Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knitting Queen

I've decided I'm going to knit some of my Christmas presents this year.
I don't know if I should really post exactly what it is that I'm scheming, I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for those of my friends who actually read this thing, but it might actually help me see it through, so I'll decide in a few days after I've made some progress.
I will say that, in theory, they'll be the cutest things ever.
And that I was inspired by my friend Leila's (Ryan's wife) latest craft, found in this fabulous book.

The thing about me and knitting is that I can never remember how to do it.
I have knit several things in the past from too-short-too-wide sweaters to lumpy winter hats, but put the knitting down for more than a few days, and I've forgotten everything I know.

Job one: Casting on 17 stitches. 
Luckily, I've found a helpful resource at
Success! In only 2 tries. I hope I did it right. I've never knit without my mom in the other room.
Now for a little purling
And increasing by 10 stitches*

*Total time elapsed between purling, and this photo: 57 minutes
Total times I ripped everything out and started over until I got it right: 2
Total time I enjoyed myself doing it: 0:02 seconds

So it was a rough start, but start I did. Here's my progress so far today. Pathetic, but I think the tough part is over, and I did get some great practice casting on. I'm practically a professional cast-er on-er.
Oh, and I also ate half a loaf of the zucchini bread my mom delivered this afternoon. 
Well the baby did. 
I merely facilitated.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birds and French Fries

So it's no secret that I spend a lot of time searching through blogs and trolling the internet for inspiration. 
I used to find it really hard to navigate. 
I never knew what to Google or where to look, but I've recently found it to be a really small place. One blog leads to another and another and lately I've been seeing a lot of the same stuff popping up all over the place.
Almost like someone's guiding my mouse, leading me to sites whispering "Em, have you seen this! Oh you are going to love this!".

For instance, I found the cutest print on Etsy a few months ago. It read "Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry".
Tell me that is not the cutest sentence you've ever read.
Can't you just picture how happy that little bird would be!?
Now that. That is happy.

Then today I was reading one of my favourite blogs and the blogger had posted another adorable print and, wouldn't you know it, same artist.

I don't have so much to chat about today, so instead of blogging about how my cash area is already totally messed up again, and there's a paint tray full of dried up yellow paint  reeking havoc on my "Bathroom Bliss", I thought I'd share a little of the sweetness that is Shelli of Studio Mela.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sadie Baby

One of my employees is also one of my sister Zoey's best friends, Sadie.
Oh Sadie. 

Blackbird is about to embark on a relatively overwhelming renovation. Because I don't have enough going on you know. We're building a new wall of shelving, adding some funky lighting and giving every wall a fresh coat of paint. All during a retail season when I have the most inventory I will have all year. And it's all got to be moved in order to get this project done.
The reno itself is almost a month away, but I've been trying to get as much of the little things done in advance. One of the things I've been wanting to get off the To Do list, is painting the back wall with yellow and white stripes (a la my website).

On Monday the wall was chocolate brown. I don't have a great picture, but here's one from last Spring:
On Tuesday Sadie came along (despite having a full time job elsewhere) and spent about 8 hours doing this:

She even found a friend with a laser level (no way she could have done this without one!), and when I told her I really couldn't afford to pay her for the whole day she said she was doing because she really wants to help me and be part of making the shop look beautiful.
Oh, and because of the satisfaction of peeling off painters tape to reveal what is truly a work of art.
Check out the gorgeousness that is Blackbird's back wall:
I love Sadie.
But, she does make it pretty easy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Since blogging about my disastrous store bathroom yesterday seemed to really help me TCB, I thought I'd do more of the same today.
This time, in a much more visible part of the store. The cash.
Orders have been arriving daily in preparation for Christmas and a lack of energy (and enthusiasm) for dealing with them has allowed boxes to pile up. Not to mention the mail and packing slips and bills and other miscellaneous items that overwhelm me to a point where my only real option is to file them under "later" in a stack on the counter.
Here is what my cash area looks like now (10:30am):
And two hours later:

I don't know about you, but I feel better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bathroom Bliss

The bathroom at the store is embarrassing.
It's basically the room I stash every little homeless thing I don't want to deal with.
It's full of paint cans and brushes and rollers and empty toilet rolls and a 3-tiered basket that was broken when it arrived and that I tried to save by rigging a joyce made of string and packing tape...and that never really worked.

What's worse is that customers are always asking to use it.
And, in all likelihood, judging me and my standard of cleanliness.
Sorting out the bathroom has just felt like such a daunting task. But today is a rainy day and, by the looks of the Blackbird loo, it's been waiting for a rainy day to be cleaned.
And clean it I did.
The bathroom before:
And after!

