Wednesday, February 28, 2007

a meander

So, after my last post, I must say that today I flew the coop (or shall I say I left the house) by myself. Grammie came and so I went for a meander around the West Village. I stopped in at Camp on Perry and Hable Construction and Milk and Cookies for a latte (oh boy did I want some cookies too). I have a real obsession with cookies. It wasn't always this way but, it is now and that's all there is to it. I could do without the milk though. I've never liked milk on it's own. As for Camp on Perry, it was written up in Blueprint Magazine and I was curious. At Hable Construction, I had a kind of freak out moment where I saw things similar to things I've made and are making and was like hmm should I try and do consignment at a shop. Anyone have any tips on this?
It was so nice out today and even with some snow on the ground you could tell spring was coming. Usually during this time of day (little M's naptime) I'm photographing, writing this blog and then working on my projects. Alas, it is now too dark out to photograph any of my latest endeavors.

Also, in the news, my little man has progressed in the walking department past 6 steps which he started two and a half weeks ago to around 15-20 steps at a time!

P.S. Those are my feet in D.C. in the summer of 2005.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Like all these dainty and pretty little scrap threads, yarn, felt and fabric all huddled together I have nestled in this winter staying in more than usual and working on projects when I get the chance.

Monday, February 26, 2007

millinery brooches

I'm so excited to show these beautiful brooches I made yesterday. They are made with vintage buttons (the base) and vintage millinery items, birds and ribbon. They are wrapped with gold thread from Germany and a little glueing for extra security.
A lot of the items used to make these came from one of my all time favorite stores that I discovered last year called Parcel in Montclair, NJ. We went there on Saturday afternoon after Matty's friend Kasper's b-day party got cancelled (boo hoo) but will hopefully be rescheduled soon.

I also picked up these old game piece letters to spell out my obsession with crafting.

On Friday night we watched, The Science of Sleep which is fascinating. I want to watch it again and again. I highly recommend it (and the character Stephanie is a very interesting crafter). I love her little forest boat.

I'm still recovering from actually going out on Saturday night and staying up way past my bedtime. I went to Maxwell's to see The Lemonheads with my friend Kristen. Evan Dando was great and still looks the same (or at least the same hair). I forgot my glasses at home so the fine details were out.

And, yesterday, we had a great play date. Owen is 12 days younger then little M and it was their first time meeting and it went so good...they hugged and played nicely. I was so impressed. The closeness in age makes so much difference at this stage in their lives. We want to hang with Owen more- such a cool little guy.

Friday, February 23, 2007

tiny stitches, tiny feet

I love to make little knit shoes/booties/slippers. Whatever you like to call them, they are just so sweet like the tiny feet they envelop.
For a while there I was only making this kind

which I still love and will always make but, lately I have been trying out some new ones.

My latest are these Pom Pom Slippers from Debbie Bliss. I love her patterns. They are so beautiful and inspirational. The one difficult part about these again is working on such small needles (size 2). I love how it looks but it is much more time consuming. I can be so impatient jumping from one thing to the next. Always wanting to do 10 things at once. Always wishing to accomplish more and feeling I've not done enough today, this week. I have to remind myself that slowing down and working on something that takes time is good too. Really, it is.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I love to set up little objects together and create little scenes. A windowsill is a perfect place for my arrangements. A few of my favorites are the kitchen and bathroom windowsills. The dining room is another but I can't get over there now as I might wake the napping baby one room over.

The kitchen one shows some of my favorite salt and pepper shakers which are something I have been collecting for years and never tire of. Also, other little objects which I grow fond of make their way there - little butter dishes, a tiny suitcase, vintage creamers. There is always something about the kitchen for me - it is the easiest room for me to decorate. You know how when you have a party in your apartment people all tend to congregate in the kitchen even when you have spread out the food all around your place and the couches and chairs are very inviting. It's just the way it is. People love the kitchen.

The bathroom is also this way for me. I know that maybe that is strange but I kind of love our bathroom - minus the kitty litter box. We have an old claw foot tub and the color in our bathroom is this perfect grey green with gray beadboard and the original tile floor which is a bit beat up but loveable in an old way. I try to evoke a calm feeling for that room totally opposite of the kitchen which is super colorful and vibrating with energy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

'quilt' ideas

Yeah, it's in the 40's and I almost feel like it's spring even though there is snow all over the place. Matty and I went to the playground today and at first we were all by ourselves but then a few other people showed up. In the summer going to the playground can feel redundant but, today it was just the best. The swings were dry and the smile on little M's face so big.

