Happy Friday + A Flower Shower

Happy Friday! I’ve been painting a lot lately, experimenting with the many, many watercolor and gouache paints that I have. I’m in between big deadlines right now so I gave myself a break for the entire month of March to basically goof off. These illos aren’t for any particular project and it’s lovely to just aimlessly sketch.

The plan was to simply read and sort of putz around for a month, but then – as per usual — I found myself making a massive to-do list of sewing, home improvement and other DIY projects. I get twitchy unless I’m working on something. But what I ended up gravitating towards most was my paints. It’s been very relaxing.

I’ve been giving this blog a lot of thought too. I had ambitious blog ideas on my big to-do list, and clearly they didn’t happen. I’m relishing the ease of Instagram right now, and I promised myself not to feel pressured to post on a regimented schedule anywhere online. Super liberating. And I noticed that when I let myself just putter about physically and mentally, I feel more energy and want to make things. This break has done me good!

I’m off to start my weekend and I hope you have a terrific one! I will leave you with this little girl having a conversation with a flower…

Girl: Tell me, pretty flower — what is this luminous shower?

Flower: I am a light tower, a giver of infinite power.

Girl: Oh, tell me more about this power!

Flower: It makes you an allower, a magnificent here-and-now-er!

Girl: …will it take more than an hour? If so, I might get sour and dour.

Flower: Ah, just relax under my bower and enjoy the flower shower…

 

 

Etsy update and whatnot

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Hello, my friends! Just a little update because my blog is feeling quite neglected these days, so very much like my houseplants. This post is my attempt at a bit of watering and reviving, though I know that I’ll need to do some serious pruning and repotting and fertilizing (?) and all the other plant metaphors that I don’t know because I’m not much of a gardener.

Anyway. I’ve been meaning to add this little meditative pincushion PDF pattern that I contributed to Making to my etsy shop for months, and I’m so happy that I’m now getting around to it.

February was a hectic month what with the flu and SVE and traveling to Santa Fe during mid-winter break and trying to finish up the book that will be coming out in September. The flu was hard, SVE was awesome (though a few people are still waiting for gifts and as always, Ute and I are so grateful for the herculean patience of all), Santa Fe was glorious, and the book still isn’t done. That pretty much sums it all up.

Now that I’m about 98.3% all better, I’ve been enjoying life immensely. There’s nothing like not being able to eat for almost a week to make you appreciate food. I’ve been chowing down heartily and savoring every bite.

How are you? I’m somewhat more active on IG these days, but blogging will always remain my first love. I have SO much to share with you (I’m sewing again!) that if I think too much about it, I get overwhelmed. For now, I’m keeping the pace slow and meditative and am wishing you a lovely weekend!

 

Post Valentine’s Day SVE Update

Happy Day-After-Valentine’s-Day! I hope you had a love-filled one! I’m still recovering from the flu — I joked that I look like Botox gone wrong to M and an uncomfortable silence ensued. “You’re supposed to disagree,” I told him. “You actually look like a really swollen, bruised pumpkin,” he answered. He then said that in fact, I appear jaundiced. I don’t know, maybe I’m overthinking this with my flu-addled brain, but some communication lessons might be in order here. Honesty is not always the best policy, don’t you think? Perhaps feeling guilty about the comments, he presented me with a dozen roses for V-day. He also got K some chocolates and this (maybe it reminded him of me):

 

Anyway! SVE!!!!!! Have you been checking the #2018sve hashtag on Instagram? It’s all kinds of amazing and beautiful and overwhelming. I tried to comment on all the posts but I simply gave up. Too much goodness. I just decided to soak it all in and fully appreciate it.

Ute and I want to remind participants that though a large number of people received gifts before and on Valentine’s Day, quite a lot of folks will end up waiting longer. Every year we’ve tried to figure out ways to ensure that gifts will arrive on time, but we understand that things come up (I myself couldn’t combat my flu and had to extend work deadlines and such) and technological glitches occur and postal services aren’t always reliable. We are sending out HUGE thank yous to everyone out there patiently awaiting their Secret Valentine treasures. If there are lost parcels or other issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com!

