Dyeing to try

It all began with the tea. Well, that, and this one. (I call him "What up?")

I have been wanting to develop a few new stuff plushies for the fall, so have been digging through my stash of sweater scraps, and fabrics. "What Up?" is a real mish-mash. I love him :o) The fabric on his belly is a glorious felted wool, hand dyed. So, I said to myself, "What up with that?!" Hmmm...

I've been on this "cool brew" tea kick, and the tea is such a lovely shade of peach black. Hmmm... My new sewing assistant, Mona, had me buy muslin for pattern making. So, I bought yards of it. I looked at that muslin, then at that tea. Hmmm... then put them together. It was only a matter of time.

Muslin went into that tea, linen into the tea... now I have some gingham in that tea. Let's see what up with that!

The linen took to the tea so nicely. Once that gingham comes out, we are going back to the drawing board. I can't wait to see what comes up next!

What up in your neck of the woods this week?
x, Val

(PS. Thanks to Keenan on SNL. I just love the "What Up With That?" skit!)

Ahh, summer....

How is yours going? I hope you are finding some time for winding down and relaxation! We are home for the time being, and continuing working on our "fixer-upper" here in Pt. Loma. Our courtyard was finally bricked in last week, and we are finally able to sit outside and enjoy a half finished backyard! Planting is next, plus some painting work, and then on to the front yard. The jobs never end, do they?!

Here's where I am at the summer mid-point, the Goods and the Bads...
  • Working on new designs for my fall shows, including Women's Wear Pieces (Good!)
  • Hiring some new girls to help me fulfill orders and keep my designs chugging along (so Good!, especially since one is an awesome sewing girl :o)
  • Uggh, started the summer with the change (uggh, Bad), but have a new doc who suggested a natural helper (Ahh, Good! -no more hot spells! Thanking God double time for this one!)
  • Learned some tricks to help my computer, which was becoming sluggish and was refusing to listen to me (So Bad), but we are back on solid ground now. Yea! So good!
  • Worrying non-stop about my boys, full fledge into their teen years... hoping we have the strength to make it through this chapter (good and bad, right?!)
  • Readying for yet another move (bad, but good too).... back to Coronado this time. Our fixing up of Tex's Pt. Loma house is going so splendidly that my mom wants to move over here with Tex. His Alzheimers is progressing, and we think it would do him a world of good to get back into his house, a place where he feels safe and secure. So, a house swap it is, however we are going to live with my Mom's belongings and visa-versa. Non conventional, but that's what families do, right?!
  • Looking so forward to moving back to my beloved Coronado (a Good that makes my heart so happy!)
  • I ordered myself a real dressmaker mannequin! Yippee! I've wanted one for ... oh, about 33 years... (good!)
  • Thinking about fostering one of Bob's PWD puppies... he wants to keep two puppies, but wants to talk to us about fostering one. How come I'm over the moon excited at this idea? Really Val! A puppy in the house? (SO GOOD!)
Well, there's a small snippet of my summer... I hope yours is going So Good too, even if there are a couple of (bads) here and there. Heck, take a moment to stick your feet out in the sunshine, and it all turns GOOD! Enjoy...
x, Val

Workin' on a Dream

Summer Flowers and Bugs in Turquoise

Summer Flowers and Bugs in Turquoise Fabric by Val's Art Studio

Dreams... We all have them. Some are old dreams, some begin as a new idea, and grow day by day until they become a passion. I'm all for making dreams come true. Well, the attainable ones, at least!

One of my dreams has always been to design fabric. Every since I began sewing, I wanted a way to make my designs complete, including the fabric... Thankfully, there are amazing places in our wonderful world we now have at our fingertips (via computer) that do, indeed, help us make our dreams come true. Spoonflower is one of those places. I have uploaded my first trial design, and am having a test swatch made, and am hoping to be able to sew with MY fabric designs very soon!

I will keep you posted!
x, Val


Cornerstone Gardens was one of the highlights of our recent trip to Northern CA. Located just outside of Napa, in the heart of the wine country, it is an artistic colony, filled with garden oriented places where one can imagine, dream, and ponder life's mysteries. There is a restaurant and, of course, wine tasting there, plus a few eclectic shops. We got there late, but many areas stayed open past closing time so we could wander through. Once we hit the garden installations, we were in heaven. There were kitchen gardens, art gardens, interactive garden spaces, and more. It is a place for exploration, learning and wonder, designed by world renowned landscape architects. It was a delight to even our boys, for there was much to see and do there.

