Like so many of us in the craft community, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear the terrible news that Kathreen Ricketson, founder of whip-up, and her husband and creative collaborator Robert Shugg suddenly passed away last week, on a beautiful adventure with their two children – who are safe with family. At a wrenching time like this, there just aren’t any words to reach for. My heart has been heavy and I have found myself in tears over and over and over again, unable to imagine such a wrong thing.
I first met Kathreen in 2005 or 2006 when she contacted us asking to review Super Crafty, which we were all thrilled about. We stayed in touch over the years and especially before I had my own two young children, I contributed a bit to her marvelous whip-up blog and was always happy to hear and spread the word about what Kathreen was up to, in so many directions. Over the last five whirlwind years of new motherhood and freelance work, I haven’t had the free time for leisurely, inspiring craft blog reading (or writing!) that I used to… but Kathreen and I also shared a wonderful editor and publicist at Chronicle Books, and our parallel link there was a special one to me. Her kind words of excitement when my little boy Everett was born are especially precious to remember. I just thought so much of her.
In the aftermath of tragedy we can only try to help as best we can, and hold our friends and loved ones tight. I spent the last weekend at Quilt Market here in Portland and it was a joy to be with friends from the craft and quilting community, seeing their new projects and fabrics and books, even as my heart was heavy with the terrible news of Kathreen’s sudden death. The chance to cry with my friend Monica for a few minutes and be overcome with sadness at her loss – but together – was a gift. This community feels like – is – a family so often, and I am thankful for the warmth and love that we share. In that spirit of generosity and support, Julie of Procrasticraft and other devoted friends and family have established a fund for Kathreen and Rob’s children Otilija and Orlando.
Kay and Ann of Mason-Dixon Knitting are organizing an online tribute to Kathreen beginning May 24 which is open to all of us, and I look forward to participating in it. I am also (quickly) working on a special article for the winter issue of Stitch magazine honoring her, and I am reaching out to her friends and collaborators this week asking for the chance to share their favorite photographs, projects or memories of her work. If you would like to be part of the article, or have other people to suggest contacting, please email me – I would appreciate it so much. Kathreen collaborated with hundreds of us and reached thousands and thousands more, so by necessity this will be a small sampling, but I hope a colorful and beautiful tribute… and of course I am donating all of my writing fee to her children’s fund.
I was so happy to review her second book with Chronicle, Little Bits Quilting Bee, and would like to end with an excerpt of that post here. Getting to write about this lovely book and her work was such a nice chance to (try to) explain how special our world is, and how thankful I am to be part of it. I’m very sad and struggling with my words today, but I would like to share the ones that came more easily, in happier times.
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from Little Bits Quilting Bee – November 15, 2011
My PMQG guildmate and friend Monica Solorio-Snow gave me and Daniela each a jelly roll set of her Happy Mochi Yum Yum fabric line, and I have been saving this amazing gift for a special project. The fabric makes me happy (the name couldn’t be more perfect!) and I’m picturing such a gorgeous HMYY Rhombus, bordered in a bright solid. Lovely.
Which brings me to my favorite part of Little Bits Quilting Bee – the bee. I love craft books that offer more than great projects – that tell a story or share history or resources we can all enjoy. Kathreen includes an engaging section at the front on the history and culture of community quilting, from traditional bees to online swaps and groups – I loved reading this part.
Of course Kathreen’s whip-up site has been a huge pillar of our craft community, and my whole life has been shaped so beautifully, and I have met so many people I treasure, through craft.
From my earliest days of learning to sew and getting a million ideas on getcrafty… to hosting naked lady parties and swapping tons of clothes and craft supplies… to our beloved Portland Church of Craft meetings, led by Sister Diane… to my partners in Portland Super Crafty… to Maker Faire… and now the amazing Portland Modern Quilt Guild I’m proud to be a member of, I am very fortunate to be part of our huge, beautiful craft community.
One of my favorite blog entries I’ve ever written, originally as a column for getcrafty in March 2006, was Start Your Own Craft Circle! – half fun details about a weekly knitting circle in North Carolina, and half tips on starting your own craft group. Except for a few links that could be switched out for their 2011 counterparts, it feels as fresh now as it did when I was interviewing the organizers five years ago! Thank you to my friends, everyone who inspires me with your crafts and projects, and to everyone who reads my books and stops by this little corner of the world, too.
