Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who is this Susie Homemaker?

Fresh bread, washed the floors, cleaned the bath tub, and went on a general cleaning spree... And there's still more to do! This is not a typical day at the Wildwood household. I'm lucky if I get a chance to pick up Oona's crumbs off the floor. But tomorrow we're having a baby invasion so I feel it's my duty. (The bread was for us... came out flat, but still tasted delicious! It's all gone.)

P.S. "Collections" post tomorrow... sorry I've been remiss.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Looking forward to...
- making something with this honey comb flower for my little girl
- a day out antiquing
- starting my seedlings
- baby play date at my house this week
- seeing family and friends at Easter time
- Spring weather
- making these delicious jam bars

What are you looking forward to this week?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Little White Paw Gets a New Look

I've been meaning to update my blog header for ages, but I had grandiose plans of what it should be. Finally, I just said," just do it!", and this was the end result. It's not quite the wonder I had envisioned, but I can live with it for a while. I've been wanting to play around with felt and fabric in my artwork and this was as good an excuse as any. So, consider this my experiment.

All the details (besides the patchwork) are hand sewn. I haven't hand sewn anything in ages so it was fun to take a swing at it... so labor intensive, but also rewarding to see each stitch come alive. I'd love to make a quilt someday with hand stitching. Note to self: remember to use adhesive interfacing behind fabric next time so it doesn't fray as much!

I wish I had used thicker thread for the writing too because it's a little hard to read, especially on the computer screen. I might go back and do it again or I might just except it as imperfect. I added a red ric-rac loop so that it could be hung as wall art. Currently it has found a place near Oona's changing table so that she has something to distract her while she's getting changed.

I'm looking forward to more felt and fabric art... maybe even with some paint mixed it in for good measure. More experiments are in order!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Frontier

As my little one explores more creative pursuits, I am also thinking about my own art, and its place in my life. For a while, it's been way down on the list of priorities even though it is very important to me. I'm hoping to take some time in the next few months to spend more time exploring, as my little one is doing. I've been taking it real slow this week trying to get myself in the right frame of mind for creating in that way again. I'm also hoping to find more fun activities for Oona and I to explore together. As she gets older, I feel more weight of the responsibility to help her learn, and sometimes I feel very ill equipped. But, we are learning about this parenting/ growing thing together. It's wonderful, but also difficult. If anyone has any suggestions for good toddler learning/ parenting books, please let me know. I think a trip to the local library is needed as fresh ideas and reinforcement would be helpful right about now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Art of Domestic Bliss

It's been a long weekend. My babe would have me turning cartwheels if she could. Instead, I'm turning "wagon wheels" with my crochet hook whenever she's not looking. I made a couple of new cotton dish clothes for the kitchen... mostly when she was napping. The house is in a state of utter decay. I can't seem to find time to sew, cook, clean, or sleep. The babe is engaging in heightened levels of daredevil activity, and I am on duty 24/7.

I have been trying to teach her to go down the stairs on her own, but my efforts have not paid off yet. She wants to go down like us, facing forward, but her legs are too short so she just ends up flinging herself into my arms. When I force her to go backwards or to slide down on her butt, she gets frustrated. I spent about two hours on the stairs with her Friday and another hour watching babies on You Tube go down stairs to show her how it's done. She really wants to do it herself, but doesn't seem to grasp the concept of plummeting to her death. Now every time we go up or down she wants to do it a zillion times. She is keeping her mama in shape.

My great explorer has also found her way onto the kitchen table all by her very self by climbing on the dining room chair. She enjoys dancing on the table as well.

I did show her how to use the sponge while she was at it, and that captivated her for about twenty seconds.

The art of domestic bliss for today: one part learning to crochet and one part giving up on everything!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Collections: Gnomes

"Collections": Each week I intend to share with you a new collection from my home and tell you a little bit about it. Each entry is meant to be a meditation on the objects we live with, how we see them, why we hold them dear and whether or not we need them. If you'd like to participate on your blog, feel free! Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your entry so we can all see.

I missed last week, but I think this extensive collection will make up for it!

This weeks collection is perhaps one of my most ridiculous collections, gnomes! Yes, I have quite a few gnomes... they reproduce like lemmings! The one above is actually a dinner bell!

