It's by busiest time of the year for work and it's been insane so far! I haven't had a lot of time to sew or be crafty, though I did quilt a quilt for my mom (the adorable hexagon baby quilt above). I of course forgot to take a photo before I mailed it off for her to bind, but it had a nice medium meander in pink varigated thread. I also made some summer dresses, but I'll do another post about those.

I've been trying to keep up with the crafty blogs as well- it's of course been Couture Fashion week which always makes me drool a little bit. The Cut published an amazing video this afternoon of what goes into the Chanel Haute Couture process, and it's inspiring and a little bit frightening at the same time.

You've also got another week to finish (or start) something for the CRAFT and Singer Swimsuit Cover Up Contest. They're giving away some nice prizes, including a sewing machine, dress form, and gift certificates to the Maker Shed.
I've been a busy little sewing bee!
updates to come....
I'd like to thank the folks over at instructables for featuring my "cupcake in a teacup" tutorial from last week! I was very excited to see it on the homepage as well!

So I signed up to participate in Lindamade's Patchwork Swap last month... and made the cute "cupcake in a teacup" pincushion in the post before this one. I mailed it off with a pile of fun and bright fabrics (Kelly said she liked bright/jewel tones)... and I got this fabulous box in return!

Swap Box!

And the adorable little bag is filled with my fabric and ribbon! The chocolate was delicious (in the shape of a foot for the NC Tar Heels), and I couldn't eat the cookies, but according to my student worker they're amazing.


And while the fabric was amazing... my favorite part? the bumble bee slap bracelet!

Bumble Bee Slap Bracelet!
DSC04269I've been a busy girl recently with work and life, but took some time out to participate in a fabric swap over at Lindamade. I got Kelly as a partner (she doesn't have a blog to link to!) but I made her an adorable pincushion made from a vintage teacup and recycled and repurposed sweaters. I fell so in love with it I had to make one for myself too (below with the green trim).

I thankfully thought far enough in advance to take photos of how I made the whole thing! Just in time for Earth Day, I went ahead and published it as an instructable (link embedded below)... but I'm not sure how I like the format for a project that's so photograph intensive. I also have the whole series up over on flickr and might try to create a PDF that's easy to read and follow!
I also picked up a few extra neat containers in the quest for *just the right one* to use for hers! I really really like the effect of the cupcake type top and the vintage tea cup with hers, but don't rule out seeing some of these in my etsy shop.

Let me know what you think of the instructable/tutorial. If there's something that's not clear let me know and I can fix it before I do the next version!

Recycled Teacup Pincushion - More DIY How To Projects
- If you haven't checked out Parasolmag yet you should- beautiful eye candy available as a PDF or viewable is issu.

- Also, Blanket Magazine Online- all downloadable in PDF!

Check them both out for beautiful inspiration and photographs.
Several people have asked me how I happened to get my work published in the "1000 Artist's Journal Pages" Book that was published last June. I found out about the opportunity at the time through the Etsy Traveling Journal Project (Which is now defunct, unfortunately).

I've recently run across a couple more open submissions for project type publications for those of you that might be interested:

- 1000 Artisan Textiles (Published by Quarry Books, the same group that published the book my journal pages are in) Submissions are due June 1, 2009!

- Bead Star (Jewelry project magazine). Submissions are due May 1, 2009!

- Lark Books is looking for Submissions on anodized aluminum jewelry, Iron Wire Jewelry, and unique jewelry made from leather/fur/skins. (Submission dates vary)

If you submit work- let me know! I've got projects in mind for two of them!
frog! As it warms up here it's been a busy busy spring already! (sorry for those of you in the land of the cold and snow). The cute little froggy is from being out and about in the woods last week- he was just relaxing on some reeds... I had an odd weekend other than the crazy weather here in Louisiana- I'm single again for the first time in a long time and it's kind of odd. I'm hoping to focus some of this energy to get things done for ME.

I got the door that's been leaning in my studio actually hung on the hinges this past weekend. It's from my old house and when I moved, the landlord told me to go ahead and take a door if I wanted it for the new house (they were selling half the properties they owned). The only unfortunate thing is that the door is about three inches to short at the bottom! It's definitely entertainment to see how many kitty toys are under the door when I get home.

