Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Contest for the Holidays

There are always a few awesome contests being hosted by wonderful crafty bloggers out there, but I have found one that is truly exceptional. For 12 days, JoPackham at WhereWomenCreate is offering a daily drawing for anyone who comments on their posts. You can enter twice a day if you add their widget to your own blog (like me!) and it will totally be worth it.

Go check it out - and good luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

29 years ago today...

On the 27th of November, 1980, my mom woke me up around 2am and told me she was going to go to the hospital - she was in the early stages of labor with my sister. Mom took me to the kitchen and gave me a quick run through on how to prepare a turkey and all the fixings. See, it wasn't just delivery day, it was also Thanksgiving.

I got up later that morning and started working on what would be my first Thanksgiving meal. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. Except for the gravy. I had never made gravy, and started with the flour, rather than the turkey drippings... It was pretty much just lumpy, flavorless paste when I was done with it. Not pretty.

The turkey's automatic timer popped out, the mashed potatoes were creamed, and my two younger brothers and I sat down around the table. Just as I started to hack away at the bird, the phone rang. My mother asked "Can you hear her?" It was a girl! We jumped around the room like maniacs, cheering the birth of our sister.

Erin Nichole turned 29 today. While I don't often jump around like a maniac in her honor anymore, I am still extremely proud and pleased to have her around.

The last few years have been especially important to me. Erin moved to NW Arkansas after graduating from UT, thinking she'd live here near our mom for a few months to a year as she figured out what to do next. That was in 2004... Since then, we've become closer than ever - we've gone on shopping road trips together, started our crafting businesses together, cared for our mother through her cancer battle together... I can honestly say she's become my best friend over the last five years. I'm pretty sure that November 27, 1980 was one of the best days of my life. Except for the gravy.

Happy Birthday Erin! I love you!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I knew it all along

When a woman reaches a certain age, she begins to wonder if her outward persona is still jiving with her inner. At least, that's something that I wonder about. If you don't - good for you. You're either incredibly self-assured, or your delusional, or maybe just in denial...

So, along those lines, I question the potential popularity of my handmade crafts as I'm coming up with new things - and think about what audience they might appeal to the most. When I started making my little hip bags out of repurposed wool sweaters, I observed that my best customer for them was young women who are a little on the "crunchy" "ecologically conscious" side - educated, concerned about the environment, listening to alternative rock  and shopping at the local farmer's markets... also a fan of vintage clothing perhaps. I don't think any sorority members or Ed Hardy fans are carrying one of my bags yet. Anyway, I have hoped that I am creating items to continue to appeal to these lovely ladies, and that I am cool enough inside to know what works and what doesn't for that demographic.

Yesterday at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market a sweet boy in his 20's (that's right, I said boy) was admiring my bags, and applauded my ability to make "hipster" bags and other items that appeal to a different group of people. I was ridiculously excited to be told that I am, indeed, able to execute a hip item properly. My inner cool quotient increased like the Grinch's heart on Christmas day. Silly, I know, but sooooo satisfying.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crafty Memories

I was out at my mom's for a bit today and found a box in the shop that was full of fabric and a smaller box of clothing patterns. I pulled a of the well-worn envelopes out of the smaller box, and found a little time capsule of sewing. There was the peasant skirt and blouse from the 50's that my grandmother made mom when she was 10. I'm not sure if this is the same outfit, but it's another handmade bit of loveliness created by my grandmother in any case... how adorable was my mom!?

There was also my prom dress, dresses that mom made for my girls, the dress she made for my sister's band formal, Barbie doll clothes from the 50's, the cowboy vests she made out of faux leather for my brothers in 1974, the dress and blouse she made for me when I was part of the chorus in my high school musical, Oklahoma! 

These patterns mean more to me than her jewelry or keepsakes. They are symbols of the love she had for her kids. She loved us through the time and effort she spent making these things for us. I'm so glad she kept them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Holiday Boutique!

