I love Shelly Figueroa‘s work (and her book, Sewing for Boys!) and was so excited to hear about her new sewing class with Craftsy, Romper Revamp. She asked me to review it as part of her blog tour, and of course I said yes!
The class is based on one of her original Figgy’s patterns (designed with the lovely Daniela Caine) – Zephyr, a romper for girls in sizes 18m to 6/7. The class shows not only how to make the romper, but also how to adapt it into a sundress (like Shelly’s version, above) and lengthen it into pants. She details exactly how to measure your child, and use each measurement to figure out her true size – instead of just making a 4 for your four-year-old, for example. Here’s the sheet where I noted Pearl’s measurements. She was very excited about it, and asked if she could color in the little girls after I wrote everything down, so I said sure… so one sea of purple crayon later (I can still make out the numbers, luckily) this has been a collaboration from the start!
I love the original romper design, but the sundress adaptation is just so very Pearl and I had to make it for her. I printed out my sundress PDF pattern sheets and followed the super easy video directions to tape them all together for tracing with my beloved dot pattern paper. Here seems like a good place to mention how very well done the videos are. I have also taken Sewing Machine 911 (via a free link from Sew, Mama, Sew!) and the production value of everything is great. My husband worked in the film industry for years, and I’ve taught craft classes for what feels like forever too, and it’s easy to recognize how much care and detail goes into filming these classes so everything is very clear.
Back to the sundress. This is a real project of the heart for me, reminiscent of my own childhood. Shelly gives a sweet introduction to the five generations of seamstresses in her family, and I immediately thought of my grandmother and the dresses she sewed for me when I was little.
I remember when got to choose my own three prints off the bolt at the fabric store and she made me darling sundresses with them, edged with bias tape. I think this was probably around 1980 – I loved wearing this one to school and to camp in the summer. The other two (which I also still have for Pearl to grow into, thanks to my mom) are a pattern of cheerful frogs and lilypads on blue, and one of dozens of little tiny Strawberry Shortcakes on pink.
So when I planned this dress for Pearl, I thought of the vintage strawberry fabrics I’ve been saving for the last few years, and prewashed and pressed all three of the ones I liked best. The green print has also surfaced in Pearl’s first pair of handmade pants (Burda 9772, 6m size) and last year’s Mic-Mac II.
Here is where I wish (I really wish) I could go on to say “and now here’s the super cute finished sundress!” and show a pretty photo. But this week packed a punch, with two sick little kids back to back, a couple of my precious childcare days evaporating to stay home with them, and a round of tech edits due – so the pattern tracing stage is where I’m at.
But unlike a traditional class, where I probably would have missed my chance to finish my project with the teacher helping – that’s fine, because the beauty of the Craftsy class is that it is totally evergreen. I have Shelly’s video lesson paused right where I stopped, and I’m excited to jump back in after I’m back from Seattle. So it’s perfect for people like me, who love to take classes and learn new things… but have a tight schedule, are outnumbered by their young children, or just like to sew at their own pace. When I finish Pearl’s dress (I’m so excited about making the braided straps…), I’ll post the second half of the review with a picture of it! Then, whenever I have time to make a romper version, I can dip right back into that section of the lesson and get sewing again. Once you buy a class, it’s yours forever, so if you want to make another version of your project a year from now, it’s right there.
If you’d like to take Shelly’s class too, Craftsy has generously offered a 50% discount through this link! There’s a super cute project photo gallery and lots of extras included, and Shelly is a wonderful teacher – kind, down-to-earth, and fun. Check out the other reviews and posts on the blog tour here (including many finished Zephyrs). Thank you to Shelly and Craftsy for offering me the chance to take the class!
Happy summer! After two giant deadlines, two sick kids, two trips to FedEx, and tying up about two thousand loose ends, I feel like summer has finally started around here. We had a sweet little Fourth of July, got to pick seven pounds of raspberries the other day, and my garden is going crazy… now that I’m not hunched over my laptop eight or ten hours a day I can actually go outside now and then!
I’m in town for the weekend this time, but I sure wish I could make it to Seattle for the Urban Craft Uprising show! Kristen has organized another awesome line-up with tons of vendors, author signings, and craft demos.
