100 day project

today begins the 100 day project on instagram.  there are so many challenges on instagram to choose from and i’m tempted by many of them.  i’ve joined along in a few and while the projects themselves were fun, the best part was joining in the community and sharing.  the 100 day project by definition is “a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making”.    it’s not meant to focus on completing projects so much as it is meant to encourage makers to commit to the process every day for 100 days.  last night i spent too much a lot of time browsing through many of the commitments…so inspiring…but also a bit overwhelming!  the majority seem to focus on creating art by way of sketching, drawing, painting and illustrating.

since i don’t draw, unless you are a fan of lopsided stick figures, i have decided to join in, but with a bit of variation.  to spark creativity, appreciation and gratitude i will spend at least 30 minutes every day for the next 100 days engaged in some sort of creative process, and write each day in a gratitude journal.  since my business is a creative one you’d think this would be a simple thing to accomplish.  not always!  there are days that are consumed by my “day job”, some that require paperwork or emails, shipping or research.


so, 30 minutes minimum per day.  maybe that means knitting socks or baby sweaters (i have a few to make!), sewing (either for myself or others, but NOT for work), maybe some physical activity to spur the creative juices, and it may be as simple as getting outside and enjoying (really noticing) the details of nature.  hey, i may even try my hand at sketching something!  moving deliberately with eyes wide open to the things that normally are taken for granted.  and each day i will write in my gratitude journal, listing at least 3 things that i’m grateful for….from the sound of my windchimes to the wind breeze that is blowing winter away and bringing in spring.  this beautiful journal (a gift from my sister) still has plenty of room left, and georgous handmade paper pages.

i know myself well enough to know that i’ll never keep up with posting each day on instagram, but i will try to make an occasional entry, and some of my days i will share here on the blog. it’s a commitment to self and i invite you to join with me.  100 days…who knows how it may change my outlook and my creative ventures.

join in, and tell me what you plan to do for 100 days.  cook? draw? sew? hike?  it’s the process.


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?




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.



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.


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.


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.


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?

throwing in a valentine’s towel

one more valentine’s project before the big day arrives!

valentine’s day always meant a huge “formal” dinner when my boys were young.  i would cook all day, set a formal table complete with gifts and cards at each place setting.  there were individual heart shaped desserts and candles…the works!  i sort of miss that dinner…while a dinner for two can be romantic, you just can’t beat the simple joy of watching a little boy’s eyes light up over a hot wheels car.  come to think of it, my grown up boys would probably still enjoy receiving a hot wheels car!!

my last project is a flour sack dish towel…..something that would have brightened up those times when i spent the entire day cooking and baking.


needed: a dish towel (my flour sack towel came from joanns), assorted cotton prints for the hearts, wonder-under fusible and your sewing machine.


you can fuse your hearts in place OR you can applique them….i did both.  apply the wonder-under to the wrong side of your heart fabrics.  cut various sizes of hearts and lay them out on your dish towel.  i started in one corner and placed mine in a sort of waterfall pattern to the opposite corner.  once you decide on placement, remove the paper backing from the wonder-under and fuse the hearts to the towel.  you may want to stitch around the outer edges of the hearts to make them more secure.

finally, you will connect the hearts with a line of machine stitching in a contrasting color.  if your machine offers decorative stitches this is the place to use them!


whether it’s for your own use (yes, it’s totally acceptable to give yourself a valentine’s gift) or for some special cook on your list, i hope you enjoy “throwing in the towel”!!



put your ♥ on a pillow

need a perfect little valentine’s day accent for your home?  or something quick and easy to give a special friend?  this little pillow is the answer!  with a single row of 3-d hearts, it’s not “over the top” so you can use it all year long.  or make one for a young girl in your life using her favorite colors.

my finished pillow measures 8″x11″ mostly because that’s how much wool i had on hand.  you can make this any size and basically using just about any type of fabric.  it works best with a solid pillow and print hearts…although i’m betting you could reverse that combo if you have good color contrast.

here’s how:  measure and cut 2 pieces for the pillow (adding 1/2″ seam allowances all the way around).  cut heart shapes from your print fabric.  since the edges of the hearts aren’t stitched down you’ll need to back them with a fusible to keep the edges from fraying.  i used sf-101 (probably my favorite interfacing!!) because it’s woven and gives the backs of the hearts the look of fabric.  place the hearts in a single row along one side (or center them right down the middle) of one pillow piece.  use a contrasting color of thread and stitch a line straight through the hearts, beginning and ending at the very edge of the pillow.

then put the two pillow pieces right sides together and stitch around the outside edges (1/2″ seam allowance), leaving an opening along the bottom for turning.  clip the corners, turn it right side out and stuff!  pin the bottom opening closed and hand stitch.

