Craftcation 2017

Remember when I went to LA last year for Craftcation and had SO MUCH FUN?! Well, tomorrow is the day that registration opens for the 2017 conference.

View More: http://gatherwest.pass.us/craftcation2015

And I am going to be teaching!!! I will be teaching Tiny World pincushions and also an ornament/souvenir. I am really excited to be going back to LA. Here is the deal- registration opens tomorrow, Thursday Oct. 13 at noon est or 9am pst. The first 50 people get $50 off the cost of registration. And, I have an affiliate link here so if you go through that link, I will get a few $ which will be put toward my plane fare. Look at all the amazing people who will be there!

Here are all the reasons the Craftcation team thinks people would like to come to Ventura-

Craftcation: Business + Makers Conference is an annual four-day event featuring industry professionals leading attendees in hands-on DIY workshops and creative business classes.

Have you ever thought to yourself…

      • I’d love to take a vacation while making things with awesome people.
      • I have a great idea for a business that I want to turn into my full-time job but I don’t know where to start.
      • I have a successful business and I’m ready to take it to the next level but I’m not sure how.
      • I want to make meaningful connections with people in my field but I don’t have the time or opportunity to make it happen.

Craftcation is the place where you can make it happen!

If you’re a maker, blogger or creative business owner then join me for four inspiring days that you’ll never forget. Craftcation has over 80 hands-on workshops and business classes so whether you’re coming to craft, grow your business or a little bit of both, there’s lots of making, meeting and learning in store for you.

Craftcation takes place April 27-30, 2017, in the beach town of Ventura, California, (about an hour north of Los Angeles). Craftcation utilizes Ventura’s historic downtown buildings and businesses as well as the beach for special events like networking meet & greets, cocktail socials, a pop-up shop, opening celebration, yoga, as well as food and art tours.

Registration opens 10.13.16 and the first 50 people to register get $50 off!

This is why I think you should come-

Southern California at the end of winter!

Amazing people and energy!

And, TACOS!

Ask away if you have questions. Again, I had a wonderful time last year and am thrilled to be asked to teach! Hope to see you there!

 

San Francisco was fantastic!

The trip to San Francisco was a ton of work, exhausting but also exhilarating! I get very nervous beforehand so when things go well I get extra charged up.

Wednesday was our travel day. We stayed in an Airbnb which was walking distance from Fort Mason- very convenient since we don’t rent a car. This is a view of where Renegade happens-

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That building in the middle of the pic (white roof) is the one. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Thursday was for errands which can take a long time when using public transportation. Of course we also get some fun city touring in at the same time. I needed to get supplies for my booth and for my class. I had a plan (excuse!) to buy my class threads out there because I could go to Lacis where they have EVERYTHING!

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I am teaching a number of classes in the next 1/2 year and I thought I would get myself some class specific threads- an entire rainbow plus the neutrals. Yes, that was fun! It is almost all DMC Perle Cotton sz 8.

One of the reasons I was stressed out beforehand was because it was looking like my box of class supplies was not going to make it in time. The day before we were leaving I made the call to pack a whole second set of supplies- and a good thing too. The boxes showed up at 2:30 on Friday, during the class and I only got them because I chased the UPS man after he just left a note on the door- grrr. That was most of my show inventory too. Anyway, it all worked out with me just a bit flustered with my second set of, not so complete, class stuff. Everyone did really well, it was a wonderful group of interesting people and I hope to do it again next year!

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There was one more that had to leave early. Aren’t they wonderful?!

Renegade took up the weekend. My booth-

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Lots of my little guys found new homes on the West Coast. And here is me- they always have a free photobooth at Renegade and so I took advantage of it.

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Monday was the day to pack everything back up and ship it home. And go to Britex. I’ve never been there before… yes, it was amazing! It was a great trip although I didn’t have time to just relax and see friends. That will have to happen next time.

Next up, Art Retreat (I think there is still room if you are interested) and then Renegade Chicago. It is busy around here!

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.

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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.

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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!

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Sewing Machine Accessory Bible

Now, another book I have just finished.

The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible: Get the Most Out of Your Machine—From Using Basic Feet to Mastering Specialty Feet

I was shopping for books on Amazon and this book came up in one of those creepy we know what you really want suggestions. Um, yep. I did want that. When I bought my trusty Bernina 930 used, just a few short months after I started this blog, it came with lots of feet, many of which I have never even tried to figure out how to use. (I posted about it here.) Really, it is probably time, right?!

Considering the number of feet that are made for various purposes, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to match up most of mine with the ones in the book- even though most look completely different. Figuring out what feet I have meant pulling out my manual and also a separate book that is specifically about the accessories.

6:16:feet1There are some that I am still confused about though. In none of my resources are there explanations along the lines of- yes they look alike but they are different in this little way. Below are 3 feet. Two on the right are the same, Blind Stitch foot. The other is Edge stitching. ??? That one on the left has little indentations on the edge but I have no idea what they are for.

update- here is a whole blog post on Badskirt about the edge stitcher! Thanks Ryan!

