Tuesday, December 21, 2010

more felt goodness!

I must admit... been on kind of a felt kick lately. Well, when I'm not feeling totally overwhelmed by the impending holidays. Are you almost done with your list? I actually didn't plan that big this year, but these last-minute things I keep adding... someday I'll learn. Here's a quick recap:

A Ruby Doll (from Jhoanna Monte's pattern in the Craft Hope book) for my niecey Ella:

Some quick-and-easy birdy ornaments for my fabulous coworkers:

And finally, some folks are getting giftcards. Totally the opposite of handmade, probably, but it happens! And that doesn't mean the packaging can't be fantastic! Here are some simple felt gift card envelopes (free tutorial over on the Lark blog if you're interested):

And the saga continues. I don't know what it is, but I feel like a crafter possessed! Something about the early darkness makes me want to crank up pandora and sew, sew, sew! The dolly and birdies were fun - a nice break after sewing a lot (!) of flat things. Still pondering some possible blog themes for next year. In the meantime, happy solstice everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

a green holiday!

It's December, the time of year when I remember that I should have started hand-making all my holiday gifts months ago. Same for you, you say? Well, I've decided that if I can't hand-make every gift, handmade wrapping is a good - and green! - alternative. I've posted a tutorial for this reusable felt (of course!) gift bag over at LarkCrafts.com (my day job!). We'll be posting all kinds of felt goodness over there throughout the month of December. And looking for other green wrapping ideas? Join forces with the Green Grocery Bag Challenge, a neat project in which folks are encouraged to make, give, and use cloth grocery bags as wrapping paper.

In other news, it will be my two year blogiversary this month.... wowzers! I actually spent a bit of time the other night looking over the last two years of posts. It was so nice to look back and realize what a neat slice of my creative life this blog has become. I'm not sure what I was aiming for back when I created this space in December 2008, but I think I've acheived that! And I thank everyone who has tagged along! Thanks for your encouragement after my creative false starts, your positive feedback, the sweet comments when I submit you to endless photos of the brindle squad... I'm pondering a fun thank you giveaway later in the month - be on the lookout!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

more (and more) pluses

I think Quilt Market was just what I needed to get back in my sewing groove! I made the quilt top for this baby quilt in a flurry back in September and haven't had a chance to think about it since.... until now, of course, since we're headed for the baby shower tomorrow. I tried a few new things with this quilty - grid lines, sprinkled pluses, variegated thread - that I can already tell will be making a repeat appearance later. And I finally feel like I'm getting a bit better at binding (which is cute and stripey, though hard to tell in the photo) - major yay! I can't wait to give this quilty to the expectant couple (good, good friends of ours); so fulfilling to give a handmade something!
I always feel compelled to add a little sneaky sweetness...
Speaking of making and giving, we held a little scrappy pincushion swap in our Asheville Modern Quilt Guild. Since I'm (always!) in plus mode, I tried some easy peasy appliqued pluses on linen (with a felt base). Hope my partner likes it!

Still pondering a new sewing machine.... and open to input!

Monday, November 15, 2010

quilt market recap (etc.!)

Wowza! It's been a crazy couple of weeks! First, we went on vacation to the Outer Banks (complete with 2 dogs and the sewing machine and the disc catcher and countless other toys). That truly is a magical place! Then, back in Asheville and the office before heading to.... Houston! It's really hard to sum up the whole quilt market/festival in words, but I've managed somehow, over on the Lark Crafts blog. Click:
  • Here (Read about Tina Givens' magical goose and my monoprinting experiments!)
  • Here (Read about my sashiko class and creations - I'm totally addicted! Plus highlights from the Husband's Lounge!)
  • Here (Read my recap with some images of my favorite quilts from the exhibit, definitely through the lens of a modern quilter.)
  • Or here (For a chance to win 500 Art Quilts and Masters: Art Quilts, two fabulous gallery books! Apologies for the shameless plug!)

What an experience! And then, of course, there was the monumental, glorious, and glutinous HAUL! Click here for a more detailed explanation of my finds. Fancy threads (for said sashiko), an innumerable amount of fat quarters (such a weakness), and some lovely vintage fabrics.