since i was using a solid off white wool i felt i needed just a tiny bit more color, so i used red pearl cotton to whipstitch along the edges of the pillow.  i began in the lower right hand corner, left a long tail and when i came back to that corner, i tied the thread in a little bow for an accent.

i love how the hearts pop away from the pillow just a little giving it a three dimensional look.   i think when i make another one i’ll use topstitching thread to secure the hearts to make that line stand out a bit more.

what it everyone making for day?

love note pockets

valentine’s day is upon us.  it began bearing down the day after Christmas, and if we believe all the hype, we’re not really loved (or showing love) if we don’t buy diamond jewelry, candy, flowers and cards.  there are times though that hallmark falls a bit short and I prefer to write my own sentiments….words that might not make sense to anyone but me and my valentine.

this year i’m delivering my “love note” in a handcrafted heart.  and i thought i’d share it just in case you’d like to leave a love note for someone in your life.  these take only minutes to make….deciding on the fabric will take longer than construction!


i chose to make mine from an old quilt, some red/white dotted cotton for the pocket, and used pearl cotton and a sharp tapestry needle to blanket stitch an edging.


cut your heart from the quilt…any size you choose (maybe you’re leaving a love letter instead of a note!)  then cut a pocket big enough to hold your note and stitch a narrow hem across the top straight edge.  i used a blanket stitch to finish the outer edges of my heart, not worrying about a few threads pulling loose on the edge of the quilt (this version is rustic). tie a loop of the pearl cotton at the top of the heart so you can hang your note on a doorknob or closet door.  now, write a note!!


prefer a more “finished” version?  just use two fabrics, fuse them using wonder-under (or just stitch them together using a decorative stitch) and make the hanging loop using a pretty ribbon.

DSCN6663you can even mail these intead of sending a store bought card…letting your valentine know that you’re thinking of them and took the time to put your own heart into their special message.

a project for camelot

there hasn’t been much sewing happening in my studio of late….altering suits and shortening sleeves on dress shirts doesn’t really count as creative sewing in my book!  i’m back to it now but am befuddled as to how one week away can put me two weeks behind?

first up on the cutting table was a project for camelot fabrics.  this little pilates/yoga strap has been in the snapdragon vaults for a while now and camelot would like to have it as a free pattern for the website!  it will be a while before all the formatting is completed on their end, but watch for this cute free pattern “coming soon” to camelot fabrics.

they sent me this lovely fabric to work with…


in real life (and not my poor photography) it’s a blue/lavender with sky blue lines…just right for the narrow straps.

and after just 1/2 hour of magic (it truly is a super fast project), it turned into this.


from the vaults, a few shots of earlier samples.

i’ll post an update once it goes up on the camelot website.


Noodlehead’s Caravan Tote and sewing lessons

I’m dropping in to share a sewing project my sister and I worked on last weekend.

She has been talking about learning to sew for a bit now, and she wanted a new school bag, so when she came across Noodlehead’s pattern for the Caravan Tote it seemed like the time had come. She chose her fabric and we took over our parents’ basement for a Sunday afternoon and when we were all done she had a snazzy new bag.


We didn’t have any issues with construction, and she sewed almost the whole thing herself. I think I did the curved seams on the front pocket because she was nervous about making them even, but otherwise she was on it.






Not bad for a first project!  What was your first sewing project? I think mine was a skirt for a Renaissance costume because I am extremely hip like that. 🙂


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?



last of the christmas projects

a few days before christmas i was scrolling through my instagram feed and saw that someone (sorry…wish i had noted who it was!  thanks for the inspiration!) had made several of these cute little triangle pouches.  forgetting ignoring that i had a ton of things already on my to-do list for the day, i headed down to the studio to play with the idea.  i figured it couldn’t be TOO hard….they’re little triangles!!  actually, they are rectangles, and i was correct….they weren’t hard…but they were addictive!!  i planned to make 3…one for each of the girl stockings…and finally stopped after an even dozen, mostly because i ran out of zippers.  i’m sure there’s a tutorial out there somewhere, but i just sort of winged it.


i didn’t realize until i was done that every single pouch was made with dear stella fabric scraps that were left from making fabric baskets….sweet!!

one last pouch…this one for amy, lover of all things water and fish, made from fish fabric that i’ve had in the stash just waiting for a great project to come along.  there’s still plenty of that fabric left…let me know if you have a project idea i could use it for!


so…they ended up in everyone’s stockings!!  the great nieces got a few goodies tucked inside…lip gloss, coins and a hankie that originally belonged to their great-great grandmother (they may not appreciate them now, but someday they will).

i’m keeping the pea pods!