Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Come silk screen with me!

Another good bit of news for myself today is that I signed up for a Silk Screen Crash Course at the Dougherty Arts Center here in Austin. I am so.insanely.excited. I've been wanting to learn how to silk screen for ages, but I haven't been able to find a class that fits my schedule/budget or that really inspired me. Until now!

I met Kathleen McTee through Leslie and instantly fell in love - especially since one of the first times I hung out with her, she was working on this amazing piece that was hand dyed/silk screened cloth on which she was embroidering a really cool design. I tried to play cool as I looked at it, but wanted to scream, "OHMYGOD-THIS-IS-AMAZING-I-MUST-LEARN-HOW-TO-DO-THIS!"

So when I found her most recent class listings, I very gently and lovingly convinced my husband that we had room in our budget for the Silk Screen Crash Course. (give it up for Mother's Day gifts!) It's a full week of school-day-hours silk screen classes. Heaven! Drop off the kids and go get my screen on - I cannot wait. My mind is already swimming with all the things I want to try to print. I really think this could be a hugely inspirational class for me, because silk screening is something that has intrigued me for a long time, and plays well to my love of bold graphics. And now I get to go order supplies from Dick Blick! Hurrah!

How can you get in on this fun? Just check out Kat's web site at Here's a listing of her summer classes she's offering. I really want to take the Dye, Print, Stitch class, but it's not gonna work with my schedule this time around. I strongly encourage you to check out the classes, and sign up! If you sign up for the Silk Screen Crash Course, please let me know! I'd love to have a crafty pal in there!

ENROLLING now! Call 512.974.4040 to register at the Dougherty Arts Center

An accelerated, fun week of printing power!
$185/5 classes
Monday-Friday, May 12-16, 9AM-2PM

Summery Goodness (register starting April 28th):

DYE, PRINT, STITCH! (New Class!)*
Make original fabric suitable for pillows, quilts, purses or other projects -- while learning to dye, silkscreen and embroider! Students will use safe, easy fiber-reactive dyes to add rich color to cloth, then print the fabric with "instant" thermofax silkscreens of original designs. Meanwhile, learn hand embroidery techniques, and finish off your cloth with beautiful stitched embellishment.
$125 / 5 classes
Tuesdays, 6PM-9PM
June 3 - July 1
July 15 - August 19

Explore the color wheel, learn the fundamentals of color theory and color mixing through hands-on exercises, and make color work for you! Whether you're an artist, designer, decorator, or simply an art lover, mastering color principles and vocabulary can add depth to your work, and change the way you see your everyday environment!
$85 / 4 classes
Wednesdays, 6PM-9PM
June 4-July 2
July 16-August 13

$125/5 classes
Thursdays, 6PM-9PM
June 5-July 3
July 17-August 14

Current and returning textile/silkscreen students may register to use the studio to work on class or independent projects alongside other artists. Dye & print fabric, make silkscreens (including photo emulsion), etc. I'll be available for assistance and brainstorming!
(Open studio is not for production work.)
$80/4 weeks (dye, paint, chemicals, photo emulsion included!)
Mondays, 6PM-9PM
June 2-June 23
June 30-July 21

All images are from Kat's web site. No Edmunds were hurt in the blogging of this subject.*

*inside joke, don't worry if you don't get it. ;-)

Thank goodness for mail

Yipee! They came today! Considering the craptacular day week two weeks I've had, these were a very welcome surprise today. Once again E.T. (and crafty goodness!) saves the day.

April, don't let the door smack you on the way out.

May, hurry the heck up.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jenny Hart on Craft Sanity - with Sublime Stitching giveaway

The first order of business for today is to direct your attention to the interview with Jenny Hart that just went up over at Craft Sanity. I promise, this isn't turning into a Sublime Stitching wannabe blog, but listening to interviews with Jenny is always a great lesson in inspiration and business savvy.

In addition to the interview, you can also download a sample Sublime Stitching design for personal use, and you can leave a comment about your "wildest embroidery adventure" and enter a drawing for loads of Sublime Stitching goodies.

