Tuesday, December 31, 2013

adios, 2013

There it goes, another year races by and we spend these last few days (hours?) looking back, then forward, then back, then forward - whew! anyone else dizzy like me?

I will start with sharing some backward glances at the year gone by and some of my favorites from those 12 months. I hope you will share your favorites too!

I had the pleasure of reading a lot of wonderful books (and really only a couple of stinkers) in 2013. In fiction I loved A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. The hint of mystery and maybe a touch of the supernatural made it especially appealing to me and there are some characters that you cannot help but fall in love with too so it's definitely a winner in my book. And speaking of characters to fall in love with - have you read Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward? Never in my life have a I rooted for a main character like I did the one in this book. And I won't tell you what happens to her - you have to read it!

In non-fiction in fell pretty hard for Augusten Burroughs' This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More For Young and Old Alike which was refreshing in it's brutal honesty and unapologetic style. I am a fan of that myself so this became a quick favorite for me. And if you are feeling ambitious I cannot recommend Far from the Tree by Andrew Soloman enough. What a wealth of information and insight that I would otherwise have never known! And the icing on the cake is the healthy dose of perspective that anyone - but especially parents - can appreciate. Also topping my list was Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar. Maybe the fact that it's focus is women in my demographic - or very close to it. Who doesn't like to read about themselves after all? If you are in the thick of the handmade movement and have ever thought, what exactly am I doing here? Then this book might be for you. I'll be honest, even though I absolutely LOVE what I do, I have wondered if it was what I should be doing and this book asked some of the hard questions that follow that initial query. When I closed the book I felt such gratitude for the author's willingness to ask some hard questions about the handmade movement and to provide some great insights as well.

I have such a long list of 'to-read's for the coming year, it's a bit overwhelming! What is on your list??

In movies and tv.... guys it was a pretty dismal year in my opinion. One small bright spot came in October when Vince and I took a trip in the way-back machine and watched all of the Twin Peaks series which, I admit, I became a little obsessed with. There is something about that show that sucks you in - you just never know what weird or funny thing will pop up out of the blue. That final episode though - folks, it's like watching a nightmare and it will freak you out for days...days I tell you. You have been warned. And movies... pheesshhh... I got nuthin' (or maybe I am just forgetting something - it wouldn't surprise me). Now, to be fair, I didn't really seek out any good ones and we dropped Netflix so it's no wonder I didn't fall in love with any films this year. Maybe 2014 will fare better for me. Any suggestions for new year viewing?

2013 came with some other small victories here and there as well. Once Adam started school, one of my hopes was to try to polish up some language skills that had been abandoned long ago. I studied Spanish in high school and college and actually really loved it. So, with a bit more time on my hands I tracked down some free online guides and am working my way through those. It's amazing how much comes back to you after years of non-use and it's also, at the same time, it's amazing how much does NOT. Weird but true.

All my goals for 2014 are just recycled from previous years - all those things that still have not been crossed off my list. That's okay though - the important thing is that I keep trying, right? I'm excited about the coming year and I hope it is fantastic for all of us!

See you in 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

ghost of christmas past part...5?

I've lost track of how many Christmases we have had here on So September so I'm guessing at five. I still want to keep up the tradition of posting an old-timey photo from a past Christmas of mine. This one goes WAY back even before my younger sister was around so I must have been about 2 or 3. That's me in the middle and my sisters and I are all dressed up for midnight mass. How my parents kept us up and smiling so late at night is a mystery and a marvel.
If you are celebrating Christmas this year I hope you have a wonderful holiday! I hope the past year has brought you many opportunities for fun, creativity and new experiences. May the coming year bring even more!
My plan is to stop in again before the year is out to share some of my favorites from the past year. I had fun with that last year and I hope you will enjoy it too and share some of your favorites as well.
Until then have an extra special holiday!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

on trend...who knew?

Hello from the workshop! I am sharing some mail that came my way today from my friends at Rainbow Treecare. We are sorta buds now since they logged some time (heehee - 'logged') at our house taking down two trees in the past year or so. Anyway, they sent out this holiday guide in which they explained that handmade (and specifically "embroidered") ornaments are trending this year. What a happy surprise for me and for anyone who loves to make their own ornaments. I have always liked the handmade ones best but I am glad to see them getting some appreciation from outside the crafting world.

