Monday, November 25, 2013

Week before Thanksgiving 2013

Well, well, well.  Looky here.  I'm blogging tonight.  Aaron and I had a deal that if he started working on printing out our dear old blog into books, then I needed to start doing more blog posts. DEAL. 
In the past few months, I've really wanted to start bloggin' again, but knowing I'm a full year behind and 6.9 billion photos have been taken (or there-abouts), you can imagine how overwhelming that sounded.  
So, I'm taking it week by week. Starting NOW.  And, when I can/feel like it I'll blog some more. Deal? Deal.  (Sheesh, I'm all about making deals right now!)

Let's talk about last week, shall we?  
He is 14 months now, and he looks 5 years old. Okay, well, maybe not 5, but at least 3 to me. I think the baseball hat really tipped the scales for me. This kid became a TRUE walker this past month (Til and Cal started walking at 13 months, so we weren't concerned.)  This boy does things on his own terms. The stinker has been able to balance, stand on his own, and walk a few steps whenever he felt like it for the past few months---but the second we tried to coerce him into walking, he'd go limp and throw his head back or "go BONELESS" as one of our new books coined it.  
So, with his new mobility, we like to strap him into a stroller when we go out and about.  I don't know know what we'd do with out a stroller these days! 

Becca came up to town for the weekend, so we decided to try out the new Emporium Pies that just opened (check out their website. Their branding is off the hook!). Their other location in Dallas is phenomenal, and Becca has been a huge fan, so obviously we had to go do some taste testing.  Cal's stance?  Priceless.
Check out that packaging! Too fun, right? We ordered their Cloud Nine slice and thought we were getting their banana cream, but ended up getting their Smooth Operator.  No worries.  It was all delicious.  Check out the descriptions on their website.  We were big fans.

From there, we ran up to Aaron's office so we could trade cars/kids because Tillie was invited by some of her school friends to go to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places.  She'd been living for this day, so we wanted to make sure we were on time (and obviously, didn't want to bring the baby, b/c he'd have a field day in that place!).  Luckily, Becca was still around b/c Aaron was running late with a patient, so she watched the boys in his office waiting room and we zipped downtown for the fun. THANK YOU, BECCA!! (turns out she was waiting for him for 45 minutes!?!)
We got there and the girls had already picked their gifts for the teacher (that's the whole reason we went, so they could make a Christmas craft for their kindergarten teacher, fyi!)---luckily, they chose an ornament to paint.  The price tag on the ornaments were MUCH better than a huge vase or platter!  :)
Tillie quickly got to work when she started complaining about her tummy "not feeling so good." Uh oh.  Luckily, they had a little tiny bathroom there, so I told her to take her time.  Poor baby, her tummy was so rumbly and she felt horrible and kept saying, "Oh, mom, I don't know what to do! I just don't feel so good."  Next thing I know she's throwing up everywhere.  :(  It was so sad.  She threw up a few times while we were in that tiny bathroom, and when she felt like we could leave, we quickly left the bathroom, paid for the ornament, wrote her name on the ornament, and grabbed a quick picture with the girls.  Look at this poor pale and fake smile face below!
Poor girl felt miserable.  We told the girls we need to do another playdate soon to make up for our quick departure!
On the way home, she threw up a few more times (amazingly enough, she was able to throw up in a fast food cup! GLORY! GLORY! that girl has skills!). Throwing up became the theme for the day. She couldn't keep anything down for almost 24 hours.  I gave her a bath and she her little teeth kept chattering, so I grabbed this towel to help keep her warm.  My sister made the comment that I must have really felt bad for her, otherwise I wouldn't have used our "decorative" towel for her.  Stinker.  But, she totally called me on it.  I did feel SO bad that she was sick!
Is that a miserable face or what?!