Two of my favorite crafty ladies will be up there sharing a booth with their lovely jewelry, accessories and clothes! Cathy Pitters of BossaNova Baby and Crafty Wonderland has making gorgeous embroidered jewelry… bracelets and locket-style pendants. She is still screenprinting hoodies and skirts (you can see lots more of her stuff in her Etsy shop and at Crafty downtown).
And Torie (aka Totinette and the other half of Crafty) has these striking wooden necklaces for sale, along with filigree metal earrings and other charming bijoux. She also has a newly updated Etsy shop if you’re not local…
I’m looking forward to the PMQG exhibit at Sisters and the new Denyse Schmidt class at PNCA (oh, can’t wait for that one), but in the meantime Pearl and I are planning to make raspberry freezer jam and try our hand at some potato printing during Everett’s nap. Have a great weekend!
I had such a great time at Sew Expo this weekend! Here are my finds – more on these in a minute.
It was a bit of a whirlwind trip. Nancy and I drove up Friday night with a Burgerville stop, and got to hang out with Michelle, Brittany, Kaci, Rachel and Cherri for a glass of wine and some fabric-shop-hop show and tell. Saturday morning, I did my book event at the Pendleton Woolen Mills booth, which was great – thank you to everyone who came to say hi!
Then, Nancy, Brittany, Michelle and I walked the show for another five hours of awesome treasure hunting – the four of us brought some good things home. Here are my finds, roughly in the order I snapped them up. I started with this fabulous plaid waterproof laminate tote at the Pendleton booth, which held everything else I got all afternoon.
And I could NOT resist these Sublime Stitching sew-in labels, also from Pendleton (if you’re in Portland, they have them at the WMS in Southeast). Genius.
I bought a yard each of the new ice blue and fresh green Pearl Bracelet from Island Quilter,
assorted yards and half-yards of Lotta Jansdotter Echo prints from Heartway International,
a beautiful 8.5″ x 11″ card of 42 vintage pearl buttons, “carded between 1945 and 1955 in Pennsylvania,” from Betty Henry,
two yards of this darling Tammis Keefe holiday reindeer reissue from Michael Miller for a tree skirt (can’t remember the vendor but will look for the receipt and try to update!),
and a pezzy mono-color jelly roll from Sandy of American Jane herself. She was so nice and so happy about the reissue, and I was so excited to get some of this fabric!!
Then, I got some very special trims and ribbons from Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods. I fell in love with the scissors ribbon, and needed the bluebirds too (I already have them in pink), plus the tiny red-and-white trim and the measuring twill tape. Then I saw a $9 package of 3 large shank-style milk glass buttons – very nice, but not my button style – with this darling scanned “baby pearls” label.
Since my daughter is a Pearl and I love pearl buttons so much, I asked the owner if she had any other buttons or trim packaged with this same vintage image that I could buy instead. She cut the label free of the three buttons, handed it to me and charged me 50¢ for it. So sweet of her! I will definitely be shopping with NTDG again soon.
I also got to meet Angie from The Quilting Loft, who is lovely! I fell for a gorgeous sample of this Indygo Junction dress in her booth sewn in a Lotta print, so I got the pattern, plus some adorable dot laminate, a yard of Valori Wells’ birch trees, and a yard of the Melody Miller typewriters.
I got this celebration print from Pacific Fabrics (plus two things not pictured – some large, unphotogenic placemat blanks that I’m going to try out with patchwork this week, and a beautiful vintage-button embroidery pattern they’d sold out of but are shipping me this week, no extra charge).
Two and half hours and another Burgerville stop later, we were back in Portland in time for the big game I’d DVRed to watch with my nephew who was in town this weekend (hi Julian!). Now I’m trying to decide what projects get what fabrics, in between finishing my Craft Hope tote bags and Think Outside the Block bee blocks, and dreaming of a PMQG –> Seattle ferry-powered shop hop weekend with friends…
If you are also sewing littlest warriors tote bags for Craft Hope (or making hats) and want to ship them together, or share photos, that would be great! Thanks to everyone who has contacted me or commented here or at PMQG. I will try to mail out Friday so they arrive in time, and would love to add yours (I’ll gladly cover shipping). Please email me over at portlandmodernquiltguild at gmail.com if you want to team up!