Some Cool New Crafty Freebies:

* Orange you lucky! has a great free embroidery pattern of a bunny for the spring and easter!

* And this morning Creature Comforts posted a great link to a site called Canon Creative Park (japanese site, but in english!). She also had some great free aqua and orange mailing labels which you can find here.

* I also recently checked in with Amy Butler's website for the first time in a while and they've updated the free patterns page with lots of new fun things to make (all in PDF).

* Anna Maria Horner has a great new free quilt pattern up on her blog for her new quilt called "Folk Dance".

* Fat Quarter Shop has an adorable free pattern for a heart shaped pin cushion.

* Purl Bee makes me want to knit again with this fantastic spring scarf pattern.

enjoy :)
On Flickr long long ago I saw an art wall where one of my contacts (I swear it was heatherjeany but I can't find the photo today, so I may be wrong) had taken all the small art she'd purchased, gotten similar frames and started hanging them all on a wall in her living room and I was inspired to do the same. I found a similar photo (at left) on SaĆ­dos da Concha's photostream. My frames are black, but the same general idea.

Over the past few years, I've purchased some awesome line art from Briana Lamar of Moonswallow, a mini quilt from Shelece, original sketches from Spookydaddy Toys, mini-watercolors from Lollipopart, and a lino-cut print from Rainy Prints. My criteria for purchase is reasonably simple... it has to be an original, water color or pen, and it has to make me smile.

Today I made an exciting purchase which has inspired me to get moving on this project and hang all the art. For many years I've been in love with J. Vincent Scarpace's abstract fish art- I found him randomly on eBay when I was looking for some affordable original art to hang when I lived in Providence. It was always just out of my price range, and by the time I had saved enough to purchase one... he was no longer selling them on ebay. He now has his own site Ipaintfish.com and sells sketches and painting, but still out of my price range. So today in my email box I get an email.... Special $3 sketches! ACK- I'm now the proud owner of two small 3 x 5 fish painting to add to my art wall! (one of which is pictured to the right!!)

So this weekend I'm going to frame up the rest of my prints and get hanging! Pictures to come!!!
The short answer is not as much as I had hoped to do, though some of it was productive.

-I signed up for the patchwork swap over at Lindamade.

-I had purchased a non-working sigma lens from ebay for my Sony Alpha. It was dirt cheap ($10 with free shipping) and the seller claimed he didn't have a camera to test it on, so it was "as-is." I figured if it didn't work I'd take it apart and see what was inside... And it didn't work as expected. Though none of the grinding sounds or other bad things that normally occur with bad lenses. Upon some further research, the lens I purchased (a 35-135 Macro) appears to be an old lens in gorgeous shape. The even better part? It appears to not really be broke, but that the older sigmas have firmware on the chip that just needs to be update. I called the service center this morning, and it's a FREE upgrade (and a $10 shipping charge). So all total- new macro zoom lens will be under $30!

-Started cleaning and listing some odds and ends on Ebay. Next up- cleaning out the studio to list on etsy.

I recently purchased the book "The Stumpwork, Goldwork and Surface Embroidery Beetle Collection" by Jane Nicholas from Amazon after drooling over it for a while. A friend of mine had sent me a link to it several months ago and it had been on my wishlist for a while now.... combined with about $10 in mechanical turk money, I splurged.

I have to start with the fact that having this book in my hot little hands makes me wish I had splurged when he first sent me the link! It's a lot more substantial than I first expected it to be- no slim crafty book here. It's 405 pages and hardcover, think reference book. Even better than just featuring the embrodery, the book is scientifically accurate as well and talks about history, taxonomy, and the people behind the love of beetles! It's absolutely intricate and detailed, and while I admit I bought it to drool over I may actually have to try my hand at a few of these to hang over my desk!

Jane also has a cool website Janenicholas.com where she's got books, kits, and galleries of her other works. Next on the purchase list, Stumpwork Dragonflies....