You don't want to miss this! Okay, I might be a little biased, but not unreasonably so...

My sister and I and a few other fantastic women are going to host a little get-together and would love for you and your bffs to join us.

Snacks, drinks, music, shopping... we even have a masseuse involved!! What's not to love!?

See you Saturday!

(click on flyer image to see it in a better format... can't get it to be clearer here for some reason.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I heart custom requests!

I recently shared a booth at the Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival with my uber-talented sister. We met a terrific young woman named Jennifer who works at Denali State Park during summers, and winters with her mom or with friends who live in the lower-48. I am totally envious of her and wish I had been aware of cool jobs like that when I was in my 20s... but I probably wouldn't have taken advantage of them. I'm so not the person now that I was then... thankfully.

But I digress... the cool bohemian girl loved one of the bags I had at the show, but it sold. I wandered by her mom's booth on the final day, and was asked if I wanted to trade a bag for something she had there. I picked an adorable star-shaped candle box with a painted snowman on it, and yesterday I mailed off the bag I made for Jennifer. It's almost like the one she liked - except that it has the buttons from the front of the sweater it was made from. The original was made from the back of the garment.

I would be happy to get to the point where people asked me to make custom pieces for them more often.

Sorry - this is a pretty boring post... I'm in a bit of a funk.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

While wandering the local craft fair...

My sister and I spent a couple of nice, relaxing hours at a local craft fair a couple of weekends ago. Two years ago, having a booth at this fair started us both on our way to being professional handmade artisans. We enjoyed looking, and eating, and laughing, and remembering why we love making stuff and selling it to people who love what we make.

There were many beautiful things - not the least of which were the new paintings and prints by my favorite local artist, Temple Moore. There were a few things, however, that were unequivocably not good. Don't ever, ever, EVER do things like this. I love handmade, but THIS is crap.

These skirts are repurposed jeans on top, fleece on the bottom. FLEECE. Like, what you make blankets from.

There is just no way to explain this abomination, nor is there any way to excuse it. I thought when I saw it that I had no words, but obviously I do. Several. Some of them start with the letters W, T and F.

Next in line is this yard art. You can kill two birds with one well-aimed stone if you put this on your lawn. You can call yourself an Art Lover*, and at the same time, you can be accused of sacrilege by your neighbors!

I'm pretty sure that Santa Clause (or anyone else with a similar name) was NOT hanging around by the manger when Joseph and Mary's first child was born. I mean, I'm no biblical scholar, but... I was president of my church's youth group. So, you know... I know stuff.

I don't even go to church regularly, and I read athiest blogs, and I was still offended by this piece of dung. I didn't check the price. But if it wasn't free, it was too much. (hint: click the photo for the full offensive effect)

*not really.

Finally, we turn to the apparel that should not be worn when going to a craft fair. Or anywhere. Maybe in your own house... but only with the lights off.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. This poor woman obviously had nothing but this to wear. I can only guess (hope) that all of her other clothes... the ones that didn't creep into her butt-crack and make her an immediate candidate for What Not to Wear... were burned in a house fire the day before. And all of her cash, checks and credit cards were lost as well, leaving her unable to shop for new clothes before the fair. That is the only explanation I can come up with.

But if I am right, then she should have kept her spandex-encased buttcheeks at home. Seriously, there was no need to subject anyone else - even the person who made that manger scene - to that. I would have even been okay with her wearing one of those WTF skirts if it meant I wouldn't have to see those pants... leggings? Tights? Shorts? What the hell are they??

I won't even get into the fanny/belly pack and shoes. I feel a little faint...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HGTV's Design Farce

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the series on HGTV called Design Star. I really am!! But this season, some weirdness is going on, and I'm ready to call it like I see it.

In the first show this season, Clive Pearse announced that the winner was going to be chosen by judges (and, presumably, the producers) rather than by the viewing public as has been the case in prior seasons. No big deal... I can understand that to some extent. Why leave the decision of who the people want to watch up to the people who watch, right?? Who knows the HGTV viewers better than the stars of HGTV shows? Okay... maybe not. But anyway, it didn't seem like a big deal to me.