So last night I got to thinking about quilts with spring coming and all - less layers. However, I don't feel ready quite yet to embark on the queen size quilt for my bed so I thought about it and although I have also been loving little doll quilts I'm thinking a crib sized quilt. Now the 2 ideas I have so far are girly and I think they would be fun to make but shouldn't I be focusing on a boy quilt for Matty. I will have to think about one for him.

One idea I have is to use the yo yo's I've been making except not stich them all together like a typical yo yo quilt but, rather space them out in rows evenly and maybe add other elements like leaves and embroidery although maybe just the yo yo's alone would be pretty.

The other idea goes something like this - just sew a bunch of patches down randomly. I've got 30 tiny square patches. Now that I look at it, I think I may need more for a 30 x 50 quilt and I'm not sure red is the best background color. Now I know this isn't true quilting but maybe it would be good just to do something simple to start with so I can see what it like to do the B's (use batting, back and bind). Did I just come up with that? I'm sure someone else made up the three B's...

I can just see myself making quilt tops and then have them sitting around until I work up the courage to run them through the Singer Merritt because I can see the layers might cause problems. Maybe hand quilting would have to be done. Maybe this should just be put on the back burner.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Remember how I said I was trying not to buy yarn. Well, I confess I couldn't keep that promise. I made 2 trips in the past few days to my LYS and wouldn't you know it, I didn't even stick to the approved list .

It started because I was working on my third capelet (the green one) and I ran out of yarn to finish it. The yarn is a little off but I think it's still ok. It is a bit lighter and less yellow-green. There are no dye lots on Manos yarn plus, the first skein of it I bought quite a while ago and I didn't want to search around for an exact.

Can you imagine if my next baby or babies (once I decide to get pregnant again that is) turned out to be triplets and were girls and wore these in some super fancy triplet pram.....oh my.

Then I was going to buy a dress pattern and cotton for that but, they didn't have the pattern in stock yet so I held off buying that yarn but, then 5 more skeins showed up in the basket. Oh boy, I guess this is one addiction I still have to work on. At least most of the skeins I bought I have projects attached to.

Of course, I've also decided I want to make a bolero from light blue Rowan Kid Classic but since I don't have a pattern yet I controlled myself.

So there is a little pat on back. I'm not that bad, am I?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mini Swap Meme

vintage apron
Originally uploaded by nancy cook.
Matty and I are involved in an apron swap and we are being asked the following questions.

1. What is your first food memory? licking peanut butter off of fisher price people toys
2. What was your favorite dish/food as a child? grape leaves
3. Name one of your mini's favorite foods: strawberries
4. What was your mini's first solid food? Did they love it or hate it? sweet potato- he loved it
5. What was something you were excited to make for your mini for the first time? hummus
6. What is your favorite food memory? eating fondue for the first time with my aunt in nyc
7. Your mini's birthday party : All out theme with perfect kid food ala Martha? or Quiet family home party with scrumptious cupcakes? Something in-between? I am more of the all out party host. I made it a woodland theme for my son's 1st birthday party and made needle felted acorns, had woodland animal figurines, leaves cut from felt and fabric etc. I also made a birthday box from an old cigar box which I glued fabric to (and the main purpose of this is just to house the cards). The food was the perfect mix of child and adult friendly- wonderful foccacia's and an amazing cake plus a special cupckcake just for my son
8. Name one thing you absolutely love to make and eat when you are feeling like a kid again: taco's
9. Name something you ate as a kid that you now look back on and wonder "what were my childhood taste buds thinking??" : i would have to say any meat as i'm now a vegetarian
10. Name 3 things your mini loves (doesn't have to be food related): playing the harmonica & guitar, books, balloons

Saturday, February 17, 2007

loving today

Originally uploaded by nancy cook.
I am loving these handknit wristwarmers I made last year from the Voodoo pattern on I went with a black merino wool and a different gauge then recommended but, they came out perfect. I have been wearing them all winter. The pattern is very easy to follow.

Friday, February 16, 2007

wintergarden handbag

I'm about to embark on this project
Isn't this yarn dreamy.....

but, as I said I really am making efforts to only use yarn I have so mine will be with this yarn. The weight is bit off but, I think it should still be fine since it is a handbag.