Because it was such a sad weekend, we decided to do something to lift our spirits!  There's no way better way to cheer someone up than Christmas cheer!  :)  I was super excited to pull out our BRAND NEW TREE that we bought the day after Christmas last year!  As we pulled it out to start decorating, we discovered that our colored lights had died, so we started putting on white lights (my fave!) to decorate the tree.  Year after year, I've told Aaron I wanted our tree to be decorated with white lights b/c it looks so darn classy.  But, he LOVES the colored lights, so year after year, I go along with it. (I'm a super nice wife like that. So charitable and loving.)  So, I was secretly thrilled that those colored ones bit the dust!
BUT! we got one strand of the white lights on the tree and I wasn't digging it! It looked too commercial to me!  WHAT!?  I found myself wishing for the colored ones b/c it just seemed so much more... inviting and warm.  haha!  Talk about a 180 degree mind shift! 
So, obviously, Aaron capitalized on that and ran to the store to grab some new lights. Here is Jake (and the Neverland Pirates), I mean, Calvin testing out the lights for his dad.  He took his job very seriously.
Don't mind that random "W"---the mantle is not "Christmas ready" quite yet!

Fast forward to the next day::: Because Tillie was a mess, we decided that Aaron would stay home from church with her (I was on organ duty that Sunday, blast!). And, it just made sense for him to keep the boys home too.  Here they were reading a book while Tillie slept.  I love this picture.
Turns out, church was like a vacation for me because I wasn't chasing after/entertaining the kids---especially a certain crazy 14 month old (whom I love dearly!).  Lo and behold, I actually got to take notes/draw!  A novelty at this stage of my life!

Tillie was doing much better, but still wasn't 100%, so we kept her home on Monday.  We LOVE having her home! And, since we had so many bananas around, we decided to make some banana-blueberry muffins. We love that recipe around here.
Jake Calvin approves.  Here's the proof.  He ate 4 in this sitting.  Crazy boy.
And here's my little sleeping beauty.  I love when she can take a real true nap.
Lucky for me, we still have our old Christmas tree that is about 5' tall, so I put the white lights on it and decorated it for our front room.  Look at that beaut!
Here's the view from outside!  So magical! I've always wanted a tree in a front room!
And, since we had all the lights out, I decided to do a little decorating with our huge "W" I found at a flea market (wow, why does it seem like I have a billion "W" letters around here? I don't! I only have two!).  Anything with twinkly lights? I'm a fan.  It's staying!  I love this whole Christmas decorating game!

A few other noteworthy events... in our church, my calling is the Relief Society activity coordinator. We put together a really great night.  Here's the flyer I made---I omitted a few specifics, but here's the gist:

I love the description the best. We really thought hard about what our goals were for the night---Using your Patriarchal Blessing, Rediscovering your temple worship, and personalizing your prayers.  Great stuff.  It was a good night and even Becca made a surprise visit that night!  
And, honestly, I can do a huge sigh of relief now that it's over and we pulled it off!

::: Here's Tillie in front of her darling pilgrim in the kindergarten hallway.  I die when she draws those little eyelashes! haha!

::: Calvin (as Jake---can you tell he's a fan?!) playing trains while Benny boy naps and Tillie is at school.  We've become quite good friends now that we have so much time to spend together.  It's one of those "silver linings" that my mom talked about with Tillie going to kindergarten.  She was right.  It's been really great for us both!

So, there you have it. The week before Thanksgiving 2013. Blogging is fun! Let's try this again soon!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More Tiny Dancer fabric delights!!

Dear friends and country-men!
Guess what Kokka decided to do?  Interview us for their blog (now you can know the 411 about each pattern) and then they showed some of the LOVELY samples they created for Spring Quilt Market 2013!
Here are a few gorgeous professional photos from their blog post:

Pretty exciting, no?  Seeing as I'm not a photographer, I was so sad that I couldn't show you guys an ACCURATE representation of the fabric---and alas, now we have these!

Feel free to head to their Kokka blog to check it out HERE in English and if you know Japanese, then you can go HERE.  :)

And, of course, if you are interested in purchasing for your shop and you're in the US, contact Seven Islands and they can hook you up.

