Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Whirlwind of Goodness

For whatever reason, July always seems to be one of my busiest months of the year.  Try as I might to make this one different, we're halfway through and I'm already needing to stop and catch my breath.  The past two weeks have been crazy fabulous so I wanted to pause and take a moment to reflect before running through the last of the month.

The main reason for our nonstop hustle and bustle was due to having my sister and her man in town for two weeks!  They took to the open road from California at the end of June and barreled down the highway to join us July 1st.  In true 'don't waste a moment' fashion of our family, we hit the ground running.

Randomly enough, the first few days that they were here, my childhood best friend and her entire family were also in town (hi Tracy!!) so Afton, Rio and I took advantage of the timing to do some catching up with friends so close, I consider them family.  It was wonderful.
Next up was our whirlwind of 4th of July festivities.  My old desk job from several years back hosts one hell of a 4th party right on the river so we took full advantage of that fiesta.  Their office sits riiiiiight where our city has their 4th party.  It's pretty much perfect.  We had a great time and caught this death-by-adorable photo of Rio and two of her little friends.  They are all close to being one year apart and have all enjoyed each other hand-me-downs throughout the years. 

While I'm not a shout-it-from the rooftops patriotic type gal, I sure do like dressing in themes so our little family went full throttle with some red, white, and blue goodness. 
After staying up a little past our bedtime that night, the next morning we found ourselves on the road to our family's cabin.  I haven't been to the cabin with Afton in many years so that was quite the treat.  It was also her man, Nick's, first time to our family's retreat which was also equally wonderful.  In fact, it was lovely to get to hang out with him throughout their entire stay. 
Fireworks, creek swimming, over-eating, laughs, skinned knees, hula hooping, bad dancing, and more filled up our evening.  The kid was a dream, save for one meltdown that signaled a much needed nap.
The rest of the week was sprinkled with lots of gigs for the imported musicians, an impromptu cookout at our place with loads of folks, family dinners, some Big Splash time, and tons of just hanging out with each other.  It was really special to have Rio spend time with her aunt apart in person, not just on a screen. 
For the last day of their stay here, we convinced the imports to join us at our annual pilgrimage, Woody Fest.   Remember, this is where the mister and I first met and have continued to attend as a sort of anniversary for ourselves. This was the first year ever that I didn't have a booth as well as the first year that I only attended one day.  With things as busy as they've been, we just couldn't work it out to be there any longer but it turned out to just be perfect.  Af had never been to Brent's hometown of Okemah, where the festival is held, but had only heard stories and seen pictures.  After a little time 'in town' and at my father-in-law's, we found ourselves at the festival site to listen to John Fullbright who is just amazingly wonderful and Arlo Guthrie who is just straight up entertaining.  After all of these years at the festival, I'd never seen Arlo live before.  On top of it all, the super moon was also in attendance, putting an exclamation point on the evening.
Every time my sis comes back home, it's always a good time but this go around was covered in extra special goodness.  Like all sparkly and shit.  :)  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Alliday is Back!

I've alluded to working on a big top secret project for the past few months and now, I can let the cat out of the bag....There WILL be a fifth annual Alliday this year!

Yes, I gave it all up after last year's show.  I was done.  For six months after, I didn't even contemplate doing it again.  It was a great mental break for me.  Then, as I started to think about the rest of the year, I started thinking about how I wanted, no neeeeeeded, to organize some sort of holiday show.  You see, before Alliday was even born, I would host handmade holiday open house shows a few weeks before Christmas in homes.  They were small but fun and very profitable for the makers that participated.  When I started thinking about what I should do for this year, I reflected back on those events.  Then I had a lightbulb moment.  There are no rules for what Alliday must be.  It's my baby and I have free creative reign on allowing it to evolve whichever way it may.  It was then I started rethinking the show and how I could bring it back on my own terms, on a smaller scale, and with a more tailored look. 
Enter Retro Den.  These gals opened up what has quickly become one of my favorite local shops in town a little over a year ago.  I lurve window shopping the vintage finds that they hunt out and even more, I love chatting it up with the Ashleys (yes, they are both named Ashley!) when I'm in the shop.  They are gold, those girls.  What started as a conversation about me making pillows for their shop evolved into us agreeing to partner up on Alliday.  It all seems very serendipitous, actually.  After a few months of meetings and planning, it's all official.

