summer

"Whelmedness"

I have had a full week. A really full week. And I've struggled with its fullness. A lot.

My friend Jana mentioned the other day on twitter that she was having a perfect amount of "whelmedness" that day,not too overwhelmed and not too underwhelmed. What a fabulous idea! It sounded like an absolutely perfect day to me since I seem to have had my fair share of the former kind lately and have been dreaming of the latter.

But really when it comes down to it, what I have been wanting is that perfect balance of "whelmedness" each day. Don't we all? As I descended into one of my internal "balance of life" struggles, I realized however that even though this perfection is a good thing to strive for, achieving a perfect balance of whelmedness each day is a high and lofty goal. Perhaps I should stop thinking that I can do that every day and cut myself at least a little bit of slack. Just maybe.

One of the questions I get asked the most often, which might also be why I think about it so much, is how do I balance a full time, often more than full time design job, and business along with being a "stay at home" mom of my three munchkins. To be fair, I don't really think I am such a good example of either. I have business and production offices next door and a wonderful staff of gals who help me make it all happen on a variety of fronts. They sew, they edit, they process orders and answer emails. They stuff patterns and ship boxes. They do most of the paperwork.

  Creambundle5blog

... Gabrielle made new cream bundles up on the website now.....

I have a hub who runs most of the fulfillment side of the business and all 3 of my kids are in school now so the balance is definitely more doable these days than it was when I started all of this craziness. Mr. Fig and I share all child responsibilities since both of our jobs have the luxury of flexing around the kids and I know that I couldn't do it at all without all of these folks and without all of this help.

And yet I still struggle with what I am not doing on any given day. 

In the end, there isn't any good answer to the balance question, other than I take each day as it comes and often feel like I have let one of the two halves down. As I thought about it al again this morning, what I realized was that what I want to strive for is balance in my week and balance in my month. Balance in  my day would be the icing on my cupcake but can't happen most days!

Their will be days like this Wednesday, the first day of school, when one side is clearly more important than the other.

Ellazackfirstdayschool2011blog

Zackella21stdayschoolblog
... first day of school photos of the two youngest Figs!

There will be days like this Monday, the final deadline for my newest manuscript, when the other side of my pendulum will win.

Shootblog2

Propschickens

Sunflowersprops
... prop shots from the photo shoot, since I can't actually show any of the products just yet....

There will be days like this Tuesday, back to school shopping in the morning/photo shoot in the afternoon, when I will try to do both and feel completely overwhelmed by the end of the day, not sure that I gave either halves of my life all that they needed.

Props-spools
...more props from the other day's shoot.

And there will be days like today when I will sleep in a little, let the hub get the munchkins off to school, let the office gals run the office without me and enjoy a little bit of quiet time with my tea and the homemade zucchini bread that my 13 yr. old boy whipped up this weekend.

There will be evenings like today when our friend will need to take the munchkins out to dinner, while I finish studying the swatches for the next fabric collection I am working on but I will still get to tuck them into bed when the day is done.

Zucchinibread

Who knows what tomorrow will look like.  But as I look back on the week AS A WHOLE, I think I can be happy about what I accomplished, what I chose to do and what I chose to hold off on. All in all, I think my week has had a perfect balance of whelmedness even if each day felt completely different and perhaps not that perfect in and of itself.

Trying to keep myself focused on the big picture instead of the little one that gets me down and makes me crazy. This balance thing is not that easy. I am sure you all know this already. I am wishing each and every one of you the perfect balance of whelmedness this next week!

 

xox

Joanna


Summer's End

I can't even believe that our summer is not so slowly coming to a close. I know its kind of an artificial end and that we could all stay in summer mode for a bit longer but I guess we have to listen to the calendar! And so our SCHEDULED summer is almost over and I don't think I am quite ready.

My tomatoes aren't quite ready yet, either!


In the Kitchen...

Freshfood

This morning our FARM FRESH TO YOU box of goodies arrived as it does every week. Its a wonderful thing and even though we are growing some of our own veggies this summer, the weekly box keeps us stocked with everything we might need. This week the box came at 11:00 and by noon I had sauteed up a few things for a quick staff snack. We all took a break from designing, shipping and cutting to eat some sauteed pattypan squash with onions, garlic and herbs. Yum!

