Drawing and printing and beading - oh my!


I made these t-shirts for the last local craft swap of the year.  I used a kit from EZScreenprint that Amy recommends in her newest book, Bend the Rules with Fabric.  (Fantastic book, by the way!)  I wanted to make embellished t-shirts, similar to the ones I have seen from J. Crew.  I doodled a bit and came up with a design.  I burned my screen in the sunlight (really!  so easy!) and then used it to print on t-shirts.  After the t-shirts were dry, they sat around my house for a few weeks until the day of the swap when I got busy embellishing. 

Beaded shirt

My vision was an all over beaded design like the one above.  That didn't happen because this one shirt took me 2 hours to bead.  2 hours x 6 shirts = way more time than I had.  I changed course and ended up embellishing the centers of the flowers/stars/snowflakes (really, whatever you want them to be).  They still turned out cute - no picture, though.  It was dark when I finished.

Beaded shirt 2

I have one shirt left to embellish - it's for me.  I'm looking forward to sitting in front of a movie, with needle and thread, and beading.  I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed hand sewing and beading together.  Who knew it would be so relaxing?  Once I get the shirt done, it may be time to make one of these.  I think I have everything I need on hand.  Perfect for a day when you don't want to leave the house.  And it fits in well with one of my goals this year:  sew more clothing for me.

Potholders and links





My local craft swap was last night.  I made my little scrappy blocks into potholders.  They were all sashed in muslin with muslin on the back as well.  Inside is one layer of cotton batting and one layer of insul-bright.  The fabric for the loops also came out of the scrap bags.  This batch was crosshatch quilted with a zig zag using a walking foot.  I made six other ones last week that I quilted with a straight stitch and concentric squares.  Those turned out great, too.  I wish I could show you a photo - I gave them away to a wonderful group of ladies I met last Friday while stopping over in Minneapolis/St. Paul on my way to a family wedding.  Yes, another wedding.

A couple things I am excited about:

- Betz White's Felt and Stitch online workshop.  I've already signed up.

- Denyse Schmidt is offering a free downloadable tote pattern and a great deal on the patchwork promenade to make them.  Easy and cute holiday gift idea right there.

- STC Craft posted some free downloadable patterns from their books.  All are great for holiday gift giving.  Sorry I didn't post this before the giveaway....I meant to, but time got away from me.  Still, check out the patterns.  There are some good ones there.

Off to do laundry.  Back soon.

ATC's are in the mail!

The girls' artist trading cards are out the door and in the mail.  We missed the mailing deadline after I realized that the post office does indeed close at noon on Saturday.  Oops.  They went in the mail yesterday and Jane had two arrive in our mailbox for her!

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While doing this project, I found my children have such different approaches to their art.  Jane is detailed and meticulous.  She sat down for long periods of time and drew.  She chose creatures from the Spiderwick Chronicles as her subject matter and used pencil and colored pencil on each one.  She drew 11 cards and from those, chose the best 9 to send (she was in two groups).  There was one that I really liked, but she didn't.  No amount of discussing could convince her to send it so now it's mine.

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Kate, on the other hand, had quick bursts of energy.  She drew what she saw, the flowers sitting around the house:  an orchid, a hyacinth, some daisies, forsythia and alstroemeria.  She finished three cards right away and then for days, she wouldn't even attempt to do the other two.  In the end, she sat down and did them together - right before the deadline.  I cringe to think that she is a procrastinator like her mother.  But then I remember, that sometimes it takes a long time for all those ideas to brew.  Or in Kate's case, maybe she was waiting to see what other flowers I brought home.

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I loved this exercise for my kids.  Blair has said that the small size of the canvas gave her kids confidence in a way that a large piece of paper cannot.  I found the same to be true for my girls.  The smaller they had to draw, the more time they took, the more detailed they were.  If you take a look at the flickr pool, I think you could say the same for these young artists.  I sure hope that those of you who joined the swap, enjoyed it just as much as we did.

Yellow, ATC's and Quilts

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I think I need more yellow in my life.  It's just so cheery.  Maybe a yellow week to break up the February gloom?  Would anyone be interested in that?


The groups for the Kids ATC swap are slowly going out.  Because we have over 900 children participating, it is going to take some time to send all those emails.  If you signed up and you don't hear from us right away, don't fret.  You will.

There is a Flickr group for the swap, too.  Please add photos of your children's creations so we all can see what creative kids we have!

Blair and I never imagined such a huge response.  By the number of emails we received after the cut off, I know some people were upset that we couldn't accomodate any more swappers.  I hate to disappoint anyone.  Believe me when I say that I truly appreciate those of you that took the news gracefully.


