Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy 95th Birthday to My Muse

PICT0478, originally uploaded by bonnindesigns.

Mama Phyllis, my grandmother is 95 today. She is celebrated each and every day in my heart however as she lives across country. This woman has been the inspiration for all creative things that I take on. From cooking, to decor, to craft, she's had a hand in it my entire life and I always have strived to be like her. Her frame is petite and her style is casual but she is the most elegant person I know. She is a retired nurse and had a long and happy marriage to my wonderful papa who passed away a few years ago. I lived with them for a short time in my between college days when I was living my dreams in NYC as a dancer. And each day when I came home and had a cocktail and relaxed with my grandparents before dinner was a key time to learn about them and hear stories of the old days. When I moved, Mama gave me a gold charm with "Star Boarder" etched in it.
So now she is 95 years young and this gives me another thing to strive for; a happy and long life. Happy Birthday Mama. I love you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waking Up is Hard to Do

Waking up is hard to do after a morning nap. My ears are all flopping different ways and I almost tipped over. Whoa.
After I do a good stretch in a yoga down dog pose though (as expertly demonstrated by Summer), I can get the day started. Then back for another nap.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Treasure Your Past: Finding Yourself on Facebook

It’s been a very enlightening few months for me as I see my kids grow and reflect on myself when I was their age. In this point in my life I have been able to stop and appreciate my childhood past and have been craving the connections to my early days. I believe it wasn’t able to happen until now because I have finally found confidence in myself and where I am today as well as having kids that are trying to find their way in life.

Growing up, I had always admired my father’s ability to stay connected to early childhood buddies from elementary school on up. He was always making calls and visits to these old friends back east and it really meant a lot to him. I see why now. It is those people and experiences that we had growing up that make us who we are and why we are.

So the question is how is it possible to find our past? For me, it has been coming back in pieces of a puzzle that are growing together everyday through Facebook. I have been able to connect with relatives that I may have met once or twice for instance and see and read through their pages a bit of who they are. I have also connected with friends that I knew and were close with as a child. My first crush for instance. People I never thought I would ever be able to find again. As many women that marry change their name, it’s pretty tough to look in a phonebook or on the internet to find them. But alas, there they are on Facebook. A simple search for classmates and searching their friends as well, looking in group pages for schools you went to, pulls these friends in. It’s not only a curiosity factor as some might think to connect with old friends; what are they doing now? What do they look like? But they have revealed memories that I truly have forgotten. Memories that have made me who I am today. And I have reciprocated as well. One of my friends just the other day reminded me that we used to sing loudly in harmony in my backyard pool (and everywhere else when it was just the 2 of us). That is something I would have only done with her, as I hate singing in public, but we never judged each other. We just enjoyed music. Another friend reminded me that we knew each other since elementary school, not high school as I once thought. Wow, those are long friendships if you think about it. I hated that I put them aside, threw them away to the past as I drummed up new experiences in life. Now I find myself spending time and fighting hard to retrieve these parts of my past to hold onto from this day forward as they are a part of who I am.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Indie Business: Textile Fetish

This week I want to tell you about my very good and extremely talented friend Jennifer Ramos of Textile Fetish. If you were to follow me around for a day you would see me using various Textile Fetish items from all of my knitting and crochet needle cases, to my potholders, my coffee cup sleeve to keep my coffee cup cool, various aprons, pouches, and even my business card case and messenger bag. I'm a regular walking Textile Fetish Advertisement I believe. How could I not be? Jennifer's work is thoughful and the fact that she really works hard to use repurposed fabrics into her products is a big kudo for me. So this week, I received a special circular knitting needle case made just for me. I'm totally spoiled! It's very roomy and folds up for easy storage. Great colored fabric that will last and last too! I just love it! Thanks girl. I also got a couple of zippered pouches which are useful for supplies. The oilcloth one would be great for the beach to carry my money, phone, and lipbalm. Oh, and the shrinky dink pendant she made me. So fun. And pretty unique too.
There are 2 sets of 4 pockets on each side and it folds in half down the black material and then folds into a smaller case as seen above in the top pic with a tie.
Please visit Jennifer's shop and see all of the colorful products she carries. She also has kid's clothes that are the cutest!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Recontructed Sweater to a Shrug Tutorial

I'm going to a wedding reception next week that is in the evening and outdoors. I bought a beautiful dress, which is sleeveless, so I know I'm going to be cold. I had to come up with something that I could wear over the dress to give me some warmth. I wanted to make a little shrug, nothing with sleeves and something I could easily remove. I really enjoyed the last sweater reconstructed project I did ( http://bonnindesigns.blogspot.com/2008/11/remake-of-boring-cardigan-sweater.html ) and I really wanted to try my hand at something else. So off to the thrift store I went.
I purchased a lambswool neutral zip cardigan for $6 and went to work. When I purchased it, I realized that someone probably accidently washed the sweater and shrunk it so it was pre-felted for me. Cool, less work. Using the seam ripper, I removed the zipper and found that there were 2 strips of sweater that covered the zipper which later became the ties for the shrug. To make the shrug, the top of the sweater will be the bottom of the shrug, and the bottom of the sweater will be folded over to make a wide neck for the shrug.
I continued with the seam ripper and on the inside of the sweater, removed the stitching that held the sleeves on. I removed the sleeves and ended up with some nice holes that I could easily crochet and edging through.

I had this lambswool sweater vest since high school and it had a stain, so I felted it in the washer to tighten the stitching and began cutting circles of graduating sizes for flowers and leaf shapes.
So turning the sweater upside down and folding over what was the bottom of the sweater, which is now the neckline, I positioned and pinned my graduating size circles to make flowers and my leaves.
I stitched the leaves on using a basting stitch which I pulled tight a little to give the leaves dimension.
Next, the flowers were stitched in place using a crystal bead and hot pink sewing thread doubled onto a beading needle.

I originally used a bulky yarn to do the edging on the sweater in single crochet. I liked the yarn because it had all of the colors of the dress in it, but when I completed it, the results were to bulky and too 'hippy braidy' looking so I decided instead to use a neutral thinner yarn somewhat matching the sweater. It turned out much better.

This is the end result - with a row of double crochet and then a shell edging only in the back. I wanted to increase the back length a bit.

The sleeve part was done in single crochet. the front edging done in double crochet. The ties are the extra sweater zip portion folded over and stitched on with double thickness leaves sewn on.
I promise to show a picture of the shrug with the dress, but I was so excited to finally finish the shrug, I wanted to share it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Getting New Experiences

my son is on the right doing the jump ball

I finished my 'reign' as team mom for my son's basketball team last night. I've never been a team mom before but wanted to do it because my son hasn't been on many local teams and I thought it a great opportunity to meet other parents. Upon starting it was a good choice because most of the parents knew each other through other sports like baseball and football. It put me in the forefront and I had no choice but to get to know the players and parents. So glad I did. The team did great overall and we all had a lot of fun. My son, who is small, but fast always did the 'jump ball' to psych out the other team. It usually worked. Made for many good laughs as well. The coach was fantastic. He taught the kids so much, was motivating, gave equal court time to all players, and was an overall great guy.

I did make a New Years resolution to myself which was to make an effort to make friendships. Although my life is busy and I often put too much on my plate, this time everything worked out and made me really think about finding opportunities to meet people by reaching out and taking on tasks that I normally wouldn't. I recommend you do the same.