Sunday, December 30, 2012


As our plane lifted off the ground and into the cold Kansas City sky, it began to softly snow...we were heading home to Seattle, after being back home for Christmas. Ingrid Michaelson's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow started playing on my iPod about an hour into the flight and I had to hold back the tears. I already missed everyone. To some it may sound a tad cheesy...but that song, preformed by any artist, has become one I go to when I want to be reminded of home, of where I came from, of my family and friends...of Kansas. Along with the memories, come bittersweet feelings of leaving it behind again intertwined with those of moving forward and growing. Not growing out or away, but growing into oneself as a person, an individual.

home : seattle
Erik and I have been in Seattle for four and half years now and we both love it here. The weather, despite what people may say, is not that rarely gets above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees. Once the sun shines, it shines bright and beautiful. Almost every summer day is like that perfect 75 to 80 degree day that might show up in Kansas in April or May. There is so much to much we still need to do! There are more outdoor activities than I can name and so many restaurants and concerts, its hard to keep up. There's so much to take in that at times it can be a little overwhelming....but exciting. There is still such a feeling of newness and change here. It always feels fresh and full of life, movement, growth and opportunity.  To quote the great Jimmy Buffett (who, many may know, is a family favorite)-

back home : kansas
When I'm back in Kansas, no matter how frigid the temperature outside, it always feels comfortable and cozy, like home should feel. My parent's house hasn't changed a whole lot...a kitchen remodel, some paint in the bedrooms...but it still feels the same. It is still the place where we can act like little kids around Christmas, even though some of us (Erik and Adam) are closing in on 30 years old. Its a place we can let our guard down, we can cry, we can laugh, we can hug, snuggle up, say something dumb...and no one will judge you, no one will care...because they care so much

The longer we are away, the more nostalgic it feels going back...the trips back are fast and furious, so we fill the time with little sleep and lots of joking and laughing and story telling. Sometimes I have to pull myself back to the ground to remind myself that not everyday is Christmas...the whole family doesn't get together for large home-cooked dinners and gifts every weekend. I have to let the reality set back isn't like this all the time. It isn't like this a majority of the time...that's what makes our visits so special. Everyone has a real life to live too, with real jobs and real stress. But for that little bit of time...we can forget everything and just enjoy each other.

The older I become, and the closer we get to someday starting our own family, the more I hope Erik and I can create that same sense of home and sense of place for our children. How does one create that sense of home? How do you make sure that sense of security is there? How do you create a home base? As sad as it would be, if my parents ever decided to move from the house in which so many memories were created, my childhood home, I know that its not the house.

It's the unconditional support, the trust, the love...the people.

And that's how I know we and our future kids will be ok...wherever we might end up.

view from my parents attic, while wrapping presents- 12.23.12

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shopping Vintage: The Holiday Party Dress

I know I may have mentioned it before, but I am a sucker for vintage dresses. I've spent hours 'window shopping' for old dresses on Etsy and browsing through consignment stores, searching for that special, one of a kind piece to add to my closet. Don't tell Erik, but my dream would be to open a second Etsy shop full of vintage finds...but that may have to wait until we have a place with more storage...oh, and some start up money.

I can't remember when this love affair started but I have a few ideas...Maybe it was watching Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, in her HUGE ball gown, dance across the screen in The King and I...or ANY of the amazing costumes I fell in love with while watching movies from my Papa's Rogers and Hammerstein collection, for that matter. Thanks to my sister's Judy Garland phase, maybe it was the red velvet dress and sparkly head scarf Judy Garland wore to the Christmas party in Meet Me in St. Louis that sent me over the edge. And Dolly...Hello Dolly...that gold number Barbara Streisand wears while she's singing with Louis Armstrong...words cannot describe how much I love that dress.

Like most little girls, I remember really liking the idea of 'dressing up'...putting on your Sunday clothes (as Dolly would say). Not a lot has changed. I still like dressing up! Every year, I start looking for a dress to wear to Erik's annual Christmas party a couple months in advance. My one has to be unique. I go into this dress hunt knowing that there will be a little can always find a vintage dress that is beautiful but its hard to find one that fits perfectly! I have to go in with an open mind. Its not what the dress is, but what it could be...I know that's pretty deep for dress talk, but its soooo true.

My three rules for finding that perfect vintage piece:

1) Know your measurements...all you need is a measuring tape and maybe some help from a friend (and maybe a helpful youtube video). One tip- I tend to buy dresses that fit my measurements or a little larger because you can always take it in but you can't always let it out!

2) Learn a little about clothing construction...or find a friend (this is an open invite people!! I'm here!)

3) Be creative!!! As long as the fabric is in good condition...go for it. I'm still teaching myself how to alter clothing, so if you are more experienced, the sky is the limit!

