Go Go Gocco

While the kids were at school on Wednesday, I worked on my note cards for Sarah's Art of the Note Gocco Swap.


I had ordered my paper back in July from Paper Source.  There was a reason why I choose an aqua note and an orange envelope.  I wish I could remember what the reason was.  Somewhere between mid-July and Wednesday, my brilliant idea was lost, never to be found.  So there I was stuck with a color palette and full of ideas that wouldn't work so well in blues and oranges.  Figures.


I ended up getting out the spirograph and made lots of random shapes on different papers.  One of them looked a lot like a flower to me so I added a stem and some leaves.  Voila - a flower!


The screen did not burn as well as I had hoped.  I knew Dana had a hard time with her spirograph screen too, so I didn't think I would get any better results burning a new one.  I went ahead and printed with the one I had.  The ink dried a bit dark, but I think it still looks good with the envelope.


Thanks for organizing the swap, Sarah!  I loved having an excuse to get the gocco out and get printing.  Speaking of which, I have another stencil to cut.

Happy weekend to you all.

Skyrocketing heart rate. Or could this post have more categories?

I spent most of the weekend sewing, but I don't have anything to show for it.  All of the projects are in different stages of "not yet finished."  I have myself to blame for this:  running out of thread seems to be a specialty of mine.  And now, I can add math miscalculations to the list as I cut a two and a half yard piece of batting in to a completely unusable mess along with squaring a full size sheet incorrectly.  Yikes.  I think I might start chanting, "Measure twice, cut once" but I am not sure it would help.

The good news is that there are a few things making my heart race lately.  The first is Sarah's latest gocco swap.  Oh boy!  I love me some good looking notes.  See the button on the right side bar?  Click it and sign up.  You know you want to.

Second is Pam's February Lady Sweater.  Seriously.  I have spent a couple weeks deciding if I love this so much because it is the most perfect shade of green or because I really like the sweater.  Turns out, I think it is both.  So now I am on the hunt for the most perfect yarn in the most perfect green.  You know, so I can knit the most perfect sweater.  Preferably wool - suggestions?  I won't start it for awhile - the wrist, you know.  But the girls and I are headed to my favorite place at the end of the week (another thing making my heart rate rise) and the tangled yoke is coming along.  It is the only crafty thing I'm bringing.  That will be either disastrous or genius (the wrist,  you know).  Only time will tell.

Finally, Blair sent Emily, Tracy and I our new assignment.  (As an aside, can I just say how happy I am that Blair is back at the blog thing?  So very happy - I really missed her words).  I pulled out the dictionary - man, oh man!  There are lots of choices with this word.


Cover.  Noun and verb.  My initial thoughts surprised even me.  Wordplay is so fun - it gets me thinking in so many different ways.

Enough for a Monday morning.  Back tomorrow with quilt news.


Today I am working on my wordplay project - due tomorrow, of course.  I swear, I think I will never learn.  To add a little excitement to the last-minuteness of all this, I found out last night that my kids are out of school at noon today.  What?  I didn't see that coming.  A big thanks to my sister-in-law who is stepping in to watch the little ladies so I can actually get my hair cut.


And the black ink surprised even me.  But, if it works out like I have it in my head, I think it will be good.   Fingers crossed.

Outside inspiration

Wow - thanks for all the quilt love!  I am super excited about how it came out.  Now I just need to work up the courage to actually quilt it!  All in good time, I am sure.

One of the things that was so satisfying about making that quilt top was being inspired to just do it.  I think I am most creative when my brain is working over-time, analyzing color and pattern, thinking about scale, wondering what I can make out of a particular material.  Sarah's gocco swap is a perfect example of that.  I had to think outside of my comfort zone to come up with something mid-winter.  But you know what?  I love how it all came together.  Finding the inspiration to go with the theme, pondering the possibilities, planning, mixing ink and printing those note cards was actually fun.  I was inspired and in the end, I think it showed.


So to keep myself creating outside of my comfort zone, I asked Tracy if she would give me a word or phrase or image to use as a jump start for a new gocco project.  She readily agreed and asked me to do the same.  We gave ourselves a month to complete this project.  The month is almost up.

This is what she gave me:  tea.


