Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cherish those Traditions - And the People Behind Them

So this week the mother of one of my best friends died. She was 83 and he was the youngest of ten children. It really called to mind the importance of family and made me face the fact that we don't get to be with our loved ones forever. Peggy Wheeler was a great woman whom I only had the opportunity to meet a few times. I will always remember she was a great cook. She was a true matriarch of that family. It was so obvious that family meant everything to them - which has made it difficult this week for many people mourning her passing. Peggy reminded me of my grandmother - Maggie. She had that feisty attitude, she was proud and strong. My grandma was like that too. Well, that's how I remember her anyway. She told me on more than one occasion as a child I was "cruisin' for a bruisin'" and she always had things her way. She smoked til the day she died. But she was also sweet, accepting - sometimes too much so, sometimes family members seemed to do no wrong.

Grandma was very loving and she loved animals. Most of all I remember her telling me I was "special things" She told me I was her let me assure you (especially those of you in my family) that I think she probably told this to more than one person. Every Christmas she would ask me "What'd I get you?" I knew she gave mom and dad money to buy my present so it really was a valid question - but it's still one of my favorite inside jokes in my family. She told me I had a handsome husband - she'd lean over and whisper in my your married to that handsome fellow right? She had a hard time remembering things near the end of her life. I didn't get to see her right before she died and I'm kind of glad because I get to remember her from all the other moments and not the sick ones, the Alzheimer's ones. I remember her just as she looks in the picture below.

I wanted to share a picture of grandma - Maggie - which btw is not what I called her - I always called her Grandma Woods (even after she was remarried). It's one of her last and is with a cat she loved that belonged to my aunt Ruth. I love this picture. Grandma - I miss you and I want you to know that I loved you and I will work very hard to make Maggie's Blankets into something you would be proud of.

If you want to learn more about Maggie's Blankets, please email me at I'm collecting donations of yarn scraps to create blankets for the needy. I won't be official starting my "campaign" until end of May because I'm so busy at work getting ready for the big International Quilt Market Trade Show in Pittsburgh, PA. Check out my previous posts for more details.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

God Moves in Mysterious Ways

So I've started on my first Maggie's Blanket using the scraps I have. It's funny that my first instinct was to not use some because I remember what I had used them for - the one I used to make a blanket for my boss for Christmas, the scraps from the blanket I made for my sister's baby when he was born, the blanket I made for my friend's wedding...I kept wanting to keep them and not use them - they were too "good". I kept reminding myself that this is for those who have nothing - what am I keeping these pieces for. It was as if God was trying to tell me to let go of the past and more forward - He has a purpose for me and my skills.

I sewed all weekend to work on the new kid's PJs pattern we are coming out with. It's totally different to make something for fun and to make something for money. Didn't like that feeling of sewing because I had to. I also worked on my ATC card swap Anything but Paper. I made the background out of linen fabric scraps with melted crayon bits on them, then I stamped them and used some micro-beads to create an Earth. I'm not totally have happy with them. I'm thinking of trying something a little more fabric scrappy. Not sure. This is turning out to be harder than expected.

Please pass on the word that I'm looking for yarn scrap donations. If anyone is interested in participating or donating (yarn only!!), please email me or leave me a comment. The more yarn I can get my hands on the more blankets we can make. I have another person working with me to knit/crochet up scraps to make blankets for the needy. If you would like to make some blankets for donation, that would be great too. I should soon have a group selected and get more information on where the blankets will go.

Thanks so much for all the encouragement. Please also feel free to pray for this mission of Maggie's Blankets and any church participation is appreciated and encouraged. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Starting a Charity - My Earth Day Work

So I've thought about doing this for years and since it's Earth Day I'm going to put this out there and see where it goes. I've always loved knitting and crocheting ever since my grandmother taught me. When you create something, just like in sewing you always end up with "scraps" of yarn - sometimes a lot and sometime a little - and like the fabric scraps I keep them all. I've always thought I'd figure out what to do with them.

I've finally figured it out - I'm going to knit or crochet them all together - whether they match or not - into blankets to donate to needy people. It's going into Spring and Summer here, but somewhere in the world people are cold and need a blanket. I know there are many people out there that have these scraps of yarn too! I want to put out the call to people to collect those scraps and hang on to them, stockpile them because I'm going to turn them into help for the ones who need it. I have the big trade show in mid May and will be way too busy to organize this until after that, but it's important to me to put these little scraps to good use.

I call this new (hopefully official non-profit group someday) Maggie's Blankets. Maggie was what many people called my grandmother - I never did, but I always loved hearing it - her name was actually Mary Magdalene. I have already collected many balls of yarn from my own projects, but I have also had many full balls of mismatched yarns from co-workers. I'm going to be working on my own blankets, but after the show i would love to coordinate a circle of women (and men!!) to knit or crochet blankets of all sizes, colors, and shapes to send to the needy. I'm going to contact my pastor at church because I know they work with mission groups around the world and might know of a specific need.

