Yesterday I sewed something for fun (instead of a deadline) for the first time in at least six months. Things have been so crazy lately, and my old craft room-turned-Pearl’s room has been endlessly in progress with piles of stuff (hers and mine) all over the sewing table. I’ve had my one and only nursery project halfway done for months and haven’t touched it since she came home from the hospital. But! This week first my Aunt Susan and now my mom have been visiting and I’ve had a chance to get things organized and yes, actually make something for the house.
We started moving my craft stuff upstairs to the cute little bedroom, which I’m so excited about. With all the new space to iron and cut tempting me, I set up my sewing machine again and stitched up a quick muslin swaddling blanket for a friend’s baby. And then I got out the cushions project I abandoned in April and actually finished it. Yay!
I found this rocking chair for $12 at the Goodwill in Centralia, Washington, when I was a few months along. I really liked it but sitting in it for more than a few minutes was kind of unforgiving — I wanted to make a soft cushion-y liner so it could be a cozy place to hang out with the baby. Months passed and finally, between work projects, I measured it and made some quick newspaper patterns for tie-on pillows for the back and seat. I picked out a vintage sheet (the duplicate of one that was on my bed when I was little) and got some ribbon and some sheets of thick foam at JoAnn on sale. I even cut the foam to size using the patterns so it was ready to go. And then I ran out of time and packed it away.
So yesterday afternoon, I finally set everything out and cut and pressed the fabric, stitched it and placed the ribbons at the corners, stuffed it with two layers of foam and some batting in between, and sewed up the open sides… and it’s done! I tied it right on to the chair and it’s so comfortable and cozy. I wish it hadn’t taken me three months of Pearl to actually finish it, it would have been sweet to rock her in it the very first day she was home, but it’s lovely to finally have it done.
If anyone wants a (rough) tutorial I can post more detail on how I did it — just let me know!
In other news, Detour Cafe is now officially my favorite walk-to in our neighborhood. I ordered my huevos rancheros without cilantro last week (it tastes like soap to me, unfortunately) and here’s how I knew they didn’t forget:
I adore books from Chronicle, and I just heard about their latest big sale from Christina yesterday — yippee! You can use the discount on their website or shop in person at their lovely store in San Francisco.
here’s what’s on my wish list these days…
Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Woolly Embroidery
The Sunlight Print Kit
Urban Surprises: A Guide to Public Art in Los Angeles
Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity
Mastering the Grill: The Art of Outdoor Cooking
Just heard about this awesome multi-printing workshop series, taught by my friend Carye.
A fun-filled weekend of all things print. You’ll earn buttons as you master print methods and printing equipment at the IPRC. Topics include: letterpress, Print Gocco, mimeograph, relief printing, papermaking and basic bookbinding. At the end, you’ll leave with an edition of prints, and a finished book of original art.
Open to 6 campers. No previous print experience necessary. Ages 16+
Print Camp counselors: Carye Bye and Debbie West
July 25 – 27 (Fri, 6 – 9 pm, Sat, 10 – 6 pm, Sun, Noon – 5 pm)
$135 members, $185 nonmembers, Material’s fee $20
Debbie West is a multimedia artist and creative and life coach. She makes greeting and holiday cards using letterpress and print gocco, and also works in collage and writing. She has been a member of the IPRC since 2005.
Carye Bye loves making multiple prints. She hand carves and prints wood-cut & letterpress postcard art under Red Bat Press. She also likes to go bike-camping.
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I would love to go — maybe next summer, though! I adore my Gocco and it has been quiet lately, it seems like a cool workshop would be just the thing to get it going again. Here’s my favorite set I ever printed, for a sugar-scrub how-to in CRAFT: 03:
I took bookbinding and letterpress at IPRC in 2004 and loved them — if you have this weekend free, I can’t think of a better way to spend it than crafty camp!
Yesterday I had the honor of teaching a jewelry-making project at the last meeting of the Portland Church of Craft. It was a lovely get-together with lots of sparkly earrings to show for it, as well as some unexpected treats: fresh raspberries Sally brought from Dennison Farms and a bag full of vintage baby dresses Bridget brought for Pearl!
Diane did a wonderful job making everyone feel welcome, as always, and it was a very sweet afternoon. I snapped a quick picture of about half of the attendees in their new earrings — a lot of people polished off the craft project and left to enjoy the sunshine before I got it together to take a photo…
Diane also posted more about Church of Craft over at craftypod today, and I loved her description of the meeting: “a good wrap-up for a project that has enriched my life immeasurably.”
After we got home, Andrew and I took Pearl on a long walk around the neighborhood and then had a mini-barbecue in the backyard. We just got our first-ever grill last week and we’re pretty addicted to it already.