I'm off to wrap up a post on crafty magazines that I've been -literally- writing for d.a.y.s. Here's to bits and pieces of happy writing and reading mixed in with daily life! woot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Putting the "Secretary" back in Administrative Professionals Day

So today is Administrative Professionals Day. All across the country, Administrative Professionals are getting flowers, maybe candy, maybe taken out to lunch ... all sorts of nice-but-not-what-you-really-wanted gifts, right? In the back of their head, they're probably thinking, "Man, I wish my boss knew my personality well enough to know I'd really rather have some Bad Ass E.T. earrings."

Silly bosses. They should have gone to Naughty Secretary Club's web site. There's a rockin' sale going on over there this week - 25% off! (just enter the word SECRETARY in the coupon code box when you are checking out)

I decided to treat myself to some E.T. earrings I've been eying for a while. What you may not know about me is that I'm a die-hard E.T. fan, and I collect E.T. memorabilia. I actually have some vintage E.T. earrings that I scored at a random cool shop in Atlanta (mint! still in the package!) but they are metal with enamel and just little post earrings. Nothing nearly as big, dangly and fabulous as the ones over at NSC. I can't wait to get them in the mail. Plus, it's just fun wondering what the mail carrier is thinking when they see the return address stamped, "Naughty Secretary Club."

Even if you're not a secretary administrative professional, you can take advantage of the sale and treat yourself to some rather* fabulous baubles.

* OMG, her sister has a Speak N Spell purse. Must. Have.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A peek into the future of crafting

I'm often asked where I got my craftiness. I imagine for most folks with crafty inclinations used to craft with their mother or another influential female (maybe male!) adult in their lives. Strangely, I didn't have any influence like that in my life. My mom never really crafted with me or my sister. She did sew clothes for us, but never around us. And it turns out that she was totally crafty in the 70s. She was obsessed with embroidery (a-ha! that's where I get it!) and macramé and decoupaged anything she could get her hands on. But as for doing those things with me ... that just never happened.

I'm not sure why mom and I weren't crafty together - we were (and still are) best pals and spent tons and tons of time together. I can't think of many other people who would have been crafty influences on me except for my friend, Lara's, mom. She was crazy crafty and brilliantly artistic. But because I wasn't in her Girl Scout Troop, I didn't get to do much crafting with her.

So where on earth did I get my crafty vibes? I have no clue. I have a feeling my mom's crafty ways were somehow genetically passed down to me. That can happen, right? I also think that most of us have that innate need to create and we just spend a lot of time repressing it. Fortunately, I've busted my need to create wide open. I think I repressed it so long, that now it's just gushing out like I'm a diet coke and someone shoved mentos down my throat. I spent most of my life proclaiming my "non-craftiness" and swore of crafting. Who knows why. I don't remember many opportunities to explore crafting, and until the DIY-resurrgance of the last 10 years or so, crafting seemed a little ... ok, I'll say it .... dorky.

Now here comes the irony: I've experienced this explosion of crafty goodness, but I haven't been very good about sharing it with my daughter. Part of what I love about crafting is that it provides a nice little break from the dredges of everyday life as a mother. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids, but most of my day is taken up with the minutiae of just keeping us all alive and moving forward. Laundry for four. Cooking for four. Cleaning for four. Shopping for four. Heck, just driving my kids too and from school eats up a good hour and a half of my day.

So my crafting time is my creative time. My time to have fun and create ... by myself. Quite frankly, having my kids join me in my crafting time just kinda ... ruins it for me.

I know, I know! But really, it's just my thing.

But I also know how wonderful crafting can be for a child. I know how important it is to encourage their creativity, to give them opportunities to try new things and to make stuff. And I know that if crafting has made such a difference in my life, it can do the same for them. I can't deny them that chance.

Because my daughter sees me do embroidery all the time, it wasn't surprising that stitching drew her interest so grandly. Several months ago, a group of her friends were playing at our house. I think it was raining or too hot to play outside. Whatever the reason, we found ourselves stuck inside with nothing to do .... or almost nothing. I decided I'd whip out my embroidery hoops and some felt and floss and let the kids have a go at stitching. Even my son got in on the action. Most of the girls thought it was fun, but didn't stick with it very long. One of my daughter's friends, though, really took off with it and did an amazing job. She even went home with a handful of floss and transfers imprinted on felt so she could continue stitching at home.