Maggie's Blankets are labors of love and it doesn't matter what colors or how many multi-colored and multi-textured yarns go into them. Warm is warm. This is for you Grandma - you taught me to be strong and use what I got - I'm going to do just that and pass it on. I miss her and I hope to keep her memory alive with this project. Won't you help me? Step 1 - collect that yarn and get others to do the same.

More to come. Please email me if you would like to get involved. Thanks!!!

Here's what I've been up to today...

So I left work early today to do some sewing for work. After six hours of sewing, I've finished my new project - another pattern test. I don't have any pictures of the finished product which is a super sweet modern take on the robe/house coat. I do however have some great pictures of the process and the fabulous Michael Miller fabrics I made it out of.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Promises Made, Promises Kept

So I said I'd post some pictures of two different projects I've started working on - one is a knitted wrap I'm making for a co-worker's birthday and the other is the very beginnings of an ATC Anything but paper swap. Here are the promised pictures.

Here is the wrap made in a cherry-chocolate chip varigated yarn (I only use varigated yarn for the most part - just love the patterns it makes).

Here is the start of the ATC which I needle felted free hand. I like it and I'm going to do some embroidery and beading on it. Then to finish it up I'll sew it to the back which I'm printing my info on printable fabric linen you can buy at

You can't see the variation of yellow and pink in the roving used on the flower, but I really like how it blended. This is not only my first ATC swap, but my first real attempt at needlefelting. I like it quite a bit - I just don't have a lot of uses for it.

Well, what do you think?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rain, Rain go away!

All I have to say is you can't go to garage sales in a downpour! So why did my body wake me up at 6am! I remember my grandmother waking up at like 4am and thinking as she got older she woke up earlier every year. Funny thing is my mom dies it too but it's really because she has to work that early. Strangly enough my dads just getting off work at that time. My son still doesn't understand the concept of sleeping in on a Saturday. Oh well, I'm up now, it's pouring outside, I guess it's time to work on my ATC cards.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Picture a Lemon-Line Fashion Bag

So here's the sneak peak at the new purse I worked on for Indygo Junction made up in Hoffman Fabrics line called Reflections. It comes in a yellow/green colorway like the one I used, but it also comes in a brown/teal colorway that is beautiful too. Again, the pictures are from my camera phone and are not the best. My great new digital camera can't connect with my computer right now because my dog chewed through the cord. ARG!!! Of course, it costs almost as much to replace the camera as the stupid this will have to do.

The purse has grommets and the braided handle option - it also will have a plain handle option. Check out all our new patterns from Indygo Junction in early June/late May. Right now they are having a Buy Two, Get One FREE sale (it only happens once a year so take advantage if you can).

This is a front view.

This is an inside view.

So I also joined my first swap this week - its for ATC cards made of using anything but paper. I've began experimenting with some needlefelting effects and beading ideas tonight and will surely post of in progress pics soon so I can hopefully get some feedback. Have a great weekend - it will be my first garage saling of the year!!! I hope to find some picture frames, shadow boxes and/or vintage sewing items. Maybe some books to collage...let's see. I'll be sure to post my finds also.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Waiting my life away...I'd rather be sewing

So do you notice that when you know that there is a fun sewing project with fun fabrics waiting for you at home - dogs at the vets, kids at school, hubby's at work - that time stands still while you run errands. I had to drop off the kid and the dog, get my taxes done, get my personal property taxes done all so I could get my car tags renewed. On the way to the DMV I remembered the stupid car needed an inspection. Darn!!! More waiting! Today I'm working on a new grommet purse in development for Indygo Junction. I just can't wait to get started but here I sit - waiting, waiting, waiting and hoping it is all okay. Then off to the DMV for I'm guessing more waiting! Fun to me! But the light at the end of my tunnel is a great purse and great fabric.

If your looking fir a great tote purse to show off your favorite fabrics, try Indygo Junction's Grids & Grommets purse or for something flirty use jelly rolls in your favorite coordinates and try the Serged Satchel. Links to Indygo are at the side or type in

Later I'll try to post some pics. Back to waiting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Traditions

I know this is a little late to post about Easter, but I wanted to share another tradition our family is carrying on. It's an old tradition for Easter in South St.Louis to have what's called a Lamb Cake. And no, Virginia, it's not made of lamb like a friend of my mother's thought...

It's a kind of creepy, dry and sponge coconut covered, raisin decorated cake shaped like a lamb. I've included a picture. It tastes okay but the really important part is that it's an old tradition that we want to continue. Remembering those things we did as children and then sharing them with our children is important. It teaches them something - like learning from the past, keeping family traditions so we can remember our history, our family history. So starts our new "old" tradition for Easter.

I took lots of Spring has Sprung pictures to inspire while in St. Louis visiting my parents for the weekend and hope to add some of those tomorrow. I've finally got a day off - lots of errands to run, but I hope to also make some ATC cards too. It's hard to get time alone at home to work on my art so tomorrow's my chance.

