Hi! I'm Melissa Averinos. 

Please click here for Longarm Quilting info!

I'm a longarm quilter and fabric designer for Andover Fabrics. I wrote Small Stash Sewing. I illustrated The Family Doodle Book. I wrote and illustrated DIY Mason Jars. I have another craft book coming out in Spring 2014. I am a lifelong painter. I am a Cape Codder, good listener and lover of pie. I love yoga and roller derby. Let's be friends!


 

 

********************************************

********************************************

subscribe to the blog

or
subscribe by email

(pssst! don't forget to confirm your subscription when you get the email asking you to do so!)

-----------------------------------------------------.

Yummy Goods Newsletter!
Email:  

keep in touch

I mean it. I love your emails, so keep 'em coming. I may not always be able to respond to each one (though I usually do!) But I truly love hearing from you.

melissa@yummygoods.com

 

still haven't found what you're looking for?
Thursday
Sep302010

424: Swoon with me

Finally.

My second fabric line.

Two full years after the first!

It has taken a year and a half for these designs to make it onto fabric and I am so thrilled with how they came out.  I love working with Andover Fabrics!

Are you ready to Swoon?

Eight prints!

Three colorways:

Moss!

Teal!

Cherry!

woooooo! 

..........................................................................................................................

the Cherry Colorway first:

Sea Garden, a  tossed swirly flower with seaweed-like foliage. And a background based on a style of doodling I have been doing for a few years now. Also in this photo, a smallish geo called Courtyard that reminds me of men's ties.

That's right, I'm doing a big reveal without ironing the fabric.

That's how I roll. No logo yet either.

Freestylin' it, baby.

That hexy diamond geo is a print that I keep imagining as a killer men's button down shirt. I kind of want to have someone make one for Stuart. Then I will insist that Stuart wear it when we get married. (No, no. No date!)

Here is the full repeat of Sea Garden:

Wallflower: a  large print with overall floral and stripe:

Cherry, cranberry, orange, cream, butter, chocolate and olive. (yum!)

You may recognize the yellow part in the background from my old blog header:

Or maybe not.

Waves, a wavy braid-like tonal print and Maze, a groovy geo:

I love tonal  prints. I can't wait to use all three colorways of that tonal together.

Lattice:

And Pebbles, a hexy-dot coordinate:

And this print is up in the top of my fave designs that  I've ever done, Garland:

I want A-line skirts in each colorway.

Here is the full repeat:

That's my Swoon, you guys!

EEEEEEeeeeeeeee!!!!

.............................................................................................................................

Ready for the other two colorways?

Here you go!

The Teal Colorway:

mmmm, some salmon in there with the blues.......

and now the Moss Colorway:

I am crazy for the deep eggplant with the gray....

and the green....

and, like, the yellow and orange ok fine all of it.

That one reminds me of seventies sheets, in the best way possible.

I cannot wait to see what you will make with this line. You will show me won't you? Please? You can add your photos to my flickr pool and you will make me so happy when you do. Ok?

Thank you for all of the love and encouragement, you guys. I treasure it.

Swoon!

xo,
melissa

Sunday
Sep262010

423: special delivery

Part One: The Letter

Remember Hurricane Earl? I mean, "Hurricane " Earl.

Three or so weeks ago. Friday night, 6-ish pm.Candles had been procured. Batteries allocated.

Waiting for what was supposed to be some baddie of a hurricane which was just turning out to be mostly hot air.

A little bit of wind, a little bit of rain. Some excitement still in the air, anicipating more. Almost wishing for more!

I mean, we had prepared.

Nonperishable goods and bottled water languished on the counter.

I was twittering. Tweeting.

Ho-Hum.

Stuart handed me a few pieces of mail.

Huh.

What's this?

Queen postage?

USA?

No.

USA.

Period.

Underlined.

Air Mail.

No return address.

Well, I have been blogging about England for months now. And I have internet friends over there. Maybe a letter from a blog reader? People do send me pieces of anonymous mail from time to time. 

A little bit of wind outside. Stuart watching the weather channel in the background.

I ripped open the envelope.

No.

No way.

Toby Stephens.

Embossed in black on heavy white cardstock.

This guy? From that movie I like?

Yes.

That one.

...........................................................................................

 

Part Two: Back Story

I guess I never did tell you much about seeing Toby Stephens in The Real Thing when Beth and I went to London.

And meeting him.

And how maybe I had left a little gift for him at the Old Vic when I arrived in London.

Why not?

Because, well, it's kind of embarrassing, is the thing!

I am pretty uncomfortable with the whole idea of celebrity. I don't like the worship that goes with it, the that-person-is-better-than-everyone-else-because-of-the-job-they-have thing. It makes me cringe.

So to be going out of my way to see this actor-person, well, I was kind of horrified by it! As you know, I had been so enthralled by the story of Jane Eyre when I saw the film, and then got so interested in Charlotte Bronte and all the Brontes and then by extension that period English Literature.... well, seeing that one film had opened up a whole world of literature to me that I had frankly never been interested in before.

It broadened my world.

And it was Toby Stephens's performance that did that. I have seen several of the other adaptations of Jane Eyre and none of them have the same magic. If I had seen them first, I simply would not have been compelled to read the book in its entirety the day after. I would not have devoured everything I could find on the life of Charlotte Bronte.

That kind of, well, let's call it what it was--- obsession, had not happened to me before. It gave me even more to connect with Beth about. It made me feel smart. It made me want to read books that had been written over 150 years ago. It was unprecedented and it really took hold of me, as you witnessed month after month, right here as I blogged about it and started the Bronte Along.

