Wednesday, May 30, 2012

about being out and about

I know May is notorious for being kind of a crazy month but I suspect that mostly pertains to people with graduations and weddings going on at that time as they often do. For some reason even though there is nothing like that here, May has still been a little nutty. I always pick a few projects that I want to squeeze in before school ends - some of those goals are realistic and motivating - others are just me living in la-la land and trying to fool myself. At least I aim high though, right? There is one BIG one that I hope I'll be able to share at the end of the week though.
We have tried to fit in a bit of leisure time here and there as well. On Monday evening we ventured out to a  lovely Minneapolis landmark, the Stone Arch Bridge (beautifully rendered here and here). For reasons I can't understand or explain, neither Vince nor I had ever been even though it's a very short drive away and it's so neat. There are still dozens of cool places here that I have yet to see. It's both exciting and embarrassing to think about. Do you still have unexplored spots in your city?
Other adventures this month have been school centered. Yesterday was Adam's very first field trip. So the afternoon was spent exploring the zoo with 9 four year olds, two saints teachers and picture-taking parents like me doing our best to capture the cuteness and craziness. Trying to get a group shot was downright comical as you can see I'm sure. What a fun time though and I am so happy I got to share that 'first' with Adam.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


dang it!
Lovely isn't it? Actually even though it doesn't look like it at first glance we are extremely lucky. No one was hurt even though this branch fell in the middle of the afternoon the day after a big storm. In other words - a time when my kids or neighborhood kids might have been playing in the backyard. They were not at the time and that is the most important thing. Secondly, this branch did not hit our house or any other property. As you can see, however, it did take the power and phone lines. All in all though this could have been WAY worse.

What this means though is that we are having this very old, possibly infected (many of the ash trees in Saint Paul are - due to emerald ash borer), ash tree removed. Of course this is going to be no small or inexpensive feat. *sigh* We knew it was going to have to be done at some point but were hoping to put it off a little longer.

Besides dodging any injuries the other good side to all of this is that we can begin thinking about a replacement tree. Any northerners (zone 4) have recommendations? We definitely need something tall enough to provide shade and something nice looking would be good too. Suggestions welcome.

Monday, May 21, 2012

about face[book]

I know what i said - I said I was quitting Facebook - and I did, I really did. But, as so many do, I am making a return visit. I thought it was only right for me to share that. After all, you might one day see that SeptemberHouse name over there and think, "hey! didn't she say......".

This time I am going about it a different way - the way I should have done it in the first place. I do have a business page where I can post updates and announcements. BUT I don't have a profile page open so that will help me resist the temptation to get caught up in the time suck vortex that is Facebookland. As you may know about me already, my strategy for temptation is not to become a stronger person and model of willpower and mental fortitude - oh no - it's just to accept my weakness and eliminate any opportunity what so ever to show exactly how weak I am.

The thing about Facebook is that it is so hard to keep business and personal separate there. And perhaps to be effective, you aren't really supposed to do that - after all, it can be seen as a chance for customers to get to know you better and for your friends to spread the word about your business. I have a hard time with that though. My blog is where people can get to know me. I know not everyone wants to read through blogs when they can just see everything on Facebook and I get that too. So I do struggle with what I am 'supposed' to do there. I guess I will try to figure it out as I go - that's been my business philosophy so far anyway, right?

So why go back at all? Well, I really am working hard these days on figuring out a plan for SeptemberHouse (a novel idea seeing as it's 4 years old, right?). Part of that means developing an identity outside of Etsy - especially in light of  some of their recent business decisions. It just seems like a smart thing to do and I know that I would be foolish to not add Facebook into that equation.

All that being said, you can find be here - believe it or not.  Corinne covers her face and slinks away very quietly.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Illustration Friday: kernel

Illustration Friday - What?! Good grief it's been years since I participated over there, right? I know. It is such a good exercise and I just never make the time to do it. Lately I have been trying to get back into some creative habits so this is one of those attempts. It's fun to spend time just doodling without thinking about turning it into embroidery. Even though I do feel rusty and some of my gouache had dried out from lack of use - I still am glad I gave it a go.

Monday, May 14, 2012

you can count on it

Every year at about this time in May you can expect a post from me about our family outing to the May Day Parade in Minneapolis. It's my favorite Spring/Summer event in the Twin Cities and there will always be something to share here about it.
don't forget to unplug once in a while, man
This year it was bumped up to the 13th due to the crummy rainy weather we had the weekend before. Last year we were freezing in our winter coats and sipping hot chocolate. This year we were sweating and gulping down water - you just never know what the weather will bring.

