Monday, August 30, 2010


I wrote this a few years ago for a newsletter. It has become one of the favorite stories I have told at writers group. With the kids heading back to school this week, I thought it was a good one to share here now.

It was late September, the kids had been back to school for about a month, and I was
relishing the quiet hours between 9 and 3. Time to work uninterrupted. If the weather was good, I could even get an extra half an hour in as I sent the kids walking to school and let them see themselves home. Why am I unprepared for the onslaught everytime they walk through the door at 3:15?
"Mommy, do you need to go to the store?"
"Sure." I answered, "You can come with me."
She wants a cookie, I thought. I can take a break from this in a while and take her.
Gabrielle offered, "I'll help you make the list." This was her way of getting me off of my project and out the door faster.
"Go ahead, hon." This was my way of staying on my project and helping my first grader become more independent.
"How do you spell asparagus?"
Oh, great! I can focus through a lot of background, but spelling requires all of me.
"Why don't you just write down the first letter of the things we need, and we will remember when we get there?" My idea satisfied both of us. Aisle by aisle in my mind, I named the things we needed, and Gabrielle marked their initial.
When we got to the store, my plan seemed to be working: "A" asparagus, how could we forget? Another "A" for apples, "M" mushrooms, "B" bread, but then she came to a "W." We stopped.

"W," "W," what did we need that started with "W?" Watermelon was out of season. We stood in the aisle between the bakery and the produce wracking our brains. Suddenly, Gabrielle turned toward the deli, and with her finger in the air declared, "I know, wunchmeat!"

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butterfly Manito Park

Butterfly Manito Park
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I think this one would make a neat puzzle. I am looking into doing it in time for Christmas. Perfect for 7-10 year olds on our list. The way this happened was as I was switching out one set of luggage tags for another - setting up for the next photo, Rory wandered off chasing this butterfly. I lost my photographer for a short time but gained lovely photo.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our version of Gnomes

A man watched us (amused) and finally asked if this was our version of Gnomes. I told him what we were really doing, a photo shoot for an online shop. Thinking about it now, I think I like the gnomes answer better. So on future photo shoots I can entertain myself with that. I am seriously debating letting this case go - I haven't put it in the shop yet. We got some fabulous photos of it which I will edit and add to my Flickr photostream on Monday. It is just so photogenic inside and out. I may have a use for it down the road...especially if I decide to go ahead with some lingerie ideas that are tripping around in my head. We got a lot of great shots today that will be showing up in the shop - new luggage tags and new vintage luggage, also new shots of a few clutches. I am grateful for Rory, who will give up his Saturday to shoot pictures with me. I didn't even grab the camera from him once today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

At the end of a Summer day forever

I look up to this young woman. Her uniform is a dirty red bikini with a fanny pack full of first aid supplies. She stands on her platform and makes the last announcement of the day through a megaphone. I feel a big "whoo-hoo!" rise up out of me, as dirty red bikini gathers her things. Nine year old Atlantis and her little brother, Roman are visiting from the Eastcoast. I see my smile reflected back at me through her shining blue eyes. "What is it?" Atlantis asks, "What did she just say?"
"The lifeguards are gone," I say. "We can dive off the dock." Roman had been called out of the water earlier by the lifeguard. I watched in amusement as the stocky 2nd grader was made to read the rules. He looks up at me now like I had just handed him a pirate's treasure chest. "We can do whatever we want? Whoo-hoo!" We all run across the sand from the lifeguard stand to the water and swim to the floating dock. First, we rock the dock. Then, we dive. Some kids do flips. The dock is in the shade, so I dive off and head for the log. At 6 o'clock, something magical seems to happen to Lake Pend Oreille. The water, which had been so refreshing all day long, feels warmer. The beach gets quiet as parents leave with their little ones and old people go home to dinner. The lake gets calmer too, like all of those boats just ran out of gas at 6 o'clock.
I pull myself up on the floating log that is loosely anchored to pilings demarking the border between the swimming area and the boating area. I sit facing West, soaking up the sun that will not set until 8 o’clock. I watch the kids playing king of the dock. There is a lot of pushing and a lot of laughter and no injuries. Someones mom makes an alarmed sound from the beach, but no one can make out what she said. Horseplay reigns in that golden hour. I watch some Russian boys with big smiles balancing and knocking one another off the log next to mine. There are signs posted "no standing on logs." Therefore,that is all I can think about: standing tall and diving off this log. I make several unsuccessful attempts to stand on the slippery log before swimming back to the dock. It's Sunday after all, no need to try too hard at anything on a Sunday. Roman has a twinkle in his eye. "I am going to push you off," he says. "Oh, you wanna wrestle with me?" I ask. We lock arms and smile at one another. Rory catches my eye from the beach. "Caleb and Gabrielle, Dad is waving us in. We have to go now." I say. Gabrielle is disappointed, "Aw, mom!" A tall girl who had done the majority of successful shoving on the dock looks at Gabrielle and asks incredulously, "Is THAT your MOM?" "Yup, that's my mom!" Gabrielle gives me a squeeze. Roman manages to push me in as I prepare to dive. Splash! I come up to see Roman jumping up and down, cheering for himself. “You got me!” I said. And I meant it, he got me. They all did—dirty red bikini, Atlantis, Roman, the tall girl, the Russian boys –they got a piece of my heart where they will live at the end of a Summer day forever.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Stop and smell the butter

