Thursday, July 27, 2006

Children's Oilcloth Aprons on Simply June

The children's aprons are up at - stop on by.

I finally finished picking out my buttons for the vintage button swap I am participating in and added a little extra SimplyJune touch to the swap. The amazingly creative Sally at set up this lovely swap and over 70 participants signed up from all over the world! I am so excited as this is my first swap and I have watched many with great anticipation on other blogs. I love everyone's different creative expressions and vintage finds. Now, I will actually have a happy little package coming to my door!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Children's Apron/Smock

I finished a handful of children's aprons/smocks for SimplyJune. As I mentioned yesterday, they are made of oilcloth and are easy to wipe clean - perfect for the aspiring painter, baker, playdough sculptor or current messy kid. I added cotton twill ties and the neck strap can be adjusted simply by tying a knot. The main color on each apron varies from orange, to pink, to lime green. I'm still editing some photographs, but check them out in the shop soon.

Nikolai and I had a nice visit this morning with the lovely ladies at our adoption agency. I love visiting and especially with Nikolai, but I had a quiet moment as I arrived remembering the dozens of times I drove there before Nikolai was ours.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Sneak Peek

I'm busy in my studio working on quite a number of things this week. Here is a sneak peek at one project for Simply June - Oilcloth Children's Aprons/Smocks. I love this vibrant wipe-clean cloth and started by making one for my little tyke and now I'm going to share them with you. I hope to have these up in the shop by the end of the week, but I'm also working on Nikolai's 2nd Birthday Party coming up this weekend! We are going to celebrate with just our immediate families this year - our first birthday with Nikolai!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Birthday and Baby Goodies

I love making things, but I especially love creating when I have someone particular in mind. You know how a certain style or fabric can remind you of someone. We all have our own personal style and I think without meaning to, that is how identify people. I don't mean in a materialistic way. But, I identify with people in a very visual way - colors, experiences together, styles, etc. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they express themselves. So, when this
Amy Butler fabric arrived, it had by friend Elizabeth written all over it. Here it is as a purse and delivered yesterday for a special birthday.

And to a new Miss Elizabeth Rose, these onsies are on their way to you for your summer wardrobe. I made these using iron-on applique paper and some rose fabric from my stash. I sealed off the fabric edges with Fray-Check and machine outlined the applique both for added wearability and detail.

Happy Summer Weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Candlelit Evening - Part III

Now this is just getting ridiculous. The transformer blew yet again on our street, which has suddenly become a hoppin' place on a hot summer night. Jason ran to the basement this time to flip off the circuit breaker as we still had a bit of electricity literally buzzing through our wires. This time we flew out of our homes in droves looking to see what on earth could have happened this time. As we stood on the sidewalk we were rewarded with firework type display as wires popped and snapped and burned. After we all exchanged our plesantries, we wandered back to our dark homes to light candles and ponder yet again what people did before electricity. Here's hoping for a well lit evening!

As you can imagine, I haven't been getting much done in the evenings, but I have been busy working on a number of gifts and ideas for SimplyJune. I promise to share soon!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Candlelit Evening - Part II

I wish I were writing this second excerpt because there were fascinating details left out of Part I. However, we spent a second evening by candlelight as the transformer blew on our street again. Such an event causes quite a phenomenon even on our busy street. People who have been hunkered down in their homes telling tales by their air conditioners, actually emerge from their dwellings and stand in somewhat of a stupor on the sidewalks while the shock of the summer heat wears off. Jason, Kolya and I of course hightailed it to our local air conditioned Target to pick up survival supplies - three flashlights and a new lighter. After, returning home and tucking our babe into bed with flashlights, we settled down to another night of storytelling and mending - I mean watching another movie on my laptop.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I took a trip to Global Thrift in Waltham last weekend and here is one of my delicious finds (49 cents each!). I love this shade of petal pink. The cup is creme on the outside and petal pink on the inside. I want to sip strawberry milk from it and eat shortbread biscuits. Mmmm.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Candlelit Evening

It sounds romantic, maybe even a step into the past for an evening. Our power went out around 7 last night. As the sun began to set, we rushed around looking for some flashlights with no success. I light some candles and some lanterns and with a peaceful sigh, looked around my home and thought about what it might have been like to live in the days before electricity. It seemed romantic and quaint. That was until I began to sweat without the air conditioners and ceiling fan. We have been having a heat wave here in the Boston area and the house heated up quickly even in the evening hours. You don't realize how reliant you become on electricity. The phone no longer worked, the TV, microwave, ICE MAKER, etc. So Jason and I sat down to a candlelit dinner of sandwich wraps and tortilla chips and reminisced about the days of old... ok, we watched a movie on my laptop. Pretty sad...

