Friday, August 28, 2009

Hot couture ... Ruby necklace

It's SO hot I can't think straight. And with these wildfires in Southern CA (last night we could see flames from our front yard, even 20+ miles away) it's not fun breathing- or trying to entertain cranky overheated preschoolers. But I did enjoy dressing this morning with my new necklace made by my friend Rubyellen (at It's a lightweight fabric scrap necklace that elevates my humble tank top to something cuter and at least as I faint in the heat, I'll look cute doing it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bias tape maker

Have you tried one of these yet? If you've sewn with me recently, you likely know that I'm crazy about double fold bias tape and using it to finish everything. I recently invested in this (inexpensive) little contraption which helps you make bias tape out of any fabric. (Glorious!)... It's even more lo-tech and easy than it looks. And the finished result is great.

Stained sweater fix

Here's another project from last night. Mimi has this sweater that she stained a while ago. I'd been planning to appliqué something over the stain and she'd requested a butterfly... But last night, I realized I actually had this beautiful AnnaMaria Horner fabric (see inset) sitting around waiting to be used... And sure, I could spare ONE butterfly.

Sewing night...

My sewing machine broke this morning... (love, hate, love, hate!) but not before I got to finish a bunch of projects last night with the girls... here's a peek at a few of them. I'll post more later.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Onesies

Inspired by the super cute designs that my friend, Christy, made a few weeks ago, I embarked recently on another item on my to-do list... baby onesies...
I have mentioned before that I attend MOPS - well it starts up again soon, and my role in our group is to plan the creative activities - as well as do the table centerpieces and gifts for new babies that are born during the year. We have a little basket of gifts that the moms get to choose from, and one of my jobs is to stock it. After last years' onesies - I was asked to make more for this year... here are the designs I made the other night. They make me itch to have a baby around here to dress!
anywhoooo... tomorrow night is another sewing eve with the gals... we're going to be working on more baby items. Can't wait to see what we end up with. I'm off to get some more blank onesies tonight.
this one was a new technique... i did a little machine embroidery on it. see the spiral on the inside of the heart? i like how it turned out.

Christmas in August (Jen & Vic: don't read, FAMILY SPOILER!)

Please don't call me crazy... Let me explain myself first.
A few years ago, it was my first Christmas as a retailer. It was also one of my first Christmases where I wanted to handmake my gifts... I did what most people do, and waited until after Thanksgiving before I began making my gifts (quite normal)... but I didn't realize that when you are "the store" that people come up to you wanting to shop up until the last day before the holidays... which left me up until 3am every night in December, trying to ship out orders, make my own gifts, and make special orders as well... I was exhausted and miserable that final week...

So each year, I've found reasons to start earlier at working on my gifts... (i.e. having a baby, being very pregnant, planning for different holiday boutiques, blah blah blah). And now... it's August. And the school year is approaching. Which also brings with it about 11 family birthdays between now and the holidays - even after last week... ... And we've got a few final steps to complete before we're certified foster parents, which opens up a whole new can of unknowns... so ... my Christmas fever has begun. Which is kind of fun for me.

I've instructed my sisters to not peek, unless they want spoilers for their girls' gifts this winter... we'll see what they do. But I thought I'd share it early, since now is a good time to get this stuff on sale. This summer, I made my kiddos some personalized beach towels with the same technique that I use for the bath towel gifts... they are super super cute, so I decided all the nieces and nephews needed them. This IS California, after all, and beach towels come in handy much of the year. So here's what they are getting... By the way... if you are going to buy beach towels, do it now, they're on sale, and they aren't easy to find the rest of the year.
so... armed with my trusty HeatnBond, here's what I've been making.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday Gift Wrap

And now for some fun little gift wrap ideas...

1 - Since my dad isn't the type to save ribbons (or much at all!), I tried to come up with a fun way to put a bow on his gift this year. We are swimming in catalogues around here (why do I feel the need to look through every one of them?)... so I like to use them for all sorts of projects... as project placemats under Mod Podge and paint, I let the kids draw and put stickers on them, and I most love using them as supplies for my collages.**
So in the spirit of collage, I used a linens catalogue to make pretend ribbons and bows on Dad's gifts.

