Local Craft Swap::Recycled

I always look forward to my local craft swap.  We met last night to exchange our crafts.  This time there were 9 of us so each made 8 items.  And we had a theme: recycled.  The majority of our craft had to be recycled (or re-purposed).  Yes, I grumbled.  Then I realized I over-reacted and just started thinking outside my comfort zone of fabric and yarn.

The internet is an amazing thing.  A few weeks after the theme was decided, I saw this post of Ali's.  Oh me, oh my!  I loved this idea.  And I shamelessly copied it.  Kind of.  I couldn't find frames to be reused so I had to come up with a second option.  Lacking the necessary supplies, I bummed some lumber off of a friend whose basement was just finished.  I asked another friend to cut the boards for me.   I went through the paint cans in the basement and found a quart of eggshell white.  Then I hit the recycling bin.


One old issue of Domino, an Anthropologie catalog, a MiniBoden catalog and a PBTeen catalog made these 8 pieces of Recycling Bin Art with the leftovers being tossed right back from where they came.  All I bought was some small foam dots to mount the paper petals and the sawtooth hangers for the backs.  It cost about $5.


I got some great, creative crafts, too.  I am stilling missing two so when I get them, I will take some photos and share.  This is one creative group!  We swap about 4 times a year, the next one being in May.  I already know what I am making.  And I think I can do it with supplies I already have. 

Meet Helen


Helen is a bunny who likes a bit of an adventure.


On Tuesday, she put on her shoes


and her favorite pink sweater and headed out for new lands.  Arizona is far away, but she knows that her new friend, Mary, is waiting for her.


After they play for a long time, Helen thinks she'll be ready for a nap.  It's a good thing she packed her pillow and quilt.


Sweet dreams Helen.  We will miss you.

Helen is from wee wonderfuls put-together book 1.  Her sweater is also a wee wonderfuls pattern.  The doll quilt and pillow were made by me without a pattern.  Making Helen and her things was so much fun for me.  Thanks so much for swapping with us, Jen and Mary.  We love everything you sent!



Click on the photo to see the great things we got!  They also sent us two great books, but Kate has hidden them somewhere.  Most likely, they are in her bed.

Happy leap day everyone!

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.

I love when I love the things I make

I got together with some of my craft swap buddies Wednesday night to do a yankee swap.  I have no idea why it is called a yankee swap, but basically we all agreed to make one big(ger than normal) item instead of the standard 5 people, make 4 things.  We drew numbers and the (un)lucky number 1 opened a gift.  Number 2 could steal the item number 1 opened or open another package.  And so on. And so on.  (Remember those shampoo commercials?).

I was very excited for this swap.  I have so many ideas that I want to try out, but most of them are not realistic when I am making 10 or so items on a budget.  Other than the fact that I started and finished my craft Wednesday (those gifts for the nephews had to go in the mail!), this was a perfect swap for me.


My most favorite thing I have made since my patchwork bag is this blanket.  Really.  Truly.  I had a hard time giving it up.  It came out exactly how I envisioned it in my mind.


I was completely inspired by this gorgeous blanket on the Purl Bee.  Of course, I put my own twist on it.  I bought the dark charcoal gray wool at my local fabric store (on sale!) and then made a patchwork binding out of fabric from the stash.  This bugger was hard to photograph - and it was about 6 p.m. and dark at the time - so I don't think its true beauty comes across.  But trust me, it is luxurious.


It measures about 60" square and the binding is 1 inch wide on each side.  And it was fast to make (about 4 hours including 1 1/2 hours of hand sewing)!  The hardest part was figuring out how to balance the patchwork pieces - I am a bit nutty about scale and color.  That's probably why I have never tackled a real quilt.  But I digress.  The second hardest part was the hand sewing of the binding.  I rushed this bit - you can see the slip stitch - if I could have taken my time, the stitches would have been more uniform and less visible, I am sure.  I don't think it matters.  It went to a great home.

In case you were wondering, I did buy enough wool to make two.  I had a feeling I might need one, too.

If all goes well

...my ornaments will be mailed out today.


If I spoiled your surprise, I am sorry.  They are so cute - I just couldn't wait.

The pattern is from Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.  I had something else in my mind until I saw Kristin's version and the vintage patchwork fabric sitting on top of the red corduroy in my studio.  I knew right then.  I was supposed to make these birds.  Enough said.

