Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Something new

Well, the look of my blog, for one thing, and also a really sweet bath mat. I haven't even turned my sewing machine on for about 2 weeks or so...too busy and frankly, out of inspiration and oomph to make anything new. But, my son got me hooked up, due to his mad photoshop and illustrator skills, with an artsy new blog banner that I love soooo much and seeing it completed made me excited about this whole sewing and blogging and teaching thing! I also figured out a little more of the html code riddle and let me tell you, THAT was inspiring...I CAN learn something new! So, after that looong intro, the point of my story is this:

A new bathmat, made from some leftover Anna Maria Horner "Good Folks" fabric. I was inspired by Sew Liberated's Recycled Bathmat Tutorial, but I have to admit, I am far too lazy to do all that cutting and sewing of little squares. I am definitely NOT a quilter. The idea of the bathmat is awesome though and I altered it to be more in tune with my 1/2 hour window of sewing time lifestyle (an almost 2 year old will do that to you!). Here is a little photoshop montage of my very lazy process:


I laid out and old towel on my work table and positioned the scraps of fabric that I had on top to determine layout...then I trimmed the fabric to be somewhat even. I can't give you exact measurements because I just kind of wung it but my center panel was about 20" and the side panels were around 10" each.

I sewed the side panels to the center panel, right sides together, ironed the seams toward the sides and then laid it on top of the towel and trimmed the towel to be the same size as the now sewn together fabric, approx. 39"x 26" .

I pinned the fabric to the towel, right sides together and sewed all around the edge leaving a 5" opening somewhere along the edge so that I could turn it right sides out. After turning, I ironed
it all down and then topstitched around the whole thing, about 1/4 inch away from the edge.

I sewed down along the seams through the fabric and the towel where I joined the two fabrics together, to keep the whole mat looking neat after it has been washed.

and that's it! Super easy and very satisfying since it didn't cost a dime!

I've got a bunch of other new things getting ready to hatch here at Little Birds Fly, a calendar of my upcoming sewing classes, some patterns and a giveaway, all very soon! So stay tuned!

My best wishes for a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2010!!

xo Jennifer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

This is my cat's best imitation of me right about now ;)

I'm signing off for the holidays. I'll be back in January with a new look for my blog and a very cool giveaway, so check back!
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a bright and sparkly New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

snow and flannel and getting cozy

we got snow! lots of will definitely be a white Christmas this year which is rather lovely. One thing I love about the snow and snowstorms is that they force you to pare down, snuggle up at home, take a break (unless you are the one who has to do the shoveling which, thank you Mike and Lee, I am not...definitely not). This past weekend was all set to be very busy but events got cancelled or shifted around and in the end it turned out to be so relaxing and wonderful. So, for probably the first time since I was a child, I am going into Christmas week in a very Zen mood... somehow I have all the presents done...nothing left to sew that HAS to be done, only projects that are new for me, and exciting and are the reason I sew, because, have I told you all before? I LOVE to sew, and create. As my birthday gets closer and closer I feel myself mentally preparing myself for my new year...I have a feeling there will be some big changes afoot...finally I feel in my heart, as well as in my brain, that there is a way to make a living from this sewing thing...just not sure how to get there, but I feel sure that somehow, all will be well (thank you Father Paul )

I've been working with flannel...pretty kimono jammies...I actually cut these jammies out a couple of years ago thinking that I would make them up for some new babies but set them aside without sewing them...I found the pieces last week and decided to make them up for Lily, they were too short so I added cuffs and hems in pink on pink polka dots...I need to tweak the pattern a little, add some embelishment, but I think this may be one of my new patterns that I will have for sale in the new year...what do you think?

and this flannel , oh this wonderful, thoughtful, adorable husband got this gorgeous Anna Maria Horner flannel for me as an early birthday present...and I am dreaming of a duvet cover made with the blue floral edged in white flannel and cotton lace...and pillow cases made in all different combos of the other two fabrics with lots of white flannel and lace thrown week...when Christmas is done and we have the reality of winter to deal with, I will be sewing to ward of the cold.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

good morning

Yummy sourdough toast made from the most delicious bread can find it at A&J King Bakery ...another wonderful reason we live in Salem.... poached and tea...sparkly Christmas lights and the promise of snow on the feels like the start of a very good day!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