I was so thankful for this new world that had been opened to me, that I actually sent Toby Stephens a little care package well before Beth and I planned our trip to London.

And I felt like a Complete Crazy Person for doing so! I had never written a fan letter before but I felt compelled to do it. And I just tried to have a sense of humor about myself and go with it!

I wrote to him basically what I just told you. And sent some gifts.

..........................................................................

Part Three: The gift

Then somehow Beth and I were going to Actual London and we were going to see him in a play!

The week before we left , I stitched up a miniature version of the Unicorn *Hearts* Moon project from my book.

It helped me to manage the about-to-travel anxiety, the stitching did.

Plus, my unicorn is always a comfort to me. He is silly and sweet and he makes me smile.

 I called the little unicorn Ciabatta because he had this perfect loaf-like shape at the bottom.

And the moon, well. I called her Jowly. For obvious reasons.

I packaged them up with a few other gifts for Mr. Stephens and brought them with me to London. I dropped them off with the person manning the stage door the night before we were to see the play.

...................................................................................

Part Four: The Real Thing and The Stage Door

I have already blogged a little bit about the first of two nights that we saw the show. About the celebrities we saw and all that.

And you may remember Beth's post about it in which talks about pressing up against Rupert Penry Jones and she briefly recounts our meeting Toby Stephens afterward.

Official publicity photo of The Real Thing from The Old Vic.

Now, my account. We watched the play from ridiculously good seats. Separately, because that is all we could get.  I was in the second row, Beth  in the fourth.

The theatre was gorgeous on the inside. Narrow, but deep and with way-up-high balcony seats. One of those ornate rooms that I can't help thinking looks like a wedding cake.  You know, swags of ornament on the walls that could be molded sugar, curtains in heavy fabrics like folded fondant. I think I remember tassles and pressed tin but of course, I could be making any of that up. That's how memory is, isn't it? No matter, that's how the room exists in my mind and that's the story I am here to tell.

We settled in and waited for the play to start. Tons of people, excitement. I was in Actual England. About to see a play at The Old Vic.

I have to admit, I mostly like musicals and  I usually get bored watching non-musicals. But this was not boring. It was crackling with energy and wit. Funny, thoughtful, sexy, emotional, smart. Funny.

Toby Stephens with costar Hattie Morahan.

Dude, I was sitting just feet from this.

The play was perfect.

And Toby Stephens was perfect in it. He had been hand-picked by the playwright Tom Stoppard to portray the main character, after all.

Until recently,  I didn't even know this was a thing, but did you know that you can sometimes meet the actors at the Stage Door after performances? I was there and I had to at least try, right? Embarassing as that is? And it is, very.

After the final bows, I scurried out to the sidestreet where the Stage Door was,  while Beth made her way out of the front of the theater with the crowd--- and Rupert Penry Jones. We had agreed to meet up in a bit.

There I was, standing under streetlights in London outside The Old Vic, a  giant yellow bulb that said STAGE DOOR  casting a sunny glow.  I was nervous. What was I going to do? Ask for an autograph? I mean, who cares about someone's signature, right? But that's more about an excuse to talk with the person or at least be near them, right?  

Ugh, creepy.

But I did have my program just in case, and a pen.  And half hated myself being out there hoping to meet a freaking actor.

After a while it seemed he would not be coming out. He probably escaped through another exit.

I was disappointed.

And relieved.

And, well, disappointed.

Ugh. Why did I even want to meet him? 

Why should he care to meet me? He wouldn't.

What was I going to say? I was probably going to stammer like a fool and feel like a jerk after.

Damn anxiety.  

But then, he is just a person, isn't he? With a job that happens to make him well known. Talented, handsome --- yes. But that's not his fault, poor guy.

...................................................................................

Part Five: The Meeting

I was all stressed out from the anticipation and the letdown. And  I had to pee.

Beth and I met up on the side street halfway between the stage door and the front of the theatre. We walked around to the other side street where the outside entrance to the tiny theatre bar was.

Beth waited outside next to this giant poster while  I went  down the little stairway to the low-ceilinged room that functioned as the pub. Dimly lit, people at tiny tables. I made my way to the ladies room.

I went back out into the bar, walking toward the exit. There were a few of the supporting cast in one corner. I peered around. Standing just a few feet away from me at the bar was Toby Stephens, talking animatedly with friends.

Beth came down the stairs, I angled  my head toward the bar. She nodded and headed off to the ladies room herself. I installed myself near the entry stairwell. This was my chance. But did I even want to take it?

I  tried to gather my nerve. I was about to make my move when  Rupert Penry Jones and Damien Lewis went up to him. Can't these people just leave already so I can say hello? 

My stomach in knots, I pretended not to notice as he hugged the fellows goodbye and resumed conversing with his friends. Across the way, I could see that Beth was in a bottleneck of traffic near the rest rooms, contentedly  'stuck' right behind Rupert Penry Jones.  

Screw it, I'm here. I can't back out now. I'm going to do it.

I did it. I walked over to Mr. Stephens, whose back was to me. I smiled in apology to his friend who was facing me and after receiving an understanding nod of assent in return,  I placed my hand on Toby's shoulder to get his attention.

Which he did not give!

He must have thought I was one of his party. I stood there with my hand on his shoulder for a few seconds until he (finally!) turned around. When he saw me he raised his eyebrows in a "How may I help you?" kind of look, clearly surprised to see someone he didn't know.

Ugh.  I wished I hadn't done it.

But there I was in Actual London, at The Old Vic with my hand on Toby Stephens's shoulder, and ... well... what was I going to do?