How have you all been spending your November? Any Holiday gift making in the works? I'll be doing some scouting for project ideas that might make good gifts in the nest few weeks. That's enough time, right???  And of course I will be sure to share anything I decide to try and let me emphasize the word "try" here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving if I don't post again before that. Haha - another joke there - we all know I won't post again before that. I mean we are close enough that I can just be honest, am I right? That what I love about our relationship!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Illustration Friday: creature

Okay, so I only got to the sketch phase of this week's Illustration Friday topic, "Creature" but, hey, that is farther than I usually get. I always - every single week - do some brainstorming about the current week's topic and I love that creative exercise even if I don't always take it any farther.
But this week I did get a chance to take a few more steps. This sketch needs some work and many decisions and corrections here were left un-made  - I realize that - but it's at it's stopping point for now.  I had fun with it and I thought it was a great topic for Halloween week.
What are your Halloween plans? I think I am on candy duty again (distribution - not consumption - I promise!) After the kids are tucked in I will be parking on front of the tv and continuing my way through the Twin Peaks series. Vince had never seen it so he wanted to watch it and even though I have seen it (ages ago), I got sucked into it again. Have you seen it? Creepy....and kind of funny...and just weird. Perfect for Halloween.

Monday, October 28, 2013

a very happy holiday

Christmas arrived a little early over here at SeptemberHouse as the latest issue of Stitch-it...Today landed in my mailbox.
What was inside? An interview with little 'ol me in their Contemporary Artist Series.
septemberhouse feature in Stitch it today magazine
I am thrilled to be a part of this very special holiday issue! There are so many great ideas, projects and practical information for needle crafters. My experience with this publication was absolutely wonderful and they so friendly and delightful!
septemberhouse feature in Stitch it today magazine
Thank you to everyone at Stitch-it...Today and to all the readers too!

Friday, October 25, 2013

my alpine adventure

Snowflake Chalet Hand Embroidery Patterns A-Frame Cottage
I thought it would never happen but it did - I finished up a new pattern set today that was a LONG time in the making! Longer than I thought it would be for sure!
This new embroidery pattern collection is called "Snowflake Chalet" and is inspired by all things Alpine, cozy winter retreats, vintage ski lodge imagery and some of the good things about Winter. Yes, there are some good things!
Snowflake Chalet Hand Embroidery Patterns from SeptemberHouse
I included a mix of simple and more complex designs with the hope that this set would offer something for everyone but also would invite stitchers to veer from the stitch guide if they wanted and use the embroidery stitches and colors they like best.

Snowflake Chalet Hand Embroidery Patterns Vintage Ski Lodge Patches
Will I be hitting the slopes myself this year or jetting off to a Nordic getaway? Probably not but I certainly saw some amazing locations when doing research for these designs. Talk about making the most of a dreadful season!
I cannot wait to see where in the world my embroidery takes me next!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

changing things up a bit

Snow Angel Holiday Ornament Handmade by SeptemberHouse
There is a new snow angel on the block. A new blond has hit the scene in her royal blue and mint green ensemble and she is ready for those first flakes to fly!
Hand Embroidery Holiday Ornaments by SeptemberHouse
I'm experimenting with some new photo backgrounds as well which is really fun. I have used the same setups for quite some time and I really want to see what other possibilities are out there.
Hand Embroidery Holiday Ornaments Snow Angel Design by SeptemberHouse
Aren't those little trees fun? Those poor little angels hated posing all by themselves and I am happy to give them a little company. Back to the studio for me for now but I hope you are all doing some creative experimenting as well!

Friday, September 27, 2013

color wonders

Here I am at about the halfway point in the pattern making process which is when some of my favorite and least favorite "to-do"s happen.

Stitching up examples is something I really look forward to from the moment I start sketching. Not every pattern designer does this and it's not even entirely necessary - so why bother? Well, like I said, it's fun. I really can't imagine not wanting to see your design come to life in floss. It always takes on a new look at that point and the curiosity would kill me if I didn't give it a go.

Secondly, it gives you a chance to see where improvements might be made in your design. What stitches will work here and which won't? how many strands of floss will work best? and what size is ideal for this design? These are questions that get answered when you stitch up your patterns and I think they are important.

