So yes, you last heard from me exactly 109 days ago. It’s true. I would say that’s utterly pitiful, but I’m working on this thing called positive self-talk. I’m working on accepting everything exactly the way things are. And well? Right now, it’s apparent that my blog has been neglected. It’s just the way it is.

But you know what? I have SO much to tell you all. I have almost two months worth of travel stories to share with you. I have sewing projects. I have hopes and dreams and business plans that I’m literally bursting at the seams to tell you. I’ve spent 109 days really living. Like, really living. And I want to tell you all about it. But first I want to tell you about this.

welcome-to-harvest-workroom

As you know from my late summer about-face, I was in need of some big life changes. I was in one of those inevitable weird, restless, overall-I-feel-like-crap places. We’ve all been there. So it makes sense that my best friend and I decided on a whim to take a not-so-little trip. We packed our bags, abandoned adult life responsibilities, and spent almost two months in the Southern Hemisphere; specifically Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. And the impetus for this trip was a screen printing workshop that I had been eyeing for years. Seriously, years.

If you haven’t heard of Harvest Workroom, you’ve been missing out on endless drooling over their awesome textile designs. You’ve really been depriving yourself of some serious, good ‘ol American material wanting. Good on ‘ya.harvest-workroomHarvest Workroom had just relocated when I took the Design and Screen Print Your Own Fabric workshop in early November. The teaching space was a giant warehouse in the Brunswick district of Melbourne. The natural light, white walls and concrete floors made it difficult for me to refrain from asking if I could set up a small studio here. I wanted to live in a corner of that warehouse and for a few minutes, I was seriously contemplating how I could make that happen.
harvest-workroom-stencil-cutting

Our instructor Sophie was incredibly adorable and kind. Like all Aussies, she would check in on each of us by asking, “How ya going?” I just loved that. She was a textile designer with a real talent for teaching total screen printing newbies. She led us through the process of printing using acetate stencils. I’ll be honest, at first I was a little disappointed we wouldn’t be burning our own screens. Then I realized how much easier and faster this method was. With the exact same results. I will forever be sold on screen printing with stencils.

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We printed several prints on our first day, testing out transparent inks and design motifs. I was literally in heaven. I wish I could take classes like this on the regular, because it is 100% my happy place. Harvest has the most amazing, waist high, 10 meter printing table (that’s, like, 30 some odd feet) where all ten of us could print simultaneously! It was every designer’s dream. We worked in groups of three to help hold each other’s screens and dry our prints with hair dryers.

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The second day, Sophie taught us to design a Swiss repeat. I have seen several tutorials around the interwebs on Swiss repeats and have always steered clear of them for fear they were just too complicated for someone like me. Someone who doesn’t like to read instructions or really take their time with things. No Swiss repeats for me, no thank you.

Then I realized that it’s seriously the easiest way to create a repeat. Like…easier than Photoshop. Easier then eyeballing it and totally hating the outcome. And I’m pleased as punch at my result.harvest-workroom-swiss-repeatIf you find yourself in the sun-burned country down under, and you have a few days to kill in Melbourne, you’d be doing yourself a disfavor if you didn’t check out Harvest Textiles/Workroom. I mean it. Every person in my class was a printing newbie, and the stuff they were churning out was seriously awesome.

I’m sure I’ll be back to the blog soon with more content. Maybe I’ll share some travel stories. Maybe I’ll show you a few sewing projects I just finished. I might even divulge my latest entrepreneurial obsession.

But most importantly, I want to thank all of you folk who have been checking in on me, waiting patiently for my next post. And all of you who have come over from Pinterest. Welcome!

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?

 

This weekend was deemed a “stay-at-home, be productive, and basically regroup” weekend. Eighty to ninety hour school weeks have made me…a little less than pleasant to be around. Some alone time was much needed.

I scored below average on the “be productive and regroup” part. But I scored above average, and some might even say excellent, at the stay at home part. Being a natural recluse played no part in this whatsoever.

I attempted to sew a dress and failed miserably. I designed a modern, felt legal pad folder for upcoming interviews that looked like a five year old was behind the sewing machine. (FYI: ripping seams out of felt is something I will now have nightmares about). And…I assembled my new screen printing table (finally, success!!).

But most importantly, I thrifted.

A local thrift shop was having a bag sale, where everything you could fit into one bag was $5. Obviously, there wasn’t a question about whether I would attend. I didn’t have any sort of project in mind for this thrifting adventure, which is usually results in a full on shopping spree, or a disappointing empty-handed trip home. This trip, I scored big.

Usually, I just browse the clothing racks. Yesterday, I left no stone unturned. Seriously, I think I was in the store for almost two full hours.

I picked up these beauties from the donated cards bucket. At .49 a piece I couldn’t pass them up. They’re brand new in the plastic! The designer is Sanna Annukka…my new favorite printer.

This one, especially, made me a little emotional. Reminds me so much of my cabin. We have a big Ponderosa Pine that sits on the point of our beach. This whole scene is a folksy little rendition of my childhood.

And it comes in a colored print!

I may have squealed a little when I saw this duo. I have a special place in my heart for ferns. My Nana’s name is Fern, and ferns line the perimeter of my grandparents’ cabin. At this point, I was near tears.

And this one, I thought was just adorable. I can’t wait for one of my friends to get sick.

This thrifting adventure was not without some store drama, of course. An attempted theft (of a $5 bag of goodies), made for a humorous addition to my afternoon.

Three pieces of clothing were also purchased, but are currently sitting (probably mildewing) in my washing machine. I should take care of that. They are all perfect as-is (no Big Love frocks this time), and you will certainly see them in a separate post.