2- The other thing I did is give into my Vistaprint addiction and have some birthday cards made up from artwork that I did for Mimi a few months ago in her journal (she'd asked me for a surprise collage) Now I just need a few hundred friends to have birthdays so I can give them away! (doesn't seem to be a problem around here)

**Recently, I've been working on artwork that is super portable - all I have top bring with me for these collages are a catalogue, a glue stick, a sketchbook, and a pair of scissors. (those, I'll show later)

It's that time of year...

Me and Dad, about 30 years ago

So this past week was the "Big Birthday Week" in our family. J, my nephew, my Dad and sister were all born within one week of each other. We have about 4 other close friends that that share birthdays that week... So here's a Happy Birthday "shout out" to my Dad and my sis....

First... Happy Birthday, Dada. (who, incidentally, was the first one to name me "Libby Dibby") My dad is a toy inventor, designer, and all around impressive artist. I grew up with a dad who drew on everything available - napkins in restaurants always ended up with little cartoons of me, cars and funny animals. I grew up seeing that artists can come up with fun ideas, sell them, and actually make a living doing such. So it wasn't a huge leap for me to become a corporate textile designer right out of college (Dad did 5 corporate years of his own at Mattel as a designer - where he met my mom, before starting his own business as an independent toy designer.) - and then to leave to start my own business 6 years later. I've always been able to talk to Dad about creative ideas and questions... trademarks, patents and the business side of an art-based company.
I'm super happy to have a dad who has shown me that life always has room for art.

Dad, this year, with Baby Vi.

And then, Happy Birthday to my "little" sister, Victory - who hasn't been littler or less mature than me for many years....
Vic's pre-school graduation... I was in 2nd grade.

You've already met her, both as a guest blogger and a model - so you know that she's very important to me. Victory is mom-extraordinaire to 3 gorgeous girls and she just so happened to marry one of my hubby's best friends in the world, so you can guess at how close our family is. Victory is a working mom, designing toys with Dad and running a very full life with her family.

Dave, Vic and Vi a few weeks ago at Fenway Park.

Happy Birthday, Dad and Vic!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Date night - Hollywood Bowl

Here's a pic of J and I chillin at the Hollywood Bowl ... Having our picnic before the concert... Wine, berries and chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe's... (yum, happy birthday, J! And to my sis, Victory, today, too!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fairy skirt

I had to pull her away from her activities to get her to try this on... I think she has no idea how cool she has it...

More aprons

I needed to hang out with something that did what I told it to yesterday, (i.e. The kids were not helping) ... So I re-introduced myself to my sewing machine and some scraps that had been hanging around wanting to be loved.

Still using zippie bags?

I recently did a post for Designing Moms about Wrap-n-Mats... (thanks, Cardstore, for writing it up!) ... these are one of my favorite ways to be "green" lately.... I highly recommend them. I've also made some of my own (will post later) - but I have to say the Wrap-n-mats are the best... read below...


I secretly cringe every time I reach for another plastic baggie for lunches that we make around here.
So as my daughter has needed lunch as she heads to summer camp each day this month, I decided to work on being as green as I can with lunch packaging.
We bought some of these Wrap-N-Mats and I am the biggest fan! The ones we started off with were the sandwich wrappers - in which you fold over a sandwich and use the velcro closure to keep your sammie fresh until it's time to eat. It folds out into a little placemat, too, so it's nice to know that whatever is on the table, it's NOT on your food.
Wrap-n-mat has their products made in the USA and China under fair trade operations, so you can feel good all the way around.
My 4 1/2 year old has no problem folding the Wrap-n-mat back up by herself to save the 2nd half of a sandwich and these wash easily, dry quickly, and are ready for lunch the next day.

I just ordered the new "snack pouches" and also the "grande" sized mat for family picnics.

Here are some other (and here too) cute food wrappers that we've recently learned about for keeping those zippie bags out of landfills.
(also - there were lots of other options if you search etsy for "sandwich wrappers" or "snack pouches")

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to our Hero, J!

