28 February 2007

cards, movie, bag, glimmer

Back! By popular demand! Well, my mother mentioned she liked them, anyway. Magnolia cards in the shop. They're a warm salmon-y pink on light gray this time. Twin requested pink, and she is not an easy one to refuse. If you ordered last week, your packages should be arriving presently. I had a minor coronary as I tossed the last of the packages down the chute because I was suddenly struck by the thought that the international ones needed to have some kind of customs form. And I started imagining all those packages getting returned to sender because of my appalling lack of know-how about the intricacies of customs regulations. But then I read online that packages under 1 pound do not require customs forms. Could someone verify this and put my little anxieties to rest? Much appreciated.

Update: I tweaked the cards. I like to tweak. :) And I can now confirm that international packages under 1 pound that do not contain "dutiable items" do not require a customs form. yipppeeee!

We saw Music and Lyrics tonight. The Times review called it "the type of modern Hollywood production that aspires to nothing more than the competent dispensing of mild amusement and easy emotion." Which I thought quite funny, and also spot-on. I was certainly mildly amused.

And lookie at my new present to myself. This bag from Brooklyn Industries. It looks like a regular handbag, but in reality it's like Mary Poppins's bag, and is magical in its huge capacity. As I headed to the checkout, Twin commented that she thought the proceeds of my etsy shop were supposed to be earmarked for craft supplies, and craft supplies only. I explained that there are always more craft supplies to buy, but magical bags, well, you have to take those where you can get 'em.

And for the second evening in a row, there was still a faint glimmer of daylight as I left the office. Hell yeah, spring.

25 February 2007

lady doll

I've had dolls on the brain for the past week or so. I began itching to make one when Amy blogged about Gail Wilson, and then the urge became unavoidable after Courtney blogged about Laura Normandin's gorgeous dolls.

I loved making this doll. She's kind of folk-y. It made me think about the time when most girls made their own dolls—how much love and thought must have been put into every detail and every stitch. How most of them were probably a little bit wonky in some way or another. But very loved despite (or maybe because of) their wonkiness.

She has a lot of Colonial Williamsburg in her. Mostly because I have a lot of Colonial Williamsburg in me. (I grew up in Williamsburg.) One very memorable summer in college, I worked in one of the outdoor markets selling tricorn hats. In costume. And they are all about the historical accuracy when it comes to costumes. Which meant wearing a shift (voluminous slip thing), long-sleeved blouse, wool skirt, thigh-high stockings, leather shoes, bonnet, and straw hat. During a coastal Virginia summer. Like I said. It was memorable. But I do love the clothes. Just so I don't have to wear them.

She's a bit too broad-shouldered. This is particularly noticeable when she's in the buff. Like a quarterbacker. She also has really long arms. I expect she'd make both an excellent football and basketball player. I think in the future, I will sew the arms separately, then attach them, instead of making the torso out of one piece. I gave her two underskirts and a billow-y overskirt to balance out her broad shoulders.

The clothes were so much fun. She's about 15" tall, which is a nice size for sewing clothes. I've made clothes for my 8" Mme Alexander dolls before and it can be so frustrating making everything so tiny. This is much easier. Though I did end up hand-sewing her puffy sleeves into the armholes. If only I had a doll-sized sewing machine to sew on. And itty-bitty little hands to run it.

I was of the Cabbage Patch Kid generation and I can remember how excited I was when they came out with the Cornsilk dolls—the ones with glossy realistic hair rather than hair made out of yarn. I considered yarn hair to be so passé after that. But I think I've come full circle on that one. Now I'm dreaming up yarn hair designs--I think my next doll is going to have coils of braids. Made out of yarn.

22 February 2007

would you like a card or two?

First off, thank you for your enthusiasm about the sewing machine cozy! You are all just so incredibly nice! And yes, I do use the sewing machine—everything I've ever sewn has been done on that featherweight.

And secondly, it's official. I am an etsy seller.