Chronicle Books recently sent me a copy of So Pretty! Felt, the lovely new book by Amy Palanjian, and I’m excited to be today’s co-stop on the blog tour! I love sewing and crafting with felt, and this collection of projects is a pretty mix of accessories, jewelry, ornaments, and decorations.
The book is a gorgeous, colorful hardback with beautiful photos – Amy curated 24 sewing, embroidery, and felting projects, two each by 12 guest designers. The book is as much inspiration as it is hands-on instructions, and I immediately found a few projects I want to make! I especially love the Floral Clutch on the cover – it was made by Jill Collier.
Each contributing designer has an opening page with her bio and lots of other details about her projects, which is a nice touch.
I also loved this stylish Snowflake Necklace by Yoko Vega – amazing that it’s made with just a few strips of felt.
I asked my five-year-old daughter, Pearl, to choose her favorite project and she loved the Cupcake Toppers that Stephanie Monroe created!
I’ll definitely be making some for her next birthday party… maybe spelling P-E-A-R-L-! or S-I-X-!
Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour – there are lots more reviews and giveaways to check out. Thanks so much to Lorraine at Chronicle for sending me my copy of So Pretty! Felt!
Tomorrow’s stop is at Mod Podge Rocks – happy weekend, everyone!
It’s been a busy (sunny!!) spring but I’ve gotten to sew some good things lately and I wanted to share a couple of them. I have two big spring birthdays in my life – my mom’s and Pearl’s. They both love pretty handmade things and share a VERY favorite color, purple… which is not really my first pick, but it’s been fun working with some fabrics I don’t always reach for!
If you happen to remember the first quilt I ever made (also a birthday present for my mom!), this year I made her a pillow to go with it! I really like how it turned out. I also got her to open it while she was on the phone with me and the kids, and that was fun!
I’ve recently gotten addicted to sewing Pearl half-yard a-line kid skirts (full tutorial here) and when Ellen Luckett Baker was kind enough to send me some beautiful FQs from her Stamped line with Kokka, the gorgeous purple ladybugs and gingko leaves told me they wanted to be a skirt too. I joined the two FQs with French seams on both short edges and then made a hem and waistband the same way as with a single-fabric half-yard. She LOVES her two-sided skirt! It’s really awesome on. She’ll start out with the ladybugs on the front and then switch to gingkos later in the day. Why not?? Anyway, I highly recommend the 2-FQ approach to kids’ skirt-making! A huge thank-you to Ellen – I love Stamped, her beautiful new collection Folk Modern, 1-2-3 Sew, and now 1-2-3 Quilt!
So now, speaking of sewing awesome things that are purple, I have a yard and a half of Pearl Bracelet in Grape Jelly pre-washing for Pearl’s special fifth birthday dress! I can’t believe she’s going to be five – she is very, very excited and I picked up the big giant 5 candle today for her chocolate cake. I’m also making myself a new Barcelona skirt in Pearl Bracelet Pond (love that color – this will be the seventh Barcelona I’ve sewn!) so we will be sort of matchy. (PS – if you want a cool full-line PB color chart PDF courtesy of Ms. Lizzy House, you can download it here!)
I’ll be writing more about this on the PMQG blog soon, but as guild historian this year I got to help organize our first Documentation Day! Bill Volckening, who has a fabulous quilt collection and appraises quilts professionally as well as working with the wonderful Oregon Quilt Project, photographed each quilt and worked with us to carefully document each one for the Quilt Index. It was a very cool afternoon! We documented ten quilts, including PMQG’s collective Graphic which I love so much, and my Modern Crosses. That made me very happy. We’re planning our second Documentation Day, so stay tuned over there for lots of details coming soon!
I’m so happy to be today’s stop on the Threadbias Quilt Design Tool blog tour!
I was invited to try out their fabulous Quilt Design Tool recently, which has been super fun. I have never used any kind of design software before – I always sketch my ideas on paper, then use graph paper to formalize things and get my numbers organized, then start cutting and sewing. The QDT was a very cool departure from my usual analog approach! You can create simple or intricate shapes, maneuver them around very easily, switch colors or fabrics with a single click, set a block, and transform your initial idea into an overall quilt design with tons of flexibility. The program even adds borders and gives fabric requirements, and you can export the design onto your desktop to look at as a whole and get a sense of how it will live as a quilt. At only $10 a month, it’s a wonderful resource and I think it really transforms the design process into something special.
