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!!

 

 

the very bumpy bus ride…or, where have i been?

the last few months have been bumpy.  life has been filled with traffic jams, potholes and even a couple of spike strips thrown in to trip me up.  yep…all car references….it’s who i am…that’s how i roll.

along the route there have also been some major high notes.  times when the engine purred and all cylinders were hitting in rhythm.  so my plan is to just allow those bumpy days (and nights!) to fade away in the rearview mirror and concentrate on the high notes.

after a fairly extremely long hiatus from the blog, the studio and most things creative, i think i’m back on the right road and my mojo is riding shotgun!  in the coming weeks i’ll be sharing the few things that i’ve managed to create since april, a few things that are coming up soon and some highlights from the very best event of the summer…no, the year, the wedding of my middle born son and his (now officially “our”) lovely amy.

yes, the amazing snapdragon studios photographer extraordinaire married my son kyle.  she’s felt like family since they began dating 9 years ago…but it’s official…i have a daughter-in-law….which makes me the mother-in-law and i sincerely hope that i can be one that she’ll cherish as much as i cherish her (and not the one of movie and standup fame!).  picture evidence of said event is not quite ready (meaning i can’t make up my mind which prints to order and am seriously thinking i’ll end up purchasing them all!!), but not to worry…i WILL be sharing them along with my memories of one of the hottest days of the summer (in which the bride never broke a sweat!).

there will be some first time sews to share, new patterns news, a pattern hack or two, and perhaps even a late summer sale….and did i mention some wedding photos?? i think i may have mentioned that wedding in passing.

my road may still be bumpy at times, but right now i feel like cruising….and i hope you’ll come along for the ride!

kim

 

 

oooo, baby, baby

i’m getting back into the studio more and more lately, and as threatened promised, i decided to do some fun sewing in between the mock ups and pattern development.  i had a perfect excuse as my niece was expecting a baby girl early in march.  she arrived on march 4th (by the way, that is also her grandmothers birthday!!) and my first glimpse of her was to be easter sunday.

i chose a commercial pattern going with simplicity 8098 because i love every single view, both boy and girl.  it has a vintage sort of feel to it.

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then i headed to “the stash”.  my stash is really quite modest, but i found yardage that i had been saving for a ‘small person’ and decided it was just girly enough without being too fru-fru.  it’s a lecien fabric called folk tale by natalie lymer of cinderberry stitches.  it’s probably no longer available (because i like it of course…if i hated it, it would be in every fabric store in the nation!)  i picked up some coordinating fabric for the bodice and ruffle, some pearl snaps and was off.

being used to making full size human clothing, i marveled at the small pieces.  it’s been a while since i’ve sewn for little ones.  but it was a nice change of pace (no bust adjustment!!).

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while i’m not thrilled with the pictures, i was pretty pleased with the romper.

yesterday i met the newest hannah of the family.  since i already have a 4 year old great niece named hannah, i’m calling the new one “double h” (yes, last name begins with h)until i can come up with a better nickname (no one wants to be “big hannah” or “little hannah”…worse yet, “old hannah” and “young hannah”).  she’s a wee bit of a girl, and i never did see her with her eyes open, but she’s beautiful.  i sort of doubt that the romper will fit her until next winter since she’s so small, but you never know!!

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welcome little “double h”….i’ll be here if you ever want a special dress, some warm hand knit socks or some wee little mittens!

 

happily ever after

i want to share some more non-sewing news.  i’ve been wanting to share since january, but at first it wasn’t really my news to share….and then february happened (or didn’t).  the world now knows and plans are  falling into place…it’s time to announce.  (drum roll)  my son kyle, and my photographer amy are engaged!!! (kermit arms and emoticons!!!)

actually, she was his girlfriend long before she became my photographer.  they’ve been together for quite some time, and i must admit that she’s felt like a daughter from very early on.  we’ve laughed that we never quite know how to introduce each other…”my son’s girlfriend” seemed pretty lame after a few years…and “my boyfriend’s mother” made me feel like there was always “more to the story and i’ll tell you all about it later”.  problem solved!!

the call that announced the news was definitely unexpected, but quite happily received. she’s been with us long enough (and through just about every conceivable happiness and catastrophe) that she knows what she’s getting into as far as the “in-laws” go.  if she hasn’t run to the hills screaming by this time we’ve either grown on her or she’s learned how to turn a blind eye.

a june wedding is planned.  an extremely private outdoor ceremony at my parents home, followed by an evening reception at a rustic lodge on the university campus.  it’s going to be lovely (i’ve seen the dress and it’s perfection….if i had to name it i would name it amy!).  and as for my son?  he’s quite pleased with himself and i’m very happy for them both.  “he liked it and he’s gonna put a ring on it” (yes indeed, i just said that!!)

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this picture was taken several years ago, but since they never seem to age it’s still one of my favorites.  i’m officially a MOG!!