Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Someone I forgot...

FIrst of all, thank you for so many lovely comments about the banner. It was such an awesome opportunity to serve by doing something that I already love doing. I don't think I'll be using much purple for a while, though.
My husband reminded me, though, that I left out one very important member of the construction team... Rufus was by my side the whole time, to sit on things that shouldn't be sat on, and walk over things that shouldn't be walked on, and just look downright pathetic. Baxter helped, but at a distance, because he is smarter.
(Forgive the quality, it's an instagram photo, so it's teeeeny. Also, I stole it from my husband, thanks @chomperhead. Also, do you instagram? It's delightful, yo. Let's be friends, I'm @lauren_hunt )

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Largest Thing I've Ever (Kindof) Made.

So.  This story is long, maybe, I think. But here goes.
Last year I was asked by my church (Redeemer Fellowship, holla), to sew Advent decorations for the sanctuary. 
The church is giant and beautiful and 122 years old, and I gleefully accepted, and then realized I had, like, three weeks.

Grand ideas for a massive, glorious, banner were made and then immediately scrapped; and what we ended up with was a 15 yd piece of the fakest polyester dupioni you've ever seen, hemmed on the sides and thrown over a rafter. I called it The Worm. It looked like a worm. A shiny, sparkly, purple worm. It was serviceable but unfortunate, and plans were made to try again this year.

And soooooooooooooo, fast forward to this August, and the wheels begin to turn again. This time, however, there was TIME and SKETCHES and DISCUSSION and MATH. The fuzzy ideas of the previous year came into focus, happily colliding with my newly found love for Korean patch work, pojagi, or, as I call my method, faux-jagi. My friend Alex mentioned in this blog post how she and I had started experimenting with the technique, using this tutorial by Victoria of The Silly BooDilly. 
So I wrote a proposal. And then ordered 6 bolts of shot cotton. And then waited for them to arrive. And then stared at them guiltily whilst I finished a few other projects. And then it began.
And I should say right now, the title of this post is misleading; I did not make this banner. I had so much help from other women in the church, many of whom I had never met before. We talked and we sewed and we cut and they ironed. Oh, how they ironed! Oh, how little I managed to iron! It was truly glorious. I asked them to sew the seams completely randomly, and then sew those pieces together randomly, and so on. There was no deliberating, no second-guessing, we just put it all together and let it happen. I was confident that it would be done-- only because at the end of the day, it wasn't in my hands, (my ridiculous, scattered, faulty hands); but it was guided by, and to the glory of Someone Much Bigger.  It was EXCITING, and it was AMBITIOUS, and it was PRETTY and we were OPTIMISTIC!  Anything, after all, was better than The Worm.
Near the end though, when I was constantly dragging 30 ft. lengths of patchwork around the house, sewing through the night, and seeing purple everywhere I looked, I began to get anxious. It all revolved around one issue: Would there be enough light? The whole point of all the Pojagi piecing was that light would shine through the thick seams to create one giant, glorious, abstract design. If there wasn't enough light, the whole thing would just look like a giant purple sheet. All of the work, all of the Fold-Stitch-Iron-Stitch-Repeat, it would all be INVISIBLE. I was terrified by the thought that it might just end up being The Worm's big brother.

The final day was spent frantically sewing, ironing, binding, and pinning. Brian was drafted and spent most of the day ironing, a service for which I will owe him for the rest of my life. It turns out, friends, that 60 ft. of anything? Is a LOT. I had three 60 ft. sections, each between 1.5 and 2 ft. wide, to sew together. And then bind. Not all of which, of course, managed to happen, but eventually it HAD TO GO UP.  The last half-hour of sewing was not pretty, my friends. But I gathered up my giant pile of banner and wrestled it into the car in a giant heap that I couldn't see over. When we arrived at the church, I spent ten minutes pulling pins out of the unfinished bits, and praying that the height would hide the many (MANY) unfinished edges. I was tired and unbathed and hungry and WEEPY. And then it went up.

Light, dude. Providence.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2012 Overdue Book Calendar, Original Recipe, and, Oh, SALE.

K, Y'all. I'm putting on my affected southern accent, which means BUSINESS. Also, it means ANNOYING. Consider it dropped. Business, yes? Where was I again?

 Oh, yeah, the CALENDAR THINGIE. I've talked about it before, so you might know the drill, but just in case you're new to these parts, I make a thing called the Overdue Book Calendar, the point of which is to record your reading and keep track of library due dates, if applicable. It was inspired by Raych of Books I Done Read, unquestionably the best book-blogger this side of the interwebs.

And, allright, kids, I know what we're all thinking: libraries? What be those? They are AWESOME PLACES, but I know that the WORLD HAS CHANGED. E-readers exist. I know, because I have one, and I lurve it. Talk to me about my kindle, and I will ooze with passion. BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN, dear friends, THAT THE CALENDAR IS IN VAIN.

