Monday, November 30, 2009

new custom svelte handbags

This sweet little custom clutch features a photo that I took of my nephew, Nash, this summer. It's perfect for a grandma, don't you think? It has all kinds of pockets inside, and one that's zippered on the outside which is great for a cell phone and other important papers, or even your keys. And it's made from recycled fabrics!

Here's another custom clutch, made to go with a tote bag. It turned out great, which is usually what happens when people say, "just make whatever you think is good". Somehow I always end up doing a little more, like adding an extra pocket, because you can never have too many!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

visiting the farm

We went to Ware Farm to pick up our csa share over the weekend. It was fun to walk around with Bernie and Sandee, learning all kinds of new things. There's a big ditch leading to the place where the new greenhouse will be located. Fyn had a great time playing in the dirt.

Maggie and Bonny, the Scottish Highland cows, love to eat the leftovers from the garden, including chard and brussel sprout stems.

Sandee showed us all kinds of cool moss, a nice big tree and her whole field of mullein! I learned that the flowers and leaves can be made into tea for respiratory issues.

Bernie chopped up some fresh cold season shitake mushrooms for a stir-fry dinner, which Sandee cooked up for us. Super deluxe!

Here's the take for this week's share! We are so thankful for our farmer friends! There were even eggs and goat cheese to try, thanks to Julie and Erik, who work on the farm. Feasts are in order for the next two weeks!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One of my favorite revamps this year!

Here's a simple maternity/nursing dress or nightie revamp! I found this in a folder to post and am just now getting to it. Maybe you can relate?

This dress was inspired by a great book I found at the library called Born Again Vintage. I made several of these for my friend who was pregnant out of her old knit tank tops, cotton skirts and dresses.

First you cut the shirt just below the bust, and cut the skirt or dress to the length you want by holding it up to your body. Then you serge it to the skirt. Remember to add about a half inch for seam allowance! To keep it even all around, you pin or clip (small binder clips are my favorite, and I keep them on a magnetic pin cushion) the skirt to the shirt in four places, front, back and sides. Then you stretch a little while you are stitching so both fabrics are the same length. For the pocket, sew two pieces of fabric together (or fold one in half), leaving open a few inches to turn. Once you have it right side out, press and stitch where you want it on the skirt, reinforcing at the corners by stitching a triangle.

For myself, I recycled my old T-shirts into snazzy new nighties that work for nursing! Halters and old nursing tops work best. My favorite is the Motherhood V-neck tank. In fact, I'm ready to make some more because they are so comfortable!

Jen's little girl, Winter Rose, was born the day after Halloween, and she's gorgeous! We are working on a new joint venture in baby headwear, so I thought I'd give you a little preview...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

giving thanks for our daily bread

We are so thankful for good friends, kindness and bread that is not only wood-fired locally, but also vegan!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

barnwood frames from Paradise Hill Designs

Photos seem to be one of our favorite gifts, maybe in part because they are fairly simple to put together. A great frame makes it even better, and these are recycled from barnwood! I have a gift drawer, where I keep things like this handy for gift giving. It has saved me from many frantic moments, and helped me pull off a great gift in the last few minutes before leaving the house more than once!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

asherjasper needlefelted goodness!

The holidays are getting closer, and we are searching for just the right handmade gifts to give. Here are few favorites...

This little owl ball is so sweet! I have a few people in mind who might like to get it as a gift... who, who?
And this little playmat is adorable. Our little animals would love to visit this little water wonderland. Asherjasper has so many things that we love!

Monday, November 23, 2009

made with love by hannah

Some sweet skirts for fall...Woodsy and fairy tale magical skirts, these would transform me into a kind, patient person, I'm sure of it! Hannah has more sweet, whimsical designs in her etsy shop.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

link to patch pants tutorial on etsy

This is for all of you who have asked me about making patch pants!

And for those of you who would rather just buy a pair, check out Christine's work!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lantern Walk with our Waldorf friends

What a magical night. We sang songs together about Me, My lantern and I and This Little Light of Mine. Fyn asked for more when we were done, with word and sign. It was fun to see everyone, and to hear the story of St. Martin cutting his cloak in half to share with a weary traveler who turns out to be someone royal. Then we hiked into the woods for two miles! Fyn fell asleep about halfway, and we fell way behind. Thankfully, another small group helped us find our way back.