I just tried to keep composed as I forged ahead and apologised for interrupting him. I introduced myself, we shook hands. I told him  that I enjoyed the play as  Beth walked up to us.  I introduced the two of them (bizarre, surreal). They shook hands and he turned back to me, running his hand through his mop of hair. I smiled in apology and placed my left hand on his right arm and said, (something like) "I don't have much more to say. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say hello and tell you how much I appreciate your work and loved the play. Thank you." He smiled and thanked me, the three of us said goodbye.

It might have lasted all of a minute.

Beth and I then gorged ourselves on Indian food at the world-famous WingStand Indian Restaurant.

..................................................................................

Part Six: The Resolution

Two and a half months after this meeting, I still felt bad for interrupting him. I wanted to feel good about having met him and feel good about myself for having taken the risk to do so, instead of cringing at the thought of it! I mean, I wasn't even able to enjoy Jane Eyre anymore!

I wrote Toby a note of apology. I felt released.

And that was that.

Until a couple of weeks later, when Hurricane Earl was laming out and I got this:

Um, you guys? He wrote back.

And he wrote back so warmly, so appreciatively, so generously.... that it is hardly to be believed.

I kind of want to keep it all to myself, but I know you'll enjoy this, so I will share a few highlights.

He thanked me for the unicorn and moon, which he said his children love. Which of course, makes me happy beyond belief. My silly unicorn!

He thanked me for the other gifts I had included, mentioning each one and what he liked about it. So polite! (Must be that good breeding. You know he is the son of Dame Maggie Smith, right?)

He asked me to accept his 'heartfelt apologies' for not writing to thank me sooner for my first package, and explained that 'an overzealous cleaner had thrown away the box' with my address on it. He thanked me for getting back in touch, which  provided him with a way to contact me.

Both sides of the notecard were filled completely, and he even had turned it to the side to add more on the edge! He said he hoped I didn't think he was rude for not talking with me more when we met and that he was sorry not to have the opportunity to thank me in person for the gifts.

I mean, really.

Could you have written out a better letter than this if you had to imagine a reply?

No, you could not.

xo,

melissa

 

Friday
Sep172010

422: I miss you!

Hey you guys!  I am good--- don't worry! Just kind of feeling quiet lately. I miss you though, so I will be back with a check in soon.

But today I just wanted to pop in  and share an article about me  that was in a local paper today! It was written by the fabulous Susan Blood who blogs at Trout Towers and Opera Betty. Go and say hello!

You can read the article in the Barnstable Patriot here.

Also, some of my paintings are now up at the awesome local  boutique Shift (Conscious Clothing).  One of the owners is Amy DuFault, who blogs about sustainable fashion at ecosalon.com.

And, um, remember how I went to London? And saw that guy from Jane Eyre in a play? Well, I maybe kind of received a letter from him. Which I will blog next time.  

:o)

xo,

melissa

 

Thursday
Aug262010

421: be my fitness pal?

So a friend of mine told me aout MyFitnessPal, a free fitness/calorie tracker. I have used FitDay and really got a lot out of it, but she had such good things to say aout MFP that I looked into it.

I really like it! It's much cuter than FitDay.

And it has saocial media type of aspect that I love, of course. Like a fitness-related facebook/twitter kind of thing. (With really good forums, too!) And it feels like a much more interactive site than many of the others I've seen. It's that social network part of it that makes it so much fun. I have  wanted to be active with an online fitness/nutrition community, but  it's like starting all over in a new school--- you know? I thought, well, I already have this awesome crafty community, why not see if any of the people I already know want to join me!

So I am making it my mission to get my peeps to join with me so we can all support each other. About 20 of my twitter/facebook pals have joined so far and we are having such fun with it!

Do you already work out and eat well? Great, join us and help us stay motivated!

Want to get fit or manage your eating a bit better? Awesome! Many are in the same boat. Starting out with our community of  crafty friends is a great way to stay on track!

Overweight and bummed? But not quite ready to make a change yet? Join anyways! You can keep your food diary private and just start logging what you eat to be aware of it. Often, just knowing you are going to record it will help you make better choices! And if it doesn't, you'll be able to see in black and white what's going on. It doesn't have to be scary and you don't have to change everything all at once!

Your crafty community is right here with you ready to support and encourage you! Add me as a friend (my username is yummygoods, of course), check out my friend list and add those you know. There are a handful of fellow fabric designers, as well as clothing and quilt designers!

 

Let's do this together! In our awesome crafty community we already cheer each other on in other aspects of life, why not this very important one?

Click here to begin! And then go to this post and leave your info so we can all get to know each other!

xo,

melissa 

P.S. All of us who have been tracking and using the site actively for the last ten days have lost weight!

Friday
Aug132010

420: peace is every step

Even after all these years of struggling with Depression and Anxiety, I am still taken by surprise at how quickly those jerks tiptoe up, tackle me and drag me toward The Abyss if I'm not paying attention.

Had a couple of down days this week.

Not too bad, really. But after a couple months of feeling pretty dang good most of the time, even being a little low feels scary.

Nothing was wrong, nothing was going on, I just started feel like I was... dissolving. Crumbling like a sugar cube in hot tea. Only not as sweet or charming. More like a urinal cake, maybe. Do those crumble? Probably not. Well, anyways. You get my meaning.

So, I could feel myself crumbling, dissolving from the inside out. Heart heavy. Sad eyes. Low energy. Lost. Hope draining rapidly.

Again, it wasn't as bad as usual (even though it does sound pretty bad!) I think I am just noticing it sooner now. Like when you catch the tiniest hint of the scent of something before the smell is undeniable or overpowering, you know?