Because, c'mon, while e-readers are awesome, they lack some satisfying analog joys. Who doesn't miss pulling out the bookmark, placing the book on the shelf, and feeling a bit smug in your literacy? Our overstocked bookshelves are a visual representation of what makes us tick, and that's something a plastic screen will never be.

THUS!, the blank version of the calendar, allowing for endless customization of its contents. It's a good way to catalog what you've read, and be able to hold it in your hot little hands. Tactility! My friends, we will miss it in the future! Also included are black and white "coloring book" versions of both calendars, great for classroom use.

H'Anyways, I said something about a sale? Yes, indeed I did. I mentioned earlier in the year that I had made an "Elementary" version of the calendar, expanded for use with younger children. Read more about it here. For the next FIVE days, until December 12th, buying ONE of the calendar versions will get you BOTH calendar versions! I'mma break that down for you:

That is access to EIGHT calendars.
 -2012 Overdue Book Calendar
-2012 Overdue Book Calendar, Blank Version
-2012 Overdue Book Calendar, B/W Coloring Book
-2012 Overdue Book Calendar, Blank Version B/W Coloring Book
-2012 Elementary Edition Overdue Book Calendar
-2012 Elementary Edition Overdue Book Calendar, Blank Version
-2012 Elementary Edition Overdue Book Calendar, B/W Coloring Book
-2012 Elementary Edition Overdue Book Calendar, Blank Version B/W Coloring Book

That is 168 PAGES OF CALENDAR. Blood, sweat, and Tears for Fears, I tell you. And how much will it cost you? Four moneys. Thassaright, $4. Am I over-infomercialling? I can't tell. But the point is, it is CHEEEP and a great easy Christmas gift. Ya'll think it over. (Ugh, the accent came back.)

 On the next episode: The Project that Ate My Life (and I loved every minute of it!), and My Weird Christmas Issues. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I think I might like putting fabric in little bundles just about as much as actually making things with said fabric. Probably not, but maybe. Anyone else in this boat?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last Call for Tote Bags.

I have sewn many tote bags in my life. Hundreds. I would say that I could do it in my sleep, but that would be a terrible lie, because I cannot SEE in my sleep. My eyes are closed. It wouldn't make any sense. But I might be getting off-topic. The point is, I have made many-a-tote, but I think the time has come to take off my tote-maker hat. I'll still be making and selling the actual fabric, but tote bags no more.
I love sewing, but the assembly-line sewing I do for tote bags is, well, dull. And I don't want to knock something that has been my bread and butter, but it's time to move on. I'll probably make end up making some totes on and off, but just with vintage fabric, when the spirit moves me. (Also, I WILL still be making tote bags with the custom-name fabric.)
What does this mean para tu? Firstly, I want to get rid of the tote bags I have in stock, so I am having a massive sale in my etsy shop. Like, most of the totes are $13-$18, which is CHEEP, dudes, for the amount of time and materials that went into them. (Not so subtle hint: Christmas presents? Anyone?)
Secondly, I plan on doing way more illustration, which means more fabric and probably some stationary. I want to explore different printing methods, like silkscreening fabric and letterpress cards. It's frightening to leave my safe little totebaggy world, but it's also quite exciting.
I didn't have a plan when I started my little etsy shop, and I can't really say I have much of a plan now, but I want to do what I usually do, and stumble along a wobbly path to what looks like fun. And, you know, take a lot of cat-pictures on the way.
Adieu, little toties, adieu!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Inside My Head Looks Like This...

sometimes. Though, I've cleaned it up (both room and head) a bit since these photos were taken. As the Greatest American Film, What About Bob? teaches us, baby steps.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Friend Chair. And Pillow.

A long time ago? I recovered this chair. It wasn't hard, because there is only one cushion, and I own a staple gun. Drunk on my success, I made a pillow-cover that was also not bad. That, of course, was thanks to Katie's wonderful tutorial, Add Zip To Your Pillow. Try it, kids, it's easier than you think.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Because My Mother Demands More Blog Posts!

Where have I been?
This is not a statement that should induce any pity, because I brought it all on myself, dudes, but I have been BUSY and getting ALL THE THINGS DONE makes blogging, sometimes, feel like just another THING TO GET DONE.
Some I'm going to ease into it. Tiny posts. A few pictures. Minimal crazy-talk. It's an experiment.
On the docket today:A long time ago? I organized my scraps by size. And then by color. I have nothing much to say about it, but it was a small victory for organization in house where, on the whole, it's a losing battle.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Lived In Nature; Did Not Die.

