Entries categorized "creativity"

squam : part 2, the making......

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I love walking through the woods to get to class and meals...... Squammies leave small treasures here and there. Yarn bits, pompoms, stones, feathers to leave love notes & wishes on.

I took a class with two of the kindest and most talented artists on Thursday and Friday.

First was a day of stamp carving with Penelope Dullaghan. We learned the basics of cutting stamps, using tools, and how to create patterns with and without repeats. I had this idea of making a Goddess or Sacred Woman stamp inspired by a coffee mug I saw at an art fair this summer. It ended up looking like a sacred woman in more ways than one - which made the class giggle - it's the stamped notebook above. I'll let you decide what it looks like. I am especially smitten with my feather stamps!!! I see lots of stamped feather goods in my future.... and just ordered some fabric paint to test it out on. Penny was a fabulous teacher and really fun to hang out with all day.

Day two was spoon carving with Barry Buck of Linen and Spoon! I had the chance to meet Barry and his family last spring when we visited Squam as vendors - I think we live in some parallel universe because I have so much in common with his wife that I swear we are long lost, sisters. (She thinks so too - it's not just me!) I learned how to carve a spoon, and didn't injure myself! Holy sharp tools - it really is like meditation, you have to pay such close attention. I have just two layers of sanding left and I'll share it here with you..... I also purchased some carving tools and a few spoon blanks to carve a few more. I loved it!

Lastly, on Saturday I attended the Squam Art Fair  - our table is the triangle shelf display.... the spoon picture is from Linen & Spoon's table and lastly a picture of my treasures! (linen & wooden goods by Linen & Spoon - shirts by untold - necklace by AG Ambroult.)

So much making and handmade goodness to be shared and enjoyed.

Happy weekending friends.

xo~
s

 


squam : part 1, the magic.........

*Just to warn you, I am SO going to overuse the word "magic" in this post. It can't be helped.* 

I'm still reveling in the in-between space, "between Squam and real-life". I'm sure it sounds sentimental, but being at Squam this last time my dear friend Elizabeth hosted felt especially magical. For a decade she has worked her magic and poured her heart and soul into a gathering that draws the best of people. Truly. Elizabeth herself is one of the most caring, authentic, and generous souls I have ever met - and this manifests itself in people of the same caliber from all over the world who come to gather in the woods. We celebrate being creative - full of life - full of love. This September seemed to hold even more wonderful people than usual - no doubt there to support and send off their dearest fairy godmother and welcome in the new fairy goddaughter. It was emotional, beautiful, magical. Just the sort of thing endings and beginnings always are. I cannot even find the words to tell you how grateful I felt to be a part of it. So, so much.

Spending these days taking great care of myself - soaking in the woo - nurturing my spirit and connecting with new and old friends - oh, let me tell you - they are worth their weight in gold. Especially for those of us who rarely take the time to place ourselves in the center. This was my second time attending Squam - the first was here - but we have been lucky enough to attend as vendors a few times in between. I wanted to paint a picture for you - share with you what it feels like to return to a place you know is magic, pictures seem to do the best job of this..... so here you have the arrival and settling in..... 

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more tomorrow -

xoxo,

s

 


if you give a mouse a cookie (for knitters)

Baby pants

Machine embroidery

Shibori onesies

Handmade baby

Jade works at the best ice cream place in our area. They use as many local products as possible to make the most delicious ice cream. Her bosses are super sweet and love their employees.... so much that when last year was a record year in ice cream sales they give all of their employees a retroactive pay raise for the season! I love these hard working people so much, so when their first baby arrived this spring I knew I wanted to knit or sew something really special for him.

It started with a hat. (some of you saw it on instagram a few weeks ago!) The yarn is Mosaic Moon and has been in my stash forever. I love it so much and was just waiting for the right little one to knit it up for. Booties followed. And then I remembered how much I loved sewing tiny pants. (I've done this before once or twice). So the yarn was matched up with some favorite fabric and when I couldn't decide between the two prints I made them both.

You see where this is headed right? If you make some little pants, you're going to need some little shirts to go with them.....

I had a few little onesies in my craft supply stash and indigo dye in my cupboard. Little indigo tshirts where next. It was my first time dyeing with indigo - oh my goodness you guys - it's awesome! I really loved the way these little shirts came out and I'll be hitting the thrift store up for some more clothes to dye now that I have a vat going. 

I topped off the basket with some of our really gentle soap and a big tin of our healing salve which is also really great for diaper rash or any little bumps and scrapes (whole family herbal magic!) I'm not sure who was more excited about gifting the basket - Jade or me!