It all started one fine October, our first Halloween together in our first apartment, when Jake and I decided on these genius Halloween costumes! We had a big Halloween party, and even got my parents in on the fun with their own gnome hats (hence, why they are now called "Grandma and Grandpa Gnome"). The gnome costumes were one of the first things I had sewn since my high school "Fashion and Fabrics" class, and I had so much fun that Jake got me my first sewing machine that Christmas! ( A lot of firsts, I know!) From there, gnomes started to sneak into our lives in little ways.

I found this little thimble sized knitting gnome at a flea market in CT.

The blue gnome candle found it's way onto one of Jake's birthday cakes. The hanging gnome silhouette balsam pillow was a Christmas present, also for Jake. I even started searching Ebay for gnomes for a spell, particularly these Gorham/ Unieboek gnomes from the late 70's/early 80's based on the illustrations in the famous gnome book, entitled, of course, "Gnomes" and the "David the Gnome" series based on the book. I love the kissing gnomes music box above that plays the tune to "why do birds suddenly appear...". The handmade beeswax gnome candle was a gift from Jake's mom found at a farmer's market.

Yes, we have the complete David the gnome series on DVD thanks to my mom and dad. The vintage stuffed gnome lady was also from them... a gift for my birthday. The gnome finger puppet is part of our finger puppet collection that we'll have to get to at a later date.

The gnome feeding the rabbit a bottle is another music box that belongs to Miss Oona.

We have gnomes of fabric, gnomes that hang on walls, gnomes of cast iron, and gnomes of wood that burn incense out their pipe.

We even have nutcracker gnomes courtesy of my friend Jenna.

I printed these stuffed Gocco banjo uke playing/ pipe smoking gnomes for gifts and for the shop. They are stuffed with balsam. Jake keeps one in his guitar case.

Just today, Jake's mom mailed us this cool gnome hat for Oona. So as you can see it's been an all out invasion! I think Jake might even have a song or two about gnomes. I'm not seeking anymore, but I have a feeling a few might move in of their own accord. We do need to find an awesome vintage garden gnome at some point.

I'm not sure if this is the correct spelling or even what it means, but in the words of David the gnome, "Schlitzweitz!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Retro Teal Curtain

The sunlight in our upstairs studio/living room is one of the reasons I love this room so much, but sometimes it gets a little too intense. And so, a curtain was born! I splurged a little on some nice cotton/linen fabric in this beautiful lush teal with large yellow and red and grey retro style flowers that seem as if they are floating in the sunlight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flutter Skirts In stock!

This morning I set up a display in the store of the new baby/toddler flutter skirts I made recently. I also just updated my Etsy shop with these whirly twirly fluttery creations so go have a look-see.

I had a ball making these! I think I'm going to make some more baby skirts in a different design. Here's Oona below modeling the one I made for her.
I think this is the perfect age to start wearing skirts because they're walking and dancing and spinning around in circles. My girl gets the convenience of wearing pants too! It's cold around here! You can see the colors fly as they swish by in their baby magical way!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flutter Skirts

These vibrant and fluttery baby skirts will be in my Etsy shop come tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy day of love! Here is a picture of my two funny Valentines. I am so glad to have them both. They make life silly and cozy and deliciously lovely. We enjoyed a nice family lunch together in town today...french fries and brownie sundae and all. But even if we'd done nothing, it would have been a great Valentine's Day because I have two sweethearts to adore. Forget the store bought card or the dozen roses and make sure you tell those people who you love how special they are by spending time together today and everyday! (You don't have to forget the chocolates... any excuse for chocolates is fine by me...)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ukulele Work Apron

The Mr. requested a work apron for Valentine's Day, and I delivered with time to spare. For those of you who don't know, Jake restores vintage instruments for a living, so this ukulele fabric was the perfect pattern for him.
It's a pretty standard, simple work apron, with lots of pockets for tools and whatnot.

Love that ukulele sunshine!

And there's enough fabric left to make Oona a little something. She's also a big fan of the ukulele. Perhaps another layered skirt.

