mojave calling

While Hashi put up the tent, K got the fire going

Our beautiful campsite

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

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Hedgehog cactus

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Banshee Canyon

It’s becoming an April tradition, the birthday camping trip. Last year we went to Los Padres National Forest. The year before to Death Valley. This time, we went to Mojave (Mo-hah-vee, for you Australians) National Preserve and camped at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Ah, desert. I love its muted tones and barren vistas and surprising splashes of colour. It whispers ancient secrets that I cannot quite understand, but that I want to slow down and strain to hear. Despite the dust, it leaves me feeling cleansed in some way. It is the opposite of frenetic and riotous, the opposite of Los Angeles. There is no hurrying to be done in the desert.

We had such a lovely time. Except for when the wind got fierce in the night, and our tent became a flapping flailing beast for hours on end, and The Guy resorted to sleeping in the car. THAT part wasn’t fun. But the rest, the hiking and exploring and cooking and staring at the fire. Yep, that was all perfect, and exactly right for a birthday trip. I’m a happy girl.

february makes

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My dear friend Lola loves the smell of lavender, so I made her a set of sachets for her birthday. (Quite a few ladies got these for Christmas, too.) Simple and sweet, with a loop long enough for a clothes hanger if so desired.

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And then Miss Cali Hashi turned two, prompting a trio of jersey dresses and a little Aster Cardigan to go with them all.

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Cali_alien_dress

When I heard she was having an alien/space birthday party, I whipped up a tshirt for her brother Felix to wear at the celebration. But why should he be the only one in alien garb? Cali obviously needed yet another dress, to match the birthday theme.

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Then there was some very utilitarian sewing: blackout curtains and a ‘cozy’ for the electric saw. Projects like this aren’t exactly thrilling, but still provide their own satisfaction.

Coming up in March: Sew The Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard on Craftsy. Wish me luck.

january makes

Rhea-papercut-before-after

It’s been more than a year since my last papercut portrait. They are somewhat time-consuming and hard on the hand, but I absolutely love the result. I swiped a favourite pic off Rhea’s instagram feed and made this as a birthday gift for her. The one I made for the Guy was three colours (not including the background); this one is four. I like the extra detail that the fourth tone allows.

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The Guy and I leave notes to each other daily, as we keep very different circadian cycles. We’ve nearly filled an 80 page sketchbook, so I made another to have ready. Unlike the Christmas journals which were case bound, this one employs coptic stitch. I really enjoy book binding; it combines my loves of paper and sewing, and the finished product is tactile, useful, and beautiful. Can’t wait to start using this.

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And of course, there was sewing. Inspired by this tutorial, I made a chess set for a favourite soon-to-be-9 yr old. I bought the bottle caps on ebay, and drew the icons with an ultra fine sharpie before sealing them with polymer medium. I made small and medium-sized drawstring bags; one for the bottle caps, another to hold the whole shebang, folded up.

There was a lot more gift-making in January, but reveals will have to wait until the recipients open them. And there was a big fat shirt-making fail, but I’ll post those pictures another day, hopefully when I actually have success with garment-fitting.

birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

wonky is totally good enough

Sun&Sea messenger bag

I made this bag last November, and it’s been sitting in my gifts box ever since, waiting for the right birthday to come along, which it now has. But I wanted to put something in it for the six year old miss.

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Inspired by this idea, I whipped up a few books today, ready for stories and pictures. My first plan had been to create the borders all neat-like, in Illustrator, but then I figured that wonky and sketchy was just right for a kid. I also thought of hand stitching a sewn binding, but a quick whizz through the sewing machine was more fun. And, let’s face it, ten times faster. With a packet of washable markers, we’re all set.

you know when you get stuck on a little detail? yeah, that.

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On top of cooking for 11, I felt the overwhelming desire to make cloth napkins the night before the birthday lunch. At first I told myself I was crazy, but really, it only took an hour or so while the sweet potatoes were baking. Did anyone notice or care except for me? Probably not. But I was happy.

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