The kids were stitching some simple designs from the Sublime Stitching book. I had a ton of felt squares, so that's what I stamped (even though stitching on felt is one of my least favorite things to do). They had a blast.

When I heard about Jenny's book signing this past weekend at Ginger's Needlearts shop (which was an amazing place - more about that later) I knew it would be fun to take my daughter and her friend to meet Jenny. I explained that she was the artist who designed and drew the projects they had stitched. Aside from the fun I have seeing Jenny (just getting crafty star struck and enjoying her warm and friendly personality) I really felt it was important for the girls to see a woman who was following a passion, who was creating and incorporating art in her career, and to see and support small businesses (Sublime Stitching and Ginger's).

They were excited to meet her, though they got a bit shy. Jenny was very sweet to them and examined their embroidery they brought with them, and sat for a picture of them. I know they may not have thought much of it at the moment, but I really believe it could have a profound affect on them in later years.

Ah, that I could have had some kind of great crafty community support and inspiration as a kid! Perhaps I would have started this fun crafting journey a long time ago.

Speaking of supporting future crafters, Kathie Sever of Ramonsterwear and Austin author, Bernadette Noll have started an awesome project called the Future Craft Collective.

From their web site:
The future craft collective is about inspiring children to get crafty, to create beauty, while simultaneously teaching them ways of minimizing our impact on this earth. It's about understanding ways of recycling, reducing, reusing, and at the same time, making some really cool stuff.

How fantastic is that? They have some great classes and projects going on for kids, and I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to join in. I highly recommend checking out their web site and classes and camps. Even if you aren't in Austin (and their site mentions that they hope to spread to other cities some day) they have great inspirational posts about what they are doing with the kids.

All of this serves as great reminders that as much as we enjoy our crafty time for ourselves, it's imperative that we share the gift of creative time with our kids, however we can.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Super fun crafty stuff this weekend in Austin

Quickie afternoon post here for the Austin readers. There are a couple of fun events (and many more, I'm sure - I can just get to these two right now) happening this weekend that I wanted to let you know about. I wrote about them in the Stitch Lab Newsletter today and wanted to stick them on the blog, too, in case the Austin folks aren't on the mailing list (but, really, why the heck aren't you!?) I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to make the clothing swap, but I am almost certainly going to Ginger's for the Craft Pad signing. Let me know if you are going, too!

Start your Saturday morning off with the Clothes Swap over at First Samples. Simply bring your clothes that you don't wear any more and swap with everyone else. Coordinator, Tina Sparkles, writes: "If you are interested in recycling and re-fashioning clothes, attending a clothes swap is a good way to start a palette of items to use in your recycling projects. And it is totally FREE!" You can read more about the event and get all the details on what will and will not be accepted over at the Stitch Austin blog.

Here are the details:
Saturday, April 19 from 9AM - 1PM
First Samples - 1101 Music Lane #303

Jenny Hart! After you hit the clothing swap, make your way up north to visit Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching for a Craft Pad release and signing and Q and A at Ginger's Needlearts. That's right - the one and only Mother of Modern Embroidery will be at Ginger's (a great local needlework store) signing copies of her brand new release from Chronicle Books, the Craft Pad, and will be chatting it up with visitors. So you get to see a great, local needlearts store and hang with Jenny Hart. HELLO!? Why aren't you there yet? You can read more information over on the Sublime Stitching Blog. You can also read my review of the Craft Pad and see a project that I've already stitched from the Craft Pad.

Sublime StitchingHere are the details:
Saturday, April 19 from 1:30 - 4:00 PM
Ginger's Needlearts - 5322 Cameron Rd, Austin, TX 78723

Happy Birthday, Early Bird! :)

Based on my last post about Google Reader and my blog/Flickr addiction, you have probably guessed that I'm a big fan of the internet. What I love more than anything is connecting with people engaged in the creative process of making things. Crafty folks, for the most part, are incredibly generous, kind, fun people, and connecting with them through blogs, Craftster and Flickr are great fun for me.

