Thursday, December 29, 2011

Everything in it's right place

I'm back home for a month or so on winter break, and am glad to be back at The Tin Thimble. When I am not working, my time is used doing non-useful things, like sewing projects for myself, and homework, and watching Dexter...lots of Dexter. But now that I'm home, I am reminded of just how nice it is to work and be depended on, and do useful things.

I spend a lot of time doing housekeeping things around the shop, a lot of filing, and organizing, and cleaning, on top of the fun stuff (like teaching lessons). Upon reorganizing some of our quilting fat quarters, I took a look around our little store and saw it in a new light. To some people who walk into The Tin Thimble for the first time, they might experience...sensory overload. It is impossible to shove the Thimble into any sort of category, for it contains, quite literally, a little bit of everything. Bolts of fabric stand proudly on any available shelf, hand felted works of art are draped over nearly half of the shop, wool rovings burst with a thousand colors along the studio wall, vintage patterns push out of their over-packed drawers, my sister's jewelry case glitters in the light, hand dyed flat wools are stacked in wobbly piles according to color, 5 foot rolls of silk teeter at the end of the cutting table, stacks of trim zig-zag within their fruit crates, and hand made gifts occupy any left-over space. To some, our store might appear like a jumble of colorful, mis-matched, items, however, the longer you look, the more it becomes apparent that everything is, in fact, just exactly where it belongs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pom-pom trim

I think I'm beginning to realize a new obsession...

Most of these are (or were!) available at my Etsy shop. Take a gander if you please! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A spin on life

As I said in the last post, I learned to do something very exciting over Thanksgiving break. My mom and my sister (Lisa) taught me how to spin! Yes, as in how to spin wool into yarn, with a real-life spinning wheel. My sewing had become a bit stagnant and my embroidery and paper crafting skills weren't exactly improving, hence, it was a perfect time to learn something new and feel inspired again! 

My firsts successful plied yarn. A little too chunky, and a little too thin in some places. All in all though, I'd say it was a good first attempt!

Hanging to dry after the twist was set.

I also spun that blue, purple and green one! 

An action shot! 

After having spun the yarn, my boyfriend gave me a nice little refreshing demonstration on how to crochet. One (and a half) new skills over one vacation. Now that 's a success! What would you like to learn how to do??

Monday, November 28, 2011


I spent last week in the much-needed company of my family at our cabin in Downieville. Our Thanksgiving consists of wonderful thing such as...

nightly dart tournaments...

my sister, Lisa's, wonderful cooking...

beautiful fall colors and mountain flora...

the Downie and Yuba rivers...

cold, quiet walks through town...

neat old stuff...

creepy old buildings (and stairs!)...

classic Gold Rush Era Architecture...

delicious, warm your heart, soul and stomach dinners...with lots of wine...

and the annual snowy trip to cut down a Christmas tree.

I also learned a really, really (really!) exciting new skill while at the cabin. I'll tell you more about that later! What do you and your family do for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A whole 'lotta Lotta

The Tin Thimble and my sisters gave me a half yard of every fabric of Lotta Jansdotters new fabric line "Echo" for my birthday. I am thrilled! 

Lotta Jansdotter is a wonderful Scandinavian designer who looks like she could be a member of our family. I love her color scheme and patterns. They totally inspire me. 

So far, I've combined two of Lotta's prints with a 100% Organic Cotton by Birch fabrics to make a pillowcase to sell. However, I'm thinking I might save the rest of the fabrics for personal use and make a quilt. Any good pattern suggestions?

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I spent a very long and lovely weekend in Quincy with my boyfriend and his roommates. On Saturday, we ventured out and took a nice trip to the Argentine Rock Fire Lookout. This incredible lookout was built somewhere around 1934 and is, to my disappointment, no longer in service. It is perched on the edge of a sheer 500 foot cliff at 7,227 feet on Grizzly Ridge in Plumas County. It looks west over a beautiful stretch of valleys, hills and towns. In the distance, Mount Lassen and the Sierra Buttes can clearly be seen.  If it were up to me, this wonderful piece of Forest Service history would be restored and used as my summer cabin, haha. I just hate to see it falling apart. 

Further to the right, and out of this frame, is Mt. Lassen. The town of Quincy lies in the valley down there at the bottom.

I'm glad "you were here", Rico, but I do wish you hadn't vandalized the 77 year old historic building. 

On the west side of the building, outside, is the remains of a solar shower, and this is what you would have looked out at. Can you imagine showering with that view? How beautiful!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Garden Fresh

I picked a fresh head of lettuce and a bunch of bok choy from my garden plot on Chico's farm yesterday. Isn't it lovely? 

I've never eaten bok choy before, so I called my sister Lisa for some advise. After googling some recipes for her suggestion, braised bok coy, I made coconut rice, braised bok choy and peanut ginger shrimp for dinner. It was SO good! Garden fresh veggies are such a wonderful inspiration to make dinner. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blog Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

The past few days have been absolutely beautiful in terms of weather. It was cloudy, cool, breezy, and even rained a wee-bit over the weekend! This lovely cool weather makes me very happy. Fall is my favorite season for multiple reasons; the weather, the color changes, my birthday, and I get to wear boots and coats. Hurry, autumn, hurry!

