Tuesday, April 27, 2010

tablecloth clothes

The tablecloth clothes have turned out great! I really want to give away all of the kids clothes that are store bought... but I still need to acquire certain skills, so shirts are next on my list to learn how to make. here are some recent pictures of the skirts and pants that I have been working on. I'm going to turn some of the pants into bloomers and work on a pair for myself as well!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fair's 6th Birthday!

Our first born turned 6 on Monday and I'm really not too freaked out about it. I did wait until I was in my mid-twenties to have children, while a few of my friends had kids before they exited their teenage years. People always say that Fair looks like an elf, imp, changeling child and this picture really does capture her "everafterness" I got the idea of making fabric birthday crowns for the kids from amanda soule, off of her amazing Soulemama blog. The kids love them and they can be used until they can't fit them on their heads and even then they can be passed down the line...

Our friend, Navae, eats mostly raw foods and makes the best and healthiest dishes. Above is her raw mango and peach cobbler with cashew butter topping. Many people want her recipes, but like Michael, she really makes them up as she goes and based on what she has around. She has mentioned putting together a cookbook... well "un-cook"book. She has three little ones and her time for projects is limited. Speaking of her little ones... Fair got married to her oldest, Micah, at the birthday brunch. The picture below is of their post wedding carriage ride. I would be very pleased to see our families merge in the future...we'll see if their love survives the teenage years!

Every Sunday we host a brunch and it's usually a full house. There are typically 6-10 kids and sometimes up to 15 adults. Since our friends are diverse in their diets, we prepare vegan, vegetarian, and local meat dishes. The goal is to have everyone bring ingredients and then cook together. The kitchen is crazy and Michael and Mara are the cooking gods so I usually keep friends company and do a lot of the pre and post clean-up. This Sunday, however, Michael got out of cooking and I was in the kitchen helping out. I wasn't able to join many conversations, but I did get out of dish duty!
Fair got to spend time with some of our favorite people and received some great gifts. My favorite was Mara's journal, all handmade down to the binding. I'll post a picture of it soon. Whitman got a few gifts as well... people who are around kids a lot know the possible crisis of younger sibling jealousy on birthdays. I always make a little something for the non-birthday little ones. I had a great time and Fair really loved the whole day. Thanks to everyone who helped make the birthday brunch wonderful!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a work day

the house today was filled with sounds of working... my sewing machine buzzing, ben and michael pulling up flooring and hammering and to kids trying the stay busy and out of our way. They did a pretty good job. I'm almost finished sewing the tree bags and from the looks of the studio, in the picture below, I haven't been keeping up on the organization end of things. I always find my self leaving piles of unfolded fabric and an ever-growing collection of thread pieces at my feet.

We have agreed to do as much renovation work as we have the skills to do, while we are staying in the house. Today we began to redo one of the upper bathroom floors and start the dismantling of the stair case. All day long both Michael and my brother, Ben, commented on the "creative" way ( meaning cheap and seemingly lazy) the house has been worked on in the past. My brother is a perfectionist and managed to beautifully renovate his old house by himself. This pretty much shocked the family, since we had no clue he had those skills. He just says it's common sense and he has had many conversations with contractors. I think he's hiding something...

Whitman asked today if he could do some "stitchin'" and I was more than pleased! He sat down at my feet and stitched away, not once needing my assistance to untangle thread or getting frustrated with any of his mistakes. I thought his design looked like some abstract bird head, but he said it was a "haunted L." The video below is pretty cute. Fair spent most of the day building her own cozy reading nest while keeping her madeline dolls company.
We ended the day with another one of Michael's famous soul food meals. After a full day of work, my stomach is full and now it's time to settle down with the kids for an episode of BBC's Robin Hood. Once the kids are asleep, I'll resign to the studio again in hopes of finishing the bags.

Monday, April 12, 2010

my day in a glimpse...

Fair and Whitman are really getting into activity books. We have been working on lots of decoding puzzles, word scrambles, and even how to understand maps. We were given a kids atlas to the U.S. many years ago and Fair is old enough now to work on most of the activities on her own. It was nice watching the kids work together, without fights. Fair assumes the role of reader and actually gives Whitman a chance to get the easy answers.
Fair went out with Michael today to canvass the neighborhood for his job with B.A.R.K. She's really proud to go out and help daddy protect Mt. Hood National Forest. She says it was fun, but the lots of walking was not so much fun... They did come home with a dozen fresh chicken eggs from some friends they saw along the way.
I also got to witness an awesome transformation of Sara's daughter, Sophia. She's been asking for a pink mohawk... and today was the day!!! Not pink yet, but the most dramatic part is over...

She has the attitude to suit...

Sara and I started working on the next kid's bag design. This is the blood orange so far... Sara took it home to do the stitching and I'm excited to see the outcome! I spent most of the afternoon cutting out fabric pieces and tonight the sewing will recommence!!!!


Friday, April 09, 2010

Whitman's First Poem

I love you: Spiders you mother
you airplanes don't fly (junk)!
sticks aren't real, now leaves don't exist.
Trees die every day. Is a myth and
Ghostes don't exist.
That's a myth.
Fences aren't real, but people don't like fences.
--Whitman 2/28/2010 (age 4)

as recorded by our friend Matthew, at one of our Sunday brunches.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

tree applique

last night sara and i started working on our first applique. I have never spent much time doing hand stitching, but I thought I'd give it at least one shot. My intention was to use a blanket stitch, but some how ended up making an interesting cross-stitch. Even though it was started by mistake, I decided it was pretty neat and kept with it.
This is a simple tree design for one of the kid convertible bags. I think I will stick with my machine stitching for future appliques and use hand-stitching to accentuate certain parts.

Fair has come a long way on her own stitching. I am only threading her needle and tieing off the ends now. Pretty soon we will be seeing her own works on some bags...

MamaNature Creations : Sara Brown

Shortly after our return to Portland, I reconnected with an old dear friend, Sara Brown. Sara and I share so many common interests and aesthetics. I have always wanted to have a partner in crime when it comes to making art and bags. That desire was shortly fulfilled when Angie, my crazy talented Peruvian dreamer, popped into my life in Missouri, but we both ended up relocating. Now I am determined to bring Sara and I's fires together.
Sara is an amazing graphic artist who incorporates motherhood, nature and spiritual awareness in to her work. It may sound a bit too new-agey, but the way she pursues her art through intense color, expressive lines, and a complex weaving of forms is amazing. I was only able to find photos of a few pieces, but more will come.
The plan, so far, is for Sara to create applique designs for my fair ophelia bags and to collaborate on some more time consuming hanging wall art. The hanging art would incorporate both Sara and I's artistic styles with a combination of fabric and handmade paper/pulp with hand and machine stitching. I'm really excited about starting on our work together.
Sara is a mother of three and has spent the last 11 years of her life focusing on her children. It is so difficult to find a means of subsistence when you are not willing to sacrifice your time with family and being steadfast in your beliefs. I hope by working together we both will be able to foster each others expressive capabilities and create a situation where we will be able to continue to keep our children near and out of day-care.
I have been lucky to have a husband who constantly reminds me that we are on the right path and despite our lack of financial security we have our passion and we will never stop celebrating with friends and family through art, music, poetry and always amazing food. Sara has been a part of our family for some time and now that we are living in the same area I am excited about the possibilities...
here are a few examples:

much love!