But if you are wanting to purchase some for your stash, so far, I've only seen it at this Etsy shop called Miss Matatabi.  She has a ton of amazing Japanese fabric in her shop and carries almost, if not all, of our Tiny Dancer patterns!  Woot! Woot!
Here's a cute photo I took from her Etsy shop:

I just learned that the bolts just landed on US soil, so I'll let you know where else I'm seeing it carried (or, of course, if you are carrying it, let me know and I'll make it known!).

Anyway, fun news on the fabric front!
Of course there's a BILLION other things going on in NORMAL regular Melissa life---like my baby girl starting FULL DAY kindergarten (trust me, I have LOTS to say on this matter...)

or the fact that my TINY baby is not so TINY anymore.  He just turned 1 year old this past week. I may or may not be in denial.    

Or we could talk about how I might need to retire soon from being Calvin's translator, b/c he just started speech therapy at the elementary school this past week.  We're already seeing progress!

Or we could talk about the fact that my husband and I are both now playing the organ for our church worship services (talk about anxiety!).  Obviously I have no pictures of that, b/c no one wants to see a picture of me at the organ bawling my eyes out!  :)  JK! That might be a great picture.

Yes, there is much to talk about, and when I can steal away to my LEGIT computer with all the millions of photos I've recently uploaded, we'll talk about it all.

Until then, lots of love!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spring Quilt Market 2013

My sister, Becca, did a great little post about our adventures at Quilt Market this year in Portland.  It's a delightful recap and I'm so glad she was on the ball to write it up and inspire me to do the same.  Way to go, I-da-ho!

So, let's just jump on it, shall we?!

Here are some dolls I created before Market to showcase the fabric.  Vendors like to see project ideas with the fabric, and I thought these would be fun to do.  And, yes, the dolls each have strong magnets in their hands and feet so they can do all sorts of tricky dance moves.  Just call me fancy pants!

Here they all are together for their close ups.  :)  Originally, I had planned on them all holding hands together, like the fabric depicts, but I made the arms so long that they could go over their heads and do the splits... so to have them sitting together and holding hands would mean they'd need to be sitting about a foot apart... which isn't wonderful for photo purposes.  So, they're crossing arms instead.
These are things I'm certain you don't care about, but there you have it anyway!
If you would like me to do a little tutorial for you with some helpful hints in re-creating your own Tiny Dancer doll, let me know in the comments and I'll try my hand at it!

 ::: Luckily, for me, my sweet mother-in-law agreed to fly down to watch Tillie and Calvin while Aaron worked.  It was SO great to have her come down and I'll do a post dedicated to all the fun they had while I was away AND the great times we had together after I got back home.  Sufficeth to say, Grandma Wood is the BEST!  

::: I planned from the get-go to take little Benny bear with me. And, luckily, Becca and my mom agreed to come along to Portland to join in the fun and tag-team with this little 8 month dolly.  Having a baby along for the "girl's weekend" was a little tricky at times, and the flight was SUPER fun (oh wait, when is flying with a baby EVER fun??), but we made it!  And, honestly, who can't help but LOVE that baby face?!  Thankfully, Becca flew out from Dallas with me and she was the best helper!  Especially on the flight home when Bensey decided to have a blow out of epic proportions.  Thank you for that, Benson.  We really appreciated it.
When we arrived in Portland it was approximately 2am for us, making for a SUPER late night.  Here we are in all our glory.  Notice the happy camper in the baby wrap.  Amazing!

I thought this Portland sign replica was pretty fun in our hotel.  

::: Upon entering the Convention Center, we knew we had to get in touch with the Seven Islands crew, because we had the quilt, dolls, dress, and a bag to give them to use in the display AND they had our special badges (your ticket into the show).  The only problem was, we couldn't get a hold of anyone.  Uh oh.  Luckily for us, the Seven Islands booth was located pretty close to one of the side entrances, and I was able to convince the guard to let me go in to get their attention. 
I'm so tricky like that.
Jk.  I think it was because I was sweating and holding a baby.  A baby can really help win people over.  And a really CUTE baby?  People start eating out of your hands.  True story. 