I really do love how quick it is to pull together these little knit & sewn goodies..... I sew a lot less often these days and I had so much fun making these. The pants pattern is Big Butt Baby Pants by Rae (the best baby pants, especially for cloth diapered babies!) and the hat details are on ravelry.

Welcome to the world little one, the universe paired you up with some pretty awesome parents!

Tell me what you're making these days....

xo,

s

 


in the workshop......

The last two weeks have been incredible and busy.

I wanted to share some of what we've been working on in The Workshop. My students are wonderful! I am truly enjoying this bit of time with them. I have two classes divided into age groups that run an hour and a half each week. So far we've mostly worked with clay in the younger group. In the older group we've worked with clay and watercolor........

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This week was sort of dark and gloomy on Monday and I really loved turning on the lights, and setting out materials for art, and supplies for tea making before they arrived. My older group is all girls and I'm seeing new friendships forge while they're making art. My hope is that they form their own little tribe of creative souls. Start 'em young, right?

One of my girls this week told me, "I'm just not very good at watercolor." I told her, "don't say I'm not good. Say, I'm experimenting." She laughed at me and then looked at her painting and said, "I'm experimenting with watercolor." And then she laughed again, and started painting.

We're halfway through our first session. I offered a mini four week camp to kickstart this new venture. We'll take a little break for summer in July and then start again in August with longer sessions throughout the school year and I'm dreaming of some monthly day sessions for crafting holiday give-ables and a mama's night out. 

It feels pretty magical to see this new venture take shape.

xo~

s

 


In the studio..........

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I know, that's a whole lotta pictures!!

The studio is pretty much finished up with its little makeover. I am so happy to have fresh paint on the walls. The old brownish grey is gone and everything looks fresh and clean. It took 3 gallons of paint! 3 coats!! I picked up some new lights at IKEA and this winter we got a bargain on that ceiling fan..... not yet knowing where it would go...... but knowing one should never turn down a ceiling fan at 75% off. I've got some curtain rod ideas in the works for the windows next to the table. Oh the table! It's our old dining room table. We moved it in and moved another smaller table into the dining room..... we all eat at the kitchen island these days, so it just made sense. Joe built me that AMAZING shelf for my little nook. I love it! Lots of little momentos tucked into that happy corner. And my favorite (ugly Joe says) thrift store chair, overlooking the woods and garden (and bee hive in the bottom right corner) is dreamy. It's my new favorite spot for an afternoon cup of tea.

I spent the last week dyeing, photographing, and tying up the summer limited edition silks. Coming up with names for the colors is always my favorite part. They are in the shop now for those of you interested.

And I have classes starting next month for little ones! It's going to be such a fun time. I still can't believe all of it has coming together..... 

Have a lovely weekend friends.

xo,

s

 

 


eight point patchwork star pillow

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I've been meaning to make up some new pillow covers for awhile now. After stitching together these star quilts around the holidays I thought a pillow cover with the same design would be fun.

I played around with different prints from my stash before deciding on these Anna Maria Horner solid cottons with a bold print in the middle. I had been collecting little bits from her wonderful monthly bundle subscription. I really love the bold colors next to the cream linen.

And those feathers in linen on the back! Oh my!! 

The center piece and feathers are both from her Field Study line, which is one of my favorites. I used 2 layers of organic cotton flannel on the back of the star when I quilted it with double lines. The back is just a simple envelope closure. If you are looking for a great little tutorial on how to sew up these stars I found one here. I covered a blah looking old couch pillow.... but to give yourself an idea of how big to make your cover, just measure the pillow and give yourself some extra for a seam allowance. I add 1.5 - 2 inches because I do a half inch seam on my pillows & I don't like an overstuffed pillow with an envelope closure - it tends to not lay flat (which this one is doing a little).

This is such a perfect pattern for all those little bits in your scrap pile that you can't part with. I think I see a few more stars in my future.

xo~

s

 


DIY Chalk Paint Cabinet Makeover

I've been wanting to give a little facelift to these cabinets for quite awhile. Especially after we got the dining room aka homeschool room painted (saving that project for another post). At first I picked a green color.... and I really pretty much hated how it looked with the soft yellow in the dining room. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm totally blaming it on winter. Luckily, we had two of those smaller cabinets...... so I started over with a deep teal blue : Cathedral by Behr. The woman at the paint department was swooning over it, telling me her son's room had been painted that color and it looked different throughout the day depending on the light that was coming in.... she totally sold me. Even though I was worried it might be dark... or look odd once I mixed the plaster of paris into it (recipe after the pictures).