So here are the deets.  This year, Alliday will be TWO-DAYS long on December 12th & 13th, feature TWELVE top-notch Oklahoman artisans, and will be held at Retro Den!  Those are the big changes you'll notice.  One of the changes that I'm most excited about is our Holiday Party Friday night!  It's going to be off the hook.  There will be limited tickets for the soiree but don't fret if you don't get your hands on one, Saturday will be free to shop and will have its own highlights that you won't soon forget.  As time draws closer, I will share more secrets as to what we've got up our sleeves and will let you know when Friday's tickets go on sale!

In the meantime, we are on the hunt for our artists who will be the stars of the show!  Applications can be found right here and information on being a vendor with us can be found here.

Whew, I'm glad that's not a secret any longer!  :)  Party time!  Excellent!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pillow Art Presents

My mom paints.  My dad dances.  My sister sings and plays music.  I lately focus on sewing.  Whenever two of our family members' interests are able to merge together to create something that fulfills more than one of us, well, it just feels damn good.

My mom's birthday was at the beginning of June and for some reason, I always have a hard time finding a gift for her.  This year though, I figured it out.  I decided to have one of her paintings printed as fabric.  It's safe to say we'll definitely be doing that again.  For a few years, I've hopped over to Spoonflower off and on to learn more about those services but just never bit the bullet and ordered anything until now.  The process was smooth, user-friendly, and, I thought, affordable for what you were getting.  I didn't realize that you can get even more printed than just fabric so who knows what we'll end up with in the future!  And no, this post sure wasn't sponsored by them; it was just a good experience!
I first had to narrow it down to what painting I wanted to use.  I really take a shine to her more abstract works so that's what I sought out.  I thought that kind of work would really translate well to a fabric design.  Once I had the digital image of the painting, I just starting playing around with it in their editor.  I really dug the mirrored image look of the painting so I went forward with that, hoping that she'd be cool with me playing around with her art.  She approved.  You can see the original work below.  
When I ordered, I accidentally ordered two different types of cotton which actually ended up being very educational for me!  In the below image, the pillow on the right side was made with their standard cotton which was very nice all around.  The pillow on the left was made with Kona cotton which was one step up from their standard.  I don't know if you can tell or not but the Kona colors are much more vibrant than the standard.  The Kona also feels to be a denser fabric so perhaps a bit more sturdier, as well.  I never, ever would have been able to tell any differences had I not accidentally ordered the same pattern on two different fabrics!  Perhaps not interesting to anyone but myself.  :)
Since there was so much color happening on the front, I backed these pillows with a velvety light brown color.  I looooove the way they feel and the way the fabrics worked together but that backing was a *b* to work with!  Slippin' and a slidin' all over the place.
About a week (or two) after her birthday (due to my procrastination of ordering), I gifted my mom her fabric gift.  Her request was that I 'do my thing' and make her some pillows out of them.  Done and done.  I do have some scraps left so I'm sure you'll see them again, probably hodge-podged into a quilt or two.  I'm truly excited to do some more work with her art in the near future!  Cheers to collaboration!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Plethora of Pillows

When I mentioned yesterday that I'd been busy in the sewing world, I wasn't kidding one bit!  I'm super, SUPER stoked that my pillows are now being carried at Retro Den!  They specialize in crazy cool vintage furniture and housewares that I seriously covet.  This first batch of pillows I delivered to them were all made with fabrics handpicked by the Ashleys, themselves.  All come with the pillow forms, are various sizes, and are drool-worthy good, if I may say so myself.  Here's a rundown of what is there now, with more to come!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Byrd Quilt

Hellooooooo!  It may seem like I haven't been making much lately but that couldn't be further from the truth!  I have been mega busy busting out one thing after another but have had to wait to share these things until the time was right.  First up, a widdle baby blanket for the little one my friend Amby is cooking right now!
I'm actually elbow-deep in working on a king-size quilt right now so working on this piece was a nice break from the gigantic-ness I've been focusing on.  Amby's shower crept up so quickly for me that I wasn't sure I'd have time to bust out a quilt for her but I was determined (and crazy) so this was born during nap times and bed times for half of a week. 
What's different about this one for me is that it's made from all modern fabrics!  The killer main fabric came from Owl & Drum (have I told you how much I love that place?!) and the solids were some of Tex's handmedowns.  Amazingly, the bias tape was purchased and matched that center strip spot on.  Serendipitous, yes?
I also decided to free motion quilt this one.  I could have just used a regular foot but, I figure, I'll never improve with FMQ unless I keep practicing with it!  The front doesn't show too much of the quilting craziness but the back sure does!  It may not be perfect or aligned or straight but, boy howdy, it's durable!  I was pleased that there was minimal puckering which tells me I'm getting better at basting!  Progress!  :)
The backing may look familiar to many of you as this is the third quilt I've used it on!  I *think* I may be able to squeeze one more baby-sized quilt out of it if I'm careful.  It's just so soft and works with SO many colorways!  I'll sure miss it when it's all gone.
Amby is such a sweet, good mom to her little man, a wonderful maker, and a good friend to me with a terrifically wonderful laugh.  Seriously, it's the best laugh.  I can't wait to meet her next guy (soon!!) and to see him being all baby-ish on his quilt!  You can spit up all over this one, little man, it's yours!  :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Holding On

And just like that, this kid is definitely no longer a baby.  With her constant babble sprinkled in with actual, clearly spoken words and her nonstop ability to figure things out, she's growing up faster than a million cliches.