Some of my less loved tasks include choosing colors. These are some of the floss and fabric colors in the running this time around. You can see I have not strayed too far from my comfort zone! Most likely there will be some changes here and there before all is said and done.

So what, you may be wondering, is the theme of this new set? Well, I can't give that away entirely just yet but I will say that that it has a Winter feel, but not necessary a holiday feel. You'll also notice a vintage but modern look too which is something I always strive to create.

When will it make it's premiere? Well, yesterday of course! Oh no, wait, that was my goal but I assure you that did not happen. Can I just say ASAP? I'll be sure to let you know!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

happy surprises

A little happy surprise came my way yesterday and  I am so excited to share it with you all today.
While flipping through the great selection of craft books at Sewtropolis yesterday I came across this lovely volume titled, "Mastering the Art of Embroidery" by Sophie Long. And guess what I found inside...
Mastering the Art of Embroidery
 little 'ol me! Right there in the chapter about applique was my hydrangea
Applique Hydrangea by SeptemberHouse
and my caroler ornament
Applique Holiday Ornament by SeptemberHouse Embroidery
What a happy discovery and how wonderful to be included in such a great resource. This book is quite thick and quite full of detailed instructions for all kinds of embroidery techniques. Also in the mix are my friend Melissa and fellow Minnesotans, Urban Threads - so obviously I'm sitting at the cool kid table on this one, am I right? 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

now we are six

In spite of my best efforts, my boys continue to get older and older including this guy who turned six on Friday. Does this mean that I don't have any 'little kids' anymore? I think so. That is good and bad I suppose. I'm not ready to say goodbye to the abundant amount of sweetness just yet. This is a child who will still run up and hug me and say "I love you mom!!" Yep, I'll never be ready to let that go.

His birthday celebration featured a trip to the arcade at the Mall of America where he was handed more coins than he could hold and was allowed to play any game he was tall enough to see. This was his birthday wish even though it sounds like a birthday dream from way back when I was six, right? He loved it and we all had fun really. It's too bad we don't have a photo of the four of us all lined up at the skee-ball machines. All that embroidery has strengthened my hand I think and let me just tell you, I'm pretty darn good.

There is nothing like the feeling of making your child's birthday wish come true and it's especially awesome when it is one as easy and simple at his was this year. My wish for him is that he will always be the happy, curious, affectionate guy that he is right now at this magic age. Happy Birthday Adam!

Monday, September 9, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like... Christmas?

I have a little side project to share today. Even though they are predicting record breaking heat here today I have holiday cheer on my brain. Hopefully it will put a wee bit of a chill in the air and bring us down to oh, say, 96 instead of 98 degrees. One can hope, right? 

Anyway, this design was my submission for a Holiday Card Design contest over at PsPrint. Working on this was really fun because I love making holiday themed anything and because I had a chance to do a little more on the graphics end of things than I usually do for the shop. That was good for me.

If you would like to take a peek at the contest or cast a vote stop by the holiday card contest at PsPrint.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

all good things come to an end

Sunflower photo Tamarak Nature Center
Well, Summer, I suppose this is "Good-Bye". You have been a good friend - please come back soon!!
That's kind of how I am feeling these days. I hate to see Summer go but am excited about the Fall at the same time. Did you have a good Summer?
I'm posting a few photos from some little hikes we took here and there over the last three months. My camera stayed home for most of our outdoor adventures this year and I regret that but I did manage to snap a few shots here and there. The top photo is from our Labor Day venture to Tamarak Nature Center (loved that place!) and the lower one is from Minnehaha Falls.
minnehaha falls hike photo
Peter started fifth grade last week so things have already started shifting a bit at home. The BIG change comes Monday when Adam starts kindergarten. I've never been so happy and so sad about something at the same time in my life! It is the weirdest feeling. In a way I feel like I'm losing my job that I have had for ten years which, as you might imagine is a little disorientating. So far I think I have done a fairly good job of stopping the 'second guess machine' in my head from kicking into overdrive: did I use that time with my kids in the best possible way? was I patient enough with them? did I let them watch too much tv? did I hug them enough? - you know, all that. I could really start to tailspin if I allowed myself to do that so I am trying really hard to put the brakes on it from the get go. 

