Friday, January 29, 2010

sewing ROOOOOM

Here is the room-formerly-known-as-"man room", now my SEWING ROOM!! WWWEEEEEEE!!

Can't wait to spend hours upon hours in there this weekend. I've ordered my clothing labels and I think tomorrow I may break down, throw caution (and my checkbook) to the wind and go buy that serger. What?! It's a business expense.

Happy weekend ya'll!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

::Do Re Mi::

Ok, I'd sort of already decided on the name before I asked your opinions. I know, shocking, right? And so it is: Do Re Mi Handmade. Here is the link to my little etsy store which is not, obviously, up and running yet. Still sewing sewing sewing and dreaming about getting a serger which would make the sewing of clothing so much easier.

So tell me what you think of the banner I created. I made it before I saw the cute one my awesome and talented niece made. Hers is darn cute too.

The other thing I have to tell you is that, if I haven't mentioned it lately, I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE WORLD. I do. Do you know what he did? He gave up his office/man room for me to use as my sewing room! I know! The space formerly-known-as-my-sewing-cave is a little space under the eves of the roof, with a skylight but roughly 4' by 6'. Put a desk/sewing table in there and all my sewing supplies, a bookshelf and bin upon bin of fabric, and, well, it was cramped. So now I have a room, a WHOLE ROOM and a big table on which to sew and a closet!!! I have the space to stage an entire dance number, and don't think I'm not planning on doing just that. And now David is using that little space under the eves, but because he is 6'5", he has to tilt his head at a 45 degree angle in order to get to his desk. It's probably only a matter of time before the muscles on the right side of his neck shorten permanently and he'll have to go through life looking as if he's cocking his head. It will be so cute and he'll look all inquisitive, like a puppy.

I'm telling you, if he's not careful, he's going to be stuck with me for life.

So I'm excited about this little endeavor. Who knows, I may not sell anything and then I'll have to give away all these pajamas like too many squash. But I'm having fun and for now it's keeping me from drinking out of a paper bag in public, yelling obscenities at passersby and warning them about the hazards of procreation. And that's really all we can hope for, isn't it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

I need your opinion

Ok, so as you know, I am starting a little business making children's pajama sets. At least for now that is all I'll make. I do see myself, in the very near future, adding little dresses and some handbags. Why? Because those are the things I like to sew, and if I don't like what I'm sewing, I won't sew.

So. I need name. Currently I am Canyonwren Handmade, because, well, when you join etsy, you choose a username and that is, forevermore, the name you are stuck with. Canyon Wren is meaningful to me because I am a bird nerd, and the Canyon Wren is my favorite bird. What the hell does that have to do with children's clothes? Nothing. But because I haven't listed anything yet, it is not too late to start another account with a new name.

So, other options I am considering are (and these are available; that's the rub, many of the other names I came up with - such as Sweet Potato Pie - are already taken):

Mairsy Doats: this is from the song my mom taught me when I was little, you know "Mairsy doats and dosey doats and little lamsie divy, a kiddlie divy too, wouldn't you?" Ahem.

Smarty Pants Handmade: I just like it, and I have been known to call people "smarty pants".

Do Re Mi: because I am, above all else, a Sound of Music fanatic. This one, of course, has a special place in my heart.

Favorite Things: see above. I don't think I'm feeling this one so much though.

Spotted Frog: I think it's cute and I could make a very cute logo, but David says it sounds like a disease.

David votes for Canyon Wren because he hates "cutesie" names, and while I definitely lean toward more kitch than he does, I don't do cutsie either. He says that Canyon Wren is "tasteful and elegant and not overly cute." But my friend Christina practically shrieked at me and said "Canyon Wren?! That has nothing to do with anything! Especially hand made clothing for children! It's not fun! It's not playful! YOU SUCK!" Ok, she didn't say that last part but I know she was thinking it.

Again, keep in mind that while I will do mostly kids' clothes (if I ever do branch out to women's clothes, it would be only skirts) and the occasional handbag. So I guess I'd like something somewhat whimsical and/or playful because that is what I'll be doing, and also, that's pretty representative of me.

So, please cast your vote, and soon, so that I can get some labels ordered and get going!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Animal lover

My daughter. Oh. When I'm not fantasizing about listing her on Pet Finders for a small "re-homing fee", well, I think she's pretty damn fantastic.