And this brings me to my dress of the season...I found the perfect dress a couple of years ago but due to  a bad cold, we skipped out on the party that year. It was a $40 find from a shop on Etsy and it hung on a hanger in my closet for two years. Everytime I opened my closet door, there it was...begging me to wear it. With a few alterations, this dress became one of my favorites!

Here's my 2012 Holiday Party Project...I mean dress :)

The bright aqua and silver brocade fabric is what drew me in...every girl needs that statement sparkly dress, right?

A bit boxy, but, man....that fabric!

A little big and a little too long...I have a short person complex thanks to my younger (but taller) sisters.

I took the dress in 2" on each side and took the hem up about 3.5"...I know, soooo scandalous.

AND.....The After

Paired with black tights, black wedges, a bun and bright red lips!

 And a couple model pics for good measure but mostly to make Erik laugh...

And my date for the night, doing his best James Bond impression! :)

Lots of food, drink, and conversation (oh, and my hot date!) made for a great night out. Like I said before, I'm still learning this alteration stuff so I was pretty proud of myself! I received a couple nice compliments but my favorite reaction was when a lady told me (after she'd had a few cocktails) that she like how "it looked like it was from the future but also kinda from the 60's". do I top THAT next year?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

To anyone who has ever felt insecure...

I know there have been many before me write about this, and I know I will not be the last one. For tonight at least, I want you to listen to what I'm going to say from up here on my soap box. 

Recently, I've heard a lot of negativity...not gossip or world news...its been in the form of personal insecurities. I'm sure it is always around me but for some reason I've honed into it as of lately. I've heard everything from nonchalant comments about being too fat and needing to workout, to people depriving themselves that last cookie because they want to be 'good', all the way to a wonderful young mother feeling completely down and disappointed with herself. 

Why do we think and talk so badly about ourselves? Whether it is regarding appearance, ability, personality...why do we so harshly judge ourselves? I do friends, family, and co-workers do it...but are we all that insecure? I'm trying to source this trend of self-deprecation...and when I find it, I'm going to kick it in the shins and tell it to leave my friends and family alone!!

I can always blame society...(man that society is blamed for everything, huh?). With tv specials like the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show where woman who are bone thin but somehow can still fill a DD bra, flaunt their flawless, un-photoshop'd bodies. And for the record, you are crazy, Adriana Lima..really 8 weeks after you gave birth you looked like THAT? How are real woman supposed to compete with people like you? I'm not a mom yet, but I can't imagine the pressure this puts on REAL woman, who don't have trainers and nannies, and endless hours a day to spend at the gym. I's her job..yadda yadda yadda...and still, like many other woman out there, I own a few swimsuits, pjs, bras, and undies from VS. I totally buy into it...

Another place that may bring on bad mouthing ourselves? Fashion magazines...Don't get me wrong, I LOVE them. I love the ads, the articles, the color and photography...the excitement I get when I see that extra large September issue of Vogue crammed into my tiny apartment mailbox...But all you need to do is flip through one to look at the unnaturally thin models and the expensive 'must haves' of the season. If I really owned all of the 'must haves' of the season, I wouldn't be able to afford the other, more common, 'must haves' in food and shelter. But I subscribe to it...I like seeing whats new and trending. 

We also have shows like Fashion Police (which I love...) that might be fun to watch after an awards show to see the pretty dresses but it also tears apart people who don't have the same fashion taste or sense that the hosts have. But I buy into it!!! "Oh yes, I agree with you Joan Rivers, that dress was a tragic mistake..." 

And then I catch myself...I'm judging others. So obviously, they are judging me, right?  

Odds are, they are too busy judging themselves and worrying what you think of them to worry about you...if that makes sense.

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that the magazines and tv shows are not going away. Honestly, I like my magazines and don't want them to go away...They are not going to change, at least for a long time so we need to change how we take in what they are throwing at us. 

Maybe the solution to our insecurity problem is to separate our own personal feelings from what is being projected onto us. We should all stop comparing ourselves to the Kate Moss' and Heidi Klum's out there and focus on what is good for us personally...we should live up to our own personal standards and meet our own personal goals. Maybe we can all learn to be content with who we are in our own skin. As long as we are active and healthy...does it matter if we can fit into those size 4, 8, or 12 jeans? We need to learn to be ok with ourselves, love ourselves, how we are today...not how we think we will feel if we buy that expensive bag or brand name pair of shoes or if we lost 20 lbs or had rock solid Daniel Craig abs.

Life is too short to let all of these insecurities stunt our happiness. When you are taking your last breath...are you really going to be thinking 'Man, if I could have only lost those last 10 lbs and bought those Jimmy Choo's, my life would have been perfect.' 

I doubt it.   

Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo Friday: A Little Holiday Cheer!

With Thanksgiving behind us and December only a day away, it's time to add some holiday cheer to the place!

