watch her grow

Emma's approaching an age where she might actually stand still long enough for us to mark her height on a growth chart, so I've been scouring the Internet looking for just the right one. I want something that has a clean look and that can be easily moved to our next home in a couple of years. Here are my favorites:

 This one is a little more than I want to spend, but I love how fun and unique it is.

This one is simple and cute, and would be really easy to DIY.

Measure Me Stick from Studio 1am

This is my favorite among the wooden ruler variety, but I'm still not sure it's the best fit for our decor.

Embroidered growth chart on Apartment Therapy

This one is easily my favorite of the bunch... I have plenty of scrap fabric I could use, and it has both an heirloom and modern feel to it. It's nice enough to keep out if we want, but can also be easily rolled up if we want to keep it stored. I'm determined to make it before the end of the year. Or at least before Emma's like 5 feet tall. :-)

new in the Etsy shop: nursing covers!

I'm so excited to announce that the nursing covers I mentioned earlier this year are finally up for sale in my Etsy shop.  Each nursing cover features 100% cotton Amy Butler fabric, and has a corner pocket made from a prefold cloth diaper - perfect for storing breast pads or using as a facial wipe for baby.  There's an adjustable strap and the boning at the neck enables mom to maintain eye contact while breast feeding and allows for ventilation, which helps keep baby nice and cool.




it's all happening...

With my Etsy shop launch only a few weeks away, I've been hunkered down in my basement most nights churning out bag after bag (okay, and catching up on Project Runway and Sarah's House.) I'm really excited about how the designs and fabric combinations are coming together, and wanted to give you a little preview...

The first bag I'll be selling is actually what inspired this whole crazy Etsy shop idea. I've always been a take-your-lunch-to-work kind of girl, and spent years trying to find a good lunch bag. The insulated kind you find at Target left a lot to be desired from a style standpoint, and though seemingly large from the outside - my various tupperware containers never seemed to fit. So like most working women who take their lunch, I resorted to using small shopping bags (Sephora worked the best for me.) The size was perfect, but they would inevitably wear out after a few weeks of use. I needed a fabric lunch bag that was the same size and shape of my favorite small shopping bags... so after years of searching, I finally just I made one myself. I originally made the bags using oil cloth, but decided to switch to fabric for my Etsy shop because I wanted them to be a bit more eco-friendly.

(Please try to ignore my dirty windows... I keep hoping they'll magically clean themselves and it shockingly never happens.) The bags are the size of a small department store shopper, and I'll be selling them in 3 different fabric options. (All fabrics are by Amy Butler, because I love her and I couldn't imagine cheating on her for my very first collection.) To make them nice and sturdy, I used home decorator weight fabric backed by an extra firm stabilizer. I also took a trick I learned from making the Weekender Bags and added a bottom insert to the bag to help it keep its form when it's loaded up with leftovers. Finally, the bags are lined with a coordinating solid fabric to give them a nice finished look.

I've been using the Lunch Tote prototype as my lunch bag for a few months now and am very pleased with how it's held up. It's been through the wash a few times and all I've needed was a hot iron to get it back to its original shape. (Btw, each bag will ship with washing instructions, and I'll have them up on the blog for reference.)

And now for my next act...

The second bag I'll be selling was also born out of necessity. Being a fairly eco-conscious person, I try very hard to avoid using disposable (especially plastic) bags. We always have reusable shopping bags when we go to the grocery store, Home Depot, and other big box stores, but they're not practical to keep in your purse for unplanned shopping trips (i.e. the pharmacy, "accidental" Anthro excursions, etc.) Usually if I find myself at the checkout counter without a reusable bag, I'll jam as much as possible into my purse and carry the rest by hand. In addition to looking a little ridiculous, there are times when this just isn't practical and I have to get one of those dang dreaded disposable bags. This is promptly followed by self-loathing and fears of being lectured and guilted out of money by the annoyingly eager Greenpeace canvassers that occupy nearly every corner in downtown Portland. Anyway, you get the point... I needed a reusable shopper big enough to hold the contents of a standard $60 Target trip, and that I could fold or roll up so it's small enough to keep in my purse. Voila... my Roll Up Shopping Tote.

