Saturday, December 26, 2009

seasons round exchange - light!

presenting: our nature table (aka mantle) with sweet gifts from my partner, andrea. the theme for this winter's seasons round exchange was 'light', and andrea really nailed it. even with my waldorf-y background, i never thought of santa lucia! isn't she adorable? she's standing amongst little nature bits and a crystal in front of a small paper mache bowl (with golden flecks) - all made and sent by andrea from maine. i especially love the birch bark.

plus, an adorable tree that has been a fun plaything for the little guy, and earned compliments from guests. it's weighted on the bottom with beans, i think, to keep it upright. one of the stipulations of the seasons round exchange is using all natural materials for all of your items. bravo!

andrea also sent a gorgeous card, a beeswax star candle, and a copy of the latest issue of her zine, GEMINI (not pictured). you can see her post on the exchange for more pictures or to get more details on it all!

so, here's what i sent, getting ready to go. i nestled everything in fresh greens from mt. hood ntl. forest, where we cut our tree this year ($5 permit from the ranger station - so fun, but so so cold!). i sent a crystal window hanging (blogged). the six-sided version was a lot harder than anticipated, so i had marc's help with engineering and nailing! i just strung a simple star of david with blue mohair, but i think many different lacings and weavings could be made! this project will continue to evolve in our household! i also sent a little mistletoe (a symbol of life & light in the dark winter months), and a handmade beeswax candle. had help on that too - made by my booth partners at the sunnyside environmental craft fair, song garden school.

my favorite offering was this little lantern-bearing gnome, knitted up in light bright icy colors and felted. i shared this pattern in my insanely long sock summit post; it's another design by marie mayhew. i needle-felted his eyes and nose, and used a little thread to tack down his beard (which covers his cute pointy shoes!).

i also sent a big bunch of wool roving - it's all over our seasonal display (and tree too), masquerading as snow. we had the tiniest sprinkling on christmas eve morning, but no white christmas here in portland. lucky for us, we always have an abundance of wool! more seasons round photos and nature table inspiration here and here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


my own stocking growing up was handmade. not the sock itself, but the red felt that spelled out 'KENDRA', and i think the santa face (mom?). maybe it's the associated wonderful christmas memories, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE that stocking. and when my mom bought me a new one, i protested.

so, of course, i had to make stockings for our family. (the first two before the third had joined us.)

and, yes, they are wool sweaters! blanket stitched up with yarn and appliqued/embroidered with yarn and wool pieces. papa's is green with a burning fire on it, mine white with snowflakes, and then there is our little one with the night sky and stars.

this year i was asked to make stockings for our dear dear friends' children. of course i wanted them to be as special as could be, and i am still so honored to be their stocking-maker, i can't even say. i know what kinds of memories they are creating together, and to be a small part of that? well, it is truly a gift. so thank you, thank you, thank you. i loved making these, and they are full of warm and wonderful imaginings of loving family times. you know i will be thinking of you happily every christmas too.

they are similar to my childhood sock, red with white trim and the name on top. only these are sweater pieces, of course. the white part is from an alpaca sweater, making it extra furry on top, and then i embroidered owen and josephine in red cotton floss. i double-stitched them too - you never know how heavy your stocking may get.

see, i've been busy! more handmade goodness to share too, post-giving. lots of mistletoe and mice were presents for our family members, but some other little somethings too. i may be begging for pictures though, because down to the wire knitting jumped in the mail without a photo! have you used the u.s. postal online services? i have to give them a big thank you. these stockings were sent from portland on a thursday at 4 pm and arrived in seattle the next morning. wow!

hope you're reveling in handmade love! blessings!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

kiss, kiss, hello!

whew! i am just peeking in to say hello. i'm leaving half-finished woolly projects all over the house gearing up for some local elementary school craft fairs. if you're in town (portland, oregon's the place). i'll be at sunnyside environmental school (3421 se salmon st) this saturday 11 am - 4 pm with a big bunch of toys and warmers and woolly mistletoe! i'm very excited about the mistletoe. isn't it sweet? it's available in my etsy shop too, of course!