I did not want to end up in The Abyss or staring at the bottom of an empty Ben and Jerry's pint or overwhelmed by the B.O. of Depression, so I had a little talk with myself.

Me: What's up, buttercup?

Sad Me: meh.

Unhelpful Me: ugh, she's the worst.

Me, (ignoring Unhelpful Me) : no, hon. not 'meh.'  Let's figure this out before it gets worse, ok? Why are you  feeling so down?

Unhelpful Me (interjecting) : um, because she sucks?

Me, (to Sad Me): Just ignore her. Is something wrong?

Sad Me (doing her best  to ignore unhelpful me) : Hmmmm... nothing that I can think of that isn't there even when I'm feeling good. Nothing new.

Me: Ok. This is what we're going to do. Since there is nothing really going on, it's probably just that free-floating Anxiety mofo. He is just making shit up and we are just going to try not to buy any of it, ok?

Sad Me: We can do that?

Unhelpful Me (taunting Sad Me): You can't do that. You are doomed. DOOMED! (turning to you guys) Dude, she is totally doomed.

Me (disregarding unhelpful me) : Yes, we can do that! It's not easy because Anxiety is very convincing and Depression  tries to sit on you and squash you, but we are just going to keep in mind that we haven't been getting enough exercise this week and that's what  usually keeps the bastards  from showing their nasty faces.

Sad me: Yeah, I know. I know. I always get this way when I miss a few workouts.

Me: Right! See? It's ok. We just have to make sure we do what it takes to stay strong. And we have to jump back on track as soon as we notice we've been tackled by those guys.

Unhelpful me: Um, yeah. She's not gonna do that. She's just going to sit there and let Depression use her for a bouncy house and then hate herself for it until she implodes.

Hey.

Where did she go?

Me to Unhelpful Me: She went for a run!

I started to write that out as a dialogue just between Me and Sad Me, but there was definitely a voice missing!

See, not only do I deal with Depression and Anxiety, but then there is Unhelpful Me who judges me for having those problems which just compounds it, of course. Awesome.  I do know that Unhelpful Me is just those dudes wearing a mask, but still. Not cool, guys.

Also,  now I sound like a Total Crazy Person. Let's not call these 'The Voices In My Head'. How about 'My Internal Monologue'? Does that work?

Can we agree on that?

Oh, good. We all  thank you.

So, I did actually go for a run yesterday. A five mile run! And I did it again this morning! And wouldn't you know it? I feel much much better. (Take that, bastards! Ka-POW!)

With every run, every yoga or pilates class, I feel better. With every step in the right direction, I release anxiety and I find peace.

 

'Peace Is Every Step' is a  quote/saying by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen monk. It's also the title of one of his  books.  I haven't read him in a while but this phrase has always stuck with me. And why not apply this phrase literally? I do feel my internal peace growing with every step of a run, with every posture held.

I did this design last week, using one of my photos from that  trip to Provincetown last fall and some hand lettering that I scanned in.(Of course, I had to make a tee shirt out of it.)

I blogged the Buddha photos in a different post, this one, where I talk about that old "I suck" feeling. It's worth mentioning that the "I suck" feeling is a result of not catching the whiff of depression like I did this time! Progress, yay!! I assure you, if I had let it go this time, I would have been camping in "I Suck-Ville" within a few days.

Next time I'm crankified or down, I am going to try to remember that Peace Is Every Step. And I hope that by saying that to myself, I will be inspired to throw on my sneaks and run (or a walk or go to pilates, yoga, zumba etc) and find my peace. You too?

xo, m

Monday
Aug092010

419: ok so i'm a little freaky what of it

What have I been up to?

Just being my freaky little self. Making silly designs and putting them on tees and such.

Like this one.

Darcy vs. Rochester tee, mug, and bumper sticker:

Do you love Mr. Darcy? Or is it Edward Fairfax Rochester's brooding that gets the knickers in a twist? I think we all know where I stand on the debate.

It doesn't take much for me, apparently. A British accent, a stern look or witty comment, and a flouncy cravat. (Unless you are my honey and then all it takes is being him.)

Are you like me and Beth? Do you swoon over a #hotbritishguy in a cravat?

Omg, Cravats! mug

(You may recognize that girl from the header on Beth's blog.)

And for those of us who would take Rochester over Darcy any day of the week (or night, mmm):

 Team Bronte tee shirt

Oh, don't worry, Team Austen is in the works, too. Then we can play for both teams. :o)

And now for something completely random: Parsnips, The Vegetarian White Meat tee shirt:

 

What? These are the things I think up without trying. I know. I'm a bit odd. But I'm ok with it.

I was talking on twitter about my tees and Elizabeth from Late Bloomer Quilts said, "Now if only you created a guinea pig design, I would put you in my will!"

What was a girl to do? I was up for the challenge. After several failed attempts at drawing her (apparently famous) little Melvin, I took Elizabeth's advice,  "Just draw a twinkie and put little legs on it!"

And it totally worked!

Peace, Love, Guinea Pigs tee and mug

And a little less girly version

The moral of the story is: Be careful what you say on twitter, because I may actually take you up on your offhand request!

Another example: I was already planning a QuiltDad = Awesome tee, because he does, but was tweeted the suggestion for a Quilt Dad Is My Homeboy tee and 45 minutes later it existed:

 

What can I say? It's not like I don't have other things I should be doing, it's just that this is my fun. Stuart will be watching a ball game and I'll be there on my computer designing silly tee shirts. It also is great practice and helps keep my style loose and fun and "me" rather than trying to be too commercial and perfect-like. With this Zazzle stuff, I am just totally being myself and making things that I like and if others like them too, then yay!