One of these folks with whom I've connected is Amy of Early Bird Special. It was her unicorn banner for her daughter that first caught my eye last year. I happened to have it up on my computer screen, and my daughter saw it. She was mezmerized (as was I) and said, "That's what I want!" Inspired by Amy's work, I made the Unicorn Dress for my daughter.

Somewhere in the process, I emailed Amy and we started exchanging messages, Flickr comments and general crafty love. Before we knew it, we became fast friends.

Amy's stitching skills are off the hook, y'all (so much so that they bring me to saying things like, "off the hook") and it's no secret. She even stitches samples for the Sublime Stitching Web site and she's participated in Oklahoma City's awesome Girlie Show. She rocks. And she's super nice to boot. I love that.

So when I saw a picture of her and her "stitching station" a while back on Flickr (can't find the pic at the moment) I was horrified to see her floss, needles, scissors and other random emrboidery bits strew across the oversized arm of her stitching chair. OK, so I wasn't "horrified" but I instantly saw that one of my arm rest embroidery organizers might help her out. I commented on the picture and she replied, jokingly, that her birthday was April 17. I knew right then what I'd be sending up to Oklahoma this week.

I heard back last night that she received the arm rest embroidery organizer, and I think it was a hit. I hope it will get many hours of use, and it warms my heart to think of her stitching away with it by her side.

Be sure to check out her Etsy shop - especially if you need to get some baby gifts. Her onesies are to-die-for-adorable, and her tea towels are deliciously fun. If anything, be sure to stop by her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday and add her blog to your Reader.

Here's to making more craft connections!

Monday, April 14, 2008

How I love my Google Reader ...

I've been meaning to write this post for ages, and I actually have more to write than I have time for tonight, but I've just found another way to love love love my Google Reader, so I couldn't wait any longer to profess my love from the blogtops.*

I love reading blogs. I have an addiction, actually. I love being able to tap in to content that is specifically geared to my interests. I love being able to keep up with news and information in one place. I love getting little glimpses of stuff from random small corners of the planet.

But I'm also kind of lazy. Not too lazy, but lazy enough that I don't want to bookmark and re-visit blogs I love or places where I need to get information. I like it all brought right to me and dropped right in to my lap. Which is why I'm so glad a friend introduced me to a feed reader more than a year ago. I started on Bloglines, which was fine, but at some point I switched to Google Reader and I am sooooo in love. I'd bet that a lot of the things I mention are applicable in other readers, so feel free to chime in in the comments if you use other readers for similar purposes.

The obvious: subscribing to blogs
So when I see a great post on the Craftzine blog or find a link to a random blog, I'll often want to keep up with what that blogger is posting about. Subscribing is the way to go. With Google Reader, I was able to install a little "subscribe" button in the menu bar of Firefox. Anytime I stumble on a blog I like, I just jab that little subscribe button and - whammo - it's heading straight to my Reader and I'm able to keep up with it whenever it updates. I subscribe to several new blogs a day (I told you - I have an addiction, and this all reminds me that I need to update my blog roll ....)

Mostly I'm subscribing to craft blogs, but the other kind of blogs I subscribe to are my friends' blogs. Several of my friends, especially ones with kids, have blogs and it's become a great way to keep up with them. Remember when you used to get miffed if someone didn't have an email address and you kinds of felt like, "Well, don't expect me to be able to stay in touch?" I'm starting to feel that way about blogs. If you want me to keep up with you, blog, dammit! Let me subscribe and I'll faithfully keep up with you. I've connected with several friends from high school and college recently, and through their blogs I've been able to catch up to the point where it feels like it hasn't been 10 years since we've seen each other. I love it.

News and stuff
All my favorite new sources have feeds. Boom - I'm up-to-date.

Second to blogs, I'm a Flickr addict. Crafty inspiration, pictures from friends and families, I love seeing new pictures and hate missing out on them. I got super excited when I noticed the little RSS icon on the Flickr pages. DUH! I can subscribe and get the pictures in my Reader. I subscribe to my friends' pictures, groups I'm in, I can even subscribe to the comments I've made on pictures and discussions in the groups. I love being able to keep up with pictures this way. I used to miss a few days on Flickr and I'd go back to the Embroidery group and be overwhelmed by all the new pictures posted. Now I can just zip through them as they are posted right there in my Reader.

