Puerto Rico 1

We had a fantastic time in Puerto Rico! What a relief to get out of the dreary monochromatic winter-scape and see colors. All these photos are taken in old San Juan, a lovely place to spend a day or two at the end of March.

4:2:colors 1

4:2:colors 2

4:2:colors 3

4:2:colors 4

4:2:colors 5

4:2:colors 6I have never been to PR before and really didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t do much pre-planning and let ourselves be open to enjoying the warm weather, beautiful colors, and tropical landscape. I will post more pics soon.

 

Salley’s New Book! Give-away ahead!

I am so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Salley’s new book, Felt Wee Folk! Yes, we are friends, but that is not influencing my opinion that this is an amazing book.

3:6:wee folk 1

I received an e-copy to review but I’m an old-fashioned kind of craft book reader and I was thrilled when I got my hands on the paper edition. There are so many beautiful photos and projects and so much inspiration! I love how she choose to make families of dolls and also dolls for specific occasions like wedding cake toppers and a nativity scene. There are a variety of doll sizes shown although they are all (in my doll-making world) on the tiny size- 1 1/2″ baby to 4 1/2″ grown-ups.

As I paged through the book, what caught my eye was the variety and I think anyone interested in embroidery and or doll-making would find something fun to do. There are instructions for simpler versions that a child could do and the projects ramp up to higher skill levels and detail work. My most favorite ones are the doll house family. I would have loved having them as a child or making them when my kids were small. The wonderful thing is, these are dolls that can actually be played with, not something that has to be appreciated from the shelf.

3:6:wee folk 3

3:6:wee folk 4

Another project that I loved was the Hansel and Gretel dolls for a candy house. You could make an entire Christmas tree covered in all the characters that Salley came up with. And that is only if you stick with her designs because I can see using her book as a jumping off point to make all the characters for your own story or adventure.

There might be confusion that it is just an updated version of her earlier craft book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects since it has almost the same title, but really, it seems all new! I would think of it as an add-on instead. There were some non-doll felt projects in the first book that she left out and that leaves room for a lot more dolls. The photos are all new and there are many lovely fabric scenes that are what I think of when I imagine Salley’s artwork. I love this one-

3:6:wee folk 2

So here is the fun part- there is a book give-away! Anyone can enter- US address wins a hard copy book, International wins an e-book. Post a comment on the blog by midnight (Eastern Daylight Time) Sunday, March 15 and I will use a random number generator to pick the winner. Remember, you must come over to the blog and leave a comment to be entered. I can not count emailed comments.

If you NEED the book immediately, here are some other options- Amazon

 

or Salley’s Etsy shop where you can get all her books, supplies, posters and all sorts of goodies.

I thought this was cool too- A Child’s Dream, where I buy lots of my felt, has put together this basket and also a felt collection, designed for these projects.

And, lastly, if you are anywhere in the Boston area, you can see some of Salley’s original work in the next 2 months- the Lexington Library in March and then the Newton Library in April. Go see it if you can- they are work a trip. If you just want to take a virtual journey, check out the other blogs on the tour- everyone is having a give-away so you can enter them all!

Felt Wee Folk Blog Tour

March 3 – Mary Corbet’s Needle n’ Thread
March 6 – Mimi Kirchner – Doll
March 10- Margaret Bloom – Wee Bloom Here
March 12 – C&T Publishing’s Blog
March 13 – Kimara – Wee Folk Art
March 15 – Phoebe Wahl 

Renegade Craft Market and other news

My life is very busy and exciting lately! This coming weekend, I will be in Chicago for the Renegade Craft Market. I hope some of you will come out and say hello!

chisquare400

And, today my appearance on Liz Smith’s (MadeinLowell) cable TV show went live. Believe it or not, I wasn’t totally cringing when I watched it. It just didn’t feel like I was watching me. Weird, eh? Liz is amazing and all her shows are super interesting.

Makers in Business with Liz Smith Ep 205 Mimi Kirchner from Liz Smith on Vimeo.

There is even more news- Check this out! I am going to be part of a weekend Art retreat in NYC in March- a collaboration of the Makerie and Sweet Paul Magazine. How fantastic is that! Check it out here and sign up to get more information. I am SO excited to be part of this event!

