers to share. Let's NOT do it at midnight.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nature Hike

Last week we went on a hike with friends to a nearby nature center, Wood Lake. It is an amazing place... a center with live animals, nature displays, a worm-composter, and an area for kids-- plus all the outdoor trails surrounding the lake. Our kids love there because they can splash, stomp, climb, run, explore and just be kids.

Climbing the pirate ship. "Ahoy matey. I'm Captain Feathersword."

You never know what we will find there. Here's a bee or wasp nest, perhaps for a school project?!?
They are collecting sap for maple syrup. The nature center sells these contraptions for cheap. Hmmm, I wonder how many maples are on our farm. I'll have to look next time we're there.

Cuddles on the trails. Even little ones love hiking in the woods.

A little sleepy post-nap. It was handy that there was still enough snow for a sled to pull her along the trail.

After the tromp in the woods, we snuggled up in the sun's rays with our cocoa, pretzels and animal crackers.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The answer to the mystery shadow

It definitely creates an interesting shadow. Here's the answer to my previous question.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A tale of two Fridas

Some time last year when I first discovered crafty blogs, I discovered Floresita and her Exquisite corpse project. She made a few parts of a Frida Kahlo doll to put together with other random body parts from other artists. My friend Kristine and I fell in love with her doll and decided to embark upon our own Frida journey, taking cues from Floresita's doll, but really figuring out the rest on our own. A big thanks to Floresita for the inspiration!

Here's what we came up with... The one on the left is Kristine's and the right is mine. The beauty of these dolls really lies (or lays..which is it, Edward?) in the details. Not having embroidered much in my life besides a cross stitch mini-pillow as a girl scout, I was slightly intimidated. I decided that what I liked most about this embroidery is the fact that there were no rules. No pattern to follow. Just wing it.

Notice how different our hearts are. How cool is that? Each one with our own style.

We began with the body, deciding that we would figure out how to attach the limbs and head as we went along.

The faces were next. I think this photo was taken before we applied Frida's blush cheeks.

Designing her clothes was the most fun, I think. We both drew from Frida's love of traditional Mexican clothes. My shawl was an old handkerchief found in an antique store in Siren, WI. Kristine's skirt came from a local Minneapolis antique store.

I have close-up color photo copies of my finished and nude (eek!) Frida right before she boarded a plane to Africa. I will post them when I scan the copies into the computer so you can see closer detail.

My Frida now lives in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire with Stephanie, my dearest friend and companion in visiting Frida's real house in Coyoacan a few summers ago. It was hard to give Frida up, but I knew that she would have a good home on a shelf next to Stef's treasures from her world travels. I really thought I would make another one for myself-- but the farther away from that doll I get, I realize that perhaps it was the challenge of figuring out HOW to make her that I liked. Just like running my marathon... ran it, check. Figured out Frida, check. Off the list. What is next?

The other Frida was also given as a gift and now lives in Santa Fe, a very fitting home for her. I don't think Kristine is going to embark upon another Frida either.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter morning

Is it supposed to snow in Minnesota in March?
How is the Easter bunny supposed to put eggs in our yard when it is filled with snow?

Eggs Benedict on Easter morning. My husband must love me.

The Easter Bunny must have been really busy this year. Either that, or we must have had a birthday at our house the week of Easter.
I didn't put up ANY decorations this year, which is unlike me, but it is true, no decorations. We stayed home on Easter morning and had a leisurely breakfast in pajammas (pronounced the British way at our house says Carl--pa-jah-mas--) and I noticed that it was feeling a little un-Easterly.
Interestingly enough, when the kids went down the basement to play for a while, the Easter Bunny came. He must have been waiting for them to leave the living room because not only did he come, but he found our bucket of Easter decorations and went to town! Bunnies, ducks, chicks, you name it, he put it out. There were plastic eggs each filled with ONE jelly bean all around the living room and dining room. He even dropped off a basket with some books and new (fake) Crocs for the boys and a pair of Robees for Louise. We yelled downstairs that the Easter bunny had come while we went upstairs to get dressed and suddenly... two boys flew up the stairs. "Wow! How did the Easter Bunny know that we were downstairs, Mama?"
A good question, indeed.

Birthday wishes

.......................Big C turns 5 today!..................... It has been a wonderful week, filled perhaps a bit too full of birthday adventures. We started the week by hosting our playgroup at our house, complete with Lego themed birthday fun and cupcakes with very brightly colored frosting. There were Legos everywhere at the party... on the cake, on the banners and on the table for playing. Interestingly, no one played with them. They were more consumed with who had the brightest blue or green tongue.
Gotta love gel food coloring.
He also wanted to have a "kid birthday" party and this year only boys were invited.
The idea had never occured to him to be exclusive, but when his close girl friend
went exclusive at her party, he decided to follow suit.

