from this day forward

 

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one year,  two months and 9 days ago i got a phone call from amy.  “your son propsed!!”  words i had never expected to hear, but words that caused a bit of squealing, bouncing and waving of kermit arms.  kyle and amy had been together for so many years that she already felt like a daughter to me, and they seemed quite happy in their current life together that marriage was never an issue for me.  but…oh my, my heart grew 10 sizes that evening, so ready to embrace them as husband and wife.

i remember the night kyle came home telling me he had met the most beautiful girl in the world, nearly giddy telling me about her beautiful hair, her eyes, how much fun she was to be with.  and then i met her.  she came to a bonfire and timidly came inside to ask if she could please have a glass of water.  i turned to jeff  saying “this one is special…she’s a keeper”.  and she is.

the wedding was held in my parents back yard.  a simple, enchanting, intimate setting with only grandparents, parents and siblings sharing in the moment.  i was there early to set up chairs and pots of coleus that amy, her mother and i had planted and nutured.  kyle arrived with a smile that lit up the day and never wavered.  that smile was on his face the entire day.  my heart…oh my heart…is there any feeling better than knowing that your child is truly, deeply happy?

the ceremony was officiated by amy’s brother (as amy has done for his wedding 2 years earlier) and was so personal…so heartfelt, and their fur baby, ellie, was ring bearer.  but my favorite moment of the entire day was when, after exchanging vows and becoming mr. and mrs., kyle and amy stepped to the dinner bell and rang it in celebration.  it hadn’t been rung in years, but it pealed out in joy.  champagne flutes were raised in the comfort of air conditioning (did i mention it was in the 90’s???) and the newlyweds were off for photos and a bit of rest before the reception that evening.

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the reception was at denison university, in a quaint stone lodge.  the patio had seating  under a tent, open air, as well as some under a small grouping of trees.  friday was spent with the entire family joining together to decorate the space and we turned it into a magical place filled with light, candles, ferns and some of the 200 yards (!!) of bunting i made for the day.  bluegrass was played, dinner served, volleyball enjoyed and joy abounded.  i was honored when kyle and amy asked me to bake some of the cakes that were offered, as well as a special smaller one for their table, displayed on the vintage cake plate they had gifted me earlier.  it was a day of true celebration…no anxiety, no worries, just exactly perfect for kyle and amy.

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so now they begin married life.  i wish them many, many more happy years together,  filled with love and adventure, don’t forget adventure!  my son now has a whole other family to love and support him, and i have a new daughter-in-law to cherish.  my heart is full.

Amy & Kyle // Granville, Ohio Backyard Wedding

 

 

something old, something new

no, it’s not what you think.  i know i promised pictures of kyle and amy’s wedding….and i will share, but it’s HARD picking just a few of my absolute favorite pictures!!  i go through them and say “that’s one of my favorites”…and repeat…for ALL of them!

no, this is about two new additions to the studio.  and to be honest, one’s not really all that old…it just made titling this post easier!  a few weeks ago jeff and i spent a sunday afternoon wandering around the antique mall, which in reality is part antiques/part flea market, but a great way to spend the afternoon.  i’ve gotten pretty picky selective about what i will actually drag home purchase…the house suddenly feels overflowing and i’m ready to begin letting go, NOT bring more in.  but back in the corner of one particularly cluttered booth a wee small sewing machine caught my eye…maybe because i’m always looking for sewing related finds, but most likely because it was bright purple!!dscn7099

i love that they printed right on the box “serious machine”…but they really just about HAD to since, again…bright purple!  no one was around, so i picked it up and took a look.  kinda cute…and then my fingers moved to that little white toggle switch at the lower right and the thing actually worked!!  2 speeds, 8 stitches (in reality 4 of them are straight stitches), a foot pedal, the adaptor, batteries  AND the box.  the price tag said $15. and i seriously thought about it, but set it back gently and after exclaiming to jeff “how adorable”, i began to move on.  it was then that i heard the voice…”you like?  you buy?”  since i hadn’t seen anyone nearby i almost assumed it was the voice of some sewing god, but it was male and heavily accented…not what i expected my sewing god to sound like!  the booth owner had seen me playing and came to make a deal.  without hesitation he lowered the price to $10, and without hesitation i packed it in the box and brought it home.