Foodcloseup

Food3plats

 

On vacation...

Last weekend we were also able to squeeze in one more long weekend vaca to Monterey. What a beautiful and restful place!

Vacationing with 3 munchkins ages 6 to 13 in one car and one room is not always what its cracked up to be but with some good "divide and conquer parenting" all the interested parties were able to: go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, go window shopping in Carmel, return to the laser and mirror maze place 4 times, eat ALOT of shrimp at Bubba Gump's, do a little back to school shopping for kids and mommy too, eat some yummy French food which included some amazing Sonoma coast wine and a giant bowl of mussels and clams in a garlic and herb wine sauce, watching a couple of in room movies, having French Crepes with strawberries and Nutella, kicking my son's butt at pool, eating Lasagna for the first time in 10 years because we were trying to be like Garfield the cat [that last one will only make sense to you if you read the Garfield comics like my boys do], stopping at the best roadside veggie stand in Castroville, CA [home of the artichoke] I had seen in ages and buying 20 baby artichokes and 10 baby avocados that we are still eating, walking through the Strawberry Festival in Watsonville, CA.... okay I think I will stop for fear of boring you with more food stories. It does sound like we did nothing but eat all day long, doesn't it?

3kidsmontereyblog

Zackmontereyblog

Benmontereyblog

I guess its time for back to school haircuts too, huh? I'm keeping that lazy summer look going as long as I can on them. Unfortunately Ben's school has a haircut code. Bummer.


In the office...

For those of you who have fallen in love with some of our newest bundles, you might want to go take a look here for some new fun ones.

 

Otbundlestackblog

And just because we thought they were irresistible, we added some of these to the site. Isn't that just the cutest twine you have ever seen? 

Twineblog

Twineblog2

Twineblog3

More soon.

xoxoxo Joanna


A little project. Very little.

In case you don't already know, I am in the midst of the final months of a new book manuscript. How could you not know? I feel like I have been going on about finishing it for months now, boring you all to death! But just in case you hadn't known, there it is.

As a result of the book and of the fact that it is the middle of summer, my life feels like a whirlwind of chapters, time at the pool with the kids, illustrations, kids wanting snacks, photo shoots, kid's coming home from camp wanting more snacks, more writing and then dirty, happy kids wanting more food before they play whiffle ball in the front yard with every single neighborhood kid they can scare up. Oh yeah, and they want snacks for that too.

In fact, I looked out the window the other day and one of the kids was running bases while hugging the bowl of pistachios I had put out there for them! I'll let you get a mental picture of that for a second. Got it? Good. It was pretty hysterical! 

 Is it just me, or do our kids eat more in the summer? I am going through food in Costco size quantities and I still seem to always be running out. But I digress.

In the midst of all this chapter writing and kid wrangling, I haven't had much of an opportunity to do anything simple and easy and, well, summery. But I have been dreaming of doing it. So finally yesterday I stopped all my deadline work and whipped up a couple of easy peasy kitchen towels. Really easy peasy.

 

 

Kitchentowels

I used my favorite kind of kitchen towel to start off - a flour sack [if your local drugstore doesn't carry these, google flour sack towel & you will find dozens of sources]. They usually come very wrinkled, so I pressed the towel well so it would be easy to lay the strip of fabric on it.

I cut a 3 1/2" strip of 3 prints from my Strawberry Fields collection and pressed each long end under a 1/4". I tucked one end under, pressed it and overlapped one edge of the towel by about 1". I pinned it in place and continued to pin the strip all the way across the towel to the other side, where I trimmed the end of my strip to hang off about 1 1/4". I then tucked that edge under too and tucked it behind the towel by about 1".

I sewed the strip on, on both sides. That's it! In about 35 minutes, I had three brand new kitchen towels that completely changed the feel of my kitchen to "summertime"- at least for me. And more importantly, I felt a great sense of completing something I had been wanting to do for a long time. And then I felt quite ready to go back to writing and making more snacks for the kids :-).

If you are feeling at all overwhelmed about the undone or unfinished state of your huge projects this summer, then just stop and do something little that you can finish quickly and that will make you smile every time you look at it. I promise that it will make you feel better!

