Monday, October 31, 2011

Running and Sewing

I enjoy sewing.  I probably enjoy time with my sewing machine a little too much, in fact.  If given the opportunity, I might choose to take my sewing machines and lock myself in a room for a day- oh the things that could happen! 

Sewing can be an escape for me at times.  Maybe I’d call it my ‘happy place’.   I have a shirt that says “running is my happy hour”… but this is also true for sewing.  I think I need a sign for my sewing space that says “sewing is my happy hour,” or maybe “sewing is my happy place”…or “I’m happy when I’m sewing,” or…you get the idea.  

While my running shirt reads true, I think sewing is a totally different ‘happy hour’ for me.   Sewing, in a way, is the opposite of running.

Running means getting my heart rate up and pushing myself physically to improve and achieve new goals.  And, it means getting outside and soaking up the quiet neighborhood before the hectic day begins.   Running can also be a social time too; some of my favorite runs and best conversations have taken place while running with a good friend!

When I run (and I mean run outside, this doesn’t happen on the ‘dreadmill’) I often have many new ideas for HankOrange – things I could sew or a new topic to write about.  While out on a morning run, when few others are out (or even awake) my mind is free to think, to dream, to imagine.  Maybe thinking about sewing makes the run go by quicker, loosing my thoughts to something other than the running itself.   And, for the record, I don’t ONLY think about sewing when I run.  I think about all sorts of things… but that is another topic for another day!

Sewing, for me, is less social and more personal time.  It is relaxing with a purpose of accomplishing and creating something new- it probably even lowers my heart rate (as long as what I’m trying to do is going according to the plan)!  Sitting in front of my sewing machine can be calming and quiet.  Even the humming noise my machine makes is almost a comfort at times.  I grew up hearing the hum of a sewing machine as my Mom would be in her sewing room working on various projects (oh, I could only be so lucky to have a ROOM!).  Finishing a project or coming up with something new to try brings a little excitement or even a thrill to my world.  Not everyone can say, ‘hey, look what I made!’

Running makes me happy.  Sewing makes me happy.  I do both and enjoy both, at different times and for different reasons.  I probably need both.  Maybe one balances the other out.

I run.  I sew.  And I can’t get enough of either ‘happy place!’

That is a little about me, the girl behind HankOrange.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween ‘craft time’

I wanted to do something fun with the little man for Halloween.  Since he is three and his attention span is almost non-existent this limits our options greatly.  But I wanted to create something with him that we could use to decorate.

I can’t remember where I saw it, but the idea of turning a footprint into a ghost was something I kept thinking about.  I wanted to try it!  All we would need is a little paint and something to put the footprints on.  It could be fun, right?  Might get a little messy, but that is what crafts are all about when you’re young…mess. 

Sometimes I’ll ask H if he wants to have ‘craft time’.  He just looks at me and gives me a canned response “okay” or “sure”… the same response he gives to most any question.   But hey, if he says ‘okay’, then we are going for it! 

I got out the little tube of paint I had, found a sponge brush, cut open some large paper bags, and we were ready to go. 

First step- wipe off our feet.
Second step- put a little paint into a dish
Third step- dip paintbrush into paint and paint your foot
Fourth step- place painted foot onto paper bag and make a footprint!

By step three, H was WAY into this little project.  I think we could have painted our feet and stamped for hours!  I’m not sure who had more fun, him or me.   I figured we would just paint our feet and stamp the paper a few time, but we had such a good time, we ended up covering three large paper bags with footprints and had to stop because we ran out of space!

Here are some photos of our little ‘craft time’

H having fun painting! The hairy foot belongs to his Dad, not me! ;)

And Finally... the finished product!  
Lots of little feet 'ghosts'
Then 'we' made some Halloween cards to send to the grandparents!

What is YOUR favorite Halloween related craft?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monster shirt, Take Two!

I spoke too soon. Remember when I wrote this post about the monster shirt I made my son?  I said he liked the shirt, and he did, for about two days.  My ‘biggest fan’ turned on me.

He didn’t totally give up on me, he just changed his mind on what type of monster he wanted.  Actually, I should say, what color he wanted. 

Pink.  He wanted a pink monster.

The first time he asked, I didn’t think much about it.  But after he kept asking off and on for a few weeks, I figured he was really serious.  So I gave in.  And together we made a ‘pink’ monster shirt.  

Not so thrilled to get his picture taken!

