Thursday, August 21, 2014

proof of...

Good times. Playing in the dirt- in a white shirt no less. Squeezing lots of fun into these last weeks of summer vacation (and final days of Grandma's visit).  Hope you are too!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014


 So it turns out that planting potatoes in vintage mailboxes works quite well... and the hunt for treasure is as exciting as digging for gold.
My mom could have let them grow a little bigger, but small guests inspired an early harvest.
After the entire mailbox was dumped out to look for strays, one child claimed to feel like a paleontologist. My daughter, always quick with words, said perhaps a "potatologist".

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

my second book!

The experience of writing a book is often compared to that of pregnancy and birth. And once again, I see how true this is as I wrap up the final stages (and pages) of my second book! I'm so grateful to  have this opportunity twice, and am extremely fortunate to be working with my amazing editor at Roost Books

So if I've seemed quieter here... certainly there have been less tutorials, and posts... you now know where I have been temporarily channeling my energy. My mornings begin with the first light of day. I lie in bed forming a plan and then reach for my computer or tiptoe down to my studio. If I'm lucky there will be a few hours undisturbed to go into a quiet trance of organizing, writing,  prototyping, making and documenting. Any endeavor this huge has the potential to consume the creator during the process. Fortunately, the focus of this particular one also had the ability to nurture, support and inspire me along the way. Which makes sense, as this is the entire premise of book number two...

Simple, soulful projects to create and use during times of uncertainty and transition. I've learned so much in the last few years about the ability to transform darkness into light. Using my hands in conjunction with my head and heart were key to finding my balance and reinventing myself. This book is an offering to all of us- for those times in life where we need a little extra direction on how to put one foot in front of the other. I think of it as a creative compass to find our way back to ourselves when we are lost or hurt.

This is where I have been- and where I'll be for the next few weeks, as I give it that last final push into completion. It's very special moment in my life... so happy to finally share it officially with all of you!

p.s. If you get up at dawn, know that I'm drinking my coffee with you. And maybe send a quiet little "you can do it!" my way... just for good measure. Thanks!
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Friday, August 8, 2014

mini tote/hat diy

I cut off the legs of a pair of yoga pants to make shorts. The cotton jersey with a touch of spandex was the perfect stretchy fabric for making some quick tiny totes for my sewing campers last week. I wanted them to see just how fast and easy some projects are. This was impressive... one quick seam and a tiny snip for a handle and little purse was born. They were delighted... and responded as if I had a magic wand. And then they impressed me... by putting them on their heads! They make fabulous hats! One direction is a great bat (or even cat) hat- the other is a bit elf-like! Keepin' this in mind for Halloween...
 If you have an old pair of yoga pants lying around, you've got the making of a bunch of totes and/or hats! These are so great to stash a couple small items... lip balm and a change purse fit perfectly for my girl. An adult or teen could easily slip in a phone and keys, too. 


  1. Cut off the legs of a pair of stretchy pants.
  2. Cut them into sections of at least 8". You'll have a bunch of tubes. 
  3. Turn one inside out and sew a seam along the bottom edge.
  4. Turn it right side out and fold over the opening to one side. Cut out a tiny half moon at the center of the fold line. That's the handle. Jersey doesn't fray so raw edges are fine!
  5. Make some more and give them to friends. 
Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

sunshine blouse

This happy golden top was made by a 9 year old in camp last week! Impressive, no? First she dyed a section of an old bed sheet in a turmeric solution. Then she followed my directions for the pillow case dress here using some improvisation, since it wasn't a pillow case! Next we took a strip of crochet edging that had actually been a part of the sheet originally, and I helped her to add it to the bottom. We dyed it separately and didn't boil it as long, so it faded after a washing. The contrast didn't bother her a bit- she was still so excited! And so she should be. If you're looking for a good first garment for your child to sew, a skirt is a great bet. The second? A pillow case dress or blouse!

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Monday, August 4, 2014

sew and tell

Last week was fabulous! I loved this group of girls so much! Their enthusiasm and creativity was fueled by my encouragement to innovate and improvise. I had an agenda at the beginning of the week... a curriculum that was planned for each day. Out the window it went, as I followed their thrill of discovery and their desire for independent making. I am now a firm believer that children should be taught techniques based on their current desire to make. So for instance, someone wanted a tutu for their Breyer Horse (hmmmm wonder whose daughter that was?) so out came the fold-over elastic and learning to switch to zigzag stitch for anything stretchy. Doll pajamas were in high demand and even though I wanted to teach pattern making... they had their own ideas. Trial and error are fabulous teachers! Field trips to Sew Green are now a tradition and total highlight of the week. Once sewing machine familiarity has been established (around mid-week), we go on a (recycled)fabric shopping trip. This time everyone had already made little zipper pouches to carry their spending money in.
 And on the last day we always have a gallery to share with parents all of the amazing items created throughout the week... Sew and Tell.
Here's to girl power! 
(more on these crazy grey purses turned "bat/cat hats" very soon!) 