the following saturday, dec. 12, from 10 am - 2 pm i'll be sharing space with lanz at portland village school (7654 n delaware avenue). i'm very excited to be at both of these schools, as i've heard wonderful things about both of them!

i'd also like to mention that cedarwood's magical winter faire will be this saturday (dec. 5) as well. if you haven't been, it is very worth the trip. i owe much of my hand-sewing skills to my time as a handwork assistant there! my friend natalie's sixth grade class has made salve they will be selling, and they've already sold a ton of pre-orders! it is very good stuff and supports handmade healing and learning for these budding entrepreneurs! aaaand my friend shauna will be there with lovely organic soapy goodness. her things are so lovingly crafted and made from the purest materials available. they are delicious! how lucky am i to know such crafty people? okay, back at it! xxx

Friday, November 27, 2009

mice in the house

i've been working out those last kinks in mousing, and i'm now proud to have a few for sale in my shop! their ears have been secured with extra hand-stitching (though future ears may be meeting the machine first!), and they smell like sweet lavender. each uniquely adorable.

i am planning for a local elementary school craft fair (dec. 5) and working extra hard to have many mice and other offerings. but, i thought it would be seriously unfair of me to offer these locally without giving everyone everywhere the opportunity for a mouse (or other) friend! seastars with jingle bells on their way too! enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


here's that project i was hinting at. another inspiration from maryellen's goodies. those autumnal prints were just begging me to become a banner (sort of a mix of alicia paulson's birthday banner and amanda soule's dream banner). another friend of mine makes similar banners in paper, and i loved the 'blessings' banner that adorned her family's living space for some time. i initially intended to make multiples for family gifts and to mix the fabrics, but simplicity won out. i think it looks just perfect. i have an idea for the back too - just wait! i'm very excited to add this grateful reminder to our home during these grey months. we are feeling extremely thankful today for our countless blessings. thanks to you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a peek

so here is what i made for anne. she had sent me a link to some pretty sweater scarves and confessed that it almost made her run out to the goodwill and get some sweaters to piece together. well, heck, i've got plenty, i thought... though it turns out not so much. when looking to piece, i couldn't find enough that looked good together in pretty colors, and then i also realized i had no nice lining fabric. then it hit me - i already had the perfect scarf base, it just needed a little something. i trimmed off the edge and added another sweater's snowflakes as perfect pockets. yay! here's a peek of me wearing it before it got into the mail!

i sent her a couple of mice for the kitties too. one was version 2 (never shown here) stuffed with catnip, plus one of the lavender/rice numbers. meanwhile, i have been sooo enjoying dipping leaves in beeswax. we gave over the mini crockpot (came with the regular crockpot) to beeswax, so it is easy peasy. here's just a peek (i've done tons!).

and now for a peek at the sewing room. i may just be a peeks-only kind of poster anyways. the other half of this room looks like a giant trash heap. but i did make something to show for it! it still needs finishing of course... now if you can't tell, these shelves are actually organized, with boxes and labels on the right. the computer and printer are hooked up and the scanner is on its way. art is hung. i like to think of the big chunks of wool on the top shelves as 'happy little clouds'.

a view from the door. see my cute chalkboard and boy stacking printer ink cartridge boxes? and lola. not sure what she is looking at!?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

happy birdie sling! (crafty SHE!)

today is my friend, anne's birthday (yaaay!!!). for my birthday this year, she gave me a spectacular handmade gift. i looooove it!

i took this birdie sling with me on a rare night out to see everyone who looks like you, the latest by hand2mouth theatre (and my beloved, marc). i actually did most of my woolly caterpillar embroidery while waiting for the show to start (and that whole sweater didn't even make a dent in the birdie sling's capacity!). until the lights dimmed (when i switched to knitting - also in the bag).

man, it makes my backside look good too!

