Thursday, July 31, 2008

I will post about Portland, I will!

I am overwhelmed with some deadlines, catching up on work and a complete lack of babysitting. Is July over yet? Eesh. I have so much fabulous stuff to post about Portland, not the least of which is bragging on a group awesome Austin crafters who donated their goods to the coolest sampler gift for Diane you could ever imagine.

But it will all have to wait until at least the weekend. There is no free time right now. :-p

And in sad news, I realized that I left my Obama screen print/embroidery project at Thatch last week in Portland. I'd taken it in to show Sarah and Josh, and folded it up and set it back in the booth. A coconut drink later, and I completely forgot about it. :-*( I've called and left a message with them to see if they found it and if they kept it. Please send all your good, strong crafty mojo this way in hopes of its safe return.

July, go the hell away. Now. Thanks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oregon Brewer's Festival 2008

Nothing follows a day of craft utopia like a day of craft beer utopia.

Wondering if we'll be able to get back on the plane to Texas.....

The find of the day

I'm not revealing what it is yet, but this little beauty had me giddy
with excitement. I was literally jumping up and down.

More later. :)

Japanese embroidery book

One word: YUM.

Japanese Craft Book jackpot

This was about 1/4 of the Japanese craft books they had (I'll have to
dig up the name later) and the selection left us breathless. It was
dizzying. I ended up with a few gems that I'll be blogging about when
we get home.

Knitten Kitten: craft heaven

I tried going here last year, but they were closed. It was absolutely
worth re wait.

"Craft supply" and "thrift store" are some of my favorite words. And
most of what we found was vintage! Major, major scores that I'll be
sharing when we get back to Texas.

If you are in Portland, you must visit the Kitten. It's clean, well
organized, and an absolute treasure trove for crafters.

Tablecloth in progress

It appears I've figured out the photo blogging a day late, but here
are a few highlights from the best crafty day ever yesterday here in

This table cloth was hanging at the Knitten Kitten (a.k.a. Dreamland).

I've seen half-completed projects in thrift strores before, but never
still in the hoop with needle and floss still attached ....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SuperFun Crafty Day in Portland

In just more than 10 hours, I'll be meeting Diane to start our crafty tour of Portland. It's a day that has been *months* in the making, so to say I'm excited is an understatement. I won't likely be able to fully blog tomorrow's trek through Portland's craft highlights until we get back to Texas, but you can bet I'll be tweeting tomorrow. You can follow along over on Twitter.

And really, what I'm looking forward to more than hitting crafty hot spots, is hanging out with some fabulous folks. I'll get to meet Susan and Lee, hang with Sarah & Josh, and of course - I'll be spending the whole darn day with Diane! Can't get better than that ... except to follow tomorrow up with a day at the Oregon Brewer's Festival.

Did I mention I love Portland?

'Cause I do.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another reason I love The Cure

I can't remember if I've mentioned this here before, but my husband is a huge fan of The Cure. We're talking hard core, own every album on vinyl, see every concert he can, kind of fan. Considering the fact that The Cure was the soundtrack to our courtship, it's no surprise that over the years, I've become a big fan as well. And I'll even admit that we have Cure lyrics inscribed in our wedding rings. Yep. There I said it.

Last month, we saw them in concert here in Texas. I'd never seen them before, but was determined to make at least one of their Texas shows with Chris. He's the kind of fan who will see every show in the state when The Cure is on tour, so when they announced their shows in Dallas, Houston and Austin, we snagged tickets to all three shows. I ended up just seeing them in Austin and Houston, but he went to Dallas as well. I was floored by how good they sounded, and what an amazing show they put on (more than three hours straight of fabulous music). It really gave me a whole new appreciation for them.

I also knew that guitarist, Porl, is an amazing artist - he's done several covers of Cure albums. His work graces the covers of their latest single, Sleep When I'm Dead. My husband has pre-ordered singles from The Cure's upcoming album, and they are being delivered one each month until the album is released. He received the Sleep When I'm Dead single today and just showed me the cover. What did I find mixed in with Porl's beautiful watercolor art?