In that spirit, here is one of my favorites to date. When I was working on this, Stuart looked over my shoulder and gave me the eyes as if to say, "Girl, you are WACKED."

Yup. True story.

OK So I'm a little freaky what of it tee and mug:

xo,

melissa

 

Friday
Aug062010

418: chin up

Had kind of a down day yesterday--- the first in a couple of months!

(So, that's good, in a way, right?)

I blew off a bunch of workouts this week and started to crankify.

Sometimes I try to talk myself out of a grumpy mood. Or paint myself out of it.

I needed to hear this, so I painted it to myself:

And today I thought I would gussy it up a bit for you, just in case you needed to hear it too:

xo,

melissa

 

Wednesday
Aug042010

417: strikeoffs are here!

Oh, you guys. The fabric looks so good.

And it feels so good!

There are three colorways.

Colorway 1, greens:

I'm kinda crazy for the mix of greens, yellows, orange, gray, cocoa and eggplant.

Colorway 2 is blues:

The blues have some delicious salmon in there.

And of course, Colorway 3 is pinks and oranges with brown:

And cream, butter and olive. (Sounds like dinner!)

I'm so happy to be with Andover! The whole process has been simple, friendly and supportive. I have been waiting a very long time to see these designs on fabric and I couldn't be happier with how they came out.

Wanna know the name of the collection?

Swoon.

xo,

melissa

 

Tuesday
Aug032010

416: strikeoffs, catch up and unicorns

A few months ago, I was on going to my friend Hannah's house for the first time and I took a wrong turn.
And I drove past this:
Wait. What?
Yes.
A giant unicorn on the front of someone's house.
But that's normal, right?
No?
I WANT IT.
As I was looking through my photos to find that to show you, I came across this bag that my friend Regina gave me:
Ummmm......
Doesn't that look like the same unicorn that's on the house? With the super long horn and the little goatee?

Oh, unicorns.
Oh, oh! I got two more pieces of Anonymous Unicorn Mail! From that same person with the awesome writing! Makes me so happy.
....................................
You guys?
Strikeoffs of my next fabric line come today!
Tap tap tap..... taptaptaptaptap.......
Are the here yet?
.......
.....
...
.....
How about now?
No?
>sigh<
It's been so frigging long since Sugar Snap came out that it feels new all over again!
All of the other designers that came out when I did have had several lines by now. I am looking forward to having several lines, lemme tell you!
I'll be back with sneaks of the strikeoffs as soon as I can.
Even though my camera lens is busted. I'll have to use the other lens. See, I am kind of a jerk to my camera. I don't put it in a camera bag, so it gets a bit of the rough treatment. Like, sometimes it takes a tumble and the lens gets all jammed up and I have to shake it and smack it a bit to get it to focus. I am bad that way. Stuart can usually fix it with his Daddy Magic, but I don't know if even he has enough magic to make it work this time.
........................................................
Miracle of miracles: I am still working out!
Running 3x a week for about 45 min each time.
Pilates 2x a week.
Trying to make it to Zumba once a week.
Bikram yoga 3x a week.
Feels great!
Some randomness for you:
*The other day, I felt this hard lump under my skin in my arm. I was like, what is that!? Oh, cool! A bicep!
*I am enjoying the tv show The Good Guys. Tom Hanks's son is one of the leads and I can't help but love him like I love his dad.
*Of course, still digging what I call 'My Dancing Show', So You Think You Can Dance.
*I managed to get to the beach for the first time this season----before August! Last Tuesday, Stuart and I went to Craigville Beach after work. The water was so warm and it was even choppy! I had fun busting the waves with my head. "Honey, did you see that? I totally just busted that wave with my head!"
What are you up to?
Monday
Aug022010

415: icebox cake

Do you know about Icebox Cake?

I didn't until I met my handsome honey. It is his special birthday cake, and now his son's.

Stuart's son Zach turned 14 last month. Zach has been my little buddy. I met him when he had just turned five! He's now 14 and on his way to high school! So weird.

So, birthday. I made him the requisite cake. Which is really not cake. It is literally cookies and cream. Chocolate cookies and whipped cream, to be exact. It tastes exactly like an ice cream sandwich or cookies n' cream ice cream. Frigging YUM.

You make some fresh whipped cream:

And then you smoosh it onto these Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies:

And then you stack them up and lay them on their side:

And make like a loaf type shape. And then you 'frost' it with the whipped cream and crush up some cookies on top:

And then you throw it in the fridge for a few hours (the longer the better) and the cream soaks into the cookie and it gets all mushy and then you chow that stuff down, yo.

And if you are lucky, there is a little bit left over and it is amazing for breakfast the next day. I  mean, Im guessing.

xo,

melissa

Wednesday
Jul282010

414: zazzle + yummygoods = awesome

I'm designing stuff on Zazzle, a print-on-demand thingie place.

I've been toying with this idea for a while. I had signed up to sell on CafePress and Spreadshirt in 2007, but never did much with it.

I've been designing tee shirts for years and I created a ton of designs for products when I was first looking into licensing in 2004. Not to mention the years of surface design since then! So I have a lot of experience and material to draw from. It's a natural fit.

I took the plunge last week and I am having so much fun with it!

I get to do my favorite parts---design and marketing--- and they print and ship. Perfect!

And  I get to crack myself up and make things like this you=awesome mug :

 

And um, I designed this "I brake for Unicorns" bumper sticker:

You know, because I am kind of geeky for unicorns. As you may have noticed.

 And also maybe a little bit silly. Just a little bit.