6:16:feet2And, amazingly, after 9+ years, I finally put in the double needle and tried it out. First I tried it with a regular foot and then with one of the pintuck feet. I never actually knew they went together- that was worth reading the book right there!

Here are my pintucks- a mid-weight wool, a quilt cotton, a light weight cotton.

6:16:feet5And this is how many books I had open on my table to figure it out!

6:16:feet 4I can imagine I might use pintucks on something. I always thought that they were very hard to do but it turns out the right tools make it easy.

I was able to get this book out of my library which works really well for me- the due date gives me a deadline to get the book read. This book was worth getting simply because it gave me the kick I needed to pull those dusty parts out of the drawer and figure out how they work. And embarrassingly enough, I discovered I already had a foot that I bought on Ebay a few months ago and another one that I’d been planning to buy. Yikes! Clearly I needed to go through all my stuff again.

Art Camp!

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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.

mushroom hunter fox

He is ready for the fall fungi season.

He already has found one and it’s in his pocket.

More on the cute little buttons at the end of this post.

And I know you are wondering what is in his bag.

And about the buttons- I received an email from a company called Lots Of Buttons offering me some free buttons to check out their site. Well, hurray! I’m all for free stuff! I looked at the buttons, starting at the tiniest- which is in the 1/4″ range. I am always on the look-out for good doll appropriate buttons. I picked out 4 varieties- the ones on the vest are little horn buttons and perfect for a fox vest. Unfortunately, because they are a natural material, they seem to be a bit more fragile than plastic and one of the first 4 I picked out was cracked. Oh well. I like them enough that I can imagine shopping there again. The prices seem good and they have a limited but interesting selection of small buttons. I should also mention though- they needed to substitute one of my selections and it took about 4 weeks to get them. All in all though, I am happy to have another resource for affordable and cute buttons.

another week goes by

Lots of things going on and not much time for writing blog posts! Here is what I bought myself on my San Francisco trip.

This gorgeous tape from another vendor at Renegade- petitcollage

If you’ve ever bought something from me, you know I love some cute decorative tape!

Cute mushrooms from Castle In The Air. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them but until I figure it out, I will enjoy having them in the studio.

My 2 surprise balls from Tail Of The Yak, plus a yard of ribbon.

Here is their bag and their card- so lovely!

Threads from Lacis-

Next time I will do an inventory before I go so I will know just what I need- because they will surely have it!

And lastly some fabric from A Verb For Keeping Warm.

I love that yellow on the right so much that when I got home I checked out if it came in other colorways. Why, yes it does! And different scales too! I got this in the mail a week later from fabric.com-

I’ve got a lot of things going on and my head is all over the place. I need to work on my inventory after San Francisco. Foxes are on my list of things that need to be made and I played with my wool and dyes to see if I could come up with some good foxy colors. These colors look better in real life.

We went up to Portland (Maine) for the weekend to see son Peter, help him move into a new apartment and eat some amazing food. We celebrated my birthday with an amazing dinner at 555. It was perfect.

And I had a happy surprise this week- look who has come back home to me!

I have a search alert of my name on Ebay just in case. And I am so happy that I did because I never would have known without it!

I will have some finished things to show soon. I’m going to the dogs- check back tomorrow!

 

I’m fueled by audio

I am a bit at loose ends creatively and my love of audiobooks and podcasts is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while.

First though, a photo-

I had a little job to do that involved revisiting the Purl Girl pattern and making 3, similar to the ones on the original post. They’ve been sent off and we’ll see where they go. It made me wonder if I should revisit and expand this pattern- you know, a whole wardrobe, different hair-dos and some accessories. What do you think?

I work best when the talk-y part of my brain is engaged with narrative. I talked about it here. I used to listen to NPR talk shows, many many years ago, but at some point discovered audio books at my library.  The selection of audiobooks was limited and they were all on the same shelf so I was discovering all kinds of topics that I’d never have picked up in book form. Then, some time around 2007, I discovered podcasts. There seemed to be a bloom of them in the art/craft field. I loved listening to the interviews of other artists, doing essentially the same thing as me. I can remember feeling (and maybe even saying out loud to my IPod!)- that is just like me, that is how I do it too, that is what I think too! Then, sometime a year or two ago, the shows just dried up. I can’t complain- people were making them because they enjoyed it and then they moved on to other things. Or they needed to make some money. I miss the interviews so much. Last summer I actually went back to the beginning of CraftyPod and re-listened to all the shows. It was like visiting old friends and it made me wonder what many of those people are doing now.

CraftyPod is trying out paid subscriptions for her new shows. Diane is still working out the kinks in the system but let me say, I am thrilled that the podcasts are back. I jumped at the chance to subscribe and I hope lots of other people will too- for purely selfish reasons. I want my Podcasts!!! There are lots of fantastic interviews still available for free. It is like a history of the internet craft movement. And yes, she interviewed me way back in 2007!

