Thursday, June 28, 2007

On forgetfulness

Last year I spent every spare minute of November sewing. After work? Sewing. Between bites of turkey? Sewing. While everyone else was at the mall for Black Friday? Sewing. My back hurt, my arms hurt, my mind hurt. But, I grew excited as I watched as the bedding sets, burp cloths and blankets pile up and, for the first time since I started my tiny little business, I had a serious inventory stash.

Then, on the first weekend in December, for a few hours on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I set up my table in a perfect sunny corner, put on a smile and manned my craft booth. And, although I'd been up until 4 am the night before, the thrill of being surrounded by other crafty people gave me the adrenaline I needed to get through the long day.

I had a great day but, at the end of it, I swore I'd never do another craft fair. The business was great and the experience was exhilarating but trying to manage a more-than full-time job and prepare for a show was just too much.

When I ran my first marathon a few years ago I made the same proclamation. I spent a good portion of the last 5 miles of my marathon pissing and moaning repeatedly to my husband. "This is asinine - why in the world am I doing this?" I groaned between strains of "I don't ever need to do this again. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN."

But, when I hit mile 26, the tears started flowing. I realize that's not much coming from me - the woman who cries at everything - but there was something about the experience that was completely awe inspiring. It was miserable and awful yet also amazing - all at once.

When talking with my neighbor a few days after the marathon about which race I'd do next, she made the perfect comparison: running a marathon is like childbirth. When you're in the middle of it, you're so miserable that you swear you'll never do it again but, once it's over and you've forgotten about the pain, you realize it's one of the most amazing experiences. Six to nine months later, you're ready to do it again.

Apparently craft fairs are the same way.

I'd love to blame my friend Paige (an amazing jewelry designer with whom I will hopefully share a booth) for what may be the end of all free time between now and September but, truth be told, applying for the East Atlanta Village Strut Artists' Market was all my idea - she willingly went along when I insisted I needed a booth-mate to help share in the pulling-your-hair-out will-it-ever-get-done preparation and to keep me company during a fun but long day of booth-manning.

It's a fun, laid-back festival and one of my favorites (which is quite a feat considering I live in a town where just about every neighborhood has a festival). I just hope that if we get in, I can channel some of that laid-back East Atlanta vibe.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Welcome Note

Little Baby W,

Just in case they forget to tell you, before you were born, your parents called you ‘Cletus the Fetus’. I know it doesn’t have the ring of ‘Cletus the Fetus’ but I always thought of you as Baby W - I like that the W can stand for so many great words: wonderful, wishful, whimsical.

Months ago, when you were an itty bitty thing, your mom asked if I would make your bedding. She knew you’d be special and wanted to be sure that everything that surrounds you – especially the first thing you see when you wake and the last thing you see before you drift off into dreamland – is just right. As we scoured through fabric she knew what she wanted the minute she saw it: Elvis.

It might take a while to learn that not everyone is lucky enough to grow up with an Elvis crib bumper but once you do, you’ll know what a great set of parents you’ve got. They’ve spent so much time planning for you and are so eager to let you be who you are – not some cookie-cutter kid who goes with the flow. And that, Baby W, is way cool.

Old people like me like me sometimes have odd beliefs. Mine is that all of the thoughts you have while making handmade things are transferred to those items.

While making your bedding, I heard a song by David Ryan Harris – a song offering his son wisdom that sometimes brings tears to my eyes (if you’re a girl one day you’ll understand this; if you’re a boy, you’ll learn that crying is one of those things us girls sometimes do). When I heard that song, I said a little prayer that it, in addition to lots of love and tons of ambition, was in some strange, crazy-old-woman-who-believes-in-weird-things way transferred to your bedding.

Welcome to the world Baby W. You’re very, very loved.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Weekend Away

Sewing? You mean I'm supposed to talk about sewing on here?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) things have been a little crazy around here lately and I haven't had time to sit and enjoy that pretty craft room of mine.

Last weekend I met up with my college girlfriends for our annual girls' trip. Charleston this year - which, although I've visited numerous times, still charmed and surprised me. We, as always, had a great time - tons of great food and drinks, lots of laughs and the instantaneous fall into talking like old friends even though some of us haven't seen each other in a few years.

Each year work seems to go crazy the second week in June - just as I'm preparing for this trip - and I spend a few days wondering how I'm going to get it all done. I've often had the 'sitting on the edge of the bed, head in my hands, there's no way I'm going to make it' moments days before the trip but somehow it's always worked out and, the minute I've arrived at that year's destination, after being ambushed with the type of hugs that seem to last forever - the ones where you squeeze the person so hard hoping that the more you squeeze, the more love you can fit in - I know there's no place I'd rather be.