And what else? I am teaching the Tiny World Pin Cushion at the New England Quilt Museum on September 21.

I’ll be going down to Washington, DC for Crafty Bastards at the end of the month. All the info is here and a link for discounted admission is here.

crafty_badge

Yes, things are crazy busy around here and that is fantastic!

buying toys, I mean tools

I have a bit of a problem when I teach in venues other than my own house. Other places have other tools and when I use them, I want them.

The latest is from the San Francisco trip- that rotary cutter in the pic-

8:13:tools I know, it looks like a regular rotary cutter. I have a drawer full. But, it is different because it is pressure sensitive- which translates to- there is not a blade cover that you retract but the blade slips down when you press it to the fabric. My problem/frustration with rotary cutters has been that when I am cutting up against a ruler, which is pretty much how I always use them, the retracted blade cover rubs up against the ruler and moves it. Gah! I am sure other people have figured out how to work this out but I never have. This cutter works perfectly for me! It seemed like a miracle when I tried out Sonya‘s at the Tiny World class.

I bought the Omnigrid 45mm Rotary Cutter Omnigrid 45mm Rotary Cutter
but it looks like  Dritz 45mm Rotary Cutter is one too.

That wasn’t all though. Someone brought an embroidery book to class. It is pretty, clearly illustrated, fun to look at, (out of print :-( so sad), and I decided I need my own copy to bring to classes.

Stitch Sampler: The Ultimate Visual Dictionary to Over 200 Classic Stitches

After teaching at Gather Here back in January, I bought myself the Gingher 8-Inch Featherweight Dressmaker Shears which I absolutely love, and a white (actually sort of translucent) self-healing cutting mat. Working on a colored surface was affecting my color perceptions- not a good thing. Anyway, I think I am seeing a dangerous pattern here!

Tomorrow I am off to Art Camp- see you after the weekend!

Uncommon Cards by Jeanne Williamson

Another book review. I’m having fun with these! A little backstory- I received an email from the publisher of this book, asking me if I’d like a review copy. I said yes because the author is a local Boston area artist, a friend of a friend, although I’m pretty sure I’ve never met her. So yes, I got the book for free (how cool is that!) and if you click on the link I will get a few pennies.

Uncommon Cards: Stationery Made with Found Treasures, Recycled Objects, and a Little Imagination

The book came in the mail just as I was ramping up for Renegade and I was thinking- I am way too busy to deal with this now. I quickly paged through it though and was immediately impressed by two things-  1. there is pull-out card stock in the back so if I’d wanted to, I could have gotten started immediately. 2. it looks like a book that presents an idea and shows you how far you can go with it- not a mish-mash of many different techniques. I like that. But really, I had no time. So I passed the book to a friend who has a 12 yr old niece visiting who loves art projects. Here is what they made and their review.

7:9:ryancards

Ryan says- “I’ve never written a “formal” review but here’s what India and I thought after making 5 cards (with materials from the book and some of our own).

Learning how to sew onto paper to create cards was interesting and intriguing to both of us. I personally had never considered stitching directly onto cards, nor did I realize how easy and fun it could be. India thought of it more as a task, but she did get creative once we were immersed in the project. I read through the introduction and materials pages and loved Jeanne’s personal stories of creating her own wedding invitations and scavenging for materials. I never noticed how great a square foot of plastic netting could be (see pg’s 20 and 42), or how wonderful it would be to have sushi tonight if only to be able to get my hands on the fake grass that Jeanne uses to make the Sushi Grass Landscape card on pg 22. How adorable is that?!

The instructions were clear throughout the book. India did have some difficulty with adjusting to sewing on paper which leads me to think that this book is better suited for an advanced beginner/intermediate sewer. Some of the techniques are time consuming and sewing on paper is a lot like embroidering, you can see every stitch. There are no hems to hide them. Because of that, each stitch creates a hole in the paper that cannot be undone, as Jeanne does caution. You have to work slowly and map out your stitches if you want a professional looking result.