One word sums up what I thought as I came across this glorious workspace today.

As many of you know, I'm a science geek as well as a crafty girl, and I routinely read Lifehacker. It's part of the gawker family (Gawker, Jezebel, etc) of blogs and they spend all day posting ways to make your life easier.

One of the features I always enjoy is the "Workspace Show and Tell" which routinely features gaming stations, HD theaters in home, etc. Think geeky paradise. They've got a group on flickr where you can post photos of a workspace or workspace makeover called appropriately Lifehacker Workspace Show and Tell.

Back to the photos I've een drooling over. So Lifehacker posts their show and tell today, and My first thought was that google reader made an error! no way! They featured a garage turned quilting studio~!

So- you can see the original post and details behind the redo at Atwater Village Newbies by way of Lifehacker's Show and Tell. You can also head over to flickr to view the entire photo set!

Anyone want to help me rearrange?

For those of you that haven't been following for a while, I had submitted the pages I did for the Traveling Journal Book over on etsy's forums to Quarry Book's "1000 artist journal pages" and mine were chosen and published! It was actually released this summer, but I finally picked up my copy a few weeks ago and I have to admit- It looks great! More information and a review to come!

On Amazon
Oh Moxie and Oliver why must you tempt me so? I *LOVE* this purse.

I'd like to thank the people over at Design Disease for the fabulous new blogger template. This is one of their free themes available all the way to the right on their main site. I actually found them from a comment in a post on Smash Magazine's 45 excellent blog designs (which was inspiring).

I haven't been happy with the standard cookie cutter blogger backgrounds for a while, but absolutely love this one. it's fun and funky without being over the top.
Many of us are facing the crunch of the recession and facing cutbacks. I'm sure that as many of you know from doing your own budgeting, crafts and hobbies were the first to go on my list of expenses to trim. I've been consciously working the supplies I have, and only buying things I need (like elastic last week for a costume).

So what's better than shopping? Free crafty and sewing things. Some require you to sign up for a shop's email list, others are free with shipping and handling. Many of the scrapbooking sites have free printable things.

These are a variety of links, and I haven't done them all personally. Much of this information is from the slick deals website, but much of it can scattered and hard to find over there, so for you viewing pleasure... free crafty things!

(i've checked most of the links, but if you find a bad one let me know!)

Free "Jewels" for joining the Online Quilt Club

Fabrics-Store Free Fabric Samples

Free Yarn Card Samples

Free Knitting Patterns

FiberShop Free Yarn Samples

Free pdf Pattern from Cherry Yarn

KNoon Designs Free Patterns

Free Sample from Lana Knits

Database of Arts and Crafts Freebies

Online Knitting School

NeedlePointers.com - Samples and More

Free Flame Resisitant Fabric Samples - call in

Free American Drapery Fabric Samples

Shower Curtain Store - Free Fabric Samples Page

Free Leather and Fabric Samples

Free Curtain Fabric Samples

Free Fabric Samples from Vassar - email

North Solar Screen - Free Fabric Samples

Free Leather Sample

Oriental Fabrics Email for free Sample Swatches

Free Rubber Stamper and More

PatchKraft Free Swatches

PriceYourSuit Free Fabric Swatches

Free Patterns







Five Free Paper Samples from Leader Paper

Free Photo Paper Samples

Free Sample from Daiei Papers

Free Sample Kit from Living Tree Paper

Free Organic Wedding Paper Sample

Free Samples of IBM Paper

Free Paper Samples from Q-Cee's

Free Samples from Paper Thoughts

Free Paper Tube Samples

Free HP Paper Packs

Free Samples from Ripped Sheets

Free Sample Paper Pack from NoCopi

Free Soft Paper Sample

Free Samples from Cox Paper

Free Linen Paper Samples

Free Colored Paper or Envelope Samples

Free Wedding Paper Sample

Free Safety Paper Sample

Free Commerce Paper Samples

Free Diecut Paper Samples

Free Samples from Twisted Limb Paper

Free Samples from WhiteHallPrinting

Malloy - Free Packet of Paper

Free Samples from Reich Paper (says to contact them)

Lean On Me Bookends

Free Cloth Doll Patterns

So as many of you saw in the last post, I got the bug to start doing things again after being home for the holidays and seeing my mom back on the making kick. She and my father retired and built a "cabin" on a mountain in the woods. It's nice, but my dad's garage is bigger than my house. On that note, my mother has a beautiful space to work as well, with two big windows and great light!