While she thinks nothing of unleashing a fury that can strip paint onto the ones she loves most, well, she has the most sensitive, tender heart. She has always, since the day she could talk, LOOOOVED animals. For years (YEARS) her favorite thing in the whole entire world was to go to feed stores and pet stores to see the animals. Dogs, cats, baby pigs, chickens, rabbits, snakes, hairless rats, turtles...Of course, she wanted to bring every single one home, and it broke her heart when we had to leave without them. You'd think I'd have wizened up and instead lured her to, oh I don't know, a candy store or toy store or ANYTHING other than a place caused her, every single time, to look up at me with gigantic crocodile tears and say in the most pitiful voice imaginable "But mommy, if we don't save this puppy, who will?" Yeah. I'm a slow learner.

Well now we have these two sisters who pick Anna up from school each day and these girls? Are essentially 18 and 20 year old versions of Anna. They love rocks and fossils and beads and art and music and incense (uuggghh the incense) and above all, ANIMALS.



I know. WTF, kid? Why not sweet little cuddly bunnies (oh yeah we've already rescued one of those. But still.) No, she chooses a beast that has a reputation for mauling faces off small children. DO NOT, however, make the mistake of mentioning this factoid to her, or you will experience one of those paint-stripping furies upon your being, as she wails "EVERYBODY HATES PIT BULLS!! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! THEY ARE SWEET AND LOVING UNLESS STUPID PEOPLE TRAIN THEM TO BE MEAN!!!!!!! THEY DESERVE TO BE LOVED TOO!!!"

She may have a point, but really? I'm not interested in testing this theory. I do, however, love that she is so empathetic and open-minded. Me, I admit to having a pit-bull prejudice.

Anyway, she has now decided that she is going to start her own little Pit Bull (or Pitties, as she affectionately calls them) fund raiser. She has convinced a small group of friends at school to join her, and they are going to "sell lemonade and brownies and have yard sales once a month to raise money for Pit Bull shelters." How cute is that? The other day she informed me that she needed help printing off some pictures of Pit Bulls, because she and her friends were going to do a "presentation" in front of the class. (Let me tell you, if you ever want to give yourself a 4-day case of the heebie-jeebies, just go ahead and google "pictures of pit bulls" and then get ready to test your gag reflex because let's just say? There are not just cute pictures of cuddly Pit Bull puppies. Ooooh no, there are photos, very graphic photos, of the damage they are capable of.)

Anyway, that day she couldn't wait to call me after school and tell me: "MOM!!! Guess what??!! When we first said we were going to talk about Pit Bulls, the whole class said 'Uuggghh. We hate Pit Bulls!' but by the time we showed them the pictures and talked about how there are so many of them that need good, loving homes because they have been abused, everyone in the class agreed to help us!"

Her teacher was so impressed by their impassioned plea, that she asked them to give their presentation in front of the whole school at the next assembly!

True, it's not the cause I would choose, but I LOVE that she is so empathetic toward these animals and is going to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Yeah, I guess I'll keep her.


The sweatshop will be in full swing this weekend; I am determined to get my little etsy shop up and running within the next week or two! Remember at the beginning of the year when I said 2010 was going to be the year I try to sell my goods on etsy? And here it is, January 20th, and I have my shop all set up, have made several sets of pajamas, am going to get a business license and re-sellers' license next week (hellooooo buying fabric at wholesale!!). It's a frickin miracle people!!! I am well on my way to doing something I said I was going to do! I know. Alert the media!!

While I have set up my shop (written up my profile and shop policies, payment and shipping info. etc.), I haven't "activated" it yet. I want to get more inventory made before I go "live". I made another pair yesterday and can't wait to turn out several more this weekend. Woohoo!

Here's a sneak preview; forgive the hokie back-of-the-closet-door display and flash photography. After taking these pictures I realized two things: 1) natural light is crucial for taking the best photos and 2) that I need to break down and buy a standing dress form so that that clothes will hang appropriately. I bought one off ebay; should arrive early next week.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

::smashed grannies::

It has been a colossally shitty week at casa sweetpotato. Well, not colossal compared to, say, Haiti, but we've been experiencing Hurricane Anna all week and let me tell you, I'm feeling completely battered and bruised and have been picking splinters out of my forehead.

The drama and emotions around our house have left me on the verge of tears; perhaps that is why, when I saw this picture on a local-news blog, I burst into laughter.

What?! Nobody was hurt.

Yes, I'm going to hell. But you know, at this point I really don't care, as long as there's wine.