You can tell because I designed these:

Guess what?

Chicken Butt!

That's right. Guess What Chicken Butt shoes.

I love these little guys. I drew them years ago, but they have stolen my heart again.

I kinda wanna do a fabric line based on them. Would you buy chicken fabric? Hmmm.

Of course, I couldn't resist making a bumper sticker:

And, um, a mug:

Because that's what mature, adult women do on Saturday nights, right? They design 'Guess What Chicken Butt' merchandise. Right?

Did you see that the chicken's butt is right there next to where it says 'Chicken Butt.'? Planned it that way, yo! Also, if you are right handed, the "Guess what?" side faces out , becoming a perfect trap for coworkers who will say "What?"  Mwah aha ha.

Did you know that there are other fabric designers on Zazzle?

Yup! The first one I had heard of doing it was Heather Ross, who tortured me by putting her Far Far Away Unicorn on shoes.

And how about some Betz White-designed shoes in her lawn chair pattern?

Also: Bari J and Patty Young.

I need to order my own Sugar Snap shoes, based on my first fabric line:

But which ones? The slip-ons above? Or the pro-keds:

If you want to be notified when I add something new to the shop, at the bottom of the sidebar here, click on 'Join Fan Club!' and then, you know... do so!

I hope you'll bear with me showing you what's new from time to time!

xo,

melissa

Tuesday
Jul272010

413: sneaky peek of my next fabric line!

This is from one of the (hopefully) three colorways.

xo,

melissa

p.s. no, it's not called Sneaky Peek, silly!

Sunday
Jul252010

412: omg my birthday

As you may recall, I turned 36 a few weeks ago.

As is usually the case, I didn't do much of anything.

But.

I did come home to this note on the kitchen counter when I returned from my Bikram yoga class in the morning:

That's my honey's cute writing.

And this is what was waiting for me in the fridge:

Fresh fruit salad! Which I ate in one sitting, all four cups of it, from that measuring bowl.

Fruit salad is my standard birthday request. I frigging love fruit sald. Fruit salad, fruit salad, fruit salad.

So, that was pretty much the highlight. Yum! (thanks, babe.)

Also, my yoga class sang happy birthday to me, which was cute.

Beth and I  did get to celebrate our birthdays together a week or so ago during our Double Birthday celebration which consisted of several hours of BBC drama and eating my weight in cheese (Cheese Dinner, as we liked to call it) and jordan almonds. Go to that link to see the throw quilt I gave her that matches the bunny pillows and duvet cover I made  a while back.

......................................................................................

A few days after my actual b-day, Beth gave me the present she made for me that she spent all of fourth of July weekend working on:

Look at those tiny stitches! On fancy-pants white muslin!

You may know Beth is all hot for whitework and drawn thread embroidery. Like, obsessed with it.

And this is her first project.

And then she gave it to me.

Omg.

And not just 'omg'. Nope.

OMGLONDON:

My very own whitework embroidery souvenir of our awesome trip to London!

But wait, it's not just embroidered.

No, because that would be too easy for Beth. The more complicated, ridiculously detailed and---let's face it---impressive something is, the more she loves it and wants to master it. Oh,  that Beth. What an overachiever.

Lucky for me, I am often the beneficiary of her madness.

Dude, she did this hem:

That, my fiends, is Beth's first foray into drawn-thread embroidery.

Those tiny little openings?

She counted the threads and pulled them out and drew others together with tiny stitches to make that shit happen.

The girl is crazy, yo.

Crazy awesome!

>sigh<

I'm so lucky.

xo,

melissa

Tuesday
Jul202010

411: unicorn tee and raspberries

There is a new category in the Yummy Goods online shop.

It may have something to do with a unicorn tee shirt.

I mean, maybe.

....................................................................................

Yesterday I started to keep track of my food intake again. At the beginning of the year, I used the LoseIt app on my ipod touch. I was diligent about it for 6 weeks and it really changed the way I eat--- for the better! This time around, I am using FitDay because I am on my laptop more than I mess with my ipod. They are basically the same thing so I would recommend either one!

I also went running for the first time in months yesterday--- 45 minutes without stopping!

This morning I went to pilates even though I didn't want to and I am so glad I did because it was actually fun! And tonight I am going to Bikram yoga.

I'm checking in about it to stay accountable. If I am not yapping about it then you can be sure I have stopped!

................................................................................................

 The other day I went out to check on my garden weed patch:

Weed central. Like, weeds as tall as me. Not that I'm so tall, or anything. But still.

At least the respberries are doing well:

At a neighborhood plant sale a couple of years ago, I bought a few canes in a bucket that someone had obviously just dug up from their yard.

And now they are taking over the place! Yay!

mmmmmmmmmm.

xo,

melissa

Next time: The ridiculously awesome thing that Beth made for my birthday.

Monday
Jul192010

410: OmgLondon part 7, Quilt Exhibit at the V&A

More London. Ok?

One of the awesome things we had planned in  advance was to go to the Quilts 1700-2010 Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

That's right, a whole special exhibit on quilts. While we were there. Magic, right?

Of course, no photography was allowed in the show, so I can't give you an accurate portrayal of what is was like.

But. The walls?

They were pink. PINK!

And surprisingly, it was rather dimly and moodily lit, which was kinda neat.

In the museum shop, there was this great big  book of the exhibited works, but it was a.) too expensive and b.) too heavy to cart around so I didn't get it.

I got the postcard set instead. They are snack-sized.

Also, I got some, well, what else? Fabric!

I didn't realize until after I bout it that it's by Liberty!

Don't fret, you can buy some too.