 

Kitchentowels#2blog
... as you can probably tell from the photos, flour sacks come in different shades, some bleached and some natural. It seems that I have both in my stash and so you can see two different shades of fabric on the towels.

 

On another quick note, we have restocked the cream bundles with a new bundle #3. So many of you have requested these and I am so sorry that we were not able to get them done any faster [we were waiting for fabric to arrive] and that we don't have more. Have fun! These are great as backgrounds for whatever project you are working on or great for your stash if you collect creams like me!

Cream#3blog

Cream#3ablog

xoxo

Joanna

 


Sit Upons for Summer

Today we have bundled up some wonderful little Sit Upon kits. Available with and without the amazing I-TOP button maker [I really recommend the I-TOP for easy as pie button making. See this post].

Kits include all the fabric and buttons you need for one Sit Upon- perfect for your office chair, to take to soccer games this summer or as many of customers have pointed out, perfect to take to quilt class with you.

Personally we will be whipping up a few more of these bad boys for summer porch lounging!

You can of course stretch your charm pack and use it only on the front of the pillow and get two out of one charm pack! You would however need some more buttons for that.

Situponblog

Situpononfloor

 

Situponcloseup

We will have these while the charm packs last.

Click here for more info.

 

Here's to summer!

Joanna


 


Summertime...

Well, its officially the beginning of summer vacation around these here Fig parts and although the Mama has lots of deadlines, nobody else seems to! So, we have been doing a whole lot of this....

Zackwtihgameball

and a bit of this...

Eallaonfruitladder

Zackandbenfruitpickin

... how much do you think I paid them to pose for me like that LOL!! I am sure that one of them slugged the other right after this shot.


Zackonfruitladder

 

So we've been eating way more than our fair share of these...

Apricots

Which really just makes me want to sew with that apricoty, orange, melon feeling color! Man, there's just nothing that beats it!!

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A special thank you goes out to all of you who emailed, tweeted etc. about my dad. He is doing much better and we won't really know much more until the fall. But for a guy who just had major surgery, I'd say he looks pretty darn good, wouldn't you say?

Tataaftersurgery

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What I am really supposed to be doing is working on book projects- have 4 projects in the works literally all over my floor as we speak-  and prepping for our upcoming photo shoot! I'll have to get back to you on how that all goes... 

On the storefront, our fabulous summer workers are back from college and we have been getting alot of projects underway. To start off with, we have started our limited series bundles. 

Up first, Cream Prints Bundle #1...

Creamsbundle-blog


Creambundlesstack-blog

... these bundles have (7) 1/2 yd. cuts of various cream prints [3 1/2 yds. total] from Fig Tree lines and another MODA cream print thrown in here and there to complete the set. The prints are from various collections, including Fresh Cottons, Fig & Plum, Allspice Tapestry, Patisserie, etc. We have found that over the years the fabric that most folks, including stores, run out of first are all of the cream prints that can be used as backgrounds, fillers, sashings, stash builders etc.

We have been collecting them for some time and thought we would start sharing them with you in limited edition cream bundles. Each bundle #1, #2...etc. will have a different combination of prints... without any repeats just in case you want to collect them all!

Click here for more info.

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Next, Cream Prints Bundle #2 [ a whole different set of 1/2 yd. cream print cuts including Breakfast at Tiffany's, Buttercup, Dandelion Girl, Fresh Cottons, etc.]

  Creambundle#2

 

  Creambundle#2-stack

Click here for more info. 

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Next up, Fig Tree Coordinating Solids...

These are our favorite MODA Bella Solids in colors that coordinate and blend very well with all of our collections. We have been sitting on these bolts since about January and just haven't had the time to get them cut up and bundled!

Here they finally are in all their  "sherberty" goodness [bundle includes snow, butterscotch, peach, aqua and clover].

Solidbundle-blog

 Solidbundlestack-blog

Click here for more info.

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Also on the kit front, all of our Kiss Me kits sold out almost as soon as they went up for presale a while back. Couldn't believe you guys. As of today, they have all shipped if your card was current. If not, you might wanna give us a call!