Friday, January 15, 2010

why yes, you CAN build a better mousetrap

Through the wonders of Facebook, I have reconnected with a long-lost friend I'd met during our time in rural Tillamook county.

We could not have been more different, Kristi and I. She had grown up there, had been the high school prom queen, married the quarterback and had 4 kids by the time she was 22. She drove a huge truck, could gut a deer with her eyes closed and didn't take shit from ANYBODY. I adored her.

This morning she reminded me of a story from when we first met. Word, it seems, had gotten around about Eric and I.

Now, Eric and I had been living in Eugene (you know, where tie-die clothing is always in fashion and people swear that Jerry will never die, man) for a couple of years. For reasons I won't bore you with now, we got the brilliant idea to move to the Oregon coast. Unfortunately, the Oregon coast (at least the town to which we moved) is located in Tillamook County. Tillamook county is as close to Mississippi as it gets on the west coast. We're talking R U R A L. It's all dairy farmers (as you can imagine), loggers, hunters, ATVs, and Monster Truck rallies on the weekends.

So Eric and I pull into town, idealistic little environmentalists. It's not too long before we discover that our rental house has a raging mouse problem; on our counters, in our cupboards, in our drawers! We had to do something about it. Our plan was to catch them and then "relocate" them, somewhere far from our kitchen and our utensils and our organic bread. You know, a lovely field somewhere.

So we go down to the local hardware store, where we are given an unsmiling once-over from behind the counter by the grumpy owner. This man is so surly, so ornery, that we will learn later his nickname is "Grissel". He can obviously spot an outsider from 100 paces and has no tolerance for city-folk.

Sensing this not-so-warm-welcome, we get down to business and ask, glancing hopefully down each isle, "Where would we find the humane mousetraps?"


and then: "The WHAT? What the hell is a humane mousetrap?"

We explain slowly because he is obviously not very bright: "You know, a trap that lures the mouse into it without killing it, so you can then set him free somewhere else?" DUH.

He bent over laughing, slapping the counter, tears pouring down his cheeks. And from that point on, over the next 10 years we lived there, that man never looked at us with a straight face again, whether we dared come into his hardware store, ran into him at the post office, or at the local cafe.

We ended up ordering our humane mousetraps over the Internet. I, for one, am proud that there are, by now, several generations of little mouse families who have been born and raised in a mountainside meadow with a stunning view of the Pacific ocean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

::birth control::

A few moments ago I was in the break-room rooting around in the refrigerator, when a co-worker came in and said to me "Hey, what's that tattoo you've got on your lower back?"

I stood up quicky, tugging my shirt down over my hips. "What tattoo?"

"I'm pretty sure I saw some ink back there."

Sheepishly, and because she is also a friend, I lifted my shirt to reveal the, uh, artwork my daughter gave me a couple of nights ago.

"KICK ME", it says, in permanent marker.

Little shit told me she was going to draw a flower or butterfly or something pretty.

I knew I should have raised German Shepherds.

Monday, January 11, 2010

::random photos::

Holy crap, I just downloaded photos from my camera and realized I still had pictures from Christmas on there.

This year, as we unpacked the Christmas paraphernalia, Anna noticed for the first time that all three of our stockings are exactly alike. They are cute stockings, but it's true: they are not personalized in any way. BAAAAD mommy. She said "How do we know which one is mine? I need one with my name on it or something!" So of course I had to get busy making her her own stocking, out of wool felt. Think there will be any question, in the future, who's stocking this is?

My ex hubby came over for a bit on Christmas morning; the three of them got quite a kick out of her new Far Side book, although the daddies probably enjoyed it more than she did.

I discovered this new wonderful little fabric store in town, Buttercuppity. The owner, Ari, is adorable and she shares my love/obsession for fabric. I talked her into making an apron for Anna a week before Christmas (because I was running out of time) and it turned out SO cute! I got Anna a kids' cookbook for Christmas, along with this apron, and she went right into the kitchen and made a batch of blueberry muffins from scratch, on Christmas morning:
Is that not the cutest thing ever?

And look! She made one for me, as an extra surprise! I LOVE it!! Ari is going to be my new best friend, whether she likes it or not.

Christina and the girls, making Christmas cookies:
This man didn't have children because he didn't think he'd be a good father. And then we came along. Christina's girls love him pretty much more than puppies and ice cream.
I don't know what Anna is doing. Probably yelling "I WANT A HORSE!!!" in his general direction.