Fast forward through a couple of shows... I'm wondering where the hell the personalities are? Isn't this a contest that is based on design chops AND the ability to keep the interest of some people staring at a screen for 30 minutes?

I'm sorry, NataLee, Amy, Jen, Tashica, Jany, Nathan, Jason, Torie, and Lonni - you all are in desperate need of a big dose of creativity and a personality that would stand out in a crowd. Even a small crowd - like, say... a reality show for would-be television designers.

So now we're looking at the final two: Antonio and Dan. Let me get to the crux of my brilliant theory...

A few questions:
Why are all the designers, except Antonio, so BORING? (remember Sparkle Josh!? And that surfer dude guy?)
Where are the knock-out designs we have seen in other seasons? (David Bromstad, nuf said...)
Why are some of the comments by the judges so blatantly fabricated to fit the elimination decision for the week? (Lonni was screwed by installers - not her own lack of planning.)
And WHY did one of the best designers of last week's episode go home?

My answer is this: This whole season is a giant joke built around the fact that the producers found their winner during auditions - Antonio. He's got a strong personality and an attitude that no one else on the network has. He is good-looking in a Stallone-meets-Fred-Durst kind of way. He creates drama with his bully tactics. And did I mention that there is no one else like him on HGTV? Oh yeah, I did.

Antonio can do the job of holding his own on a show, as he's shown in both of his "hosting" challenges, and has decent ability as a designer, so he was picked out of the hopefuls early on and the producers picked other designers to surround him on this season's show that would not only NOT stand out in the design arena, but would also crash and burn in terms of their ability to make people like them. All season I've been saying "gee, there's no one I really LIKE this season." Now I know why.

And for those of you who are sure Dan can pull it off - have you noticed that there is already a designer like Dan on HGTV. His name is David. Yes, his nursery was a better design than Antonio's office - and so was Lonni's guest room - but viewers will understand that they can't pick another DB to win. What would happen if Lonni's room kicked Antonio's ass in the finale? Lonni had to go.

So, you're hearing it here first, folks. Antonio is a ringer, and they've eliminated contestants all season to get it to the point where the finale is between Antonio and someone who would lose for obvious reasons... because he's too similar to another HGTV host. Antonio will take it, and we're all suckers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Project #847,049

Don't laugh! I feel like that's how many things are on my to-do lists. I have several... one in my head. Or maybe three... and a few written in the odd notebooks and on pads of paper here and there in my purse(s) and desk drawers and car. I read somewhere that one should make lists if one desires organization in one's life. So... it hasn't really seemed to help me much for some reason. Hrrmmm....

Anywho ~ I share with you the pictures I took of my gloriously and horridly vintage bathroom! I love the way the cabinets angle in at the bottom. It lets my guests - for this is our Guest Bathroom - get reeeaaaallly close to the mirror to inspect their enlarged pores or search for gray hairs in their eyebrows.

The tile is not too bad, except that the color is not quite describable. It's a goldy, greeny, odd kind of color that doesn't seem to go with anything. And, it's everywhere. On the counter, on the floor, up the walls, in the shower/tub.

BUT, lucky me, I found this lovely shower curtain with a tropical feel to it (a perfect addition to the vintage tiki god tumblers I use as decor on the counter top) with leaves that perfectly match the goldy, greeny, odd color of the tiles! I couldn't believe it! That was the start of the idea to redecorate. I'm going to paint the bright white cabinets a deep chocolate color, to bring down the visual assault a bit. They were originally a horrible off-white-turned-yellow color, so the white was definitely an improvement, but I think a dark brown will be in keeping with the more modern look I like in bathrooms I see on HGTV.

