Ready. Set. Going.

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So even though October was insane schedule-wise, it was really good. It allowed me to get back to some creative roots, and to discover more about this amazing city I live in. There are so many things that I see on a daily basis and pass by, never taking note or trying to find a way to give my mental picture to someone else.

It’s a pretty hard thing to describe sometimes, that thing, that you saw, and you were all wow, how cool. It can be even more difficult to transform it into a tangible thing. Take, for instance, the beautiful moss and lichen that grow on the Vista Avenue Viaduct:

I’ve got plans based around these guys, but right now they’re just notes and scribbles. I think it’s going to involve wool and linen though…

We had two sets of visitors this past month, one being my Mother, and the others being our very talented friends Jim and Ravyn. I had no idea Jimmy and Ravyn were coming to Portland though, and Lord help him if Rob posts the video of me opening the front door and realizing two of our best friends were standing there. No, I didn’t jump up and down like Publisher’s Clearing house was handing me a giant check, but it did take me about 15 seconds to realize who it was, and for my brain to wrap around what hell was going on.

Seeing Portland with friends and family from the Midwest is so fun for me. Even though we might go to places that I’ve already been to, it’s fun to hear them talk about and acknowledge the beauty that Oregon has to offer. It lets me recharge and really appreciate where I am and the opportunities I have to be inspired here. I’m not saying Indiana is completely ugly, but she’d probably only take home a “thanks for trying” prize in a pageant.

So there hasn’t been much sewing done on my part, because I’ve been busy traveling to various places this past month, like the Portland Apple Festival at the Portland Nursery. Apple crisp? Check. Apple strudel? Check. Belly full of delicious apple cider? Double check.

And when you have the chance on a perfect fall day to visit the ocean, I can’t recommend Tillamook Bay enough. Just be sure to stop for some fudge at the Tillamook Cheese Factory first!

And go look at the leaves at the Washington Park Vietnam War Memorial, even though if you’re like me it will make you want to go buy lots of fall-colored fabric.

Then relax by spending time at Trillium Lake, as long as you’re not afraid of how spooky it is. It looks and feels haunted when it’s misty and quiet.

But one of the best parts about running around Portland? Finishing up a few long weeks of hard work with a Bailey’s hot cocoa at Timberline Lodge.

Now that I’ve had a mini-vacation, I’m off to work on a tutorial for you!

Weird habits

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You know those habits you develop as you grow up? The ones that you don’t realize are odd until you have roommates or get married and that person says, “Um, that’s weird.” I have quite a few of those. One of them being that if I’m going to eat grapefruit in the morning, I heat it up before dumping a pound of sugar on it. Rob thinks it’s gross, and I admit that I don’t really know why I do it. I blame my mom, who used to warm up our grapefruit before Christmas brunch. It doesn’t change the sourness of the fruit, it’s just, well, warm. And I admit, a little weird. My mom will probably deny that she ever did this now that I’ve called her out.

So this morning I didn’t heat up my grapefruit and somehow I still managed to eat it, cold spoon and all.

It reminds me of how in 8th grade a classmate informed me that I was saying “crayon” wrong. I’d always said “crown”, and NO ONE EVER CORRECTED ME. I asked Rob what other habits I have that are odd to him and he declined any remembrance of such things. I’m sure he saw the scalding coffee in my hand as a potential threat.

I have another habit of needing everything to be in its place. It’s not so much a habit as an obsession. If you pick something up, you’d better put it back, or I’ll shoot death rays out my eyes. So when I saw these antique mason jars with their original zinc tops at a yard sale, I knew they’d make the perfect addition to my new sewing space. Jars to hold notions and embroidery thread? Makes me so happy I could start a dance party.

I love the raised lettering too- it reminds me of heavy embroidery.

Unless I’m missing out on something and you wouldn’t call these mason jars. That’s more my luck.

I’m going to need some help from you guys soon. Remember these little birds? I’ll be giving you guys a chance to make your own with a printable PDF soon, but I need your creativity. What should the pattern be named? I’ll post more info on this soon, so start thinking, because I’ve got to get together a giveaway for the winner!

Rob’s suggestion? “Fluffy raptors.”

These are the things that let me know I’m not the only weirdo around here.

Serving Up Style, the CoCo Designs Way

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If you’ve never met Lora Coburn of Coco Designs, let me tell you- that girl cracks me up. We met on Twitter, and a love/love relationship was born. She loves to come up with crazy things for me to make, and I love to make them. We share a deep devotion to our fuzzy little puppies, and an intense addiction to coffee. Plus, I think she can’t resist the dance moves I make up for her when she’s in a bad mood.

When Lora asked if I would like to participate in her crazy Alice-in-Wonderland-on-crack design for the Portland Home & Garden show Serving up Style competition, OF COURSE I said yes. I knew that would be fun, stressful and bit of a stretch compared to what I’m used to working on. How many times in your life are you going to get the chance to say, “Yes, I can make a white peacock and 21 stuffed birds for you.”

The set-up was tiring- I’m still recovering! I didn’t realize doing an interior design show would take so many late nights of sewing, that I’d be smashed by a buffet when I gracefully tripped going down the stairs while carrying it, or that I’d have the chance to get “Cotton-Eyed Joe” stuck in someone else’s head. But after all of that, the space looks great! I’ll have a few more shots of the actual lighting we used later, because I snuck these early shots from MODiFY’s Facebook page. By the way, if you need a bathroom remodel in Portland- WOW! These guys are GREAT to work with!

Do you see the incredible hand-crocheted, sewn, and beaded piece by Mandy Greer in the left corner? It. Is. PHENOMENAL. I am so excited to finally see her work up-close. I can’t even imagine the hours and weeks and months that would go into a piece like this.

This guy makes me feel kind of bad-ass, although I have no idea where he’s going to live after the show! I have a feeling Duncan would attempt to kill him, or at least eat his tail:

Overall, the show has been a lot of fun, and tomorrow night is the Gala! So buy a ticket, sit next to me, and I’ll do my best not to embarrass both of us.

Sneak Peek

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I’ve been gone for a while, and I’ve been keeping my sewing machine busy, busy, busy. I can’t share too much with you right now, but I can give you a little sneak peek. I’ll share more on my blog over the next few days as the Serving Up Style show sets up  and starts up. I’m working with Lora Coburn of Coco Designs, and boy is she FUN! Just don’t let her tell you that story of how I was almost smashed by a buffet, ok? Or how it made my neck look like someone tried to cut off my head. In fact, how about I just distract you from that story all together…

Spider Heaven

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This is what Portland is right now- freaking spider heaven. They are everywhere, especially over doorways, stairways, porches and every single bush and tree.

And as gross as I think they are, they can inspire some really beautiful works of art. I’m sure that the person who gave me what I’m about to show you would laugh (will laugh?) if she read that, but what she made and gave to me is just too cool. She found a rock in her field, cleaned off, and covered it with silk embroidery thread. And then gave it me, like it was any old rock, that just happend to find its way into her hands to be made into something beautiful. I could have NEVER given this away if I had made it- I think it’s way too cool.

And I had to laugh when I showed it to Rob, because he said, “So, what do you do with it?”