We went to the fabric store and I let him pick out which pink fabric he wanted for his monster.  And then I asked him to help me while assembling the monster shirt.  The process went a little like this:
Me: “What color eyes should the monster have?” 
Him: “How about pink, mommy!”
Me: “What color horns do you want for the monster?”
Him: “How about pink!”
Me: “What should the mouth look like?”
Him: “Pink!”…
You get the idea…he was seriously all about a PINK monster!  I did manage to get him to change his mind on a few body parts, but basically, we created a pink monster!  

 I’m not sure if this new ‘pink’ monster is scary or just goofy, but he was excited about it when I finished it.  I did have fun working on the little project with him, and really, that is what is most important, having fun together.  I cut out pieces and he put them where they ‘should go.”  (I might have moved a few parts when I sewed them on, but for the most part, he really did put it together.)  Watching the expressions on his little face as we worked together was worth the time, even if he only wears the shirt once… But I really do hope he likes this one for more than two days!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Custom Projects

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again- I love to create custom gifts.  I love to sew and I love to make things, but knowing that the item I’m working on is for someone specific brings a whole new level of enjoyment.  There is something about the opportunity to create a personalized gift that gets me excited!   It is not just a gift.  It is a gift that has been created with a specific person in mind, a gift that is going to be given to someone with love, from someone with love. 

I love getting an email from someone- often a person I don’t even know- with a request for HankOrange to help create the ‘perfect’ gift.  I almost thrive on this sort of email!  I get myself caught up in the story, in the ‘why’ behind the gift and what makes it special for the giver and the recipient.   Sometimes I find myself getting a little too caught up and I spend too much time making it perfect.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat staring at my sketch pad (which is often times a piece of scrap paper, or post-it, or the back of one of the many ‘works of art’ done by my son (…shh, don’t tell him) thinking “I could to this, or this, or maybe this…OR what about this…”  I probably waste a lot of time in the thinking stage.  But I want this personal gift to be perfect.  I want the giver to love it just as much as the recipient will.  I want the giver to be glad they choose HankOrange to create this special gift. 

I recently got an email from a lady who wanted me to create some kitchen towels using the same candy corn idea as I’d used on this onesie.  The towels were going to be for her daughter- who happens to love candy corn- who was moving into her first apartment.  Her mom wanted something personal and special to give her daughter as a house-warming gift.  So sweet!  What a great idea!  Why didn’t I think of that? :)  So, I made these kitchen towels for her.  

And now I have a 'sweet' version for sale on Etsy!  

It is all a process.   Sometimes I wonder if the process is more for me, than for the actual gift.  The process of creating the gift can be just as fun as giving the gift itself!  Whether it is a gift I’m making for someone I love or a gift I’m making for a person I’ve never met, I enjoy the process of creating (usually!) from start to finish.   Often times, because my business is mostly done through ETSY, I don’t know the giver or the recipient.  I just wrap up the finished product and mail it off, left to wonder how the gift was received. Is the recipient enjoying it as much as the giver (and the creator!) had hoped?  Did the gift get a huge smile or laugh from the recipient as they opened the package?  Or, was it ‘just another gift’?  I might never know, but either way, getting the opportunity to make those special gifts is an honor, and I enjoy the process from start to finish!

Well, enough of my ramblings ;)  Onto some of the projects I’ve done and loved!      

Custom Bibs and Burp cloth sets:
For the little one who was born on St. Patrick’s Day: “Born Lucky”

For the new baby of a professor at Kansas State: “Future Wildcat”

For the son of USC Alumni: USC burp cloths/ bib  “Future Trojan” bib

For my cousin who loves Zebra print and hot pink (her thoughtful mother ordered these for her shower!)

Custom Chenille burp cloths:

Custom Onesies:
A former bible study leader of mine had a daughter who was pregnant with their first.  They always referred to the baby as “sparky”; until she found out she was having a little girl!  Then, the baby’s nickname became “sparkle”…

A good friend of mine found out she was having a little boy.  I wanted to make her something special, but since she didn’t have a name yet, I wasn’t sure what.  I thought I’d make her a ‘little man’ onesie.  But then I had a better idea- “little Guy” Her husband’s name is ‘Guy’ so I was extra excited about this idea!

