Monday, November 30, 2009

Craft Leftovers Winners!

With all the holiday hubbub, I forgot to post the Craft Leftovers winners! Thanks for the comments! I got my copy of the new CL last week, and have loved reading it over the holiday weekend. Kristin has outdone herself!

So here are the lucky winners!

Please send an email to averagejanecrafter at gmail dot com with your shipping info!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Embroidery Floss Overload

A year and a half ago, I had the privilege to work with three other women, stitching projects for Jenny Hart's latest book, Embroidered Effects. Aside from the honor of being asked to participate, and the fun of working with such insanely talented stitchers, one of the really fun perks was receiving a designer's pack of embroidery floss from Presencia to use for stitching the projects.

This brick of embroidery floss - every color in the Prescencia family - arrived on my doorstep and literally made me cry a little as I opened it. Somehow in the midst of my floss freakout, I had the wherewithal to grab my camera and snap some pictures before I demolished the brick and set to work stitching.

Remember that feeling you had when you got a new box of crayons - especially if you were lucky enough to get the 64-count box? That immense feeling of possibility you had when you pulled back the lid and saw all the pristine colors neatly organized and ready for creating ... that was magic, right? That's exactly how I felt when I opened this package of embroidery floss. I was overwhelmed by an intense feeling of gratitude and an immediate need to create. It was awesome. Looking at the pictures brings all that emotion right back, and I'm so glad I snapped them. Enjoy! See more on my Flickr set, and zoom in for optimal floss freakout.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Bent with Terry Border

Terry Border makes me laugh.

A lot.

And since I'm a big fan of laughing, I'm a big fan of Terry's and his hilarious Bent Objects art. I'm guessing that, by now, you've seen his art around the internet, on your local bookstore's shelves and even on the Target greeting card aisle. And I'm guessing you've been laughing, too.

Terry's new book, Bent Objects - The Secret Life of Everyday Things, is a collection of new pieces from Border that are hilarious, clever and sometimes just a bit racy. I've followed Terry's work for a long time now, and was a bit curious about how I'd react to his book. Here was an artist whose work I'd enjoyed online for ages, complimented by his personal quips. Would I get the same hysterical laughter reaction and feeling of personal connection from a hold-in-my-hands book?

In a word: Yes.

Terry's book is hysterical. His pieces of art straddle whimsy and dark humor in the same page and make you think. Sure, you're thinking about things like hot dogs pooping baked beans, but your thinking. And you're laughing. A lot. In fact, I just picked the book up to flip through and come up with a list of favorite images, and I gut laughed on

When the book arrived in the mail, my entire family gathered around to read it together. Don't think this is some Rockwellian regular occurrence. I should say that once I started to read it and laugh hysterically, the family gathered around to see what was so funny. And we all laughed. A lot. Some of the jokes are above the kids heads (read: a doughnut dad's "point of view" as he sends his doughnut daughter off with her hot dog boyfriend) but they still got many of them, and just seeing things like chapstick with arms, legs and on a skateboard made them laugh. A lot.

I love this book, and every time I pick it up, I find something new I somehow missed. The details are spot on, and the humor is fantastically brilliant. (it reminds me a lot of The Far Side in that read ... wait 2-3-4 ... LAUGH kind of way)

I have to confess that I received Terry's book weeks ago and have been holding off to review it for one simple reason: I wanted to try a Bent Object myself. You see, Terry includes a tutorial for making a cork person Bent Object at the end of his book. This endeared him to me even more, and I was hell bent (ha!) on making one. I finally grabbed some wire at the craft store the other day, but I had no wine corks here at home. As I sat in my office, looking around at all my crafty bits, it struck me.

I call it "Getting ready for a hot date"

I hope it makes you laugh. A lot. (or a bit, who am I kidding - I'm an amateur here!)

PS - making a Bent Object was far more difficult than I expected it to be, and photographing it was insanely hard. The massive amounts of respect I had for Terry have been quadrupled.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Big News From Craft Leftovers Monthly
A discount and a giveaway

Craft Leftovers was one of the very first craft blogs I read on a regular basis. There was something about Kristin's reuse philosophy and comfortable writing style that had me hooked from the first Craft Leftover's post I ever read.

Later, she posted a call for readers to create craft projects from fabric or items they had on hand. I created my first version of the armrest embroidery organizer and was thrilled when she posted about it. (and was even more thrilled when it was picked up by Craftzine - something that made me insanely giddy!) My devotion to Kristin and Craft Leftovers was sealed.

After a couple of years of emailing, I was finally able to meet Kristin at Maker Faire back in May. She was just as sweet and kind and generous and passionate as I'd imagined she'd be.

One of the things I've loved watching Kristin develop over the years is her Craft Leftovers Monthly, a zine and kits she offers on either issue-by-issue or subscription basis. The zines have Kristin's special style woven in to ever detail, and are fantastic sources of inspiration and information. From Kristin:

Craft Leftovers Monthly is all about living life creatively. It's full of resourceful projects, patterns, and ideas for using what's on hand. It turned two years old in August and is 100% recycled and 100% handmade!
She's just announced that, after two years, Craft Leftovers Monthly has outgrown it's initial quarter-page format. The new Craft Leftovers Monthly is larger in format and page count, and now includes projects from from guest designers for the first time ever.

And here's the sweetest part of the deal: Kristin has generously offered Average Jane Crafter readers a special 20% discount on their entire shop order at Craft Leftovers ( Just enter avgjanecraft as your coupon code*). And, she's given me a couple of copies of Craft Leftovers Monthly to give away to my readers. Just leave a comment by 6PM on Wednesday, Nov 18 and I'll draw a winner on Thursday. Thanks, Kristin! Check out her web site to read more about her art, craft and reuse philosophy!

* Use avgjanecraft as your coupon code to get 20% off your entire order from the Craft Leftovers Monthly category (not including shipping). The offer is good through December 15th!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dreamy New Stitch Lab
Stitch with me here next week!

The Stitch Lab move is complete, and the new location is one of the coziest, warmest, most welcoming and inspiring places I have ever experienced. Leslie's attention to detail is phenomenal, and every little nook and cranny has something special in it. The sewing space is large and open and fantastically functional. The handwork room is cozy and filled with inspiring embroidered pieces and the most awesome crazy quilt curtains you have ever seen. Even the bathroom is inspiring and fun! Come. ON! I love this place! I just want to hang out there all day long and make stuff!

1. Lab A, 2. Lab B, 3. Lab A, 4. Lab B

You can come hang out with me - for a class at least. I have a class scheduled for Monday, Nov 9. This will be my first class to teach at the new place, and I'm so excited! Come on and join us, won't you!? If you need more convincing, read my post about what past students have had to say about my hand embroidery classes at The Stitch Lab.

Even if you can't make next week's class, you need to stop by the Lab (we have retail hours now!) and check out the stunning selection of yummy fabrics. It'll knock your socks off.

Enjoy, and I hope to see you at the new Stitch Lab soon!