Saturday, April 19, 2014

all for the love of a dress.

I have this very wonderful dress that I've worn for seven years. Yes, seven years. The worst part is that I bought this perfectly comfortable dress secondhand. So really, this dress is on its fifth or sixth life. Last week, as I pulled it out of the dryer, I noticed how thin the fabric is getting. What will I wear on mega production days where I sit in front of the sewing machine of 18 hours? I turned it inside out and looked at the seams and said to my cat Hal, "oh yeah. I can make one!" I decided to spend my saturday making a new version of my absolute favorite dress.  

Materials: Jersey fabric, pins, pencil, scissors, wrapping paper and my seven year old dress.
I like to put left over wrapping paper to use because most of it comes with a one inch graph on the back. It makes it easier to lengthen things and make small adjustments and keep lines straight.

I laid each section of the dress, starting with the arms, onto the paper and simply traced around them. I added a quarter inch to each side that would have a seam to allow for a seam allowance. I added an entire inch on each side that would need a hem, i.e, the neckline, the sleeves and the bottom.

After each piece was traced, I cut the pieces out of the wrapping paper and pinned it onto the fabric, just like you would a real paper pattern. Pin and cut, pin and cut, pin and cut.

All of the pieces have been cut! If you decide to try this yourself, you can look at the seams inside your dress to find out how they put it together. Look to see which seams have been sewn over twice, which seam has been sewn over by another seam. A tip is most dresses are put together from top to bottom. 

And LOOK! A finished dress for me to romp around my garden in! I'm laughing because my neighbors caught me taking a picture of myself in my new dress! I'm a total dork. 

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Aqua Hippo Mailbox Hood Ornament

Spring is rushing to my doorstep and it just makes me want to be outside making the world bright. After cleaning the winter ick off my porch and sweeping away some errant fall leaves, I noticed how terribly bland my mailbox was looking. I decided it needed a hood ornament.

Being the kind of person I am, there was a perfect plastic hippo sitting on my craft room shelf. I decided to spray paint him aqua...

Aqua Spray paint

add a little E-6000...


and stick him to my mailbox! Now every time you step up to my front door, you are greeted by a roaring hippo. I think it's rather perfect! Happy Spring!

Hippo Mailbox Hood Ornament

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Martha Stewart American Made Awards!


It is a pleasure for me to tell you that I'm participating in Martha Stewart's American Made Awards. The winner receives $10,000 and publicity in a magazine I have coveted for years. No, really. I have EVERY ISSUE. They are lined up against my living room wall like a growing art collection. So in love.

If you have a minute, please go here and vote for me. I'll be eternally grateful. You can vote six times per day until September 13th! Spread the word!

As a side note, this video I made still makes me misty like a Hallmark Movie at Christmas. Thanks to Louis Capwell for his help. He is a real creative genius.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hello, Brooklyn!

Guess what! I'm all set up at Renegade Brooklyn! Even better than that? I'm debuting a brand new product- my hand-dyed produce rattles! All your favorite farm-fresh handmade is here: carrots, radishes, lemons, bananas, and turnips! Cool, right? If you're here in bklyn, make sure to stop by (Booth 205!) and say hello!


Just look at those awesome new rattles

Friday, April 5, 2013

Looking forward to: Craftin' Outlaws!

When I'm getting ready for a show, I do a lot of internet stalking. I'm not ashamed. I lust openly over the people I'm excited to check out. This craft show circuit world I live in opens me up to so many different people, different crafts, mindsets, genres, and styles. I like taking it all in and lovingly making them all talk to me. Seriously. I made a lovely friend in St. Louis by yelling at her to come over and chat at my booth because she looked like the kind of girl that read good books. I'm classy, what can I say? In 15 days I head to the great Columbus, OH to Craftin' Outlaws.  And here's who I plan to give a shout to!

1. YAO CHEN holy moses! Don't you just want to dive into her work and live there in the light and air I'm sure smells like jasmine? sigh. I just love it.

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2. COLETTE PAPERIE  Every time I see her work, I want to go home and paint my house. Her colors are so perfect and fresh. I'm in love.

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3. JESIII I'm sorry. Is this not the greatest thing you've ever seen? Look at that saturated color! The sweetness! The quirk! This is dreamy.

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4. B. RADLEY Who can resist cross stitch goods? I cannot.

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5. CYNTHIA VARDHAN CERAMICS  When I'm a grown up, I'll have china like this. Perfectly delicate, happy and clean. swoon.

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As always, I'm excited to see I'm excited to see my great friends Sadly Harmless, Opposite of Far, and Purple Hippo Stitches.  Because I already love them.

I better get back to my sewing machine! There's only 15 more days! Ack!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Quilt Retreat

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Every year for the past five years, I get paid to host the the coolest weekend ever. I lead a Mystery Quilt Retreat at the Canyon Inn in McCormick's Creek State Park. We arrive Friday evening with our fabric cut, waiting for step number one to begin our marathon sewing session. I eventually give up and go to bed, but some of these ladies (all of them my senior) stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning. Then Saturday morning, they make it to the sewing room before I do, coffee cups in hand.

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The schedule goes something like this: breakfast, sewing, lunch, sewing, dinner, sewing, wine, sewing, singing to Time Life AM Gold 1974, sewing, yelling at thread tension and taking a walk, sewing. Everyone works at their own pace. I'm the keeper of the steps and I try to urge everyone to keep them a relative secret. This year's quilt was made in 14 steps. It is Sunday morning and there are still a few stragglers trying to finish before they go home, but most finished in the wee hours of last night. There was a lady here that actually works in a sewing factory making uniforms who finished before dinner last night. She spent the rest of the evening sifting through quilt books everyone predictably pulls from their sewing totes.

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There's something magical about the chorus of 20 sewing machines all running at once. The small tidbits of conversation that float over the noise that make you smile to yourself. There are ladies I met five years ago and some brand new friends. Some come from 4 hours away, others from 20 minutes, but all become dear and precious friends by the end. Marcia might be my favorite. She is hard and opinionated, but talented and, at times, endearing. The twin sisters, Terry and Sherry, who are quiet and reserved until you get them laughing with a little liquid courage. And good ol' Paula, who knows more than all of us combined.

Sewing is this bright community of creativity and endurance. Some projects take years. Mary, whose grace and eloquence follows her in an aura around her body, has been working on a quilt with the tiniest,  little pieces for three years. It's also a community that prides itself in idea sharing. If you have a new tool that makes your life easier, you CANNOT wait to show everyone and proudly display exactly what it does (and more than likely pull out your camera to show everyone the pictures of all the projects you've made with it.) Sewing is something you do alone but with a group. It connects your solitary parts and gives you a sense of belonging. Every stitch it just another step forward.


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