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?


a new outlook…OR, a new look out

so, this happened.


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.


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!).




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!



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!




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.


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!!).


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!!


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!!)


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!!


rumors of my demise

february was.  it just was.  i was sick.  nothing serious and life threatening, just sick.  the cough that everyone else had came to visit along with a fever….a high fever.  the kind that makes you scared that you might die, and then makes you hope that you will!!  the kind of fever that makes your eyes jiggle, your ears quit working, and leaves you in a puddle on the floor…unable to even crawl to bed.  since it wasn’t really the flu and it wasn’t really a cold, i’m naming it the “flaming crud“.  and that’s what i had.  and while the actual flaming part lasted only a few days, the crud has hung on, and on, and on.

and so instead of working in the studio, i’ve spent a great deal of time curled up in my oversized chair napping (you heard me…napping!!)  no reading, no knitting…just napping.  it’s been a month now and the napping has ended.  energy is beginning to return to something near normal.  the new pattern is now a month behind schedule as well as a few other projects that were scheduled to be released this month.  i haven’t worried about it one bit, so it must all be good.

i sat down over the weekend and made a to-do list, tallied it up and discovered that there were eleventy-seven things on it.  i promptly decided to leave them undone and make an infant romper for a brand new great niece.  i’ll share it as soon as it’s complete.  i think something “fun” is just what the doctor ordered!!

and while I was napping, this happened!!

DSCN6697spring is here!!

suffering with sss (second sock syndrome)

i’ve heard of it.  i’ve pitied knitters who suffer with it.  i’ve never truly experienced it.

second sock syndrome…that moment when the first sock is off the needles (and perfect), and you realize you have to do it again!!  i know, i know…i could simply knit my socks 2 at a time, but i have a system rut that i follow.  one at a time on double points.  i’ve considered changing it up from time to time, but i’m usually in the middle of a project when those thoughts rise up and it’s easy to put it off.  i have big plans to start socks on circulars using the magic loop method…but first i need to finish that second sock.

it’s finally happened….after all these years.  i’m dreading the second sock!  so much so in fact that i’ve knit 2 “first socks” trying to avoid it…..different socks who are in need of a mate…and i’m avoiding making them both.  hard as i try, i can’t seem to finish those second socks.  i have a perfectly good excuse for one….i’ve forgotten which cast off i used and need to research it.  very convincing, right??  of course i COULD be finishing the sock portion, leaving all but the cast off….but where’s the sense in that?  the “second” 2nd sock is about halfway done (shouldn’t i be feeling gratification by this point??) but i find myself picking it up nearly every evening with something close to loathing….not good for me OR the sock!!

having never experienced this before i’m at a loss….what’s happened??  have i lost my knitting mojo?  am i just old?  don’t i realize that i NEED these socks??  and to top it off…wait for it…i cast another project on the needles!!!  soooo unlike me, but the countess mitts kept whispering promises in my ear…they wooed me away.

i suppose i should feel a twinge of guilt.  perhaps admonish myself for my lack of “follow throughitiveness”, but i figure this too shall pass.  those socks will be in the drawer soon enough…for now i’ll flaunt my new found romance with the mitts.

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?