Monday, May 17, 2010

A banner, a pillow, and a very happy Monday

So.  Greg is finally done with his two weeks of night-shift work, and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. As I geared up for his nocturnal schedule, I imagined myself bustling with industrious activity in the evenings -- carding up a shop update, sewing some clothing for myself, working on some projects that I've been planning to start (including a baby shower gift that I just could not decide on, so therefore couldn't cut the fabric to begin)...but instead, I allowed myself to be listless.  I mean, I still baked bread and muffins and granola and made yogurt for my children's breakfast and made dinner every night and spun and knit some...but I didn't bustle.  The housecleaning went to shambles, I was less-than-patient with my children, frustrated with Greg for having this schedule (which is SO not his fault, but, you know, there's gotta be a fall guy...) my workshop/studio stood unused, I stayed up way too late at night (trying to catch up to the current season of LOST on the free episode feature on, and slogged through my mornings.  I felt as though I was just wasting time, dragging my feet through each day.  Looking back, I think a lot of it was just my attitude towards it all -- I was still very busy, but just busy with different things than I wanted to be doing.  ANYWAY!  Moving onward, let's look back at some projects I finished a few weeks before the Night Shift Ate My Life.

First, remember that sweet bit of redwork embroidery I was working on a while back?  When it was completed, it grew up to be this throw-pillow:


This pillow is based upon the one in Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule (Soule Mama).  Greg didn't think it went with the aesthetic of our living room, but I think it looks rather at home here.


The fabric used here is a mixture of Amy Butler and some vintage scraps I had in my stash.


The redwork pattern can be found free on PatternBee.


This next project is a bunting/banner that I've wanted to do ever since I saw the cover of Handmade Home:


As you can see, I still haven't taken my little sock/mitten/hat "advent" clothesline down since Christmas, and, after polling the members of my little family, we've decided that it's simply a part of our kitchen now, and no one wants to see it gone.  So it needed a friend.  And I think that this One Word Banner complements it perfectly, helping to pull the whole look of the kitchen together.


I alternated these two Amy Butler fabrics for the letters, and the background "flags" are from an old British gray wool military blanket:



The little birds at each side are my favorite part:


Coming up with the word for the banner was difficult, because whatever it is makes such a statement, but when I finally hit upon "Nourish", it felt right.  Nourishing is what we're all about -- feeding little bodies, souls, caring for the 4 tiny lives that we've been entrusted with.  I love having the reminder up there on the wall where I can see it all through my day.

Upcoming projects for our house include a tiny embroidered "notepad" quilt (inspired by this one), a magnetic photo board (from Seams To Me by Anna Maria Horner), and I also plan on picking up a small blackboard at Ikea to hang on the wall.

Because Greg is in the Army, every place we've lived has always been temporary, so I have never felt the urge to stamp it with my own design aesthetic, or dig in with the nesting urges.  I've always left the decorating to Greg, which has meant lots of colored lights, walls papered with rock band posters, and a serious rock-and-roll asthetic, which can be cool to look at...but wasn't me.  Yes, we do share this house, and I want him to be happy with the way our living space looks, but when he deployed last time when we were living in Germany, I started to realize that I really needed our house to feel like my domain.  I'm the one who generally entertains here, I'm the one who spends most of my waking hours here, I'm the one who dreams and creates and conducts life from this space.

Something about this place we're living in now just feels so Home to me -- I feel more at home here than I ever have anywhere else, and now that I've started to personalize our living space, I've found it so deeply satisfying.  I love seeing the fruits of my own creative process on the walls, brightening our rooms, and expressing who we are as a family.  I also love that, through all of this feathering of our nest, we can divorce ourselves (for the most part) from storebought consumerism in this small way.

Our house may have been built in a cookie cutter assembly-line style, but the inside reflects the values we are raising our children with.  It's empowering in ways that I'd never thought of before.  Is it possible to develop an addiction to interior decorating?

This past weekend Greg and I scrubbed the house down, spent much needed time together, and I feel refreshed.  Now, looking back at these two projects, I feel newly inspired to hit the ground running.  I can feel a good week coming on.  Happy Monday, my friends!

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