Friday, March 30, 2012

This week I got out one more burst of creative energy before I begin prepping for my trip. One of my favorite things to do with the flower brooches I make is to pin them to my infinity scarves. Here is my current favorite example- I made this wool felt flower with a bead cluster center, and found it coordinated nicely with this great orangey peach floral infinity scarf. TaDa! The items are for sale seperately, but I highly suggest you buy them both! :) Here:
 I also made this great tiny 2" yo-yo brooch this week. I would love to see it on an orange scarf, or straw summer hat. Cute pale orchid/lavender vintage button in the center.
 Another new flower that has me excited... a great gray floral twice sewn yo-yo topped with a hand sewn taupe floral, and a nice shell bead in the center. Yum! I think it would so cute on a rustic satchel or denim jacket?
The trees are starting to bloom outside right now, and it is wonderful. I have been under the weather since last night, but I got off my butt and vacuumed and washed the floors. I feel a tiny bit better, but plan on resting the whole night.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flowers, Floral Scarves, and Facebook

I shipped off a load of new flowers for some photo love this morning, but before that I took the necessary close-ups and thought they looked super cute together.
Super springy? Right. Clip one a huge summer hat? A headband? Your favorite work blazer? Denim jacket?
And since we're adding flowers to our wardorbe, check out these two new floral scarves I listed this weekend.

Also, I have added a facebook fan page for my shop. Head over and like it, and expect regular postings of new items, as well as discounts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Such an odd life.

First off, yay Spring! Right? The forsythia is blooming and the bulbs are spouting. I took the chance to step out of my work zone for a while yesterday and play with my newer camera. This is the first time my camera has stepped out into the garden with me. I am quite pleased with the results.
Of course, after a few minutes of snapping pictures I noticed all the weeds coming up and got my hands filthy in the mud, yanking out crab and quack grass, dandelions, and more. Bah. Can't wait for some more blooms to photograph.
So my curiosity today is my kind of *work* vs. a more conventional job. One of the biggest challenges I face working from home is doing anything but working. I mean, really, sewing is infinitely more appealing than scrubing the tub. And pinterest is research and development when you're a crafter, right? On the other hand, I can't work when the home around me is out of control. A delightful paradox, I know.
But before anyone harasses me for complaining that I get to be home with my kids, or that I can work in my pajamas, remember I can't really have a conventional job with fibromyalgia, a back that prevents me from standing straight up for more than 10 minutes most of the time, and a husband with a ridiculously unpredictable Army schedule. Even if my back is out, or my fibromyalgia is whack, I can sit on the couch and make a fabric flower. I can lift my arms enough to tuck pillows around them and prop up my knitting in front of me. I have no quotas to make, no boss to get angry if my fatigue is ridiculous...
Kay? Kay.
So as I was saying, I'm having trouble putting work down lately. I'm wonder if this will backfire at some point. I also wonder if those of you with more conventional jobs have the same issues. How does that work for an hourly employee? For me, I wake up, check Etsy, and start making things. Sometimes I make things before I get my first cup of coffee. Or turn the computer on. Sometimes I forget to eat! I find taking my son to preschool two days a week a serious disruption to my work flow, but a great excuse to go get more supplies. At night, when my husband wants me to spend time with him, I have to sew or knit next to him. I know most of the shows we *watch* by the voices, and steal glances up to keep track of what's going on. It is not uncommon after a new character has been on a show for a few episodes for me to suddenly look up and ask, "Who is that?" I can't keep my hands just resting my in lap. I would go crazy.
Setting hours for myself causes me unbelievable anxiety. Seriously, having a deadline is my worst enemy. I can't seem to concentrate on time; even having to think about time at all causes panic. Even waiting for the bus brings about a little bit of panic. I think it comes from the inability to focus which comes from fibromyalgia. Say, if I know the bus will be dropping Ben off in 20 minutes, during that time I can get sidetracked to the point where I have no concept of the 20 minutes window even beginning. I have to sort of force myself to prop open the door (easier in spring time) or have Hunter watch for the bus for me. So this working in bits and pieces, but having the freedom to go deep into my creative mode uninterrupted by time or rules, and having projects strewn around the house in baskets- this is just the way it works for me.
Another interesting thing I noticed yesterday? I consider cleaning the house a break from work. What planet am I from? Oddly, the cleaning in spurts works best for me. It is right in line with the concept of activity mapping- an idea taught to me by my physical therapist. The idea is that most people with fibromyalgia get a good day once in a while, and tend to try and get everything they've had to put off done on that one-good-day, likely resulting in 3-4 bad days, where almost nothing can be accomplished, thus beginning the cycle again. Sounds so obvious once you hear it, but I never noticed it until she pointed it out. It is a vicious cycle, and I used to live in it. I live by activity mapping, or deliberately spreading out heavy physical activities over the week so as not to trigger a terrible 3 day stint of fibromyalgia pain as a result of doing everything I possibly can on the one day I feel good. I don't actually draw a map, I keep it in my head. Hardest part is telling myself to stop. When you feel great and have energy the natural inclination is to keep going. I'd do 15 hours in the garden with nothing but a sip of water if I didn't stop and think. Tell myself, go hydrate yourself. Eat something. Wash your hand and sew a bit. Go sit on the back porch and knit for awhile. Likewise, if I've been on my butt sewing for hours, I tell myself, get up, get those juices flowing and vacuum the house. So weird when you lay it out like that. But also kinda cool that my job is the fun part, and the cleaning is the break.
This is all fine and wonderful. For now. I'm enjoying the creative flow. How great is it that I like to make things, and someone actually wants to buy them? I'm going to keep it up as long as I can. And as long as people are enjoying my stuff.
Is that what it is like for other people who work from home? My husband's job doesn't really stop when he gets home. He has to stay on top of e-mails, he gets random phone calls all-the-time about something being locked, someone needing something taken somewhere, lodging, etc. So I guess what I wanna know is in the real world do you folks really come home and leave work behind? Or does work come right through the dinner table, and plop right down on the couch with you later?
What about other crafters? I know a lot of people have workshops or craft rooms. My craft room is our dining room, which is attached to our living room. My desk is our coffee table. Do you carry your stuff around with you? Tell me. I'm dying to know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My first quilt: progress