I am not doing a gocco print because pushing down to print hurts my wrist (which is slowly getting better).   Instead I am working with fabric.  I am excited about this collaboration and about what I am making.  Thinking it through has been fun - I have come up with all sorts of scenarios, but finally settled on one.  I am inspired again.


In the end, I just hope it shows.

And I am dying to see what Tracy has done with the word I gave her: piece.

Here comes the sun

Historically, winter is the hardest time of year for me.  I find that gray skies and not much sun don't treat me very well.  So when Sarah announced her gocco swap's theme as mid-winter, I grumbled.  Out loud.  I really wanted to do the swap, but mid-winter?  Ugh.


I thought long and hard about what I wanted to print.  Fatty came up with all kinds of good ideas, but either they were entirely impractical (I cannot draw a groundhog, for instance) or they weren't very "me" (whatever that is).  I was looking back at some photos on Flickr and this one caught my attention.  It was snowy and gray and the sun was trying to peek through.  That gave me an idea.


I took a plain white doily and placed it on a black background and scanned it.  I then inverted the black and white, cropped it some and made my master.  I mixed a bit of brown ink into the yellow to get a match to the curry colored envelopes from the Paper Source.  I printed it on gray folded notes (also from Paper Source) and voila - my version of mid-winter.


Funnily enough, after I mailed them on Monday, it started snowing.  Yesterday was snowy and gray.  Today is snowy again, but the sun has come out a few times, too.  Tomorrow's forecast is for sunny skies.  Mid-winter indeed.

Thanks for hosting a great swap, Sarah.  I promise not to grumble if you do it again.

The s word


I printed my goods for the gocco swap today.  It was trial and error to find the right mix of yellow and brown, but in the end, I think it turned out good.  I am a novice at this thing, for sure.  It makes me nervous to be sending my item out knowing it is a bit, er,  rough around the edges.  I'll be interested to see what people think.  Fingers crossed.


I am working on my first quilt square for the BeeJennifer sent the print in the background and the yellow chenille for inspiration.  I just hope it goes together like I have it in my head.   And that it goes with the other 11 blocks, too.  And that she likes it.  Once again, nerves.

Up this weekend....finishing our handmade valentines for Sarah's swap, working on Miniswap and trying to get one very very very overdue package in the mail.  Thank goodness that recipient is patient and kind and sweet.  Oh, I just wrote thank goodness.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Happy Friday.

Our Handmade Christmas - For the Dad

Jane and Kate love to draw.  In our house, we go through paper and crayons and markers and pencils at a very fast rate.  And it is just not possible to keep all those masterpieces.  We keep a pile of artwork and edit it down from time to time, keeping the ones that tug at my heart the heart and the ones they absolutely cannot bear to let go.  Some have been embroidered - the tree shirt that Kate made last year being my favorite.  My idea for Fatty's gifts from the girls was to transform something that they drew into a shirt for him.  I was thinking freezer paper stencils like Hannah did for her husband's birthday.  But then we had a change of plan.  Enter the print gocco.

The first time I used the gocco, the girls were mesmerized.  After I had printed about 10 cards, Kate said, "Can I use it, please?"  I looked at her and a light bulb went off over my head.  I said, "Another time" and thought, "Oh yeah - she can make something for Fatty with the gocco."  A week or so later, she was home sick from school and in a matter of 15 minutes, we had the drawing.  Ten minutes later we had the shirt.



Not to be left out, Jane wanted in on the action.



Jane came up with her idea on her own.  That's a bowl of cashews next to the frothy beer, in case you were wondering.  Perfect gifts for the beer-selling (and drinking), bike-riding dad who happens to like t-shirts very much.  He loved them and has worn them both - in public!

Something else that Fatty enjoys is cooking.  He does grill duty on a regular basis and often cooks one-pot meals on Sunday.  So you can probably guess what I made him.....his very own apron.


He had made a comment about how much he liked that blue and green fabric when I was making Finn's elephant.  I already had bought the blue twill for his apron and was going to use a different print, but this one really is perfect.  The straps are a bit long - I need to fix that sometime.  My favorite part was using the print to hold the d-rings up by the neck.  I am pretty sure he was surprised.  I don't think he had any idea what I was making - in fact, if I would bet he thought whatever it was would be knitted.  He really likes it - he's told me so many times.  And I am sure he will wear it.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for Sunday.  I am counting on a nice one pot meal.