I can enter a Google blog search, subscribe to it and have it feed right to my Reader. It's kind of like a Google Alert, but I like it even better. I can search things in which I'm interested, something I'm researching for work, anything - and have it delivered nice and neat into my Reader.

Ah. Sharing. This is one of my favorite things. I can set up contacts through Reader and then as I'm scrolling through items, if I find one that I think is interesting I can click a little "share" button, and the item feeds into my contacts' Readers. Right now I have just a few contacts, so when we "share" items, it's like we know we're posting something just for the other person. It's like a little secret or something. I love it.

But now I've found something with sharing items that makes me love it even more! I knew that I could make page that updated my shared item feeds, and that people can actually subscribed to my shared items, but I've just discovered I can actually add a dandy little widget to my blog sidebar (look! It's over there! Right above the Stitch Lab logo! It's all cute!) so that my shared items just update there. This is bliss to me. The one thing I love more than reading blogs is sharing fun little tidbits I find with people. Now, even if you aren't one of my contacts, you can see my little shared items. I read hundreds of blog posts and feeds and search results a day, and now I can easily pop my favorites right here for you. You can either keep up with the sidebar widget or subscribe to my shared items using this feed. (in your Reader, 'cause I'm hoping by now I've convinced you to use one if you aren't already)

This is another fun one I don't play with enough. You can click on the discover link and Reader will actually pull up blogs that are similar in content to ones to which you already subscribe. It's a great way to find new reads.

Organizing it All
To keep my Reader from getting all wonky, I've got it organized a little bit. I've got folders set up for the main categories into which my subscriptions fall. It makes it easier to scroll through items. Here's how mine are set up right now:

Crafty Blogs - obvious - right now, I'm at 257. (yikes. I didn't realize I was that far gone ...)
Fun! - kinda obvious. Here's where I've got stuff like Cute Overload, Awesome, Officially Awesome, Minor Tweaks, Garfield Minus Garfield, Bent Objects, etc.
Kids - believe it or not, some of my friends' kids have blogs of their own. I've subscribed to them here.
Mom-Blogs - I'm a mom. Most of my friends are moms. Loads of them have blogs. Here's where they go. This is great for keeping up with my friends when we don't have time to sit around and talk. Sad but true.
Flickr - Here's where I've subscribed to pictures. I've subscribed to my contacts' pictures, certain groups, people, etc.
Flickr Discussion - here's where group discussions land, as well as comments subsequent to ones I make on pictures.
Organization-Productivity - sadly, the group with the fewest subscriptions ...... but also one of my favorites.
Subscriptions - I didn't have a better name, but here's where I've put all the random searches I've subscribed to.

If you are using a feed reader in a similar way, or know of better ways to use Google Reader, feel free to comment.
*(I'd post some pictures of favorite items that have popped up in my Reader, but since I've got to be at the Gym to meet a friend and drool over Bead Simple while we ellipticize at 5:30 tomorrow morning ... I better sign off. Just go visit their blogs- there's great stuff out there. )

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jewelry making has never been so simple ... or so beautiful

I've been reading all over about how fabulous Susan Beal's new Bead Simple book is. Ever since I saw a first glimpse of the cover on the web ages ago, I've been dying to get my hands on a copy. My wish finally came true, and folks ... this book does NOT disappoint. Everything I've read was right on. It's a big, thick, yummy, beautiful book. I've spent the last several nights dreamily perusing it before I drift off to sleep. It's no wonder I've had lots of dreams of jewelry this week!

Bead Simple is gorgeous. It's styled in such a way that makes it a borderline coffee table book. Don't relinquish this book to the craft room bookshelf. It's one you'll want to keep out where you can look at it at any time, and share with friends. The projects are beautifully photographed, the illustrations are clean and simple and the typography pulls it all together in a way that's delicate without being too fru-fru.