we were travelling in iowa when anne bestowed this gift upon me. and i was making up all those mitts, so of course the first thing i did was to stuff the bag full of yarn, hooks, and everything i needed for my projects! i tried to give you an idea here, the bag is gloriously accommodating. i only wish i had a better camera to show you - can you see the fabric for the lining? so pretty!

i am afraid i didn't get a better picture of the pockets, as requested via the interweb, but i do adore them. the magnetic snap on the large pocket is super helpful, and of course a cell phone pocket is a great idea (especially for me, i am always misplacing it!). she even included a little matching tissue holder - you don't know how thrilled i was at this after having attended two weddings unprepared!

and that is something i always admire about anne. she is an organizational inspiration, a brilliant writer, and a most thoughtful friend. i will always remember her college care package to me, at a particularly rough time, including homemade brownies and bubble bath. the best.

as i have been organizing my studio, whenever i start to feel overwhelmed by my mess, i wish anne could help me, and i try to channel some anne thinking and skills. she inspires me with her gorgeous photos and put-together projects, and i love talking craft with anne. speaking of which, i fully intend to post some studio pictures soon (really!). and i'm hoping anne will help me, by posting hers as well! i can promise at least one corner!

happy birthday anne, i love you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

sweater stuffs

i love re-crafting with sweaters. pretty much whenever there's a project, my first thought is: sweater! maybe not always wisely (case in point: knitting needle holder). but lately i've been finding sweaters that are really nice. this one i just started wearing out of necessity, and then couldn't give it up. it's a zip-up with a hood, and of course 100% wool (i avoid the blends). plus, a grand opportunity... on the inner arm; two small holes awaiting repair. i sewed around them with needle and thread - and then designed this woolly bear caterpillar (aka isabella moth)!

i've been wearing these next sweater sleeves with absolutely no finishing, though holes abound. in fact, they first became impromptu arm warmers because they already sported thumb-holes on each sleeve! finally, i finished the cut end and zig-zag stitched around those thumb-holes to finish them (plus sewed around some other tiny holes too). then i patched on this argyle diamond and sewed a strand of yarn across to complete the pattern! i am in love! more argyle patches to come? oh yes.

so as far as the shop update goes... oh boy. i was ready to go with these sweet mousies, but i received a couple signs that another rendition is needed (their ears need to be more secure - machine-stitched, i think). i'm open to suggestion - or if you're interested in testing one out, i'd be happy to send one your way too! i should mention they are stuffed with wool scrap, organic brown rice, and organic lavender. mmmmm!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


i finally got my long-awaited weekend sewing from the library. too much loveliness for one weekend. though other projects pulled me, i couldn't get my mind off the little zippered bag. i needed such a bag. and the zipper was truly tantalizing after seeing some others' work with them. plus, i had this fabric from maryellen that was just begging me to become this bag.

the adorable lining is made from the fabric below, which i used a bit of to stitch up a little hair-band bag to go in my massive bathroom bag (measuring issues there). i think i basically followed the drawstring bag instructions from linen, cotton, wool. (it's on hold at the library again!)

i actually cut enough material for another zipper-bag. it has yet to hit the ironing board & sewing machine, but it is ready to go! like it?

more cards - and a seasons round spoiler

i've been very busy working on lots of little things, so here are a few more. before i post them, a head's up that my second project here will certainly be included in my seasons round exchange package. so to my partner andrea, if you're hoping to be surprised, read no further!

first then, here's a mess of cards i made up. the yellow ones are just stamped with an eraser and pad (i think i got the idea in a martha stewart magazine long ago), and then i tried a little toddler handprint on the white - cute even in its smear. the christmas card is on it's way to a little boy celebrating an early christmas. i heard about it through a friend on facebook. his wish was to receive lots of cards, and that seems easy enough, so send yours along!

we're still having camera issues here. it seems that we may have gotten some sand in there because there's a fun grainy-grinding noise when it tries to focus. not that my picture of the next could do it justice anyway. it's a cross between a dreamcatcher and a prism and a snowflake, at least in my mind. i lashed the sticks together then wove a little yarn design in the middle from which to hang crystals. these capture all those little bits of light through the window and throw rainbows on the wall. when the sun comes out on our front window, we celebrate 'rainbow time'! and watch the colors dance!