....of calm...I lost it a bit last week...lost my balance, got that knot of anxiety in my chest...that wild, frantic feeling in my head....but, I stopped what I was doing, yelled a bit, had a good cry and slowly got myself back to rights. That's one of the very good things about being "almost" 42....this has happened before, I know how this scene goes down in many different situations and I also know how to stop it before it gets too ugly. So, since I didn't want to have a full on Christmas meltdown in the inimitable style of my Mom, I decided to simplify...seriously the best course of action I have found in most situations. I've cleared the calendar for this week and spent time, when not teaching classes, with my kids...doing nothing, looking at the lights on the tree, taking a nap, getting the little one's picture taken with Santa....truly the best gift I can give myself....AND my family because, like it or not, how does that saying go? "when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"

squirrel garland...and a lovely ornament from Amanda makes

our little Tomten

Thursday, December 10, 2009

bad mother

a la Belgian Waffle I am making a confession today...I hate school concerts, holiday, spring fling or otherwise...and I am making a vow right now, after a total of 17 +years of parenting, that I will not attend another. There, never more sitting in a stifling auditorium, or worse, a "cafetorium" (who the f*%$& came up with THAT term? sounds like a school morgue) for HOURS at a time waiting for a huge screaming bunch of kids to get their act together and sit down and shut up and play their instruments in that hesitant and embarrassed way so parents can hear...I mean really, you can't hear your own kid anyway...and if they practice at home then you most certainly and painfully know very well what they sound like. Clearly, I am suffering from holiday overload, obligation overload, expectation overload...but I just don't want to do it any more. I want to say no. So, you might say, won't your children suffer from damaged self esteem if you don't show up to every little concert performance? Well, I say, too bad...maybe a little self esteem damage would be good for them, give them further fodder for the psychiatrist when they get older, give them something concrete to point to when they are searching for a reason for their angst....their evil mother didn't go to school concerts... Thought of in those terms, I am doing my children a favor, making things easier for them when the time comes for them to sort out their psyches ;) hmmmm, I'm liking this "embracing my inner bad mother" thing...very freeing...what else can I declare that I "don't do"? Drive? that would be more picking my teens up from school, band, play practice, TOP etc. with a screaming toddler in the car demanding lollipops in her particularly dictatoresque mother didn't drive and no one ever questioned it, a ride from my mom was just out of the question...we took the bus. What else? Deal with anything in the afternoon? oh my, oh lovely would it be to say that I am off limits from say 4-6 pm? Mom's in bed, bottom line, end of story. Ah to dream....

well, now I am ignoring my youngest while she watches tv and I am going to look at shoes there! hmmmph! I am one baaad mother ;)

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Just checking loving all of the blog posts that I'm reading but the words escape me to I just wanted to say hello! and I'll be back soon with some cool, glittery, owly Christmas decoration projects.Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


*for my better half...he makes me want to be like him

*for my three, pinch me, did I really grow three?, THREE babes

*for my friends ... I must have done something right in a past life because I am blessed with the most amazing people who choose to be in my life this time round

*for my parents, ex in laws, in laws and family...I love my family so much.

*for life and God and the energy that makes it so

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oh Mamma!!!

Mia and I spent the most lovely mother daughter evening last night...we went to my dear friend Licia's house for a demonstration of Thanksgiving side dishes prepared in her authentic Italian style. Licia is starting a new business giving cooking classes in her beautiful, warm and inviting kitchen. Wow, what a great teacher Licia is. I pride myself on being a pretty good cook...I am familiar with sauteeing, braising, making a bechamel sauce...things like i thought I would just have fun and a glass of wine and hang out with my daughter...but I learned A LOT. Licia takes cooking to a whole new level and I really think mine will improve from seeing her at work. Check out Licia's website and do yourself a favor and sign up for a class...a class would be a very lovely and different Christmas gift for someone you love (what a nice date night it would make too!) you will be very happy that you did!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


my day today....some Christmas present making and lots of playing with the little girl with the red sneakers....I just love these little feet! Hope you had a happy day :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Change of plans

You may have noticed that I changed the look of my's actually just a temporary picture...when I get some time and my son can squeeze some Photoshop lessons into his busy schedule I hope to make it better...but it will do for now :) There have been lots of changes and new starts around here lately. My kick ass husband just took his GREs so he can start graduate school, my son is getting all his ducks in a row for college applications and my Minkie has turned from a child to a young woman right before my's like waking up to a new person, and she rocks! Now, I am making the decision to stop sewing clothes for sale and concentrate on my sewing instruction and creating patterns.

When I started this blog it was to be one marketing part of my new business making children's clothing. At the same time I decided to start giving sewing classes as a kind of side thing, still believing that the actual sewing of garments was what i would do. As time went on and my classes were all filling up and I had to actually add classes to meet the demand it began to dawn on me that this sewing class thing was pretty good...great, in fact. Sewing to sell is difficult. Price, your time, the monotony of sewing the same or similar items over and over again...these are all considerations that don't always work out in your favor. Selling information though...that's brilliant! And, I LOVE teaching. I derive such satisfaction from seeing my students complete a project...actually making something beautiful and useful...and surprising themselves with their ability in the process. I feel as if I am doing something very useful as many woman want to learn to sew! It is something of a lost art that many women crave...There really is nothing like the satisfaction of making something yourself...not having to go out and buy an item, making it to your exact wants and appeals to a sense of power,an "I can do it myself!" kind of feeling and self sufficiency and the lovely notion of making things with your own two hands for the people you love.

Somewhere down the line I will also create some patterns to sell, in PDF form, on my Etsy shop. The wallet at the beginning of this post will probably be the first pattern I get out there...look for it around January or so :)

I'm not exactly sure why I am doing this blog now...except that I like it..I love how I've met so many wonderful people all over the world through blogland....the ideas that they share and the beautiful glimpses into their lives make me happy, every day, and I still want to be part of that....and share a bit myself. So, thank you to all of my blog friends and I guess I'll just carry on :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween my pretties!!!

trick or treating with the party at the Common and then drinks and snacks and more candy with our friends at home...what a perfect Halloween!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009


This is what I have made for Lily for Christmas, so far...Pointy Kitty from WeeWonderfuls (I got the idea from the wonderful blog Annas Dagar) and a felted ball...I have A LOT more work to do...I'd love to make her one of these little Gnome Houses and some little dolls and a stuffed elephant, little hedgehogs, stuff like that.I always have such high hopes for what I can accomplish for Christmas, but this year, since I do have more time at home and Lily can entertain herself a little bit, I would be very happy if I could make most of the presents. Being able to stay home and be the one to care for Lily is such a gift for me and I am always trying to find ways to save money and make occured to me this weekend that by making gifts I am making money by not spending money. So frugal, I know, but hey, this is my way to "live the dream" as my friend Melissa says :) Whatever works!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

slow day

Felted acorn garland...thank you bluebirdbaby for the inspiration

Lilykins was a sick little girl yesterday...just a fever and a cold. Isn't it kind of nice when they are sick but not too sick? Lily gets so snuggly and quiet, it's the only time she's not in constant motion. So we stayed home all day in our jammies and watched a lot of tv. I finished up a few a lovely package in the mail and ended the day with a kick ass dinner that Mike and I got to enjoy all by our lonesomes...a nice day overall!