Anyway, we were able to get in, give them our delights and they were genuinely excited to see what we had whipped up!  So many nice comments!  That was a fun moment for us all.  They got to hanging the quilt and setting out our stuff.  It was all very thrilling!

And, best of all, was that they had a whole huge area dedicated to our line!  They split their booth into four sections and ours was one of the big lines they were spotlighting!  Woot! Woot!

We had no idea they'd market the line so well!  And, we didn't think they would have any samples made up (that's why we scrambled to make so many things ourselves) but hello! They had a ton of bags and dresses all made up!  I think there were 17 pieces in total!  Amazing! (can you tell how thrilled we were?  Look at all those exclamation marks I just used!)

Back when we attended Quilt Market a few years ago, Becca and I agreed that the Kokka booth was definitely our favorite.  It was just so different and fun and bright and darling.  So, hello, seeing a whole huge chunk of their booth dedicated to OUR designs was just... what's the word?  Incredible.  

So, let's stop talking about it and start looking at it.  Okay?  Good.

Here's the quilt my mom created, on the bottom left is the navy/orange tote bag that Becca sewed, and then in the middle are my three dolls.  The rest were sewn up by the Kokka team in Japan!  Neato!!
 They even had a pretty sign made up with the images we used on the selvage!  Check out those cute little bags! I wish there was a way I could steal those samples! They'd made perfect little scripture bags!    ha!

Agh, those yucky lights at the convention center don't do the colors justice!  The yellow looks almost neon in these, but as you are aware, that's not real to life.  It's a wonderful mustard color and the blues are much prettier in real life.  Oh well, carry on, we must!
See the goal with the panel, was that if someone bought a small chunk, they could do several different projects with it.  An easy tote bag, a cute skirt (like the pink one my mom made below on the left), a dress, etc.  No need to coordinate fabrics with it, unless you want to!  We also think it would be really cute as a border print on a quilt.  That could be cute, right?
Cute Becca.  Looking darling, as always.
 And that Nana Nise with her grandbaby, Benson Elmer (her dad's namesake).  He's looking so dapper in his floral tie that Becca whipped up for him, right?  I about died when I saw it. And, watching people's reactions when they spotted him... priceless.  I told you, bring a cute baby and they will EAT out of your HAND!
  And, the mama with the dapper-Dan.

Here's a few more closeups of the dresses.  My mom sewed the orange panel dress (which looks DARLING on Tillie.  I can't wait to post pictures of her in it!), and the Kokka folks did the others.  I love them all.  It was so fun to see this fabric, that has been on my computer screen for ages, turned into such darling REAL little things! 
Sisters + Bensey bear.

Oh, you want to see the rest of the Kokka booth?  Okay, I'll oblige.  :)  It wasn't all centered around us, even though all my pictures make it look like that.  Anyway, here's Melody Miller's line for Kokka.  She's a big deal and I think this is her 4th or 5th line for Kokka.  That portrait print is her grandmother.  Pretty cool, right?
Fun fact, Melody was SUPER helpful when we decided to sign on with Kokka, and for several reasons along the way!  She's wonderful and we brought her a little package from Texas to thank her for all her great advice!  
Fortunately this picture is super great of me. What?!  I'm mid sentence, apparently.  Oh sheesh!  Oh well, you get what you pay for.  Stop looking at me now.  Let's focus on Melody.  She's wearing a dress made from her new line.  Hello, how cute is that!?
Okay, I met this gal from Portland and she was a total delight, but I can't find her business card for the life of me! I need to be reminded of her name! GAH! But, she was so nice and lovely and warm and complimentary and wonderful.  In fact, she even gave me a coupon for a free Jamba Juice.  I mean, come on! How nice is that?  If any of you in blog-land know her name and contact info., let me know, because I genuinely want to keep in touch with her.  

More Kokka delights?  Sure.  I love this bear print.

Nan Iro, another Kokka delight.  This little area was tucked in the corner by our stuff.  She is a wonder and an amazing artist and I want to buy yards and yards of her fabric.  Look how sweet that little sample shirt is?