Well, I absolutely loved visiting Kansas City and have a new midwest category in honor of my trip. Thank you SO much to everyone who was so cool and welcoming! Everett and I had the most awesome time running around with Jaime, Jenny, and the other KCMQG folks, and I wanted to share some photos of my favorite things we did there, from start to finish.
Jaime picked me up from the airport and we started off with a trip to Urban Arts + Crafts as the first stop on my own personal Holiday Shop Hop (two months early in my case – but if you are anywhere near there, mark your calendars for November 5 and 6!).
Urban Arts + Crafts is a super cute and colorful store with beads, yarn, fabric and many other craft treasures (plus lots of books). I love shops like this, since I like to do so many different things myself… but my heart belonged to fabric on this trip.
I ended up with this nice zig-zag print and some Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope and County Fair! Loved seeing these again and getting a second chance to buy some.
Then Jaime took us to lunch at the Bluebird which was lovely, and downtown to visit Hammer Press (no photos of my finds, since there is a secret Father’s Day gift for Andrew in there that has to stay hidden til next June… but I did find this for a certain 3-year-old I know). Loved seeing the TWA building – so beautiful!
She showed us some other beautiful neighborhoods and we crossed from Missouri into Kansas for the first of many times. I hadn’t realized, with my total ignorance of KC geography, that we’d get to hang out on both sides of the state line, a bunch of times even! Very cool and now Everett has been to five states total. After some time to chill at Jaime’s gorgeous 1950 house (same year as mine!), we headed over to Eden’s Alley for dinner with Jacquie and Jenny. It was so great to get to hang out and chat, and Jacquie and I even found out we are both UNC grads (plus, she and my dad went to the same high school – !). Then it was time to head over to the KCMQG meeting…
I was so excited to see my dear friend Rhonda, who came from Lawrence to see me!! We’ve known each other for ten or eleven years through crafty things online and it was awesome to get to give her a hug in person. The meeting was amazing – KCMQG got their 100th and 101st paid members (!!), and the show and tell ended with a teary surprise – Shea organized a beautiful collective gift for beloved outgoing president Jacquie, a quilt called Windy City.
Then I gave my log cabin quilting presentation and showed book projects, and people were really wonderful about it – I got a lot of great compliments, and signed some books, thanks to Elaine from Harper’s, who sponsored the meeting with a fantastic mini-shop in the back! What a great evening.
After a lovely end of the night back at Jaime’s, she took me over to the KC Bernina store in the morning and we had to say goodbye. I snapped up this Betz White hat pattern and some handy pre-wound bobbins,
and got to admire their beautiful collection of vintage and antique Bernina sewing machines.
Jenny picked me up (with her adorable 7-week-old son, Carter, who Everett was fascinated with!) and we headed over to Harper’s. I loved seeing the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons in person, and how cute is this orange sewing machine?!
I picked out two of the shot cottons, plus this cute deer print and a tiny rotary cutter I’ve been wanting forever. (The quilting ruler was a gift from Elaine!)
Then we headed to the Nelson-Atkins art museum to meet Kim. I absolutely loved the museum and I wish I could have spent a whole day there (next time for sure). Everett let me see most of a photography exhibit before his baby-timer went off, and then we went outside for a more mellow visit to the completely amazing sculpture garden.
We dodged a hailstorm nicely and went back downtown for lunch with Kim, where I got to set foot on the other end of the Oregon Trail,
and then our last stop was Bon Bon. I was so excited to look through these tempting bins full of rolls of vintage and new fabrics! I picked out a nice selection, including this blue and brown colorway of my favorite vintage sheet pattern (!!!!),
and I got some half-yard cuts of two Cloud 9 fabrics I’ve been wanting.
Here we are at Bon Bon with Jenny and a sleepy little Carter. Jaime and Jenny were the sweetest tour guides ever.
Then we had to head out to the airport again and say goodbye to Missouri (and Kansas)…
and Everett and I were on the way home with a suitcase full of awesome souvenirs! Here is everything I found on my mini-shop hop. Love it all.