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i’ve done nothing with it except wipe it with a damp cloth, so i’ve yet to see how it actually operates.  my hope is that one of the great nieces may show an interest in sewing some day and this will be a great machine for them to start out on.  for one girl i see baby doll blankets, for the other maybe a supergirl cape…doesn’t matter, that purple beast will be here at the ready!

my second “old” addition truly is old.  a christmas gift from my eldest son and his girlfriend (i know exactly which one searched for it, drove to retrieve it and wrapped it..but he helped deliver it to the house, so he gets some credit!)dscn7105

it’s a “sew tidy” sewing cabinet for threads.  manufactured by the “sew tidy/edmilton corp” in milwaukee during the 20’s and 30’s.dscn7113

complete with label!!  there’s no way that all my thread will fit in this cabinet, so i’ve been thinking that i may use it to hold the old wooden spools that i’ve inherited from grandmothers.  i think that’s a unique way to display them.  when closed it only measures a couple of inches deep.  some of these came with a small drawer-like compartment at the bottom and some had a hanging pocket….all you needed to sew in style!

looking at this cabinet made me think about all the notions, accessories and tools that we all feel we ‘need’ in our studios….but look back at what the average sewist accomplished on a treadle machine and with only a few tools.  i’m sure that whoever owned this originally felt that it was quite the luxury…and i think it’s a perfect “old” addition to my studio.

what about your sewing space?  is it filled with more modern tools/accessories?  or is it a mix, like mine?

 

 

 

the gifts of 2016

it seems all i heard myself say during the month of december was “i’m not ready”, and by the end of the month i found that i had mental lists constantly running through my head…all negative.  the lists of what I didn’t accomplish, didn’t bake, didn’t decorate, didn’t make time to visit with.  they were heavy lists, and i’ve decided to let them go.  i’m trading them in for lists of how many strangers i wished a happy holiday, how delicious the pizzelles were with my morning and evening coffee, how much i enjoyed each stitch in each gift i was able to make.  and of course the biggest list of all (and the one i usually ignore until november!)…the list for next year!!

to start the new year i want to share a few of the handmade gifts i managed to eek out in 2016.  the last of the gifts were just now opened due to scheduling conflicts, so i’m finally able to share them all.

first up….the turtles!  i had these planned for quite some time and actually had them completed quite early.  one for each great niece.  a big old floor pillow with personality.   hannah is a pink and purple sort of girly-girl who loves to dance, so for her…a pink and purple turtle with a bit of glittery fabric thrown in for fun.dscn7031

brooklynn is more of a whirlwind of action…karate kicks, ninja moves…that’s more her style.  so she got a blue and green turtle (there’s a bit of glitter…i couldn’t resist), with a surprise underneath.  the bottom of the turtle is girl super-hero fabric…super girl, wonder woman and batgirl.  no, the red doesn’t really “go” with the blue/green top, but does that really matter?  i hope it said to her “i get you…I know who you are”dscn7033you may not be able to tell from the pics, but these guys are BIG!  they stand about 10-12″ tall and from head to tail measure about 48-50″….perfect for propping you up for movie time.

my sister (turtle girl grandmother) has eyed my messenger bag for quite some time…offering to take it off my hands, so i made her one of her own.  it’s amy butler’s first messenger bag pattern…a very simple bag with a pocket flap.  i use mine all the time and it’s just right.  once i made it i decided she needed a heigh-ho laptop sleeve to match, so she got a set.dscn7046picking out the buttons was, of course, my favorite part of the project.  at one point i think i had every button in the studio spread out across the rug…and that’s a whole lotta buttons!

dscn7043sister also got a kerchief shawl.  i can’t sit and watch a movie without picking up a knitting project.  i made one for myself first to test the pattern and then made hers…after blocking i’ve decided that if i make this pattern again i’ll add an extra repeat since it feels a bit short when i wrap it around my neck.

 

last year elizabeth made recipe towels using a spoonflower tutorial here on the blog.  i knew then that i wanted to make some too.  instead of using a single recipe, i stole borrowed some the favorite family recipes…ones that even the grandsons would know…mostly handwritten (i think each side had one printed recipe) and had fabric printed at spoonflower.  i made towels for everyone, 18 in all!  every generation got a towel…even the great granddaughters and i have a few left that just need hemming in case there is ever a towel emergency.

