Monday, August 29, 2016

what I've been up to, Pt 1

Y'all, thanks so much for your very encouraging comments about my first talk in Madison! Here is my report:

1) No one left
2) No one threw anything
3) I did not throw up or faint

So, it's all good. The Madison Station Quilt Guild folks were very gracious to me. And so talented! I really enjoyed seeing their quilt creations. And I got to show them some very cute childhood pictures of my big sister (their quilt guild president), Leigh Hubbard. She loved that part! 

I will take a few mental pointers with me to the next talk I am forced am privileged to give (if in fact I ever have to decide to do that again). Like that it's very important to have the laptop with your Powerpoint presentation in front of you and not behind. Sorry to those who had a hard time hearing me as I constantly turned around.

Photo above is Team Holland that same week at my beautiful niece Jamie's wedding. L to R, Thing 2, Schmoopie, Yours Truly, Thing 1. OK my dress. Yes, that's a tunic from Target. She was married outside. In August. In Alabama. I'll just let you think about that for a minute. Combine in your mind pavement liquifying heat with 400% humidity and then imagine yourself wearing a form fitting evening dress with a satin lining and Spanx for several hours. NOPE.

After purchasing and returning several dresses, I thought the tunic was genius because:
a) it in no way touched any part of my body except at the shoulders
b) it's lightweight
c) it has strategic placement of dark blue insets under the arms to disguise unladylike amounts of sweat
d) it's not a black dress at a wedding, which is the only other color that would have been feasible under the circumstances, since I tend to 'glow' more than other ladies

The low heeled shoes pictured were not supposed to actually be on my feet at the wedding but after several trips back and forth over uneven brick pathways and grassy lawns I wisely decided my (much more elegant) platform wedges would be suicide.

The modified tunic was too short for a dress, so I made this decorative slip to go under it at the last minute, which in hindsight was not as cute as I'd hoped, but it worked. It would've looked better to have a more full, ruffly hem. Duly noted.

More importantly, here's my radiant and very happily married niece and her Prince Charming, Isaac. Their personal vows of marriage were just beautiful. I'm so happy for both of them! In the background note my great nephew ring bearer (6) 'encouraging' my great niece flower girl (4) to come with him down the aisle like she was supposed to. She declined. It's a girl's prerogative.

I spent part of my summer break designing Jamie and Isaac's wedding invitations, luncheon invitations, and wedding fans. I will photograph them and show you! I love how they turned out.

Have you missed me here lately? It's been hard to post regularly this summer. Here I thought I'd have heaps of free time for a few months. Instead it's been like a blur of activity. I'm still kind of shocked school break is actually over. Feeling a bit grumpy about that, in fact. Like I've been cheated somehow. Must get over that and get on with Things!

More of what I've been up to coming soon!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

giving my first talk

Putting together a display board for my Twelve Days series of ornaments. It's a good thing I'm only up to number 7 or I'd have to make another board. I'm thinking when the series is complete I'll need an actual white Christmas tree especially for them (instead of foam core).

The display (and these bags of samples) are for a talk I'm giving at the Madison Station Quilt Guild meeting next week and I don't mind telling you I'm a little (VERY) nervous about it. Talking. Out loud. About my stuff. In front of actual people. My sister is currently serving as guild president so she'll be there for moral support or perhaps to heckle me from the front row.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

curated felt color collection for Goose a-Laying ornaments

Photo courtesy of Benzie Design

Tada! It's the official Goose a-Laying color collection featuring Benzie Design's lovely wool felt! If you'd like to make ornaments like mine shown above, Benzie makes it easy by providing this bundle for you. Sorry sorry sorry this took so long for me to put together! Better late than never, right? See below for the specific colors and floss numbers.

Benzie felt colors in this collection are:
Cotton Candy

You can also add matching floss to your felt bundle when you purchase, via the drop down menu. Matching floss comes in very handy when you sew the ornament pieces together.