Here are a few of my favorites...including the three stockings I made a few years ago and Erik's stocking from his childhood!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How We Made Our New Apartment a Home

Earlier this year, Erik and I made the big move to a new apartment. When I say big move, I mean really big...a whole two blocks away from our old place. Our old apartment had lots of charm- old wood floors, glass knobs, tiny hexagon tile in the bathroom, to name a few things. It was a typical pre-war apartment building. It was cute, full of character, and the perfect first place for us in the city. Eventually, though, the issues that come with living in an older building (like a leaking ceiling/roof, for one) outweighed the charm.

If you know me well, you know that I love old things. I LOVE vintage clothing (check back soon to see what I found to wear to Erik's work Christmas party this year!!!), old furniture, dishes, buildings...anything that has a story and a past. Even the house I grew up in is closing in on 150 years old.  Needless to say, moving from a place that had such history to a place that was still being updated the day we moved in was a little out of character for me. We decided that we loved our neighborhood too much to leave so we took the tiny leap and moved a couple blocks down, into a newly renovated apartment.

It was a fresh start...and a very blank slate.

Choosing the color palette was more difficult than I thought it would be. Since the first time I laid eyes on the red and blue flamestitch (bottom right), I loved it. I was so certain that it would be the perfect inspiration for our new living room. While I dug through my 'collection' of fabrics searching for reds and blues, another palette started to surface. It was softer, lighter, more subtle, more Northwest...what was happening to me?! I love bright colors...I AM bright colors! Why was I being pulled to this neutral palette? I knew Erik would love it...especially because we had pillows with fuchsia, orange, and even flowers in our last place. I couldn't decide so I took the issue to the people who I knew would not hold back their facebook friends!

 Right or Left?!?! There was no clear winner! I had to make a decision and just for kicks I chose.....

The Neutrals!!

And here is the before...the blank, bland, cream, living room. AND our new, comfortable, gray Kravet sofa!

We organized the books (a perfect backdrop for any space!)...

Found THE PERFECT coffee table on etsy (click here to see this guy's shop...amazing) and paired it with a simple chevron throw rug.

I slaved away on my little sewing machine...not really...but it took a few week nights and a Saturday afternoon to finish up the pillows. Here are three of my favorites...

And a couple close ups...

One of my favorite movies and a gift from my Papa Casablanca poster is finally on display after so many years.

And after a few months, a little shopping, collecting, sewing, and picture is our lovely living room, the space where we hang out, read, eat, and live.

I've learned something very important through this move and this 'make-over' of our living room. No matter where we live, whether its an old house full of stories, an apartment with lots of history, a simple, clean, renovated place or somewhere in's what WE bring to the space that makes it a home (but a few new throw pillows won't hurt).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Photo Friday: Seattle Great Wheel

First, I have to apologize for skipping last week. We are finally wrapping up a huge expansion and renovation at work so that means I finally have more time for crafty, creative, fun stuff in the evenings and over the weekends. Woohoo!!!

A couple of weekends ago, my mom-in-law, Leslye and her husband Don made the trip from Portland to Seattle and stayed with us for a couple days. We took a quick visit to the market and bought fresh salmon from the fish guys, had a few beers at the brewery, visited the new Great Wheel, and just had some good 'ol fashioned bonding time.

For your Friday viewing pleasure...some photos of the new ferris wheel!


As I was going through my photos, I realized I didn't take a single photo of the WHOLE ferris wheel...but I'm guessing you can use your imagination. 

So, thank you for taking a look at my collection of abstract Great Wheel photos. Happy Friday!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Friday: Facebook Fan Giveaway!

So as of right this minute (10-18-2012, 9:38 PST) I officially have 95 'likes' on my Savannah's Sunshine Shop facebook fan page. My goal is to hit 100 'likes' by Thanksgiving but with a little help from my friends (insert John Belushi singing Joe Cocker here) I think I might just hit my goal before the weekend is over!!

As a big thank you to all of my friends and family (and their friends and family!) I'm going to be giving away a set of my hot pads!!!! As soon as we hit the 100 mark, I'll draw a winner. The winner will have the choice between a set of hot pads posted in the hot pad section of my Etsy shop or a custom set in whatever color they choose. Hey, it could be you!

You could win a set like one of these!

 **Please note that not all of the fabrics pictured above are still available but I can find something similar.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo Friday: How to discover (or rediscover) your style

To switch things up a bit, I'm throwing in a little 'how to' as part of this week's Photo Friday!

I need (and when I say need... I mean NEED) to have a creative outlet or I start to go stir crazy. Just ask Erik! If I'm not working on something or at least coming up with a list of things to work on, I start to have one of those, 'oh my god what am i doing with my life' moments...when I have something to keep these crafting hands busy, I'm at complete peace with the world. I'm learning, as I mentioned in my last post, that things seem to go in waves, we have ups, downs and somewhere-in-betweens. What do I do to keep sane during the slower times? I get out my old magazines and rediscover my style!