I feel a bout of photo posts coming on.  Thanks for the suggestion, Susan.

The randomness of my thoughts

This morning I have been to the post office, Target and Toys R Us.  I think I have everything I need for the soon-to-be 8 year-old's birthday this weekend.  I snagged some goodies for Christmas, too.  Jones Candy Cane Soda, anyone?  Sounds delicious to me.  Gingerbread Man didn't sound as appealing, but if anyone has tried it, I'd love to hear your verdict.


Yeah, more knitting.  This time it is a Christmas gift for Kate.  A sweet hooded poncho like the one Kristin made.  The brown yarn in the bag is to make one for Jane.  So far, they haven't asked what I am making.  I think I am going to have to limit this to nights and carpool time.   Then they surely won't be able to figure it out.  They want me to make them hats, too, and are very specific that they have ear flaps and pom poms.  Allrighty then - that is what I will do.

I need to go outside and rake today.  It's supposed to be in the high 50's and then the temperature is going to drop so I think this is my last chance.  The Christmas tree will be put up tomorrow and decorated on Friday night just in time for the birthday party on Saturday.  I also want to start on my Christmas cards.  I ordered prints of the photos so I just need to get over my huge fear of my print gocco.  Encouraging words welcomed.

I am participating in the Holiday Ornament Exchange again this year.  Again, I am at a loss as to what to make.  I was thinking embroidery on felt like last year, but my design is rather elaborate.  I just don't think I could get 10 done and in the mail by the 10th.  I have two back up ideas, though.  I guess I should just pick one and run with it.

Speaking of runs, I could use some exercise today too.  Other than leaf raking, that is.  Time to get on it.  Later gators.

Patchwork Swap

Last week I received a great package from Linda, who organized the Patchwork Swap.  When I found out that Linda was sending her swap package to me, I got very excited.  I knew it would be wonderful.  Boy, oh boy, was I right!


Look at all these gorgeous fabric scraps!  Lucky, lucky me.


Then there was this house.  Can you even believe that?  It so perfect for me.  A house!  The idea was definitely inspired - every little detail from the window to the colors is perfect.  I have it hanging over the kitchen sink, right next to the model pick-up.  It fits the spot perfectly and I love that I see it many times each day.  Here's a little closer view:


Thanks for putting together a great package and a great swap Linda!  You rock!


Thanks for all the birthday wishes for my mom.  I think she had a great day.  My dad flew all the adults in the family out to Telluride to surprise her.  It was a quick trip....22 hours door to door which is a bit shorter than my last journey out West.  It was great being able to celebrate with her.  All that eating and drinking and not enough sleep has left me completely worn out.

Moving on....craft swap was on Monday night and, as always, was just great!  One of our group is recovering from major surgery and decided to sit this swap out.  Well, we really couldn't let that happen!  We all made an extra craft for her and, with her husband's approval, held a surprise craft swap at her house.   We swooped in with food and drink and handmade goodies.  What isn't there to like about that?


Inspired by Amy and Courtney, I made coffee cozies.  My original intent was to make them patchwork using fun fabrics from my stash, but when I found the chocolate brown linen on sale, I decided that it was better.  This way all little coffee drips will blend right in.


I embroidered everyone's name with a running stitch and chose fabrics to compliment the floss.  There is one layer of batting sandwiched in the middle.  I wanted to quilt each one differently, but in the end decide that less is more and went with two simple lines.  Each cozy closes with little fabric loops and two buttons.


My friend Laura pointed out that these would make great teacher gifts....sew up a cozy and pop a gift card in the cup.  I think she's right.

Every one made such wonderful items at this swap.  I haven't had time to photo them all, but I will in the next day or two.  I am also working on the pillow zipper tutorial....I had hoped to have it up this week, but it may be a bit longer.   After our quick trip, groceries, laundry and rest are at the top of the agenda.   Back soon.

So much more

Dawn and I had a little swap.  One of her Love Creatures in exchange for a twirly skirt.  Well, imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found Gloria


and Brady!


Oh my!  TWO!  Indeed, I am a lucky girl.  I knew I was getting one made out of the green floral fabric, but the little patchwork guy was such a great surprise.  They are both so adorable - I just love them!  Of course, the girls thought the rabbits were for them.  Ha!  Well, I guess I should share.  I just don't want to!  There were some other little goodies in the package including some different teas and Pocky sticks (all gone - I did share that!).  Thanks Dawn!  You are so nice and extremely talented.  You really spoiled me.