This color collection is the final one in the series of six different wool felt color collections for my Twelve Days series of ornaments, curated by me and put together for you by Benzie Design! Six color collections means two ornament patterns per color collection:

1) Partridge & Pear + Swan a-Swimming
2) Turtle Dove + Maid a-Milking
3) French Hen + Drummer Drumming
4) Colly Bird + Piper Piping
5) Gold Ring + Lady Dancing
6) Goose a-Laying + Lord a-Leaping

You can go to my Twelve Days resource page if you'd like to see and read more. Now for the color guides:

Benzie Felt Color and DMC Floss Color Guide for Goose a-Laying CORAL/PINK sample:

Wing and body back: Cotton Candy
Body front: Coral
Beak, wing inset and nest: Copper
Neck band: Fuchsia
Straw: Orange
Flower and tail feathers: Periwinkle

Front: Cotton Candy
Front inset: Copper
Back: Coral

DMC floss colors for the decorative embroidery: 

DMC white
DMC black (eye)
DMC 154 very dark plum
DMC 156 periwinkle
DMC 718 fuchsia
DMC 818 very light pink
DMC 892 coral 
DMC 919 copper

DMC 818 very light pink
DMC 154 very dark plum
DMC 947 orange
DMC 156 periwinkle
DMC 718 fuchsia

And then of course you'll need the matching flosses to sew the ornament parts together.

Benzie Felt Color and DMC Floss Color Guide for Goose a-Laying AQUA/BLUE sample:

Wing: Icicle
Body front and back: Aqua
Beak, flower, and straw: Periwinkle
Neck band and tail feathers: Cyan
Wing inset and nest: Blue

Front: Periwinkle
Front inset: Blue
Back: Aqua

DMC floss colors for the decorative embroidery: 

DMC black (eye)
DMC 823 very dark blue
DMC 793 periwinkle
DMC 919 copper
DMC 946 orange
DMC 783 golden yellow
DMC 3846 light turquoise
DMC 3844 turquoise
DMC 3807 dark periwinkle

DMC white
DMC 3846 light turquoise
DMC 946 orange
DMC 783 golden yellow
DMC 3844 turquoise (number on back)
DMC 823 very dark blue (word on back)

And then of course you'll need the matching flosses to sew the ornament parts together.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Spongebob softies by Thing 2

Summer making has been in full swing recently for my youngest daughter. She's 12. I'm in awe of her creative drive. Once she gets an idea in her head she powers forward and it's amazing how fast she designs and makes these softies.

This is the first Plankton she made. He is now MIA. I suspect the vacuum cleaner might know something.

She hand sewed them from felt, fleece, embroidery floss, and pipe cleaners. She just makes up her own patterns.

I despair of her craft organization skills though. She never keeps her patterns or supplies in any kind of order and the OCD portion of my brain goes into a tailspin as I'm constantly finding tiny pattern pieces on the carpet, her seam ripper in the couch cushions, her needles laying on the kitchen counter and fretting to myself 'this is an important piece, she is going to lose it'.

(Look at Mr Krab's nose!)

It doesn't seem to bother her at all to lose pattern pieces or parts. At least not enough to mend her ways. She just whips out another one. She's kind of like a crafting version of Pigpen. Only instead of a cloud of dirt around her it's a tangle of floss ends and bits of stuffing and tiny scraps of felt. She literally leaves a trail through the house.

(In fairness I have to add this is exactly why I was banned from the house as a preteen by my long suffering mother. She finally got smart and set up a crafting studio for me in our garage to save our living room carpet. So right now she's probably nodding and saying something like 'yes, it's exasperating, isn't it, dearest?' followed by the lighthearted chuckle of someone who no longer lives with Pigpen Sr.)

And lastly, some accessories to go with the softies: a spatula for Spongebob, a ray gun for Plankton (slightly angrier version 2.0 seen here), and of course Patrick's secret box that contains a picture of Spongebob at the office Christmas party.

A portrait of the artist with her big sister in the background there. I was looking at her earlier versions of Spongebob softies and she's come pretty far in three years.

I hope you are having some summer crafting fun! We are cherishing the days. How can it be almost August?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

the black swan color guide

Hey, I've had some requests about the black/grey Swan a-Swimming sample I made so I thought I'd put this color guide together for you. This one actually combines felts from Benzie Design and Felt On The Fly.

