Sunday, May 29, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

In the studio today I'm cutting & sewing bags,
as well as packing for Squam Art Workshops.

Please come back Wednesday June 8th to hear 
all about the magic that awaits Vickie & I at SAW 2011.
Until then, I'm off to freely create, to listen to loons 
and to star gaze.

Enjoy our Japanese Tree Peony, above.
By the time I return, these saucer-sized 
blooms will have become a pink carpet of petals.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Day Late

But not a dollar short.... 
Bag lovers, look at what's for sale in my shop!

Pattern: See & Sew B5273
Fabric: isso ecco, printed by Lecien

I really like this magnetic 2-tab closure.
It's quicker than undoing a button, 
and for this deep bag, it nicely secures the contents

Pattern: The (Jumbo) Two-Hour Tulip Purse, by Janice D. Pope
Main Fabric: Kaffe Fassett's stripes

This jumbo Tulip Bag is among the best knitting bags 
I have. Seeing is believing when I tell you this unassuming bag 
holds so much! Plus, I made this one with three large pockets. 

 Having first received this same style bag as a gift from 
my very dear Friend Vickie, who I would describe without 
hesitation as a bag connoisseur, I can tell you that my 
February Lady Sweater, 2 skeins of yarn and the pattern 
easily fit in this bag with room to spare. 
Thanks for enabling my bag sewing addiction, Vickie!

Pattern: Vogue Accessories V8406
Fabrics: Larkspur and Bebe (organic), 
both printed for the Alexander Henry Fashion For Home Collection
 This is a detail of the third bag I've been working on. 
It's the bomb! - and it sold right out from under me 
before it was even finished. 
Only a most avid supporter & lovely Friend would 
make me feel so accomplished...thank you Vickie!
So far, of all the bags I've ever made, this is my favorite.
Expect to see more examples of this bag.

You can find the Sling bag & the Tulip (Perfect Project) bag 
over at my shop. If you'd like any of these bags in 
a different fabric & color combination, 
I will gladly try my best to accommodate.
Kindly leave me a message on this blog. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Pleasure To Read

I imagine I'm not alone when I wish for more time to read. 
These days, if I'm going to make it through a book, 
I've got to be sucked in from page one or I'm moving on. 

Having the perceptive & fun-loving friend that I do in Tracy, 
she knew exactly what book to put in my hands:  
"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. 
This is a funny, insightful and fast read. 
So Tracy, this quote is for you:  
"Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany....'The days are long, 
but the years are short,' she realized. 
'Time is passing and I'm not focusing on the things 
that really matter.' In that moment she decided to 
dedicate a year to her happiness project."

What a great addition to the summer reading list.

If you have young readers in your life 
(especially fashionistas), 
meet the just published "Chamelia" by Ethan Long.

My copy arrived today and I can attest to the 
charming illustrations, all of which were 
done in digital collage. For each of Chamelia's outfits, 
and she has many, Ethan Long used fabric prints 
from Alexander Henry Fabrics, Inc.
The sweet, short story sends a positive 
message about learning how to let your light shine 
without outshining everyone around you. 

I chose this book for someone special in my life. 
She's 2.5 months old, and has 
the most edible face you've ever seen.  
I want to let her know 
she should always let her light shine! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ginger Tea For Two

You're in luck!
Due to a little on-line technical difficulty, 
you're getting a fabulous recipe & taste of a legendary 
vegetarian restaurant instead of a look around the studio.

Recently, my Mother-In-Law and I had lunch at 
one of our favorite spots, the Moosewood Restaurant 
in Ithaca, NY. (Never a bad meal - click on their link 
for some spectacular, free, easy vegetarian recipes.) 

I was wowed by their Ginger Iced Tea, 
and while I don't have their recipe, I experimented and
 this is pretty darn close. I don't even have a photo to share 
because I drank all of the tea and am now out of ginger. 
Sorry! That's how good it is.  

If you like ginger, and if you like a little kick 
to your beverage, this is for you:  

Iced Ginger Tea

2 cups water
2 Tbsp. peeled, grated Ginger
1 Tbsp. Honey & 1 tsp.Cinnamon, both optional

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.
Stir in the ginger, honey and cinnamon.
Let steep for 10-25 minutes, 
depending on how hard a kick you want.

Strain, or pour directly into 2 large, ice-filled glasses.
The tea will lighten in color and turn a bit opaque.

I think I found my new summer drink...
Let me know what you think!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finally Friday!

The Squam Art Workshops countdown continues!
Meet the Founder: Elizabeth MacCrellish.
To be warmly greeted by name, 
and welcomed with an open heart.
To be given permission to let go, 
and accepted just as you are.
To connect with a hundred other creative souls,
and allow the magic to take hold.
 All of this is to experience Elizabeth.
While in this woodsy haven, attending amazing 
daytime workshops is only one aspect of SAW.
Elizabeth lines up three nights of All-Star entertainment. 
What a great feeling to walk back to my cabin thinking, 
"I'm so glad I came to this tonight."

Jonatha Brooke attends SAW each year, and also 
performs one of the three nights.
Lucky us.
If you don't have Jonatha's CD "The WORKS", go get it.
Lucky you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That's a Wrap!

Silky, nubby, shimmery, downy soft.
Textural & colorful pleasures abound when embarking 
on a Jane Thornley inspired piece.