This book has got something for beading newbies and jewelry experts. The first part of the book has incredible resources and information about everything you need to get started making your own jewels. The descriptions of the supplies are simple and clear and the intro chapter makes for a great starting point and future reference.

The project portion of the book is brilliantly organized. Each "chapter" has three variations on a particular theme. It's a great way to see how you can easily modify a certain technique or design to make loads of different, fun pieces. I love the chapter on vintage button necklaces. Remember how I haven't been a big button person in the past? Well, this chapter makes me want a button necklace for every day of the week.

And it's not just baubles that you'll be making when you get this book. There are great projects for embellishing clothes, too! I love that! There are also some fun household projects - like the Name Dropper Wine Glass Charms. I've got dibs on Prince!

And I haven't even gotten to the guest contributors. All your favorite crafty gurus are in here. My pal, Diane of Crafty Pod fame, has a beautiful Starburst Pendant design that involves wire twisting. I can't wait to give that one a spin. There's a fantastic project from Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano Murillo, that has a beautiful back story. I can almost hear Jennifer Perkins' Bric-a-Brac Charming Bracelet jingling off the page. I have to say, I'm a sucker for simple, fun, colorful stuff, so Jenny Ryan's Candy Shoppe One Strand Bracelet is among my absolute favorites. I know it's all about the beads on that one, and I'm drooling over the tiny owl beads and little squares with atomic sunbursts on them. I NEED those!

If I haven't convinced you of the luscious quality of Bead Simple, perhaps the price will do the trick. What can I say, I'm a practical, frugal gal at heart. So seeing this glossy, glorious, massive book filled with the designs of fabulous independent crafty folks priced at just under $20 ... that's a steal of a deal if you ask me.

Treat yourself to Bead Simple. Like me, you won't be disappointed.

* Project pictures from Jennifer Perkins' and Jenny Ryan's blogs/Flickr pages, respectively. :)

Spontaneous Crafting For my race-car crazy little dude

A couple of years ago, my nephew went through a major NASCAR phase. He would only play with toy cars that had numbers on them, he knew every car/driver/sponsor, and my sister was DVRing races so he could watch them on demand.

I relentlessly teased my sister. We are so not NASCAR folks, and it was hilarious to see her spouting off about Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the like.

I should have known that would come around to bite me in the ass. Now it's my son's turn to be obsessed with all things NASCAR. He's the one refusing to touch a car that is without numbers. He's the one asking to watch races on tv 24/7, and I'm the one who knows who Jeff Gordan is and what number his car is (24, if you care.)

It came as no surprise, then, that my son requested all the tracks be removed from our playroom train table so he could use it as a race track. For months, he's been gliding his cars over the faux landscape that adorns the train table pretending it's a race track. Finally, I gave in and offered to pop the panels out, flip them over and transform them into a true race track.

Earlier this week (before my guts got wrecked by some mystery illness) we had a sunny afternoon with no plans. The kids were restless, and I knew I wouldn't be getting any work done. I finally threw my hands up and said, "We're moving things out side." On the spur of the moment, I dug out my acrylic craft paints, lugged the panels outside to the backyard, and declared the race track transformation would be completed that night. It was a little ambitious, but armed with my disdain for perfection, I set to work.

I didn't sand (couldn't find the sandpaper), didn't prime (didn't have any primer) and didn't have much of a plan. I grabbed the kids' little table off the porch, flipped it upside down on top of the panels and used the circle as the template for the track. Other than that, I just winged it. I knew if it came out truly hideous I could always just flip the panels back over.

I was actually able to get it mostly done by dinner, and finished the rest after the kids were in bed. When Ben came downstairs the next morning, he was so stoked about the table I could hardly get him to stand still so I could take his picture. Since then, if he's awake and in the house, he's playing on the track. He hasn't commented on the total inconsistency in the size, length and placement of the road marks. He doesn't seem to care that the Piston Cup I painted in the "middle" of the table is completely off center (and not in a cool, graphic way) and
he hasn't complained that there isn't an actual "start" line.

Spontaneous crafting is such a blast. Going in to a project with no plan can often leave you truly, pleasantly surprised with the end result. Sure, it's not the way to go on every project, but sometimes you just need to jump on to an idea and run with it. How many projects have you thought about, but not started because you haven't been able to "plan" them accordingly?