Then, as I was hanging out on looking at their sale fabrics, I spotted The Perfect Fabric to make curtains out of! If you take a close look here, the current ones are two halves of a pillowcase. A little too "dorm room" for a house with a mortgage and established trees. Doesn't it look AMAZING next to the shower curtain!? I'm ignoring the fact that one of my daughters and my husband, upon seeing the fabric for the first time, pointed out that the design is remeniscent of a Star of David. Not that I care, of course, I have nothing against the Israelis or the Old Testament, but it's RATTAN!!! Good grief. Non-decorators...

So, the final goody that will grace my newly redecorated bathroom will be these gorgeous little prints by soon-to-be-famous artist, Brian Biggs. He has a great little shop on Etsy where you can get prints just like these (and a few others). Oh, and he's my brother. I'm going to frame them sitting on top of the brown burlap you see behind them (also from and hang them on the wall opposite the sinks. At first I thought I'd paint the walls, but I think once the rest of the stuff is done, it will be enough. The cream walls will be a nice backdrop for the dark cabinets and colorful prints. Or I could put a mural on the walls... hmmm... project #847,050!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Yard Sale Finds

A long weekend, a visit to the in-laws, a sweet score of vintage goodies to share with my readers!

We are just north of Kansas City, MO for a week of R&R with the Hubby's family. Yesterday his sister suggested we should see what kind of yard sales we should find... of course you know I didn't argue with that!

We found one that offered up a pile of t-shirts and shorts for the boy-child, but the real finds were these vintage lovelies. A great little overnight bag that is in pristine condition, a Pepsi bottle box, a cookbook from the 1970's, an old crocheted doily, a vintage apron, an embroidered table scarf, a pile of vintage canning jar lids and some cardboard milk bottle lids. I know I'll keep a few of the jar lids, but I think most of this stuff will be listed in my vintage Etsy shop. The doily will be incorporated into a bag.

There are a couple of thrift stores and antique shops I have always wished we had time to visit when we come up here for a weekend, so I'm hoping to get to those this week as well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No market spaces = New items in the shop!

I'm working tonight on updating my Etsy shop with the bags I had held aside to sell at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. Why, you ask, would I do that??? Won't that create a bit of a headache for me each weekend as I have to take things out of the shop in case they sell at the market, then put them back up again if they don't... just too much work, isn't it??

Well, it seems I will not be at the market this summer as often as I had hoped. Our local market is soooo successful that they juried some new craft vendors in order to add to the selection, but it is also soooo popular that there are just too many booths crammed into the location and the Board of Directors for the market decided to reduce the booth numbers to help with congestion.

So, my thrill of being accepted lasted only two weeks or so. On the upside, the market manager is hoping to be able to rotate the newbies ("floaters", we're called) every other week. On the downside, I'll be out of town for three weekends in a row, so it will be the end of July before I'm able to get back up there. I'll survive, I'm sure.

In the meantime, my Etsy fans will enjoy a bigger selection of goodies than they had to choose from in the weeks prior! Enjoy, and spread the word!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Green, the color

I'm all about being green in terms of environmental activism... I recycle my glass and plastics. I repurpose materials in my crafts (and home decor). I reuse containers that once held strawberries to grow seeds into veggie plants.

But in addition to THAT kind of green-ness... I seem to be drawn to the color. Especially green glass. It's just such a refreshing color... so clean and lovely. Like the hostas growing like gangbusters in my garden this summer. These little bottles were treasures waiting for me at a barn sale...

And this lovely Hoosier Glass bowl was a thrift store find. It can be yours if you love it as much as I do!

Finally - this little mug isn't as sparkly as the glassware, but I have a soft spot for the color olive. Maybe because I grew up in the 70's? It and its twin are also looking for a new home... they're perfect for some hot green tea!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carrying on the family tradition

When I was growing up my grandmother and grandfather were farmers and craftspeople, raising cattle year-round, and spending nine months out of the year making and selling handmade wood crafts. Grandpa was a self-taught carpenter who, along with his brother, owned Whillock Brothers' Construction in northwest Arkansas. I have some wonderful things he made - a cedar chest, a rocking horse, a dresser...