I threw my back out on Friday and ended up spending the day on the couch.  I feel so much better now, but am a smidge behind on my quilt binding.  The auction is this Saturday night so I best get stitching.  I promise photos soon.


Next week I am going to make something for myself.  I cannot wait for some selfish crafting!

Wrapping things up

I finished quilting both of the auction quilts yesterday. Actually, the second quilt pieced was the first one quilted and that has been sitting around waiting for a binding for a couple weeks. Yesterday, I finished quilting the other one, so now it, too, waits for a binding. Guess what I am doing today? Yes, indeed-y, you are right.

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Blair and I are completely overjoyed and overwhelmed at the incredible response to the Kids ATC swap.  I knew it would strike a cord with lots of you, but I think we completely underestimated your enthusiasm!  As  of right now, there are over 560 kids signed up and there are still over 200 emails that haven't been opened. You have until 12:00 noon EST (New York City time) today to sign up.  You need to email you child's name, address and age to atckidswap@gmail.com to be signed up. We plan on making the groups this weekend and hope to let you know on Monday.  Please be patient with us if it is Tuesday or Wednesday - we have a lot of work to do.

Hope you enjoy a relaxing and productive weekend.  You'll find me on the couch, under a quilt, stitching away.  See you here next week.

Kids Artist Trading Card Swap

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Hello!  It's good to be back.  Thanks for all your well wishes last week.  The electricity is humming along and the house is warm.  We were well taken care of, though.  A big thanks to our good friends!

Sometime after the holidays, I stumbled upon Blair's post about Emma's artist trading cards.  I was immediately enamored with Emma's work and knew that my girls would love to create miniature works of art, as well.  I asked Blair if she would be interested in hosting a swap just for kids and she said yes!

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So now, you might be wondering exactly what constitutes an artist trading card.  No worries!  Click on this link, to find out more specifics about these small works of art.  The artist trading card pool on flickr might also be a great source of inspiration for your budding young artist.  I found that once I gave my kids the small papers and we pulled out the watercolors and pastels, they didn't need any direction from me.  They just got busy creating!  It was so fun to watch how differently they approached it - Jane immediately thought of the art she has studied in school and did her own interpretation of it whereas Kate looked around the room and drew what she saw and later pulled out the Ed Emberley books and started painting again.

My girls were really excited at the idea that they could send their drawings and paintings to other children and then would receive some in return.  I think the idea of mail, addressed to them, certainly added to their excitement.  So Blair and I have put our heads together and have created a swap, just for kids, to share artist trading cards with one another.  Each child will be part of a small group and will create mini masterpieces (2.5" by 3.5" small!) of their own to send to similarly aged children all over the United States, and hopefully, around the world.  If your child would like to participate, here are the guidelines:

- Please send a message to atckidswap@gmail.com by this Friday, 2/6. Let us know your address, your child's name and age. International swappers are welcome!

- This is exclusively a project for children and for that reason, we are specifying that participating children be ages 4 and up.  No adult ATC's, please.

- We will divide the children into groups of 6, meaning your child will make 5 cards to mail out.  You will receive your group from us on Monday, 2/9.

- Artist trading cards are all the same size: 2.5" by 3.5".  Because ATC's are so small, they will fit into a standard envelope.  To keep it simple, the participants are not obligated beyond mailing the actual card out to its recipient (plus any information about the card they'd like to add). Anything extra is up to the sender and is not expected or required.

- Finished cards should be mailed out to their recipients no later than 2/28.

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I hope you will join us.  A big thanks to Blair, and to her sister-in-law Jenny, who inspired the whole thing.  Jenny even created a kids atc button for us to use.  Feel free to put it on your blog and link back to this post, or Blair's post, for details on the swap.  I think it is going to be so much fun!

Good Morning

It's Christmas Eve and I think I am mostly ready.  Mostly means I have a hat to finish knitting and gifts to wrap and groceries to buy....all very doable in the 8 hours I have until we go to church late this afternoon.  My fingers and toes are crossed that my parents and uncle can get here from the land of snow.  No snow here, just rain.  But my new gutters were installed yesterday so I'm okay with the rain.  Don't get me wrong - I would rather have snow.  But I have gutters and that is an improvement from yesterday.


I beaded and sequined these little ornaments for an ornament swap that Linda invited me to join.  Heather, I have so much respect for you and your hearts.  Wowzers.  That is some fussy sewing.  Once I got in to a rhythm, I rather liked that fussy stuff, just to be clear.  I sent off 6 little Joy pillows and kept one for myself.


