Category Archives: Eastern Iowa

Oh, hello

Boy. Once you slide out of the blogging habit, it’s tough to start back up again.

Especially when you’ve built up a big backlog of stuff to talk about. (But, perhaps, been negligent with photographing along the way.) I’ve been working on my sewing space again (painting! and organizing! and accessorizing!), making some gifts, experimenting with patchwork pillow covers, learning how to screen print, appliqueing some more onesies for The Shop Next Door, and baking bread in 5 minutes a day!

I don’t know where to begin.

I need an ice breaker.

How about something that’s not mine at all, but the work of another local stitcher who sells her handiwork at The Shop Next Door?

I fell in love with this octo-plushie from Jayne Danger when I stopped by the shop on Saturday — apparently  I walked in about 5 minutes after she’d dropped them off, so I got first pick from the gaggle of newly displayed adorable octopodes. (It was tough pick between this one and a blue guy with a comb-over.)

  • Share/Bookmark

The Shop Next Door’s Grand Opening

Hey Iowa blog readers (Mom), check it out. The Shop Next Door is open!

And it’s kicking off December with a Grand Opening Party tomorrow (Dec. 1) from 5 to 8 p.m. Organizers promise coffee and food, both of which are pretty much guarenteed to be good, since the shop is owned by the same folks who run Brewed Awakenings.

The Shop is an “artisan collective” that sells local handmade items (like these screen-printed kitchen towels)

and vintage/repurposed clothes.

Oh, and they also happen to carry (shameless self-promotion ahead), quilted coasters and appliqued onesies (I wasn’t kidding when I said they were addictive)!

  • Share/Bookmark

Farmers Market Paparazzo

Yesterday morning I joined about 40 other local photographers to troll the Downtown Farmers Market as part of the Worldwide Photo Walk.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic when my husband told me he’d signed me up for a photo walk. I had an image of 40 people walking en masse down the street, SLRs slug over their shoulders or around their necks, swarming each street performer and tomato stand in unison,  like some sort of Farmers Market paparazzi.

photo via Wikipedia

I’m happy to report that I was wrong. There were no scenes like the one above at the market yesterday. Maybe because there is so much happening at the market that there were thousands of interesting things to photograph.

Get the whole story »

  • Share/Bookmark

An excuse to shop: Bags for a good cause

My time with Buttercup Bag No. 4 was short. It’s better that way, though. I was starting to get a little attached.

I made her Monday evening, photographed her before leaving for work Tuesday morning, and handed her over to the lovely ladies at Home Ec. Workshop several hours later during my lunch break.

She’s one of more than 40 bags that have been donated to the shop for a fundraiser. The bags are for sale in a silent auction with all proceeds going to benefit cancer research. It’s a good cause. I’m a happy to donate a bag. I tried to make a super-cute one that I hope will sell at a high (for a handbag) price.

But my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless. Home Ec. is also asking everyone who stops in the store (whether they’re placing a bid or not) to vote for their favorite bag. The winner gets a big fat gift certificate, and I’ve got my eye on some fantastic Kokka fabric for sale there.  (Vote for me! Vote for me!)

There are lots of great bags on display at the shop, in all sorts of styles, fabrics, and colors. If you’re in Iowa City, check it out. The auction and contest run through July 24. (Also, while you’re there, get a fresh-baked cookie. They’re delicious.)

  • Share/Bookmark

A Photo Booth 4th

Pardon me while I make one more post about our fab photo booth.

Last night we took the booth to 4th of July festivities in my hometown and had a blast. The booth was hopping for 5 hours straight. It was fun to have the diverse crowd that a community festival like a fireworks show attracts. Our booth saw a few firsts, including:

a dog


It’s hard not to be a little bit starstruck by Spiderman. Even if you do know that it’s really just an actor dressed up in a padded spandex suit.

Here’s one last picture of our booth at the Freedom Festival as people stood in line for their turn while waiting for the fireworks show to start:

Big thanks to the Freedom Festival for making us a part of this year’s events.

  • Share/Bookmark

The photo booth goes outdoors

I’m still not quite sure how it happened, but about a year and a half ago, I became a small business owner.

My husband and I rent out photo booths. And the booths are amazing. I can say this without sounding like a Braggy McBraggerson because I had very little to do with their actual construction. My husband designed and built the actual booth, and wrote the software that makes it run. My mom sewed the gorgeous red microsuede curtain that became our namesake.

I’m just the girl who said “Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a photo booth at our wedding?” back when my husband and I were brainstorming ways to make our reception fun and memorable.

But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Mostly, we take the photo booth to wedding receptions. But we’ve also had people reserve the booth for proms, anniversaries, and one super swank 16th birthday party.  This year, we were hired by the Freedom Festival, an annual community celebration in my hometown, to bring the booth to a few of its summer events. Outdoor events.  The first event was rained out. The second one though, the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, was held on one of those days with nearly perfect weather — blue skies, mild temperatures, oh, and crazy strong wind gusts.

Turns out that big red curtain serves as an excellent wind sail. We called in emergency back-up (ie: my parents) to run over an assortment of supplies to tie down the curtain so that patrons could get into the booth without fighting yards of fabric.

This is how Ryan — that’s my husband (cute, right?) — spent much of the afternoon, securing and re-securing the curtain against the wind. We still got some motion from the wind, and you could see the curtain flapping around in some of the photo strips, but, hey, that’s just one more reminder of the great day. (And maybe of the humorous site of the wind blowing so hard that it kept pushing those cardboard boats backwards as they tried to run their races.)

Get the whole story »

  • Share/Bookmark