Some of you may remember the Potty Seat Incident last December. The short version is my daughter stuck a potty seat over her head and I had to cut it off with a bread knife as it wouldn't come back off. I called the manufacturer who was very concerned and I sent the seat back to them (at their request). I got a new seat from them probably in February, but just ignored it, because quite frankly, I didn't want to deal with that seat again. Well, my husband opened it up this weekend, and I have to say I was so proud. It now has a warning printed on the bottom. In French, Spanish and English no less. So next time you see a warning label on a child's item and you think "What idiot did that?". My daughter did and I called the manufacturer and told them.
On another child safety note that you would never see coming... you know those cases DVD's come in? Well, today my safety-tester daughter removed the paper insert and proceeded to put the case over her head with the hard plastic in the back and the clear vinyl (where the insert normally shows through) over her face. I don't believe she was in danger of suffocating, but seeing your baby's face smooshed behind clear vinyl is not a sight you want to see again. Just add that to your list of things to worry about.
I just received my new issue of Craft magazine, which is the print companion to the Craftzine website and blog. Their feature this issue is shoes and I don't mean just adding some ribbons to your loafers like I have done. No, they have some features on making your own ribbon tie sandals-- wood soles and all. The shoes shown on the cover are Converse soles with knitted tops and ribbon laces. Another feature explains how to add new leather or fabric uppers to a pair of existing heels. And of course, a feature on shoes would not be complete without a time line of shoe history from 15000 B.C. to present day.
Do I plan to make my own shoes? Heck no. But I love looking at and reading Craft magazine. I also read their blog, but sometimes find myself in overload over there as they post a dozen times a day, easily. Besides, the magazine has articles and features you won't find on the website. Are some of the projects weird? Yes. Are some of the projects a little too earthy, organic, artsy for my tastes? Yes. (I would not wear a jacket embellished with safety pins. And I'm sure that artist wouldn't be caught dead with ribbons on her shoes either.) But their projects are always unique and they feature a variety of crafts- sewing, knitting, sculpture, beading, jewelry making, furniture re-dos, paper art, dying fabric. It's truly a magazine about creating art from all sort of materials. And even projects that I'm quick to dismiss as "not my thing" often contain a little nugget of information or a process or a material that I can translate into a project that is "more my thing". So if you feel like you keep seeing the same ideas over and over, read Craft, because trust me, their ideas are fresh.
Yes, I did shoot pictures of the Dick and Jane crib set this weekend. I successfully stripped Olivia's crib after she woke up and had it put back to its original condition before her nap at one.
Great, you say! Where are the photos and how-to's on the website? Well, I didn't get that done. Instead, we bought a sandbox and spent the afternoon playing. Sorry, but we had a great time. Dick and Jane will be done by tomorrow.
Forget cholesterol, lack of exercise, alcohol and the other 8,475 things you worry about killing you. My sister visited last weekend and announced that water bottles leached a chemical that "imitated female hormones" or some such. Initially, I was delighted-- I need some additional female hormones. Apparently, it's a little more than just a shot of estrogen. According to an article on MSNBC.com, "The chemical has been linked to neurological and behavioral problems in
infants and babies, along with certain cancers, diabetes and obesity." Oh.
Well, never fear, Nalgene and Camelbak have announced they are switching to BPA (bisphenol A)-free bottles. Camelbak's will be available May 1. A little fun fact I learned from Camelbak's website: The 7 with arrows around it is a recycling symbol, but does not necessarily indicate that the bottle was made with polycarbonate (the offensive plastic containing BPA). All polycarbonate bottles are #7's, but not all #7's are polycarbonate. I guess you have to check with the manufacturer. And the manufacturers still say that polycarbonate bottles are safe, but a panel with the National Institute of Health says “the potential for BPA to impact human health is a concern, and more research is clearly needed.”
Now I have been justified in my practice of drinking Diet Coke and limiting my water intake.
Well, I don't have an update on the affectionately named "pee chairs". No fabric here yet. But my pneumatic staple gun arrived, so I am armed and ready!
In the meantime, we are running the ad shown on the left in the May issue of Martha Stewart Living in the Marketplace Section featuring Michael Miller's Dick and Jane fabric. It hits newsstands April 20, I believe. Shawn at Michael Miller put together what I think is the cutest ad I've ever seen! So buy the magazine and then buy hundreds of yards of fabric. You can even skip buying the magazine, if you prefer.
So to follow up last week's sewing frenzy, I decided to make a crib set out of Dick and Jane fabric this week. I made the quilt yesterday and Maribel is sewing up a bumper and sheet as we speak. I'll shoot pics of it this weekend and hopefully, display it Monday. We've become a little baby bedding factory.
I'll put together how-tos on the pieces also. The pieces are pretty easy to put together- I think they are do-able for a beginning sewer. Besides, is the baby going to criticize your work?
The totes and cosmetic bags are packed and ready to head to L.A. this weekend. One of my employees got them done today and it was so nice not to sew for a couple of days! Clearly, I didn't spend time styling this photo, but you get the idea. Maribel did a wonderful job and the totes are darling.
Also on its way to L.A. are mounted photos from Wednesday's photo shoot. I think they are stunning, thanks to Brooke's photographs (and Jessica's fabric)!
Yummy. And Brooke did a cool collage of the photos as well that she posted on her blog yesterday.