I started a quilt about a million, er, two years ago. I sewed the first row of squares, half the second row, and then my sewing machine pooped out on me. I set the whole thing aside and recently found it when I dove back into my fabric stash (and acquired a new sewing machine).

Last night I put aside everything else I wanted or needed to be doing and finally sewed the rest of it together.

It is not perfect. You can see the far left rows are not lined up at all, but I don't care. It is going to be for family picnics and such, so I'm darn proud of it. Now I have to figure out what to do next.

I will say, the whole process was addicting, and I expect to make more quilts. Sooner than later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kitchen Love

Yesterday was beautiful. Highs in the 60's and sunny. A slight breeze. I went out and played in the mud a little. I shuffled leaves around and looked for spring growth. I sprinkled some columbine & hollyhock seeds around- if they don't germinate from the remaining cold we have coming, I know I will see them the next spring. We pulled the patio furniture out. I know it will still snow, and get super cold, but for now we have a 7 day forecast of all 70's a major record breaker for this part of Minnesota. And I want to sit outside and soak it all up.

Putting this house together has some slowly. Afterall, we've been here almost a year now! But this January I finally got to put some love into the kitchen. The walls were a delightful gray-blue when we moved in, not the chartruese I would prefer, but coordinates nice enough with my blue collections.
My mom bought us some new cookware for Christmas/anniversary.

My blue and white bowl , and milk glass vase collection grows everyday. Since January I have added a half dozen more, most I found for $1!!

Really don't like the cords where they are, but haven't come up with anything to cover them up.
I finally found something to put above the shelves. Initially I was searching for a quirky sign that said, "Bakery," or "Pastries." I finally gave in and painted this shelf I had in the basement, and loaded it up with with this tray I found for like $3, and a couple blue dishes from my stash. Since then I have added a $2 periwinkle blue dish... I need to take more pictures.

Don't forget the giveway on the The Pretty Life Anonymous blog announces a winner today.
Happy spring!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Two Tough Guys

The boys started Tae Kwon Do this week. They think they are pretty cool.
Doing some blocks:

Hunter looks like he's floating in his giant pants.

Hopefully it teaches these rascals some discipline! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


My Etsy shop, jamiesierraknits, is doing a giveaway with the adorable blog, The Pretty Life Anonymous. Head on over here and enter to win one of my fabulous scarves up to $20 value.
If you haven't been over to the shop in awhile, there are dozens of new items. You are missing out! Here are a few items added just this morning!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our boys.

They are getting so big! Ben is 7 now, and Hunter is 5. They've never ruled the roost more.

They are always silly. So much laughing, loudness, wildness.

I still can't believe we have no broken bones yet. They must have my bones; I've never broken a bone. Dad on the other hand...

And Ben currently has so few teeth. So goofy! We laugh every time he opens his mouth.

Hunter becomes more and more dramatic all the time. He has all sorts of dances, songs, poses. He made this little weird pose as soon as I put the the camera toward him. He can't tell me what it means, but he seems to be enjoying himself.
When did I become the mother of two big boys?

Photogenic Feline

It is no surprise that I spent a half hour taking pictures of my favorite cat Sunday. Really, this cat has been the apple of my eye since she was a few seconds old, and when I'm feeling sick, she is the BEST medicine. I moaped (is that a word?) in my robe a good chunk of the day, battling this sinus infection with all the strength I have left. We had the most bright wonderful winter sun shining in the windows. A photo session seemed in order.
Clearly, Schmoops agreed.
She has the biggest cat tail I have ever seen.
I love the long hair on her paws. This particular photo reminds me of Scar, from The Lion King, for some reason?