What could you get done by dinner tonight?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Crafting road blocks

I don't normally like to apologize for not blogging. This blog is a fun thing for me to do, and feeling pressure to say, "oh, sorry for not posting!" doesn't sit right with me.

But the problem is that I do want to be posting this week! I have some great projects, useful information, a great book review, contest alerts and general crafty wittiness to share with you.

But work/kids/a random stomach bug are getting in the way this week.

Stick around, K?


Friday, April 4, 2008

Classy stitching ... har

So I mentioned briefly that I taught an embroidery class at the Stitch Lab last month. It was loads of fun, and the women in the class were really great. I was nervous, and having such fun, sweet, enthusiastic and warm gals in the class really helped ease my nerves. I loved it. It ended up being a really relaxed, fun evening.

I designed a basic sampler for the class - we've got backstitch, split stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, lazy daisy and herringbone. My hope was to create a fun design that the students might be able to use in some way after the class.

And that's just was Amy of Sewcial Butterfly did - and she knocked my socks off with her display of her classwork. She's framed it in a beautiful shadow box and even added paper and embellishments that coordinate with the Stitch Lab logo - love that! Even better, she did a journal panel on the back of the frame. It's such a cool way to capture a memory. There was a recent discussion on the Flickr Embroidery Group about ways to display your finished embroidery. I think Amy's ranks up there as one of the best. Sure, I'm a bit biased, but .... ya know.

And, yes, as she reveals in her journaling, I did give her a tiny peek at the Secret Tea Towel for Jenny Hart. As we sat there and stitched in class, we talked about the great online crafting community and about all the people whose work we admired. She mentioned several people whose work was on the towel. Seeing and admiring someone's work online is one thing, but holding it in your hands takes things to a whole nutha levol. I can't deny anyone that joy.

I'm teaching another class at the Stitch Lab in June. If you're here in Austin, please join us!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You're looking at 12 episodes of Sex and the City

Or at least, what I can get done while sitting through 12 episodes of Sex and the City.

Here's a little confessional post for you. Watching Sex and the City is my guilty pleasure. I didn't have HBO when it first came out (still don't, actually) and about 6 and a half years ago, a friend tried to get me in to watching the show while I was visiting her. I don't know if it was my frame of mind, or the fact that my daughter (who was just a few months old at the time) was up screaming all night long, but I hated the show. HATED it. I swore it off as trash and crap. It's so not the kind of show I'm in to.

Then a few years ago, during one of my frequent bouts of insomnia, I happened to catch a couple of episodes on late-night cable tv. Suddenly, I was hooked. Around the same time, my husband started traveling a lot for work. Sometimes, he'd be out for two weeks in a month and I'd be left alone with the kiddos. Needless to say, once I got them in bed at night my brain was toast. Watching Sex and the City was the perfect brain candy for me. At the time, we had Netflix and I would carefully plan my shipments around his travel schedule. I'd practically shove him out the door in anticipation of curling up and enjoying time alone in the quiet house with my newfound tv obsession. I watched the entire series that spring, and was crushed when I finished it.

I've just started to re-watch the series, and this time I have an even better accessory to my tv time than the popcorn and cocktail I used to turn to. Now I've got embroidery. And .... ooooohhhh .... have I found my new favorite pasttime. Me + Sex and the City DVDs + embroidery = absolute heaven. Over the weekend, I sat and just stitched and stitched and stitched once the kids were in bed. I honestly could have stayed up all night watching the show and stitching. I ended up heading to bed around 1:00 each morning - reluctantly (I'm paying for that sleep deprivation this week ... )

In all, I watched 12 episodes of the first season (I guess that's the whole first season... right? ) and stitched part of a pillow case for my daughter using a new pattern from the Sublime Stitching Craft Pad. I'm glad I had that little mental break over the weekend, because I'm slammed with work this week and won't have much time for crafting. And since we no longer have Netflix, I'll have to run down to the video store before I can get my next Sex and the City fix.

What's your favorite thing to watch/listen to while you stitch?