there will be more crystal light catchers to come, for sure! perhaps with more intricate weavings, or even a six-sided stick lashing (for more snowflake-like effect). i was blessed with lots of sewing room time this past weekend, and i actually completed a project from weekend sewing! plus some more recycled sweater goodies to show off - even a little for my shop! coming soon...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

a little glue

hopefully goes a long way in cheering a friend in the hospital (who at this posting has returned home. hooray!). glued up this card + little sewn journal; with vintage book page mod podge cover featuring elephants having: "a mango party." also included a dahlia from our front yard (no joke, they are still blooming). chicken soup. and one of the gorgeous hankies you may have seen from my new stash. just spreading the love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

costume revamp headgear

last year's farmer and black sheep! awwww!

sheep costume gets a new hat (made the morning of, as usual) to become... a bear! (or cat or puppy, but the tail is still short like a lamb/bear)! plus some more recycled sweater work for a headband and horns for papa.

awww! happy halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

so much vintage goodness

i could literally have taken a roll of glamor shots of these hankies from my swap partner, maryellen. they are heaven, and i just love them. a shot of them yesterday on the line that does not do them justice, but i can't get a better.

and there's more. a stack of autumn-y prints that i have an idea for, a big bunch of ric rac i am dying to use, all atop this sweet swedish tablecloth that reminds us of our favorite swedish diner in chicago, svea. we will have many a brunch upon it.

here is a mess of most excellent buttons, resting on hankies amid the massive piles of embroidery floss she sent (most of it is not pictured. seriously massive.).

more fabric. i'm thinking these may become bags? though i do often end up using things for their intended purpose like that tablecloth up there. and those cowboy ranch curtains are purty sweet.

i am so grateful for maryellen's outrageous generosity. i had so much fun exchanging e-mails before our actual postal exchange! you can enjoy more of maryellen at her official site as well:

it's a bit embarrassing for me to be showing off like this. really, that's more good fortune than any one person could hope for. and then i ended up at a nearby estate sale and...

a little red tea embroidery on each corner of this towel

how could i resist the knitter? in a bonnet?!

i think this may be the most phenomenal needlework i own. cross-stitched tablecloth. ah!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

dramatic entryway re-organization

i am still having camera problems, and i missed the little windows of sunshine this morning, so you'll have to keep on waiting to see my vintage swap loot. in the meantime, the low lighting edits make some dramatic shots of my latest little craftings:

i came up with the idea for this organizer when setting aside this calendar intended for some future use. i sewed up the sides and mod podged on typewritten labels, top pocket for 'filing', then 'bills', then other 'keep'ers. it will need frequent emptying to hold up. i'm wondering if i can sew it to something sturdier? or i may have to give this version over to a fabric one.

i made little picture labels for our hooks with what goes there. kinda based on the waldorf preschool look. on the left there is a bag for paper recycling from junk mail and such. this will help us take care of mail right as we come in the door! i made the little towel hanging out of the 'recycling' bag with a potato print triangle and rectangle arrow.

more typewriter labels, modge podged on this hook board, where we can now store our keys in an organized fashion. they were stored on the hooks in the previous picture, usually it varied which hook and whether or not a coat was on top.

speaking of which, our entry may need a little assistance with the hats and warmers to come. right now they are all a little toast to autumn huddled on the mantle. cute, no?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

state of crafty wonderment

i am so excited to show some things i've been up to! first up, here's my newest friend. this little guy came home with us from crafty wonderland, and truthfully, i had my eye on him at a past show. initially i was sad when i didn't see him there at chet and dot, and then when it turned out that he was there, i was so tickled. i could not leave him again! isn't he a cutie? i just love all of her things! he is at home on our autumn mantle among these chestnuts and beach rocks or being pushed around on a cart by colden.