Other than that, I'm going to try to make book club this afternoon but, we are off schedule today so it may not happen. I still need to finish the book but, I only have 35 pages left to read which is doable. The book is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie which isn't bad but, not wonderful either.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

a letter box

I started this and forgot about it and then finished it yesterday. My mother-in-law Julia gave me two cigar boxes as well as some fabric last time I saw her. She knew I would put them to good use.

I thought a little about what to do with them.

One I made into what I called a birthday box for Matty's 1st birthday and covered with plaid fabric and made a collage from cut out letters from an old magazine (I'll add it to flickr at some point) to house his birthday cards.
I decided the other should be a letter box. I thought if I made a pretty box perhaps it will inspire me to write a letter, send a note. Many of us send holiday cards and thank you notes but the occasional just because note or letter is rare for me. As I said in my first post, I used to write a lot and had penpals all over the world.

Some details..

On the inside cover I collaged:

-an old postcard
-a butterfly postcard
-a russian vocabulary card showing the english side
-a fabric maple leaf I cut out from the fabric Julia gave me
- a tag from Papered Together with two deers... also responsible for the beautiful stationary that is tied with black yarn inside the box(hard to see)
-a Fashioned by Nancy Cook sew-in-tag

Inside the box
-the stationary mentioned above has a thank you note (included for free) personalized staionary with a spinning wheel and a look what I made you card
-my fleur-de-lys stamp and stamp pad
-some pens including my Father's ink well pen from grade school that he just gave me
-a box with some felt flowers I made and paper flowers I bought
-animal block print cards I used for thank you notes for Matty's 1st birthday
-and of course some stamps.

Now get writing...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day

Happy Valentine's Day chicks and chickies! I hope you all have a sweet day with your love(s)!

Can you resist these sweet cheeks?

Here are the goodies all pretty on the table (most are from Grammie who came to visit yesterday):

I couldn't resist a closeup of the beautiful dark chocolate covered strawberries and dark chocolate heart pops.

Mick says I also have these Frozen Charlottes on the way!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

stripes and strawberries

Last night I made this. I've been wanting to try a zipped pouch for some time. I get a little freaked out sometimes for no apparent reason with certain new projects. If I am nervous I get a little mental block with directions so the first few steps I did wrong and had to tear out and start over with a new zipper. In the end I got this cute red and white striped pouch with blue gingham lining.

It actually was quite easy so I can see myself making this again.

I made a little felt strawberry as well but, I think I will try a new method with that next time.

Here is a shot of the inside. I followed a tutorial I found on this site

Monday, February 12, 2007

corners of my home-kitchen

I've seen a lot of blogs talk about corners of their home and I think it is kind of neat to peek into people's houses and get a glimse of their private spaces.

So, I thought I would begin to share some pictures around the house. Today, I've decided to show you one of my kitchen walls. I've grouped a bunch of little things together:
-a retro cookbook cover with a cherry pie graphic
-a collage piece I did a few years ago of cake candles and a actress holding a cake (guess which actress...),
-a vintage chalkboard which currently reads, Tea Time and 2 lokolo cherries hanging on top
-2 vintage postcards
1) 3 black cats: which reads- 2 little girls loved one little boy
2) a early 1900's scene of a man overlooking a couple kissing which reads: Peek-A Boo
-a cigarette paper graphic with the evolution of an apple saw fly
-a asian inspired notecard with ladies and paper lanterns
-a hand holding a heart which reads: when this you see remember me
-then there is the odd spanish lady that changes into different people depending how you fold her she can become a mexican man with a hat or another lady
-a french graphic with a girl holding Maxime products- thes, cafes, cacaos, chocolats

P.S. the handkerchiefs hang above this and I forgot to mention the light switch cover which if you are interested is images of fruit, flowers and chickens

-Oh, and the yellow capelet I made a little different- a bit longer and a shorter collar with a pink ribbon.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

mini - mini capelet

The capelet/shrug has revealed itself as a mini - mini capelet. It worked out great for a little one... 1-3 maybe 4 year old. I tested it out on Matty (almost 15 months) but I just couldn't take a picture of him in it. I think that might come back to haunt me when he is older. So, you need to imagine this on a little girl until I get a model. I'm telling you it is super cute. I added the little felted berries which I sewed to a wool branch and leaves I made and attached. The green ribbon tie finishes it off so nice but maybe I should cut it shorter? I'm already at work on another one in yellow right now.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Free yarn from Anna, WIP and ribbon embroidery

Anna came to visit yesterday and she gave me these:

I am going to do some swatches soon and see what I think. The blue and darker olive are sort of like ribbon and the burnt orange and light green are a blend. If I like them, she has 9 more balls of each so I can make something big. Or, a bunch of little things. Hmm. Something big might be good for me. I'm thinking a top would be nice with the ribbon-like yarn if it's lacy over a tank.

