Monday, September 29, 2008

working on fun stuff

Fun stuff that I can't mention today, but will reveal on Wed. I hope your weekend was great!

Friday, September 26, 2008

the great 5x5 exchange for august/september

Sorry, Robyn, I've been remiss in my posting as well as my actual mailing of the 5x5s. This was Robyn's little packet to me for August. Aren't they beautiful together? Such rich colors. I especially love that beautiful floral lawn on the right edge. She is always scoring these wonderful fabrics in the most unexpected places. I saw it and felt its soft, super thin texture, and thought it might be a piece of Liberty fabric she bought while in Paris. Nope. Wal-mart. Sorry for the wrinkles in the photo. Feelin' lazy.

This is my selection to her for September. I focused on pinks. No special significance to any of the fabrics, except the pink/orange/green Amy Butler, which was one of the fabrics I used to make her daughter a tote. On a humorous/maybe creepy note, the snippet on the left is a piece of my old pair of pyjamas that I'm recycling. I promise they were laundered first.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

baby kimono, check

I've had Habitual's baby kimono on my 'tutorials I'd like to try' list for a long while, and now I can finally check it off. I made this for a baby shower gift, size 0-6 mos. The tutorial was great, and I'm proud of the result. I used a snap instead of another tie inside, and next time I'm going to lengthen that side of the kimono so the snap goes under the arm. Thanks, Habitual!

I thought the lil' kimono needed a pair of matching pants, so I trolled around on the web until I found this newborn pants pattern from I used 13 inches instead of 12 inches of elastic around the waist (12 just looked so impossibly tiny, but what do I know? Both my babies were 9 lbs when they were born), and I shortened the pants quite a bit to make them more cropped. Thanks, Beesnest!

After making those, I discovered kid's pants are just about the easiest thing to sew in the entire universe. I need to get crackin' and sew some for my daughters.

Monday, September 22, 2008

baby bonnie bunny

Here is a softie I designed for a baby shower gift. She's a sleepy baby bunny, sporting a cloth diaper. I've got the pattern on my computer, just need to write it up to make it available. I'll just add that to the top of the teetering stack on my desk.

Her tail is another yarn pom pom I made using Bella Dia's method. Besides being cute, it helps Bonnie to sit up when she is not propped against something. I had fun embroidering the little baby-to-be's name on Bonnie's fanny.

I wanted her ears to look a little droopy, so I ended up tacking one to the other to make it look flopped over.

Hopefully she'll inspire future baby Bailey to follow suit and take a big, long snoozer for Mommy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

lesser known eschers

Delft, 'Voldersgracht met toren van het Stadhuis'

'Daken van Delft', Houtsnede 1939

'Puddle', 1952

I have always loved M.C. Escher's work. Big deal, everyone does, right? Well, last year I was tremendously lucky and got to spend a week in the Netherlands with my friends, Rich and Robyn. While touring Den Haag for a day, I visited Escher en het Paleis (Escher museum located in fantastic Lange Voorhout Palace), and was amazed to see the heretofor unknown range of his work.

He is best known for his mind-blowing tessellations and 'impossible' compositions, but I was blown away by his earlier work in landscapes and cityscapes. Thought I'd treat you to my favorite pieces from the museum. These scans just do not do justice to the intricate details of the original woodcuts.

The museum is well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in The Netherlands:
Escher en het Paleis

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

make a coin charm bracelet

When I was about 14 my parents came home from a vacation from Europe with all these cool coins. I had to find a way to wear them, so I rummaged around in my mom's old 'dress up' jewelry box (items she donated to us girls to wear for playtime) and found this fantastic, hugely long silver necklace like they wore in the 70s. It had double links and a heavy feel.

So I took it downstairs and frankensteined it into a bracelet at my dad's greasy workbench in the garage. I chopped it off to bracelet length and re-attached the clasp. I'm sure my method left a lot to be desired, and I knew absolute beans about making jewelry, but the end result looked and functioned like a bracelet and I was quite proud of myself.

I had to ask my Dad to drill tiny holes in all the coins and he obliged. Then I attached them all to the bracelet using additional rings I cut off the leftover chain. I remember a lot of perspiring, finger pinching, and muttered epithets during the construction (all I had was Dad's needlenose pliers and industrial sized wire snips), but I was so happy with the result. I wore it a lot.

And if I say so myself, this bracelet still rocks, 24 years later. I don't know what they made costume jewelry out of way back when, but this stuff never tarnishes. I recently re-discovered the bracelet (and the rest of the necklace, can you say Pack Rat?) in the depths of my jewelry box. It has a very cheerful clinkety clinkey sound when you wear it.