While I was in the thick of the encyclopedia of me, Dawn tagged me for eight random things.  Although I feel that there can't be too much more to tell, here goes:

1.  I was a History major in college.  If I could do it all over again, I would study graphic art.

2.  During the school year I work five hours a week setting up and printing invitations at a very nice stationery store.  Yes, only five hours.  I have been working there since I was pregnant with Jane.  When the kids were smaller, I would work one Saturday a month.

3.  People pay me good money to address invitations and write out place cards.  I used to do calligraphy, but now I mostly just use my regular handwriting.  It's a great gig because if I am busy, I can say no to a job and heck, I get to work while in my p.j.'s.

4.  My freshman year college roommate is now on Saturday Night Live.  I lost touch with her, but she is a great person, very fun and nice.  She totally deserves what she has worked hard to get.

5.  I eat the same thing for breakfast every day.  Right now I am on an oatmeal with nectarines kick.

6.  It annoys me to no end when drivers don't use their turn signals.

7.  I go to the grocery at least four times a week.  At least.  I am not a good meal planner so I find myself shopping for one or two days at a time.  Sometimes I do big shops to get all the basics, but more often than not I just pick things up as we need them.

8.   I have seen Breezer in the back yard.  I wasn't convinced before, but now I really do believe in ghosts.

The prettiest yarn ever

Before I left home, the most gorgeous yarn appeared in my mailbox thanks to the lovely Aprill.


I think I am in love.  Well, as much as you can be in love with yarn.  I couldn't stop looking at it or touching it.  So so so pretty.  I thought about bringing it to Colorado with me, but I was too afraid it would get lost or some other horrible thing would happen.  So it is sitting at home, on the family room shelf waiting for me to return.


I know what I am going to knit with it.  The colors match this bolt of fabric perfectly.  I am just hoping that my hands can construct what my brain has designed.

Thank you Aprill!  I can't wait to get it on the needles.

Yellow on the 4th of July

Happy Fourth of July!
Completely unpatriotic post to follow as we haven't done any celebrating yet.  Hopefully I will have some photos to share tomorrow.

::Knitting and Color week::Yellow




Remember this?  Well, it is a knitted purse for a friend lined in vintage fabric that I received from Hannah.

I used the leftover yarn to make this little clutch for Cristina and our moo card swap.



The clutch was supposed to be a zippered pouch.

I sat down one afternoon while hanging out with my friend Jodi and knit up a cabled rectangle.  I made it up as I went along so I am not sure if I can recreate it or not.  Anyhow, fast forward to the part where I want to line the pouch and put in the zipper.  Um, big problem.  I didn't think that to line it and put in a zipper, the knitted piece would need to be two pieces instead of one.  I tried it anyhow - I made a double lining and put the zipper in.  Crap, I tell you!  I ripped the zipper out and tore the lining apart and threw it to the side.  Then it hit me - a flap!  I grabbed the needles, picked up some stitches and knit the flap complete with button hole.  I finished it up by reworking the half of the original lining and hand sewing it in.  And you know what?  I like much more than I would have liked the zippered version.   Cristina likes it, too - phew!

Hope you have a nice holiday!


I had a crazy busy day yesterday - the kind where you barely have time to eat.  Swim team practice, swim lessons, errands, sewing for deadlines, rush to the post office, shower, hair cuts for me and the girls...hectic, but in a good way.  So here is part one of my mail post, just a day later.

Kirsty is a gem.  I saw a photo of some plastic belt buckles that she thrifted over on flickr and wouldn't you know, she sent me the ones I like.


She also sent the fabric they are sitting on - so charming and well, green.  You know I love my greens.  These goodies have been in the house for awhile now and I have been remiss not to thank her sooner.  Thank you Kirsty!  I love them!  Some little things should be showing up for you soon.

Cristina and I had a little moo card swap.


She sent me an aqua tray cloth with beautiful edging.  I now have two aqua tray cloths, the other one from Kirsty.  Coincidence?  Hmmm.....one more and I'll have a collection.  There were the adorable moo cards with her gorgeous photos and some vintage sheeting scraps, too.  Perfect!  I have just the project in mind for these.  Thank you Cristina!  I adore what you sent - it really couldn't have been any better!