A few more goodies are on their way tomorrow so stay tuned. And there is a special coupon in the newsletter coming out on Friday so if you're not already signed up, you just might wanna.

Happy Beginning of Summer,

Joanna


Winners, winners chicken dinners!

I just finished reading the comments. Thank you all so much for sharing your daydreams with us. They were so wonderful to read and I feel like I know a lot of you so much better! And I would still really like to be canning with some of you right now!

Given the amount of comments, I decided to have a few winners.  The main winner will get the whole packet and the others will get a Le Fig pincushion kit & some pattern goodies!

2figsinbowlwhite
 

1st winner:  Jane, commented on August 25 at 8:00 am and said:

i'm rather new to your blog (2 weeks) and am hoping it's all right to enter your giveaway. the cotton pear is lovely and would be happy taking its place on my mantle. :o) as summer comes to a close, i'm still canning and dehydrating. i dream about getting busy on stitching (embroidery), a bit of knitting, a couple mini quilts, finishing a primitive Americana quilt, and sewing a couple dresses. lots to dream about. hope your day is swell. 

Extra winners:

Dawn, commented on August 23, 5:50 pm and said:

While your memories of the first day of school make me miss those days when my children were small and cute, I am now looking forward to something totally opposite - in a way. My baby (I have 4 children) is going off to college about 450 miles away. So my last few days of summer are busily buying and packing to move her away. BUT - I kind of am looking forward to that empty nest! for a few months at a time anyway! It is kind of nice knowing it is only temporary!

Lori, commented on August 25, 6:53 am and said: 

I have only been sewing for a year. I love all your great patterns. I always want ALL the new fabrics. My house cleaning days have been replaced with sewing days. Much more fun!


So send me an email with your address ladies so we can get your goodies out to you!


And after reading through all of your wonderful comments and coming across this next one, I felt like we should send her something extra special just because she might just need it a bit more than all the rest of us put together. So I added her in. I'm sure you will agree.

Donna commented on August 26, 9:32 am:

I wish so much that I had the opportunity to post anything BUT what I have been doing this summer. On March 16th of this year, I suffered the greatest tragedy known to any mother. I lost my precious, beloved son, Brian, after a 2 year struggle with cancer. He passed away just 5 days after his 19th birthday. I don't think I have to say that my life is now, and forever will be, changed. Brian knew how much I loved to quilt and he was always amazed at the things I would accomplish. I had to put aside that part of my life during those 2 years while devoting every minute of everyday to caring for my precious son and trying to keep cancer from snatching him from my arms. I know that he would want me to continue with the things that brought me joy such as working with fabrics and quilting. I have always loved your lines of fabrics and patterns. I just need a little boost and some inspiration to get going again. I'm even trying to think of a way that I could make a quilt in his memory knowing however, that he was such a tremendous young person and so loving, that it will really have to be something special. I love the idea of using your fabrics because the "happy" that they bring looking at them reflects the "happy" that Brian always gave to everyone around him. Nothing drab or dark would do. I hesitated to even write this, but I do need some inspiration to get started back trying to do things that bring me some joy, and like I said before, I know my son would want me to get back to this. It would rekindle the memories of the times he would watch me and praise me even though he was a major athlete and all boy, he still took the time to be interested in what I was doing. Just writing this makes me think back to those happy times. One other thing I would like to say after reading so many of the replies and those of you with small children is that (and I know all mothers know this but I can't help but repeat) they grow up so quickly. Cherish even the smallest of moments. Our children are gifts from God. Thank you for allowing me to post.

Thanks again everyone for playing. For all those of you who have emailed asking about desk organizing info, i will post about that in the next couple of days.

Talk to you soon.


Let the Games Begin

Inspiration board

All I can say is Oh My Goodness! That was quite a nice little group of you all who commented on the giveaway. As of this morning I am officially closing it down for comments because, you know, well, enough is enough already don't you think? I guess I will have to do these more often than I normally do!

I will post the winner... or I think winners :-) on Monday morning. Mostly I need until then to finish reading all of the comments. You guys are much faster at writing them than I am at reading them and I really do want to read each and every single one. 