Along with everything I bought, Jaime gave me one of Shea‘s quilt patterns (can’t wait to try it!) and Lauren gave me this beautiful stack of vintage fabrics. Thank you so much, ladies.
I just want to thank everyone in KCMQG for welcoming me so warmly and to Jenny and Jaime for showing me your beautiful city. It was a wonderful couple days and I loved it all! I was sad to leave, but I’m excited that we’re doing a log cabin potholder swap with the KC guild – I can’t wait to see what my partner has in store for me… photos of the whole swap coming in November. And if you’re here in Portland, hope to see you tomorrow night at our PMQG meeting, too.
Speaking of, I’ll see you tomorrow for my Sewing For Boys review and giveaway – I had a lot of fun with this one and will be sharing my project then!
My heart is so heavy from the worrying news from Japan, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami have left so many homeless, injured or worse. I just don’t have any words.
I spent three weeks in Tokyo as a sixteen-year-old – the first big trip of my life, and the first country I had ever visited besides Canada. It was such an adventure and I loved being there. I still wear the green cotton robe patterned with cranes that my friend Karen gave me almost every morning, and I have my little treasures from the trip saved. I hope so much to go back someday. And like so many of us, it has hurt my heart to hear about the suffering and destruction there this week.
I listed three copies of my new quilting book in my Etsy shop on Friday afternoon with all proceeds going to Japan earthquake relief, and posted about them quickly on my crafty facebook page – I didn’t even have time to write about it here before kind and generous buyers bought all of them. I’ve just relisted three more reserved for friends who missed the first round and asked for an encore, and two more up for grabs to anyone who wants one, all of which 100% benefit relief efforts. If you would like a copy, or a friend would, I would be so honored if you’d consider buying one to support this important cause. Thank you so much.
Here are some other crafty fundraisers I’ve heard about so far. I would love to add more if you mention them in the comments, or email me… thank you!
My husband Andrew’s coworkers designed and printed this beautiful poster, and one can be yours for a suggested $25 donation (or please round up as much as you’d like to). All proceeds go to earthquake relief – his company has an office in Tokyo and our hearts are with them. The Japanese office is choosing the most effective relief organization to receive funds, and I will update with more details the minute I hear which one it is.
At the moment, there are more than 1400 items on Etsy to benefit relief efforts in Japan. If you are shopping handmade, that’s a great place to start!
My thanks to everyone worldwide who is supporting these important relief efforts. I wish I could do more.
I’m excited to head to Seattle tomorrow for the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs! (Wow, entrepreneur is surprisingly hard to spell, especially several times in a row, so I decided to simplify the title of this post.) The schedule looks fantastic — a mix of super-interesting hands-on panels and classes, craft and business lectures, book events and cupcakes — and I am really looking forward to seeing friends and craft heroes from all over the place like Faythe Levine, Garth Johnson, Megan Reardon, Lisa Congdon, Moxie, Kristen Rask and Jamie Chan.
I’m part of a panel on Teaching Your Craft on Friday (2:45-4:00) and leading a discussion on Craft Activism on Saturday (1:15-2:30). I would love to see you at either one, or at the panels I’ll get to attend the rest of the time! We’re also planning on dim sum, a Bainbridge ferry ride, a park picnic, and a visit to the big beautiful public library.
Many thanks to Megan for her fantastic blog post this morning detailing a whole slew of great places to eat, shop, hang out, and enjoy yourself in the conference neighborhood. I don’t know Seattle well enough to confidently run around on my own (after a mere 13 years of visiting from just south) and her tips and links are super inspiring.
Hope to see you there!!
p.s. If you are into photography and looking for some new things to try, I wrote up my five favorite photo-related things lately over at CRAFT: for the July Bazaar round-up: Big Huge Labs, Photobooth Finder, Blurb books, Photo Transfer Fabric Sheets, and Qoop Calendars (here’s the September 2010 page of ours, featuring my teeny little Pearl in a big covered wagon at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City). Happy picture-taking!
Things have been a little crazy lately and our Valentine’s Day/long weekend kind of evaporated, to say the least. Trying to catch up with all my work in the meantime hasn’t left any time for fun crafts, photos, or other things to share over here. I’m excited for March on all those counts! So I thought I’d post about two local craft fundraisers you might enjoy supporting (one is now exclusively online, so no worries if you’re not in Portland) and then vanish for a bit until things smooth out again.