Ahh. So nice. So clean. So tidy. So not going to last.
Don't ask where I put the paint cans. My back room is another story altogether.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I finished my first embroidery project last night. It's a little something for my bookworm-y friend Ryan who turned 30 this week. Ryan is one of my favourite friends. 
We've known each other for 18 years and the guy is always a laugh.
This week I decided that I'm not allowed to buy anymore anything, including craft supplies (we'll see how long this lasts) so I dug through my stuff and made this:

I even had the frame tucked away in a closet. Woo hoo for free gifts!

I also made a curtain for our downstairs powder room that I think might actually make me able to live with the hideous colour I painted it.
The Kaffe Fassett fabric is a little more wild than I would normally choose, but I think I could stand to be a touch wackier with my home decor.

The room still needs something, but it's a process people.
Now for something completely different, a little kitty love.

He has no idea I post this stuff.

Love and kitty kisses,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog City

I am 100% addicted to reading blogs. 
Oh, and Etsy
I could spend an entire day just trolling the internet from one blog to the next being inspired to take up a new hobby. It's dangerous out there!
Want to see what I found today?
Are you ready? I can't save you from the crafting bug you know. 
Heck, I can't even save myself.
These adorable little numbers are courtesy (though I didn't ask her permission to post that a blog rule?) of Jennifer Pagnelli of Sis Boom.

I died for these cute little tunics. I'd like one in an quadruple XL for myself actually.
And then there was this girl, who just made me giggle.

Okay, okay. You want pictures. 
I spotted this FABULOUS rug-to-be at Crazy Mom Quilts and, though I'm no knitter I'm sure I could manage this:
No yet though. I'm still on my embroidery kick. 
And I'm sewing a curtain for our downstairs bathroom in the hopes that I can make the purple colour I painted it work.
It was supposed to be more grey. But really, it's very lavender and makes me annoyed every time I pee. 
And I pee a LOT.
And that's annoying enough in itself without the help of some hateful paint colour.

Stay tuned for the before and after.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Crash and Burn

A V8, half a tuna sandwich, $3 worth of Jelly Bellies and this:
are swishing around inside my belly right now, and one of them is sucking my will to stay awake until 5pm. 
I'm pretty sure it's not the V8. 
I don't even think it's the kid.
It's totally the beans.
Those magical little beans that come in delightful flavours like Strawberry Daquiri and Buttered Popcorn, and that I know full well will make me crash T minus 30 minutes from consumption... yet, can't seem to resist.

I have a meeting with my trainer tonight at 6pm too. Shoot me.
And then I'm going to start a new project. I'm feeling embroidery this week.

Oh how Brad would LOVE me to see my furniture painting project through and get it the heck out of his precious garage, but in order to do that I would have to lug it all into the house and make an acrylic painty mess. 
Does you want that Brad? Do you really?
Tyra  needs me to watch her crush some dreams tonight, and I can't promise that paintbrushes won't go flying in the excitement of it all.

Smile with your eyes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I have had the creative itch for months now. 
The first thing holding me back from getting armpit deep in a new project was that we were waiting to move to our new place. 
Now what's corking my creative juices is my lack of a work space. 
I promised myself that I would carve myself a little nook to create in once we were settled in this house, but I haven't done it yet. 
I've been trying to work the store as much as possible so that I'll have a financial buffer when this baby comes and I have to start paying people to man the shop 7 days a week.
So I really only have one day a week to spend at home with Brad doing house stuff, and no time to get creative. I did, however, manage to Martha some pumpkins for our front porch.

So despite the sad fact that we do only have that one day a week to be productive around the house together, Brad still manages to squeeze in a healthy dose of sports. While I was in the garage sanding off my first attempt at painting some furniture...
(the colours were off so I'm starting over)

He was inside "multitasking". 
That's right. He was watching sports while watching sports.
That's Olivia (aka Best Cat Ever) on the table. She's about as impressed as I was.

Until next time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blast from the Past

Going through Brad's computer this morning perusing for old photos to get me started on this blog thing and... look what I found!
This is me approximately 28 years ago.
My mom made my digs. And if I remember correctly, the buttons on the shoulders are little pink strawberries that match the strawberry gingham motif I'm pulling off so effortlessly.
(I'm having flashbacks now of green turtles, red apples and purple plastic whales. I think we had buttons of a different shape on every item of clothing she made us.)
I used to hate that my mom made all of our clothes (I have two younger sisters).
Now I would DIE for her to whip me up a little something fabulous. Espeicially if it came with matching bloomers...and "you know I look fierce" attitude.
I'm so glad I found this picture. Makes me want to attempt this little number in an Amy Butler fabric.
I wish I knew what we're having.
Do little boys wear bloomers?