5 dollar bouquet
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
Over the weekend, we celebrated Christians 16th birthday at Kells Irish Pub in Post Alley at Pike Place Market. As we came down the hill, Rory and I were both pulled into Le Panier by the buttery scent coming from their ovens. Over the next couple of hours we enjoyed a chocolatine, an almondine, and a napoleon as we strolled the market. The best deal is still these fabulous bouquets for $5. As you can see, this one was exactly my style. I will be writing about this trip for writers group which I will be missing tonight since we are not back on the road home yet. And the post I had intended for today will have to wait until tomorrow, when I am at my own computer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Logo?

New Logo?
Originally uploaded by studiocherie

So the heart that I drew with StudioCherie underneath was my logo, but now it feels so "5 years ago." Simplicity is ready for my logo to put on the catalog page and pattern cover. I think I like this. A picture says a thousand words, right? Tell me honestly how you think this would look as my logo on the cover of my patterns.
I think the main objection that graphic designers have to this is that it does not communicate what I do. The way I look at it is that if this is on the product itself, they know what I do, I want to show who I am, and where to find me for more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shirtdress Number 1

Shirtdress Number 1
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I can't even tell you how much fun this is to wear. Yes, people look at me, isn't that the point? It makes me feel like a Country and Western star. By that I mean, if I could carry a tune, I would put on this dress and get up on a stage. I will be working this idea over for a while. Future iterations will appear here and on Flickr.

Trade for Labor

We all probably have our tricks to get the kids to do some work around the house. Christian is putting grommets in 44 luggage tags for me today. In exchange, I finished this beret pin for him and I'll be buying more minutes for his cell phone. My kids know nothing is free. We barter a lot around here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

War Stories

This is what I wrote for writers group last week. Tonight, we are going to see Eat Pray Love together. Did I mention, I love this group of ladies?

Women have our version of war stories. We tell the tales of our children's births(and adoptions too) with relish. Years may have passed, but it all plays over again like a home movie when the opportunity arises. Whether our tale is cautionary or celebratory, we share with our women friends. Birth stories are our oral tradition. We teach the young mothers, and we commiserate with the veterans through our common experience.
This morning, as I was cooking sausage and eggs, my 2 youngest sat at the kitchen counter, hungry for their stories. I never imagined how pleasurable it would be to tell my 3 birth stories to my 9 and 11 year old children. They sat in rapt attention and delighted in the details. Everything about their circumstances pleases them. Caleb, being Mondays child, fair of face, always the joyful, smiling one, looked serene and satisfied that his birth was easy. Gabrielle, aware that she is Tuesdays child, full of grace, was unfazed by the lack of grace displayed by her mother during the occasion of her birth. (I had the flu and told my doctor - If I am not already in labor, make me be in labor NOW because I am not doing this pain twice!) She is okay with knowing that the wild-eyed woman with the dry heaves demanding an epidural was her Mama on the day before her birth. Then they wanted their big brothers story too. The sacred first birth full of surprise and wonder. We all secretly envy Christian, the child born on the Sabbath day is fair and wise and good and gay. Okay, so with me it's not so much of a secret when I shake my fists at the heavens and say, why wasn't I born on Sunday!? Guess what? Saturdays child works hard for a living. Oh, well. Back to work...