It was such an overwhelming, inspiring, and exhausting experience - what a lucky gal I am! It was also exciting to be there as a representative of the next generation of quilters. And I got to meet some of my Flickr friends in person - another level of awesomeness! I must admit that there were times throughout the week when I felt a bit out of place, but in general, I was met with warmth and acceptance - and lots of folks who were interested in learning more about the Modern Quilt Guild! It was also wonderful to see so many women investing time, energy, and financial resources into their continued learning, their passion, and their creative outlet... really inspiring!

And, of course, I found myself skulking around the Bernina booth for far too long - which means I'm definitely in the mood for an upgrade...I can't wait for Cincinnati to roll around!

Monday, October 25, 2010

stocking redux!

If you've already gotten the Special Holiday Issue of Fat Quarterly (and if you haven't, get cracking!), you've seen the lovely coverage they've given to Fa La La La Felt (many many thanks yous to the Fat Quarterly folks!!). As part of a holiday round-up, I remade my Oopsy Daisy stockings from the book... following my original instructions. What an exercise it was! And here are the results, hanging from the bar. I riffed on the original pattern a little (less daisy, more asterisk!) and used some of the Kate Spain Christmas fabric the FQ team sent me. I'm also including a free tutorial from the book (over on the Lark Crafts site). Happy stocking making!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

birds and plus signs - a love affair!

Someday I'll bring these two elements together in some glorious quilty (sorry, to-do list!) but I'm just still enjoying exploring. It's kind of nice to do something over and over again, exploring the same form again and again but trying new directions and ideas. I've been meaning to try this plus sign design for a while (ever since making this back in January), and thank goodness I have the perfect excuse now - a lovely little lady due in January 2011.

And then I made a little blackbirdy something for a birthday gift. I'm lovin the asterisk - speaking of future explorations. This was also a lovely experiment in hand stitching. Boy, when hand stitching doesn't totally annoy me, it's kinda nice. And hey, wait a minute: is that a plus sign? Way down there in the corner....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

busy bee

It's so funny with these online bees: you work and work and then you have to send all your handiwork away. Don't get me wrong: I love online bees! I feel like I've been challenged in so many creative ways. And I'm having fun along the way! They just tend to add to that know-I've-been-busy-but-don't-have-anything-to-show-for-it feeling. Ever get that feeling? Either way, here's a quick recap.
A few Common Threads blocks:

A (looong) strip for Rossie in our first round of the Mid Mod Quilt Bee (bottom left):

Oh yeah, and there was my potholder for Carrie (for our Asheville Modern Quilt Guild secret potholder swap-a-roo).

More in the works and coming soon... feeling the sewing and quilting bug taking over again! Oh, and the plus signs...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

before & after: minty dresser

It's almost the end of summer... and I'm STILL dealing with the mighty furniture makeover bug. My latest installment is headed for my sewing room. I think I'm just in love with the transformation aspect. And then there's the getting something for cheap and turning it into something you love factor... It's been keeping me from my sewing machine for sure, but it feels like a creative process nonetheless. I'm especially proud of the little wooden piece I added at the bottom.

I'm working on an old desk now that will soon become my sewing table... and, of course, have a little minty minty of its own!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Holly, jolly... July!

Just a quick note to say that you should check out the loveliness over at Sew, Mama, Sew's Christmas in July. They'll be featuring several projects and designers from Fa La La La Felt (including some of my faves), which hits shelves early next month. Should be lots of fun, and it may be enough to put you in the mood for hot cocoa - though it's pretty unlikely in this extremely hot "mountain weather" here!

Monday, July 19, 2010

antique bar redux

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned the dreaded furniture-makeover-bug that was plaguing me. I finally succumbed to temptation... here's what I've been busy with while I've been neglecting my poor little blog (sorry about that, by the way).

First, I found this cool antique bar at the local Habitat for Humanity store. I was actually, believe it or not, in the market for just such an item. So maybe it was fate....
Combine that with my love for all things dark teal and my intense desire to cover something with tile and you get this little number, which looks right nice if I do say so myself.

I was initially planning to do something cool - plus signs, anyone? - with the tile pattern on top, but decided to pare down. Not sure the urges have been fully satisfied... sometimes you just get a bug! I'm thinking about taking an upholstery class this fall. Oh, the dark teal furniture I could make!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

pardon the interruption

Gosh that month went by fast. Sorry for the silence on my part... I swear I was busy with things! First there was a weekend in the mountains (with the brindle squad, of course!).

Then some canoeing, some kayaking, some creek swimming...