Salesmensamples
... a shot from the office re org mentioned below 

I have to tell you that reading these so far has made me laugh, chuckle, cry and fall deep into thought. I am SO envious of all of you who wrote that you are canning! I want to be canning right now in the biggest way. My biggest problem... nothing to can since we didn't do much in the garden this year and perhaps more importantly, little to no skill in canning. So for all of you canners out there... if you have any that you are just dieing to get rid of, well I could definitely find a home for them right here in the Fig kitchen. Really, I could... LOL!

I have cried with those of you who have experienced such loss and sadness this year, prayed with those of you who are waiting for loved ones to return from war, jumped for joy with those of you who are expecting, have new ones or are about to get married in the coming weeks and days! I have wanted to see your remodels and re orgs this summer, wanted to visit your overflowing gardens, sew with the grandmas, tickle the toes of the new ones. Oh my goodness, I am feeling sappy now!

I just want to thank you all so much for sharing a little snippet of your lives with me, whether joyful or sad, wistful or full of activity. It helped me to process our own days around here as everyone left for school and fall routines started. 

Zackellaschoolblog
 

Zackellablog
... do you all remember these shots from last year? Look at how much older they look this time around? How did that happen exactly?

You motivated me to finish up my office clean up as the guest bed left and we made room for another desk from downstairs. 

Newdesk


 Tray


 Folders

Fulltray
 
 ... As you can see, my favorite things to organize with are pretty folders, inspiration boards and trays with cubbies. Vintage and functional at the same time. My other favorite tip: Remember to give your desk a little height with something so that you can organize more things and give the whole desk more dimension.

Organizing is one of my absolute favorite things to do, especially while I am thinking and all of your comments, if nothing else, definitely made me think. A lot.  

Thank you for sharing your lives with me just a bit. So grateful to be doing what I am doing and that it brightens some of your lives and brings a little color into all of our days!


Talk to you soon.


The last bits of summer...& a little giveaway

....giveaway is now closed. thank you so much.


Its almost that time. That one day a year that I get so caught up in what they are wearing, what their hair looks like, whether their shoes are tied right, what they eat for breakfast... That day that I think about [yeah perhaps even obsess over just a bit] probably more than they do. I am both so looking forward to it and dreading it. Its tomorrow. 

The school supplies have been acquired with minimum problem. Dare I might say that it was fun. Well, maybe not quite fun but not horrible! Staples and Target with 3 kids and 4 lists of things that need to be gotten... well, it can be just a bit overwhelming!

I registered my oldest in Jr. High last week. He got a locker. And gym clothes. And there were girls flirting with him. God forbid, I think he was flirting back. Even though he doesn't quite know how.

Their clothes have been mostly taken care of. Until next week when someone decides that there is something that we have forgotten that they can't live without. At least none of my 3 know what a brand name even is yet. Or care. They are dressed from head to toe in Old Navy and Target and they couldn't be happier. At least for now. At least the boys. The girl might have a little something else sprinkled in here and there, but not much or just a bit of handmade. Its all good. Until she discovers boys or what's "in". Hoping that day comes later rather than sooner. On both accounts!  For today she is my little office helper...

Today'shelper

When I am not answering writing questions for the "helper", I am trying to finish up some projects and work on pattern instructions. The next fabric group has gone to print and I will see advance yardage sometime in October. I know, in October!! Not sure how we are going to make the booth work this year, but we'll do what we can, right? It might be interesting to watch!

Strikeoffs you ask? Cuz you know  you're asking.... well here is a very small peak at some of the strikeoffs that made the cut. 

Buttercupcloseup

... more on that later.

Besides all of that, I am a bit distracted. Thinking of the summer, staring out the window, daydreaming... kind of wish we could be back at the river. On a canoe. 

Canoes2
 

Canoes

Hope you're daydreaming too. And enjoying your last days of summer.

How about a GIVEAWAY in honor of daydreaming? Haven't done one of those in like a... a year!

Tell me what you are doing with your last days of summer or what you are daydreaming about these days and we will enter your name to win a Fresh Cottons honeybun, a pack of ALL the brand new Fig Tree patterns and a Le Fig Kit. Why? 

Fig
 

Because Fresh Cottons IS summer, the patterns are fun and the fig, well anyone can knock one of those out in a few hours and feel accomplished!

Talk to you soon.