He is always such a good sport.
Sister-friends. Anna tells people that Piper and Skylar are "pretty much my sisters", which is true, only better: these little sisters come over, play, and then go home. That part works especially well for me. Piper is naked, as usual. She is, after all, her mother's daughter. (hee! LOVE you, Christina!) I have many pictures of the three of them in various stages of nudity, dancing in the living room. I opted against posting them for obvious reasons, but these girls are free spririts. I don't know where they get it!
Friends: Early morning on the stairs, watching me make coffee. I love this silly corgi, even if she is a bed-hog.

And finally, new pajamas for Piper and Skylar. I'd made them some two years ago, and poor Skylar still insists on wearing those, even though they are, of course, at least two sizes too small now. So it was time for some new ones. I love making these so much, finding just the right fabrics and embellishing them. This year I am going to make some of these to sell on etsy. What kiddo wouldn't love personalized pajamas?
And that's all I got for now. Carry on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I was born in the wrong era.

There is an etsy shop called Timeless Vixen Vintage and I swear, she has the most incredible inventory of 1950s dresses.

I wish I'd seen this when I was looking for a wedding dress:

Of course, I have no waist whatsoever, but, well, that's what girdles are for, right?

Look at this beauty:

And then there's this. Oh my god. The color! The details! Gah!!
SWOOOON!!! Seriously, how could you not feel GORGEOUS in this?

Ok, look at this little number:
I would wear her on an afternoon date, driving up the California coast in a 1950s convertible, of course. Sunglasses, scarf and heels. AAA

The lovely wants to be dancing to Louis Prima, under the stars.

And this. Oh lord. My favorite: I want to swish around the house, in heels and pearls, making cocktails wearing this:

Why don't we dress like this anymore? So elegant, so feminine, so, so beautiful.


Monday, January 4, 2010


So back in college, my friend Jen and I became friends with another girl we worked with. Christy, I'll call her, because that is her name and I'm too damn tired for pseudonyms.

Christy let it be known that her family had money and lots of it. Her dad took them on ski-vacations to France every year and her step-mother was in Town and Country magazine. Sure, she loved to tell everyone that she was a "spoiled princess", but she was very fun and funny and loved to drink. Hello, insta-friendship!

After college she got married and moved to N. Idaho. She and her husband decided not to have children because they were "too selfish and didn't want to give up their life-style". Eric and I moved to Oregon, but Christy and I wrote and called occasionally for a few years before we lost touch.

Flash-forward 12 years. Eric and I have moved back to N. Idaho and I am working a couple of nights a week at a cute, hip little cafe. One night we were expecting a 12-top and at the appointed hour, a big obnoxious stretch-limo pulled up in front. Loud, drunken revelers streamed into the restaurant and took their seats. Guess who was among them? Yes, I got to serve food to my old college friend. Wow, did I LOVE that! She seemed hurt that I hadn't contacted her when we'd moved back and insisted we exchange phone numbers so that we could catch up.

We met for coffee a couple of weeks later and it was fine. Not the instant-reconnection I'd hoped for, but fine. As we left the coffee shop, she asked which way I parked.

"That way", I pointed.

"Oh, me too. I hope you didn't hit my car when you parked!"


"Because I have a new Volvo and I hope you didn't hit it. Yes, I'm still a spoiled princess. I drive a Volvo now!"

Ok, that wasn't so cute or endearing coming from a now 34 year old.

We made a couple feeble attempts to get together again after that, but it never happened. A few months later, I moved to Spokane, 30 miles away, and again we lost touch. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she found me on Facebook. "Hi! Are you still living in the area? I'd love to get together and catch up!"

Alright, I thought; it's been 6 years and a lot has happened: her beloved mother-in-law died a slow and horrible death, I'd heard that her marriage was rocky....surely she's matured and become less, well, self-absorbed and materialistic, right?? Sure, we can try this again.

And then, on Saturday, I received another email from her, saying "Let's get together for dinner next time I'm in town. I have to come over in three weeks because I had to special-order some tires for my brand-new 2009 BMW! Yes, I have a 2009 BMW!"

Ok, is it me, or is that really fucking irritating??

I haven't responded yet because I'm currently struggling with my less charitable self. I'm resisting the urge to write back something like "Wow! I've never ridden in a BMW before! Can I have a ride? Huh, huh can I? I promise not to get your new leather seats dirty! I'll even wax it for you!"

I'm thinking I'm just going to ignore that email and let this "friendship" fade away once and for all.

What would you do?