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?





step 1: make a list

all through the holidays i was thinking about what i was going to sew in the new year.  i thought about it at work, i thought about it while cleaning, i thought about it before drifting off to sleep at night.  but i didn’t DO anything about it.

step 1:  make a list

i finally sat down in the studio and took a good look around.  there were patterns…there was fabric.  all i needed was a plan.  i really feel like i need to use some of the fabric i have on hand instead of hoarding saving it…so that’s where i started.

and here’s the short list of personal sewing for the remainder of the winter months.

  • summer jazz dress – amy purchased a beautiful knit a long time ago…it’s 1st on the list
  • finlayson sweater by thread theory – i have a great french terry i picked up in nyc and i think i’ll follow her sew-along (missed it in real time!)
  • marianne by christine haynes – i have the knit and it’s been here for a while
  • backpack – yes, i’m too old to carry a backpack, but i want one and you can’t stop me!
  • amy butler’s original messenger bag – my sister has been eyeing mine for months…better make her one before mine disappears
  • both the jade jacket and the willow tunic by kay whitt – the jade definitely will require a fabric purchase (silk!!), but i  can find something in the stash for the willow
  • birkin flares by baste and gather – i fell in love with them at first sight…and so admire all the testers for photographing their butts!  i just need the perfect denim…suggestions?  i’m sort of waiting for her sew-along for these, but don’t plan to wait tooooo long.

that should keep me busy for a while, along with regular studio work (continuing development of a new pattern!!) and some fun projects for the blog (new cushion for the wicker chair?)

step 1 – check!!  step 2: get to it!!

what’s on your cutting table at the moment?



into the year

i don’t make resolutions.  i’ve tried and failed, so no more.  each year, and especially this fresh new year i will strive to be better.   even those things i’ve never tried before….just better.  not perfect….not even “good”, just better.

i’ve spent a bit of time thinking about what i want from this new year, both for the business and personally.  where i’d like to be at the end of the year….a mere several hundred days from now. the list isn’t huge (although i’m sure it will evolve as those days go by), and i think i’m being pretty realistic….keepin it simple!

on the business side:  this year i move forward with snapdragon studios alone.  elizabeth is devoting more time to her young family along with some other exciting ventures, so i am now the sole owner.  you’ll still hear from elizabeth, as she will continue to blog occasionally and she’ll still be adding her talents to new designs.  it all started because she texted “why not”….i’m moving forward asking that same question!  here’s what i plan to accomplish this year.

  • release 2 spring patterns and a dress pattern this fall
  • blog more often and share more of my personal projects
  • strive to place my patterns in more retail shops
  • attend quilt market in the fall (who am i kidding??  i’m going, no question!!)
  • host a “handmade holiday swap” in collaboration with my friend danica of sew liberated next christmas season

totally doable!!

and on the personal side:

  • more personal sewing (not just mock ups and samples of my patterns!)
  • create a more cohesive wardrobe (snapdragon patterns work really well together….i just never seem to plan my fabric choices in advance)
  • work through my relatively small stash…and then replenish it.  seriously, i have a pretty small stash, but i need to use it before i can justify more.
  • visit more brick and mortar shops….which means traveling just a bit (i’m okay with that!)  suggestions are more than welcome!
  • get up close and personal with my serger.  i’ve owned it for quite some time, but only seem to use it when i’m “forced” to.  this may mean taking a class, or maybe simply spending some quality time together (like a coffee date).  i want to feel as comfortable with my serger as i am with my regular machine.

i’m optimistic…isn’t that what january is all about?  and i’m going to be better.








Planning tools

Kim is planning her Quilt Market wardrobe and I am daydreaming about the things I would like to find time to make for myself this fall. Ages ago I bought Beth Byrge’s 110 Creations: A Sewist’s Notebook and I finally remembered to use it.


There is all sorts of space to write notes on fabric, notions, plans for alterations and seam finishes… much more space than I normally fill when planning a pattern, to be honest.


As I was sketching out a couple of ideas, however, I started pinning swatches of the fabrics I was thinking of using right into the notebook. I’m thinking of using this as more of a scrapbook of projects I’ve made and trying to be better about noting changes I’ve made to patterns I’ve already done once. I am horrible about making an alteration and thinking I’ll remember what I did the next time I want to make the pattern, so hopefully this can be a central place to keep my notes and comments.


If you, too, are bad about keeping your sewing notes organized this might be the tool for you. The danger I am seeing is that there are 110 pages, all of which I want to fill immediately. The kids can survive on popcorn for dinner for a while while I sew, right?

* Note- I bought my copy of 110 Creations and wasn’t compensated for this post. I am just an office supply addict and thought a notebook devoted to sewing was rather genius. 🙂

The List

Jack has been really into the Frog and Toad stories by Arthur Lobel lately.  We have a collection of them, and one of the stories in the collection is called “The List”.  In case you’re not familiar with the story, the gist of it is that Toad wakes up in the morning and decides to make a list of all the things he’ll do that day.  He (wisely, in my opinion) includes things like “wake up”, “get dressed”, “eat breakfast” that are easily crossed off, and only then moves on to “go to Frog’s house”, “take walk with Frog”… and so on.  While he is walking with Frog, a gust of wind blows his list away, and when Frog suggests chasing it Toad wails that he can’t, because chasing the list was not on his list of things to do today.

I’m totally with Toad on this one.  I live by my lists, and while I always end up doing things that aren’t on my list (or more likely, adding more things to my list as the day goes on), it’s nice to start the day off with one.  I like to see what is on other people’s lists, so just in case you’re nosey and have sympathetic list-making OCD like I do, here’s what my list looks like these days (in no particular order):

100_1876.jpg edited


*Finish tops for quilts (Don’t forget to keep watching for the giveaway in the next few weeks!)

*Arrange to have them quilted

*Wash bassinet bedding/ wipe down bassinet (make new sheet for it?)

*Get infant carseat out of the garage and wash cover

*Clean out car/ swiffer it (I drive an Element – the car you can mop.  So great.)

*Install carseat

*Reorganize closet/ put away stuff in bedroom that has been sitting by my side of the bed for ages so the bassinet can go there.

*Upload pictures to Snapdragon albums on Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr (links to come when I get to this)

*Choose and order materials for Snapdragon press packets

*Order mailing envelopes for Snapdragon print patterns (coming in three weeks! Just like the baby!  Yikes!)

*Make girl and boy newborn outfits (rompers?) for first picture

*Clean house


The real trouble is that what I want to be doing right now is sitting on my daybed in a pristine house finishing Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret.  If you’re looking for a great summer read, I highly recommend it.

What’s on your list these days?  Doesn’t it feel awesome to cross stuff off?  I’ve been known to put something on the list that I’ve already done just so that I can check it off immediately.  🙂