The lanterns ranged from beautiful watercolors to recycled cans and jars. Ours was made from an old salsa jar, some heavy wire, mulberry paper, a glue stick and a pillar candle in the last five minutes before leaving the house. Amanda and Terry's was an old canning jar with a braided yarn handle and a taper candle stuck into sand. Eric made his from some big old coffee cans. He put holes in the sides and really long handles with twine, tapers in sand on the bottom. I used one of these and it was smart to have it close to the ground, so I could see, and not too close to my hand.

Next year maybe I'll have a different design...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heart Felt Folks tell story of The Mitten

It all starts with a little boy who wants his grandma to knit him some white mittens. After that, all kinds of adventure and mayhem ensues. We first learned of this story called "The Mitten" at a Waldorf playgroup, and have been enchanted by these little puppets which help tell the story.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

plytextiles rocks with quilted wool felt and fab mittens!

A fellow recyclist, plytextiles uses felted sweaters to make not only functional but practical things, infused with great design elements. It reminds me of a film I saw a while ago, when I worked with Herman Miller. Charles and Ray Eames created an amazing collection on images of good goods. Some were basic images of essentials, like a stack of firewood. Mittens are definitely an essential for me, to keep my always cold fingers warm. More are in progress too, so if you don't see the right pair today, maybe tomorrow they will be ready!

Hmm, quilting with felted wool might just be the way for me to quilt... No seam allowances to keep straight... I would love a whole jacket in this pattern and color scheme!

Little Sapling's recycled, organic and reusable goodies!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Betsy, a fellow etsy artist. She is responsible for my stuff making it to the front page of etsy! So, I want to show you what she does that I think is cool. This organic cotton hat is so sweet, with the little leaf on it!

I love the tassels on this recycled hat!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MiChiMa makes fun felt stuff!

MiChiMa is not one but three crafty creatives in one family. They make sweet felt letters and animals. We are putting all of these on our Christmas list. I wonder if etsy is really Santa's workshop gone public? Probably helps cut down on the last minute confusion there at the North Pole.

Cute for christmas, or on birthday gifts!

Someday, when we are ready to read these are going to be awesome, tactile learning tools, and they come with magnets too! So much better on the refrigerator than the plastic letter we used to have as kids.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Polka Dot Tot Spot

Since I keep sharing my crafty moments, I thought you might want to see what other creative artists are making! The way things are going, it's more important than ever to conserve, being good stewards of our mother earth. It's also important to support artists, who can fill our lives with beautiful handmade goods. This week, I'm sharing some of my favorites!

Heather makes great reusable birthday banners, balls and blocks using new, modern fabrics by designers like Michael Miller and Heather Ross. Save time and money on birthday decorations by using this each year for a great birthday tradition. This one is so cute in orange, brown and blue. It work work for a boy or a girl. Her stuff is featured on the Michael Miller website!

This cute ball is stitched up with a bell inside, great for little ones, and for playing ball indoors.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sewing tip for easy elastic waist pants

A friend asked me about making kid's pants. We found a pretty good tutorial that helped a lot. First, I make a pattern from a pair of pant that fits well, adding about 1/2" seam allowance, and tracing the pants onto the inside of a paper grocery sack. Add about 1 1/2" to the waist to allow for folding, elastic and stitching. Same for the hem.

Both panels are roughly the same, so I use the one piece, putting the straight edge on the fold of the fabric. It's important to fold the selvedge edges (usually with words on them) together, and use the fold in that direction, so your pattern is running in the same direction as the grain of the fabric. (This is especially important if you are using corduroy or velvet - all patterns should be cut the same way.)

Next, to sew the pants together, you can start with the legs, sewing right sides of the fabric together.

Or you can start with the inseam, sewing the two pieces together. It's a good idea to stitch this again, a little closer to the edge, just to reinforce it.