P.S. You can check out some of the beautiful instruments Jake restores over at his Antebellum Instrument blog!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Felt Photo Valentine

Continuing on in the week of hearts, here is a felt Valentine I made with a little vinyl pocket window for a photo of a sweet little girl. There is a ric-rac loop for hanging. I'm hoping to do some more work with felt soon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chestnut Moon

Jake recorded a couple of singles of old songs for Valentine's Day. You can download them free on his website. The first one, "Chestnut Moon" is actually a song I wrote for Jake! Weird! Yeah, I don't normally do that... it was years ago, I was loopy in love (still am)! Go figure.

P.S. Isn't that photo great? We found it in a box of vintage photos.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paint Chip Valentine Tutorial

In honor of the upcoming day of love, I'm going to share with you a tutorial for some "Love the Earth Valentine's", made from recycled paint chips. We had a bunch left over from when we moved here and went on a painting spree. I squirreled them away when they'd served their purpose for future crafty purposes.

I came across them recently and decided they would be perfect for making Swedish hearts. These sweet woven hearts have been a favorite of mine since childhood. My mom used to make red and cream felt hearts for our Christmas tree, and I've loved them ever since. I've had fun as an adult exploring different materials to make them. Our Christmas tree has a whole set of ones made out of origami paper. My mom and I even made blue and pink felt ones for my baby shower.

So, without further babble, here's how to make them!

Step 1: Fold two paint chips in half. They can be of similar color palettes or complimentary.

Step 2: Now fold them inside out so you can make some markings. Measure one inch down from the open, unfolded side of each paint chip. Draw a line to mark where your rounded part of the heart will go, and where your cutting lines will stop. On the opposite folded side of each chip, draw two lines to create three equal sections that stop at the one inch marker. How far apart each line will be depends on the width of your paint chip, which can vary.

Step 3: Cut along the two perpendicular lines, making sure to stop at the 1" mark.

Step 4: Round the top corners of the open side of each paint chip while still folded. You can use the first paint chip as a template for the second so your rounding will be the same on both sides of the heart. Turn each paint chip right side out, still keeping them folded.

Step 5: Begin weaving your heart together. This part can be a little tricky because of the stiffness of the paint chip paper. If need be, practice on thinner paper first. Cross the paint chips as pictured above. Weave the top section of the right side through the middle of the top section of the right side, then the second section of the left side through the middle of the top section of the right side and finally, the top section of the right side through the last section of the left side.

It should look like the picture above.

Step 6: Weave the middle section of the heart. Insert the top section of the left side through the second section of the right side. Then push the second section of the right side through the middle of the second section of the left side. Finally, weave the last section of the left side through the second section of the right side.

Step 7: For the last row of weaving, follow the same pattern as in step 5 for the first row of weaving. It's easier than it sounds, so look at the diagrams if it sounds confusing. The stiff paper can be a little difficult to weave so be patient and bend the paper lightly to get it in the right position. Your heart should open at the top like an envelope where you can place a little love note or treat if you so desire. Or you can find some fun ribbon and turn it into a garland or ornament.

I made a rainbow of hearts with my paint chips. Let me know if you try making these or if you have any difficulties. Happy hearts!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Scrappy Valentine Hearts

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I decided to whip up these scrap filled hearts to decorate. The exterior is made from recycled vinyl packaging from a shower curtain we recently received as a present. They are stuffed with small pieces of scrap fabric and scrap thread. The ric rac ribbon I found at the thrift store, so these hearts are entirely eco-friendly.

When I sew, I save these tiny bits of fabric and thread in mason jars because I don't like to have any waste. I either use it later for stuffing material or for silly projects like this.

They're very simple to make if you have some scraps you want to use up. You could also cut up little bits of a magazine or catalog in various colors to use as filler. I put two pieces of vinyl together and cut out a heart shape with pinking shears. You can make a template first, if you like. I sewed the two pieces together about an 1/8 of an inch from the edge, slipping in the ric-rac loop as I sewed, and leaving an opening a little bigger than an inch to add the stuffing. Once it was stuffed, I stitched the opening closed. It helps to have a pointy tool to do the stuffing (I use a small crochet hook). I didn't use any pins to hold the pieces together because I didn't want to damage the vinyl. Each one probably took about 5 minutes to make. So simple, but cute!