If you have a collection of coins sitting around doing nothing, I'm sure you could do a much better job of putting one together than I did, if you have some basic jewelry-making tools (and skills). I still know beans about jewelry making, but it's on the list.

Anyone know of a good introductory book on jewelry making, with pictures? We are talking BASIC here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

little mushroom girls WIP

Remember that quilt I'm in love with? Specifically the little tantalizing snippets of the girls with mushrooms and baskets? I'm trying to recreate the look for myself to use in future cards and patterns. Here's the first part done, the littlest girl with a yellow mushroom.

Still to come is her mom with the basket, along with some floral borders. I love that I can resurrect a wonderful old fabric design in this little way.

Friday, September 12, 2008

absorb some culture

Print your admission ticket and you and a guest can enjoy a free day at your local museum on Saturday, September 27th, courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine.

Go here to check on participating museums in your area. See you local folks at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

in which I make a boatload of bias tape.

Great Scott. All this bias tape out of only a half yard of fabric. So I started out just wanting about 30 inches or so of bias tape to trim a little baby shower gift I was working on. Then I thought, didn't I see a tutorial once on how to get a lot of bias tape from not a lot of fabric? I just hate cutting across fabric at a 45 degree angle -- all that waste. But I also loathe having to miter bias tape together, which is what you have to do a lot of if you don't cut right across the widest part of your yardage.

So I found this helpful tutorial from The Dread Pirate Rodgers for making bias tape by sewing a parallelogram into a tube and cutting it up. I randomly picked half a yard to work with, because I thought, I hate making bias tape. So what if I had leftovers, that'd be another cute bias trimmed project I could do. And also I avoid doing math at all costs.

I now have 344 (continuous) inches of bias tape.

The whole irony is after sweating through the tutorial (not that it is a bad tutorial, I was just nervous about possibly screwing up some of my favorite fabric) I didn't end up using any of this on the project. Just not enough contrast.

But I highly recommend Dread Pirate Rodgers' ingenius method. Try it for yourself. And look for this bias tape on every project I make for the next few months.

Monday, September 8, 2008

quilted postcards

Would you believe you can send something like this through the regular mail? And they'll treat it just like a postcard? Weird huh?

I learned about these at a crafting party thrown by my sister a few months ago. Since then, I've been the lucky recipient of several*. Imagine my delight at receiving this one in the mail from my niece, Jamie. Look at her stitching! Craft on, Jamie!

If you'd like to try it, construct a mini quilt that is 4 inches by 6 inches finished size, using thin cotton batting. In order for it to go through the mail unscathed, I'd personally skip anything that could catch, like a button. I have seen them mailed with all kinds of doodads sticking out, but I say 'better safe than sorry'.

One side will be your design, whatever suits your fancy. The other side should be white with the appropriate area for message, address and stamp.

My sister uses fabric markers to write the message, but you could also use that wonder of crafting wonders, freezer paper, to run your fabric through your printer (before it is sewn together. ha.).

Note: Request hand cancellation when mailing. Judging by the looks of some postcards I've received, there is a chance that your postcard will pick up dirt or grease from its journey, so I would avoid sending an embroidery masterpiece that you've slaved over for hours. Keep it fun.

*I am deeply chagrined to admit that the one postcard quilt I started months ago is still sitting on my craft table. Unfinished. It was for a little girl's birthday. Which was four months ago. Urg.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I met Lindsey Cero at ICE Atlanta back in June and I fell in love with her amazingly detailed paper creations. I wanted you to share the joy. Check out her etsy shop, Papersnack, and her website

Her photos don't do justice to the tiny detail or the bright colors of her creations. Their little teeth!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

fabric covered bulletin boards

I wanted a wall of bulletin boards in my school room without having the pesky wooden frames to hinder my pin poking. I decided to DIY the thing by going to Ikea and purchasing several cheap bulletin boards.

My husband popped off the wooden framing for me (this was trickier than I thought because of these really stubborn corner-shaped staples in the wood)) and then I grabbed my hot glue gun and stretched my new green/white Ikea fabric over each one and glued it in the back.

I loved the result. And the cost for this solution was very minimal. I think the bulletin boards were less than $5 a piece, and the fabric was around $6/yard.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Ikea? I have? Oh. Well, that's ok.

Monday, September 1, 2008

name that crayon

I loved crayons growing up. And I loved their weird color names. Crayon colors like Burnt Sienna prepared me for the bizarre names that would appear on my acrylic paints in college (phthalocyanine green?).

Go here to take the quiz and see if you can name all 64. (I managed to make my way through with 14 mistakes)

Picture via Jeffre Jackson