I've been thinking about trying to sell some of my goods for a while, but I kept putting it off because I am such a hopeless perfectionist. Remember that girl, the one who always showed up early for the first day of school, and had four No. 2 pencils lined up perfectly on her desk, with brand-new cap erasers on each one, and her three-ring binders all carefully labeled for each subject, her hair neatly brushed out of her face, her feet crossed under her chair, her back straight, eyes wide? Yeah. Yeah, that was me. I do like to have my ducks in a row.

My seller id is juliemarie. Because there is already a julieree on etsy. She sells jewelry. And while I was slightly miffed that somebody else would have the audacity to have the same nickname as ME, I guess it does make more sense to have a julieree that makes jewelry than a julieree that makes all kinds of random stuff. (Which makes me think about people whose names are also adjectives--Is a Grace always graceful and must a Curt always be curt?) I considered trying to come up with a name for my shop that was really clever and interesting, but then decided to just go with my name. Which shows either great confidence or a lack of originality. One or the other.

This first shop update is card sets. I am goccoing like a madwoman. There are sets of the starry cards, and this new leafy design. Handprinted on beautifully white, heavy cover stock. Made with love.

If they are all sold out, you can bet that my mother has bought them all. My family is so supportive I expect they'd buy my poo if I took a fancy to selling it on etsy. Twin has already snatched up two sets of cards for gift-giving.

I am excited about this new little endeavor. Sometimes life feels a bit like aimless wandering through an endless forest of possibilities. But occasionally you spy a path, leading off to some real or imagined destination, and you say, "There. I want to go THERE!" So you take the first step.

To the people who have encouraged me to sell my goods and who have supported me through this blog, there are not words enough to express my thanks.

19 February 2007

what is that?

It's a little cozy for my Singer. Because even sewing machines get cold in the winter. My grandma bought this Singer in the early 50s. It still runs as smooth and true as the day she bought it. I love it.

17 February 2007

anthropologie rockefeller center

Thought you guys might enjoy seeing the Anthropologie windows at the Rockefeller Center store—they are always pretty spectacular. I couldn't tell for sure, but I'm pretty sure all these plants are living. (Not sure about that tree at left though) If only I wasn't standing outside in the freezing cold while staring in at these lovely spring tableaux...

We've got a friend here for the weekend and besides the joy of her company it is getting us out like tourists which is always a good thing. We've already checked broadway show and shopping off the list, and a museum or two is on the plan for today. Hope you all are enjoying your weekends!!

13 February 2007

starry cards

My latest fun with the gocco. Experimenting with papers and colors.

My bear and snowman supervised the operation. They are good at that.

Like most self-respecting single women, I harbor a healthy disdain for this holiday which shall not be named but which inevitably comes upon us in the dark and gloom of deepest february. But if I did celebrate this holiday which shall not be named, I would most certainly give you all hearts and kisses and hugs and blugs.

11 February 2007


A hankie with which to blow my little snout. Am I the only one who finds embroidery a sublimely meditative activity? Clears the head, doesn't it? This week I have been admiring Toni's wonderful trailer park pillows. Oh, I want one. I may have to stalk her etsy shop until another one comes up.

My mom has a treasured little volume of embroidery designs by an Australian embroiderer (embroideress? hmmm, that's got a nice ring to it) called Embroidered Garden Flowers. I borrowed the book from my mom a couple years ago, with the hopes that she might forget I had nicked it. (no, just kidding, Mom. I'm absolutely going to give it back. Really. Really.)

Look at that wisteria! And the magnolia! I can't even begin to imagine how many hours go into something like that. A whole heap of a heck of a lot.

I love that her flowers actually look like specific flowers. No generic daisy-like blobby flowers for her. On the hankie I embroidered a Solomon's Seal. Except I made it pink instead of white, which probably ruins the botanical accuracy. Sacrilege.

Tonight I've got a lily-of-the-valley on my hoop. A favorite flower of mine. Maybe I can embroider my way straight into spring. And I'll call myself an embroideress. Because that just sounds cool.

And yeah, that says "snotrag" on my hankie. I think it's funny, but I do have a rather odd sense of humor. ;)

07 February 2007

it must be in here somewhere

I was recently reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Albert Camus: "Au milieu d'hiver, j'ai découvert en moi un invincible été." (In the depth of winter, I discovered within myself an invincible summer.) I should admit that I was not reading Camus when I remembered his fine words. I was reading the fourth Traveling Pants book. Who has time for French literature when there is teen fiction to read? Not me.