Each of the boys was given a Lego t-shirt (made by me at midnight the night before, of course) and wore it to the Mall of America's Lego land. Imagine our surprise when the area with the little Legos (for older kids) was missing! It was actually getting repaired and the boys were quite disappointed. Instead they browsed the Lego store and went on a single ride in the amusement park area. I think they had more fun eating their string cheese snacks in front of this waterfall outside a nearby restaurant. Boys + rocks + water= FUN! The Lego cake for the four boys. Gumballs for the dots, although my boys have no idea what to do with gum. Swallow it? Ok. So, we don't eat much of it around here.

There was also the requisite family party... always the most fun of all with grandmas and grandpas and cousins who also love playing with Legos. Here was the centerpiece, in a piece of nice crystal from our wedding that normally collects dust in the buffet cupboard.

The third Lego cake. (Am I done baking for a while? Please?!?)
Boy time at the kid table!

Five years ago today I went to work as usual. I taught five Spanish classes, thinking it was just a regular day. My water broke at school during my prep period, thankfully not in front of students. Ever the planner, I just changed into my spare clothes and sat down on a towel at my desk, giddy with emotion that this baby was finally arriving, but also freaked that my students wouldn't be able to serve their detentions with the sub. I stayed at school for another hour and a half (am I crazy??!?) to finish the sub plans and wait 'til someone could pick me up. When I got home I sat at the sewing machine finishing the curtains for Carl's room until my contractions started a few hours later. Um, wasn't I paying attention in class? You're supposed to GO to the hospital when your water breaks, not sit around nesting at home for a few hours.

We arrived at the hospital in time for a nice, leisurely check in and Carl was born shortly afterwards, at 10:04 p.m. My life has never been the same. I love you, Carl!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I've been tagged, for the first time. I think blogger etiquette mandates that I answer the questions, so here goes:

What I was doing 10 years ago:

It was spring 1998 and I had spent the previous summer in China teaching English and training for a marathon that I ran in fall 1997. I had the best roommate (wife) in the whole world and lived on a very noisy street with our two cats, Obi and Cisco. We cooked up a storm every night and made sure we ate more than our fair share of fruits and vegetables. As I had quit my job prior to departing for China, I was just settling into my new job as an Event Planner. Almost 10 years ago to this date (3/24/1998) I met my now-husband at a local grocery store.

Here's the scene: Shopping, late at night, in search of yogurt and bananas. Fruit in hand, I was looking for the right yogurt when I spied a tall, freckled boy, also heading down the dairy aisle. He looked at me, I looked at him, the glances continued until he walked past me with a quart of whole milk in hand. I followed him to the register and began a simple conversation... "So, do you like late night milk and cookies?" He replied, "Nope. I just buy my milk here a couple times a week." That was it. Slightly crestfallen I checked out and wandered out to my car only to find myself being watched... by him. I got into my car and drove away. That night I complained to my "wife" that I think I had met the man of my dreams.

Several weeks later I was browsing the local arts/entertainment weekly and came across the "I Saw You" section. On a whim, I glanced. It read, "Lunds 3/24 You: yogurt and fruit. Me: milk. Had to run, would love to talk."

Yes, that's us. We connected and now ten years later we have a house, a farm, a diggity dog, three great kids, and have been having lots of fun. Time flies, indeed.

5 Things on my To Do List today: (or 6)
1. Pick Carl up from school at 11:30.
2. Lunch at my sister's house at noon.
3. Sew Lego t-shirts for party favors at C's bday party this weekend.
4. Update blog.
5. Fold laundry.
6. Play outside with the kids to run off some energy. The sun is shining today! (At last!)

Snacks I Enjoy:
Fruit, pretzel rods, red licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla yogurt with riquids, coconut rolled dates, oatmeal cookies, cheese, cheese, and more cheese, Diet coke (though I'm trying to quit.) Oh, and how could I forget coffee... though I don't know if that is a "snack."

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire:
Hire "This Old House" to fix up our barn, build our dream house on the farm, provide for comfortable lives for our families, travel, travel, travel, take a cheese class from Ricki Carroll, visit Stef in Africa.