She is working it!
Irresistable. I wish my beard looked as good as hers.
I took just as many zany pictures of the kids, but you'll have to come back tomorrow for those. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A little decoupage.

Every year I keep a garden journal. I start it in the winter, and sketch everything from seed lists to garden art ideas. I make lists of things that need to be divided, transplanted, and purchased. I draw pictures, plan the veggie bed, make dramtic wish lists. It is all very wonderful. One of my favorite things to have at arms length.

In the middle of working yesterday I jumped up, walked over to my scrap space and threw this together. I modge podged it onto the over of my journal. The vintage label is a sticker I found a thrift store. The odd sheen is actually a thin coating of glitter.

I haven't modge podges anything in a while... and now I want to decoupage everything in sight.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Drill Weekends.

Why are they so rough? Most of the time drill weekends are complete pandomonium. Theo gets up super early, like 3am early, and the kids are up by 5am usually. I got poopy sleep, battling a sinus infection. Going to the doctor and asking to see the ear nose and throat doc in this neck of the woods asap. I hope I don't have to have surgery again. I fell asleep with my brand new contact lenses in and when I got up to pee at midnight I figured I was downstairs (no bathroom upstairs here) I should take them out. I dropped the left contact. Blindly fumbled for it like 20 minutes only to find it was actually in the case already- it is just so thin and invisible I could not see it in there. Once I was back upstairs I tossed and turned and could not fall back asleep. On the bright side, I did get the snuggle up Theo. He may have been snoring, but he was there. Love that part of our marriage. Since we met we have gone to bed at the same time every night, give or take a dozen nights (minus the deployment). I am so glad his unit is 2 minutes away and drill weekends he still gets to come home and have a late dinner with us. Seriously incredible cuddle time closeness every night.

I am not a morning person. Once was. Now, not so much. I don't even process anything until after I have had one cup of coffee. Well, I did gain .8 lbs this week. I freaking processed that. Dern Cadbury Eggs. The kids feel like small begging puppies at my feet until that coffee is gone. Around 10am I start to feel like my blood is flowing again. By then, most things have fallen apart
Every cat toy is out. I've dropped thread scraps, needles, thread strips. But I've made a few pretty things. Breakfast happened. I even weighed my cereal so I can WW count it. So that's good.

The boys seem to eat all day long. As soon as one meal is down they start asking for the next. I've created the concept of limitless foods, re: food they can eat all day without asking. They can have as much carrots, cuties, large oranges, apples, or bananas as they want. If none of those things "sound good," they have to wait until lunch/snack/dinner. I'm trying to follow the policy also.

They seem to make extra messes on drill weekends. Like small tornados. They break all the rules. One lego bin out at time turns quickly into 6, and half of them are dumped out. There are legos, pretzel crumbs, popcorn kernals (last night's snack), go-gurt wrappers all strewn about. Ugh. Clean up time. I have to ask 20 times. Literally. Ben ends up angry he has to clean and goes and pinches a sharp lego into the palm of Hunter's hand. On purpose. I have to seperate them just to keep Hunter safe. No more legos the rest of the day.

Times heals the frustration and Hunter asks if he can go back to helping Ben clean. Ben is finished cleaning and tries to go the extra mile. "Can I clorox wipe the table and vaccuum?" Sure thing, dude. My heart is warmed.

Later, "Can I have legos back since I cleaned?" "Nope. You had 20 chances, and you shouldn't have hurt your brother for no reason." Hmm. Should have known he was up to something. Nevertheless, I'm glad he finally realized how hard it is to clean up the things he spills.

A quick shot of them playing blissfully in the playroom earlier this week. Realized I have a shortage of everyday shots from the last 6 months or so. So. Here's this.

Somewhere around 9 more hours until drill weekend is over, and Theo still work 5 more day this week. Lately, it feels like every weekend is drill weekend. I know both Theo and I are so ready for our little mini-vacation to California in a few weeks.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Making flowers was not enough...

My urge to create has made yet another crossover, or, er, expansion. I have long been sewing pillows, table runners, curtains, and I even started a quilt... but I have now become obsessed with making fabric scarves. I have spent the last few years walking around the retails touching every fabric scarf, wishing I could have a vast selection in my own closet. Looking at the ones I could afford, maybe in the $5-$20 range I found the patterns lacking, and selection depleted. I started hunting down the fabrics that spoke to me, and became determined to figure out how to make them into the scarves I love. Tada! And you know what? They are selling well, too. Win-win. Go check them all out! And as always, custom orders welcome!
Happy Spring!