My paperwhites started blooming Monday.  That made me smile.

Many of you asked about the big spool of red and white twine.  Every time I post a photo with twine in it, the emails start coming.  I should have known better so here is the info a little late.  It came from Tilda's  which Laurie pointed me to a long long time ago.  You can get it in blue and white, too.  I wish they had green, but no such luck.  And the brown paper?  I got that at Target - in the gift wrap section.  I also use just packaging paper which can be found by the heavy duty tape and boxes.

I think that just about covers everything.   I hope you enjoy your holiday, whatever that might be. 

Happy Always and Merry Everything!

I made a quilt

A few of you guessed what I was up to.  Some of you knew.  So, yeah, I made a quilt for the craft swap.  And I really, really love this quilt.


It's throw size - I forgot to measure it.  I think it ended up around 50" x 60".  I made the six colored blocks on Monday night.  I was in a piss poor mood and playing with fabric changed my frame of mind completely.  I used the same paper bag method that I learned at Denyse Schmidt's studio in November.  I loaded the bags with 5 solids and 6 prints.  I can't tell you who made the solids, but all the prints are Amy Butler's Midwest Modern that I had in my stash.


I pieced the blocks in about an hour and a half.  I made myself move fast so I wouldn't overthink.  I knew that it would be cohesive because I had loaded the bags with the fabric myself.  I kept going until I got tired.  On Tuesday morning, I got up, looked at them all and started adding the dark green around them to make a rectangle.  I then used large strips of green to make the quilt top bigger.


For the back, I made a small horizontal patchwork strip and sewed it between the orange and darker pink solids.  I couldn't resist putting a piece of this cute little house print in.  It's Japanese and came from Purl.


I quilted it with a green thread that matched the lime solid.  I chalked lines 4" apart and free-motioned loops below each line.  I bound it in the lime solid, using a zig zag stitch.


This block is my favorite.  Something about it just speaks to me.

So there you go.  The craft swap quilt.  I really do love it.  So much.  In the end, though, it went home with someone else.  And I let it go willingly.

If you want to see the rest of the goodies that were swapped, and the very cool piece I ended up with, go visit Caroline's blog.  Everything was fabulous - I would have taken any of it willingly.  Caroline tells the story so so well - play by play, actually.  Plus, she took photos and I didn't.

Have a great weekend.  I think I have one or maybe two more posts in me before I disappear for the holidays.  See you soon.

Back-tack 4 - given

For back-tack, I was paired up with the lovely Theresa.  She sent me some beautiful goodies which I promise to share soon.  I still need to get decent photos (that darn winter light!).  For her, I made a simple throw.


When I found the very last piece of this fabric in my studio, I knew it was meant for Theresa.  I considered making a bag out of it, but I just couldn't cut it.  It is a wool cashmere blend and I had just enough to squeak out a 60" square throw.  I used a Japanese polka dot to bind it.  Simple, but luxurious at the same time.  I hope she enjoys it during these cold winter months.


I sent some other goodies as well - vanilla tea, sea salt caramels and an ornament.  I never tire of brown paper packages and red and white string.  That is my go-to wrap this year.  Speaking of which....time to get back at it.

It's Friday

Hey there.

A couple things:

1.  I didn't take any photos of the items I received at the craft swap on Tuesday night, but Caroline did.  Pop over to this post if you want to see how talented my friends are.  Psst....she's having a giveaway too!

2.  I changed the links that are over in the top right side bar.  It had been a long time since I changed them.  So now you have some fun and some new blogs to check out.


Aren't these dahlias pretty?

I'm off to knit in the carpool line.  It's Friday which means the girls and I are going out for ice cream.   A nice way to end the school week, if you ask me.  Have a great weekend!

Lounge Pants x 8


You are good guessers!  Congrats to Meg, who had the first correct guess.  I'm going to make a second pair for qalballha also.  Ladies I will email you later today for some info.  If you didn't win, don't despair. I have something else to give away in the next week or so.


Here's a shot of the eight pairs of lounge pants hanging on my deck.  I made them using the pattern in In Stiches by Amy Butler.  The cuffs are made with some of her Midwest Modern prints.  This was plan B.  Plan A wasn't super successful, but I will tell you more about that at another time.


My to do list is crazy long today.  See you all later!

What is it? Can you guess?


I'm finished making my craft for my local craft swap tonight.  I have supplies to make one extra item and so I thought I would have a little giveaway.  First person to post a comment with the correct guess wins the extra item.  Those of you who know what I am making are excluded of course.  I'll give you a clue:  I have made this in the past year and I am very comfortable with it.  The photo above might help you, too.  Good luck!