That's right. He's included running stitches and a star stitch. It's gorgeous and adds a really cool texture to the art. I just taught an emrboidery class tonight, and wished I had seen this before class so I could have shown them. How cool to see embroidery creep up on a Cure album! Thanks, Porl.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Because Crafting and Community are two of my favorite things

I'm all about building community, and being able to do that in an environment that has people engaging in the creative process together ... well, that just makes me giddy. So I'm very intrigued to see what knitting guru, Vickie Howell, has going on with her latest project, Craft Corps. You can check out her blog for information on how you can possibly be a part of this project that "will focus on the community perpetuated by craft and the designers & hobbyists who feed it." Wowza! Those are most of my favorite words in that sentence!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lotta Prints giveaway!

Remember when I reviewed (and raved about) Lotta Prints back in May? Such a yummy, fun, inspiring book - it's a great addition to your craft book library. If you haven't picked it up for yourself yet, drop in on the Chronicle Books blog and enter to win your very own copy. Hurry on over there!

Super fun sewing classes at the Stitch Lab in Austin

The new Stitch Lab class schedule is up! As usual, there are loads of fun offerings. I'm teaching more embroidery classes, so check the schedule and see if you can come stitch with me. It's a blast! If you are interested in a daytime class, just email and let me know. I'm toying with the idea of offering one.

There is an appliqué class this time 'round, though it was almost full by the time I left work this afternoon. The enrollment status reflects as of about noon today. I won't be back in the Stitch Lab until Monday to go through further enrollments. We had tons of registrations this morning, so if you see a class in which you are interested - grab a spot while you can!

One great opportunity that's coming up starting this weekend is a spot in our Beginning I Sewing Series. This is a class that typically has a wait list three times the spots available, but we've had a hitch with our July Saturday session: turns out lots of folks are traveling and won't be available all three Saturdays. That means that if you've been interested in taking the Beg. I series, you can sign up right now with no wait. The classes start this Saturday, July 12 and continue on July 19 and 26 from noon to 3:30 PM. Grab this opportunity while you can - it won't last long.

Come get creative and crafty with us! You won't be disappointed. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Elias!
Thanks for the sewing machine!

John Aielli mentioned that today is Elias Howe's birthday. Howe invented the sewing machine (ok, he perfected what other people had not been able to successfully do for the sewing machine) back in 1846. There's some interesting info on him over on Wikipedia.

Happy Birthday, Elias! So happy you were able to get that whole lockstitch thing down!

Dreaming of Portland ....

Two weeks from today (yesterday, actually) my husband and I will be in Portland to celebrate our 9-year anniversary and enjoy the Oregon Brewer's Festival. I'll also be indulging in a gleeful day of crafty goodness with one of my crafty BFFs, Diane of CraftyPod.

You've heard me gush about her before, and I'm so excited to finally be able to see her again. We met last summer when my husband and I were in Portland for the first time (we fell so in love with the place, we've decided to go back every year until we can retire there). Diane let me tag along to one of her Church of Craft meetings, which was a total blast. We'd emailed a few times before that, and I'd been listening to her podcast for a while. Once we met in person we just completely clicked. I'm talking ... sometimes we feel like we share a brain, and it gets really creepy.

We've become fast friends via email this last year, and the idea of getting to hang with her for an entire day doing nothing but crafty stuff in Portland ... it has me all giddy like you wouldn't believe.

My husband and I have both had one heck of a summer, and every once in a while, we'll look across our laptop screens at each other and weakly whisper: "Poooorrrtttlllaaannddd" It's a big, juicy, crunchy carrot hanging out there for us, and we can't wait to chomp it.

If you read many blogs or craft publications, you know that Portland is a hub of crafty fabulousness, and home to some very talented crafty folks. Diane has put together a day of fun, exploring some of her favorite spots, and working in loads of time to just sit and talk and make stuff (which just sounds heavenly to me!). We're even going to get to hook up with Susan Beal (eeeks!) and Sarah & Josh (double eeeks!) I'm just beside myself. I can't stop thinking about it.

To help me make it through the next two weeks, I'm going to *try* to highlight some of the places we are planning to visit and some of the people we are planning to meet. I say *try* because I'm also trying to squeeze in an insane workload and actually prepare for the trip (and folks with kids and who are self-employed know that planning for the trip can be so much work you start to wonder why you are leaving!) I'll do my best.