 

dscn7041i saved my favorite project…or shall i say my latest sewing addiction…for last.  the rope bowl craze has been happening for a while now but i seem to show up a bit late at these sorts of things.  i’ve had the clothesline in my studio closet forever (planned on making a bag with it), but it wasn’t until days before christmas that i pulled it out and began my first bowl.  jeff walked in to find me forming the bottom and asked what i was making…actually it was more “what are you making NOW?” and i replied “a bowl”…he didn’t even comment, just walked out.  but nothing would dampen my enthusiasm for this project.  i’ve seen them made with fabric strips covering the rope, with ribbon accents, but i had yarn…plenty of yarn, so that’s what i used.  iI didn’t try to make the accents symmetrical, i just added them whenever i felt the urge to add color.  i also started out with the standard loop handle, but tried what i call “the casserole handle” on one and loved it!  some are lightweight rope, some are a bit stiffer…i’m still trying to find just the perfect clothesline because i’m hoping to make a LARGE basket for myself and need it to stand up to a bit of weight.  have you tried these?  OMG…you must!  the process is so easy and the possibilities are endless (unlike the clothesline…i ran out a couple of times and had to make emergency trips to the hardware!)

so that was 2016…i can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.  what’s on your list for the year?

 

 

 

introducing…the villager blouse & tunic

november is probably one of my favorite months.  it holds so much for me to be thankful for.  it’s the month of my wedding anniversary, my husbands birthday and thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.  so i’m introducing my newest pattern and if you read through to the end you’ll find a ‘thankful’ sale!!!

it’s been “in the works” and “almost ready” for quite some time now, but the villager blouse & tunic is ready to make it’s debut!

what began as a collaboration with elizabeth last fall before i took over sole ownership of snapdragon studios is finally complete.  after several neckline changes, sleeve changes, length changes…there just wasn’t anything left that needed to be changed!

raglan sleeves, 2 collar options, 2 lengths, full button back…it’s a super simple sew and can easily be completed in a short afternoon.  so far I’ve made it in voile, cotton, chambray, knit and rayon and i’ve loved each and every one.  and even though the pattern is fresh off the press, i’m already planning my sleeve hack so i can enjoy it this winter….maybe flannel??  i’ll keep you posted.

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the full button back may look daunting to those of us who hate dislike making buttonholes…BUT…lucky us, the buttonholes are optional!  the top slips easily overhead without them, so we can simply stitch those buttons in place and it looks like we’ve spent hours.  i think this is the one and only sample i made that i actually stitched buttonholes in.

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the sleeves offer a great little pleat detail along with a 1/4″ bias binding, giving it a vintage feel.

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the split collar may be my favorite.  the split can go on either side and offers up a great spot for those vintage brooches.  i love collecting old pins, but rarely find the right place to use them.  problem solved…this collar was made for this starburst beauty.

my sister reluctantly exuberantly agreed to don both versions and allow amy to photograph her…and michele and christine both joined in, changing in a public foyer while college students passed by.  thanks guys!!  you all look stupendous!

the villager is available now in my etsy store in both print and pdf versions.  please note that print patterns will begin shipping on 12/1/16.

and here comes the good part!!!  the SALE!!  all patterns are on sale…25% off all purchases, including the villager until 12/10/16.  just use the coupon code THANKFUL.  my way of saying thank you for your amazing support this year.

i am truly thankful.

my name is kim, and i’m a craftsy class hoarder

everyone say “hi kim”!

do you craftsy?  if you don’t know what craftsy is, click on the link and be prepared to spend considerable time.  online classes, patterns, fabric, kits, yarn…it’s all there.  i’m here to publicly admit that i have accumulated an extensive craftsy class library and haven’t completed a single one.  i am a craftsy class hoarder.

i have used bits and pieces of nearly all the 150 classes in my class library (yep, 150!), but i’ve never followed a class from beginning to end.  it all began several years ago, when craftsy was brand new.  meg, of sew liberated, signed me up for 2 classes as a gift.  i think they were the sassy librarian blouse and a tailored blazer.  i took a look and was a bit dismayed to see that one of them required an 80 page print out for the pattern and quite an extensive list of materials.  i watched a bit of the video and decided i’d do that “some day”.

“some day” hasn’t happened…yet.  over time i’ve added to my classes whenever there was a “free class weekend”, and somehow ended up with 150 classes in that library.  i believe i’ve only fully paid for 2.   that 150 doesn’t include the “pattern library” which i have also been rapidly filling with free patterns (there are lots of free patterns to be had).  i HAVE made several of the free patterns…does that redeem me a bit or am i just making excuses?

i have a class for everything, from photography to knife skills….sewing, knitting, bread baking, a guide to shears, a guide to zipper installation….quite a range of knowledge at my fingertips.

the beauty of the online class is it’s there whenever you need it.  serger trouble?  click on your serger class and troubleshoot.  bread not rising properly?  the answer is waiting in your bread class.