Another friend was pregnant with her first baby.  She hadn’t yet found out what she was having.  When I asked her names she said she was hoping it was a girl because her husband was convinced that if their baby were a boy his name would be Bruce Wayne!  As funny as that idea is, she was not thrilled!  But, she is having a girl!  So, I had to make this little onesie for her baby girl.  Now her husband can have his ‘baby Batman’ after all ;)

 More photos of 'custom items' to come soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Swelling with Pride

*This is a little about me, not-so-much about anything to do with HankOrange :)
As I sat on the airplane last Sunday night, I found myself holding back tears.  It could be that I’m extra emotional, or maybe I was over-tired from a lack of sleep.   Call it emotions or call it sleep deprivation.  I choose to call it something else entirely; pride.  Or I suppose I could call it proud, or ‘in-awe-of ‘or anything that means ‘beyond-impressed’ (and, well, probably a little lack of sleep too!)!
I am not talking about being proud of myself.  I am talking about being proud of my younger brother. He impresses me.  He inspires me.  He can do what few others can.   He just run 26.2 miles.  That fact in itself is somewhat impressive, but that isn’t what inspires me.  Many people have run and will continue to run marathons.  I mean, he ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday with close to 45,000 other runners.  My brother, however, finished 106th overall.  If you calculate his mile pace, he ran sub-6 minute miles (did I mention he ran TWENTY SIX miles at that pace?).  He wasn’t thrilled with his time and he was disappointed.  But, he should be impressed.  He should be proud.   If he isn’t going to be proud, then I will be proud for him! 

There is a feeling known as ‘runners high’ that a person can get after personally completing a long run workout.  I’ve had it, and it truly is a great feeling.  But I have a different (maybe better?!) ‘runner high’ right now.  I think I am ‘high’ on witnessing a runner.   I think I am literally ‘high’ with pride.  As great as a ‘runners high’ might be, the feeling of overwhelming pride I have when I think of my brother is pretty amazing!  ‘Swelling with pride’ might be a better description.  But, whatever you want to call it, one fact remains- I am one proud sister!

He is my brother.  He is a runner.  He is a FAST runner.  I couldn’t be more proud!  

At the race expo- day before the Chicago marathon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

I have an on-going project that I’ve been working on for weeks now: nursery room d├ęcor.  A friend of mine asked me if I’d be willing to help create a special nursery for her new baby - I was thrilled to take on the project! 

She had found a ‘twinkle twinkle’ nursery set that she liked from Pottery Barn, but it had been discontinued!  Bad for her, good for HankOrange ;)  So, I took the ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’ theme and the color preference (neutral blue and yellow) and ran with it!  I immediately went to the fabric store and found some great fabrics with light blues and light yellows.  I sent a photo to my friend for ‘approval’ and, once I got approval, I started working… well, I started thinking about working!

She told me to just do what I think looks best.  For my perfectionist self, however, this type of control is both a blessing and a curse.  I have so many different ideas that I have a hard time narrowing them down to exactly what I want to do.  I think I spend more time ‘deciding’ what will look best than actually sewing! 

I want it to be PERFECT. 

I don’t want to let her down.  

In her defense, she is probably the easiest client I could ask for!   I think, even if she didn’t totally love what I made, she’d tell me she did.  I’ve emailed her with various ideas and thoughts and she is always (at least she seems that way!) happy with what I’ve come up with.   Guess we will have to wait until everything is totally complete to get her real feedback!

So far, I’ve completed a crib sheet- start with the simple things!  I’m almost done with the window valance, I just need to add a few ‘final’ touches.  I’m working on the crib bumper…which I’ve been doing for weeks!   You’d think a ‘simple’ bumper wouldn’t be too hard.  Well, it is.  Especially for this girl with a million different ideas on how to do it!  I also created a onesie with the ‘twinkle, twinkle’ theme and a set of burp cloths....

Twinkle Twinkle onesie

It's a girl!  So I made a 'girly' version too

Twinkle Twinkle Burp Cloths, set of three

I’m saving the quilt for last.  I don’t’ want it to be a ‘normal’ baby quilt that you’d get in a bedding set.  I mean, who uses those anyway?  I never did for my little man.   They seem to just be used as decoration.  So, I’m trying to create a blanket/quilt that has the ‘twinkle, twinkle’ theme yet is functional.   I want this blanket to be something she can use for baby in the crib, but also for other everyday events: tummy time and outings in the stroller and pic nics and… I could go on and on.  I want the blanket to be a ‘use everywhere for everything’ type blanket.  
I want her to be able to use it for years to come and for her new baby to love it! … what pressure?!  :)

More about operation “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” nursery set to come!  


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