The salmon we made yesterday was pretty much the best I’ve ever had in my life. We also grilled a fresh zucchini from our neighbor’s garden (thank you, Carol!) — our own garden is still pretty mellow.
Pearl entertained us the whole time as always… she’s cooing and talking up a storm and she’s gotten so good at putting her hands in her mouth! Her cute little pearls onesie was a gift from her crafty aunts, Cathy and Torie.
Today I got my work done in the morning, so we’re going for another long walk and doing some sewing (if I can get the whacked-out tension on my machine to cooperate — ugh).
I wish so much that I could be in LA this weekend to go to the Handmade Nation screening and fundraiser party — if you are in Southern California, don’t miss it!
The evening sounds amazing: the first 50 auction guests will get fantastic crafty swag bags as they arrive. At 7:00, filmmaker Faythe Levine will screen a new 20-minute clip from the film, and at 7:30 the artwork bidding will begin. Get a sneak peek at the art up for grabs here (I have a few favorites picked already!) and find out more about the film here. There’s also an excellent LA Times article on the project to check out if you’re interested. Congratulations, Faythe!
If you’re in Portland and would like to make yourself some sparkly new jewelry this weekend, please come by the final meeting of the Church of Craft on Sunday — I’ll be teaching the Solo Earrings project from Bead Simple. I’ll have tons of vintage beads on hand to pick from…
along with pliers, findings, and anything else you might need to make these.
It will be a lot like my Powell’s event — free, all ages, and very low-key — hope to see you! And please bring a friend…
Solo Earrings at Church of Craft
Sunday, July 20 12:30-3:30
Central Library, U.S. Bank Room
801 SW 10th Ave., Portland
I’d like to send Diane a hug and a shout-out for organizing Portland’s Church of Craft for the last five years. She’s done a beautiful, enthusiastic job, and I am happy that I got to be part of it (and be married in it!).
Just wanted to mention that a post I wrote for The Storque‘s Handmade Kids series is up today — I picked a dozen of my favorite handmade gifts for a new mama and baby, which was super fun. In case you’re wondering, the single most useful thing we have for her is a good swaddling blanket, but who can resist a cute hand-screened onesie or a colorful star mobile?
I may not have much time to make my own cool stuff for Pearl or my friends’ babies these days (sigh) but I can definitely pick out some lovely things that other people crafted. Thank you to Vanessa and Christina for the fun assignment!
okay, hi again! I’m really going to do better about updating over here, I miss writing for fun so much. I’ve been slammed (as usual, blah blah blah) but at least today I have some other things I’ve been working on to finally share…
First, I’ve been meaning to post about this for ages and have only linked to it here and there, but I’ve been writing jewelry and beading posts (as well as some fun general craft stuff here and there) for CraftStylish — along with some of my favorite designers, like Linda, Kayte, Daphne, and Diane. I’ve posted a mix of how-tos, favorite materials and shops, and spotlighting various other things I’m excited about — and I write at least three times a week over there, so please stop by and check it out if you’re interested! There are lots of other craft categories, like sewing, crochet, and paper crafts, to browse, too, and a gallery, videos, and plenty of other resources.
And this month the site is hosting its first ever contest: The Tote-ally Crafty Bag Challenge. Make a tote bag in one of four categories, post photos in the gallery by July 31st, and you could win one of the prize packages of gift certificates, knitting and sewing supplies, and seven craft books (including Bead Simple, yay). To get you started thinking up your own design, this colorful bag was designed by one of my favorite seamstresses, Nicole of Queen Puff Puff — very inspiring! All the details are here on the site.
One last CS mention: the new magazine issue, Quick Stuff to Make, is out now and includes tons of great project tutorials. Christina made the bright, pretty necklaces on the cover, Nicole‘s quilted bag above is featured as well, and the issue includes the Trio Earrings Kayte and I designed from Bead Simple, which I’m so excited about. They also interviewed me for their featured crafter profile, which was so sweet of them. Andrew snapped that photo of me in my studio, nine months pregnant (which maybe you can’t tell?) in front of my beloved card catalog-turned-jewelry supplies organizer, and I got to ramble on about my favorite childhood crafts and all kinds of other stuff.
I spotted some things I’m excited about this week and finally have a few minutes to post about them…
Etsy is offering a whole month of free, live crafty how-to video tutorials in their Virtual Labs. I wrote a bit more about it here and highlighted the jewelry-related ones — I think it’s such a fantastic collection!
Queen Bee is having a pretty amazing sale: 25% off a bunch of their bags, through July 15. They have some very cool new stuff out and on the horizon, too. I have always loved my QB pieces but now that I am the proud owner of a marvelous Chickpea diaper bag, my affection for the whole line knows no bounds.
okay, have a nice long weekend if you are in July 4 world — I’m so excited about hanging out in the backyard, grilling stuff, watching movies, and drinking cold drinks… yay.