Sunday, October 30, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Satisfying, hearty, delicious.
 If you love pumpkin pie and oatmeal, 
you have to try this easy recipe!
May your kitchen smell amazing and your belly be full.

 That hearty breakfast was essential 
for tackling this pile.

Taking a break from bags & quilts, I gave myself 
permission to cut loose today and make mug mats. 
Are you in on the craze?! 
I've wanted to make them for months, and today was the day. 

Facing that pile of scraps was a little daunting,
but I eventually found my groove and was cranking out 
mug mats as only a sewer and mug lover could.

  Rebecca Ringquist's printed butterfly looks great next to
a piece of cotton that I dyed using the snow melt process.
Rebecca's printed fabrics are lighthearted and unique,
making them great fun to mix and match.
Unlimited potential, I tell ya! 

 I don't think I've posted pictures of my work table 
mid stream, but this is fairly tame. Those scraps  
grew to a full-fledged mound by dinner time. 

My favorites from today's session
(and they're not even finished yet!) 
Count me in on the mug mat craze because 
these are fun, addicting and useful.

Mug mats will soon be for sale in my shop 
just in time for holiday giving! College students, 
co-workers, hostess gifts, best friends...
who wouldn't love such a thoughtful gift?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little Seedy

 Arriving at the tail end of this year's gardening cycle,
 I've just gone out and collected all kinds of seeds.
I bring out a stack of small brown paper bags and simply
fill each with seed heads. One kind of seed per bag.
I let the seed heads dry in the bags
before shaking them for easy release.
Then I pour the seeds into pre-made, 
pre-labeled paper envelopes and line them up in 
an airtight container placed in the pantry for the winter. 

 Drying seeds holds the promise 
of exciting color & texture for next year.
Enduring long winters, this kind of promise 
goes a long way.
While I've collected plenty of seeds for flowering plants,  
here's my favorite source for veggie seeds & supplies:

Do you collect seeds, too?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Each October, I hope for a perfectly warm day 
to hunt through the local pumpkin patch, 
drink hot cider and savor homemade donuts 
before heading home to carve a scary face 
and roast pumpkin seeds.
This year, today is that perfectly warm day, 
so I'm taking you with me to a local farm, Reeds Seeds.
While they don't have hot cider and fresh donuts, 
they do have lots of charm,
richly hued corn, 
and white pumpkins!
On the way home, we're stopping to capture a final 
moment of Fall splendor. Can you believe snow is 
due to arrive in Upstate New York in just a few days?
Safe at home, this beauty basks in
the final hours of daylight.

My favorite girl just sent me the yummiest looking recipe!
Let's try this together:

If you carved pumpkins, I'd love to see your faces,
scary or silly!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cozy Cake

Good bye boring coffee cake.

Today is blustery, dark, damp and cold.
That's about right for this time of year in Upstate NY. 
So, after a morning of last minute (literally) garden 
clean-up, I came indoors, fired up the oven and
baked this cozy, comforting coffee cake. 
Not only does my house smell great,
but the cake was easy to put together, and 
I can't wait to share it with my nephews!

Give yourself a treat and check out 
Abby Dodge's "Baketogethers" on her blog.
A few months ago, she came up with this neat way 
to bake together even though we're all miles apart. 
You can join in!
Her wisdom alone is worth the read, but baking 
her personal recipes and reading how other bakers 
change things up are just as rewarding. 

Fire up your oven.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

 Earlier today, I was honored to attended a wonderful
 baby shower for the lovely Kacie McLyman (center). 
She is beautiful inside and out, cool, and fun-loving. 
She'll be a great Mom, and making a few gifts 
to help her on her way was truly a joy. 

Weeks in the making, I had to keep these gifts 
a secret from you because Kacie's mom is 
my dear friend Vickie, and Vickie reads this blog. 
Hi Vickie.

 Now without further delay, here are 
the gifts made with love just for Kacie. 
 Because every mom needs a dependable diaper bag, 
and Kacie likes zebra print, this bag quickly became 
the starting point for the gift.
If you need a diaper bag that doesn't look 
like a diaper bag, you have to try this pattern by 
Rebeka Lambert.
Cute, hand printed onesies.
In case you're wondering, "M" is for Max. 
 All rolled up, ready for the diaper bag.
 Apologies for the dark photo, but I wanted to tell 
you about this wonderful travel changing pad.
A pattern in Lotta Jansdotter's book 
Simple Sewing for Baby, it's a really useful gift
 to make and give. As you can see, it rolls up 
and pops right into the diaper bag. 
Every new parent needs this!
 No restless baby is safe from the powers of a good book, 
a flannel tab blankie and a soft bunny. 
(These PDF patterns are available on my Etsy shop.)
All loaded up and ready to give to the most 
beautiful new mama-to-be. 
Wishing you the happiest motherhood, Kacie! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stitch & Tie

The original paper & paste 
 Welcome back for Part 4, the final installment 
in this series called Paper & Paste.