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Concrete Leaves

I should have brought Gabrielle with me when I made this leaf. That way one of us could have documented the process with photos. Next time we make leaves, I will. What you see here is a rhubarb leaf cast in concrete, the leaf removed, and paint applied. We did the painting at Kathleen Cavenders studio, which made us feel special. Check out her website and you will see why. The last photo is Kathleen's hand applying moss to her leaf. We gathered moss, mixed it with plain yogurt and water in a blender, then brushed it on and dabbed it with a wet rag. How to make the concrete leaves, several tutorials are posted here. Details of our painting process - 1st the magenta in acrylic (this had to go on first because it will not go over the spray paints we used over the top), then we sprayed the bottom of the leaves with a dark brown, darker in some spots than others. Third coat was copper spray paint on the bottom to finish. After the bottom was dry, we did the dark brown on the top - leaving some of the magenta untouched. Then copper, then a dark green, last was a light green. We also sprayed a sealer on top. I am not a painter, so Gabrielle and I just tried to copy Kathleen. I think we did really well. It is like our concrete leaf came back to life. I am amazed at what we did with spray paint! I will post again when our moss has grown.

Friday, August 13, 2010

sneek peek

sneek peek
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I spent a fun day yesterday making something for myself. Sometimes I just need to create with no one else in mind. I have been missing ruffles since 1982, and now is my chance to make up for it! I will show you the whole thing, I don't have time this morning though. I am headed to a friends painting studio for a super fun project which I will blog about. Tonight we have an Eastern Washington team craft night, so I will wear my new dress there and take some photos.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Musings

Some of you know I am in a writers group. I look forward to our Monday nights together in my friends studio, reading to one another. I look forward to the laughter and tears shared with this handful of women I have grown close to over the last year. Their stories have enlarged my world and changed my heart. I decided that Monday should be the morning here, on my blog, where I share a piece of myself out of writers group. This is something I wrote and shared this Spring.
The bacon sizzles, the dishwasher sloshes and hums, the car starts and roars through its gears, another day has begun. Time to do. Time to go. I know I used to be a human be-ing. But in my rush to achieve, I became a human do-ing. My life's rhythm changed from doo-be doo-be do..., to Do! Go! Do! Go! Do, do, do.
I sent a message to a friend who had kind of fallen off the map. I had the feeling her life had turned to do do too, but I hoped she was glad in it. The story I heard back was sad. Her kitchen caught fire, she was okay except for a badly burnt hand. Her basement flooded. And her 3 kids all had the swine flu. Here is how out of it I am. I drove by the drugstore the other day and I read the sign: get your hini shot here. I thought, they don't give those shots in the rear do they? Are folks dropping their drawers in the Walgreens? Later I realized it said H1N1. Anyway, her kids are better now, but they all had it.
Her message was a wake up call for me. I made a mental note. Do not try to cook and sew at the same time. No matter how Rory complains at the lack of variety on the menu, DO NOT cook and sew.
Right after replying to her message, Rory and I went for a hike at Indian Painted Rock. At the spot where we look forward to acres of Iris later in the season, I caught the spicy fragrance of something we have never been able to single out. It is a wonderful scent that always makes us stop in our tracks and linger to breathe a little deeper. As I stood there, I looked down at the slope next to the path. New grass was coming up and the sun was warm, calling the earth back to life. I felt Spring inside of me too. I felt a need to connect my Spring to the larger one. I suggested we lie down on the slope and soak up some sun. As I lay there, feeling the cool of the earth on my back and the warm sun on my face, I opened my eyes just enough to see cumulus clouds in the distance amid a slice of clean, blue sky. A tear dropped down my cheek. That is me there, the human be-ing. Lying on the ground, next to my husband who is quite content just to be with me. Soaking up the sun. Fragile, and turbulent as the Spring itself. Ready to grow. Not sure I am ready to be, yet here I am.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zip Pouch T,U,V

Zip Pouch T,U,V
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
This shows the next addition to the zipper pouches pattern. 3 more pattern pieces to make this fun binder pouch. Use it to hold pencils, pens, erasers, whatever. Getting closer to A to Z, hoping to release zip pouch pattern pieces T, U, V today! This will also go into a back to school pattern featuring another fun and amazing project.