Today is Daddy's birthday. We gave it a theme, "DADDY, YOU ARE OUR SUPERHERO"... And the kids woke him up with a Superman t-shirt to wear to breakfast. All of us were in superhero costumes, and we had a breakfast party with a superhero breakfast and presents before sending him off to work (where we will bring a cake later)... J really is our hero around here, so it was really a fitting theme...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

50 things about me

I've gotten that list called "25 things about me" from at least 50 people and have never really taken the time to write one of my own. So if you've ever sent me one of your lists, I've read it, but never responded back... so now that it's not en vogue, I'm doing it... go figure. Anyhow, I kept writing and then realized I had 50 instead of 25. So there. Now you'll never ask me again.
here goes.1- I don't like camping. At least not the kind of camping that makes you cool and outdoorsy.

2 -I don't like taking the same way to drive places. I'm always up for exploring a new way to somewhere I'm going.

3 -I love socks that clash.

4 - I secretly want to wear shoes that are mismatched and call it a fashion statement.

5- I wear my hair different every day. Varying between about 12-15 different styles and each one of them doesn't take me longer than about 10 minutes. I like variety, but i am also impatient.

6- I am obssessive about washing my face every night. (it's one of the reasons camping doesn't appeal to me)

7- I am a complete eyebrow plucking fanatic, but I never notice eyebrows on other people.

8- I have missed less than 5 days of showering since I had kids. (blast that stereotype!)

9- I'm almost completely certified to do foster care. (expect to hear news from us this coming year!)

10- I've worked as a sushi waitress (while pregnant), a children's ministry director and a mom - all while owning and running my own business.

11- I've sold over 1000 Libby Dibby skirts. And packaged each and shipped them out all by myself.

12- I have a thing for vistaprints.

13- Fabric shops make me salivate. Literally.

14- I LOVE grocery delivery and wouldn't have survived the past 4 years without it.

15- Coffee is very important to me. There have been times in my life where I have fasted from coffee and I would walk around the house with a hot mug of water - just to help my hand feel the need a little less.

16 - I'm not a good housekeeper.

17 - I think my creativity requires a little messiness. There's nothing like having 4000 inspirational things lying around my studio to cause gears to get going.

18 - I traded jewelry with a friend of my mother in law's for sewing lessons.

19 - I was Captain of the Tall Flags team in high school. I still get made fun of for that.

20 - I have indeed (see above) worn gold spandex with sequins on it.

21- My favorite person in the whole world is my husband, Jay.

22 -Pens. Sharpies. V-ball. (nuf said)

23- Polka dot. everything. and Red.

24 - I'm not athletic. But I loved riding horses (English and Western) as a kid.

25 - I think i have made the bed three times since having kids. what's the use?

26- Jay and I use about 6 pillows every night to sleep. It's like sleeping in a display window.

27- I am a terrible flirt. It's a wonder that we ever started dating.

28 -I don't know about love at first sight, but I do believe in marrying your soul mate.

29 - I love parks.

30 - I don't love concerts - except when they are in parks.

31- Traffic does not bother me.

32- I listen to news-radio, but I never hear what they are saying - it's the ultimate "unplugging" of my brain.

33 - I have 10 (maybe more) pairs of red shoes.

34- I have at least 50 things on my creative "to-do" list, but nothing on my "goal" list.
I guess I like things the way they are right now...

35 - I am not political. I hate debates.

36- I want to go back to India.

37- I have a mediocre singing voice - if there are at least 3 people singing with me.
I once sang a solo in a school play. (it sucked)

38- No one called me creative until college. (I showed little sign of creativity up to that point)

39 - I was a bookworm as a kid. Mom actually took away my books sometimes in the summer to make me go outside and play.

40 - I've done archeology in Israel, digging up the palace complex of Herod Agrippa.

41- I hate fog.

42- I will NOT go to a high school reunion of my own. no way.

43 - I fill 5-6 journals a year.

44- I am afraid of birds.

45- I've never smoked a cigarette, but have had my fair share of cigars while in college.