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to visit a few furniture factories, fabric mills, and textile design studios in North Carolina. It was an amazing experience but one woman stuck out to me. She was a color specialist at one of the design studios (ummm...officially my dream job). Her job was to research color trends and come up with colors and color combos for the fabric and trimming collections her studio produced. One way she researched color was by taking a stack of the newest magazines and cutting out everything she found visually interesting. Even if it was the background color of an ad, she would cut it out. She then took the pile of magazine clippings and sorted them into smaller piles. There wasn't really any trick or method to sorting them, she just thought the colors and images looked good together...the 'just beacuase' method- my favorite reason for choosing colors for my own work.

This would be a fun project for anyone, though, not just the crazy, color-obsessed weaving lady...Maybe you're trying to put together some new outfits for work? Or trying to decide what color to paint your bedroom? Anyone who is trying to discover (or rediscover) their style should try this out. And who doesn't have a stack of magazines?

My fancy flowery sketchbook, a big stack of old magazines, tape and scissors
Cut out everything you love....EVERYTHING!

My big pile of every image I thought was interesting...yeah, I started tearing out pages. Maybe I LOVED too many things. 

Sort into smaller piles...HINT: DO NOT THINK TOO MUCH...just go with your gut and what you think looks good together. I tend to go more by color but you be the judge! I try to let it just happen...

Glue or tape the smaller piles in your sketchbook and VOILA!
This one of my finished pages that turned into a lemon, lime, pink, and red color combo.

An ode to the celedon/aqua/'spa-qua' (spa + aqua) --this one's for my work mates.

Indigo and Red

I go through this little process every once in a while and it has been really interesting to look back through the pages I did months (or years!) ago. You should try it...Even though the colors and images change, you will start to see a common theme or 'look'. That common thread is YOU! It's your style...embrace it! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Balancing Act

As I sit here, on my bed with my lap top, hitting the bottle after a long day at work (don't worry friends...its just a giant bottle of Perrier Sparkling water, pink grapefruit flavor), I find myself feeling off. I guess it's not necessarily off...just not on, if that makes sense. I'm staring at my little corner in a loom, the little light on, my music is playing, the bench is waiting for me, but all I want to do is sit here and try to catch my breath. I'm sure you know the feeling...the I'm drained, exhausted, brain dead, staring at the wall, 'just wanna lie around and watch 2 hours of reality tv (aka The Voice)' feeling. 

The problem tonight, though? It's only Monday...

At the end of August I made a promise to myself. I had a plan. I mapped out my creative goals and felt a new found burst of creativity. I told myself over and over again that the only person who can make something happen is me. I had been having a creative drought and I NEEDED to make something happen. My architect husband, who had to listen to me night after night made me watch a very inspiring TED talk. Although I don't quite remember what new technology the speaker was talking about, and until I googled it tonight, I coudn't tell you what she does for a living or her name, I did take one thing she said to heart. The speaker was having a hard time with something (or to put it plainly...she was in a funk) when she received an email from a friend, who has since passed away, who told her something that has stuck with her forever. He said:

“There is only enough time to iron your cape, and back to the skies for you.”

I came back to this quote tonight...while staring at the scarf, that for some reason, just won't weave itself. I've had extra stress at my day job and then come home to my 'second job' where I push myself as hard as I can to make just one more thing (or two more things, or three more things) to add to my is no wonder I'm in a daze. 

I'm still learning the art of balancing everything in my life. I'm still learning that I need to take a little break and recharge. I am NOT the Energizer Bunny. I rode this creative wave as long as I could. I think it is time to take a night or two to 'iron my cape' and then back to the loom for me.

Thanks for listening as I have a 'Carrie Bradshaw' moment...

Friday, October 5, 2012


I may not have had the same reaction as the double rainbow guy on youtube, but I did run for my camera! 

Maybe some extra good luck will be coming my way...

I promise, no more Space Needle photos for a while but I couldn't resist...Happy Friday! :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo Friday: New Yarn!

All of this weaving has made me a little yarn obsessed. I've been searching through etsy and ebay listings, the local yarn shop...everywhere! The first (and largest) yarn order arrived on Wednesday and I couldn't be more excited. I also have to give a shout out to Dancing Leaf Farm on etsy for the AMAZING hand-dyed multi-colored yarn I received too (see first photo below). I can't wait to use it! I have a couple more hand-dyed skeins from another etsy shop on there way so more photos to come. 

Oh, and I don't know if I need to mention this, but if you are in the market for a new scarf...I have a lot of colors on hand to choose from!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Friday: A City Sunset

I decided to have a little fun with the sunset tonight. It was hazy because of the wildfires but it was still beautiful.

Here's how Seattle says 'good night'...