Lovingly hand knit, this wrap is my first 
completed Jane Thornley free-range pattern:
Green Before the Gold

I have a few other pieces under way, and I have to say, 
I love Jane's patterns as much as I love her spirit.

On her newly redesigned site you'll find out first hand 
what a power house she is. From her creative depths 
she easily designs free-range knitting patterns, 
crafts stunning one-of-a-kind jewelry, 
maintains a beautiful, thoughtful, inspiring blog, 
leads Inspirational Fiber Excursions throughout the year, 
and runs her Inspired Knitters Club like a well-oiled machine. 
I honestly don't know when she sleeps. 

Like many of you, I collect and organize patterns into binders 
(for that magical day when I'll have time to knit them all.) 
In my studio, however, Jane has a binder all her own.  
 When I open it I hear my long-distance friend whispering 
"any thing is possible" and "you can do it." 
Read "About Jane" for her truly inspiring story.

Jane's approach is as much about celebrating yarns 
as it is about exploring stitches, color, form and function. 
If you're looking for a freeing & adventurous knitting 
experience, look no further. Jane delivers. 

If you're on Ravelry, check out the Jane Thornley Group. 


Apparently inspired by Jane, you-know-who enjoys the company 
of knitters (or perhaps just the end product,) and agrees that
 "there are no rules."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

A fine mess!

I'm in my glory handling
delicate vintage pieces, 
opalescent, sparkly, faceted gems and
lacy patterns, muted colors, velvety textures. 


While working with these materials all I can think 
is that this is the work I've been collecting 
and saving for all these years.

A flood of ideas and a streak of 
production time equals a very happy girl
with a growing flock of fine feathered friends.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Finally Friday!

Over the next three Fridays, I'm celebrating  
the magic of Squam Art Workshops.

Watching the video brings back all the beauty, 
kindness, trust & fellowship that abound in 
that special forest on Squam Lake, NH.

In 2009, my amazing friend Vickie some how 
came across SAW. While I'm not sure how she found it, 
I couldn't be more thankful that she did, and that she asked me 
to join her. It changed my life. Each year since, we've traveled  
to this gorgeous Victorian camp to soak up 3 solid days of 
creativity, laughter, learning and making friends. 
These few Friday installments lead up to our annual 
intrepid journey on Wednesday, June 1st.

What workshops am I taking? 
 It was tough to narrow down the selection, but here they are:
Shirt & Dress Pattern Making with Cal Patch
Copy Cat Embroidery with Rebecca Ringquist
Botanical Printing with Maya Donenfeld

Honestly, could I be in any better hands?
Please visit their sites when you can - you're in for a treat.
YEAH!! Let the count down begin!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Dazzling Day

Whether in the garden or with needle in hand
I'm surrounded by flowers today. 

Back stitch floral in early morning light.

Now with glistening glass beads.

Sun-dappled tulips 

and a regal carpet of Forget-Me-Nots.

What a beautiful day! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

The real deal inspiration in the top corner. 
Fashion from the 1600-1800's gets me excited.
I love every thing about it: 
that it's expertly hand made, 
the attention to detail & pride in workmanship, 
the shapes & proportions,
the fabrics, patterns, colors & layers, 
the ruffles, beads, gold work, ribbons & sequins, 
but most of all, that it's extinct today.  
I'm not claiming to be an expert seamstress, 
I just have a deep appreciation for the workmanship 
and fondness for materials from that bygone era.

Today, working in the studio has been all about 
gold work, pearls & vintage metal sequins, 
hand drawn patterns & hand sewing,
and creating beautiful forms that have the simple purpose 
of being just that, beautiful to look at. 
All while watching (well, mostly listening to)
"Narnia" and "Finding Neverland."  

What a fine day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally Friday!

Each year, I look forward to honoring my Mom on 
Mother's Day, and I try to find different ways to 
recognize and appreciate her. 
Rather than send her "stuff", my Mom prefers us (her kids) 
to give to charities on her behalf.  
Over the years, finding meaningful causes 
has become a personal and rewarding quest.
In fact, it has become my favorite gift to give. 

Christine Mason Miller gave me the idea for this year's gift
by sharing on her site the incredible story of Suraya Pakzad
founder and director of Voice of Women (VOW) in Afghanistan.
  I made my gift in honor of my Mom, 
and I invite you to learn more about Suraya 
and consider giving in honor of your Mom. 

Wishing all Moms a lovely Mother's Day filled with 
joy and happiness.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Words of Encouragement

In a few short weeks, I'll be at Squam Art Workshops. 
Last year, I made this book in Christine Mason-Miller's workshop.
Because there is much to say about the Squam experience, 
I'll elaborate in an upcoming post.
For today though, I wanted to share some words 
that I wrote in my Squam book immediately upon discovering them.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life....
Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. 
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. 
They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 
Everything else is secondary.

 - Steve Jobs 

This book is well used, much loved, 
and never seems to run out of pages.
It will be in my overnight bag when I return to Squam.  


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

This morning, I took the Studio outside for a photo shoot. 
Guess who meandered, jumped and ran through several shots?
I know, he looks innocent.

While we were out, we received this spectacular greeting.

Back inside, new friends under construction.
Stay tuned for how these progress.
We'll find out together.