46 - In my corporate time of life, (age 21-26) I drove a silver Dodge Intrepid company car. I hated it.

47 - At two different points in my life, I've been a vegetarian - once for a year, and once for 2 years. I am not now, but I call myself a "recovering vegetarian"

48 - I have written close to 300 poems. Jay is the only person to have seen all of them.

49 - I don't do white. I'm much too messy for that.

50 - I got my nose pierced in 1997 - right before graduating from college - after deciding it was going to look better than shaving my head. I still have it pierced. I'd like a tattoo, but can't decide on what to get.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Now I'm on a casserole...

A belated bday gift for a friend of mine who is always bringing meals to other people. (made with some batik that Amy brought me from Indonesia) the straps are made from a fun woven fabric that I inherited when Tori downsized... My favorite part is the pink button closure.

Apron Festival

Yesterday I emailed 2 friends to see if they were up for an impromptu sewing night... I knew we could finish the aprons in one evening, but I had to convince Kellie and Christy... we had a great time making them... even if Kellie was a little adverse to the ironing at first.
(nothing a little beer and ice cream cake couldn't fix)
The aprons turned out great, the company was even better and remind me to always have an amazing photographer on hand when I do project nights!

apparently, I was cutting really fast...

finished products

dorky models, but hey... the aprons at least look great!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Casserole carrier

Tonight was sewing night again. Christy and Kellie, two recent sewing converts - who I can apparently call on for an impromptu craft nite- were enticed by my invitation to come and make aprons. We are all apron novices and had them on our lists to try.
(photos of the CUTE aprons to follow)
At the end of the night, I decided to crank out another item that has been on my list for a while... A casserole carrier/warmer. See exhibit A: Attempted (poorly) to attach a spoon pocket AFTER
sewing the whole thing up. BIG MISTAKE. The fabric is cute, and this will certainly do the job - I'm bringing baked French toast to MOPS tomorrow.... But I'm not sold on the "envelope" styling (read: horizontal tote bag) nor the lame pocket. This may require a second

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spinny Skirt Giveaway

Hop on over here to Designing Moms, to enter the giveaway for this adorable Libby Dibby Spinny Skirt for a little girl you love, just in time for back to school!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer lovin' tomatoes

Some of these yummies are already "gone" ... Even though I just took
the photo 1 minute ago.
We are going to have a tomato crop this year that will rival all in
our history. (J went a LITTLE overboard on the tomato planting... We
have 17 different plants) today's bounty looks to be the first of many.
Oh happy day! Aren't they the prettiest?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The quilters meet again

Tonight was our quilting club meeting again... This is getting interesting! You can see my 5 completed squares here... I like to make 2 of each pattern we do... The top two are called Rail Fence, the next two are one called "eight point star #4" (according to the quilters cache website), and the bottom one is called "cross and crown".
I'm interested in how a second variation will turn out...
We are planning on making a sampler from all of these squares... tune in next month for another 1 or 2 additions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Baby Sling Patterns listed on Etsy

I was able to find time to list the new slings today on etsy.
Oh, and some more of those great swaddle blankies, too.

Scrap box project review

Remember my Earth Day giveaway? Where more than 25 of you got a +5lb box of scraps from me when you paid the postage? Today I found a post that my friend Christy did about what she made with the scraps. Can you just die at how cute these are?
Way to go Christy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

V & Vi baby sling models

Remember when I posted that photo of my sister and her baby, Violet, in the baby sling about a year ago? Here's an update of the amazing amount of use that sling still gets. My sis sent me this image of them using it in Boston this week... Vi is a year old now and still delighted to be snuggled close to Mama. V, besides being a rockin hot mama of three girls, is super capable as a mom and is using the sling in a way I never did- with the baby facing out.
I think this is why I like the "ring" style sling that I sell best of all... It's just so flexible- with so many uses and so much room for creativity. When Mimi was 2 1/2 and we went to Mexico for a family vacation, her little feet were so small that she couldn't walk on the cobblestone streets very easily. I pulled out my trusty camo sling and strapped her onto my back for the day.



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