What feels really good is knowing that Adam is totally ready to start school. He could not be more ready, folks, seriously. Because he has a September birthday he is one of the oldest in the class and he has had two years of preschool. Having that kind of confidence in your child's readiness makes a huge difference. I remember having so many doubts when Peter started. He is on the other end of the age scale and is one of the youngest in his class - plus, since he is the first child there was just so much we didn't know. As a result I spent his first week of kindergarten alternately sobbing and biting my fingernails. Whew! I shudder just thinking about it. As a side note - it all turned out fine and he and I are both completely adjusted!

Still, there is a lot of sadness that comes along with this adjustment of course. I feel like the luckiest mom in the world that I was able to spend those years at home with my kids. Those years were: busy, exhausting, difficult... and also... rewarding, fun and magical. And, if I try to write any more about them I will get tears all over my keyboard so this is probably where I should end on that topic - at least until the passage of time gives me a little more distance from it.

So anyway, what does this all mean for me? Well, I will have some uninterrupted blocks of time which is something I haven't had much of in the last ten years. I just cannot even express how much I am looking forward to that and how many hopes I have for how that time might be used. One of those is to spend a little more time here with you all and perhaps even have some better photos to share. Brushing up my camera skills is on my 'to-do' list. I've been mentally constructing the 'to-do' list for years so as you might imagine, it's quite long. There are so many unknowns ahead as well. I'm intrigued and excited about that actually. I am looking forward to solving the mystery.

What is on your Fall 'to-do' list and what changes will the new season be bringing for you? 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

in the great green room...

Anyone else remember that famous opening lines from "Goodnight Moon"? That is what went through my head as we painted Adam's bedroom last week. I think it's an improvement over the wood paneling that covered the walls before that AND over the retro-fabulous wallpaper we discovered under that. 

Am I in love with the color? No . Would I choose it myself? No (well - maybe for a sewing or embroidery project but not for my walls). It looks a little more subtle in this photo but actually it's quite bright. Adam likes it and he picked it so it works for me. 

This whole experience involved a wee bit of hand-wringing on my part. Do you let a nearly 6 year old choose their own colors for their bedroom?? I have spoken to a lot of moms who have let their kids do this and my initial reaction was always, "Wow, they are such cool moms, what kid wouldn't LOVE to do that? I should be a cool, laid-back mom like that too!". But another voice in my head thought, "kids really shouldn't be making this decision - this is a choice better made by an adult who will be buying the paint, is paying for the house and has more experience with these types of choices." Oh what to do, what to do!

Admittedly, I did some "steering" but ultimately I did let him decide. I'm still waiting for my "Wow, mom - you are the greatest!" Just kidding!

Anyway - how much decision-making power do you give your kids? Have you ever regretted handing over the reigns (or NOT handing over the reigns?). And lastly, can you guess the name of this paint color:

a. lilypad
b. avacado
c. fern
d. moss

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

making a graceful exit

I'm doing some annual (September)housecleaning this week and wanted to give a quick notice about these lovely ladies. "Wig Wonderful" will be retiring September 1st and will no longer be available after that date. So, now is the time to snag this one while you can. This feisty red-head and her three gal pals are available on the website and over in Etsy-land.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

hidden treasures

vintage wall paper, wood paneling
Look what I found hiding behind the wood paneling in our house. Don't you love little suprises like that? Here's the truth guys - I don't hate it. I actually think it's quite charming and it reminds me of the sewing room my mom had when I was growing up that was all done up in these colors. I distinctly remember curling up with a book in the gigantic white wicker chair that was in the corner surrounded by bright green and yellow. ah memories.

Back to present day...
I decided one of the many many things I wanted to get done this Summer was painting both of the boys' rooms. Painting, that's easy right? No big deal, right? Well, here is is August and I haven't done a thing to make it happen. *sigh*

Today that changed though. Adam's room was chock full of paneling so the retro-fabulous wallpaper was discovered at demolition time this afternoon. Adam thought it was awesome to find something unexpected behind the walls but was quick to add that he didn't want it in his room. So, off it came. 