Echino is a huge Kokka headliner, for good reason.  She's the bomb and has such quirky fun designs. (Side note, do you see our display in the back corner?  Pretty cool!!)

The other designer they headlined was Ellen Lucket Baker.  This is her second line with Kokka and she's done really well with them.

Okay, there were other booths at market too.  :)  
Actually, there were about a billion of them.  And here were some of my favorites!

Heather Bailey.  Yes, she embroidered that picture on burlap.  Bravo!

Monaluna's booth. Thought the sheep/farm fabric was pretty darling.

 Jen Kingwell Designs. Amazing quilts. Amazing!

Oliver + S booth.  We used their Roller Skate pattern for our Tiny Dancer orange panel dress.  It is the same pattern that's featured below on the right.
 another cute dress pattern of hers.  So many darling ones! I want to buy them all!

Can you tell I was in a dress mood?  These next samples were in Rashida Coleman's booth for Cloud 9. These were super fun. 

Alexander Henry can do no wrong.  I love most of their fabrics.  They are fun and unique, and they don't use outside fabric designers.  Every design comes from their in-house team, which is different than most fabric companies. I thought it was fun that they had a few dolls featured in their fabrics too.  (And, if we're playing the honest game, I think my dolls were cuter! ha!! Did I just say that? Why, yes, I did.)
Birch fabrics.  All organic cotton, I believe. And I thought it was super cool that they brought on Charley Harper's designs.  He's amazing.

Camille Roskelly's quilts.  She is an amazing quilter (and she and her mom design fabric for Moda too).  Here are a few of her quilts.  Super impressive. And, yes, those are most of her fabrics featured too.  Bravo!

I thought it was funny that Jaybird Quilts had a pattern come out with the same title as our fabric line, Tiny Dancer!  They must have been on the same wave length!  And, it's a cute pattern too!

I thought this hanky panel was really sweet.  I think it was from the Japanese company Yuwa.

We used to sell Anna Griffin stationery at the stationery store I worked at in San Antonio (shout out to Moon Mippy!).  She's now entered the fabric world, and if I'm not mistaken, these were some of their new fabrics.  
Love that circus print.  I did a circus print and I don't think it's nearly as cute as this!
These big bugs were super fun too.

Next up was Heather Ross.  She is one of my design idols.  And, in fact, she designed with Kokka for a while!  She was even nicer than I imagined she'd be, and ate Benson boy up!  She was a delight and I couldn't believe how great she was to talk to us candidly about the fabric world we are in and advice. She knows her stuff!
She was a doll.  And, hello, she loved Benson!  It was funny, she held him for about 10 minutes and found him a clothespin for him to munch on.  Too funny.  It was seriously great!  She is designing for Windham Fabrics now and it seems like the fabric world is super happy that she is back in the quilting cotton line up again (meaning sold in normal quilt shops again).

Chatting it up with her was probably one of the biggest highlights for me. 
Here's her cute booth:
Looks like I'm really concerned here. Ha! I wonder where I learned to talk with my hands?  Thanks, Denise. 

Speaking of highlights... umm... this was my mom's!  :) 
 This is at Such Design's booth.  Carrie Bloomston is also a designer for Windham, and creates fun quilt patterns too.  Obviously, my mom was wiggin' out over the nest one.  She loved it.  She told Carrie one of her favorite poems about a nest, started to cry, and Carrie was an absolute doll and got teary with her!  hA!!!
I think that's what we call "kindred spirits".  :)

sorry, blurry photo, but I thought the quilt below was super fun.  She translated a drawing of her daughter's into quilt form.  Awesome.
 I love this shot of them.  Too funny.

 ::: A teensy bit of sight seeing happened.  We were pretty wiped at the end of each day, and let's be frank: Benson is not the fine dining type.  We managed to steal away to one nice place... which I can't even remember what it was called.  Mama's Italian? Something.  I don't know.  I was fried (and so was the raviolli. bam!).  But the meals were delicious! And look at that darling little french oven!