Check out some photos from the gardens, as well as a wonderful salvage shop we explored, called Artefact.

The robins were in the business of being a part of our daily movements. They were everywhere, and never seemed nervous, now matter how close you got to them!

Overcome with inspiration and "art-power", Kyle decided running wild though my photo shots was an art piece in itself. I guess it kind of is... I have always told my boys that we aren't completely A-ok if we aren't just a tad bit "freak-ish", or weird. I guess my words ... stuck...

I love the energy and design that went into making Artefact what it is. It's a special spot, as well as the whole of Cornerstone Gardens. Don't let a trip to the wine country go by without a visit to Cornerstone. You'll be really glad you did!
x, Val

Baby's Favorite...Awww!

I know the photo quality is poor... and for that I am sooo sorry! It's just me at one of my shows trying to snap a photo in a moments notice, without checking the settings... and noticing too late that the flash was OFF... urrrgh! But, I just love these two, and have to share them with you! She just took one look... and it was love at first sight!

Lately, people have been buying my sweet Friendly plushies (well, they have been a good seller all along, and for that, I thank you!), and then they have been telling me that the Friendly is their little one's favorite. Awww, nothing can make my day like this kind of news! I have received custom orders here and there, and the news about the new love bond between baby and Friendly is so wonderful, it just makes my heart puff with love. When I put that love right back into the next Friendly I make, well... they just keep getting cuter and cuter all the time. What's with that??!! Love, love, love! Take a look, and tell me what you think...
Aww, I just want to give you a big, ol' hug... and a great BIG thank you for all the love :o) You make my world!
x, Val

Summertime Boardwalk Fun

... In Santa Cruz! During the time I attended UC Santa Cruz, I never went to the
Boardwalk, and I never went to The Mystery Spot. Maybe they were just too touristy for a college student... heck, who knows why I never went. Guess I made up for it during our recent trip. Went to both, and loved it!! See what you think looking through my "Hipstamatic" lens on my iPhone. Too fun, I say! Enjoy, and hope it takes you back to a special remembrance of summer fun at the boardwalk. :o)

Happy Summer!
x, Val

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

Photo courtesy of Barb at Follow My Bliss. Thanks, Barb!

Yes, we are back, and are quite recharged. Lots of time in the car, we drove over 2000 miles, and traveled from San Diego as far north as Napa and Sonoma county. We saw amazing and spectacular things, the most impressive was our niece, Julia, graduating from Los Gatos High School! We are so proud of Julia, and are thrilled that she's heading down to our area in the fall to attend the University of San Diego. (I'm about to burst, I'm so excited she'll be here on our "turf", I just can't wait for her to be so close!) Here's a picture of my whole family, including Julia's French grandparents on her dad's side of the family (Roger has on the pink shirt, with Amie next to him). It was such a gift for us all to be together, and it went by much too fast... (big sigh)

We spent the following weekend with family and friends in Santa Cruz, and took the boys to see The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz (according to our boys, the best $5 we've ever spent!) Here's kind of a freakish shot of me doing some sort of Spiderman pose in the Mystery Spot house. I know it looks weird, but it's completely normal for that place...

From there, we headed north to Napa, where we spend a few days in our Coronado neighbor's fabulous 1880's Victorian house they are restoring. (I'm saving those photos for another day, that house is too fabulous- it needs a post all it's own!)

From there we headed off to Yosemite Valley. O M G! First time we'd been there, and we were blown away by the awesomeness and beauty of the valley. Lots more photos to share once I download the shots from my camera. These are a few Greg took. The 3 of us enjoyed it immensely, unfortunately, or 4th (that would be Drew) refused to get out of the car the entire day... oh my heck, what's with that??! We didn't let it ruin our time though, we trekked and were rained on by waterfalls galore, and were tourists on parade within that beautiful place, kissed by the hand of God.

I'll leave you for now with this amazing picture taken at the Quixote Winery in Napa. Though it doesn't show the amazing structure of the winery built in the Hundertwasser style, it's irresistible due to one of my favorite flowers in full bloom. I call them "Fried Egg Poppies". I love them so :o)

Happy to be back... hope you've been well... back to work over here... off I go!
x, Val