Next I'll have a lot of scraping, scrubbing and hole filling to do to make the walls ready to be painted. I'm so excited to see how it looks when it's done though so I'll be eager to take on even the most mundane of tasks. I'll be sure to post when it's all complete!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

holiday premieres and familiar faces

The elves have been busy in the workshop lately. And by that I mean I have been busy in my basement but that doesn't sound quite as spirited, does it? There are some new ornaments hitting the shelves this year so I thought I would share those today.
personalized our first christmas ornament
The first is a much requested personalized version of the "our first Christmas" ornament. It has space to add initials at the top but still has the color scheme and typography that is in the original edition.
holiday ornament snow angel
Also new this year is a new color scheme option for the snow angel ornaments. This one is purple and light green. I had a little fun with the hair too and went with pigtails this time. 
holiday ornament snow angel
Another requested item was a boy version of the snow angel ornament so he makes his big premiere this year too. 
baby's first christmas 2013 holiday ornament
 Then the standards return with the baby's first Christmas bear in a regular
personalized baby's first christmas 2013 holiday ornament
 and personalized version.
our first christmas wedding keepsake ornament
 The Our First Christmas
handmade holiday ornament snow angel 2013
 and snow angels return as well.
handmade holiday ornament snow angel 2013
More holiday goodies will be coming but this is a kickstart. I love this time of year when I get to play with so many ideas and possibilities before the whirlwind of the holidays begins. Back to the basement workshop I go!

Monday, July 29, 2013

a little summer sailing

Tall Ships Festival 2013
I had to stop by and share some pics today from a quick day trip we took this weekend to Duluth Minnesota. That was the home to the Tall Ships Festival that only comes around these parts every three years. 
Tall Ships Festival 2013
Yes there was rain, yes there were miserable temperatures but the scenery and the company were both quite nice so we didn't mind too much.
Tall Ships Festival 2013
I tried to get some good photos while keeping the camera dry but that was tricky. In three years I'll hopefully have a chance to try again. Beautiful, aren't they?

Monday, July 22, 2013

mid summer check-in

little mantrap lake, park rapids minnesota
Hello from the worst blogger ever! Guys, I know I haven't been around here much and there are lots of reasons for that. I wanted to be sure to say a little hello as we hit the midpoint of Summer. I hope you all have been enjoying this season. I'm sharing some photos today of a trip we made in June to Park Rapids Minnesota with my in-laws. 
little mantrap lake, park rapids minnesota
sunrise on little mantrap lake
I LOVE Summer, I really do but it is so hard to keep up with everything in those three months! There seems to be so much more going on and the days slip by so quickly. Having my boys around in wonderful and I have to say that they have played together more this Summer than they ever have which is awesome. That flurry of activity though can make it hard to find a moment of quiet to concentrate on projects or blogging or so many of the other things on my to-do list.
loons on little mantrap lake, park rapids minnesota
loon family on little mantrap lake
I have fallen behind on my blog reading as well so I have no idea what is going on with any of my blog friends (sorry guys!!). I blame google for getting rid of Reader. I still don't know why they had to go and do that! I will be trying to catch up on that as well. 

Hopefully you all have had a season full of fun new projects and exciting adventures with some quiet time thrown in here and there as well. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2014 arrives early - well sort of

2014 fabric calendar panels for embroidery

They are here- 2014 calendar panels! To be honest I had them at SeptemberHouse on Etsy and the SeptemberHouse Webstore last week but it was such a crazy week that I didn't have time to stop by over here and chat about it. Here is the newest batch for the newest year.

DIY calendars 2014

I always like to have a very basic 'blank canvas' version so people have lots and lots of creative options and can really make these their own. So, this year I have three color options: cadet blue, moss green and taupe all with grey text for the dates. They are blank at the top so a pattern can be added. Personally, I have my eyes on this succulent pattern from urban threads - I think it would look awesome on this! I also have some mixed media designs floating around in my head that I might try. 

Create your own fabric calendar

The second design has a pre-printed pattern so there is no need to decide upon or transfer any embroidery patterns - just start stitching! I have these in three colors: poppy red, amethyst and jade. As you can see I am still working on mine. I wanted to go really heavy with the stitching so it's taking me a bit longer. I like how it's coming along so far though!