Anyway, I also love fall because I find myself sewing more often and I usually really like the things that I make during the fall. In fact, I just finished a dress for a special family event (I'll write a post about it in a couple of weeks) that is coming up out of baby corduroy and linen in lovely fall colors.

Share your favorite fall project ideas or your favorite part of Autumn and I'll (randomly) pick a winner next Wednesday (October 5th). I'll announce the winner on this post and then you'll need to email me your address so I can send this lovely little bag to you! It's handmade by me with new brown floral cotton, vintage gold corduroy and fully finished seams and is perfect for Autumn! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Man Stuff

My boyfriend came to visit me this weekend. I was so excited to see him, I had been counting down the hours till he would show up. Matthew is a typical guy. He wants a gun for hunting, a new mountain bike and a Toyota pickup to use specifically for 4-wheeling. He lives in Quincy, California, only about an hour and a half away from where I'm living. Quincy is the perfect place for him. There are rivers aplenty to fish, hundreds of miles of dirt roads that lead to said rivers, plenty of animals to hunt, millions of acres of National Forest to explore, countless trails to ride his bike, beautiful mountain views, and cold weather.
I had been planning on making him a "manly quilt" for Christmas, but while he was visiting, it came up that he was cold at night at his new house in Quincy. My ears perked up, my mind started planning fabrics, and my heart cracked a little. No one gets cold on my watch, no one, especially the man in my life. Anyway, he left today and as soon as the front door closed, I whipped out my fabric container and got to work. Roughly 6 hours later, this is what I produced. I think it's manly-ish. What do you think?

The front is an assortment of (mostly) vintage plaids, corduroys, wool blends, flannels and heavy cottons. 

The middle consists of a flannel bed sheet I sacrificed for this quilt. 

The back was a struggle. I ,apparently, don't buy large quantities of yardage, so I had to piece together large squares of canvas, cotton and flannel. 

The whole thing has a really nice weight to it, nice and heavy. The fabrics are all warm and soft and some of them are scraps from things I have made Matthew in the past. This quilt was unlike me in so many ways. Firstly, I don't quilt. Never. Secondly, I had to step away from my usual palette of pinks, oranges, yellows, whites and girly colors to use masculine colors. I think it might have turned out a wee-bit Christmas-y but I just had to use my vintage corduroys on this. Some call it Christmas-y, I call it Eddie Bauer-y. 

I've only ever made a shirt, pajama pants and a quilt for Matthew. I'd love to know, what have you made for the men in your life?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Hello everyone!

Oh my goodness, I do apologize for my hiatus from the blogging world. This is my third week in a new town, at a new school, in a new apartment! Whew. I recently moved to Chico to go to school and it's been very exciting. There's something about moving to an entirely new place that's really exhilarating.

In addition to all these new things, I also got a new sewing machine...and I feel kinda guilty. I love my Great Aunty Charlotte's Singer, don't get me wrong, but it has it's issues. My mom and I were at a thrift store before I moved and we stumbled upon a really nice Necchi on sale for only $35! So, I left my singer in Newcastle, and the Necchi moved with me. And now I feel bad thinking about my adorable little singer sitting on the floor in my empty room at home...with no one to use it and love it. I'm conflicted.

Anyway, I went to one of the fabric stores here in Chico today, the Honey Run Quilt Shop. I was really, really pleased with this little store. It's in an adorable, classic Chico house, and has a really fantastic selection of fabrics, patterns, threads and more. I can't wait to go back! This trip, I purchased some adorable Organic "Monaluna" for birch cotton fabric, a great Amy Butler Lotus print and a super soft Michael Miller bicycle flannel.

I came home, set up my new machine, got all ready to sew and then realized I didn't have any space for my ironing board. Did I mention my new apartment is really small? Well, it's so small that I had to set my ironing station in the bathroom. Haha, yes. It's close to my desk where I sew, so I don't really mind. Odd, but convenient. 

Sorry again for the lack of posts! Lots of new and exciting stuff goin' on lately, and I'll be posting again soon! Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I bought a set of dishes at our local Hospice thrift store a few weeks ago, and I am absolutely in love with them. I bought 6 cups, 6 saucers, 6 dinner plates, 6 salad plates and a large serving platter. I pull them out of the box for any possible reason and drool over them. They are Franciscan Ware called "Silver Pine" and were manufactured at Gladding McBean (which is located only about a half an hour from where I live) in 1955. I love them, I adore them, I cannot wait to actually use them. I'll quit blubbering and share pictures!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Call me old fashioned...

...And I would happily exclaim "Thank you!"

I spent my day gardening and canning. I made Zucchini dill pickles, wild strawberry jam, and canned corn. Last week I made pickled Jalapenos and blackberry jam. I guess I'm a wee bit obsessed, haha.

My canned corn all cozy in the pressure cooker. 

Picking wild strawberries is no easy task. Their small and fragile and well hidden beneath their leaves. 

One cup of these little beauties yielded just slightly more than 1/2 cup of jam. Oops! Guess I'll have to be more patient in my collecting next time.