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

stitch*craft 2014

Creativity Camp has returned to our home with a week of Stitch*Craft! We've been printing, dyeing, and sewing. I have a group of extremely happy 9 year olds- what a competent and creative bunch they are! Sewing machines are out in full force, and I love the constant whirring of the engines that happens when confidence has been achieved. 
There is only one of me, and that means that frequently someone is waiting with a question or turn for one on one instruction. In those moments there is a station for independent making- creating stuffies from Amy's Sewing School. I set up a fabric "store" where the girls can come select materials whenever they want. This invitation to create opens up the inspiration floodgates every time. Also turns my living room into chaos at the end of the day, but it's a beautiful jumble of gorgeous girls and pretty patterns.  A winning combination for sure!

9 tips for sewing with a group of 9 year olds (or there abouts):

  1. Have different stations for sewing machines and hand sewing.
  2. Provide lots of materials and give them open access to it all.
  3. Say YES to any questions that begin with "can I make....?".
  4. Enlist the more confident and skilled ones to assist the others with a specific task.
  5. Teach safety tips at the beginning, but help them remind one another throughout the day.
  6. Keep them well fed.
  7. Make sure to run them outside when energy is waning. Helps balance all the sitting and focused work they do so enthusiastically.
  8. Set up irons out of traffic's way and where you can supervise easily. Lower the height of the ironing board to give them tons of control and leverage. Believe it or not... these girls LOVE to iron! 
  9. Teach them to relax when something turns out differently then they expected. Or how to go back and fix a mistake without it being the end of the world
  10. And one more for good measure- tell them how amazing they are!

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

at the barn

 A week in review (visually) at my Mama's barn... flowers, food, and play for my girl. Lots of writing and photographing for me... and good food too!

Have a great weekend!

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Monday, July 21, 2014


This weekend was filled with good food, music, flowers and birthday celebrations. Who could ask for more?! Pin It

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

diy stables and barns

This is the summer of the craft (popsicle) stick! It began a few weeks ago... my daughter discovered several instructional videos on youtube for diy stables. Her growing toy horse collection definitely needs proper housing. Initially there was a lot of white glue involved, snipping sticks with scissors, and frustration for both of us. She needed a lot of help, and the directions all seemed to be very specific and over involved. Then I introduced my girl to the wonders of a hot glue gun! And the building adventure truly began... independently. I gave her tons of safety rules and tips. But while I sit beside her doing my own work, she creates without any assistance. A great feeling for everyone! What we both love about the process of glue and sticks is the unlimited possibilities. She creates her own rules and learns as she makes. Collaborations with friends were inevitable, so stable making is now a part of every playdate as well as solo time! Below are the most recent horse homes. My daughter's in on the left, her "building associate's" on the right. They both used duct tape for hinges and rainbow loom chains... for chains.
Some supplies for stable making:

  • craft sticks
  • glue sticks
  • glue gun
  • white glue
  • cardboard
  • duct tape
  • yarn
Recently Michael's sent me a very generous gift card. They must have heard that I like to make stuff! On a recent trip to town, I stocked up on summer crafting supplies. Thanks Michael's, what a wonderful surprise that both my daughter and I are putting to good use! Of course, I got more sticks... they come in every size imaginable these days. And a new glue gun! Some cork seemed like a good idea too. I'm going to set it all out this morning as an invitation to keep going!

Tips and thoughts on kids and glue guns:

  • Teaching children to use real tools gives them a sense of pride and fosters independence. 
  • Know your child's abilities and working style. My daughter is a very careful and responsible 91/2 year old... perfect time for this tool.
  • Use a small low temperature glue gun if possible. The size is just right for smaller hands, and the glue is never too hot.
  • Explain the dangers of hot glue, nonetheless, and remind them over and over about not touching the tip.
  • If a little glue touches skin, show them how to run it under cold water. With a low temp gun, this hasn't been necessary, but still a good thing to know.
  • Teach them to ALWAYS unplug when not in use.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

parasol lighting

 My mom has a wonderful collection of vintage parasols. Remember them from years ago when she first moved in... check this post? Well, they've just been waiting for some fun. Suspending them under the living room track lights was just the party they've been waiting for!

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