If Camus says there is an invincible summer to be found within myself, then there must be one. I have loved reading about all the ways people are fighting off the February funk out in blogland. There's been mad cooking and baking, snuggling in bed, photo-taking, giggling, and dancing.

I've made myself a little rule that I do not trek to the laundromat when the temperature is below 20degrees. Thus off the hook for dealing with the Mt Everest of laundry that is taking over my bedroom, I had time this evening to browse through my photo library from last summer. These are some of my favorites. And suddenly summer doesn't seem so far away.

If there's an invincible summer within myself, I think it probably has something to do with the joy of creating, the clacking of my sewing machine, warm bagels on a Saturday morning, crisp white paper, a few tentative hopes and dreams, and a sister who has a whole drawer full of clean underoos that I can nick now that I've completely run out of clean laundry.

04 February 2007

stripey sleeveless shirt

I got this wonderful, soft striped fabric at Purl last weekend with plans to make a shirt out of it. Twin wrinkled her nose and said she thought I would look like a prison inmate in those gray and white stripes. Well, I don't think apparel for prison inmates runs quite this cutesy. I can't decide if I look 5 years old or pregnant. Maybe both.

Actually I do really like it. I used Simplicity #3875, which is a dress pattern, but I shortened it to tunic length. I also made the bands at the neckline and midriff narrower as I thought they looked a little chunky. I like the contrast of the different directions that the stripes run.

These (left) are the sleeves that got nixed. Bad sleeves. Now, I know, you're thinking they're kind of cute. Well, they're kind of cute on Maude (the lovely blue lady modeling it), but they looked baaaad on me. Trust me. I had used the cap sleeves from view C which were less like cap sleeves and more like big ugly wings. I tried shortening them but that really didn't help matters. Then they looked like little ugly wings.

So I tore out the darn sleeves entirely and went with bias binding. I think it's ok now. I think I can like the shirt now. It was touch and go for a while there.

01 February 2007

oh yeah. this is fun.

The first gocco attempt. Things to remember for next time: 1) it helps to put the batteries in before attempting to expose the screen (thus avoiding much head scratching), 2) they aren't joking about those 5mm margins (respect the 5mm or there will be awkward cropping of printed image and much silent cursing), and 3) the ink becomes significantly darker as it dries.

I printed on a few different papers I had lying around the apartment. I was going for subtle. Maybe a bit too subtle in the case of the green paper. After the ink dried, I realized the only way you can see the image is if you tilt the paper a certain way. Tricky. We'll just pretend this was intentional and say the paper has a little secret surprise for those who know to look for it. We'll call it a happy little accident, rather than a mistake, as the great Bob Ross always taught us.

oh squEEEEEE!

It came! I've already watched the video. Great video. Entirely in Japanese and the cheerful young woman on it who just says "Hi!" over and over again cracks me up. (Can someone tell me what "hi" means in Japanese? Is she saying "ready!" or "I understand!" or maybe in that one little syllable she is saying "this print gocco is freaking awesome and rocks my world!!!") Now I realize I am late in joining this bandwagon but I am pretty darn excited about my little gocco. I got a lovely and oh-so-timely windfall from my great-aunt and I've invested it in my own little japanese pressy-doodle. Hopefully you will see some results soon.

In other news, and in no particular order:

This crazy guy across the street from my office was apparently trying to exit one window, creep along the windowsills, and then enter another window two windows down. I can only guess they were locked out of the room and trying to get in via the window. One of my colleagues said "look he is using climbing equipment, he must be a professional." Erm, I think he's a professional loonybin, that's what.

I made biscotti. And that's about all there is to say about that.

And of course a great big THANK YOU to my lovely marmee who was here this weekend celebrating her XXth birthday. There was coconut cake, sewing fun (and a project to share soon!), and much merry-making in general. Mom, I finished your birthday cake this evening. Wow, that's too bad you couldn't take it home with you on the airplane. But my, those XX years are treating you very fine indeed. You definitely don't look XX years old at all. You look XX–20 years old. Definitely.