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I'm really, really happy with the way they came out! The paint is a little gritty, but it adds to the vintage-y look. I'm sure real chalk paint would be more smooth..... but this was a lot cheaper and I could pick ANY color I wanted. I took the photo of the lid to show you that the color didn't really change at all adding the plaster of paris to it. (blob on the left is after, right is before) I was really surprised by this, since this color is so dark and has a deep base. After painting three coats on, I waxed the cabinets with minwax finishing paste. It's messy hard work. Don't let it dry too long. But it looks really great and has a durable finish. In the future I'll look for something more natural. It was pretty stinky!

I tried several DIY recipes online for the chalk paint before landing on one I liked. If it's too thick, it drips once you paint it on the cabinet, and doesn't seem to cover as nicely..... at least in my experience. I liked the look of thin coats. Even though I ended up covering it three times, I had better control of where the paint ended up. I chose a satin finish hoping it would be more cleanable because these are cabinets that get a lot of use. I'm not sure that made a difference? The end result was very matte until I waxed it. But I love the way it looks for sure! (the small one is our homeschool books, the large one is art supplies)

 

DIY CHALK PAINT::

1/3  cup  plaster of paris

1/3  cup  water

1 cup paint (I used satin Behr Ultra)

*whisk the water and paint together. let sit for ten minutes to help the water absorb the plaster of paris. whisk vigorously again. some people blend it? I was worried about air bubbles so I just mixed it by hand. mix the paint in very well. that's it!

 

I did read that some people did not like the look of using a paint+primer if they were distressing the cabinet. I knew I was not going to do this, so I chose a paint+primer to make sure I covered years of grime on our old cabinets. I did lightly sand everything before I painted too.

I completely splurged on the knew knobs. I bought them with a 20% off coupon here. They were still kind of spendy....... but I ADORE them. And the project was still under $75, so not too bad.

DETAILS::

Two old Ikea cabinets. Solid Pine. Previously had a waxed finish.

Behr Ultra Paint Satin Finish in Cathedral (Home Depot $16)

Plaster of Paris (Home Depot - clearance box because it had been opened $2)

Minwax Finishing Paste (Home Depot $10)

Decorative Knobs (Restoration Hardware - $12 each, I got them 20% off on sale)

I haven't painted furniture since I was in high school and my parents let me paint everything in my room black. (Thanks mom & dad!) And while I do love the look of natural wood, this is the perfect sort of project for tired old pieces that need a little makeover. I'm eyeing the bedroom set we bought from the previous owners and thinking of yellow..... or triangles. Decisions, decisions......

Have a happy Monday!

xo,

s

 


making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

making......

It's been such a dreary warm December.

Lots of rain and overcast days. Damp and dark. 

The weather does not slow the flurry of activity indoors though. When I downloaded the photos from the camera, I smiled at all the making before me. Some of it everyday-ish, most of it holiday-ish.

Crafting, baking, wrapping. Trips to the post office. One day we sent off 15 packages!!

Most of the outgoing parcels have arrived safely, so I can give you a peek at some of what we've been doing.

Last year when my nephew visited, Joe traced his hand onto some clay. Many months later I painted it with that fun design. We tucked it aside to send to him for Christmas. His mama loved it! And I think he did too.

Lots of jars of jam, honey and salsa made their way out the door. All but one unusually tardy package has arrived. You can download those lovely labels here.

My little guy knitting. He is nearly finished with his first scarf!

And the stockings!! I may have gotten a bit carried away! I got the idea for these on pinterest. Have you seen the little paper bag advent calendars on there? I thought it would be fun to take that idea and use it for wrapping a few trinkets for my nephews. They don't read the blog, so I can tell you inside each one is some cocoa, candy, fruit snacks, lego mini-figure, and three one dollar bills folded into origami (thanks to Sophie & her friend for folding!). I drew the stocking shape onto paper bags I had cut & turned inside out. Starting at the top right, I stitched around until I got to the top left. I stuffed the goodies in and then finished stitching up the top. I trimmed the excess with pinking shears and used a black sharpie to decorate each one. (the tiny one is my new nephew, he got a little blue playsilk.... of course.... to match his favorite blue blanket).

What have you been making? Crafting? Baking?

Share if you can.....

xo,

s

  


handmade holiday gifting {3}

Today I have a simple recipe for a homemade bath soak. Enjoy!

handmade holiday gifting {3}

handmade holiday gifting {3}

handmade holiday gifting {3}

 

My favorite way to soak in the tub is to use this relaxing bath salt recipe. Many natural health practitioners suggest epsom salt & baking soda are gentle aids in detoxifying the body. The added essential oils in this soak further the relaxation and cleansing properties.