Grandma took some of the smaller items that Grandpa made - bread boxes, clocks, wooden plates - and with the practical nature of a woman raised during the depression and the eye and spirit of an artist, she tole painted beautiful flowers, birds, and free-hand designs on them. I also have wonderful things she made, including the bread box that was a gift to my mother one Christmas.

Grandma and Grandpa went to the War Eagle Craft Fair each year for many years to sell their handmade crafts. War Eagle has long been a mecca for craft-fair enthusiasts, bringing thousands of people from all over the country to our little corner of the world just as the temperatures are becoming cooler and the trees are starting to turn color. Their cedar chests and painted items were shipped all over the world. They sold their goods for too little, in my estimation, but they made enough to get by.

I remember one fair when I was with them in their booth for a couple of days. They were set up next to a man who made candles that were dipped in layer after layer of color, carved with a hot knife, and the carved pieces would them be twisted around to show off the layers of color and reattached to the candle again. I'm sure you've seen them in flea markets or in your grandmother's living room. Anyway, that man would cut off pieces of wax after he dipped his candles and give them to me to mold. He showed me how to make little wax mushroom candles, which thrilled me to no end. They were probably one of the first "crafts" I ever made. Those, and the little rounded stones Grandma taught me to paint faces on to keep me out of her hair as she worked.

Grandma and Grandpa also set up a table with a bright yellow vinyl umbrella on the Fayetteville Square on Saturday mornings and sold their crafts and Grandpa's sweet clover honey to local market-goers. The market in the 1980's was far different from the market that goes on today. Not as many people, for one thing, and I don't remember there being as many dogs or musicians either. Certainly, if you wanted to have a hot cup of coffee and a muffin for breakfast, you brought your thermos and a napkin full of homemade pastry from home.

This Saturday my sister and I will set up a couple of tables on the Fayetteville square as two of the newest members of the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. I'm sure to most passersby there won't be anything all that special about our tables... (aside from our fabulous crafts!)... but I'm pretty sure that we will be feeling a bit nostalgic and very proud to be a part of the market - 35 years old this year. Unfortunately, my Grandpa isn't with us anymore, but I will definitely send a snapshot of Erin and I behind our tables to my Grandma. I think she'll be pleased.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Girls' Night Beaut-ique

I mentioned on my previous entry that I'm participating in a "beaut-ique" this week... so here's some info for those of you who live close enough to attend.

I wish I could make this graphic bigger... but the details are:

What: Girls' Night Beaut-ique
When: Thursday May 28th 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Where: Balanced Body
816 B West Poplar, Rogers, AR

There will be lovely items for sale including locally designed handmade jewelry, bags, soaps, personal stationery and handspun yarns, as well as facials and massages for a very small fee. Free snacks, wine and door prizes and specials round out the evening. Bring a friend or a few and join us for a great time out!

Time flies...

and yet I don't know what I was doing all this time or whether it was fun or not. Okay, mostly I was working during the day, and then at night I was not working and not wanting to do anything LIKE work, which typing on a blog is to some extent. So, there's my excuse. Not a good one, but it's all I got. And I'm back.

I strongly encourage all of you out there to make your spouses take your kids away from the house for hours at a time on occasion. I had heard that some husbands do this - just whisk their offspring away to allow their wives to experience a little peace and quiet, time to themselves to do whatever they darn well please without interruption or distraction. It was pretty much an urban myth in my mind, but then yesterday it happened to me.

Love of motherhood aside, it was wonderful to have the house to myself! Actually, I've known for some time that I enjoy cleaning house MUCH more if I'm home alone. Logic would say that I should enjoy more the family pitching in and getting everything done quickly so that I don't have as much to do and we are done sooner. But I am not logical. I would enjoy cleaning the entire house - top to bottom - if I could just be left alone to do it. Go away and let me get my mop and rags and bottles and sprayers and have at it.