2014 calendar panel modern flower embroidery pattern

Hopefully others will have as much fun with these as I have. It really is something I look forward to every year. Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

what could be better...

...than spending a morning 'flying' around the living room in your cardboard airplane? There was some disappointment that it never got off the ground and when I explained that I do not have access to actual airplane parts Adam suggested that we just cut out all the airplane parts we would need out if cardboard and put those together. Yes, I suppose that is another option. Due to time constrictions and lack of any mechanical knowledge we decided to stick with the box for now.

*sigh* That's my Adam. At age 5 1/2 he is so sweet, curious, persistent and energetic. He has become a bit of an attention vortex lately and admittedly I am a big part of that - the clock is ticking  and as the end of the school year quickly approaches my days with him are winding down. We have been lucky, I have had him all to myself for most school days for the past 4 years. Next year he will start school and, oh my gosh, so much will be changing. Lately I have had an intense awareness of the changes ahead and have been trying to hang on tightly to the time I have left with him before he starts his school adventure. So, as a result I have been tucking embroidery away more often and playing even more games of Memory (I'm terrible at that one!), hunting for more bugs, baking more cookies and holding onto those hugs a few seconds longer than I used to.

The shop and the blog are a little more quiet but my house is a little more loud for now. It will change again in time and I look forward to that as well. And I will do my best to not bore you too much with all my introspection, reflection on my past ten years as a stay at home mom, or all my excitement and anxiety about what lies ahead. Know that all of that is completely dominating my brain these days though, so it may creep out now and then over the next few months. Advice from anyone who has gone through this transition is welcome!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

springtime babies are born

Mother and Baby Fox Embroidery Pattern
I've made my way back to So September finally and am happy to share a brand new embroidery pattern collection: Animal Babies. I had a list of "musts" for this set as I was putting it together and those guided my creative decisions throughout. First it had to be cute but not "cutesy," you know? There are five mother and baby combinations here including a fox, dog, cat, elephant and bear. 
kitten hand embroidery pattern
Narrowing down the animals was tough. There certainly is no shortage of cute animals in the animal kingdom so I tried to stop before this became an epic year-long process. Some contenders were left behind in the sketchbook but they may be birthed again one day in some way shape or form.
baby elephant hand embroidery pattern
Second, this set had to be simple. Clean lines, limited stitches, limited colors. I really wanted to create a pattern set that was friendly to beginners. A lot of people ask me what patterns would be best for someone just starting out and I remember as I started out myself, I needed designs that would allow me to practice the basic stitches but also give me an end product that would be satisfying and useful.
puppy hand embroidery pattern
That leads me to the next "must". I wanted to design something that could be used for handmade baby gifts and nursery decor. New babies have probably prompted more embroidery and sewing projects for me than any other event. Something about the sweetness and magnitude of that celebration makes me want to put a little bit of myself into a gift.

baby bear hand embroidery pattern

You know what part of this project I struggled with the most? What to call this set! I seriously lay awake some nights trying to come up with a clever name. In the end I just threw up my hands and called it "Animal Babies" (yawn- I know!) It (literally) is what it is though. Next time I'll come up with a name first and build the pattern set around that.

Friday, April 12, 2013

the wheels on the bus

Hi all, just got back from a morning field trip with Adam's preschool class (doubled up with the morning class as well - lemme tell ya - that's a whole lotta 4/5 year old right there!). We loaded the school bus and headed to the Firefighters Hall and Museum in Minneapolis. Most moms snapped up photos of their kids waving from the fire engine or sliding down the fireman's pole. Me, I got a photo of this guy. There is just something about mannequins, am I right? 

I've been on every side of kids' field trips in my time. I have worked somewhere where kids came for field trips. I have worked a job where I scheduled/arranged and went on field trips and I have been a mom on field trips with my boys. So, I have a fondness for this ritual and at the same time am always so glad when it's time to head home! I don't know how many more field trips are ahead for me but I suspect I'm on the last pages of this chapter so I want and need to soak up the experience while I still can. 

