Awhile back, I warned you that the over-riding theme of this blog would be about nesting for the foreseeable weeks and months.  And, like it or not, I think I’ve kept to my word about that.  Then, over the last several days — looking around this house, at my lists, at the photos compiling in my camera, I decided the concept of nesting deserved a post all it’s own.  What a strange but powerful instinct it is.

Over the past weekend, we did the dirty work of emptying out every single one of our kitchen cabinets, cleaning them and their contents, and then putting everything back in.  Orlis had a great time playing with some strange items unearthed in the mess, and I felt that delicious sensation of having spring cleaned (spring weather or not…).   I had a laugh with a pregnant client of mine who had the very same chore on her to-do list in the coming months as we got to talking about this wild nesting urge and how intense (and sometimes unreasonable) it can be.  I shared that this time around, I’m doing my best to keep things prioritized as they really should be — the gathering and organizing of birth supplies to come before certain sewing and painting projects.  (And as I was doing such “gathering” in the way of some bottles of pink Prosecco yesterday at the grocery store to have chilled on hand for the birth team for those moments after birth — the clerk working asked me if I was having a party.  ”No,” I said, “I’m having a baby.”)

Though my understanding is nearly every species, while pregnant, does some version of this, what occurs to me is how arbitrary, in some ways, these nesting projects can seem, particularly with such a strong deadline, and especially since the baby won’t notice one single ounce of my efforts.  He/she won’t see that we’ve endured painful, dusty basement cleanups and certainly won’t notice that my spices are now alphabetized.  In fact, it’s not likely that any of it will make a bit of difference when it comes down to how I know we’ll be spending our days for those tender, early weeks and months after the baby is born — nursing, sleeping, foraging for food, getting to know one another.  But, somehow, a large jar of homemade chicken noodle soup in my freezer, some freshly sewn pillows tossed around, and a toddler who now knows how to fold diapers puts my mind at ease like nothing else could at this moment.  So many projects, so little time.  And the good news is, if it doesn’t get done, it really is okay – we’ve got each other, quilts of all sizes, and enough Gatorade, popcorn, and pink Prosecco to get us through.




fabric buckets gone crazy

When I was 5-years-old (or so), and living with my family in Portland, I remember my mother going through one of her big sewing phases.  This time, specifically, she hooked herself on making stuffed geese.  She made one — they were life-size, as I remember — as a floor decoration for our living room, and I think loved it so much she went on to make a life-size stuffed goose for everyone she knew.  I remember it well, the sewing part of this frenzy, but I also have distinct memories of bringing the geese to other peoples’ homes when we visited.  ”Here’s a stuffed goose,” we might say as we entered their home for a small dinner party or a playdate, and then we’d giggle, hoping they liked the fabric selection for the body, the beak, and the webbed feet.

I recall not totally comprehending the magnitude of my mother’s frenzy or why our home was all-of-a-sudden filled with so much fabric and so many half-finished stuffed geese (and she may, upon reading this, challenge me a bit on the details of this story), but 30 years later and in the heat of an extremely intense “nesting phase” I can safely say, I get it.  This frenzy is precisely what happened to me with a fabric bucket pattern I found a few weeks ago.

the inspiration bucket

Last summer, I happened upon a midwest farmer’s market where a talented woman was selling adorable fabric buckets (see above) and I purchased 2 or 3 — excitedly toting them home and filling them with Orlis’ blocks and other sundry items around the house, only to wish immediately I had bought more of them.  Recently, I decided I needed to find a tutorial and make some.

Alas, a quick google and Pinterest search yielded many inspiring ideas, and I landed on this tutorial for fabric buckets which ended up being pretty darn easy.  Easy enough, that is, that I just couldn’t stop and went on to make about 10 of them in a weekend — grabbing moments wherever I could and staying up late finishing a line of them that, upon viewing, elicited this remark from Rob: “your studio looks like a gift shop.”  Touché.

The tutorial was quite malleable, and I ended up making lots of different size buckets, changing up the dimensions according to my prospected needs as well as the amounts of fabric I had on hand.  My mother’s frenzy (as so many of them did) benefitted others — which is to say, at least she gifted her geese.  In my extreme nesting state, however, I must admit (save one twin bucket for my mom and another for a friend desperately in need of a knitting basket) I filled each and every one of these sweet little containers with odds and ends collecting around each room, and scattered them around my house.

Suffice it to say, we are well-bucketed for now.  Things are contained, and this nester is feeling just a tiny bit more organized.





fabric-covered pegboards, oh my!

I am so excited!  My office walls (well, one of them) finally received some love and attention.  In truth, this post could be alternatively-titled, “Fabric Projects for when your Sewing Machine is in the Shop.”  Because sometimes, machines need a little tuning here and there, and during those [excruciatingly] idle days and weeks, hands like mine get antsy and need to work with fabric.

I wanted a place in my already-technicolored office/studio to, you know, hang things. (before/after pictures of the whole office coming soon, when it is complete-for-now)   Mostly I wanted to hang pictures and some inspiring notions right above my ironing board where I find myself standing, quite often, staring at a blank, blue wall.  While surfing around on Pinterest, I found this easy tutorial for making multiple fabric-covered cork boards.  The author of the tutorial suggests using old, dirty cork boards which would have worked just great if I’d had any laying around or if I’d had the patience to find some at a garage sale, but my nesting enthusiasm got the better of me and I headed to Target and got what I needed.  I’ll give you a quick walk-thru — this project was SO easy and is enormously satisfying.  Now my wall is covered in my two favorite things: fabric and friends.  What could make me happier?

So, you get your hands on some cork boards and then pick your fabrics among your stash and press them.  I made all different sizes, so even some little scraps of fabric will work.  Lay your cork boards on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter (and your quilting rulers) to cut them into different shapes.

Cut your fabric with your rotary cutter and quilting rulers too — it doesn’t need to be perfect (like if you were making a quilt) but it should be about an inch and a half larger on all four sides than your cork board piece.

This part is almost like wrapping a present.  Apply your glue (I used Elmer’s) to your corners, and adhere all four.

Then apply glue to the sides and adhere all four.

Easy does it — you are done!  Make a bunch!  I let mine dry overnight with the glued side facing up.

Now, you are facing your empty wall that is begging for some artwork.

I started with a few of my larger pieces first.  Oh, I forgot to mention that my cork boards from Target came with some double-sided adhesive tape stickers, so I applied 3-4 of those to the back of each board, and then eyeballed where I wanted them.

With some foundational pieces up first, I just placed the rest of the boards one at a time until I had used them all, ending with a cornucopia of color!

Cute, huh?

And here they are up close.  For a week, I left them like this, and enjoyed just the beauty of the fabrics, but then decided it was time to put them to their originally-intended use.

And here they are — adorned with my favorite people and other ideas and projects that I’m excited about right now.  And alas, my office/studio is alive with color, warmth, and meaning.