They also had all sorts of other cool quilty merchandise like this awesome wrapping paper:

And this stool that I really wanted:

And I didn't see this teatowel or I would have scored one for sure:

Aghhhhh!

We saw the quilt it is based on in person at the exhibit. It was rad.

I did grab this mug that is based on that quilt:

SO frigging cuuuute!

 xo,

melissa

Sunday
Jul182010

409: but really, you're all winners (plus unicorn action)

Oh, yeah.
Remember my  400th post giveaway?
The winner is........Renee! Who said:
I discovered your blog about a year ago and have throughly enjoyed it. If I'm ever in the area I would love to check out the shop. It's a long way from Georgia but maybe one day. Congrats on the book, the new line, and #400! What a great reason for a giveaway!

Yay! ´╗┐Email me your address and I will send you my book and some of my Sugar Snap fabric!
While I'm at it, a big congratulations to the winners of the Fat Quarter Friday giveaways:
Anjanette Middlebrooks
Alexandra Rosenblum
Helen Flener
D. Ciomperlik
Elizabeth Starks
Yay!
..................................................................................
In other news, (though I don't think this is news to anyone, really):
Dude, I am such a slacker.
I have a ton of emails that I haven't responded to and it makes me feel like a bad person.
Please forgive me?
I will buckle down on Monday and attack the inbox, ok?
More evidence of my slackitude: This awesome piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail that I got almost a year ago.
And I'm just now blogging it:
So the image is  from Natalie Dee this adorable webcomic. I emailed the artist to see if it was she that sent it (she? her? whatever). But she was all, " I have no idea what you are talking about." So I don't think it is her.
Also, yes, I am assuming a female sender. Is that wrong?
I mean, my first piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail was from a dude, after all.
Hmm. Food for thought.
So anyways,  it was very sweet and encouraging:
And doesn't this person have the awesomest handwriting? Jealous.
This same person sent me another piece of Anonymous Unicorn Mail but I don't have pics of it. I have been wanting to blog it just in case that person is still reading and wants to know that I a.) got them and b.) appreciate them. Resounding YES, yo!
More, please, Awesome-Handwriting-Anonymous-Unicorn-Mail-Sender!

Also, I have been a bit slacktastic with the exercise and eating well since my 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge ended a week ago! Like, I may have eaten my weight in cheese the other night at Beth's.
But, as of tomorrow, I am back on track. I will go to Bikram 4-5 times a week, run at least 3 times and hopefully hit up the Y for a couple of pilates classes. If you are in with me, feel free to state your plan in the comments for accountability!
I just went shopping and bought all sorts of good things for me to eat. As we walked to the car with our groceries, I did the following, just so I could say I did:
I carried a watermelon.
xo,
melissa
p.s. I kind of want to do my own webcomic.
Wednesday
Jul142010

408: omgLondon part 6 The V and A, sculptures

Back to London for a bit, y'all.

The fabulous, amazing, wonderful Victoria and Albert Museum. Known to all as The V and A. Sounds like the VNA but it's a whole other thing.

I have several posts on this place alone. We'll start with this hall of stone and marble sculptures, if that's cool with you.

Woe is she:

 Row upon row of marble busts:

I couldn't get over the detail. I mean, look at these crazy-ass eyebrows:

And this guy's curlicue hairdo:

 Someone chiseled those fine tresses from marble, yo. That is just craziness.

Some lovely waves and tendrils:

The eyes are creepy, but I love the little oak leaf ornamentation here:

Pretty hands:

I hate just drawing hands. I can't imagine sculpting them.

Beth and I were each walking around separately when I saw this guy:

Later, I was like, "And there was this one statue that had a 'Whatchu talkin' 'bout , Willis?' look on his face."

And she was like, " I know! I saw that guy!"

See what I mean?

xo,

melissa

Thursday
Jul082010

407: I'm bringing flexy back

Today will be my 26th Bikram yoga class in the last 27 days. I still need to make up one class, but I'm almost all of the way through the 30-day challenge!

I am the least disciplined person I know, so I kinda can't believe I'm really doing this! Yay!

Do you know about Bikram yoga? It is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a heated room. Like, a hot room. Like 105 degrees hot. Which, I have to say, I actually love. You know how I hate to be cold.

I found this video on the youtube that is from a Bikram yoga studio in London. Check it out.

Yes, you really do sweat that much.

Beyond the heat even, the postures are  challenging. Even so, it is a yoga that is for beginners as well as experienced practitioners. Not because it's easy, mind you, but because you work where you're at. You don't have to be "flexible" or "in shape" to go. You get flexible and in shape by going. Right?

You just have to give it your honest effort each time. That's all. And over time you build the strength, the balance, flexibility, patience, humility, determination.

One of the things I love about Bikram yoga in particular, is that it is so challenging that I have to concentrate only on exactly what I am doing the whole time. And that, my friend, is meditation! I am super-focused in class and that has been carrying over into other areas. I have been getting much more done at the shop. I just feel more... well... focused is the only way I can say it. Oh, wait, here it is: More productive.

Also? Tired.

Daily 90 minute sessions of challenging yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees? Um, yeah. I'm tired. But it's a good tired.

So, Bikram yoga = really hot, really sweaty, really challenging yoga. Awesome Yoga! It is definitely not for everyone, but it is for me.

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class. Book available on the Bikram site.

When I started up a few weeks ago, I  just wanted to get back into a yoga practice. (You can read about my yoga history here.) I thought it would be fun to blog my experience, including any changes I feel as I go through the weeks. Megan, who owns Bikram Yoga Cape Cod where I practice, took my measurements and weighed me. You know, just in case there are some pleasing changes to note.