i may never view every single class in it’s entirety, but having those resources at my fingertips is awesome.  go check it out…and don’t blame me if I’ve enabled you to be a class hoarder too!!

if there’s a 12 step program available, keep it to yourself.  i’m having too much fun!

ps-new pattern release date is 11/20…keep an eye here on the blog or on instagram for news, pictures and a sale (just in time for holiday making)!!

quilt market 2016

no catchy title…what else would i call it?  for those few who aren’t aware of international quilt market, it’s the holy grail for fabric, patterns, innovative tools and machines, held twice a year.  each fall it’s home is in houston, and it truly is international.  i’ve attended 5 markets now and you would think that it would just be old hat by now…same ‘ol, same ‘ol….but walking through the doors of that convention hall is just as thrilling now as it was that very first time.  here is an entire HUGE building filled with people who understand…who share the joy.

traveling alone to market for the first time, i was a tiny bit concerned about how much i would accomplish.  who would i talk to?  who would i nudge and say “wow…take a look at that!”.  i didn’t need to worry.  everywhere i turned were people who shared my passion.  i met up with old friends (hi bea!!  hope you made it home to s.africa safely!), and met a ton of new ones, all willing to share knowledge and ideas.  my friend and fellow designer danica joined me on saturday (along with her new wee son) and we hit every single aisle….i had the blisters to prove it!  but this wasn’t my first rodeo….i brought bandaids.

so here are a few shots from market…not even the tip of the iceberg, but who has time to take pictures when there is fabric to be touched!!

one of my favorite booths, simply because it felt so comfortable.  i could have curled up on that chair with a good book or some knitting for hours.

these two also caught my eye, not necessarily for the fabric line, but for the booth design.  those concrete blocks had to be quite a load to haul into the hall, but the idea really struck me.  and jennifer’s black & white space with pops of color was so well thought out.  booth construction is an art form in and of itself.20161029_145753

when i caught my first glimpse of jennifer’s booth for monaluna i KNEW that she would be winning an award.  i even put money on it saturday afternoon….and returned sunday just in time to hear it announced that she had won the creativity award!!  tables set up as an outdoor café…and that little “shop” was functional….a great place to store all the samples, paperwork and unsightly items needed to actually do business.

i have to admit…it’s quite a thrill to see your own patterns on display at market.  that little ring filled with snapdragon patterns just waiting for buyers to take a closer look….and the lovely samples already sewn in such beautiful fabrics by sewbatik.  a very proud moment…and a very grateful one.

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meeting up again with the lovely and soooo energetic lindsey rae of sew to grow was a highlight of the afternoon.  an hour spent with her is equal to an entire weekend retreat!

another bubbly personality…heather givans of crimsontate.  her new line “literary” was amazing.  remember the feeling when you would check out a library book and look to see who had checked it out before you?  she’s put that into fabric!  and that quilt….oh my…you felt like you were sitting in a private corner of the library…with the spines all embroidered with titles.   while the wedding dress is definitely not my style, it still took my breath away with all those butterflies trailing the bride.

all too soon it was time for chai, knitting and waiting for the flight to bring me back home.  but i didn’t come back empty handed.  i came back with some exciting contacts, new friends, inspiration and some firm commitments….it was a business trip after all!

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66 years

this past saturday  (sept. 17) was my parent’s wedding anniversary….number 66!!  over 3/4 of their lives have been spent together as man and wife.  and part of me wants to stop right there.  i mean, doesn’t that just about say all that needs to be said?  but of course i’ll say more!

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those sixty-six years brought three children, eight grandchildren and so far, two great-granddaughters. they built a family business together, dad served the public as a township trustee for over 30 years, while mom served by working polls.  there were amazing camping trips (taken in a handcrafted trailer that dad built), ball games, piano recitals, boy and girl scout adventures and more square dances than you can shake a stick at.

i’ve tried to calculate the meals they’ve shared, the number of colds they’ve suffered through together, how many nights they couldn’t sleep until they talked through their day…but there is no calculator for those things.  but is there a secret?  they haven’t shared that yet, but from my viewpoint it must be truly liking the person you are with, whether they are wearing their angelic halo or their devil horns.

we have truly been blessed as their children to be a part of those sixty-six years…to have them as our role models in life…to have that bar set high, and yet know that it can be done because they have done it.

congratulations dad and mom.