Like the Lunch Totes, this bag will also come in 3 different Amy Butler fabric options. It has a sling shoulder strap, and a wrap sewn into the back with a velcro closure for when you need it stowed away. To reduce the bulk when the bag is rolled up, there's no lining... instead I used French seams. This type of seam basically encases the original seam so that no raw edges are exposed and fraying doesn't become an issue. The Shopping Tote is also machine washable.

Though over 2 ft in length - once rolled up, the bag is smaller than a CD. All you do to roll it up is fold the shoulder strap down toward the bottom of the bag, do a length-wise tri-fold using the width of the wrap as your guide, then roll up from the bottom, pull the wrap around the rolled bag, and fasten the velcro. It was surprisingly easy to do... I didn't even need to lay it out on a table first. (Along with the washing instructions for this bag, I'll include a diagram for how to roll it up. I feel like it's pretty intuitive, but I realize I'm also a little biased.)

Next steps... oh, about a million. I'm still aiming for an end of September / beginning of October launch, but I'll post an exact date once I have it pinned down (no pun intended, I swear.) Stay tuned!

five for 2010

With the exception of my no new clothes in 2008 declaration, I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions (a point made even clearer by the fact that it’s almost February and I’m just now getting around to posting this.) It’s not that I don’t have any bad habits to drop (just ask my husband), I just feel like evaluating all the things that are wrong with me and deciding how to make them better would be depressing. Can’t it be a rule that once you reach a certain age, all the things you’ve resolved to overcome but haven’t yet (nail biting, dawdling, gummy bear and marshmallow addictions) are declared minor character quirks? Which is really just a longwinded way of saying, aren’t the things we DO far more important than the things we manage to STOP DOING? I think so, and it’s with that mentality that I created my master to-do list for 2010… five things I want to be able to check off come December 31st:

  1. Make our new house feel like home – The past few weeks have made me certain that the expression “labor of love” came from someone who had recently purchased their first home. Amidst all the loan documents you have to sign they should slip you one that says “I hereby acknowledge that all those things we want to do to the house will henceforth become things we have to do and we will inevitably feel overwhelmed and drained of our savings.” Needless to say, reality has set in. Our house is old and flawed and has been the victim of a couple small DIY renovations gone awry, but… it’s ours and it’s perfect. My goal for year 1 in the house is simple: make it feel like home. Whether it’s with paint, fabric, art, photos, wood – I’m determined to fill the house with handmade touches that represent us, our favorite music, and our travels. So be on the lookout for home décor projects as the year goes on. (And if you don’t see any, please feel free to flood my inbox with emails reminding me to get my butt in gear!)
  2. Re-engage at my “real” job – 2009 was an interesting year at my job, to say the least. Without getting into the gritty details, becoming desensitized to what was going on at work was the only way to stay sane. And now that the dust has settled I find myself needing to get re-engaged. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to accomplish this one, but I’m going to start by making a conscious effort every day to be more focused and organized… perhaps helped along by some lovely new stationery goods from Paper Source. Wait, did I just build a whole year's goal around having an excuse to spend more money at Paper Source? Kinda brilliant. Kinda sad.
  3. Launch the made by bird Etsy shop – Yep, that’s right. This is the year. The first of the products I’ll be selling is currently being tested by two of my dearest girlfriends, and I have a couple more I’m hoping to get out of my head and onto fabric before summer. Stay tuned!
  4. Run a marathon - The Rock ‘n Roll San Diego marathon to be exact. And that’s all I have to say about that right now.
  5. Greatly improve my photography skills – The need for this goal should be painfully obvious given the number of posts on here that have included pics from my phone. For shame! But, I promise, I’m working on it. Our new house has lots of windows and a backyard so it should be much easier to photograph my projects in natural light. Any tips or links you’d like to share on craft/sewing photography would be greatly appreciated!

So there you have it.  My mantra for the year is to be focused and fearless.  What about you?  What are you hoping to accomplish this year?