So I am not, historically, the camping sort.
I am someone who shrieks hysterically when bugs fly near her face. I get itchy just thinking about mosquitos. I have very poor eyesight and a supernatural ability to manage to walk through spiders' newly constructed webs. I have developed a "special" walk to help me combat the into-web-walking. It looks like a child doing the elementary school favorite "crazy walk", but the child is drunk and has vertigo. Because I love you, I made a horrible-quality animated gif of my spiderwalk. Photobucket It ain't pretty.

So, we were unsure exactly how successful our first family camping expedition would be. Why did we DECIDE to camp, you might ask? Well, we had DECIDED to go on a road trip to Chicago, but then we found an amazing couch for $150, and though, oh, well, we don't have any other big expenses coming up... Ha. Ha-ha. That's the sound of our air conditioner breaking, and Brian needing a root canal. Ha. Ha-ha. So we opted for a $26-a-night campsite, and told ourselves that Chicago was lame, anyway.BUT, camping is not cheap! Or, it isn't if you've never done it and don't have all the STUFF. We were betting on the fact that we could become "camping people", and bought a GIANT tent (on sale!) and all the other junk that must accompany one in the wilderness, if one is a city-fied sissy. T'was risky, friends, I will not lie. Behold our giant tent, which is larger than our car. It took an hour or more to put up, and I had never sweat so much as I did while helping Brian assembling the thing. Afterward, I busied myself organizing our new tent-home, enjoying the breeze that came through the open tent doors. OPEN TENT DOORS. This lasted about 15 minutes, and then I noticed I had invited EVERY GIANT DUMB BUG IN THE FORST INTO MY TENT. It was a turning point in my life. It was the moment when I turned into a cold-blooded insect killer, and also someone who will CUT YOU if you do not zip up the tent door as QUICKLY AS IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, thank you. I did what everyone in my position would do: I put a ziploc bag on my hand and started grabbing insects and smooshing them into bug-paste. I got really good. Every time I got one, I would call out to Brian, "That's SIX! I got SIX!" though he didn't seem terribly impressed. I should mention that the bigs were really dumb and slow. If I had to guess, I would say they were the unlit inbred cousins of lightening bugs, but I am no entomologist.Other things happened while we camped. We swam! We cooked! We hiked! All at 95+ degrees, because we went camping in a heat wave! Like geniuses! But what I will remember the most about our first camping trip was how many bugs I killed. The first day was only the beginning, folks, because despite my best efforts, the ants had moved into the tent by the second night. I was ruthless. I am sorry, ants, but you wanted the wrong person's graham crackers.
What would I say are the most essential camping supplies? Bug spray and ziploc bags, my friends. The former I applied about every 90 minutes when awake, and the latter I used CONSTANTLY.

Have you opened a food product? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you putting something into the cooler? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC. (Beverages excluded.)
Do you need to marinate your kabobs? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you about to form turkey-burger patties? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
Do you need to smash approximately 4,000 ants with your hand? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
My camping habits... might not be ecologically sound.

We survived, though, and we plan to camp again in the fall, when it will not be as heat-wave-y, and we will not have to seek refuge in the nearby WalMart/McDonalds/public library. It will be glorious, and I will know that if you run away from hornets, they follow you. Life lessons, people.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Very Good Things, Mildly Bad Things.

Oh, blog. I have neglected you. You have been INTIMIDATING me, because I know I have so much to TELL you. I am sorry, blog. Sometimes, just for a little bit, I imagine that I could be fancy. By "fancy", I mean "wearing clean clothes" and "having remembered to put on makeup" and "blogging on a weekly basis" and also "not the kind of person who leaves cherry pits on her nightstand for days and eventually finds herself making fruit-fly-traps at 2:00 am". That's all I mean by fancy. And, blog? I am not fancy. I will try to be okay with it, and not avoid you when I get overwhelmed by my unfancyness, and the fruit flies.

BUT. Moving on, to more important and (hopefully) interesting things: I am frequently amazed by how awesome people can be. People can be really, really awesome. It's super easy to forget.

(I think this is mostly because highways exist, and for the most part, driving on highways does NOTHING to convince me that humans have even the POTENTIAL for good. I am a hateful, vindictive person when I am driving on the highway, because I have been WRONGED and why won't this guy SPEED UP and HOW ARE YOU ONLY GOING 55??? I am roadrageous. But I digress.)