I sent Cristina a little something along with my moo cards.  There is a big story behind it so it'll have to wait for another day.  As will the other goodies I have received lately.  I told you - lucky me.

A Great Swap

Here's the loot from the craft swap last week.


paper lanterns by Laura


necklaces by Suzanne (I was wearing mine on my birthday)


ribbon and pom pon trim dish towels by Brenda


night lights by Shawna


stick people by Carolyn


oilcloth party flags by Marcia


beaded dip bowls by Lynette


chalkboard clock by me (super easy to make - plywood square, chalkboard paint and clock kit).

Good stuff all around!  Thanks ladies.  I love swapping with you.



I have all the photos uploaded for the tutorial - I just need to write up the directions.  That is the longest part.  It is easy to sew and snap pictures as you go - matching the photos to words is more difficult.  Bear with me....I will get it finished soon.

This is the pile of shirred garments (two dresses and one top) sitting on the kitchen chair waiting for my girls to agree to a photo shoot.  It didn't happen yesterday so keep your fingers crossed for today.  I may have to whip up another little number, just to make the kiddos happy.  We are busy today:  school, Kindergarten check-up for Kate, birthday party for a friend and craft swap (woo hoo!) tonight.  (Just a side note, I finished my craft yesterday unlike last time.  Feel free to pat me on the back because I am happy not to be having a craft-a-thon today!)  Tomorrow is an entirely different matter - not much planned, but Fatty has the day off and I can't wait to spend the day with my man.  And those teacher gifts.....Kate's out on Wednesday so I had better get cracking on that.

OK - off to tackle a bit of the tutorial.  Thanks for being patient with me.

Did I mention a giveaway?  No?  Oh, well, just stay tuned....

Not a lot of crafting

...but a lot of swapping!  Let me tell you, I love good mail!

The box from my mellow + yellow swap partner, Amy, has been here unopened for over a week.  I finally got my swap package off to her on Tuesday.  Once that was done, I ripped open the box and found this:


Isn't it great?  My very own ice cream bowl and spoon!  I know two little girls that would love to get their mitts on this, but, no way.  This one is for me.  The color is a wonderful turquoise topped off by a lime green daisy.  My two favorite colors together again.  Thanks Amy!  It's wonderful.  And thank you, Marta, for organizing this swap.

I am sure tomorrow's mail will be of the ho hum, ordinary variety.  Too bad - I like the extraordinary kind much better.

It took 7 days...

...for Kirsty's vintage button swap package to get here from Australia.  Only 7 days!  That amazes me.

What also amazed me is the supreme goodness in the package.  Take a look:


Can you believe all that yummy stuff?  And the colors...greens and aquas...swoon!


I love this sweet pincushion with the layered yo-yo's.  It is sitting on a beautiful tiffany blue tray cloth.


See this vintage green ric rac (eek!) and a moo card, too?  I am so lucky!


Saving the best for last.....the buttons!  If pressed, I would have to say the big green flower is my favorite.  Or maybe the green one that is on the envelope.  Or maybe the white oval-y one.  OK, I can't pick.  They are all so fabulous!

Thank you Kirsty from the bottom of my heart!  Your package made my day!

Sorting and Swapping


I dumped my box of vintage buttons onto the kitchen counter a couple of days ago so I could find the perfect ones to send to my swap partner, Kirsty.  The girls have been fascinated by them ever since.  They are sorting them constantly and get very excited if they find a match.


With all the trashing out and organizing going on in the sewing room, I got the great idea to put my kids to work for me.


My willing apprentices are putting them in jars, sorted by color.  I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but they want to do it even more.  The way I look at it, it's a win-win situation:  fun for them and lucky for me.  Now if they would just wrap the swap package and take it to the post office....Oh well, I will do that tomorrow.  I promise, Kirsty!

Happy Wednesday!

Version 2.0

I couldn't stop with just one...


Isn't this fabric great?  I received it from roseandpie last month in exchange for a patchwork belt.  Super swap if you ask me.


I used bias tape on the hem and for the tie this time around.  I also increased the length of the skirt a wee bit to have a self-casing at the waist.  So easy.  Really, it was.  If enough of you want instructions, I can add them to the twirly skirt tutorial.


I forgot to fold in the ends of the bias tape before I sewed it together for the tie.  Instead of getting the stitch ripper out, I decided to tie little knots and pink the ends.  And you know what?  My mistake wasn't a mistake after all.  I love this little touch.