And then I was involved in the taxing task of... drumroll, please... turning thirty! Now I'm not the type of person who gets too hung up on numbers, but it did seem like a fine excuse to get myself a fancy present. And fancy it is! Meet my new camera. After literally almost two years of research, I settled on this bad boy. It's, in a word, friggin awesome. And I had to have a fun new project to photograph... This blackbird mini was for a friend. I love how the new camera captures all those perfect imperfections! More fun to be had, I'm sure.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

love for tea towels! (in print!)

Before working on my projects for this book (Craft Challenge: Tea Towel), I hadn't yet expanded my fabric horizons; most of the time, I feel pretty overwhelmed by all the glorious fabric options at my local stores, online, and, my own stash. But I kinda fell in love with tea towels and vintage fabric in general. There's something about the authentic kitschy flavor they bring to a project that new fabric just can't fake, even the vintage-inspired stuff. I had two projects in the book:

Fabric Jars

Pup Pack
The jars are my favorite, especially since they're kinda useful. Useful and pretty - that's my new shtick!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I pledge.... (and gratitude)

Have you seen Rossie's post about process? Of course you have. I love everything about this idea... the story that happens between the stitches, the magic that occurs during the final stitch or a way-out decision you make last minute that brings everything together. It's hard to take time to relish the process, I think, when we're all driven by the final product. But this pledge is a good nudge to slow down, and I can appreciate that. I'm also totally infatuated with the drawing in Rossie's blog badge... (over there, in the right column).

I really don't know what it is about kelpies that draw me to them. I think they must be part of the mid-century modern design genre, but I just never tire of them. Have they been a design crutch? Yeah, probably, but there's something wonderful about doing the same thing (kelpies, birdy appliques based on my tattoos, plus signs)... and it always seems to lead somewhere creative. That little blog badge led two particular places, one directly and one with colorful little bits....

I'll be headed one of these directions soon. Part of the pledge deals with design inspiration, and rightly so. I think this can be a tricky discussion for the online community and for myself as a quilterly type. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head, and I worry that I picked them up somewhere from someone subconsciously. Sometimes I see something and it's more like "man, oh, man... gonna have to make me that exact same thing."

I'm personally okay with it when people riff off stuff I've done. I think it's actually one of the best feelings to have inspired someone creatively. But it's always nice when that is acknowledged. And that's made me think that I need to be better (in a totally non sappy, non cheesy kind of way - not my strong suit!) about who inspires me on a daily basis, especially since inspiration is part of the process. I'm talking Malka, Victoria at the Silly Boodilly, Jacquie over at Tallgrass Prairie Studio, Rossie, Jess at Urban Patchwork (okay... I'll just go with everybody in the Common Threads quilt bee).

There are more, I'm sure, but what's your list look like?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

urban home goods swap - sent!

This swap's been on my to-do list for a while. What a perfect excuse to buy some of Malka's fabric, and then, of course, I got a wee bit nervous about cutting into it. It was so excellent to work with, especially since I knew my (yet unnamed) swap partner was a fan. I hope she likes it!

Take a peek at what Brioni (flossybossy) made for me: serious mind reader! More swap awesomeness here!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

start of something good: pluses and minuses

Pluses and minuses... how I love thee! Seriously geeking out over these blocks. I made the one on the left and then couldn't help putting it together when Rossie's block arrived on Friday. I've got plans for a few more myself, but the fact that there will be something from everyone in the group is so exciting. Aren't virtual quilting bees cool?!?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

back to blackbirds

And it's so nice to be back! This little mini is for secret bird swap... I'll say no more (except that I'm hooked... again!).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

hello, spring!

And gosh, it couldn't have come soon enough. Violet and I took our first official girls-only walk in the woods for the spring season. Aside from some scary ladies with walking sticks, the bees, the water, and the heat, she had a grand time... especially relaxing on the couch once we got back home. Two words: total ham!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

beach scenes

Well, despite its sogginess, March has absolutely flown by! In the midst of rain, rain (and insert more rain), I was able to sneak away for some beach time with my hubby, my mom, my 86-year-old grandma, my cousin and his fam. Oh, Hunting Island, SC... how I love thee! Let me count the ways: shrimp burgers, hand-sewing in the surf (pics to come), not a building in sight, and boat drinks. Oh, and raccoons and alligators and no-see-ums. You know, I think we're gonna need a montage...