me made may

are you Instagram users?  if not, you really need to set up a free account and start exploring.  i held back for quite a while, but i’m getting my footing and have found that not only is it fun to see what others are making and wearing, but it’s educational!!

this month is “me made may”.  users pledge to wear handmade clothing each and every day and post pics of their makes.  i’m sure that some see it as a way to share show off their wardrobes, some see it as a way to find inspiration to add to theirs…but i was a little surprised when i found that by wearing and photographing my makes i’ve found that i’m rethinking my wardrobe.

first off…if you know me you know that i ABHORE having my picture taken.  i avoid it like a colonoscopy….nope, i take that back…the colonoscopy was easier!!  there will be no video montage at my funeral…hard to do with only about 5 pictures!  but i’ve challenged myself to do it…take the hated “selfie” every day and post them.  it’s getting relatively easier because i realize that there are lots of others with the same phobia.  and when i really started looking at what i was wearing i found that my choices weren’t what i thought they were.

i’ve also been reading the curated closet by anuschke rees, which is described as “a simple system for discovering your personal style and building your dream wardrobe”.  admittedly i haven’t finished the book yet, but so far i’m stumped.  it asked you to define ‘your’ style…huh??  ‘your’ colors…again, huh?  but pairing the book with me made may has got me thinking, pondering, questioning.  in trying to dress to accentuate the positive and eliminate hide the negative (a little shout out to bing for those who remember the song!) i’ve pretty much been doing just the opposite.  exploring what others are wearing is helping me find that ‘your’ style!!  it’s helped me find the holes in my wardrobe (need more simple tops…and definitely some pants besides jeans!).  and i now have a list of about 25 patterns that i “need” to try out…okay, that may be a down side!

if you already follow me on Instagram…yay!!  if not, go set up that account, follow me @ohsnapdragonstudios along with tons of other sewists to see what everyone is wearing.  even without posting your own lovely selfies i’m sure you’ll be inspired.

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.

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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.

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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Dreaming about a studio

I am getting my own studio!!  We call ourselves “Snapdragon Studios”, but up to now that has only been half-true.  Although we do work out of two spaces, Kim’s is a gorgeous sewing room in her walk-out basement (think big windows, pretty decorations, lots of storage) and my “studio” is a perpetually messy desk next to the kitchen table in my 488 square foot house.  Think nice light, no storage, have to clean the bills/ pile-up off everytime I want to sew.  Also think cutting expensive fabric on the same table my toddler smears spaghetti sauce around on.

We have a detached garage that’s extra deep, and up to now it’s been used primarily for storage (not a lot fits in 488 sq.ft.) and for Paul’s work bench.  There’s just enough room in the back to squeeze a studio in for me.  It will be 7′ deep by the width of the garage, which is 14′, and oh, do I have some plans for it.

Since I don’t have any building progress to share yet (we spent the weekend moving three big storage shelves and organizing the part of the garage that won’t be studio to make room for the new wall), I thought I’d share some of my inspiration pictures with you.  (Click on the pictures to be taken to the source.)

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Thinking this color for the walls. I also love the natural elements and the white furniture.

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We are adding two windows to the side of the garage that faces the backyard so that I can watch the kiddos play from my desk/ sewing table.

 

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This is similar to the cutting tables in the costumes shops I worked in and it will be THE MOST WONDERFUL THING. Mine will be lag bolted together like the ones in the shops because I want to be able to climb and sit on it without worrying that I’ll crush it, but this is the basic idea. The casters are key so that I can wheel it out into the garage to be able to work on both sides.

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We’ll be installing French doors to lead from the garage into the studio to get the cutting table in and out.

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Pegboard is key.

My current sewing table/ desk will move out there (and will, incidentally, free up all kinds of space in our house), and we will build cabinets to hang above the cutting table for fabric storage along with some open shelves for my sewing books.

I am also daydreaming about making felt covers for the windows and having a lighting set-up and backdrop wall to be able to better photograph projects, buying a proper dress form instead of my sad little leaning tower of Pisa (who has lots of personality, but almost no use in fitting garments), bringing in a little comfy chair for sitting while hand-stitching or conferring with Kim, and of course geraniums in window boxes and all the pretty little details.

I’ll be sure to share updates as we go along, but please share if there are aspects of your craft room that you can’t live without.  What am I forgetting?

-Elizabeth