I'm lucky to have such good friends.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thank you, thank you and thank YOU!

I think I've found a new (and cheaper) alternative to therapy: flickr. Just post some pretty pictures and read the comments. Guaranteed to give you an instant ego boost!

The comments about my studio have been tremendous and just what I needed after a couple of very crazy days around here. Thanks to everyone who has sent me a note, made a comment or viewed the pictures. It's a great feeling to bust your butt on something and hear that others find it just as cool as you do - total redemption for spending Memorial Day surrounded by fabric scraps while my friends drank beer and played on the beach.

As I work in my new studio, I'm finding it just as functional as it is pretty. It's a joy to work in a space that's pretty, organized and usable. If you're considering a 'studio re-model' just do it - it will be worth it. I promise.

And, yes, as some of you requested - you will soon see some projects out of the new studio. There's just one problem (aside from my crazy travel and work schedule): I recently finished a big project that's a bit of a surprise. Unfortunately, due to that little stomach bug I had over the weekend, I couldn't delivery it to my dear, and very pregnant, friend Kara. Given a few extra days to work on the big surprise, I had to add a few more items into the mix.

Of course I'm horrible at keeping secrets so here's just a taste of part of the surprise. More soon - I promise.

Until then, sweet dreams of pretty, pretty studio spaces.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Something must be wrong with me because last night I couldn't sleep. Again, as with the Mai Tai's a few nights earlier, this is an odd phenomena given that there are few people who love their sleep as much as I do.

I tossed and turned all night and felt as though I were a kid the day before a big school field trip - the kind where you spend the night in your clothes because you're just that excited.

Maybe it's because I finished my studio last night. And, to say I love the space would be a gross understatement. It's totally inspiring to be surrounded by colors (thread, ribbon, fabric) and, although the amount of space in which I work hasn't increased, the functionality is so much better that it feels exponentially larger. I couldn't stop smiling last night - a big feat given that I'd had a grueling day at work.

Ready for some photos (including the horrible 'before' shots)? Just click on the photo to the left to launch the set - I tried to add lots of comments to keep you entertained. But I did leave out a few additional notes:

1. After seeing a friend's basement done in the perfect shade of turquoise about two years ago, I've been hoarding 'Tiffany blue' paint chips. That combined with all of the incredible turquoise studios I've seen lately made me really, really consider painting the room. But, my husband is a fanatic about painting - we're talking get out the tiny artist brushes and make sure the line between the molding and wall is exactly perfect kind of fanatic; that combined with the fact that the existing paint is still in great shape (Home Depot Behr paint is amazing - six years later it still looks perfect) and that I'm still quite fond of the color (very surprising for someone with fickle taste like mine), the room remained the same butter-cream 'Rotunda'.

2. Our house is small - 1948-type small. Since I decided to set up shop in the second of the two bedrooms on the main floor (our 'master' - if you can call our tiny room that - is the other bedroom on the main floor) the room had to remain functional as a guest room: which meant I had to work around a queen-sized bed and couldn't take over the closet.

I thought it might not be as much fun to work around those guidelines - that I might not get everything I wanted. I couldn't have been more wrong - my new space is perfect! Can't wait to put it to good use!

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I had grand plans for today. I'm desperately behind in my training for the race I'm running in just over a month so after dropping my husband off at the airport at 6:30 am, I'd planned on going for a long training run. I'd finish with my run just in time to shower and get ready for my friend Kara's baby shower and after the shower, I'd grab my friend, Paige, and hit a kick-ass local craft fair. For the perfect ending to my perfect day: drinks at a local wine bar.

But it all came to a screeching halt around 10 pm last night. I knew things were bad when I made Mai Tai's and mine sat, untouched, until the ice melted completely - an oddity for me as I'm usually the first to polish off a Friday evening cocktail. I remembered hearing some coworkers earlier in the day, "Do you think it's food poisoning or the flu?" they'd asked someone in their department. My stomach rumbled and I knew the answer.

I'm feeling much better but - to avoid any type of relapse and also, as I wish my co-worker had done, to avoid spreading this nasty little bug - I missed out on the shower, the craft fair and drinks. Bummer.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish all of the things on my to-do list tomorrow. Among them: putting the final touches on my studio and finally posting those after pictures.

In the mean time, I'm going to catch up on my magazine reading.