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.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 4: For the Birds!

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 3: Heart Crackers!

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First things first, I must admit that this is not my picture, nor is it my recipe. However, I do make these all the time for the boy I love to have in his car as a traveling snack. He's not a fan of sweets, so making him a salty, cheesy cracker is the fastest way to his heart. I've used almost every cracker recipe on the Smitten Kitchen website; along with many, many other. She's a genius! I love her writing style and her pictures are absolutely beautiful! I use the Parmesan Cream Crackers most often, adding in some spice from time to time or a hint of rosemary. If you have someone who loves the salty more than the sweet, get out your smallest heart cookie cutter and get to rolling out these wonderful crackers.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 2: Glitter Shoe Clips!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 1: Sweet Notes!

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Let's kick off our 14 days of Valentine's Day celebration by making the perfect envelope for your sweet notes of love. From felt! HERE! is the .pdf with instructions for you to print out and begin! Included is a template with five easy steps to creating this adorable note holder.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Craft Room Door

On the door to my craft room is a bulletin board I pin things to all season. I've gotten in the habit of making state shapes for lists of animals I need for each show. Geography, ftw! (oh, also! I'm a nerd!) Just the other day I cleared it off to start fresh for the new year. It's really helpful reminder as I'm sitting in my sunlit living room, enjoying a nice relaxing [insert activity] that it's probably time to get back to work. There are animals to make! There are ALWAYS animals to make! It's also become a place to hang inspirations and aspirations.

[singlepic id=50 w=640 h=480 float=left]1. Porter Flea!
2. Big Crafty!
3. I want to make a raccoon.
4. Maker Faire Detroit!
5. Handmade Promenade Pop-up Shop!
6. Collection of Craft Show Hotel Keys
7. RCF Chicago Holiday!
8. <3 Letters (no greater inspiration needed!)
9. Pen Pal
10. Etsy Orders
11. Guide to my sweet Owen County home
12. dumb-dumb-dumb....The $240 speeding ticket I received in Detroit on my way to Maker Faire!








As I stood staring at this cork board, I was forced to remember all I'd accomplished this year. (Or in the case of number 12, screwed up. haha) Sometimes as creative people, it's hard to feel pride in our work. There's always something you could have done better, places you could have been stronger. "If I'd just had one more day to prepare." I say this a lot to myself. But standing and staring, I had a real sense of pride of what I'd accomplished, the people I'd connected with, the places I traveled.

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2013 is already filling up. 8 stores to fill, and a show coming up the first of March. (and of course, I had to leave one love letter up.) I'm excited. Let's sew!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

14 days of Valentine's Day!

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The Fourteen of Valentine's Day begins in one week! Starting February 1st, there will be fourteen projects to inspire love and craftiness! Outdoor crafts, a tote, a torte and so many more! Get ready to show your love! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cabin Fever Lemonade

The weather has turned so chilly that may face hurts when I go outside. Like my 3 year old nephew, I want to yell at the wind to stop blowing, "stop blowing on me, you mean wind!" Because of this, I've been finding ways to remind myself that spring is mere weeks away. And if I close my eyes I can smell the sun warmed earth and feel the cool new grass beneath my feet. I can also whip myself up a batch of homemade lemonade to remind me that soon I will be sitting at a picnic table sharing a warm sticky evening with the boy I love. More than likely complaining that it is yet again too hot.

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It is really easy to do. Grab yourself a large vessel, such as this pretty mason jar, squeeze a whole lemon inside, cover with a little simple syrup and ice. Then fill the rest of the space with seltzer water. Screw on the lid and give it a sexy James Bond shake to combine. A little lemony fizz can chase a huge cloud of cabin fever away in mere seconds. You can also make it with limes, which just happens to be my favorite. Happy Winter Survival!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Hearty" Beef Stew

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There's been a good bit of stress in my life the past couple of days. So, with the sun shining and the breeze of a 63 degree January day blowing through my screen door, I set out to clear my head by cutting vegetables in the kitchen. There's nothing really as stress relieving as spending time hearing the chop on the cutting board, or feeling the heat from the stove top as you gingerly stir something bubbling in a pot, or my most favorite,  dancing around in your kitchen while something simmers. Being a crazy creative person, there's no "just" making something. You need to make it with pizazz. I set out today to make "hearty" beef stew.

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Pinterest is filled to the brim with valentine's day ideas, and while perusing the endless pins, I came upon one that showed how to cut carrots into hearts. "YES!" I exclaimed to an empty room, "this is perfect!" But, why do carrots get all the love? Why not the potatoes too? I dug around in my cookie cutter drawer and found the smallest heart cutter I had, sliced up some potatoes and voila! heart potatoes. The rest is just normal beef stew. I love stew because you can put absolutely anything you want into it and it is going to be awesome. All the root vegetables you have on hand can go into a pot and with a few herbs and some spice, you have a soul warming dinner. Below is the recipe I stick to on a normal day, but feel free to tinker with it to suit your tastes or to clear out the fridge.