I wasn't as productive as all that, but I did get the pile of Large Things cleaned that were collecting in the left half of my kitchen sink (that's why they invented sinks with two sides, right - to use one side and hold dirty dishes in the other?), and I cleaned my son's room, and I did several loads of laundry. Lest you think I've gotten confused and started posting daily stuff on my crafting blog, it is all relevant because I also got SEVERAL hours of sewing done. I am participating in a Girls Night Beaut-ique with four other fabulous women this Thursday night, so some crafting activity was a definite necessity.

So, thanks hubby for the time alone yesterday. Even though he did it only because he'd pissed me off earlier that morning and was trying to make up. Doesn't matter WHY, really... but he did score a few Good Guy points anyway.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chicken with it's head cut off

I am in love with my self after making this bag. The top part was a remnant - I didn't cut the chicken's head off on purpose. But once I sewed it to the linen it seemed so... so... decapitated. I just decided to give it a body, and I think I did a pretty good job. One of a kind, I'm sure!

I've sold a couple of things in my vintage shop this week, which is great. I shop pretty smart for that shop - aiming for finding real bargains and things I am certain I can turn around for a profit - and I get a nice return for very little effort. I have to say I am sometimes amazed at the prices I see in vintage shops on Etsy. I'm not knocking them - if those other shops can sell a cup and saucer with some vintage 70's motif on them for $20, more power to them - I just feel better about making a profit, but not a killing. Maybe I'm crazy, but I feel good about my karma.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I always knew I'd be a bag lady someday...

...and if you take a look at my sewing room you'd agree. I'm going to participate in a home show in Fayetteville at the end of May, so I'm working hard to upgrade my tote bags and get a system down in terms of what kinds of bags I'll be selling. I tend to just do whatever strikes me - which is great in terms of creativity, but not so great in terms of people seeing a design they like and finding the same thing in different colors or fabrics in my Etsy shop. I want to get a few designs honed and then make a LOT of them, with a few one-of-a-kinds thrown in for fun.

I also have quite a stash of vintage fabrics and upcycled clothing now that I have to start using before I buy any more. I am just so in love with the fabric, it's hard to cut it... but I don't have the space to be a hoarder. (I know I'm not alone in this!) So, over the last couple of weeks I've been seriously banging out some bags in the hopes of getting a decent inventory put together for the home show. I've uploaded pictures into my Flickr account - but here are a few for you to check out.

It seems I lean heavily toward bold, graphic fabrics - wouldn't you say? I have thought about embellishing a couple with trims and other bits of materials... but they seemed so "vocal" as they were I left them to just strut their stuff through the fabrics and colors. I do like the pocket on the gold and red one, and will probably do more of those. Vintage buttons? Pom-pom fringe? What do you guys think??

Projects for Spring!

Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my penchant for the "Project". Not big stuff, like tearing down walls between rooms or roofing the house, but mostly stuff that grows out of a stop at a local thrift store, a transaction on Freecycle or Craig's List, or an unexpected treasure found on the curb. Along those lines, I have a couple of things to share...

One visit to my local Craig's List recently got me a couple of terrific pieces of furniture that are now sitting on my carport waiting for transformation. The first one - a vanity-turned-desk is painted a horrendously bright yellow and has the Corona Cerveza logo painted on one side. (??) The woman I bought it from tells me her daughter used it as an art desk. Judging from the paint all over the top of it, I'd say she REALLY enjoyed it. It's going to go out in my craft room as soon as it's repainted - and as soon as the craft room is reorganized.

This cute little thing is a bit of a mystery. The woman advertised it as a painter's cabinet - which would be an interesting thing to use it for given the holes and such inside - but I'm not sure. The top is a little bit bowed up, but not so much that I can't still use it as a bedside table as I'm planning.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A little shot of inspiration please!!

Why is it that no matter how many ideas are running around in my head (or even being put down on paper) sometimes the desire to get into the sewing mode is just non-existent?? Today, for example, I really wanted to sew. I wanted to make things. I was bummed that Hubby and Boychild wanted to go to the park - even though I knew going to the park with Hubby and Boychild was a GREAT thing to do.