So they don't live far from Keepsake Quilting, and they went one weekend and as my father wandered he apparently found the patten from Seams like Home called "Bringing home the Tree" and commented "Gee, this would look nice on the wall in the living room..." As you can imagine, the pattern went home with them. I'd also like to note that my mother's background is also not quilting, she made our clothes as kids, but in general she's WAY to anal to quilt.

So as you can see in the photo on the upper right, it's a nice winter scene applique that's done as a wall hanging. And it is nice, but she wasn't sure where to start but once I looked at the pattern I had some definite ideas. When I was home for thanksgiving, we went back to Keepsake, they had a kit available to make the wall hanging, but I really didn't like their fabric choices. We wandered and decided on a nice stack of pale and muted batiks. Most of them were pale blues, and tinted creams, but we also picked a frosted piece. I left for home without getting much farther than picking and buying them, I told mom to let me think about it before starting, as I really didn't like the snowball background. The more I looked at the pattern, the more I thought they took away from the pattern and the overall image. I ran across a book on watercolor quilts at one of the local quilt shops and had my idea... but did I want to sew all those little squares? She's got two nice Pfaff machines with the IDT (even feed) but come on....

I thought for a while and decided I'd really like to try a Quiltsmart background for this one. I admit, for those of you that really know me... I'm normally not a huge fan of the Quiltsmart interfacing. In particular, because I used to do machine quilting, and I absolutely hate the extra weight and bulk it adds to the quilt top. BUT we're not making a bed quilt, but a wallhanging. So, I went to the local shop and bought a couple of yards of what ends up being 1.5 inch finished squares. I brough it home with me for christmas, and my mother was horrified (being an anal retentive non quilting seam matcher) that we were going to sew that many little squares. (we also walked into Peggy Anne's while I was home and they were working on an awesome Quiltsmart Mariner's Compass/Star that should be on their website soone.

For those of you that haven't played with quiltsmart, it's admittedly pretty nifty. It's iron on interfacing that has the quilt pattern printed on it along with sewing and quilting lines. It's easy to do, and is pretty much no fail. AND it's got the directions printed on the interfacing..... can't beat that. It's impossibly to lose the instructions (not that I would ever lose instructions). The one that I bought is also used for Scrap Therapy projects.

So mom and I cleared the counter in the Kitchen and cut what seemed like a bazillion little two inch squares and then arranged/ironed them all onto the interfacing in some sort of random order that made me happy. And then came the sewing.... which was no where as bad as I expected! I sewed and ironed and sewed and ironed and ended up with a really cool looking piece of modern art from the back. (Go look at the flickr page! people were more interested in the sewn and folder words than the piece).

And when it was flipped over and done, I was really impressed. You're not going to notice the extra weight for two reasons. 1 is the fact that there is going to be tons of fused applique on top of it, and 2 it's a wall hanging! So the back is done and the border is chosen, but that's as far as we got over the holidays..... So more photos to come when the project gets farther!

I do have to admit that the quiltsmart went together really easily... the squares are 1.5 inches finished, and it's a fairly good sized piece. All total the whole thing from cutting to finished background went together in an evening, and overall I really like the effect of the small pieces better than large 5 inch snowballs.

1. Enjoy crafting again. I had gotten so stressed out with work and my dissertation and all that goes along with eing a full time student, that I had been using my sewing room as a storage area, and hadn't even gotten close to a machine in almost a year.

2. Make things. I want to make things again, and part of this was inspired by being home for thanksgiving and christmas and seeing my mom get back into sewing a lot was good. She decided she needed help for a project and it felt good to go shopping and see what was new and exciting.

3. Organize my sewing/crafting stuff. I just plain can't get moving when the room is a mess and I can't find anything.