There are other podcasts I listen to and enjoy, most somehow affiliated with public radio. Here is my list of favorites, all of which are available through ITunes-

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn- this used to be Sound of Young America, which I loved. He has changed the name and the format slightly and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m liking it. This is an interview artists show- the fun thing for me is that most of the artists are people I have never heard of- comedians, musicians, film directors. Jesse Thorn does very intelligent interviews and it is fantastic hearing smart people talk about their creative work.

Cast On- this is a knitting show. I don’t knit anymore. I know, weird. But I like listening to Brenda’s take on things, life in Wales and the music she chooses.

Craft Sanity- this is one of the podcasts that used to be very active with lots of great interviews but has slowed down to a trickle. If you haven’t heard them, there is many hours of great listening here.

Radio Lab- I have learned some amazing things from this show- the kind of information that I spend months thinking about. Things that change the way I view the world. I love it when I see there is a new show.

Science Friday- what can I say. I love it. And the videos on the website are always amazing!

Story Corps- short bits of people lives.

The Memory Palace- these are short and not posted very often but are gems when they appear.

This American Life- of course.

Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me- um, yeah and I follow them on Twitter too.

Are there more that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about some new ones!

I still spend most of my studio time listening to audiobooks. I am lucky to have access to a very large library network and can get all kinds of great books. I just finished Bill Bryson’s At Home (13 cds!) which I really enjoyed. I am way too cheap to buy from a place like Audible.com. I just don’t get the whole idea that you spend $15 and you have nothing you can pass along to someone else. Also, at the rate I go through the books, I’d be broke in no time. So thank goodness for the library!

Portland Picnic

This past weekend was dominated by Hurricane Irene news, but Saturday in Maine was beautiful. A lot of friends from my Crafty Biz meet-up group were participating in the Portland Picnic so I headed up north for the day.

This photo booth had the coolest props ever! Look at those masks!

Here is Laura of Pansy Maiden, with her vegan bags.

Eling of Rhinofluff.

Danielle of The Merriweather Council-

Lisa of RedStaggerwing Designs-

Jen of Zooguu-

and Melissa of Pressbound-

I also saw Jennifer Judd-McGee of Swallowfield fame. It was a beautiful day, a fantastic selection of artwork, the crowds were out, and everyone was talking about the pending hurricane and enjoying the event. After a few hours, I left the park and walked to meet-up with my husband and son. I saw this weather vane along the way-

Before leaving town, we took Peter out for a great Mexican dinner at Zapoteca- Yum! Great day all around. We left Portland in the early evening and headed back to Boston. We hit the first rain right at the New Hampshire line and a steady downpour once we were back in Massachusetts. We had rain, we had wind, but where I live, we came out mostly unscathed. We are lucky and thankful.

This oak leaf was on the porch this morning. The thing is, I have no idea where there is an oak tree any where near us. Yes, it was windy!

visit to the Shelburne Museum

I had SO MUCH fun- what a glorious day! My visit to the Shelburne was wonderful. To start, the weather was perfect- mid-70′s, clear, no humidity, light breeze. Amazing. There is tons to see so I guess I will just have to go back. I tried to see the things I knew I would be most interested in and along the way I also saw some other treasures that weren’t on the list.

My friend and I started at the top on the hill and headed down the path that lead us into the carousel exhibit. The Round House building  also held a 3-d paper exhibit. The artwork of Jared Schorr caught my attention- enough that when I got home, I checked out a whole lot more of it on his website.

Next, we went to the Circus Building. Learning about the circus collection is what reminded me last winter that I really needed to visit. I have known about the Shelburne for years, especially their toy and folk art collection and I knew I wanted to go “some day”. But, it is far enough away (4+ hrs driving) that it is easy to forget about. I am so glad that I made myself leave the studio and make the trek.

They have an amazing collection of posters. Here is my friend standing next to one so you can see the scale. I love these giraffe. I might have to spend some time thinking giraffe thoughts. Most of the exhibits had glass in front so please forgive the glares and reflections.

This was my favorite exhibit in the circus collection- an enormous circus “toy”. One man (Edgar Decker Kirk) worked for 40 years, first for his children and later for the neighborhood kids. I can totally relate to getting so immersed in a project. It would be fun to examine each piece close up- there are so many details.

After the circus, we explored needle arts. Amazing quilts, samplers, embroidery, clothing. This is a fantastic collection for anyone interested in fiber arts.

I fell in love with the Helen Bruce dioramas and am grateful that (no flash) photography was allowed. I am thrilled that my photos actually came out so well considering how little light there was. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be any postcards or books with photos so I’m glad I’ve got a record. This photo has my hand for scale. (More photos on flickr)

And our last stop was the folk art collection. Again, so much inspiration in this collection. And, I loved the bright colored rooms that the artwork is displayed in.

I have added a lot more photos to Flickr. I would highly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum. I am only showing what I saw and we were at the museum from 10:30 until 5. There is so much more as you can see if you check out their website. I did some other things on my trip, but I’ll save that for another day.