I think every person who has a child has certain things they look forward to or that are monumental to them.  For me, one of those markers was having my child hold my finger to guide me places. That was always an act that I found endearing in my friends' children and now, my little one does the same.
On Saturday, Rio and I hit the Flea Market just as we've been doing since she was born.  Just like I've been doing since I was a kid with my dad.  What was notably different is that this was her first Flea Market trip that she got to walk through.  In the past, I've either worn her, carried her, or pushed her in a stroller but this time, she explored on foot.  Our condition was that she must hold onto my hand, which translates to her that she must hold onto one of my fingers, throughout our trek.  And she did.  She also carried my one purchase (some fabric, naturally) in a grocery sack, dragging it behind her the entire way.  I heard many folks oohing and ahhing over the sight as we made our way down the aisles, meanwhile I was soaking up every moment of this small adventure we were sharing together.  Cute to strangers, downright special to me.
Perhaps it's parenthood, perhaps it's scanning all of our old family photos, or perhaps it's just aging but as I look to my past, I'm becoming more aware that these moments that we're living now will soon be the ones we'll look back on nostalgically.  These are the moments we'll be remembering.  These are the stories we'll be telling in the future.  So while I could likely make good use of both of my hands at times, for now I'll gladly offer one to the kid so we can share our steps together.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Bedroom

Once upon a time growing up, my dad promised me that if I cleaned my room from top to bottom (which I was always all about) he would repaint my bedroom.  My bedroom walls were ALWAYS 'Spanish White', nothing else.  In fact, every wall in our house was that color.  I was beyond motivated just so I could get color on my walls!  Well, imagine my disappointment when my new paint color was just a new coat of 'Spanish White'.  Yeah.  This story explains my desire for the brightest colors possible on the walls of our house.
When we first moved in eight years ago, our room was the last that we tackled.  As we slowly worked on the rest of the house, I knew that our bedroom had to be blue.  Bright blue.  We took our time picking out the color and Brent took his time getting in on the walls....and I hated it.  I referred to it as 'we just had a baby boy' blue.  It was overpowering but we decided to live with it and now, I can't imagine our bedroom in another color.  It's soothing at night and it's just beautifully bright and happy when the sun begins to shine.
I'm a chronic re-arranger but I think I'm done moving this room around, finally.  We've arranged the furniture around enough to where we have a bit of floor space that we were lacking before, we each have room on either side of the bed, and the beast has an area large enough to accommodate his stretched out sleeping habits.  Tiny midtown bedrooms for the win!
For almost a decade, I slept on a twin mattress on the floor.  I never complained about it but eventually, I decided that it was time for me to get a real bed.  I looked and looked and found this one about two years before I met my mister.  Perhaps getting a bed is what finally classified me as an adult.  The rest of the furniture is a hodge podge from random places, just like the rest of our house.  The wooden trunk is notable though.  Brent made that sturdy piece in high school and I love it.  It has served SO many different purposes in this house but in here, it is a pillow holder/photo shoot studio/dirty clothes mountain/toy deposit.  In other words, it's priceless.
The past six months, I have made our bed almost every single day.  The only other time I've done that was in the dorms where my bed folded out and I had no choice but to make it.  I don't know what spurred the bed-making kick but it makes a world of difference on how I start my day.  It takes less than a minute and starts things off feeling accomplished.  Plus, it just looks nice and it's satisfying to come home to after a long day.
There are a few randoms in here also.  The cat couch (yes, our cats have their own couch), the old school Nintendo which totally works, the sticks on the walls which have their own crazy stories, and the little gallery wall filled with local art all come together to make this bright blue space ours.  It's nothing fancy, but neither are we.
*Behind the scenes exclusive!*  There was a tiny little kitten in 99% of the photos I took of our bedroom.  It seems this is one of her favorite spaces to spend time in as well.  She's taken to sleeping under the covers with us, curled up at tightly as she can be right next to me.  It melts me.
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