In this particular blend, I used a combination of lavender, juniper & patchouli oils. I found this on pinterest to give you some more ideas and I just added to my essential oil collection this winter with this company (lots of good recipes on how to use oils on their blog too!) Now, on to the recipe.....

 

Aromatherapy Tub Soak::

1 1/2 cups epsom salt

3/4 cup baking soda

20-30 drops of essential oil

Mix the epsom salt & baking soda together, breaking up any clumps of baking soda as you mix. Slowly add the essential oil, mixing well after every ten drops. I use a metal spoon to gently break apart any clumps of oil. Mix until you no longer see any clumps. Store in an airtight container. I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per bath.

 

Don't forget to keep some for yourself!

xo,

s

 

week 1 * week 2


handmade holiday gifting {2}

Yesterday sort of ran away from me. I had a heap of errands to run and braved the grocery store in pre-turkey-day-plus-pre-first-big-snow-of-the-season chaos. This meant there was no milk, toilet paper, or cream cheese.  At the register with my giant turkey, the cashier balked at the price and made sure it was right. Yes, I told her. And I'll be back the day after turkey day bright and early to see if there are any hippie turkeys left that might be on sale. That's about the only "black Friday" sale I have interest in. Something tells the grocery store will be quiet that day.

While I ran endless errands, the kids listened to Percy Jackson on audio. The library trip in the beginning proved to be a lifesaver for us all. We made it home with enough time to put farm veggies and groceries away. Make a quick salad and huevos rancheros for dinner. And head back out the door for parent teacher conferences at the high school. Phew. And if that was not enough excitement, the FIRE ALARM went off at 2:15 a.m!! Causing great chaos as Joe (in his undies) and I bolted from our room where Sam met us wide-eyed from the top of the basement stairs and the three of us checked the other kids and the house. At least three times over. Finding nothing. Thank God. Joe & I were both still a little rattled this morning and decided we needed to do a fire drill and let the kids practice sliding from the roof. 

But gosh, I guess I got completely distracted. I'm really here to share another simple giftable project with you.

Silk & lavender eye pillows!

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

handmade holiday gifting {2}

 

There is really nothing like rewarding yourself with a few quiet minutes of relaxation. (especially if you've an esepcially chotic day!)

This luxurious eye pillow can be filled with buckwheat groats, wheat berries, or rice for gentle pressure on the eyes. Lavender adds relaxing aromatherapy benefits. This thick charmeuse silk is durable and fairly easy to sew. It can be purchased at Dharma Trading. The 6x24 inch silk scarf is big enough for one eye pillow, but I suggest buying the 15x60 scarf and making up a few eye pillows as gifts (the larger silk will make 5 eye pillows!). You can purchase it by the yard too. Also at Dharma, you can purchase a small 2 ounce jar of Dharma Acid Dye to dye your silk scarf. They have many tutorials on how to do this. It’s fun, easy, and makes a beautiful one of a kind piece of fabric for your project. (this dye works on wool too!) Be sure to rinse your dyed silk well, dry and gently iron on a low setting before proceeding with the project.

 

Materials:

silk fabric (see details above)

a fresh sharp needle on your sewing machine

thread for sewing

1 cup dried lavender

2 cups un-toasted buckwheat groats, wheat-berries, rice (or other small heavy grain)

 

Instructions::

Cut your silk fabric into two 5.5 x 12 inch rectangles. Right sides together (this is the shiny slippery side), pin and stitch the silk pieces together starting about a half inch in from the top corner. Stitch all the way around and then turn the silk & stitch back where you began, creating a double seam all the way around the silk. See the photo for illustration. Backstitch to prevent unraveling & remove from the machine.

Clip the corners as shown, being careful not to get too close to your seam. Turn the silk pillow right side out, you can use a knitting needle or similar blunt tipped item to help turn the corners inside out. Fill with 1 cup of dried lavender and 2 cups of your chosen grain. You can use more or less grain to create the fullness you are after.

Hand or machine stitch the opening closed. If you use buckwheat groats, find un-toasted ones. I find toasted ones to have a strong scent that interferes with the lavender. Gently kneading the pillow will activate the lovely lavender scent. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the grains instead of the dried lavender if you'd like a different scent. Just adjust the grains to make up for leaving the lavender out.

You're all done. You can sew a few of these up easily in an afternoon. Be sure to keep one for yourself!

Lay back, place your eye pillow over your eyes & relax.....

xo~

s

   

week 1 * week 3 *