i hope the next photo will be readable upon clicking. i didn't make it around crafty wonderland as thoroughly as last time, but below is a snippet of cards i collected at various shops. (on the wall of my up-and-coming studio!) i also purchased some marble magnets from ta dah. they were very helpful in distracting colden until one was dropped (underneath the stage we think). we still have two actually, one is without its magnet and the other on our front (metal) door. love it! for entertainment luckily there was a woman who had a display drawer full of beans later on. i didn't get her card. oops! lanz bought something at zoom baby gear, where i intend to go this week for some wool cloth diaper covers. it is ridiculously close to my house, and i can get help with sewing my own covers or putting snaps in too! hooray! lanz also bought a card somewhere, but i'm afraid i can't remember the name. i thought it was funny though, because she ended up buying something she makes (cards), while i bought something made out of a sweater. lovely! oh i think lanz also got something at moontea artwork. the fabric there is all screen or block printed by hand. so pretty.

here is a nifty little thing i came up with for my sewing basket. i had tied them with yarn before so they would be inaccessible to toddler fingers, but then it turns out they were pretty inaccessible to me. so i thought a little felt (recycled sweater here) velcro handle cover would be perfect. i showed it to colden and he insisted that i remove it ('take it off!'). i have plans for more of these for laundry baskets. although, i have to say, we just got a new three-section laundry hamper so hopefully that will help distinguish which laundry is dirty (*fingers crossed*). my thought was to make a similar velcro 'handle cover' for the laundry baskets that say 'CLEAN' and 'DIRTY'. i even have an idea to make it reversible. we'll see.

i have more embroidery i want to share, but it is one of those gift things. it is coming. still! more exciting news! i have a new clothesline! i hope to display my vintage fabric-y goodies in the glorious portland sunshine (yeah, it's been raining here). ahem. (*more fingers crossed*) thanks to marc for the perfect clothesline - it can be reached from the back door. ahhhh! he also made a stunning raised bed and cold frame. would you like to see? oh! must get planting!

some exciting crafty and organizational advances to share as well. i am in a state of crafty wonderment at all to do with by hand at home. i am trying to do my homework online, via library books, and also keep up with the housework. straightening up my sewing space and my home is going to be key, i realized when going out the door the other day, colden said, "where's my phone?" in preparation to leave. i am a bit of a scatter, so i appreciate you bearing with me. thanks for reading, friends!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

hedgehog, snake, and broom

please forgive me for not posting in a while. i am no ball juggler, like my friend anne, over here. she is tempting me to try quilting - look at those beauties! in turn, i must tempt her with this link to quilting for peace. i think i found it through the book publisher's blog? looks pretty sweet.

somehow my computer, internet, and camera couldn't see to it last week. nor could i muster the courage for the battle. then when the toddler finds the power button, well, you get the idea. i did, however, make it to the last crafty wonderland (post pending) and get a lot of crafting done in the mean time! i am hoping to perfect it a bit then seriously whip out the hedgehogs and brooms. maybe snakes. (they're just so big - i think a couple house snakes is all that we need - one for our drafty door and one to play with.)

so, here are my things - all made from recycled sweaters. inspired by all of the incredible sweater recyclartists out there, but my own unique little guys. so please respect my seedling ventures a la creative commons licensure. i'll add it to the sidebar or something too. (do i need to do something else here, o you of experience?) i jumped in feet first! another reason for the blogging break, research!

and without further ado:

hedgehog - body, coat, nose, eyes, all recycled wools. it is worth having the hedgehog just to hear colden say it. hedgog, hedgehog. dog. hog. hotdog. it's a mouthful. here is the hedgehog; "sit on my lap."

above = evidence of terrible camera problems. new snake photo coming. i was trying to capture how taken sammy was all curled up in this snake with her entire body cozied up to it all splayed out. but at this point she was getting embarassed. my next shot is her stretching and leaving. felted sweater snake with button eyes and i-cord tongue, plus rattle-ish tail. he still needs stuffing and sewing.

action broom! the handle is pretty floppy, you see. i am thinking of stuffing the next one for more real-life broom-like-ness.

here is a better view, again, recycled wools - pants and various stages of felted sweaters.

i don't want to leave you hanging so before my next post, please take the opportunity to do some shopping for a worthy cause at wheels for henry. heard about this fundraiser at crafty wonderland. etsy sellers are contributing percentages (up to 100%!) of their sales thru oct. 31.

next up, proper photos, a little embroidery, vintage swaps!, and the sewing room is coming along too!