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.

Lisa's Tote

For my end of the swap with Lisa, I made her a tote bag.


I used Anna Maria Horner's Drawing Room fabric and some brown linen from the stash.   The inside is lined in a pale pink linen and has a pocket, too.


I love adding personalized details to the gifts I make so I embroidered Lisa's initials on the pocket and trimmed it with some ribbon I had on hand.  I think the ribbon came from Blair.  (Am I right, Blair?).  The tote is about the same size as the wool patchwork one I made for myself.

OK - that's all I have for this Tuesday.  Fatty's gone home, my parents are off to meet the newest family member who is being born today and the girls are at day camp.  I think I will knit - and maybe take a nap.  Sounds like a plan.

Lucky Me

Awhile back, Lisa Leonard asked if I wanted to have a little swap.  If you have seen her jewelry, you can understand why I did not hesitate one bit.  The hardest part was choosing what I wanted!


I decided on the open circle necklace with my initials on it.  And it is perfect.  Simple and elegant - it is just as great with a t-shirt and a skirt as it is with a pretty summer dress.  The preppy me loves the single pearl and the monogram.  I adore it.  I am sure that I will buy more of Lisa's jewelry  - for myself and for gifts.  She has so many beautiful baubles to choose from!

Thanks, Lisa!  I am so happy we swapped.  Back tomorrow with details on what I sent.

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.

Yes, my friends are crafty (and I like to link)

The local craft swap was on Monday night.  This round there were five of us swapping, so we each had to make four things.  Here's the loot:


Marcia made the resin necklace which came packaged in the little fabric bag.  She made earrings to match, too.  Super cute!  Caroline blew me away with the notecards!  She secretly drove by all of our houses, snapped some photos and had her final drawing printed on cards.  I love these so much!  Lisa made a wonderful sugar scrub and bath mitt.  I am surprised no one in our group had done this before - it is a great craft and I can just keep adding sugar and olive oil as the supply goes down!  Gotta love that!


Suzanne made the mirrored sconce on the right!  She used small framed mirrors from Ikea and a lamp from Target (right, Zanne?).  She wired them and added the washers - really cool.  And me, well, I took a cue from Courtney and made gourd birdhouses.  A big thank you for sharing your idea, friend!  I bought the cleaned and drilled variety and painted them.  I replaced the leather loop for hanging with wire to give it a more modern feel.  I'm bummed that I didn't get a photo of them all together because they were all different colors:  green, blue, white, orange and yellow.  I kept the yellow one for us.  I will be making more to have as gifts - they were fast, easy and a really nice change of pace.  Plus, I find mindless painting soothing.  Bonus!

Thanks, ladies!  I love everything.  I can't wait until the next swap.  I'm already plotting....

And mostly for my own use:  past craft swap entries can be found here, here, here, here, here and here

I heart three day weekends

Over the three day weekend:

I read this book.

I watched this movie with Fatty, the girls and one of Jane's friends.  Scarier than I remembered.


I pieced the back for the x quilt.

I ran three miles two days in a row.  Woo hoo!


I helped the girls cut and sew nine-patch pillows.  And then ran out of stuffing.

I wanted to chuck the little machine out the window.  I hate it.

I made ribs. And corn salad.  Twice.

We went to some friends' house and let the kids stay up too late.

I made my craft for my local craft swap.  And then swapped.  Details to come.


I took lots of photos of peonies.

It was great - hope yours was too!

Color Week :: Yellow


I love my train case, made for me by my friend, the super talented Meg.  It came last week when I was feeling down in the dumps about running.  The timing was perfect and I adore it, especially because it is yellow and has houses and the illustrations are embroidered.  Thanks Meg!


And I have found a craft that I can do with the wrist brace on.  This is one of Hillary's Stitchettes...I finished the summer, fall and winter ones last year.  On to spring!

Another quilted surprise

On Sunday, I made a pillow for a long overdue swap.  I pieced strips of linen with strips of a floral and gingham with the intent of making a striped patchwork pillow.  Once everything was pieced, I didn't really like it so I cut the piece into more strips and added the dotted print.  I finished that up, still wasn't crazy about it so I cut it again and added more dots.


Finally happy with the piecing, I quilted the front with back to back loopy lines and threw it in the wash.  After it was dried, I cut it to size and made the back.  I put in a zipper if you were wondering....and, for the record, I had to consult my own tutorial because it has been awhile, ahem, since I have done the zipper thing.

We are getting ready to go south for spring break.  I will probably post some, but not a whole lot while we are gone.  Just wanted you all to know in case it gets really quiet in this space.  See you soon.