Benson loving the full length mirrors by the elevators at the hotel.

Seeing the sights! He is so stinkin' cute!

::: That first night we decided to try out the famous VooDoo donuts.  They were good, but I am no respector of donuts. I think every donut has something good to offer.  And, they lost mega points when I saw the menu.  So many crass titles, it made me angry.  But... sigh.  I still supported them with my business.  What do you do?  When you are hungry for a donut, you let your guard down!  

Here we are posin' it up.
(Benson was super happy about the photo opp.)

::: On Saturday, we were able to zip over to an awesomely huge fabric store called Fabric Depot.  Aaron and I went there a few years ago when we went on our Pacific Coast Highway adventure from San Fran to Portland.  And it was as wonderful as I remembered. In fact, I bought a few little tidbits for my stash.   

Do you love this decorator fabric like I do?  I didn't think to find out who it was by, but I was in LOOOOOVE.  Maybe I should have bought a few yards for a future Tillie's room...??

 ::: After our morning out and about, we headed back to the Convention Center for our last day at Market.  
I spotted this gem.  Yes, it is a line called PAWrates.  Cat Pirates.  So clever.  I died.  Anyway, I have no idea what company produced it, but cheers to them.  Very funny.

If you know me, you'll know that I'm a sucker for small FAKE animals.  I don't love animals very much in REAL life, because they scare me.  But, animals in ceramic or plush?  Give me a break!  So, it's no wonder I snapped so many pictures at the Ric Rac booth.  Hello, these owls with a knap sack?  I mean, come on!
 And hedge hogs with party hats?  Seriously?!  
 Oh, and they also had a super fun dress made from the selvage edge of fabrics.  So clever, right?  I thought it was amazing.

I think this Blythe line was for Robert Kaufman?  Can't remember. But, I loved that quilt pattern.

Again with the small FAKE animals... it's no wonder I loved Penguin & Fish.  I took several pictures of her booth at our last quilt market, and here are a ton more shots of her embroidery patterns this time around.

Before we left, I ran over and took a few more shots at the booth.  I know, I'm a dork.  But, it was such a surreal & gratifying feeling seeing it all up there.  It was pretty fun.  So, sue me!  I was having a moment, people.  And, to memorialize it, I took a few more pics with my baby!  hA!  And, yes, Benny had konked out by this time.

::: After we got back to the hotel, Becca went on a date!  She can tell you more about that!  :)  And that meant we needed to fend for ourselves for dinner.  Weird that no one wanted to take US out on a date!  Luckily, there were a few food trucks a block away from our hotel, so we checked them out.  Little side note: my mom and I aren't very adventurous... so it was funny b/c we eliminated 5 of the 6 food trucks automatically.  We're not big Indian or Greek or Middle Eastern food fans, apparently.  We are Mexican fans.  

We tried this food truck.  And, sadly, I didn't love what I ordered. Too many potatoes in my plain jane breakfast burrito.  And, ha! I don't think my mom enjoyed hers either... But, we sure look happy here! 

::: The next morning, we dropped my mom off at the airport bright and early so she could catch her flight to SLC.  Then, Becca, Bensey, and I decided to explore some neighborhoods.  The weather was perfect and luckily, we felt pretty confident with our GPS navigation systems on our phones.  God bless the portable GPS device!
It was so nice to drive around and chat with my amazing sister after being overloaded with all things fabric and flooded with artificial lighting for two days straight.

Here's a little bit of the beautiful scenery we found:

 I spy a POSER at a faux castle!  Do you see her?
 I sent this picture to Aaron while he was at church. Nice face. I think I wrote "wish you were here." 

Everything looks 10 times prettier in Portland with their gray skies.  I want an orange house!

 And hello, is this navy house with the bright yellow door not amazing?  Sign me up!

Thanks for the fun, Portland.

And thanks for the fun, Becca, Mom, and Bensey boy!

 Oh, and hello, thanks to Kokka for printing our designs on your beautiful fabric!!  
What a fun game this is!


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