But then, when I got home from the park, I just didn't feel like getting busy in front of the machine. I think the key here is that I didn't FEEL like it. I think I have to quit waiting until I FEEL like sewing. I have to make a goal of getting a certain number of things done, and do them. I have new bag ideas. I have been wanting to play with altered clothing. I have some aprons already cut out. I just have to get them DONE.

Tonight, I got a great boost of inspiration in the form of an invite to participate in a trunk show with my sister in late May. She was invited by a woman who organized a show last fall, and I asked if they needed a bag maker. She asked, and I'm in. I'm going to upgrade my market bags made from vintage linens, and make some Elliot bags with new (vintage) materials and embellishments.

Okay, tomorrow I need to sew.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Craft Magazine Loves ME!!!

So, I almost missed it due to my well-documented issues with organization and time-management... but I got my photos posted in the Craft Magazine and Singer Sewing Company "Sewing with nature" contest last month. There were a ton of really cool projects posted in the flickr group, and I did not envy the judges.
The article advertising the contest said that they would pick one winner who would win a sewing machine and a heaping helping of sewing books, and three runners-up who would receive dress forms and subscriptions to Craft Magazine. I actually kind of hoped I'd be a runner up - I would DIG a subscription to Craft!!

The deadline for posting a project was last week and I've been checking every day to see if any news had been put up about the winners. Finally, yesterday I received an email informing me of the decision. I didn't win, nor was I chosen as a runner up, but the judges decided to create "honorable mention" category due to the number of great projects entered. Lucky me, I got mentioned honorably!

The bag is one I gave away at Christmas. The recognition has really satisfied a part of me that was struggling with the idea that my crafting is "just a hobby". Kudos to my hubby who has not dismissed my sewing as a silly girl thing I do, but he doesn't really see it as an income-generating operation either. Not hard to see why, when you tally up what I have sold over the last couple of years... but in the last few weeks I've had a number of sales in my two shops, and now this bag I designed my very own self gets some love. I have to say I'm feeling pretty good.

Place your custom orders now!! :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Anti-Valentine's Contest on

When my hubby and I first met, and soon after fell in crazy impetuous love with each other, he admitted to me that for years previously he had cut the 14th of February out of calendars. He didn't just X it out. Or ignore it. He actually took the initiative to find a pair of scissors and make sure that day was just not included in the year he was living in. I thought at the time that his attitude was unusual, but I have discovered that he was not alone. is holding a Black Heart Anti-Valentine contest - the 2nd annual. The rules of engagement (pun intended) are pretty loose. The deadline is the 12th, but materials and point of view and such are open to interpretation.

So, if you don't have anyone to spend the next few days creating something special for (or even if you do but are highly competitive), why not create something special for your SELF and go enter their contest! Good luck!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Etsy Trashion Loves Me!!

How do you beat a nagging case of No-Creative-Juices syndrome? You get blogged about! Check it out!

Thanks Etsy Trashion for noticing (and appreciating) my little revamped wool vest! I would be wearing it my own self if I were a couple of sizes smaller, but maybe someone else will snag it instead.

I feel some inspiration coming on...

Monday, February 2, 2009

a slow start

I know, I know... you're reading a blog about crafting, so you probably don't want to hear about my inability to get fired up to make anything for the entire first month of 2009. Sad, aren't I?

It's not that I'm boasting. I certainly haven't been reveling in my idleness. No complacent arrogance here. Every evening that I've spent doing anything but craft I have felt guilty about not crafting. I walk by my kitchen counter where I put my bright shiny new journal in early January and can feel it staring at me. "Write! Draw! Blot your lipstick! Just USE ME already!" it says... but I avert my eyes and go pick up the dryer sheets that have accumulated on the couch where the clean clothes wait for dispersal.

