waist not, want not

May 25th, 2007

This week’s big accomplishment so far…..the Guadalupe Skirt!

I was feeling very pleased with myself as i took liberties with the pattern, adding the piece of Guadalupe fabric i’ve hoarded so long with NO idea what to use it for… it all went together like magic, even the zipper was no trouble, and the ric rac and bias tape was working exactly the way i wanted it to….so fun!

Everything was just grand until it came time to put darts in the waist. The back was fine, but the front! Oy vey. I sewed the darts in three different times, each time hating the poochy weird way they poofed out, totally ruining the way the skirt hangs. Hello again, Mr. Seam Ripper…how lovely that we are so intimately acquainted now.
I took it in at the side seams a bit, which did help a little, but for now, i admit defeat until i can get back to class or get my mom over here to help me pin them and show me how to sew them so they don’t look so hideous. Other than that, i am feeling pretty good about this skirt. Can’t wait to wear it!

My other favorite thing about this week….

Teaching the beastie how to use a needle!

He’s much smarter than his mama….he went and got a thimble to protect his little fingers, something that i never manage to remember myself

It’s so fun watching him learn new things. I am always just blown away by how smart and funny our little beastie is becoming. Some days, i love being a mama so much that it almost hurts :)
I hope everyone is having a wonderful friday!


endings and beginnings

May 22nd, 2007

Thank you so much, everyone, for all your kind words about Pie. It was very hard to let go, but fortunately, the sadness was blended with peace, and happiness too. My lovely darlings from Savannah came up for our dear friend Jennifer’s handfasting. Having them here definitely helped pull me out of my sadness, and what better way to deal with an ending than to see something wonderful begin? Handfastings are beautiful ceremonies, and i was honored to be asked to participate in the amazing magical circle.

There was so much beauty surrounding us, i barely knew what to look at first! it all went very smoothly and much merry-making frolicking was done by all.

Isn’t the bride beautiful!?

And her handsome new hubbie looked amazing,

We love posing for pictures! (NOT) I have dubbed that dress “the Yellow Rose of Stepford”

This one is for Michelle…i see your “ham arms” and raise you a big old heaping plate of fatback!

For the wedding gift, we gave the couple a broom with history! Years ago, Jennifer cut down a little clump of growth she spotted on the roadside because it looked like a broom. When Eric and Charlie were handfasted, we gathered together and decorated it for them as a gift. So it seemed somehow right to pass the handfasting broom back to Jen. We stayed up til all hours of the night adding new embellishments to it, birds and flowers and bells and woven ribbons….



Eric takes a test-drive….

So it was a bittersweet weekend…and i am still recovering from the emotional ups and downs and the late nights with too many pomegranate-tinis! Congratulations to Jen and Matt….i hope your love is eternally joyful. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of of your wonderful day!

Hope everyone had a magical weekend too!


RIP Piewacket

May 19th, 2007

This is a bad year for cats around here. Today we lost the big boy…Piewacket. :(

A snuggly goofy cat with very little brain, but lots of love. He would get so lost in the joy of being petted that he would lose control of his manners and leak great big drops of drool all over you during a kitty-lovin’ session. To my dismay, he was also a hunter of birds, a leaver of nasty gifts on the porch. But mostly he was just a big fat lazy pur-beast. This morning he was stricken by a blood clot that caused his entire back end to be paralyzed. There was really  nothing that the vet could do but take away his pain.

i am sure he is in a lovely lush catnip field now, over-run by low flying birds and slow fat mice and lizards. A place of perpetual petting and cat treats, and no more pain ever again.

Thrifted Vintage Sheet + New Sewing Skills = JOY!

May 17th, 2007

I have to say….taking this sewing class is the best thing i have done for myself in AGES. I love learning, and i love what happens to that learning once my mind processes it…

At last, i have sewn a skirt from a “REAL” pattern, with a “REAL” zipper installed. I am over the moon with joy….i made something that i can really wear! All by myself!!!!

It’s all cut from a vintage sheet, so it’s thrifty and recycled!

I just did a simple rolled hem, and added the eyelet and ric rac just for fun…

I had to wing it with the waist…the pattern piece that i was supposed to use was long gone. So i just used bias tape and allowed it to hang long in the back so i could tie it in a girlie bow. The zipper was not hard to put in at all, thank to the fabulous tutorial by Michelle of Green Kitchen.