Benzie Design wool felt colors:

Body and flower center: Black
Wings: Graphite
Neck band: Moss

Felt On the Fly wool felt colors:

Beak and inner flower petals: Shrimp
Outer flower petals: Orange Red
Water: Sea Green

DMC contrast decorative floss colors:

DMC white
DMC 606 orange red
DMC 943 teal
DMC 3851 lighter teal (neck band)
DMC 581 olive green (on the wing)
DMC 580 olive green (on the body)

And of course you'll also need matching thread or floss to sew the felt parts together.
Have fun sewing!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

curated felt color collection for Swan a-Swimming ornaments

See below for the official color guides to make these ornaments!

Palette photos courtesy of Benzie Design

Time for the official color guide for the Swan a-Swimming sample ornaments! If you are new to my Twelve Days ornament series you may not know that Benzie Design offers lovely bundles of felt and floss that coordinate perfectly with my Twelve Days ornament samples! The photo above is the (updated) bundle for Partridge & Pear/Swan a-Swimming. I did sub in one new color for a color that was unused before. I took Carmine out and put in Peacock! Isn't it a pretty palette? And didn't Renae do a great job on her Partridge & Pear ornaments?

Benzie felt colors in the felt bundle:
1) Swan
2) Moss
3) Fern
4) Mustard
5) Ochre
6) Orange
7) Cotton Candy
8) Magenta
9) Burgundy
10) Peacock

You can add matching floss to your bundle when you purchase via the drop down menu, which comes in very handy to sew the ornaments together and will save you some time and squinting. (Or am I the only one who squints when I'm color matching?)

There will be* a total of SIX different curated color palettes to choose from at Benzie's Etsy shop. That means that starting with this Swan a-Swimming ornament I'll be repeating the color palettes:

1/7) Partridge & Pear + Swan a-Swimming
2/8) Turtle Dove + Maid a-Milking
3/9) French Hen + Drummer Drumming
4/10) Colly Bird + Piper Piping
5/11) Gold Ring + Lady Dancing
6/12) Goose a-Laying + Lord a-Leaping

*I say 'will be' because I'm extremely late with the bundle for Goose a-Laying (sorry!) but that will be available soon! I'm working on it right now! I think you'll love it.


Body front and back: Cotton Candy
Wings: Magenta
Water: Swan
Beak: Orange
Neck Band: Burgundy
Flower Outer Ring: Swan
Flower Inner Ring: Peacock
Flower Center: Burgundy

Decorative embroidery floss colors for the pink one:
DMC black (eye)
DMC white (water ripple)
DMC 3609 very light pink
DMC 3845 turquoise
DMC 154 very dark plum
DMC 947 orange
DMC 3804 magenta
DMC 741 school bus orange

(NOTE: You'll also need matching floss colors, available as an add-on to the Benzie felt bundle)


Body front and back: Ochre
Wings: Mustard
Water: Peacock
Beak: Moss
Neck Band: Swan
Flower Outer Ring: Moss
Flower Inner Ring: Fern
Flower Center: Orange

Decorative embroidery floss colors for the yellow one:
DMC black (eye)
DMC white
DMC 934 very dark olive
DMC 3845 turquoise
DMC 947 orange
DMC 937 olive

(NOTE: You'll also need matching floss colors, available as an add-on to the Benzie felt bundle)

And there you have it! Check my shop if you'd like to purchase the Swan a-Swimming pattern. A big thank you to Renae at Benzie Design for putting those handy felt and matching floss bundles together!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Swan a-Swimming pattern now available!

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to meeeee...

Seven swans a-swimming!

Nothing says love like seven swans. All just a-swimming. You don't have to make seven though. One would be nice! And now you can! Because the ornament sewing pattern is available for download in my Etsy shop and also my Craftsy Shop.

These ornaments are much easier to make than they look! It's all because of a magical printable stabilizer called Sulky Printable Fabri-Solvy that adheres directly to the felt. If you can cut with precision and sew basic hand stitches like a whip stitch, running stitch, backstitch and French knots, then you can make this ornament and make it well. There is no embroidery transferring! You stitch right over the marks and cut on the outlines.

You can read more about the whole series and how the Sulky stabilizer works in the Twelve Days section of my blog.

Swan a-Swimming is the seventh in my original series of hand sewn wool felt Christmas ornaments based on the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Stay tuned for more ornament patterns releasing this year.

All the ornament patterns are available in both my shops:
Mmmcrafts on Etsy
Mmmcrafts on Craftsy