helper wanted

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I am looking for a very part-time helper- one day a week, 6 hours or so. I live in Arlington, a suburb of Boston. I need someone to help me do the things I do which would mostly be the machine sewing part of the making but also various random things like getting ready for shows, cutting fabric, tracing patterns, and on and on. If you are interested in hearing more, email me at

The photo is the 50 fish bodies I cut out this week- I love all the colors! Yes, I’d love some help sewing them up!

what’s happening around here

I made something for the Summer Stitch Fest. I had big plans, cut out 2 shirts, but then didn’t even get the one finished. I finished it on Monday though and got to wear it out for my birthday dinner last night.

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The fabric is double gauze which I’ve never sewed with before. It was definitely not as easy to sew with as regular woven cotton. It was wiggly and stretchy and very difficult to unpick when things didn’t go right which unfortunately was pretty often. But, it is light and airy and very nice for a summer shirt and now it is finished.

Things have suddenly picked up around here. I am really excited to tell you that I will be going to Nashville in September for the Tennessee Craft Fair, Sept. 23, 24, and 25. So, what should I know about or definitely not miss while I’m in Nashville? I’m excited to go since the last time I was there was maybe 1981? I suspect things have changed quite a bit.

Also, I will be doing CraftBoston Holiday Show in December but I will post more about that when it gets closer. Both of these shows have just been confirmed so suddenly I am feeling like I need to get more things made. The last 3 days have been spent cutting out pieces of/for tattooed men. The studio is getting that crazy mess look.

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Next, I have to cut out some ladies. Then, I am going to pull out the dye pots. That is the next step in the process but I will want to wait for a cool-ish day. So many steps!

a newsy post to start July

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I am working on more ornament designs (although I hate calling them ornaments since they are just little felt figures and could be lots of things- such as tiny toys, a baby mobile, a decorative bunting… ) and as you can see, this tray of first-try prototypes are fairy tale girls. I’ve got a lot of drawing and I’m going to work on 3-d-ing a bunch of them and we’ll see what makes it to the pattern stage. These little projects mean that my sewing machine is getting a break-

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and so has immediately gotten covered with supplies. And my work table- looks like it has exploded with thread, felt, and paper!

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Speaking of patterns, I have printed up paper copies of my non-ornament patterns and am now selling them in bulk, wholesale on Etsy. This is so shops, and doll or quilting clubs can buy them. The listing is for the Tiny World pattern, my most popular, but I am happy to do bulk orders for the fish, owl, kitty, or swaddled baby, if that’s what you’d be interested in. Send me an etsy convo or email ( if you have any questions.

And here is a funny story. My daughter was out for a walk in Chicago where she lives. As she was walking by a playground, she saw this so she snapped a photo and texted it to me-

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Now I know that most of my tattooed person art get hung up on the wall, but this lady is out and about, seeing the world- I LOVE it! Art in the wild= the best!

If you live in the US, have a wonderful long weekend! I need to get down to my library today to pick up a museum pass for the ICA in Boston. Hopefully I will get some art viewing on my long weekend.

What is in the queue

This is my work table-

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I’ve got a whole lotta man going on! Yep, there are the ones that are moving forward first, stuffed and standing. Then there are the flat ones in the front, waiting to be stuffed. There are a few that still need a few parts cut out and to be sewn up. All the stages of the tattooed men.

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Hopefully I will have some finished pieces soon and the weather will cooperate for photographing them. See you soon!

the girl news

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These girls are slow! This photo above was my desk yesterday morning. The 4 little girls all currently have something to wear but…

These girls are a re-designed pattern. That means that I am making new patterns for all the clothing. It ends up being a slow and sometimes frustrating process. Some of the clothing that the girls are currently wearing will have to be remade or at least fixed since they don’t fit quite right. I was hoping to have something finished by the end of this past week but that didn’t happen. I am going to move on to some other dolls for a while and maybe get back to these friends after the holiday season. I want to do them right, not just get them done. So, back to the shelf and being patient!

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and some more Mimi news

I haven’t been spending much time here because I haven’t finished anything! That is very frustrating but I figured I’d check in anyway. I have been busy and distracted. This is where I am with the girls-

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There are maybe 5 more that are stuffed and put together but no faces or hair yet. And then a bunch more, sewed but not assembled. All the girls are currently patiently waiting because I am working on ornament prototypes for West Elm Holiday 2016 (yes already!). Hopefully I will be back to the girls soon.

So, speaking of ornaments, my 2015 line for West Elm is now available. These final designs ended up pretty far from my original designs but that’s the way it works with licensing. There is a racoon couple and a fox couple. It is always a fascinating process.