Of course, i could not resist putting on some flair!

I can’t believe i made the whole thing….damn it feels good to be a crafter :)

But i can’t take all the credit…none of this would have turned out as well with out the help of my new baby….

Janome Sewist 525, how d i love thee??? Let me count the ways…..

My amazingly sweet Mister picked this up for me yesterday for my birthday. Yes, it’s very early to think birthday, but i have really been struggling with my old machine…its the little Brother that couldn’t! In class, i was fighting it constantly, it won’t even sew over the end of a zipper and it pulls to the left while you stitch so you have to hold on for dear life or everything goes wonky. But i won’t speak TOO ill of it….that machine sewed alot of dollies, purses, monsters and aprons and such. I learned alot from it and it did the best it could for me, bless it’s heart. It is ready for retirement with honor :)

My sewing corner looks so much swankier with new ‘Nome, and i hear it calling to me….i am ready to see what else it can do!

Hope everyone is having a lovely day! :)


unintended absentee

May 14th, 2007

Wow, i really did not mean to disappear! I got swallowed up by life…..which is not truly a BAD thing really….just have been very caught up with my sewing lessons and my family and my recovering, blah blah blah. I was out of touch so long that the idea of getting back INTO  touch was overwhelming…emails piling up, folks thinking i am either dead or the rudest chick in blog-land. I sure don’t mean to be and i am trying to catch back up. If i have missed your email or comment, PLEASE bear with me while i get my sea-legs back…i promise i am not ignoring you!

And wow again, now i am all tongue tied and don’t have anything exciting to report about really….i have been loving my adventures in sewing. I am working on a hideous pair of pants for practice and, for FUN, a re-purposed skirt that hopefully will turn out now that i have a little better understanding of what i am doing when i sit down at that infernal machine of mine. Next class, i am starting on a dress!!! I am incredibly excited about it, and worried that it is a bit ambitious, too. We shall see.

Mother’s Day was lovely…i got a long-wished-for copy of the Apron Book, and also, because i am a greedy and terrible girl, i got this new dress for myself. I love it! I have never had any yellow clothing before aside from my Yellow Submarine and Blondie teeshirts! So this is a big switch from my usual pink and black staples. But, hell, why not, right? TOWANDA!

Also, today is National Wear Your Apron Day! If i was doing something fancy, this is what i’d be wearing today….

My beloved Calamity Kim gnome apron over my new dress! Oh, i adore it. And no, i never ever wear it…if it got messed up i’d just die! It is for FORMAL occasions ONLY, ya’ll! :) Maybe if i have a tea party or some other swank soirée  in the future i will rock this frou-frou ensemble…but today it’s just a black polka-dot dress with my FAVORITE pink apron from Pink Trees as i do laundry and cook up a batch of meatballs and sauce to put up for tomorrow’s dinner. Maybe if i am feeling brave, i will get Big Daddy to take a pic of my overwhelming grimy hotness when he gets home, in the spirit of participation and all! LOL! (insert smirk here)

So that’s about all from the buttonbox today…playing catch up and all….hopefully we will be back to our regularly scheduled babbling very soon! :) Love to you all!

Amanda Gets Her Wings

May 3rd, 2007

Last year, i was doodling around in my journal. I can’t really draw well, but i have a tendency to make spiraling patterns when i thinking…it’s kind of meditative for me. This particular day, my doodles actually began to take on a recognizable form…

This happened right around the time i started sort of coming into my own, creatively. When the idea of putting myself and my art and crafts “out there” into the world, and Pandora’s Button Box was just beginning to gestate inside me.

I loved the bird! It seemed so perfect for everything that was growing in my life. All my friends liked it too, and my hub came up with the idea of adding a button to the center of the wing, adding even more “Amanda Button-ness” to it.
I decided it was just the thing to symbolize the new phase my life was entering, and so i turned it over to my best pals, Beau, Charlie and Eric. They photoshopped and tweaked and made it even more perfect. I had it printed on my business cards and we put it on my blog. The swirly bird has become almost like my own personal veve, symbolic of my creative growth and all the things that have come from it. It’s very important to me for so many reasons, not least of which is that all my closest friends had a hand in the evolution of the image. It’s come a long way, baby.