Andrew, Pearl and I went out to the First Thursday art openings downtown this month and saw both these shows in a very happy back-to-back. Wieden+Kennedy hosted a Handpulled for Haiti opening this month to sell prints of original designs created by their studio artists, with all sales going to Mercy Corps.
I am a true lover of screen-printing and seeing what a few dozen super-talented graphic artists can do on a dime, with a worthy cause to inspire them, was absolutely stunning.
All the money raised goes to Mercy Corps and W+K is matching 100%, turning your beautiful $25 poster into a $50 donation for our local heroes making a difference in Haiti. We chose three posters and I love them all:
Each print is signed and numbered and you can scoop yours up here. Thank you to W+K for their generous support of Mercy Corps, and thank you to the artists who did such beautiful work for such a worthy cause. So inspiring on all counts!
Equally lovely is the Valentine’s Invitational at Reading Frenzy, with dozens more local artists and crafters pitching in. The artwork was unveiled via silent auction at the beginning of the month and is now for sale at a set price, with 50-100% of the sales going to a cause dear to Chloe Eudaly‘s heart, the Special Education PTA of Portland.
I snapped a few quick photos but you should really go in and enjoy all 60 or so pieces in person in their sweet salon-style collections… it will all be up through the end of the month. I have a little piece in there along with some of my favorite artists, and as far as I know it is still up for grabs, along with lots more artwork.
The Valentine’s Invitational benefitting SEPTAP is up through the end of the month, and the Handpulled for Haiti show is now living over here until the shop is empty and Mercy Corps’ coffers are full.
p.s. one last update: I am sorry to report that SB 1032 was caught in a deadlock in our state senate yesterday, and the bill that would have banned BPA in certain children’s products in Oregon is no more. I am thankful that activists in Washington, Minnesota, Connecticut and Massachusetts have had better luck, and I hope we will see some progress at the federal level soon too. My deepest gratitude to everyone who worked on this project, contacted their reps to support the bill, and supported me in my efforts to spread the word. Thank you.
I got a very fun assignment recently: I wrote a round-up of my favorite kids’ art and craft supplies for CRAFT:’s Bazaar section! Each product review also includes a handmade spinoff version like melting your own crayon discs, making an easel from a stepladder, and making a colored-pencil roll-up case (if you’re less of a buyer and more of a DIYer).
I was also excited to include a bonus list of my seven favorite kids’ craft books (past and present) for inspired projects to try with all ages. My all-time favorite is the Childcraft Make and Do volume (I’ve written a bit about how much I adore my childhood copy over here),
and of course I was so proud to put my very own nameplate in the front. Mine is the 1976 edition but I also picked up a 1980s one recently that has all different projects — kind of cool to have both!
So I thought I’d show one of our family favorites in action: the Melissa & Doug 24 crayons set. Pearl loves drawing — loves it. She’s had the set of 10 for awhile but when I handed her the box with all the new colors, she was so excited (another thing I vividly remember from being little, the day I got my first new box of 64 Crayolas was better than Christmas). She took each one out, saying “Wow!” and got started right away, and I ran for the camera!
She has her own sketchpad that we keep in the living room so anytime she wants to draw, things are all set up for her. She’s big on using every color in the box, gripping two crayons in each hand, steadying the pages with her foot, and pulling the paper out of the pad when she’s all done. I love seeing how excited she is about it all — one of my favorite things ever.
Thank you to Natalie for this fun assignment — I would love to hear more of your favorite kids’ craft supplies to try, too!
I crossed county lines to visit Oregon City last week so I could check out my friend Kathy Cano Murillo’s new Crafty Chica line at Michaels — so cool to see it in person!
Here’s the rest of the display of her cool colorful stuff… I snapped up some fun things!
Here’s my favorite project I’ve made with Kathy’s Crafty Chica line — an embellished collage piece for my Day of the Dead altar (how-to here on CraftStylish).
I used her Crafty Chica paints, glitter, cards and glue (along with rhinestones and a small blank canvas) to make the collage — more about it all here.
I had one more cool friend’s-crafts-sighting at the store too: