When people ask me where I learned to sew, the answer’s always the same. My mom. My dear, sweet, tiny mama.  She taught each of her three daughters to operate her very nice sewing machine. She spent hours helping us rip seams and fix mistakes. She listened to us whine about how boring sewing was. Turns out, all three of us are pretty darn crazy about the hobby today.

My mother has sewn at least one hundred quilts since my birth. And she’s not slapping together the average log cabin variety. No way, jose. My mom is a quilting artist and she’s quickly gaining some noteriety.

To be less vague and get to the actual point, my mom was featured in a full page spread in the October/November issue of Quilting Arts! And this is her second time in the magazine! I am so proud of that woman.

She entered the “Signature Color Reader Challenge” and submitted a quilt block that was so wonderfully different from the other entries. She has always loved the color chartreuse, for as long as I can remember. And her block included colors that showcased it wonderfully.

Pick up a copy and check out her impeccable attention to detail (that a crappy iPhone picture cannot capture). If I could by new things, this would be framed on my wall. Next year, folks. Luckily there’s a copy waiting back home.

My mom is constantly inspiring me. She’s my biggest cheerleader and leaves such sweet little comments on this blog. Beyond all the other life skills she taught me, I’m so grateful she taught me and both of my sisters to sew. Now we share text messages of our latest creations, we ask for feedback about ideas, and we’re so incredibly supportive of each other. I love that. I’m so blessed.

Keep on creating mom!

UPDATE: I owe you my gratitude and a pumpkin spice latte for being so wonderfully patient as the blog was down yesterday. We are making lots of improvements, which can cause some hairy situations like the white screen of death. I would love to say it won’t happen again, but I’ll just say I’m sorry.

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I swear I have the greatest friends. Their enthusiasm and support is never-ending. I am surrounded by such happy and positive people. This one, in particular, is a gem. She’s a beauty, she’s wonderfully creative, and she’s utterly hilarious (nothing beats her childhood stories). I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Emma of Emma Lee!

During my long weekend in Portland, I was able to catch up with Emma. She showed me her latest jewelry designs and I have been eyeing every single item in her Etsy store since. She’s got talent, friends. And she’s funny. Did I mention that?

Emma studied Accessory Apparel Design at the Art Institute in Portland and man, oh man, is she creating some awesome modern necklaces and earrings. Just a sampling for you…

Horseshoe earrings

Blue Wooden Bead Necklace

Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops (I’m coveting these, big time)

Gold Half Hoops

You love this stuff too? Then, listen up! Go and pin any of the items in her Etsy store by Tuesday, September 25th and she’ll enter your name in the drawing for a free pair of the Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops! Be sure to tag emm3lee12 in the description of the pin!

You wouldn’t believe how hard it was for me to type that. I want those Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops, so. bad.

 

Guess who finally got their act together and made a pillow cover out of that amazing new wool gifted by the best best friend?

I just moved into a new place and my temporary 18 year old roommate is striving to be a fashion designer. His first sewing class was learning how to sew an envelope pillow.

“That is adorable,” I thought when he told me. Got to start somewhere, right?

Ha! Was I ever so wrong. Let me just say, the kid has some major talent. Those seams were as straight as an arrow. And his choice of coordinating, modern, masculine fabrics? Superb.

A few nights ago he showed me his sketches of a new women’s line of clothing he’s designed. My god, can this kid can draw. And that one-shouldered number sketched so delicately on his size 0, and huuuge busted model. Blown away.

So he’s 18, he can draw, he can sew, he can design women’s wear, and he’s got impeccable taste in fabric.

I, on the other hand, need three separate attempts at an envelope pillow to get it right. Of course, I didn’t tell the roomie this. Can’t let those teenage egos getting too out of control…

Behold, my envelope pillow:

I still have half of the fabric left, so I’m going to attempt to whip up a little over the shoulder purse. We shall see what becomes of this grand plan. If an envelope pillow almost killed me…gah, let’s not discuss it.

The Makerie changed my life.

I know, it sounds ridiculously cheesy. And trust me, I hate the cheese. So it has to be true.

At the Makerie I met countless people who were happy to listen to me talk on and on about my dreams post-school, and a few that are more than willing to help my achieve those dreams. Sometimes I forget in the inherent goodness of people, and if I need a creative retreat to remind me of it, then so be it.

Enough with the sappy stuff and on with my newfound passion. Shooting in manual mode. It’s difficult, frustrating, and I still can’t tell if these pictures are any good. Still, it is so.much.fun.

Blankets! In a basket!!

And Chautauqua couldn’t have been a better location. Next year, you better believe I’m bunking in one of those rustic cabins. I was so jealous of the women skipping off to their bunks to drink wine together and craft all night long.

Fun fact: Did you know that the summer lodge in the movie Dirty Dancing was a chautauqua? Also, the concept of a chautauqua is a common recurring theme in the novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! Chautauquas are awesome, enough said.

The first workshop was letterpress with Allison Bozeman of Birddog Press Studios. Allison’s studio, nestled in the heart of Lyons, was adorable. She had two, very old presses and two baby presses. I am now on the hunt for a 1500 pound press from the early 1900’s. No one will ever want to help me move again.

The second workshop was learning to photograph your “craft”. I bet you can guess what I toted along to photograph.

That print will never die.

And my favorite fabric in the world. That will be made into a pillow in the coming days after a successful Ikea trip this morning.

There were no less than five different Allie’s that attended the Makerie (including the organizer). I have never been surrounded by so many of my own kind. It was confusing and amazing at the same time.

Ali DeJohn was awesome at accommodating everyone’s needs. Gluten free meals were provided for all of us intolerant peeps, and the food was to die for. Katie’s boxed lunches were adorably packaged and deliciously yummy. I swear that no detail was overlooked at the Makerie. That is the number one reason I will be back next year.

Who’s coming with?

 

20. April 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Design, Sewing · Tags: ,

I’m off to The Makerie and I could not be more excited to craft my pants off for the next two days.

While I’m gone (which won’t be any different than the expansive length of time between normal blog posts), keep yourself busy with my new favorite blog roll.

The Brick House: This girl posts just about as often as I do, but I check her blog every single day. We’re design style twinsies. Plus, her domain name is hyphenated. Hence, we are soul sisters. I’m a total creeper.

Design Love Fest: This girl has my dream job. While her design style isn’t totally my gig, her blog is a blast to read, and she’s a majorly talented designer. And she’s adorable.

Edible Perspective:  When Ashley went gluten free, and then proceeded to make going gluten free look easier than making tea, we had a brief falling out. I’ve since forgiven her and drool over her amazing recipes, most of which I can eat (yay!). Her cinnamon maple almond butter is to die for.

MADE: Damn, this woman has got her stuff together. I love the simplicity of her blog, the great photography, and the super easy tutorials. Besides the baby stuff (I think I lack the maternal instinct), her sewing projects are awesome. And she has mastered sewing with knits (often without a serger), so she’s basically a goddess.

See you soon peeps. I shall be a master letter presser and photographer when I return. Count on it.

 

 

 

Over the last couple of months, I have found an unnatural interest in all things website design related. This, coming from the girl who still can’t load a youtube video on her laptop. It’s been a tough, random-entertainment-free winter folks.

Regardless of my lack of internet expertise, I am loving exploring the world of web design. While you probably can’t tell, I am constantly playing around with my blog’s dashboard. Changing colors, trying different themes, and learning new things about WordPress. While I’d love to do a complete blog redesign (and I will in the coming months), school has me more time constrained than ever.

Want to know one thing I learned the other day? Do you?

Wait for it…

I learned what a Favicon is. Sounds scifi right?

Have you ever noticed that little icon next to a website’s URL? THAT, my friends, is a favicon. And I’ve been a major favicon creeper lately, checking out the favicon of every single website I visit.

Design Sponge’s star like icon. Not my favorite, but I’ll take it.

Apartment Therapy’s weird, amorphous shape that is just kind of creepy.

Pinterest’s famous red lettering, that is surprisingly similar to the Phillie’s red P. Don’t ask me how I even know who the Phillies are.

Like most things, I was super critical of the favicons floating around the interwebs. Per usual, nothing was designed well enough, was pleasing to the eye enough, or basically solved my life problems well enough (as a favicon should). That is until I tried to create my own. Designing a tiny icon about 1/16″ square is a real bitch. I think I spent at least three hours in Photoshop trying to make my favicon shrinkable and still readable.

Some iterations for your enjoyment:

Font too big, with not enough white space around the edges. Also, that color is a little too last year for my liking.

Totally illegible. You know, because those things matter.

Better, but still a bit unreadable.

I decided to forgo text because it was obvious it just wasn’t going to work. And I’m not one to “make things work”. I usually just give up before that happens.

A quick Photoshop meadow rue sketch was my last attempt. Before I uploaded the image as a favicon it looked something like this:

I figured the image was small and simple enough to maximize the tiny space I was designing for. Also, in the midst of frustration, I realized a white background would eliminate the box outline and make the the image look like it is just floating next to the web address. Turns out, it works! Right? Please tell me it does.

Now, I’m going to have you totally favicon creeping. Go for it.

 

 

My task list in my Google calendar is overflowing with little things I need to remember and huge projects I hope to one day complete. The tasks range from school related chores to blog redesign dreams, each task of varying time commitments and priority levels. While the tasks are ever changing, one thing has remained constant; “Design Fabric Print” has been accompanied by an empty check box for going on six months now. Something has got to change.

I received a gift card from a family member to create my own print at a now, very defunct website. But lately, I’ve been hearing so much about Spoonflower, that I decided to create my print anyway.

While I was in South America on Lake Titicaca, I snapped a few shots of the rippling water that reminded me so much of being at my cabin. The sight and sound of calm waters gets me every time and let me tell you, there is nothing like a lake to calm traveling nerves and maybe even parasite belly (a story for another time).

I played with those shots in Photoshop today, bumped up the contrast and tweaked the colors to come up with something that I can say I actually like. It almost looks painted to me (or…god forbid…an animal print, I can’t tell which). I can imagine this fabric on the inside of a little zippered pouch. I have to admit though, I have a hard time seeing a future beyond a lining for this guy. It doesn’t seem to fit for upholstery and isn’t something I’d wear.

My 8″ by 8″ swatch should arrive within a couple of weeks. A complete review of Spoonflower will accompany pictures of the printed fabric.

In the mean time…one more thing crossed off!

I entered my mid to late twenties last week. My back hurt when I woke up today and I have found more than one grey hair in the last six months. My middle aged classmates call me a baby, but I swear I feel older than last year. I caught myself saying that I’d like to go back to the age of 5 and relive life. I think I’m having a mid-life crisis.

Moving on. My best friend sent me some awesome brightly colored Navajo wool for my special day. I swear this girl knows me too well. Bright colors? Check. Something unfinished, so I can put my own touch on it? Check. She’s amazing. That’s why she’s my best friend.

I love this fabric so much that I have taken it out of its box at least once per day to admire it. I cannot wait to sew with it, yet I’m terrified of ruining it. I have a track record of ruining things. Working on that.

Currently an over the shoulder purse, with a long strap is taking the lead. But, I want to enjoy this fabric for a lifetime, and I wonder if a purse might be too trendy?

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A covered pillow is a close runner up. And I am almost positive I can’t screw that up.

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What do you think? How is your week? Are you having a mid-life crisis?

Signing off now.

AO

My favorite part about Pinterest is looking at what I’ve pinned over the months, and realizing how specific my taste is for certain things. For instance, I have more flouncy knee length skirts pinned on my fashion board than I care to admit. And my “DIY Home” board is almost entirely made up of projects that incorporate wood. Little wooden buttons, large birch trunk candle holders…a tree trunk colored pencil holder (obviously).

In short, I have a thing for wood accents. I love white washed walls and modern interiors, but I need an element of natural in there. And of late, I’m all about birch.

Check out my favorites:

I figure these can’t be that hard to make. In fact, its on the top of my dad’s list of things to teach me this summer. (shhh…he doesn’t know yet).

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Those beams! That track lighting! Those nano (nana?) doors!

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One teeny, tiny wooden lamp. And air plants. Sigh.

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Industrial shelving, white washed walls, and strategically placed pops of color. Me likey.

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Love that bench at the end of the bed. Anybody know what kind of wood that might be?

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Houzz had a great “Woods and Whites” diddy. Check it.