another sneak peek

here's another little something i'm working on. hand sewing is so calming. i could do it all day (or at least until my eyes decide they're done)


still covered in glue

last night i suddenly realized that easter is in two weeks and my house is not one bit decorated! so i dug out last year's crazy ridiculous glitter eggs (which fueled my hatred for martha) and displayed them happily in their bird cage. i continued to shake my fist at martha as glitter fell everywhere and then decided they weren't quite enough decor.

my mother in law recently suggested i try decorating some eggs and add them to my shop. i'm obviously much too late for this easter but hopefully by next easter i'll have perfected a technique or two and be able to list some eggs!

i had eggs left from last year as well as some plastic eggs & a bag of tiny paper mache eggs that i bought this year so i pulled out the mod podge, some paper, fabric and assorted other madness  i have a few dictionary pages (ok...hundreds...maybe thousands?) left from the crazy book project as well as the innards of some freshly chopped up books that will soon become purses and i thought some book page eggs would be fun! 

a few hours, lots of mod podge and many ripped up pieces of paper later we have a fun little bowl of eggs:

 i have determined a few things about this project and i will share them with you. 

first: the little plastic eggs that split open should only be used with a thick covering. see the green polka dot egg? that one was mod podged fabric (so fun) but you can see the line. so for fabric and thin paper only use paper mache eggs. 

second: if using a rectangle of some sort (paper, fabric, book) to cove the egg the measurements will frustrate you. going around the egg is easy but accounting for the tapered top and bottom was more difficult. i cut slits so that i could fold the pieces in - instead of mashing them down and promising bubbles. this worked well except then there was too much paper/fabric at the tip of the egg. i kept going back and forth between not covering the tip and creating a point with too much material. perhaps the solution is to cut every other strip a bit shorter. we shall see.

last: the wrapped eggs were the most fun to make because i didn't have to think them as much, but they're time consuming. i did a tiny one with hemp i use for jewelry, a large one with some pretty substantial jute and the two green ones are strips of fabric. one is folder to give it a nice edge, the other is just frayed madness. 

one more note: all paper eggs were done with matte mod podge, as were the fabric eggs. for the hemp and jute i used good ol' aleene's tacky glue

sorry for the lack of pictures- one is the best i could do while covered in glue at midnight! i'll be trying more of these soon so stay tuned!


for baby jack

UPDATE: as of 3:35 sunday 03.21 baby jack is here! Can't wait for them to come home so we can meet our new little neighbor!!
our sweet neighbors are expecting their second child. baby jack was actually due almost a week ago and his poor mama is anxiously awaiting his arrival into the world! i've had a baby blanket in the works for him for a while now, but i saw this idea online a few weeks ago and really wanted to try it. we found out that they're using orange for the little man so i set to work last night!

here's everything you'll need:
various papers in the colors of choice, 3 different sized embroidery hoops (inner hoop only), 2 size circle punches, fishing line, ribbon, and not pictured but essential to this process was my sticker maker(glue stick would also work just fine- i love any excuse to turn things into stickers!)

i started by punching out circles from many different orange papers. i used the 1" circle punch for most of the project and probably punched out 150 circles.

for each pattern i made sure i had an even number so that each circle had a matching partner. i ran half the circles from each pattern through the sticker maker and then set to work on the hoops.

i used a 5", 6" and 7" hoop and just over 2 feet of fishing line for each strand. the 5" hoop had 4 strands of line, the 6" had 5 and the 7" had 6 strands. 

funny thing about this fishing line: i stole it out of my dad's tool chest about 15 years ago when i first started making jewelry. at that time my jewelry conisted of seed beads turned into daisies and made into bracelets and chokers. i've come a long way! but i've never returned the fishing line and it has been used for many many projects over the years.

i started with the smallest embroidery hoop and tied on the 4 pieces of fishing line. then i started attaching circles all the way down . i used two matching circles (one sticker-ed & one not) and glued the fishing line down the middle of the pair.  i did this all the way down each line, placing the circles about 4 inches apart (i actually used a small pair of scissors to measure the space). at the top- closest to the hoop i made sure to get both ends of fishing line stuck inside the circles:

the two bigger hoops had larger circles at the bottom of each line, but otherwise the process stayed the same all the way around each of the three hoops. it didn't take too long- the length of a movie. we watched defiance and this gave me something to look at during the violence. good movie though. things went along smoothly until it was time to attach the hoops to one another. i wasn't wild about tying them all with short pieces of ribbon like in the tutorials i've seen so i tried something new. unfortunately it didn't go as planned the first 3 or 4 times and my poor (very patient) husband was left holding the hoops and shaking his head. eventually i figured out a way to get the hoops to hang (mostly) level and only use 2 pieces of ribbon. 

bear with me as i try to describe this (and keep looking at the photo!) it wasn't easy to do and definitely requires a second pair of hands to hold the hoops! i cut two lengths of ribbon, probably about 4 1/2 feet long and started with the smallest hoop. i wrapped the ribbon once around the hoop then tied a knot. same thing on the opposite side of the small hoop. then i took one ribbon from each knot and repeated the process on the second hoop. so it creates this diamond shape and a little more stability. i fear this isn't making any sense, but it didn't really make sense while i was doing it! same thing for the large hoop- split the ribbons from the medium hoop and use them to tie around the largest hoop. then you're left with four pieces of ribbon to tie into a pretty bow at the top.

finished product: a very cute, personalized and inexpensive baby gift that only took a few hours. now if only baby jack would make his arrival! 