On a more personal front, I received my own SVE gift from @_lillimade_ a couple of days before the big day and hard as it was, I kept my paws from tearing the package apart until Valentine’s Day. And oh! So so so so gorgeous. Lille made me a pouch (“for painting days”) and a needle case (“for knitting days”) and I love them both so much. Look at the fabrics! The knitting needle case is made from silk, I think. Or at least a silk-dupioni-esque material. The Japanese motif pouch is a sturdy fabric — cotton + linen? Lined with grey, naturally.

I’ve recently fallen in love with knitting and the needle case is just perfect:

 

They are impeccably made and just lovely to hold and have. In the flurry of organizing the event with Ute, I often forget that I get to receive a gift too, and it takes me by surprise when the parcel arrives. It’s hard to describe how touching it is to know that someone (almost always a virtual stranger — though sometimes we accidentally pair up folks that know each other) took the time and effort to make something especially for me. I become embarrassingly emotional.

 

As I delighted in opening my gifts, my Secret Valentine also received her assorted goodies that I sent. I had so much fun creating a number of simple (but I hope useful!) things for Karry of @karry.brook. She’s quite the renaissance lady and has a cool shop in Michigan called Goods Detroit. She said she loves black, white, pink, purple and buffalo checks and windowpane checks, and guess who has a ton of black-and-white buffalo checks? Okay, I have a ton of every kind of fabric, but I thoroughly enjoyed making her a square travel case (adapted from the tutorial that Ute provided) and matching napkins out of this Japanese fabric I’d been hoarding for a long time. The all black napkins are double-gauze.

I whipped up a little bright pink/orange/purple linen shopper bag too since I find them to be such utilitarian and environmentally-friendly items to have on hand. This is a self-drafted pattern that I’ve been using for years.

The surprise ball was a stroke of inspiration. I’ve always loved them and for years I’ve been talking about making one. Just as I’d expected, it was super fun to put together and I found little chocolates and sewing related sticky notes and other fun tidbits to add. I just kept wrapping crepe paper into a ball, but here’s a video if you’d like more info on how to make one. I also included a pretty felt notebook for Karry to capture her many, many ideas. It sounds like Karry liked the gift, and I’m so pleased!

There will be more and more IG posts with the #2018sve hashtages over the next few weeks, so have a look-see! The creativity and care and consideration that have gone into the gifts are awe-inspiring!! Thank you. Ute and I feel so lucky to be part of hundreds and hundreds of people sharing handmade love around the world. It’s phenomenal.

 

Happy Friday + SVE plans

Happy Friday, friends! I’m guessing that most Secret Valentine Exchange folks are following #2018sve on Instagram and are probably not checking ye olde blog posts much, but thought I’d do a little update.

This year my partner lives in the US, so that gives me a little extra time to work on her gift. I’ve been poring over my fabric stash, trying to find something that feels just right. Above are a few contenders. So pretty aren’t they?

Are you playing or following along with the SVE goodness? It’s incredibly inspiring and I’m coveting the sneak peek projects I’m seeing on IG.

I hope I’m not jinxing anything by writing this, but this has been the smoothest year by far. Ute and I have been floored by all the people totally on top of their game and shipping packages out super early. Awesome. I better get crackin’ too!

I’ll be back with more updates soon. Have a lovely weekend!!

2018 SVE Underway!

Hello my friends! Final tally of Secret Valentine Exchange participants came out to 576. 576!!!!!!!!! Ute and I are, as always, bowled over by the enthusiasm of all involved and this is an extra special year because after 5 years, we finally have not one but THREE gents joining in the festivities. Welcome, guys! We love how the diversity of the group keeps expanding for this global swap.

A few housekeeping notes:

  • If you included an instagram handle but have a private account, please consider making it public for the duration of SVE (until February 14th, perhaps?)
  • If you haven’t received a partner info email from us yet, please check your spam folder, promotions tab, etc. first before contacting us.
  • If your partner didn’t provide any social media info, you might have to do a little sleuthing with good ole Google if you’re keen on finding out more about your partner. Alternatively, simply take a stab at making something that’s in your wheelhouse in the color(s) your partner likes.
  • For any inquiries, please contact secret.valentine.exchange[at]gmail.com

That’s it for now. Oh, and have fun!!!