It was a nice weekend however, we enjoyed time with friends and family. Took a trip to the library and to a great thrift shop in Waltham called Global Thrift. I'll share some of my finds in the next few days. I keep meaning to add a photo of a cute vintage etched glass that I found at a church sale. It is tiny and etched with a beautiful floral and striped design. The sides of the glass are beveled adding to its charm. The perfect glass for a bedside table.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Simply June Summer

I have been putting a great deal of work into the SimplyJune website this week. On Sunday, Jason helped me take some product photographs and patiently arranged clothespins, held up laundry line, suggested camera angles, etc. I'm pleased with what we accomplished and am now adding those products to the website. The last few days have been spent only on the computer, with no sewing time. So, I am hoping to get in a tiny bit of sewing during nap time today once the magnet sets are up.

I hope to add a few more products this summer as well and I am busy in my studio coming up with ideas and trying new things out. I would really like to add some embroidered goods to SimplyJune as well. Keep visiting the shop for new additions!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Purses: Pretty in Pink

I have been working on designing a new purse for SimplyJune - just the right size to be used every day. I love a purse with one strap that tucks right under the arm and here it is. I have made a few small design changes along the way from my initial concept and I think I have found that perfect balance of pretty and practical. This cutie is on its way as a belated birthday present..., but look for more in the SimplyJune shop soon. I have ordered a nice palette of fabrics and some may feature vintage buttons and trim. You will have to wait and see...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Blueberry Summer

When I was a little girl growing up in New York state, my family and I would visit the south shore of Massachusetts every summer and stay in a cottage right on the beach. The cottage, loving named "Merry Gale" was built in 1940 by my Great Great Uncle for my Great Aunt Mary. He used lumber from his land surrounding the family cranberry bogs. The cottage is quite simple and the rooms are partitioned with walls, but the roof is the only ceiling. I would lie quietly each night as a child staring at the wood roof, discovering different figures and designs in the knotty planks. Those images were as clear as day to me and still are - my favorite being a pig with an eye patch wearing a striped bandana. My bed was the best part of my room though, it was built into the wall and pulled down lengthwise suspended by ropes and metal pulleys. We spent two weeks every summer at Mary's cottage nestled between the river and ocean and now Kolya will do the same.

Another favorite pastime at the beach was blueberry picking. There was a beautiful blueberry farm nearby and we would go there at the beginning of our stay every year to pick buckets of blueberries to enjoy with cream and sugar and in a bread pudding recipe I fondly called "Blueberry Stuff." Over the years, my father purchased blueberry bushes from this orchard and others and now has his own "blueberry farm". But, blueberries still always remind me of the summers at the beach.

I was recently talking with a friend who has started decorating her kitchen with a blueberry theme, so these blueberry tea towels are off to her. Enjoy!

On another blueberry note, if you have never read a copy of Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, pick one up today! This is a favorite children's book to many and the illustrations a must see for any blueberry lover. It is sure to be Kolya's favorite book too as we sit on a beach blanket eating blueberries and reading...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Church Fairs

One of my favorite types of rummage sales are church fairs. The selection is usually large and varied - people emptying out the contents of their attic and basement to raise funds. The owners of these items are not usually present at the sale and therefore prices don't tend to reflect sentimental value.

I take my yearly pilgrimage to a church fair in a small town on the south shore of Massachusetts every July. They boast a huge variety of events and sales and fill a whole tent with treasures from books to glassware and other ephemera. However, the real treasures I believe are found in the basement sale they fondly call "Attic Treasures." I take my first tour on Friday afternoon, but the real deals can be found on Saturday afternoon when one can fill a bag (huge shopping bag) for $1! I start with the glassware and other knickknacks including old stationery and Christmas decorations and make my way over the tables piled with clothing. Some would have no interest in digging through others "trash" to find their treasures, but I consider it a challenge and am always rewarded. I fill my treasure bag until it is bursting at the seams and with a happy sigh leave my favorite basement until next year. (I should also mention that this was my first toddler toting year at the fair and while I have a delightful son, no toddler is all that interested in rummage sales. My wonderful husband donned our baby sling and entertained our tyke while I relished in my bargaining glory. Thank you Jason!)

This year, however the fun did not end in the basement. As we were leaving I noticed a sign on a tree reading "FREE". I tried to casually stroll toward the tree as there was no one around, but in actuality, that stroll was probably more of a dash. Okay, I dropped everything and ran... I looked down into the boxes as the base of the tree and couldn't believe my eyes, three beautiful glass punch bowl sets including, as I later would discover, 59 punch glasses! I have been mentally planning a SimplyJune shopping party for the Fall. I daydream about glasses of egg nog, funky jazz renditions of old Christmas carols and hostesses with vintage aprons and scrumptious hors d'oeuvres. Now I can serve punch! Further scouting through the "free" boxes revealed a set of plates marked "Rhythm by Homer Laughlin". The bowls are a bit worn and the platter has a small chip, but the design just drew me in. I did a little research and found that this pattern came out in 1955, but I think you will find its beauty transcends 50 years and could just as easily be sold today. I may have to search out some more of this set for my collection. As I sit here typing at the dining room table, I have it set with my new dinnerware. Jason, commented upon arriving home yesterday, "Are we having guests?". Though, I would gladly entertain guests, the table setting was merely for my own enjoyment.