Anyway. This is not your ordinary parade. It's produced and presented by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and they never fail to amaze. This year's theme was "The End of the World as We Know It". Sounds a little dark, right? There is always an underlying call to stop and think about what's going on around you (and sometimes that can be an eye-opener) but then, along with that comes a celebration of all that is right and beautiful around us. So you always leave feeling good and inspired.
and the sloths gently remind us to slow down
Also, if you like be surrounded by completely HAPPY people this is a great place to be.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

why i turned out so great...haha

Happy Mother's Day! 
If you are a mom reading this I hope it's because someone else is taking care of the dishes and the laundry and the cooking and letting you have some quality surfing time. That's the only reason I am here at 9:00 on a Sunday - a time that is usually full of all of the above. (Thanks Vince!)
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the things that make my own mom so amazing!
Here she is with twin newborns and a two year old. Does she looked stressed and frazzled? Nope! 
And I intentionally did not crop this so you could all see tiny little Will Shakespeare standing guard up on the shelf. He was a permanent fixture in the house when I was growing up.

 And if that wasn't cute enough check out this baptism photo:

So here is the short list of things that I love about my mom:
She is...

a writer
a reader
a knitter
a sewer (sewist?)
a bleeding heart liberal (and proud to say it!)

She loves...

An underdog
John Denver
Mr. Rogers (who doesn't?)
Helping people

I could go on and on of course but you get the picture, right? She would be so mad if she saw that I put pictures of her up here - like me, she prefers a behind the scenes role. So, please don't tell her!
I wish I could say she was too busy spending time with me to read silly blogs anyway but sadly that is not the case this year. My lucky sisters in Nebraska get to do that. Don't worry though, I'm sure I'm still her favorite.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom - you are the best!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

keeping your colors

You know what season is upon us now, don't you? Garage sale season! What treasures will be found this year - one can only imagine. So, I'm here today with a small tip that many of you will probably already know but here it is anyway. If you are a garage saler/estate saler you have most likely stumbled upon an embroidery stash like this one:
You know, it's full of floss, some hoops maybe some patterns and fabric or even a half finished project and it's priced at, like $1. You might start to swoon over all those yummy colors but then hesitate because you are uncertain if the old floss is dye-fast. Here is the good news:  you don't have to pass it up.
So, how do you know if it's dye-fast? Well, I took the paper off mine, laid it on some white cotton fabric, folded the fabric with the floss inside and ran it under water. I gave it some squeezes and let it be for a few minutes and then unfolded it. 
You can see that this beautiful blue turned out to be just fine because no dye was on the white fabric. So, I let it dry and now I can feel confident using it. This lilac skein though.... definitely not dye-fast.
But now I know that this problem is easily solved with the help of everybody's best friend - white vinegar. 
Yep, mix up a solution that is half vinegar and half water and just let your floss sit in it for a few hours. You'll see the solution take on that beautiful color too. Then take it out, give it a good rinsing and lay it flat to dry. I found the color was not quite as intense afterward but it was still lovely and will now be added to my flossbox. Easy peasy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

rainy weekend sewing

This weekend was a washout. We dodged enough raindrops to catch the Cinco de Mayo parade but other than that...we were pretty much homebound. Which is okay I guess because it meant we were available to clean up the water in our basement - boo! 
I decided to take the time to do a little sewing project that I have been meaning to do for ages - make some reusable snack bags. You'll recognize fabric from various past projects like this one and this one. Yes, this is a good stash buster! Funny how it took me almost til the end of the school year to get this done, though, right? (Only 24 more lunches to make for Peter as a 3rd grader!). 
I went ahead and made 5 at once. This great tutorial was my guiding light - very easy to follow. I had picked up some velcro with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn's so this project only cost $1.67 - you can't even buy a box of ziploc bags for that! score!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

swingtime fun

What was your favorite piece of playground equipment when you were a kid? Mine was the swings - hands down. I was also a bit of a champion when it came to jumping off the swings at full height - but I don't mean to brag. This week we added a small swing to our backyard with just a bit of trepidation. You know how it goes - you want your kids to have fun and play but then you worry about someone getting hurt - then you scold yourself for being overprotective and remind yourself how much fun YOU had doing stuff like that as a kid and YOU turned out just fine for heaven's sake right? right?
You go around and around like that in your head for awhile - then you leap and have a chance to see the sheer joy in their faces and the hear the squeals of delight - and you move on to worrying about something else.
They LOVE it. I, however, have been told I am too big for it - NO FAIR! *pout*