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frame up

an old painted wood frame caught my eye in an antique shop last year, and i immediately knew what i wanted to do with it.  the faded colors were the perfect complement to my studio walls…but what to put in it.

just about every item in my studio holds a place in my heart, whether it’s the photograph amy took of my featherweight, the cabinet built around a screen window from my oldest son brian’s log cabin, the button tin that was my grandmothers or the miniature sewing machine that kyle created.  i don’t put items in the studio that don’t have meaning to me.  and what is important to me right now?  snapdragon studios of course!  so now i knew what to frame…i just had to figure out how to go about it.

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i had thought that i’d simply print my logo large enough to fill the frame.  but that turned out to be “impossible” according to the printer.  so i printed it as large as “possible” and used my handy-dandy non fabric scissors to cut it into an oval similar to the frame.

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then i needed a background.  that took weeks!!  every time i thought i had chosen the perfect fabric i’d find another that made me doubt my choice.  i tried burlap, solids, wool, denim…and i ended up going with one of my faves, which also currently covers my inspiration board.

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the white gloss paper against the fabric was waayyy to much contrast.  something had to be done.  pearl cotton to the rescue!  i blanket stitched the paper to the fabric.  i pre-punched the stitch holes on the paper using a needle to keep everything neat and avoid a tear and it worked great.  foamboard for the backing and it was ready to hang.

it was a dark and stormy night the night i hung and photographed it…thus the eerie shadows!  actually it brightens up an otherwise dead wall.

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amy and i are planning a photo tour of my studio soon.  i can’t wait to share it with you along with a ‘historical prospective’ of how i finally landed a studio space at all.

where do you sew?

a new outlook…OR, a new look out

so, this happened.

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after giving us a beautiful view for 30 years, our tired old windows have retired.  they still gave us a great view, but unfortunately they also let a lot of unwanted cold (or hot) air into the house.  it was time to go.

we’ve been “working” on this for over a year now…getting quotes that rivaled the national debt and listening to sales pitches regaling the benefits of “only our windows”.  it finally came down to the question of did we trust the people installing our new (and last) set of windows.  i think we found the right people…if you’re in central ohio i highly recommend window span.  and no, they did not pay me (or offer a discount) for that reference!

the old windows were classic multi-pane, but this time around i went for the prairie look, and i’m really happy with them.  especially in the bay window….they give me an unobstructed view.  and the best part is they tilt in for cleaning….i know that’s not something new, but it is for me!  and since the back of the house is actually a 2nd story and the ground is hillside, the back windows were a pain to wash.  but no more!!

so now i have a new look out…and even a new look peering in.

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next up….a bit of studio bling!

the elves and the shoemaker

I MADE SHOES!!  i know i’m a bit late to the party, but hey!  i made shoes (without the need for elves!).

last fall at quilt market  i was fascinated as i watched carolina moore (craftmoore on ig) working on espadrilles while shuttling back and forth to our hotels. i could tell she was hooked and i even offered my feet just in case she felt like making a few extra pair (sadly, she did not).  so…i had to do the next best thing…make my own.

make them i did, but not for me.  this inaugural pair was a birthday gift for my sister.  she’s one i can always count on to appreciate my handcrafted gifts (yes, even the ones i promised 2 years ago and have yet to produce….i knew you’d bring that up sis, so i beat you to it!).

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i used dritz soles along with their exterior fabric and thread for the hand stitching.  first time on a new project i like to follow directions as much as possible. i did not however purchase their package of lining fabric…there’s plenty of fabric to choose from in the studio.  i debated about using the purple lining…it used to be her favorite color, like 3 decades ago, but maybe people change…i wasn’t sure if i liked the purple with the multi stripes.  it wasn’t until the shoes were complete that i noticed the picture on the packaging….multi stripes with purple lining…talk about subliminal advertising!!

if you’re late to the espadrille party too, i highly recommend the process.  i mean, you make shoes!!  for the most part they were very simple, but here are a few techniques that made it just a bit easier on my hands.

* i used a curved upholstery needle…the curve made stitching much easier!!

* wax the yarn/thread very well…it really takes a beating going through the soles and the wax helps it not only glide, but keeps it from fraying

* i tried many thimbles!!  i have all kinds, leather/metal/plastic/rubberized, but i kept taking them off to pull the yarn through the stitch.  so i donned a latex glove (which i admit was stolen from my father’s hospital room) and it worked “like a glove”!!  i wore the glove on my “working” hand and it really gave me great grip on the needle.  my fingers were grateful!

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the espadrilles have been presented and were well received….enough so that she was willing to allow me to photograph her feet.  now that’s sisterly love!!