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i think maybe this little beauty is done. 
however- i'm contemplating adding the word "peace" in the open space. 
(probably in green)



oh martha

martha stewart and i have a love hate relationship. okay. really we have no relationship at all, BUT half the time i love her and half the time i just can't stand her. i am a subscriber and loyal reader of martha stewart living but i can't stand watching her show. i find her ideas brilliant, but her demeanor offputting (to say the least). i think she is a creative genius, but incredibly rude to guests on her show. all that to say she is coming out with a new book on March 30th and i want it!!
Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques for Sewing, Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing, plus 150 Inspired Projects from A to Z 
how fabulous will that be? 400 pages of fabric and sewing inspiration! 150+ projects! listen to me...i'm a regular martha advertiser!

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration
and now i want them both!
my craft library would be since i've just gotten back into sewing (or attempted to- update on that soon) i have been gathering up every sewing resource i could find. my newest book is amy butler's in stitches 
Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
and as soon as the sewing machine is back in working order i'll be making some fabulous wide leg lounge pants. for now though i'll have to be content with longing for the new martha books and hoping my sewing machine gets fixed very soon!


altering a (giant) book

this past weekend i attended the wedding of a friend from honeyrock. to say that she and her husband love books would be an understatement. their wedding invitation was a wonderfully unique "book" complete with a library book pocket and due date card. the program at the ceremony was also a book; complete with copyright information for their love story.

so as stephanie and i were thinking of something creative to give them we had the idea to make them a book. originally it was going to be a scrapbook filled with marriage advice from all of our honeyrock friends from around the country (and world!). we sent out an email asking for people to send 8x8 pages or email advice. at some point (i think the day before the wedding) i saw a link to this tutorial to create a binder from an old book. PERFECT! what better to give this couple than a book of their own? one they could put on the shelf with all their other books. but that left me with less than 24 hours (and less than 12 hours until stephanie's flight got in) to find an awesome book and figure out how to make it into a binder then insert all the pages. 

so i took an extended lunch break and headed to goodwill & the local thrift store to try to find a book that would accommodate a binder spine. the tutorial told me to use a 3x5 card binder spine, but i knew that wouldn't hold the pages people sent. at goodwill i found a book about birds that i thought might work so i coughed up the $1.79 for it (plus a few old reader's digest volumes to turn into purses). then i decided to check out twice as nice and there i hit the jackpot. 

seriously. JACKPOT. this dictionary is from 1966. normally $1.50. had a blue dot. thus 50% off. total price for greatest book ever : 75 cents!!!

this baby is going to be helping me make projects for years to come! but back to this project. i removed all the pages from the book (and saved them for future fun) and followed the directions from the tutorial to cover the spine with the endpapers. the columns of fantastic useful information about indo-european languages and metric conversions fit perfectly in the spine. 

next i found a binder spine from an old winnie the pooh photo album that contained photos from junior high and my wonderful husband drilled some holes & attached the binder piece to the spine. the tutorial suggests attaching it to the back page, but i wanted it in the middle so to the spine it went. then i went to fetch stephanie from the airport. we returned, poured ourselves some wine and happy creative chaos ensued.

paper and dictionary pages were everywhere for hours! sorry for the terrible photo- it was very late and very dark. some of the pages were just simple, others were exactly what people sent and others were a decoupaged mass of words and photos. we found specific words in the dictionary: melissa, david, wedding, marriage, love, etc. we tore up pages randomly. we stayed up cutting and gluing and crafting until we couldn't sit up anymore. saturday morning we packed ourselves up for the drive to milwaukee. after some last minute additions to the book it was finished!

a wonderful wedding present full of pictures, memories and words of love and advice from people all over the world. this was one of the most exciting and crazy projects i've ever completed. i loved it and as soon as i find myself another giant dictionary i'll be altering another book!

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spring is here

i saw a robin in our tree last night, it's 61 and sunny and Trader Joes has their $1.49 daffodils again. spring is officially here!

sneak peek

i doodle on everything. and when i do the pattern often turns out like this:

recently i've been thinking of ways to incorporate that pattern into some of what i make and i realized i already had.

i used it on the prize winning pottery pumpkin (say that 3 times fast):

and i used it again on the coasters i painted after Christmas: 

so this last week i doodled a bit on some linen and i've been embroidering away ever since. 

not sure what it will be or if it will end up in the shop but i think it's almost finished and i LOVE it.