Tonight I made 24 cupcakes for my son's class, cleaned my sewing/art table in preparation, and dug out all the paperwork for my errands tomorrow - pre work makes all the difference. I hope to have lots of things to share.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday funny

So my six year old son woke up this morning to a rainy and gloomy Good Friday. He came down stairs and said grumpily mommy it's all yucky outside - that's not good!! I said no not really. He proceeded to ask me " then why does my calender say it's good Friday cuz it's not! ;)

Actually it have me a perfect opening to discuss the meaning of Good Friday and Easter. So it turned out in fact to be a good Friday after all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vintage Sewing Shadow Box

I created this shadow box style creation for my boss Amy who loves all things vintage but especially vintage sewing items. I found several treasures including vintage needle cases, ruler from 1945 - a thin metal one - and a stuffed dog with a clothe measuring tape that - let's say appeared from the rear! I used some old hook and eye cards, needles, buttons, safety pin, and labels plus some vintage images from together with the frame which I found on clearance at Joann's. The fabric is the base us created with was a tea dyed piece of cotton canvas. I added some Bible verse from a vintage book to complete the piece! I think Amy loved it! The pictures aren't the best but I think it gives you the overall look and feel.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Doing it for me and being okay with that

So I've been experimenting with techniques this past few days for my altered art pages. Trying to find my style and seeing how things work. What I'm finding is this annoying need to share my art for validation - we love it - yet being nervous they won't like it! How did this happen - where did this need come from?

Mom always taught me I could do anything. Growing up I was just treated and expected to act like a smart capable liberated woman who could take care if herself, didn't need a man or anyone else to take care of me. Independent. Strong. Creative. Talented. I never thought i was too egotistical about it - maybe a little bit of a smartie pants. But never doubted myself or my abilities.

Art makes me feel vulnerable and in need of validation. Hmmm...maybe it's my inner child acting up. I get it is therapy! It helps me to deal with deep feelings that are too messy to deal with in the open.

I'm finding just the act of creating fun. I'm still working on the it's okay if no one else gets it part.

I'll post pics of a shadow book I made later. It's a gift but I live the way it turned out! Amy I hope you love it too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cute Babies with Cute Blankets

Here are the promised pictures of the blanket's I crocheted - okay mostly it's pictures of my best friend's cute baby girls sitting on them. I love that they have had pictures taken with them - of course, their mom, Rebecca (my best friend since third grade!!!) is a photographer (and a great one btw). She just told me today that their little hats don't fit them anymore. It's okay. She can save them and pass them down through the years - and the best goes on!!!

Here you go - Aren't they adorable?

I've also decided to make my sister an altered art photo album for Easter/Birthday Gift. I hope she loves it. It's turning out great.

Three More Altered Pages

I'm created three new pages of my Altered Book to share. So I began thinking I had a theme and now I guess I don't because I've just been going where my creative spirit sends me. It's got vintage, sewing, found object. I just love this outlet for expressing my creative side. It has given me the happiest weekend I've had in a long while. I have found some true peace!!! So here are my pages. I hope you love them as much as I'vd loved making them.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Altered Art Pages

Here are the altered book pages I just finished. What do you think? Be honest cuz I am not totally happy with these but it's my first attempt so I think they are not too bad. Some are in process pages and some are finished.

This is page one. I added a big red button to the bird nest of twine after the pic was taken.

This is page two.

This is a collage of sheet music.

This is the sheet music page finished also known as page three. The top caption reads Gather Compliments and the bottom one reads Reap what you sew.

More to come...

How Many UFO's Makes You a Real Crafter

So I know most sewing and crafting people know what UFO's are - I had never heard of this term until I read about it in Quilter's Home Magazine (which I absolutely love!!!). Un Finished Objects. I'd heard of unfinished projects - did I mention I grew up with a seamstress mom whom I'm now convinced has ADD - too much creative juice, too little time!!!! Currently she has embroidery projects, sewing projects, and I think she said five crocheting projects all going at the same time. She assures me that with age comes finishing, but I giggled at that. Yeah, right!!!

So tonight I plan on starting another one -altered art. I've found a wonderful Yahoo Group called Altered Book Club. Where have they been all my life??? I love the collage work and how you are so free to create something from the rules, no directions, no seams to keep straight, no fitting to worry about. It's pure art and I think it's right up my alley. So tonight I'm going to start on my book pages. I think I'd like to do something Van Gogh as I'm currently in love with Starry Night. Speaking of unfinished projects, I have a large project already working for this topic. I'm workin on a quilt with a large applique section for Starry Night in the middle with embroidered blocks in blue work and nine patchs around the edges. I've finished the applique and am in process on the embroidery. If I find the time tonight, maybe I'll take some pictures and post them.

I'll definitely take process pictures of my altered adventure tonight. Let's see if I can up my UFO #'s!! Later!