When I was at Quiltcon, I got a beautiful charm pack of Lizzy House’s 26 new Pearl Bracelet colors from the Andover booth, and immediately knew I wanted to make a quilt for my almost-five-year-old daughter, Pearl. She loves rainbows and color, and I pictured a bright, happy design that would grow up with her. The charm squares were such a cool gift, and I wanted to use every bit of the precious 5″ squares, rather than cut them up into secondary shapes, as pops of color on a twin-size quilt she could use on her bed.
So once I had a chance to work with the Quilt Design Tool, I thought I’d try some different ideas out and see what worked. My first thought was a basic 12″ two-tier log cabin block (I love log cabin!) with a larger, asymmetrical center charm square (that I filled in with yellow Pearl Bracelet from their fabric archives). I used the workspace software to make a simple block layout, then tiled that into a 6 x 4 grid and rotated some of the 24 blocks to create movement throughout the design.
I stitched up three real blocks using these dimensions, mixed in a little off-white in the logs for color interest, then set them out in that rotation to see how I liked it. And it just didn’t do a whole lot! I liked it but I didn’t love it, and I felt like this cool chance to use a design tool, just for quilting, deserved more. So – back to the drawing board, and opening a new workspace.
I kept thinking of roundness, and somehow arranging an array of the small charm squares to create that feeling of a bracelet of color – a beautiful, simple circular design instead of a regular old grid. I could shape the 12″ blocks into a tight, tall oval with some major maneuvering, but they were just too big to make a circle on a twin quilt.
So a couple of math problems later, I reduced my block size and widened my quilt a little bit, and came up with a 10″ one-tier block that offered a lot more flexibility – and even could be coaxed into a symmetrical 16-block circle!
We narrowed the 26 colors of Pearl Bracelet down to 16, and arranged them in a joyful ROYGBIV circle on the dining room floor. Pearl loved this part!
I chain-pieced, pressed, and squared up the blocks. I love how quilt blocks look in a neat stack.
Here’s how the top mini-row of three will look in the bracelet. It’s very similar to my first idea, but the fact that it’s the top section of a circle instead of the heart of a grid just really gives it a lot more life, I think.
I used the Threadbias design tool to fill in the other parts of the quilt (inside and outside of the circle), and get the measurements for cutting and piecing each section into a whole. This was really handy and made the math and other arrangements very quick.
With such a generous circle design, a huge section of the center was a completely blank slate. I love improvisational piecing and writing messages in my quilts (like the “good night” quilt back I worked on for the PMQG Quiltcon charity quilt) so I pieced a subtle, large-scale “pearl” in white-on-white Pearl Bracelet, against Michael Miller Bright White Cotton Couture. For reference, this section measures 51″ wide by 30″ tall.
Pearl loves that her name is in the quilt. She is just learning to read and it made her super happy to see it there.
I had hoped to have the top all done for today, but here’s where I’m at:
so I’ll be sharing the finished Rainbow Charm Bracelet top at our April 18 PMQG meeting, and I’m super excited to hand it off to Nancy to quilt! Speaking of PMQG, Threadbias has generously offered a prize of a free month of the Quilt Design Tool (!) to a lucky winner… and instead of giving it away through comments here, we’ll draw a name at the meeting! They’re also offering a nice bonus to PMQG members, which you’ll hear more about then too.
Monday, March 25 – Freshly Pieced
Tuesday, March 26 – Don’t Call Me Betsy
Wednesday, March 27 – Generation Q Magazine
Thursday, March 28 – The Sometimes Crafter
Friday, March 29 – Diary of a Quilter
Monday, April 1 – Swim, Bike, Quilt
Tuesday, April 2 – Fresh Lemons Quilts
Wednesday, April 3 – West Coast Crafty
+ Portland Modern Quilt Guild (me!)
Thursday, April 4 – Sew, Mama, Sew!
Friday, April 5 – Alison Glass
Saturday, April 6 – Pink Castle Fabrics
Sunday, April 7 – Ellison Lane Quilts
Thank you to Andover for the gift of the Pearl Bracelet charm pack and to Threadbias for the chance to review the Quilt Design Tool! (I bought my Bright White Cotton Couture and the additional white Pearl Bracelet at Fabric Depot here in Portland.) If you’re interested in more detail on my cutting, chain-piecing, and row assembly methods, you can check out my book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting. Thanks, and happy Wednesday!
I made Pearl an Easter dress a few years ago (which she can still wear as a top) but this year I had my heart set on sewing her a special Easter skirt.
I still love this little dress, but she’s just not a dress kid. She loves wearing skirts, and I thought trying a few of my usual sewing tricks with a half-yard of nice quilting cotton could end up making her a cute elastic-waist skirt. Little did I know it actually is the easiest and quickest skirt method I could have ever imagined! I’m sure someone else has done this type of project a million times but I was pretty thrilled to pull this off. Here’s how I did it. (Note – Pearl is a very tall and lanky four-year-old, so I’d say this would be great general sizing for toddlers and preschoolers, if you adapt the waist to resemble an elastic-waist skirt or simple pair of pants that fits well.)
My first try was with a half-yard of Hello Kitty fabric I bought at West Seattle Fabric Company last summer on our PNW MQG meet-up weekend, improvised as I went with what sounded like it would work the way I pictured in my head. It all went smoothly (ok, I did get the seam ripper out once when my waistband was too narrow, see below) but in about 15 minutes I had a simple, perfect little skirt for her! I took no process photos so I tried to get those snaps while I was making the second skirt… the Easter skirt!!! Pearl and I are going to have mother-daughter Easter skirts with my favorite Denyse Schmidt Aunt Edna/JoAnn diagonal plaid print in the pink colorway (her) and the gold colorway (me!). Unless she desperately wants to wear the Hello Kitty skirt to church. Hmm, maybe I should unveil that one afterwards…
To start, you’ll need a half-yard (18″) of 44″ wide quilting cotton, some 1/2″ flat elastic (you can go wider than this but I’m not sure narrower would work well) threaded through an elastic guide or safety pin, sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc. Pre-wash the fabric and press it, folding it with right sides together and selvages matching at one short edge, so it measures about 18″ tall by 22″ wide folded.
Stitch along the 18″ open side to join the selvages, back-stitching at the beginning and end of the seam, and catching all white or printed selvages within the seam so they don’t show (likely, 1/2″ or so, depending on how wide your printed part is). Press the selvages open. If you’re lucky, you can spotlight the printed section right into the skirt, which is cute! No seam-finishing required if you just use the selvage edges as your only seam (a nice bonus).
Press the bottom raw edge of your fabric cylinder under about 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric, then press again to create a simple double-fold hem. If you have a nice sharp press, you don’t even need to pin all the way around, I just put one in at the seam to keep it neat. Stitch around the hem to secure it, back-stitching at the end to hold the seam.
Now create the waistband (normally I make a skirt waistband first but this pattern is so simple and the waist gathers so much that I think the hem is easiest to make first, my 2¢). Just as you did with the hem, press the top edge under about 1/2″ or a bit less all the way around towards the wrong side.
Now eye how wide your elastic (and most importantly elastic guide or safety pin AND elastic doubled through) is and press your second fold accordingly – you want this channel to be wide enough to accommodate the guide and its elastic cargo slipping through. Stitch around the entire waistband, leaving a 2-inch opening or so at the selvage seam, back-stitching at the beginning and end to hold the seam.
Insert the elastic guide into the opening and slide it into the waist channel, guiding it through with your fingers. (Note – if your guide gets stuck because you stitched a channel that’s too narrow, just seam-rip the rest of the waistband and re-press it with a more generous fold. Ask me how I know…) When you reach the other side, pull the guide out and gather the elastic smoothly, tugging on both ends. Use a skirt that fits your kid well for a general idea of how tightly to gather it.
When it resembles that waistband, pin your elastic in place at that point so it is doubled about an inch, and stitch back and forth multiple times to secure it. Trim threads and guide the stitched elastic back into the waistband at the opening. Now press the waistband opening flat and stitch it closed, back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam for security.
That’s it! If you pre-wash half-yards of cute fabrics with your regular laundry you will always be ready to sew up a kid’s skirt. Next stop, appliqueing a t-shirt for her in the same pink plaid, plus something fun for Everett too. (Note – I wrote this mostly up on Thursday night and it’s now Saturday morning, and I’ve sewn her two more skirts! They are addictive! I came up with a new idea too and I’ll post that next week… here’s a hint for now – LOVE this fabric:)
Happy Easter/April/spring/skirt weather, everyone!
I got back from Quiltcon over a week ago with a crummy cold/sinus thing and have been pretty wiped out… I guess abrupt withdrawal from beautiful 60-degree weather and being around stunning quilts, colorful fabric, and nice people all day can be a little tough on the immune system. Sigh. Anyway, I really want to write up a personal post here about it, but I am so pleased that I got to cover the show for the Coats & Clark Sewing Secrets blog if you’d like to read those posts! Here’s my favorite things from the first two days, and the last two days, over there. Thank you so much to Coats for the chance to write about it for their blog!
In the meantime, here are some photos of pretty things that are making me happy this week… I finished my hand-quilting project from Anna Maria Horner‘s lovely class, a pillow for Pearl! I’m not drawn to purple that much in my sewing or crafts but I thought her gorgeous fabric from Field Study was a dream to hand-stitch with, and Pearl LOVES it, so I am very happy.
I got to visit Oliver and Madeleine in their natural habitat at the Woolen Mill Store after they got back from their trip to Sew Expo. Sounds like people shopping in the Pendleton booth liked them a lot, which made me happy!
I picked up these super gorgeous Pendleton wool swatches from the WMS too. I can’t wait to go back and buy some yardage soon – they are having a sale in March so you should head over there too. So hard to choose which one (ok, ones)…
And this morning I got to have coffee with Diane downtown, which was so great. It has been way too long and it was such a treat to get to hang out (and get a look at her beautiful upcoming book!). Afterwards we walked over to the magnificent Button Emporium and I fell in love with these ribbons so of course they all had to come home with me. We are lucky to have such awesome shops here in Portland!
So, stay tuned for a Quiltcon post (a mere two or three weeks after the event, hopefully when this dumb sinus thing has left me alone finally). I also plan to write up my tips and tricks for sewing the incomparable Barcelona skirt with lots of photos, if anyone else is interested. I have sewed five of them, have fabric pre-washed for three more, and am wearing one right now actually, so I’m a huge fan! Along the way, I figured out a few little things for sewing it that make me love it even more and I’m excited to share those.
I just got back from Quiltcon and my first visit to Austin, Texas, and it was so fantastic! I am working on a post about it with lots of photos, but in the meantime, slowed down by a major post-flight cold, I wanted to share a little project I sewed last month for the Woolen Mill Store: a set of Pendleton puppies!
Michelle asked me and several other sewists to make some projects with Pendleton’s wool, especially their marvelous plaids, for their Sew Expo booth. I sent her several ideas and was so excited when they picked my favorite one, the George the Puppy softie from Jennifer Paganelli’s book, Girl’s World.
I’ve made several in quilting cottons for my kids and I knew they would be so adorable in wool plaids of different scales and colors. It’s a super fun little pattern to sew.
A few tips/details on sewing them in wool instead of quilting cotton: I cut mine on the bias instead of on the straight grain as directed with absolutely no issues.
For the curves, I “clipped” them with pinking shears, turned them right side out, and then top-stitched them for stability. No interfacing or any other materials necessary.
I love how the ears turned out!
And how the bias lines of the plaids looked along the seams.
Pearl and I named them Oliver and Madeleine and had a little indoor-outdoor photo shoot.
One of my favorite things was making a tiny wool-felt binding collar with a mother-of-pearl button “tag” for each of the puppies.
Buttons just find their way into a LOT of my projects. I love them so much.
The two puppies are so cute together. I used Pendleton’s ombre plaids in shirting weight, which is lovely to sew. I mixed larger-scale plaids for the bodies with smaller, more delicate plaids for the ears.
If you go to Sew Expo, I hope you’ll stop by the Pendleton booth and say hi to Oliver and Madeleine! Check out all the beautiful Pendleton project samples everyone sewed in Michelle’s post here.
If you go:
February 28-March 3, 2013
I got my copy of the spring Stitch magazine this week and was so excited to see my article on Japanese fabrics, right there in real life on the page! It’s so colorful, perfect for a February day like today. I love Japanese fabric and it was a dream to get to write about it. The whole issue is so pretty!
I got to interview some of my fabric industry and sewing heroes for this article – thanks to Mariko of Super Eggplant, Marie of Cool Cottons, Cynthia of Fabricworm, Patricia of Okan Arts, Kim of True Up, and Naomi of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin for their contributions.
Rashida’s new Tsuru line with Cloud 9 and Melody’s Ruby Star collections for Kokka are both spectacular. They are both American, but their work is gorgeously inspired by Japanese design and culture, and (I think) perfectly reflects what Kim Kight calls the “inventive, cute, oddball and beautiful” qualities of Japanese fabric.
And Stitch excerpted and shared my Block Pocket Apron project from Modern Log Cabin Quilting – plus I got to re-make the pocket using three different combinations of Japanese prints to put a new spin on things! Thank you to Rashida for sending me prints from Tsuru, Fabricworm for sending me Kei and Kokka, and Cool Cottons for helping me with the Echino. I loved working with these fabrics and I hope it inspires lots of small-scale projects like these little pockets. A little goes a long way with these gorgeous prints.
Speaking of, I had a little dream project in mind for Quiltcon and was so happy to pull it off this week. I needed a neat little bag to hold my MLCQ book postcards, PMQG business cards, and the new moo cards I ordered (yay!) while I’m at the convention. I knew I wanted to use Melody’s Viewmaster cotton/linen print from Ruby Star Rising, and Rashida’s aqua Tsuru prints were the perfect complement. I found a vintage Coats and Clark zipper in my stash (“Bermuda Sea” blue) to go with it. I signed up for Kristin Link’s free Craftsy class on zip bags and totes, and used her stellar instructions. Her blog post on alternate sizes was also very inspiring. (And check out Amber’s cute version with typewriters!) After a little math to adjust the finished size upwards, I had this pretty little bag all stitched up!
I am so happy with it!! I wrote about my size adjustments on my Craftsy project page if you’re interested, and added a D ring (as Kristin suggested on her blog) to the tab loop. My friend AnnMarie Cowley of PMQG made the other loop with the Denyse Schmidt dots for another pouch she gave me, but I borrowed it for this one – I love it! Makes it a perfect little clutch purse.
And Rashida’s cranes make me happy every time I see them! I have to be honest, I’ve had this Viewmaster print for ages (along with a few others of Melody’s – I love her prints) and have hesitated to cut into it, thinking it was too precious. This little project was the perfect way to use both of these treasures. Now every time I reach for a card at Quiltcon, or want to tuck in someone else’s card to keep it handy, I will enjoy these pretty prints.
Speaking of Quiltcon, I wanted to mention that I’m on a panel on Friday at 2:00 on writing for magazines and would love to say hello if you can come to that! Latifah Saafir is moderating, the other panelists are fantastic magazine editors and publishers, and I think it will be a great hour. Thank you to the Modern Quilt Guild for including me! I fly to Austin in a week (!!!) and I am so excited. See you then!
The kids and I got our valentines for relatives across the country made and in the mail this morning, so that was a relief! These holidays always sneak up on me, and the next thing I know we’re rushing to finish something in time for USPS to get them to all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I wanted to share two Valentine’s Day project tutorials I wrote up a few years ago that you might like to make between now and Thursday. They’re both quick and easy and pretty fun!
The first one is felt fortune cookies with a tiny heart on the “fortune” – I love this little project. You can either make one the size of a real cookie, or a teeny-tiny version to wear on a ring. I got a great surprise this week… my little project won second place in a DIY Valentines contest courtesy of Sybille, so I won a prize: a set of washi tape and packaging supplies! Very exciting.
The second is a hand-stitched beaded heart card. This one is very sweet and elementary-school age kids could probably pull it off with a little help, especially if they like hand-sewing.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and happy 154th birthday to Oregon! I’m deep in some pre-Quiltcon sewing but hoping to share some new projects I’m working on soon – especially skirts and zip bags. Also, plaid puppies, curtains, tablecloths, and pillows. Sewing has been a lot of fun lately, and I’ve been excited to make some new things here and there in between deadlines and kid illnesses (sigh). Hope you have had a chance to make some things you like lately too!