3 of my Bad Habits:
1. Not emptying out my email box.
2. Not returning the cordless phones to their chargers.
3. Too many crafty interests... means I have 1,000 ideas floating around at any given moment and I find it hard to focus some times.

5 places I have lived:
1. Minneapolis
2. Pella, IA
3. Osorno, Chile
4. Paris, France
5. Granada, Spain

5 Jobs I have had:
1. Spanish and French teacher
2. Event planner
3. Waitress
4. Camp counselor
5. Public relations peon/gopher

If you're reading this and would like to join in the fun, feel free to feel "tagged" then send me a link to your blog and share your answers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring is getting closer

The bright sun is shining in the windows again today after a brief March snowstorm. I love how the sun casts amazing shadows on days like today. Can you guess what the last shadow is of?

Monday, March 10, 2008

goat love

I'm in the middle of reading "The Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese " and find myself folding down the corners of the pages to mark the things I want to re-visit. I never fold down pages. I think it ruins a book. I used to scold my students for folding down pages in their textbooks. But I'm doing it. I just can't stop myself. I LOVE this book so much.
The book is a tale of a couple who leave their lives in NYC to follow their dreams of a life with goats. They don't know much about them, but know there is some reason why they must travel 40,000 miles across the United States to learn all about all things goat. By reading the book, I'm able to travel the miles I would like to be traveling. My life at home with three kids just doesn't allow the possibility of such traveling, so I'm traveling from my rocking chair.
It is more than inspiring. It satisfies my goat urges. (Wow, that sounds bad.) I mean, while our lives in city the just aren't ready for a life in the country with goats and chickens, the book satiates me. I feel like I'm traveling along side them, tasting cheeses, watching auctions, sleeping in a tent, laughing at the silly antics of the goats. Great goat fun.
My favorite quote (as of page 114) is this:
"We don't simply want to make goat cheese. Rather, we want to center our lives around something both great and simple: producing food and devoting our lives to the pursuit and cultivation of real flavor, in every meaning of that word. Connecting the palate to the place suddenly seems the most perfect goal of our lives."
So there. It is perfect. I second that motion.
Here's their website.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Joining the party

I'm joining the party. The Ultimate Blog Party. We'll see what this is all about. I'm looking forward to checking out new blogs, having my blog read by new readers and learning more about how to do fancy bloggy things.

Are there any other crafty-mama, wanna-be farm girls out there living in the city (or in the country already)? Anyone else get a kick out of goats? Chickens? City living? Urban gardening? Sewing? Crafts with kids? Cooking? Drop me a line, leave me a comment.

I'm especially looking for tips on how to add to my blog. I like it ok now, but would really like to get to the bottom of it all. What are the measurements of the top banner so I can create one that really fits? How can I make my turtle cake tutorial picture turn into a link? How can I make it funkier, like How About Orange. Or cool fonts like Layer Cake Films. I really want a banner that fits like this one, this one or this one.

So... welcome to my blog. Glad to meet you. Si tu hablas espanol, podriamos hablar aqui. Mais si tu parle francais, moi aussi. On peut parler dans les trois langues. Or just in English if you please.

I think I'm supposed to include which of the prizes I would dig the most, if I were to win. Here goes. I feel like a kid with the Sears catalog in the 70's. (Don't tell me you didn't spend hours looking at all the toys, just wishing wishing wishing that 'Santa' would bring you all the things you marked.) Here goes:

7. Bead Dangle Necklace

18. Wrap-n-Mat

19. Kleen Kanteen sippy

20. Certificate to Paperlicious

37. Moby

24. Blog Design

45. Custom Blog Design

62. Bilingual Spanish system

103. Pink Legos

124. Rachel Ray cookbook

137. Sippy Sampler

And here's me, in my latest vintage find. Found the dress AND the shoes (in a size 11, that's rare) at a thrift shop that was having a 50 % off every thing sale. ) I'm having a party! (Actually, on my way to a wedding.)

On shadows

Spring is on its way.

The sun is starting to shine like this in our window more often.

I can't get enough.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Visiting the farm

I visited the farm. Wow, is it beautiful in the winter. Snow everywhere, icicles dripping off the buildings, pond frozen over.

No mosquitoes. Not one in sight.

It made me happy knowing that someday we'll be there to see this every day. Every morning. Every night. I'll wake up and look out my kitchen window at this barn and feel happy. Maybe the goats will be running around, in and out of the little barn. The chickens waiting for breakfast and their fresh eggs ready for our breakfast.

Cold, snowy, wonderful.... and ours.

For now, the city keeps me busy. Someday we'll be there.