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 "Hearty" Beef Stew
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 potatoes, cut into hearts if you are feeling creative!
4 carrots, carve those things up!
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole tomatoes, chopped with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
chuck roast (amount depends on how meaty you like your stew)
flour, just enough to coat beef
olive oil

Rinse and pat dry beef. Cut into cubes. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven (or other heavy bottomed pot). Place beef in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour. Toss to coat. Once the olive oil is hot, place flour-coated beef in pot. If it doesn't sizzle, your oil is not hot enough, let it heat a little longer and try again. Let beef brown on all sides, turning every couple of minutes. Once beef is browned, remove from pot and place on a plate. Deglaze the pot using a splash of red wine or water, however you see fit. Scrape up all the chunky beef bits from the bottom. Toss in the onion, celery, garlic, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is tender and slightly translucent, 5-10 minutes. If the onion starts to stick, add a little more red wine or water. Add tomato paste, stirring to coat. Once the tomato paste is heated and fragrant, add potatoes, carrots and canned tomatoes. Heat the mixture thoroughly. Pour in the beef stock and bring to a boil. Next, stir in browned beef. Add lemon juice and fresh parsley. This will really brighten the flavors. Cover and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes. Add more beef stock or water if needed. Enjoy!

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Carving vegetables tends to create a lot of waste. I ran my scraps through the food processor and will have amazing carrot and potato hash browns in the morning. You'll be amazed at how good they are.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Let's Dance! 2012 was awesome.

I have to admit that 2012 was a hell of a year. I quit my day job and became the full time crafter I'd always wanted to be. In all, I visited half of the states in the union and enjoyed (almost) every one. I swam with dolphins, stood on mountains overlooking the Great Salt Lake and drove a whole bunch of miles in a 17 day cross country adventure with my best friend. I learned the ins and outs of being my own boss, which has become a daily lesson with homework. I packed and unpacked craft show supplies so many times I felt I was living out of a box. I met innumerable amounts of people and sold my animals and rattles to happy craft show attendees. Speaking of! Here are my top five for 2012.

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#5: Handmade Arcade-Pittsburgh, PA
I loved this show because of the venue in which it was held, most of all. Lots of natural light, lots of fun vendors, my road weary mom and a really amazing soft pretzel. The people were friendly and I had GREAT booth neighbors. I stitched a lot during this show and it was fun to answer questions about my product and the process that goes into making them. Also, driving the highway system of Pittsburgh always makes me feel like I'm in a real life video game. I'm glad I got out with all of my lives.


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#4: Bloomington Handmade Market-Bloomington, IN
The Market is held really close to my home town near the campus of Indiana University which always makes the crowd really diverse. I love this show mostly because it gives me a chance to look at the new products so many of my art friends are putting out. It just feels like home walking into the convention center and seeing smiling, sleepy faces ready for a day of selling.


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#3: Porter Flea-Nashville, TN
The Porter Flea is AMAZING. There, I said it. I loved this show. It was packed most of the day. I sold everything I took. My mom got to squeal while meeting the infamous Mike from American Pickers. (He really was a very nice guy.) And the venue. Oh, the venue. I almost cried when I walked into Marathon Music Works. It's this beautifully renovated, yet still industrial, warm well-lit space that you just felt like a cool guy walking into.  The Porter Flea Team is the sweetest; super organized and helpful and really, really beautiful. I can't wait to go back!


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#2: Art Star Craft Bazaar-Philadelphia, PA
This was my second year vending at Art Star Craft Bazaar. Everything about this event is just such a joy. It's held at Penn's Landing in South Philly right along Delaware River. This past year the temperature was perfect, the sun was shining and I got to chat with Phil Barbato, whom I obsess over on the internet. Louis always drives me out and we get to spend some time in the Lehigh Valley. Overall, just the perfect May event.


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#1: Renegade Chicago-Chicago, IL

Chicago is one of those places I find people either have a love affair with or they can't stand it. I'm one of those love affair people. There's something really exciting and accessible about the city itself. But the Wicker Park neighborhood where Renegade Chicago is held? It's like walking into someone's home. You feel invited and in good cheer. The craft fair itself is all hustle and bustle and cool kids doing what cool kids do: making awesome things. I always feel on top of my game at this show. I sell a lot of animals to a lot of nice people and I have SO MUCH FUN! Plus, there's the world's best tacos in Franklin Park.

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My goal for 2013 is just to grow bigger and stronger. Both as a person and a plush designer. I want to go to more craft shows and test new lines. I want to make new art friends and eat at more taco stands. I want to drive to new places and take pictures. I want to learn how to actually keep receipts together and not just in a glad container. (yeah, I'm THAT girl.) But mainly, I just wanna dance. I want to throw out all of my inhibitions and just let go and enjoy myself.

Let's hit the floor like Robyn. Are you with me?



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