For the elastic casing, fold over the top about 1/4", and then again about 1/2 or so, press and stitch. Or serge the end, fold and stitch. Leave open about an inch so you can fit the elastic in.

Same thing for the hems.

One big question I keep seeing is about how much elastic you should use in your pants. A rough guide is about 3/4 the measurement of the waistband, maybe a little less if the elastic is quite stretchy. This pair used 1/4" elastic and tends to come down even over a cloth diaper, so I'd use 1/2" or 1" elastic next time.

Put a large safety pin through the elastic (as large as your casing will allow). Thread through casing, remove pin, overlap the ends about an inch and stitch elastic. Stitch casing closed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Be a Beacon Waldorf inner work program

As my dear, wise Waldorf friends are planning a lantern walk for this weekend, they connected me to a website that has all kinds of great information and stories. I know some of my friends will want to check it out, for the stories, poems and crafty ideas.

I might have mentioned that sometimes I feel like the guy who is spinning plates on a stick in one hand and juggling with the other while riding a bike on a tightrope. Some days I just feel like the tightrope, but since my husband slept with Fyn last night, I had five glorious hours of straight sleep! So, I'm working on the plate spinning first. Focus is essential.

And then I found this amazing program. Looks like we will learn the best of the best and how to balance all the things I'm trying to negotiate. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

recycled boy's shirts - cowboy style!

After much thought and consideration, I finally decided what to make for Fyn's buddies for their second birthdays. Fyn had an abundance of button up shirts, so I took some of my cool new fabric stash and spread out the graphic goodness!

It was so much fun, I made a few more and posted them on my etsy site!

Anyone know why blogger wants my pictures to be all sideways?

Back to the shirts - I found that cutting the fabric to fit each shirt and leaving it raw was the coolest effect. Serging the edges works too, as long as you remember to leave a little extra when you are cutting it out. Prewashing the fabric might be a good idea, but I didn't find it to be necessary. It does make the fabric fray a little, which looks rough and kinda cool for a boy, don't you think?

Fyn helped me decorate some plain white bags from my crafty stash, and we cut slits with a scissor and threaded some scrap ribbon through, tying it in square knots and trimming the ends. Happy Birthday to our friends!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

children's recycled wool sweater jackets!

What's new? Some warm wooly goodness on my etsy site. I made five of these last week, somehow. Fyn played in my studio so patiently while I snipped and stitched to get ready for a show this weekend. One two are left, so I posted them in my etsy shop.

river side cedar

yellow finch

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

fresh gingerbread

Based on Mollie Katzen's Spicy Gingerbread, this great recipe has been modified a bit to be non-dairy. It was a big success at the halloween potluck!

a little butter for the pan
6 T soy margarine (willow run or earth balance) or canola oil
3 T grated fresh ginger
1/2 c light colored honey
1/2 c light molasses
3/4 c canned pears
1 egg
2 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" square pan.

2. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the ginger and saute together over medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat.

3. Combine honey and molasses in a small mixing bowl, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger mixture, pears and egg and beat for a minute more. Set aside.

4. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet mixture. Mix and spread into prepared pan.

5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the top surface is springy to the touch. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

I tried this the second time in a glass pan, reducing the oven temp to 325, and I don't recommend it! Stick with a metal pan if you can.

Tastes great even days later when kept in the refrigerator.

glitterchick at mecca

Whenever I head into Benzonia, either to the grocery store (which sells fabric!) or post office, I like to stop by and say hello to my friend, Marcy. She is the first person I met when I moved up here, and she has introduced me to many other wonderful people. Her little shop, mecca, is on the top of the hill and you get there by driving through the alley.

We share a love of paper and of all things vintage. Her desk inspires me every time! She's making cool cake toppers and keepsake boxes now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

custom knitting bag for melissa

Here's how a bag starts... A great mix of new and recycled fabrics, placed together, to see which will be just right for the finished bag. Size, texture, color and pattern are all important.

A. Green denim for the body, flocked brown denim for the base and straps and a sweet velvet print pocket
B. Waxed canvas body, mustard denim for base and straps, with a vintage pillowcase for a pocket