Part of the problem might be the weather. It should be a perfect way to spend dark wintry evenings - perched in front of my sewing machine making things that remind one of coming warmer days, like my repurposed bed linen market bags. (Oh how I look forward to farmer's market!!) But unfortunately my craft room is actually a window lined sun porch that is heated separately than the rest of the house and stays VERY chilly in winter.

I could say that I haven't had any inspiration lately, but that would be a lie. I have sketches, I have had ideas, I have seen finished projects in my head... I just haven't wanted to go out and start making them. My craft area is a bit messy too. There's a good excuse. You can all sympathize with me there, right? SAY YES!!!

Mostly though, I think I've been lazy. What kind of true artist or crafter lets themselves get bogged down with the details of daily life so much that they don't get their crafty groove going at least a FEW times in a month??

SNAP OUT OF IT!! *smacking myself around*

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Lovely Bag

I made a lot of my Christmas gifts last year (saying last year is weird), and this is one of my favorites. It's made from a coupl of wool sweaters, an upholstery sample, and a woven belt. I'm in love with it. It went to my brother's girlfriend, who also made a lot of gifts. She knits, so she made neckwarmers and head bands for us all.

I share just because I'm proud of it. I plan to make more for my shop, this week in fact. I'll get them posted asap.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Attention Crafters!!!

When I get inspired in front of my sewing machine, I don't always make something that will be posted in my Etsy shop or used as a gift. Sometimes I just want to sit in my craft room and think about future projects... or, let's get real, get away from the kids and listen to Keane. So, I sew.

But now I don't have to feel like I'm wasting my time while I sit there with my Coke and my i-pod! I have found the most amazing inspiration for my little "me-time projects" - it's called Spirit Jump.

My girl Sally already wrote about it over on Dogwood Lane, but this idea deserves as much exposure as it can get. The basic story is that the website was created by a young woman named Meaghan who is a cervical cancer survivor (and recent law school grad!). She was so uplifted during her extensive hospital stays and treatments by the little gifts and cards she received from friends and people who were thinking about her, that she decided she needed to find a way to hook up people who have a talent with people who need a "jump" in their spirits.

Check out Meaghan's site and sign up to be a Spirit Jumper yourself. You KNOW you have things you could send to someone. You know you want to. In 2009 I'm giving back - and this is one way I'm doing it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year of Craftiness

I've been thinking lately about the things I make, and the things I want to make. In 2008 I was a supply-buying fool, so I have a ton of clothing from thrift stores, sewing notions, bits of ephemera, and other odds and ends that I have found here and there... but it doesn't seem like I have used as much as I've purchased.

I have bits of this and that that I thought I would use to make art cards and collage shadow boxes, but that idea, in particular, did not come to fruition. I like to think I'd make some cool things with all of the wonderful things I found... I even bought frames as I found them in thrift stores to put them in. I failed at the collage-making. I think I'll post a lot of stuff in my Girlchild shop as supplies. (Be ready, Denise!)

I also have fabric that I thought I HAD to have, that I had big ideas for, but for the life of me, I don't know what those ideas consisted of...Mostly, I went back over and over to the sweaters and vintage linens. They speak to me somehow. Don't pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about!!

Worse yet, I started projects that I thought would be awesome, but then they didn't turn out as planned and I abandoned them. Poor little Ghostfolk... At least I haven't thrown them out!! And I did find out that stamping my name on the fabric works great...

My Punkinhead shop has been a little bit random... but I want to get more focused on "lines" of items. I also want to create seasonally. I typically end up coming up with great Halloween item ideas on October 25th... Christmas items on December 20th. Not a great plan for selling anything right? In 2009 I am going to have a schedule, and spend more time working on ideas for projects that can be created on that schedule.

Right now, I'm liquidating holiday items in my Punkinhead shop (go see!) and I'm going to start working on some things to sell for Valentine's day. My plans are for more Hearts-on-a-Stick, but that's all that's coming so far.

How are the rest of you re-working your shop or craft room for the new year?