Friday, October 16, 2009

hat for hannah

this hat was originally intended for my sister-in-law, hannah, for an earlier time. only i was knitting it 3 or 4 inches too big. marc helped me figure out gauge and do the math again for what would be the right size. so i took it out and started over. it fit me okay, but would it fit hannah? and then, of course, would she like it? i left it at her house the other day while she was working, but i did hear that it does fit and the color is perfect! i am kind of hoping marc will help me color correct these pictures. it is nowhere near as chartreuse as all that. yay for another project done, and just in time for hannah's (belated) birthday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


i think it was nearly a year ago that i promised to make these pants in exchange for those hooks. actually, there's another sweater. and more hooks, but i finally got part of my end of the bargain finished. here's hoping these little sweater pants fit shanoah. we love love love these hooks her papa keith made, and the rest of that sweater is bound for hot pads for mama tanyia. (check out their band, omiza river). the other sweater? we'll just have to see about that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


a while back (in august!?), i had the great pleasure of celebrating lanz's birthday at her home. she hosted a natural dyeing party. i have always wanted to do more natural dyeing and even took a class at the oregon college of art and craft way back when i was newly pregnant with colden. this time i had a whole slew of stuff to try dyeing, but i didn't want to take up all the room in the communal pots. (plus, lanz and i have some future plans for more natural dyeing dates!) so i chose these onesies that needed the transformation the most - one stained with mud, the other with watermelon. mud went into the onion skin pot and watermelon into the madder.

the onion skin one (left) was actually a brilliant gold shade until i washed it in hot water, and next time i will try a vinegar soak to see if i can get more of the gold to stick around. i soaked the madder in vinegar before washing and i think it helped. i just love them and i'm excited to do more! you should have seen the silks coming out of these pots! oh so lovely! and i fully intend to get my own indigo pot a-brewing. maybe this weekend?

i did use an alum mordant for the onesies, but there are some dyestuffs that do not require any. one is walnut. i've read most places to use crushed walnut hulls, but one of my books said you could do it with leaves in a sealed pot left for one week. i did it, after a neighborhood stroll, and now my week is almost up! i put lots of different bits of wool and such in to see what happens! i am in search of a giant pot for doing larger pieces and batches. i plan on pretty-ing up some grey and tan sweaters from the bins with some lichen (also needs no mordant). this will require more hiking in my future. oh yeah.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

sweet alpaca stockings

marc made another trip to the bins (aka goodwill outlet), and scored big time! tons of beautiful wool sweaters for me to craft into, and some other fun finds too. including these gorgeous slipper/socks that fit him perfectly. lucky man, heh? they also look really cute, especially in favorite warm thermals cozied up in the evening. probably even better fireside, or log cabin-side! aww! but i digress. they had some mending in order:

please forgive the photo quality around here. we've lost our camera battery again and our other one does weird things with color. or we just haven't figured out how it works.

now, i've tried to mend socks before, but i don't actually know how it is done. surely i will learn someday, but here's what i did in the mean time. after picking up all of the stitches i could, there was really only one row with breakage. huzzah! i remember overhearing someone say you must sew around the hole to ensure no further unraveling, so i secured the loose ends and knitted a row, then sewed all the way around. it doesn't look as neat as it could, i'm sure. but it is certainly serviceable, and on the inside of the leg so not noticeable either. marc says it is just as comfy as the rest of the sock. and yes, it was done with a bit of that gorgeous knittn' kitten alpaca yarn from an earlier post, doubled up.

that's leather stitched on the bottom too. tag says made in bolivia. 100% alpaca wool. so sweet slipper socks.