The other things that have kept me busy or have proved to be distracting? We got a new car to replace our 1997 Honda Civic, probably about time. We are now a Prius family. I went down to New York for Columbus Day weekend and saw Ronnie Burkett’s amazing puppets. Also went to some museums. I think my next post will be things I took photos of at the Met. Work is being done on the house, some of which is to repair damage from last winter. Hopefully it will all be done before winter comes again! It is tough to concentrate on my work with the noise and interruptions. And, the chiropractor. Yeah, my back is messed up again. So, probably too much information. On the inspiring side of life, we’ve been watching the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which are great fun and fantastic costumes. I’ve listened to all the audio versions of the books and the shows are obviously not the same but lots of fun anyway. (well, yes, I think the books are better- am I a snob?!)

Fall is in full swing and the weather and fall colors have been great. I love Autumn.

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what I’ve been working on

I have been wanting to get back to making some girl dolls for quite a while. There always seems to be something else that makes it to the top of the “what’s next” list though. Back last winter, I pulled out various patterns of mine and experimented with making some in cotton. I came up with nothing that satisfied me and everything went into a shopping bag and got stuck in a corner.

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I recently emptied that bag back onto my work table and have gone back to work, this time using wool. Much better!

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I am working on tweaking my original girl pattern and also making a little girl design. These are the 2 I am currently moving forward on.

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Next, as I sorted through my fabrics for a variety of skin shades, I found I was low on the peachy colors. I had a range of pinks, but they were too pinky-pink for my taste. So, time for the dye pots.

I had 4 shades of pink that I was aiming to tone down and/or get closer to a peach flesh color-

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I pulled out my dyes and picked a variety. I usually use Cushing Dye for wool but I also did 2 tests with Rit. This was what I got out of a morning’s work-

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The bottom row, second from the left is the 4 original, un-dyed fabrics. I experimented with- Cushing Apricot, Aqualon Yellow, Tan, Nugget Gold, Maize, Orange (2 times since one was too bright), Lemon, and Rit Tan and Taupe. From my samples, I was able to make some educated guesses about what would work. I was very happy with the results! I put a swatch of the original color with the new, over-dyed color.

9-26-dyes - 1 (1)The one that says 3 (left most) is the subtlest. I used Rit Taupe and it just toned the color down a bit. #2 was Cushing Aqualon Yellow. #1 and #4 Cushing Maize. I am really pleased with my results! I had an excellent dyeing day; well, except when the towel caught on fire… but yeah, not too much damage ;-)

Now, time to start cutting out some girls!

ornaments on the horizon

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.

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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.

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And, wow, is my desk messy. Lots and lots of tiny bits of paper and thread and felt.

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And samples and more samples.

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I’m hoping to be back to the regular making schedule once I am back from my trip and the patterns are ready.

goings on

There is lots going on around here. This morning, I packed up two orders, walked to the post office, then the bank, then the library and back home. And somehow, since I haven’t done any sewing, I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done! So, now I am writing a blog post. Last week I took a super-fast, overnight trip to Brooklyn to see the year-end show at the NYU Game Center where one son is getting his MFA. Next week, I will probably go back again for Mister Finch‘s show. Busy, busy!

I’ve got a table full of foxes waiting for me.


But, I’ve gotten distracted by ornaments.


When I was asked to design some ornaments for West Elm, I needed to come up with a lot of ideas and then they picked what they wanted. The thing is, I liked all of them! It has been tickling the back of my conscious brain ever since that I should move forward with these others and make patterns. I even got started a few times but ended up getting flooded with ideas and then feeling overwhelmed. This time, I said I would teach a class to make ornaments. That is the way I finish things- commit to someone else. So, moving forward! So far I have a fish, a whale, robot, and a long list, drawings, and first try prototypes of lots of other things. I will keep you informed as they move forward.

What else? I am taking a class to make the Cooper bag. I know, busman’s holiday, but I knew I wouldn’t get to it if I didn’t schedule a time. Hopefully it will be done on Wednesday evening and then I can show you.

I am going to Portland, Oregon in July (8- 13). So excited!

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but a reminder since I’m making a list here- I am not planning on doing any shows this year. It doesn’t look like that will slow down my traveling though!


next up- Washington DC

The next event on my schedule is Crafty Bastards in Washington DC. There are lots of terrific vendors and super nice crafty people so it will be a great time! You can get tickets ahead of time here.


I’ve got a lots of new pieces in progress- assorted piles of foxes, tattooed ladies and lumberjacks, all in various states of completion. Hopefully I will have some finished pieces to show in the next few days.