So, a MILLION YEARS AGO, I complained that I had lost my scissors. I am a champion complainer, usually to no effect. But then, lo and behold:

Yeah. So this delightful individual, whom I shall refer to as "K", because she is so awesome she only needs one letter, SENT ME SCISSORS.
They are HUGE and FABULOUS, scissors the likes of which I have never seen before! They are "Tailor's Shears" instead of Dressmakers, and they cut like BUTTAH. Seriously, these are the best things in the world for making tote bags, and cutting through multiple layers of upholstery, something I happen to do all the time. And K just SENT them to me. Because she is a scissor philanthropist! (Note: Use of the word "philanthropy" is in jest. I assure you I am not a worthy cause.) Check K out at her blog, Totes McGoats, because she is awesome, and also the phrase "Totes McGoats" is awesome and she OWNS THE DOMAIN NAME.

(True uninteresting story: for a while I kept saying "totes mcgoats" in place of the word "totally", and I had NO IDEA why. I asked several friends if it was a thing they had said to me, and all of them denied it. So when I saw K's blog name, I laughed a lot, because, what? HA! T'was MEANT to BE!) THANK YOU, K! You are the Totesiest of McGoats.

So, that was Very Good Thing. Mildly Bad Thing? This:
Long story short: I was going into a store to buy pie. (Reason for pie is a MUCH longer story than one post can handle. Maybe later.) My hand was sweaty, I dropped the phone on the sidewalk, hard. BROKEN! Made sad face. Went in to buy pie. Pie store not open. NO PIE! Sad face revisited. WORST EXPERIENCE INVOLVING PIE EVER! (For me.)

I was sad about this for about 15 minutes, at which point I realized that it was incredible that it hadn't happened sooner. I am a thing-dropper, and I have dropped this phone a LOT, but never on its face on the sidewalk. Lesson learned: If you lose the bottom part of your phone cover thing? Get a new one. Don't use half a case for over a year, because at some point, you will realize why it is necessary for the case to go ALL the way 'round. It's been about a month now, and I'm not planning on getting it replaced, because it still works fine. So.

I did went camping, and I did not die, and I enjoyed it. Except for when we thought we might have gotten salmonella poisoning. Photos of ludicrously large tent in the future.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2012 Calendar? Already? Yes. Already. But BIGGER.

So, interweb friends, for the past few years I have made a thing, and that thing is called the Overdue Book Calendar, and what it does is what you might guess it does. (Helps keep track of library due-dates. Yo.) T'was inspired by my friend Raych, of ye olde books I done read (REEEEEEEED EEEET!!!) and it has been used by such notables as Vancouver Public Schools. (That was not sarcastic, I am deeply impressed with anything that exists in Vancouver. Case in point, Raych used to live there.)
But this year it has EXPANDED, and so I am pleased to introduce, the 2011-2012 Overdue Book Calendar, Elementary Edition! Yes, that is a RIDICULOUSLY long name, I am not known for brevity. And since it is 18 MONTHS of awesomeness, and every month has two pages of big spaces and it is pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.
Gratuitous calendar pictures! It's either cats or calendars around here, people!

Now, you might ask, why are you coming out with a calendar in July? Isn't that a bit silly? And the answer is: Yes. It is. But the reason why is this: I was totally honored when I found out that the AWESOME kids at lmnop magazine wanted to put the calendar in their book-themed issue, and I had been planning a version for younger kids for a while, and thought, why not now? Also, school years start in all sorts of crazy months, so why shouldn't calendars?
(True confession time: It feels really silly making a calendar in June. It's fun, but you feel ridiculous, and when you tell people that you can't hang out because you have to finish "making your calendar", they give you they "is-that-a-euphemism?" eyebrow raise. But it was worth it.)
Would you like to get a bit of calendar-taste for free? Well, you are in luck. I have put together a download for lmnop readers, and you, because I love you. Click HERE, dahlings, and get the month of July to do with what you will. And if that little taste makes you hunger for more calendar, there is a whole heaping 18-month pile of it RIGHT HERE.
And check out this issue of lmnop, for reals. It is totally children'sbookland, and even has paper figure illustrations of Roald Dahl books. (True fact: in 4th or 5th grade I was involved in a "Night of the Notables" where everyone had to dress up as their heroes and tell about their lives. I was Roald Dahl. I think I wore khaki shorts? Maybe a hat? I handed out chocolate, that's all that I remember. Second true fact: I spent the majority of one summer talking like the BFG. I am told it was insufferable.)
But wait, what was I talking about? Just kidding! Ha! The magazine! It has printable bookplates! ANd lists of amazing children's books I have never heard of, but will probably buy now! (Hush, I know I don't have kids yet. It's an investment!) And amazingly photographed pop-up-book reviews! And absurdly cute Australian children, who wear far nicer clothes than I ever will.

Ok. That's all I got for now. Coming down the chute next: my NEW SCISSORS, and our CAMPING TRIP. The camping trip has not yet occurred, so there is a slight chance I might not make it back alive and that post will remain unwritten. My ability to camp is yet-to-be-determined, so. Should be interesting?