If you've been to Portland, live in Portland, or just have a love affair with it like I do, leave a comment and let me know your favorite places to visit - craft-related or not. I'll also have several days with my husband to celebrate and have fun. Oh my gosh ... I'm getting giddy just writing this! So bring on restaurant recs, fun places to visit, possible day trips (we were thinking Cannon Beach?) and any other ideas. C'mon, Portland!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My summer sampler
(and a little red, white & blue)

Today I did something I needed terribly: I stitched for pure fun. I've been kinda stressed these last couple of weeks (and the next few will probably be a bit crazy, too) and I really needed something to calm my brain a little bit. Nothing does that quite as well as embroidery.

The kids and I loaded up and went to an indoor playnasium. They had a warehouse full of moonbouncers, and I had WiFi and embroidery. We were all pretty much in heaven. I wound some bobbins of floss (my stash is getting seriously messy) browsed some blogs and got to stitchin'. It was perfect.

One of my goals for the summer is to learn some new stitches. I dearly love the good ole back stitch, split, stem and blanket, but I decided I wanted to branch out a little bit and challenge myself to learn some new ways to work my needle. I hit Needle 'N Thread to see some of Mary's awesome video stitch tutorials, and I dug out a cool little Coats and Clark stitch booklet that I picked up at Ginger's Needlearts when we went there to see Jenny Hart. Between those two resources, I had more than enough new stitches from which to chose.

My summer sampler is stitching on one of my Obama screen prints. The first prints I did with that stencil were on a drop cloth that had been used for previous classes. One effect that I loved of these initial prints was that red stars that had been printed on the reverse side of the fabric and ended up framing his face perfectly. I sketched a border around the print and decided I'd just fill the sucker with some of my random new stitches, and that I'd outline the stars to make them stand out more.

So far, I've toyed with the fern stitch (which I worked getting gradually larger as I went ... can't remember if that was on purpose) and the scalloped chain and I've done some couching (first time!)

Today, I watched Mary's video for the checkered chain stitch - a chain stitch that has two colors of floss working on the needle and ends up with alternating colors of chain links. It was so much fun! I goofed on the first chain link, but got it down after that. Sadly, I didn't have more of the same colors I'd been using on the rest of the piece with me, so the colors are a little off. I'll likely be removing the stitches and re-doing them, but for now it was a fun learning opportunity.

I also picked up what is probably my new favorite stitch - the chained feather stitch. It was in the Coats booklet, and it is awesome. It's a lot easier than it looks, and it has such a cool effect. I love love love the feather stitch, and seeing it with the little "buds" of the chains just makes me giddy.

I'll be working on this piece off and on all summer long. It's going to be my juicy summer novel that I turn to when things get to stressful. I can't wait to see how it turns out, and even if it looks goofy or like I've vomited every crazy stitch I can find on to it, I don't really care. I'm having a lot of fun, and darn if that isn't my favorite thing to do.

What fun summer crafting are you doing these days?

NOTE: Click on through the pictures to see my notes in Flickr

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Notable Notions - everything you needed to know about basic sewing notions

July is going to be a slim pick'ns blog month for me. I've got a regular work load a few other special projects that have to be done this month, and it's the only month of the summer where I have zero child care and will be out of town for 10 days. Just writing that last sentence almost made me puke!
So for now, I'd like to pass on a little something fabulous from my best pal, Leslie. I've told you before how awesome the Stitch Lab weekly newsletter are, and that you should sign up for them even if you aren't local to Austin. Leslie and I have a blast putting them together each week. Aside from our awesome sewing class schedules, we put loads of great information in each newsletter. The last few newsletters have been especially informative, thanks to a new series Leslie has written about basic sewing notions.

The series is called, "Notable Notions" and so far she has covered basic sewing supplies, thread and presser feet. We've had fun setting up and taking pictures of the various notions (the piles of vintage spools of thread were my fave) and Leslie has included some awesome information. As always, she's able to present a lesson in an easy-to-understand, fun, practical way. She's magic like that.

Go sign up for the newsletter. Our latest one just went out this afternoon, so until the next one, you can enjoy the Notable Notions archive on the Stitch Lab website.