And while I do try to keep the focus of So September on my creative endeavors this kind of stuff is what I really spend most of my time doing. Field trips, laundry, helping with math homework, picking up, dropping off, laundry, dishes, arguing over bedtimes, play-dough, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, more laundry...you get the idea. It doesn't always make for good blog-fodder but it really what I am up to most days. Glamorous? No. Would I trade it? Absolutely not! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

book bits

Just sharing a neat little online find today for all you book lovers out there. I count myself as one of those and I thought this discovery was particularly delightful since I also count myself in the art/illustration lover group.

Take a peek at this collection of posters created by illustrators all over the world. Each one is a re-design of a book from the "The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time" published in The Observer in 2003. You might find some of your favorite reads and favorite artists - or discover new ones for both! (a portion of the sale price from the posters also goes to literacy programs) How cool is that?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

how i spent...

Adam rock hunting by the river
...my Spring Break.
Hello from Spring Break! No, I'm not typing as I sip on an umbrella'd drink on a beach somewhere but my boys are watching the Peanuts Easter special on tv so I have a bit of time to catch up with you all over here. It has been a really lovely week actually. I imagined breaking up fights and hearing about how boring I was all week but was surprised to find that instead, my sons actually played quite nicely and everyone seemed very content. I know, weird, right? I'm hoping that will be a hint about the coming Summer break but I won't believe it until I see it for myself.

We did try to sneak in a little fun (for as little money as possible!) here and there and thanks to some good weather we were able to do just that.

Here is the highlight reel:

* a trip to Stillwater Minnesota with ice cream at Leo's

* LOTS of drawing/cutting/coloring/and play-doughing!

* movie night: Titan AE (a great one for 9 yr old boys in my opinion!)

* I finished up Far From the Tree (whew! quite a reading commitment but worth every page) and started Ladies and Gentleman - in which I stumbled upon someone's social security card (they had been using it for a bookmark apparently). Library books always seem to hold more adventure than store-bought varieties  don't they? Peter worked his way through the Heck series and Adam and I followed some Junie B. Jones antics.

* made some rice crispie treats

* one pair of pajama pants were sewn up. I had higher sewing aspirations but oh well.

* a visit to Minnehaha Falls

* An afternoon at the Tropics indoor waterpark (not my thing and WAY too crowded but I did it anyway - am still waiting for my award/trophy)

* a good long hike at Hidden Falls Park

* Easter egg decorating

So, I think we did okay. We had a little family fun but also forced the boys to make their own fun part of the time as well which I think is important. I loved it and am now even more excited about Summer vacation. I should have taken more photos, I know. I just haven't been much of a shutterbug lately and I am not sure why. I need to get back into that.

I hope you all have had a chance to take a little Spring break and enjoy time with family and friends in this special season - there is really no better way to spend it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

wind & water arrives

cherry blossom embroidery pattern, japanese hand embroidery patterns by SeptemberHouse
It has been a while since I have had the pleasure of introducing a new embroidery pattern collection which makes it even sweeter to be able to do it today. So, Introducing...Wind & Water: a collection of hand embroidery patterns inspired by Japan! Available at the SeptemberHouse Webstore and in the SeptemberHouse Etsy shop.
Japanese embroidery designs cherry blossom hand embroidery pattern
What was the hardest part of designing this collection? Narrowing down my ideas of course. I found that to be the case when I made the Stitches del Sol and the Scandistitches pattern sets as well. Once you start wandering through the subject matter is it impossible not to get a little lost (in a good way!)

japanese hand embroidery patterns by SeptemberHouse
 My wanderings for Wind & Water lead me to origami papers, silk kimonos, family crests, woodblock prints , japanese gardens (swoon!) and more. Now you can see how one might linger a little longer, right?
dragonfly hand embroidery pattern, japanese designs
I hope I harnessed a tiny bit of the grace and wonder I found in my research for these patterns and that people will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them. I tried to include something for everyone here - some simple designs for beginners and some more complex designs for those who want to go a bit farther with their needlework.
japanese hand embroidery designs floral pattern

floral embroidery motif, hand embroidery by SeptemberHouse
Four of the embroidery patterns are round but the last one is set up as a continuous design. It lines up on either side so that it can be expanded and go on and on and on... like the ocean. Your fingers might go numb if you wander too far though! 

Japanese Boats hand embroidery design

modern hand embroidery by SeptemberHouse
I know I enjoyed my journey as I put this set together and would you believe the next one is already in the works? It's true!