Too little of this....I'm trying to
get some Christmas gifts made ... A lot of this :(
but today was not the day


Shoes!!!!! Finally came in the mail :) Aren't these little red boots adorable??? Sarah Jane Down the Lane, I think you will have to add them to the list of red love :)


Scallops, broccoli, Jasmine rice with a white wine and cream sauce...seriously good...with a glass of Vinho Verde...aaaaahhhh it's the weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Finally got the window boxes and the front steps dressed for autumn this morning...and I would just like to say to my handsome husband..."see honey, bittersweet vine is NOT a just have to be patient and wait a long while till it shows its true beauty <3"

Friday, October 16, 2009

busy, busy, busy

Just no time to write a post...because I've been so busy doing what I love to do! So I will leave you with some photos of what I've been up to :)
Red wool coat for Lily,don't you just love red coats on little girls?... from the Kitschykoo asymmetrical jacket pattern, reversible, of course

with the hem from a repurposed cashmere sweater inserted on either side of the collar and closed with a snap so it will keep Lily's neck nice and warm

inner lined with some extra chennille baby blankets for warmth
this is the other side...lovely Paula Prass fabric...appliques on the collar...elasticized cuffs :)

This is the first coat I made for the babe...corduroy, flannel and owls! I love the coat but the colors are just not good on Lily...she actually looks like she's coming down with something when she wears it, pale and sickly :( So naturally I had to make her the red wool and birds coat...much better!

These two sets are an order I made for a friend....monkey pants and appliqued loving the hedgehog applique :)

I finished up curtains for my Mom's kitchen and now I am on to Christmas's going to be a handmade Christmas this poor Mia, I can tell she cringes at the thought...hehe...don't worry, maybe there'll be some MAC makeup in that handmade makeup bag ;)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tempest and Calm

I don't have a picture to go along with this post...too wet today to take a camera, even if I could have managed to find of those days...but almost in a good that possible? Let me start at the beginning...which was at 3:17 AM...Lily woke up screaming from a nightmare, and I mean ignoring her so she could settle down to go back to sleep. So I dragged myself from bed and picked her up and tried to soothe her but in my stupor I decided to just bring her back to bed...BAD idea. She can't sleep with us, it took me until she was a year old to realize this(my other kids LOVED to co-sleep and I just assumed all babies would...another way in which I was so. wrong. about how much I knew about babies ) Sooo...finally I got up with her, followed by Mike and we took turns going back to bed until it was a more decent hour...needless to say Lily was miserable and cranky and crying and impossible. The day just seemed set up to suck...big time...rainy, cranky, horrible. Lo and behold though, this kid does surprise me...she fell asleep in the car on the way to school drop off , continued sleeping when I took her out of the car and put her on the couch...woke up in a fab mood...sweet, funny and soft. I decided we should just get out and have a girl's morning. My most favorite thing to do with anyone really, is to go to a local bakery, A& J King for their awesome pastries and bread and muffins and coffee. So, i packed her up in the car in the pouring rain, drove downtown and we had a lovely we were sitting enjoying our breakfast the sun came it was still raining! Crazy weather to go with our crazy morning. Then off to the museum for storytime and then shopping for a couple of little, sweet toys at the gift store and then the walk through the downtown with all of the spooky and whimsical Halloween store window displays...perfect for a little kid! And then....a HUGE black cloud appeared, seemingly from nowhere and let loose the most ferocious thunderstorm...leaves by the thousands were spiralling up into great plumes...rain was driving every which way...thunder and was kind of scary, more than kind of scary...Lily was hysterical...but, we made it home, got ourselves settled and whew! Crisis over, calm restored and ...the sun is out! What a nutty day...and it's only noon....oh my

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween has begun...

Baby Squirrel...couldn't get Lily to put the bottle down...but she kept the costume "dat mama made" on all night long :)

Let the festivities begin!!!....if you live in Salem anyway....most of the world that celebrates Halloween has until October 31 to get a costume together, but if you live here in Salem then the pressure is on for the first Thursday in October. In time for the Haunted Happenings Halloween Parade. THE event that kicks off the Halloween season. The parade is really the only event that is for the families that live in Salem. It's my favorite...all the school kids march with their schools, Mia conducted the Middle School Marching Band...and it's just a happy, funny, slightly spooky evening where you see your neighbors and friends and check out the adorable costumes, have a hot cider and the whole thing is wrapped up by 8pm...just in time for the kiddos to go home and go to bed and the grownups to put their feet up and have a nice glass of fortify ourselves for the craziness that is to come...oh my, October in Salem....