I'm not doing this to lose weight though, rather to be healthier and let the yoga work through me. I didn't want to start a big regime and change my eating and be all diet-y about it. I just want to get back to yoga and let the yoga change the way I eat. Because I know that it does and it already has.

I was not in tip-top form going in, that's for sure. I never drink enough water, I usually eat too much and I could stand to lose about 20 pounds. I hadn't practiced any yoga in a while, or even been working out.

Bikram Yoga. Book available on the Bikram site.

The first two weeks I was just trying to get to class every day. Like, ok, am I really going to follow through on this? I wasn't hydrating and I wasn't eating any healthier or more moderately.

The first class back was a killer.  I had to sit out some postures because I was dizzy. Going into it I was already at a disadvantage, being dehydrated---me with my not-drinking-water-camel-like-ways. But boy, did I start guzzling my water between postures! If you are well hydrated before class, you really don't get thirsty or need any during, but I was a hurtin' puppy gulping from my pink container as quickly as I could. It seems like it would cool you off, but it just gives you a stomach ache and makes the postures more difficult, which you don't think is even possible.

This is what I wear to class:

It's actually black. A danskin one piece. I only wear this for Bikram classes because I don't want to be fidgeting with my tops, always pulling them down over my hips. It's not flattering, but it is the only thing I can imagine wearing in that heat and working that hard!

So after about two weeks of struggling through class pounding my one bottle of water a day, I decided to try harder to hydrate before class to see if it made a difference.

Dude, it totally made a difference! I hardly even needed a sip during class, and I swear to you, the postures were about 25% less difficult. I won't say easier because there is nothing easy about it, but I honestly did them with much less difficulty. So much so, that I am currently a water drinkin' fiend! I think of it as Yoga E-Z juice now.

So at about the two week mark, the water thing changed and so did the food. I just am eating lighter without even trying. Not that I don't sometimes mindlessly snack or eat more than I'm hungry for, but mostly I just want to eat fruit and yogurt and cheese and salads and only when I am hungry.So that's what I'm doing. I know, weird! But what I love about it is that I'm not trying to do it. I just want to.

The other night, there was a guest instructor at my studio, so my teacher Megan was taking pictures of the class. I don't think I've ever been photographed during my practice before! Makes those balancing postures even more challenging when someone is right in front of you with a camera!

I am almost at the point of bringing my forehead to my knee in this posture, which is actually called Standing Head-to-Knee, or dandayamana janushirasana in sankrit. The teacher is firing instructions out like an auctioneer: "Standing knee locked like a lampost , unbroken, like you have no knee! Thigh muscles contracted! Lock the knee! Lock the Knee! Tack the big toe down on the standing foot! Two hips in one line! Lock the lifted leg! Flex the toes, all five toes toward back your face! Kick the heel toward the mirror, keep kicking, keep kicking! Both legs locked, solid, unbroken! "

This is what happens when I just let the yoga work on me. I want to eat better to fuel my yoga practice. I want to drink water so I'm well hydrated for class. I want to get more sleep so I .... you get the idea.

Additionally, I can definitely see improvements in my postures. I m ean, how could I not after all these classes! I am naturally pretty flexible to begin with (don't stab me!) but it's been a long time since I was at my most flexy and I am approaching that again. My strength is building over time, as is my balance.

But you know what might be the most awesome?

The self-respect I feel for sticking with it.

I might be tired, but I feel like a badass. 

xo, melissa

Thursday
Jul012010

406: Quilt Market recap: Sandi Henderson

Yes, more Quilt Market eye candy.

Sandi's booth was lovely, as always:

And she had a little visitor:

Those chairs kill me.

Yum:

Love that new colorway of Meadowsweet.

Again with the chairs:

Nom.

I love this cathedral windows pillow.

I love how it looks but I would never want to make one myself. All that precision gives me hives. Well, maybe I could make one all wonky and rough. Melissa-style.

Which, I guess, I can.

Maybe I will!

Sandi gets some good unicorn lovin:

Smooooch!

xo,

melissa

Wednesday
Jun302010

405: OMGLondon part 5. Stonehenge

The final stop on our Evan Evans day tour was Stonehenge.

The weather was lovely. Blue sky.Whispy white clouds.

 

The place was beautiful. This is what it looked like when I turned around, away from the stones:

And doesn't this view just beg to be recorded in paint?

I don't know why it took us all day to realize how much we enjoyed our tour guide, the Dapper Young Man, Phil.

For the whole trip, we had been sitting in the second-to-last seats on the bus listening intently to  his commentary and guffawing  at his jokes--- and often the only ones doing the latter! I don't know if it was because we were a) the only ones listening  b) the only ones who got them c) the only ones who spoke english or d) very easily amused.

We found him totally entertaining, informative and charming.

Also? Stonehenge was fuzzy:

Fuzzy wuzzy was a Stonehenge.

Some spots in the grass had sweet little colonies of buttercups and such:

I couldn't resist picking a few and shoving them into my brochure.

Probably totally illegal, but, you know. I'm a rebel like that.

We chatted with Phil a bit for the first time before boarding the coach back to London, and found him to be just as funny as his told-on-every-tour-every-day commentary.

Beth and I have decided that when we go back to England, we are going to take another of his tours and sit right behind him so he has a good audience for the whole day. It's going to be a blast.

We arrived back in London after 8pm and walked out in search of dinner.

I got fish and chips.

That's right, scones and tea in Bath for lunch followed by fish and chips for dinner in London.

I want to go back.

xo,

melissa