Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All Aboard! Old Railroad Car Type

My son is obsessed with trains. Toy trains, real trains, cartoon trains, pictures of trains, steam engines, diesels, commuter trains, trolleys, the Seattle Monorail...trains made out of metal, wood, plastic, blocks, or even the food on his plate. Obsessed. So this past weekend we took an afternoon trip to the railroad museum. During the spring and summer you can ride the vintage steam train to another town and back, but in the winter only the museum's small indoor exhibit and gift shop are open. Plus, you can walk around and look at old train cars. The engines and freight and passenger cars on site are very nice. But along the main road, about five blocks from the museum, is a kind of railroad graveyard, with lots of old, rusty cars. I took these pictures of the very cool numerals...painted on them by hand. Beautiful, whether clean or distressed! The number '5' reminded me of Charles Demuth's painting, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Color Collages, Part Two

Here is yet another amazing set of color collages, from Kontor Kontur, a design group in Gothenburg, Sweden. You can buy prints and postcards of these still life photos in their shop!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Color Collages, Part One

Lately I have been stumbling upon awesome 'color collages' that truly amaze and inspire me. Check out these from Liz Jones of Melbourne, Australia. Liz makes and sells incredible brooches, pendants, and clocks made from recycled 1950s linoleum and vintage buttons, and sells them through her shop, Betty Jo Designs. Oh, how amazing her stash of linoleum must be! But I digress...

The images below are just a small sampling of her colorful collage photos, all of which can be seen in her Flickr photostream. The last photo shows one of her 'Rubbish Rainbows', composed entirely of colored plastic trash she found washed up on the beach. Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pillow Talk

Today I was able to get a little bit of sewing time, thanks to pouring-down rain and a two-year-old who is obsessed with trains. I finished up an 18" x 18" pillow I made as a gift for our close friends' six-year-old daughter (and my son's first crush!), who loves pink, teal, and unicorns. When I babysat Sofia last summer, she would enjoy looking through my '80s sticker collection from time to time. Her favorites were the unicorns, some of which you may recognize below.

This was my first try at sewing a zipper on anything. Honestly, I didn't understand the instructions that came with the zipper, so I figured it out on my own and have to say it is really pretty easy! I sewed each panel onto the zipper first, then closed up the pillow cover by sewing around the other three seams. Just remember to open the zipper first before completely sewing up the three sides; otherwise, you won't be able to turn the whole thing inside out! I think the final pillow turned out great, and am already planning on adding pillow covers to my Etsy shop!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Outdated? Ha ha, I don't think so!

Ahhh, the mix tape. We've all made them, or received them, or both...maybe in CD form for you young ones, but the concept is the same. I started making mix tapes when I was nine years old, way back in 1979. I would record songs from the radio on a GE tape recorder, holding my fingers on Record and Play, nervously awaiting the moment at the start of a song when the DJ would finally quit talking. Then repeating this again at the end, hoping maybe this once the DJ would let the song fade out into another song without speaking. Eventually I gave up and started just recording choruses of songs. Boy, when I got my first dual-cassette boom box, the recording studio was open!

This week's Spoonflower Fabric of the Week contest theme is 'Outdated Technology'. It was hard for me to pick a subject, since I still use many of the things most would consider long gone: a rotary princess phone (in avocado green!), record players, a boom box, the Atari 2600... I decided to go with the mix tape because I wanted a print that could be used on pillows in a hip studio apartment or loft, or on funky tote bags. Nostalgic for the '80s generation, inspiring and cool for the Gen X- and Y'ers. The design above is what I came up with. You can view the complete pattern, and others like it, in my Spoonflower shop. Click here to vote in this week's contest. Plan to spend awhile looking through the entries--there are so many great designs and lots of subjects you'll want to reminisce about!

The calendar may say 2012, but in my head (and heart), it's perpetually 1979!

One last thought: if you could put just one song on the ultimate mix tape, what would it be?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snowed In!

Here in Seattle we are having a rather unusual "snow event". The metro area received a total of about 8 inches over the last four days, which brings the city to a halt. Back in the Midwest, where I grew up, we'd still be trekking to school with only that much, but since below-freezing temperatures are pretty rare here in the lowlands and at sea level (everyone usually goes up to the mountains to see snow), there aren't enough plows to clear the streets. People stay home and play hooky when there's as little as 2 inches on the ground. When I haven't been out sledding with my two year-old the last few days, I've been using the time to catch up on some sewing for my shop.

Meanwhile, I just love it when patterns happen accidentally. Like the time when I finished loading the dishwasher with my colorful Fiestaware plates and noticed I had randomly placed them in rainbow order. Above is an example from lunch today, when I opened the pickle jar and the last four pickle spears were so perfectly arranged. Sometimes it's the littlest things that can make me smile.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

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