Squirrel Lily and her best friend "Jasmine" Maddie

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is the finished bedroom...when I look at this picture I think it doesn't really do the room justice....overall it looks sunny and cozy now...the bed is just the right size and it's very comfy. I so look forward to the evening now so I can get in my PJ's and take a cup of tea and get into bed and read....speaking of which, I just finished "The Lace Reader" and now I'm on to "Odd and the Frost Giants"...what are you reading lately?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The boy

Senior Pictures....sniff...weep...he's not a boy anymore...I'm just so proud of this guy :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to "Half Ass" Curtains

This is how I made my new bedroom curtains...and this is also why I was a complete failure in my previous sewing incarnation as a custom window treatment maker....I'm not good at "precise"...

So, my thinking while I was measuring my window was this: from the top of the window casing to the bottom of the window sill is 60 inches...add 4 inches for the top header and rod casing and 4 inches for a 2 inch double hem and you get 68 inches. Two panels, 68 inches long, simple! EXCEPT, I only have one 50 inch by 57 ish inch length of the fabric I love and want to use...gorgeous fabric, buttery yellow with what looks like hand painted watercolor flowers and beautiful embroidered leaves, but I digress...back to my not enough fabric...not a problem ,I think, I have more white muslin...I will add lengths of the muslin to the sides and to the bottom to kind of picture frame the gorgeous fabric (I could add a strip of it to the top to REALLY frame it but I am too lazy for that, so three sides will have to do).
Next, put the baby down for her nap and then go downstairs and lay the fabric out and start cutting...cut off the extra bits on the side to make the piece kind of even and then cut it down the middle to make two 25 ish by 57 ish panels (and the only way I could get the 57 inch length was to put the fabric on its side so technically all the flowers are sideways, but i don't think it's too big a deal...hopefully no one will stare at them long enough to notice).
Fold the 90 inch wide muslin in fourths lay it on the floor and lay the flower fabric panels over it, I'm thinking that each curtain will be comprised of two 25 inch muslin panels and one 25 inch flower panel...which I realize as soon as I cut the fabric and there is no going back, that this will not only make each panel 75 inches wide (way to much for a small window) but doesn't leave me enough muslin left over to make the bottom panels. But, not to worry, I figure I will just split one of the muslin panels down the middle, sew to each side of the flower fabric, making each panel 50 inches wide and use the left over panels for the this...
Now, this is where I get really lazy.. at this point I have no idea how long these panels are, because I am having trouble adding 57 and 25 in my head (I have lost many brain cells due to childbirth, age, wine....)and I can't find my tape measure to find out, but I am pretty sure they are longer than windowsill length. In fact, I am reasonably certain that they are way too long...but, then I remember, I just saw some stupid ad for Cindy Crawford's new home decor line and in it she said you should have three square pillows at the head of your bed AND your curtains should puddle on the floor...BINGO! This works for me! Especially since I am too lazy to go upstairs and remeasure the window and no way in hell am I going to risk waking up the baby while doing so, I just carry on...hem the edges, make the heading, hem the bottom and I'm done! Now, mind you, nothing is even on these curtains, not a square edges to be seen...but they're supposed to be gathered and full and who cares?...right?!

I do want to add a disclaimer at this point for any of my sewing students: I do know how to make curtains properly and will teach you the correct way, do as I say, not as I do. You can go on to half ass your own curtains later.

So, the baby woke up, rolled around on the curtains (I had to put this photo in...look at those FEET!)
And then I hung the curtains...and sadly, I do not live up to Ms. Crawford's standards (in ANY way shape or form) some fluke the curtains do not puddle, but they do hang pretty close to the floor , so there! And they're nice...the sun shining through the flower fabric looks kind of like stained glass and the white muslin keeps the whole thing looking airy and breezy, and best of all, they block out "The VIEW". So there you have up: "sewing" with a glue gun ;)