I have been wanting to have it tattooed for a while. But it was only recently that i finally settled on just how i wanted it to be. Around that same time, i passed The Purple Lotus totally by chance while out shopping with lovely Michele….i was instantly drawn to it, just from seeing the outside of the building, a pretty little house painted with vibrant purple accents and a gorgeous front porch with pretty pots and plants and statues set out all around. I vowed to check it out.

Not long after, my dear freind Jennifer had some work done there, and it is beautiful…i knew that had to be the right place for me.
Almost immediately after that, i found out that i had to have a hysterectomy. Everything went to hell in a handbasket. Ya’ll know ALL about THAT festive stuff from the mass quantities of whiny posts i made, right? :) So i made it through the surgery, and i am working on the recovery part now…and with that has come this HUGE desire to make changes and grow and FOCUS more on things that are important to me. signing up for sewing class was one leap….the next leap was getting my tattoo. I really felt that the time was right for it, while i am feeling such longing for new things in my life…what better way to honor all i have been through and what lies head than to have it permanently marked!

I love it…i love how it evolved from a simple doodle into this incredible piece of art that i get to wear forever. And The Purple Lotus is just immaculate….i looks like a temple inside!

To my vast annoyance, most of the pictures i took of the inside did not come out. But imagine Asian parasols hanging from the ceilings with paper cranes flying all around, beautiful art everywhere,and the most wonderful calm vibe. It is nothing like any other tattoo studio i have ever seen….it’s all about beauty!

I felt completely serene and at ease. Still, i was a tiny bit nervous…so i wore my Joan of Arc necklace that Bethany made. I had to take it off while Shavon did the tattoo, but i held it the whole time!

Shavon is truly talented! After she did the outline of the birds, she asked if she could embellish it. Of course i said yes! What started out as a simple, straightforward idea i had of the birds facing across my shoulder become something more beautiful than i ever imagined. Everything except the outline of the birds she did totally free-hand!!! I don’t think i could be any happier with the outcome, and it seems right that the Pandora Birds have evolved yet again into something new.

We took a ton of pictures, too many to post here! If you want to see the whole adventure, have a look here.

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, and live in the area, you DEFINITELY ought to get it at Purple Lotus. I just can’t say enough good things about my experience. I will most CERTAINLY be getting more work done there. I can’t think of a more perfect place to have gotten my dream-wings made into a reality!

the fruit i bear….

May 1st, 2007

As i heal, i stitch and stitch….slowly but surely my creative sap is rising back up and i feel myself budding, dreaming of blossoming and bearing new fruit…i have just completed the pink tree that i started so long ago. I don’t know what it will evolve into…and apron pocket, a pillow, a quilt square, a skirt embellishment…who knows….but for now i am just feeling ever so pleased to be done, and very happy with the results.

I have so much going on in this chaotic brain of mine, have been thinking about who i am and what i want to become. Feeling dismayed over all the limitations that i have placed on my OWN self, and all the things i am afraid of and intimidated by. I want to let it all go and start from the beginning. Wiggling free of yet another cocoon, i change again and again and again, a neverending process of unfolding, petal by petal.

I have alot of work to do, improvements to make and dreams to see made real. It’s happening more and more every day as i feel better and stronger. Healing takes up so much energy, and i have to constantly remind myself to move at the pace my body needs to go, in spite of my desire to push myself farther than i ought to.

More than anything, i long to learn new things, even figuring out something as small as french knots in my embroidery makes me feel thrilled and joyful…i want to branch out, to perfect the skills i already know and to learn more and more and more. I signed up for a basic sewing class that starts this Saturday. i will be feeling very intimidated walking back into that shop full of expensive and amazing machines that boggle my mind, dragging along my little “Cheap” machine and what little skill i have managed to teach my own self. I hope all those sweet southern ladies don’t hate me at first sight, the pink-haired weirdo hiding in the back of the classroom, terrified out of my skull. But i am not allowing my fear to stop me this time, and i am excited to finally be leaning to sew PROPERLY. Looking forward to making all these things i dream of inside my head but have never had the skill to DO!

Tomorrow evening will also be bringing a BIG change for me, but i will save that for my next post. All i can say for now is that i have earned my wings at last, and dreams are coming true :)