So it's feast or famine around here. I make nothing for days and then I make a gazillion things in three days. Modern Flora is taking an out-of-town trip to Los Angeles for a textile trade show next week. The show is for manufacturers, so I wanted to show Modern Flora in some home decor settings. I did contemplate (for about 2 seconds) sending furniture, but instead decided to pull together an outdoor photo shoot in four days with only three items made out of Modern Flora. The child's Poang chair, the floor pillows and Leaflet chair were, thankfully, already made. But I decided to add a slipcovered couch, a covered lampshade, more pillows, a tablecloth and napkins, and a crib set with a quilt. And they were finished yesterday and shot this morning. So how does a photo shoot work? Well, it is one heck of a lot of work and kind of a frenzy. You want the photographer to get as many shots as possible, so you have to stay out of the way, but you are always dying to smooth out a wrinkle or clip a thread. And double-stick tape is an absolute must!
This is Brooke Schwab, who photographed the outdoor "rooms". And how did I find this photographer? Well, of course, all roads lead back to Jessica at How About Orange, who designed her logo. What did I do before I knew her? Floundered, clearly. Anyway, Brooke does a lot of wedding photography and specializes in really fun settings and shots. Peruse her blog to see her great photos and read the story behind them.
So, Brooke shot three rooms outdoors and I think they look fantastic. (Thank you, Brooke, Jessica and me.)
First, the nursery:
No, the stuff in the front was not in the real shot-- stuff just got dropped and set down everywhere. It would be so easy to just walk away and leave things at the site.
The dining room:
which I was the least excited about in the planning phase because I was afraid it was just too plain, but I love it in the photos. And the bowl of apples was inspired by Jessica's comment that she would love to see the fabric under an apple tree. Sorry, none in South Texas, but I thought the colors were awesome with the tablecloth.
And the living room:
which makes me think I need to immediately purchase a cottage with white bead board on the walls and fill it with my Modern Flora furniture. And this project gave me an excuse to do something I've been dying to try: making awning stripe "fabric" from solids. Then you can pick whatever color combinations and stripe widths you want.
Now, I can use the next two days to print and mount the photos for the show and make a couple of tote bags and Modern Flora is ready to go. Show well, my little fabric.
I love when I pre-order books from Amazon, because the package shows up at my door completely unexpected. It's like a little gift. That I paid for. Anyway...
Amanda Blake Soule of soulemama blog fame has a new book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nuture Family Connections. I read her blog occasionally and usually feel a little guilty that I don't do nearly for my one child what she seems to pull off for her three. And the first thing I flipped to in her book was "Making Your Own Knitting Needles" to knit with your children. What?? First, I don't make my own dinners, so I doubt I'm going to whip up a set of knitting needles. Secondly, my child would definitely stab someone with the needles. So I was not very optimistic that this book was for me.
However, I am a book freak and haven't met a book I didn't like (mostly) so I flipped through some more pages. That's when I hit Chapter 9 "Everyday Rituals". I glanced upon this paragraph:
"Don't slip into the habit of relegating your creative projects for 'after everything else is done.' Work, housework, chores-- the lists go on and on, and so does the work. 'Everything else' is never done. Creating needs to be as important a part of your life as anything else you consider a necessity."
Now wouldn't that be a great lesson to impart to my child and a great thing to remember myself? And I can only assume Chapter 10 "Celebrating Your Family" holds some more nuggets of wisdom. So, no, I am not going to make my own knitting needles, but I am going to sit down and read the book. Clearly it is about a lot more than crafts.
I haven't posted anything lately because I haven't finished anything. Well, yes I did. I finished my taxes and my year-end financial statements, but I didn't finish anything creative (or interesting). I have been working on some new chairs. I really upgraded on these-- they were $15 a piece at Goodwill.
At the risk of grossing you out, you can guess what the spots on the right one are. They're just about little dog leg height, wouldn't you say? I didn't realize until I unloaded them out of the car that the spots were fairly recent, i.e. wet. I took a utility knife and cut off that fabric and padding immediately and gave the wood underneath a good dose of Lysol cleaner. I'm sure that's more information that most of you wanted to have, but I wanted to share that with you-- well, just because its gross.
A couple of people have commented earlier about worrying about bed bugs and other critters in upholstered furniture. I'm pretty sure the smell would have killed any creatures that might have been residing in these chairs. The people expressing concern are probably correct, but I just choose not to think about it. Besides, you'd see things when you stripped off the fabric, right?
I did finally get these chairs fully stripped after about 18 hours. There were staples everywhere. I'm not kidding when I say some places had 12 staples in a one-half inch area. That's a lot of staple pulling, I'll tell you.
I think the chairs have a nice shape and they are very fluffy and comfortable. They just suffer from that 90's syndrome of HUGE furniture for HUGE rooms. Add to that the overstuffing and the nice beige/beige/beige motif and you've got yourself a great everyday furniture store chair! So, I pulled off a lot of the batting and stuffing to tone them down a bit. I still plan to do a fan back, but to do welting between the fans instead of gathering the material. I also think that base/leg design is pretty non-descript, so I plan to add a skirt- maybe even pleated. And I think the separate seat cushion just adds to the overwhelming stature of the chair, so I am going to attempt to turn it into a "fixed seat" (an upholsterer told me that's what it is called). I think it will give the chair a more rounded look because now I think the cushion looks like a slice of bread thrown on the chair.
I also broke down and ordered a pneumatic staple gun from DIYupholsterySupply. My electric staple gun really let me down on my last chair, as I had to hammer the staples down because they wouldn't go all the way into the hard wood. Plus, the very helpful owner of DIYUpholsterySupply told me that this staple gun would let me get close enough to staple the PlyGrip so that I wouldn't have to tack it down by hand.
And I'm waiting for some new fabric, that I understand hit port this week and the vendor is rushing me a bolt just for these chairs! So, next week I should be knee deep in a certain fabric by a certain designer and I just hope I can make them turn out the way I see them in my head!
I'll keep you posted because I might need some encouragement along the way!