Last Wednesday I hinted about texture & shine. 
The bad news is that the "shine" fell through. 
The good news is the "texture" is ready to strut its stuff!
Have you tried sewing paper? 
Personally, I'm happier sewing thicker paper, and 
I like any thread that will breathe life into the design.
Here, I really enjoy the effect of variegated thread. 
(Better photo below.)
Today, I made a little booklet from plain paper I had 
lying around, and of course used the gorgeous 
machine stitched paper for the cover. 
A bit if wax linen thread, button hole thread 
or embroidery floss will work nicely for the binding.
Outside cover, bound with orange wax linen thread.

Inside the cover is just as nice as outside.
For me, free-motion sewing is like holding a pencil.
Anything can be "drawn".

A clearer view of the variegated thread.
My little booklet will be used as my personal phone book.
Yes, I still write them down...after all, an electronic
device just doesn't offer me this fantastic texture 
each time I reach for a friend's number.

Well, my friends, thanks for coming by 
for the Paper & Paste series.
I hope you'll cook up a quick batch of paste with 
young people and make some wrapping papers, 
holiday cards or gift tags, cut your paper into strips 
for gorgeous paper chains, or any thing else 
you can dream up. Most of all, have fun!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Today has been about my continual quest to find 
the perfect bag. Comfortable with both customizing sewing 
patterns and making my own, when I saw this bag I thought, 
"maybe that's it, the perfect bag." 
So, I figured it would be worth sewing precisely as designed by 
 Immediately after sewing Rebeka's "Pleated Tote"
I knew I really liked it. This bag is deep and holds 
a ton o'schtuff, the strap length is just right, and it 
looks equally great carried by a tall or short person. 
Now that's saying a lot. 
Pink never fails to cheer. 
I know my friend receiving this gift will be very pleased, 
which makes me very pleased.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful Pleated Tote
tutorial, Rebeka. I can't wait to make one for myself!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Simple & Stylish

 Welcome to the third installment of Paper & Paste!
Remember how easy it was to whip up the paste recipe 
(scroll back two Wednesdays) 
and spread it over the stencil and onto your paper?

 After removing the stencil and letting the paste dry,
you were promised limitless potential for using 
your newly decorated papers.
Without further delay:

 Here's a look at what variegated thread 
in the sewing machine can do for a solid paint color. 
More on this technique to follow, especially
since the back might even be prettier than the front!

Destined to become a special note card or book cover, 
more experimental sewing is needed (darn my luck) 
so stay tuned to see how it turns out.

 Here's the same stencil with red paste on tracing paper.
A little bit of ribbon and a tag, and you've got a simple, 
inexpensive, personal way to polish up a brown paper package.

This says assembly line for holiday gift wrapping, doesn't it?! 
Remember last Wednesday's post showing how to make 
your own stencils? Think snowman, ornament, 
star, tree...or you could get fancy and cut a snowflake, 
reindeer or pine boughs from stencil plastic sold at 
quilt stores or online. Don't be intimidated though, because 
even the simplest design would look festive and fun! 

The same stencil and red paste on thick cotton paper
makes for a sturdy gift tag. You could get several tags 
from one piece of paper.
Take a fine point pen and draw "stitches" around all of
the shapes. If you're cutting your tag from a larger piece 
of paper, choose a spot to cut your tag that allows 
room for writing To & From. Once the tag is cut out, 
punch a small hole at the top, thread a narrow ribbon through 
and fasten onto your package.

Next Wednesday, I'll share ways to add sparkle and texture 
to your paper & paste papers! You wouldn't want to miss out 
on something shiny, would you?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

 To look at these vivid hydrangeas today
you'd never know the sky is actually  
dismal gray and it's positively cold outside.
Fall has arrived.
Pre-drafted BFL roving, Pigeonroof Studios

Each fall, I look forward to attending fiber festivals.
Having just come off of Hemlock and Southern Adirondack 
my fiber stash is beefed up for winter spinning, 
or so I thought. As you may recall from last Sunday's post, 
thanks to my dear friend Mary Miller 
(or as you know her on Ravelry, dearmary,) 
I have found a new love, three ply. 

Pigeonroof Studios, BFL on the bobbin
Last Sunday, when I gathered some fiber to begin 
trying my hand at three ply, some fiber turned into 
lots of fiber, and then I knew I had just opened 
a giant can of worms.

Into The Whirled, Spun Right Round, to name a few more.
I was filling bobbins so fast that I had to phone a friend!
(Thanks for the extra bobbins, Vickie.)
With enough bobbins loaded, I went headlong into plying.

Thanks to my dear friend Steph who emboldened my 
sense of color combinations when she told me 
not to over think it - just do it! Those magic words 
allowed me to just let go and ply (almost) anything together. 
 Here's a look at the first fruits of my labor:
While I admit that all of that spinning was  
kind of a blur, I can still name names: 
Spun Right Round, Into The Whirled
Pigeonroof Studios and some mystery random 
bobbin ends. They were all wonderful to spin. 
I discovered I like mixing fibers in the same three ply - 
merino & BFL, for example. Another can of worms.
As Mary explained to me, three ply results in 
a much rounder yarn, and let me assure you, 
this is the squoooshiest yarn I've ever spun.

The next step in the process: knit!
Pattern suggestions, any one?