I had an amazing time in LA. What can I say? Leaving Boston with snow on the ground and going somewhere with palm trees will always work for me! First stop was the Craftcation Conference in Ventura.
That beach was about a block from the hotel. There were teenagers playing volleyball on the sand, people who actually said “gnarly” completely seriously, all the plants we could never grow here- it really, most definitely, is not Boston. It was great!
The conference was excellent. It is described as “4 days of creative business classes and hands-on craft and food workshops”. It sounded right up my alley and I’d talked to someone who’d gone in 2015 so I was pretty sure it would be a good time. The thing is, when I step out of my house, I never know what I will learn and what will stick with me. What ended up being the best part for me? Socializing with my peers. Just hanging out and talking with other people who have creative lives and businesses. I don’t get enough of that, ever. It is one of the perils of being an introvert and working by myself. I actually met amazing 2 people who live right here in Massachusetts- Funny how I have to go all the way across the country to meet my local peers! Hi Crispina and Jenny! Of course I loved all the other parts too. I made a simple shirt with Sonya, talked about designing a wardrobe with her too, embroidered with Robert, and did block printing with Lisa. I have gotten all excited about the block printing so more on that later! But, here is what I did in class-
Mine is the yellow flowers-
These fellows came out with me and got to meet lots of Craftcation attendees.
Okay, that was the first part of my California trip. I will show-and-tell more soon.
I love it when people send me photos of things they’ve made from my patterns so I am making an effort to remember to post them (with permission, of course). It is always interesting to see where people go creatively with my directions.
This amazing maker must have the luckiest 2 grandsons ever- she made them 5 fish each!
And look at this fantastic tiny world, made by Cheryl Tempest Burton. The flowers are amazing!
btw- my talk on social media went really well. I was nervous and wasn’t sure who would show up, what they’d want to know, and all the rest of the crazy-making that my head gets up to. In the end, people were interested and enthusiastic and I had fun!
Finally, here they are, all together, in the window at Gather Here.
and the other way-
And the groupings-
There are 8 foxes in the window- 7 new ones and one that I had in stock. 4 boys and 4 girls.
I am teaching two classes in Cambridge at Gather Here. Come and make some ornaments!
Whales on Wednesday, Dec. 9-
And Gnomes, on Saturday, Dec. 12.
I love when people send me photos of what they’ve made from my patterns. Look what I got in the mail yesterday- 50 whales!
I love how they look all together and it reminds me that when I was making mine, I thought they’d make a fantastic garland, a pod of whales, across a room. When I published the pattern back in the summer, it wasn’t exactly the time of year for thinking about ornaments so this is a reminder that maybe you might want to make some now! They are all available in my etsy shop, instant download. I’d love to see some more photos of finished ornaments.
I played with some new-to-me supplies/tools when I was working on the patterns. I didn’t write them into the pattern directions because they aren’t necessary, maybe just interesting.
Have you heard of Frixion pens? They are erasable gel pens. There is an eraser at the end of the pen, but much more useful for me, the marks are erasable by ironing. That sounds like magic, doesn’t it! Well, there is a problem. Yes, the marks disappear with heat but they will reappear with cold. I would never use them on my dolls, but an ornament? I don’t think it is that big a deal if the marks came back a bit. The marks are either cutting lines or will be covered with embroidery. And, you could always iron them again. The thing is, these pens work great on the felt- so much better than the water-erasable fabric pens! I got mine on Amazon but I think they are available at lots of places. (btw- that link goes to amazon and if you buy the pens, I get a teeny tiny kickback!)
Next, Clover Applique pins. Short pins that work really well for pinning all those tiny felt pieces. You don’t end up trying to sew the equivalent of a porcupine.
And lastly, Merchant and Mills Bulb pins. I have been wanting to play with these funny safety pins. I discovered that I could pin them onto an ornament to hang it, instead of a string. And, I just wanted them.
I have posted my 5 new pdf ornament patterns into my etsy shop here! I am SO excited about these. I had so much fun and can’t wait to make more but back to work on dolls for a while first. To celebrate, I will give away 10 patterns! Leave a comment saying which one you’d like and I will pick ten winners after Monday (7/20, ends at midnight eastern US time). One entry per person, right?!
There is the whale-
Felt fish, perfect for embroidery embellishing! If you fill it with catnip, your kitty will love you (even more).
An adorable Star Baby. You could embroider the back with a name and date for a baby’s first Christmas.
A Gnome- or maybe an elf? Santa’s helper?
And a Winter Girl- This would actually make an adorable little doll, don’t you think?
Okay then. Let’s have a giveaway! Please come over to comment on the blog (no emails).
I know it has been pretty quiet over here. It has not been quiet in my life! I am making great progress on my ornament patterns and hope to publish 5 designs in mid-July, when I get back from Portland, Oregon.
And, I took another trip down to Brooklyn for some West Elm business- that made the 3rd trip to NY in 5 weeks! I stopped in Connecticut to see family. I’ve spent some time making new clothes- I really ought to do a post about that. But, mostly I have been concentrating on pattern writing and photo taking.
And, wow, is my desk messy. Lots and lots of tiny bits of paper and thread and felt.
And samples and more samples.
I’m hoping to be back to the regular making schedule once I am back from my trip and the patterns are ready.
I am so behind on all the things I want to post about! I wanted a travel bag and so bought a pattern for the Cooper Bag. After I bought the pattern, I realized that I would never make it unless I scheduled a time. So, I signed up for a class at Gather Here- 3 evenings in May. It was a lot of fun to get out of the house and make something completely different and spend time with other makers!
Here it is, all finished, front and back.
And the inside-
And here I am, testing it out on my recent trip to NYC.
My thoughts on it after my trip. It is a great size for an overnight or weekend bag. I could fit everything I needed into it. It is too big for what I want in an everyday bag though, so that means I need to find something else to cover that. I think I would prefer strap closure to the snaps (or in addition to)- the snaps worked well but if I tried to over-stuff, even a little, I couldn’t secure the bag closed. I wish it had a secure outside pocket for things like tickets. The pockets at the bottom back edge are so public (?)- it felt like anything I put there could so easily be slipped out by someone behind me. I put an umbrella in one and a notebook in another. Those are all minor criticisms though- the bag worked well for my trip and I know I will get a LOT of use out of it!
Back in March I was over on Sew Mama Sew as part of their 6 weeks of softies. The 6 weeks are over and people made some amazing pieces which you can check out here. They are also doing a toy drive and are looking for more donations.
This is what Kristin + Beth sent me-
I have a favor to ask. We are accepting donations to the Soft Toy Drive through the end of the month. So far I have a couple dozen contributions, but I’d love to be able to send at least 200 toys to the National Foster Parent Association conference in June. I heard from so many people involved in foster parenting who all agree that foster children often show up at a new home with hardly any personal belongings. Having a toy that is all their own to love and keep would mean so much. If you could help us spread the word to your readers, I would really appreciate it. All the information is in this post.
I am going to send in some pieces that were made as samples for books or prototypes for toys. I never knew what to do with them and this seems perfect. Maybe you have something to contribute?