I started this last night:

I am hoping for it to be a shrug or capelet which I plan to add felt bits and bobs too. I'm excited about the idea. We will see how it works out.

And, MSL arrived yesterday. Did you see the ribbon embroidery?

I especially liked the fruits and flowers..


Something else for me to try someday. Add it to the never-ending list.
Happy Weekends everyone.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Olive, Pipa, Amanda and Scarlet

Last week the J Crew catalog came and I saw this and got enamored with the brooch on the clutch. It reminded me a little of prize winning pins.

So you know, I had to pull out the ribbons, jewels and buttons and make some of my own.
The olive green one is decorated with an old rhinestone earring. The screw on kind for those who don't have pierced ears. I think the pain of ear piercing is nothing when compared to wearing the screwed on kind. Anyway, that one and the pink velvet one with the pearl and clear button remind me a little of Kate Spade. (Oh, and so does the pink/green ribbon combo one with the gold button). I am going to call them Olive and Pipa for the pink one.
Yes, I'm naming them.
The other 2, I combined 2 color ribbons. The pink and green one reminds me of the country club. I am going to call that one Amanda.
I think the black and scarlet ribbon with the scarlet button is my favorite at the moment. Oh, I have to call that one Scarlet.
I still need to put pin backs on them. I think they will look charming on your clutch, on your lapel or coat.
Don't you?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

grandma's tatting

Here are a few of the spools of Grandma Cook's tatting. Jaleelie was an avid crocheter. Whenever she was 'resting' she was at her crochet. She made beautiful clothes, delicate snowflakes which she starched etc. I always admired her hands moving quickly and the beautful things that would emerge. She did try to teach me once or twice but we only got as far as the chain. I'm now able to do single and double crochet but have only made a crocheted flower thus far.
This tatting is beautiful to me to have and to look at. I imagine one does beautiful edging on dresses or tablecloths with tatting. Someday, I may get around to this but, for now just seeing them up on my shelf above my desk both inspires me and reminds me of her while I am working.
Here are a few pieces of tatting trim meant for something she didn't get around to finish or laid aside for the right purpose. I wonder what she had planned for these. I wonder what I could do with them that she would be proud of.

Here they are close-up. The photos don't do them justice.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

all i want to do is knit

There are many projects I want to be doing but, all I really want to do right now is to knit. This has a lot to do with it being absolutely freezing outside, 19 degrees to be exact. I'm listening to myself and just taking it slow and knitting away. I'm getting back into this

and making myself one of these

with this yarn

I am also eating those damn double chocolate milano's again...I'm addicted.

I signed up and got accepted for my first ever swap. It is an apron/smock swap for the mini's in our lives. Being that I have a boy, I'm hoping for a art smock for Matty.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Crewel Yarn

My ebay'd crewel embroidery yarn showed up last week. I didn't know what a lot of 51 would look like for some reason.
Sometimes you can't imagine these things. I am very pleased with the stash if only I had a good place to store it. My bedroom's hiding places are getting a little busty.
My first project with it was to embellish the second eyeglass case and so I did this.

A pretty simple design but, I like it.

I've another item to felt but, I'm not sure how to go about this in a stackable washer without water going everywhere. Any thoughts? I could go to the laundromat but, I think they might get mad at me checking the progress constantly. I've only done felting at my parents house so far.

In other news, on Saturday night I got really really sick and basically everything came up for about 2 hours straight. It was crazy and I'm still not feeling up to par so my usual energy is a bit slowed down at the moment. Boo hoo....

Friday, February 2, 2007


I've been excited about needlecases and needlebooks lately. You might say that I'm a bit excitable about a lot of things which would totally be true especially if it concerns making things. I'm thinking of making more of these but using another pattern or making up one as I have needles of many varietites- sewing, embroidering, beading, darning so at least 4 pages.
This is called a Valentine needlecase and it is from the Patternbee website as was yesterday's project post. I made it from 100% wool and I think it is darling. Here is a look at the inside.

and take a look at this one.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

...a little lamb

This here is lambkin...poor little gal had to go to the hospital twice for extra stitches last night. She is made using this pattern. So sweet and huggable. Her collar is made from peppermint stripe bakery string and millinery flowers. The Patternbee website is making me all crazy in the good way. I'm already at work on another sewing project from there.