In short, I would buy this book. It’s well written and well thought out and it is clear that the author enjoys the art of card making and is comfortable with sharing it. India and I were both inspired; India with the idea of letting her be as creative and resourceful as she likes and me with the simple idea of stitching on paper to make beautiful custom cards.”

Wow- sounds great, right? Well, I’m still busy but when I saw what they had done, I needed to try my hand at it. I paged through the book and marked some of the projects that looked inspiring. I pulled out my box of weird ephemera and papers, grabbed some trims and made a pile of goodies on my desk. I personally have a hard time reading directions and find it impossible to keep things as clean and simple as the projects in the book but I had fun and tried some things I never would have thought of on my own.

7:9:mimicards

I too feel like the next time I need a card I will approach make one with a little more creativity.

One more thing. You know this review I did back here about the sewing machine accessories book? (My husband says it is a book about have more fun with the tools you already have!) Well, now that I know what an edge stitching foot is for, I am using it ALL the time now. It is my new favorite sewing toy!

7:9:foot

books and more dogs

Thank you so much to everyone who clicked through the links, way back on this post, and bought books on Amazon. As a result, I had a little pile of Amazon $ and I bought some new craft books to review! Actually, I went to choose some books and the next thing I knew, I had a long list of books- far too many for my budget. Luckily I was able to order some of them up from the library. And then I had an avalanche of books because of course they all come at once! It is a very good problem to have. I will be sharing in the next few weeks because it is really fun!

The first book is Lisa Solomon’s Knot Thread Stitch: Exploring Creativity through Embroidery and Mixed Media

She is going to be one of the teachers at Art Camp so I really wanted to check out her book. I was very interested to see that it was full of unusual embroidery projects- including machine embroidery and printmaking! It is a very interesting combination of solid instructions to learn embroidery techniques with some super cool and unusual projects. I can not wait to meet her in August!

There will be more about the books soon but now, back to the dogs. I made some dogs in January as I was working on patterns and getting ready for my guest artist gig at Gather Here. I never put them in my shop because somehow… well, I just didn’t. So I spent a little more time with them. There is this fellow back in January and now-

6:13:whitedog 1with a shirt collar and french knot buttons. It’s not much but he looks finished now.

6:13:whitedog 2And this fellow hardly got a mention back in January. I am liking him much better with his cashmere scarf and hat.

6:13:beigedog 1Yes, I LOVE the hat!

6:13:beigedog 2Okay, that is 6 dogs so far and there are lots more to come!

Art Camp!

arcimage

Imagine going to summer camp as an adult, on a forested island in a pristine freshwater lake. Imagine creating in this special place alongside a small nurturing community of seasoned instructors and other enthusiasts like yourself.

Summer Art Camp- now that sounds like fantastic fun! Susan from Artstream Gallery has put together an amazing 5 day event. There will be Art classes- including my Tiny World Class- swimming, beautiful views, evening events, hiking, relaxing, whatever sounds good! I am so excited to be part of this event. I hope some of you out there will join us! Check out all the details here.

Sweet Paul Magazine!

I’m back from North Carolina and hope to be back to work soon. Tomorrow, beach and travel pics. A little preview-

5:1:shellsBut the news for today is the latest Issue of Sweet Paul Magazine! Remember back in February when I posted about their visit? Now the magazine is out and there I am, starting on page 28- I am so totally thrilled to be featured in this gorgeous publication! You can check out the whole magazine online and/or you can get yourself a paper copy. It is a special Kids issue and there is loads of goodies in it- products, recipes, home decor. What an exciting day.

a class, an essay and the beach

3:25:cupsI’ve got various random bits of news. I’m teaching a Tiny World class at Gather Here on April 13 and 14. Come join the fun! This class is suitable for anyone who can thread a needle.

3:25:tiny worldsAnd, I am the guest blogger (or Curator) at Jenny Doh’s blog, Crescendoh.com. I wrote an essay on the theme of “Art Saves” here.

We were away for a few days at a family gathering. On the way home we stopped at a few beaches along the East Coast and saw many signs of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. But still, the beach is so beautiful.

3:25:beachAnd one more thing- Instagram. I can’t stay away. I’m mimikirchner over there if you want to find me.