Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For all the t-shirt hoarders in the house

My family has always teased me about my massive collection of t-shirts - almost to the point of convincing me to trash all my "meaningful" old shirts. Almost. But there's been a small group of shirts that I've held on to for years - some all the way back to third grade - and I finally found a way to put them all to good use.

We're in the middle of a very cool contest over at CRAFT right now (raise your hand if you'd like to have a serger! Then, quick, go enter the contest!) called Me, My Scarf & I. The contest requires you to sew a scarf that somehow matches or speaks to your personality. I loved this idea, and when I was cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago and found a stash of my old t-shirts, I knew exactly what to do with them.

I posted the resulting project up on CRAFT yesterday, and have gotten some very generous, kind responses. I've also had a few very small world encounters - one person who lived in my home town and was in the newspaper for which my dad was the publisher, and one friend from high school who recognized the t-shirt from our production of Fiddler on the Roof. Very cool!

This project was so easy - a little time consuming, but used very basic sewing skills, and it makes me so happy to see the shirts in this new way. Go check it out, and also check out what the fate of my beloved Space Camp t-shirt was .....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Come stitch with me!

Austin folks, here's your reminder about my hand embroidery classes at the Stitch Lab! And have you heard the news? The Stitch Lab is moving to a NEW, fantastic location! Beginning next week, classes will be held at 1000 S. 1st street, a charming, comfy house with loads of space for classes and y-u-m-m-y fabric. We'll even have a separate room for the hand work classes (like embroidery!). I can. not. wait. to get teaching in there. I was able to help paint in the hand work room a few weeks ago (before the flu plague hit us) and it is just so awesome. This is going to be the place to get crafty and comfy and connect with friends. HURRAH!

With the new location comes more of the fabulous class offerings. I truly can't express how lucky I feel to be a part of a group of such awesome instructors and of a teaching facility that offers such a varied and interesting array of classes.

As always, I'll be teaching hand embroidery classes. We're also working on adding in some advanced embroidery and silk ribbon embroidery classes, so be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get the up-to-date info on that. I have ONE SPOT that just opened in my class this Wednesday. It will be the last time I teach at the original Stitch Lab location, and I'm excited to get back to teaching after being off for a few weeks.

If you can't make this Wednesday's class, check the schedule for loads of other opportunities. Grab a friend and learn to stitch! You won't be disappointed. Here are some nice things my students have said about their embroidery class experience:

Thank you for introducing me to the world of embroidery. I'm an addict! There is something so cathartic about pushing and pulling a needle and thread through taut fabric... It's a cheap drug! And I want to thank you for being so patient with me during class. You made me feel so comfortable with the whole process. ~Jen

You now have me hooked completely. Thanks for a great class! ~Jean

Thanks so much for the class! I have been embroidering the heck out of anything I can get my hands on! ~Jessica

Our class sampler, stitched by Eliza!

From Eliza's blog:
Rachel’s class was wonderfully fun, but it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized the calming effect stitching has on me. I finished my french knots while waiting in my car for an early meeting to start and instantly became relaxed.

Some of Eliza's post-class handiwork! Amazing!

Thanks so much to all the rad students I've had. You make my job very easy and very, very, fun.

So what are you waiting for? Nab that last spot in this week's class or grab a spot in one of the others. It's time to unlock the stitcher inside of YOU!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Embroidered Effects Winner!

Wowza! Thanks for all the great comments! It was so much fun to go through and read about all the different games everyone likes to play. It reminded me how much I enjoy playing games, and that I really need to establish a game night around here. It's too much fun!

I think I'll need to check out this Bananagrams game so many people mentioned. I was surprised that a couple of my favorites didn't make it on to the list. Balderdash, anyone!? How about Mastermind? Surely someone wants to come over and play a round of the Welcome Back Kotter game with me? (Up Your Nose With A Rubbe Hose!) Or how about the E.T. board game?

Thanks to everyone who entered. I wish I had a copy of the book for all of you! It's a truly fantastic embroidery book, though, so I highly recommend grabbing a copy for yourself and a friend. Enjoy!

And the winner is .....
Mollie! Please shoot me an email at averagejanecrafter at gmail dot com with your mailing address so I can get the book out to you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Don't forget! You still have time to enter to win a copy of Embroidered Effects!

I feel very lucky to be included in a group of Halloween stories over on Dude Craft this week. Paul invited a handful of folks to share their childhood Halloween memories, and seeing as how Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays, I could not pass up the opportunity.

So why is my picture* all fuzzed out above? Well, if you want to see pure vintage Average Jane Crafter in a classic 1980s Halloween costume inspired by a certain song from The Bangles, you'll have to click on over to Dude Craft for the big prize.

Be sure to add Dude Craft to your regular blog rotation. He's a prolific poster with a knack for finding fantastic goodies on the web, and for writing well-said, thought-provoking posts. Very good stuff. Enjoy! And thank you again, Paul, for including me! :)

*Thank you, mom, for making the costume, letting me make the "serious" face when you took the picture, and for finding the picture among the dozens of family photo albums so I could share it with Paul!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hedgies from abroad

Don't forget! You still have time to enter to win a copy of Embroidered Effects!

I've followed the work of Eva of Apple and Eve since I first saw her gorgeously stitched plush animals in the Flickr embroidery group. Her stitching is pristine, as is her sewing. I was an instant fan.

So when I saw her post about a "crazy hedgehog project" last month, I couldn't help but jump at the opportunity. Here's what she posted:
well, I was thinking about two tiny hedgehogs I made of vintage cotton, remeber? Sadly, I had only small scraps of that fabric, so maybe only one hedgehog will be available in my shop later. But then I thought, that you, my dear friends, have maybe some lovely bits of fabrics in your homes too. So, what if I could make a tiny hedgehog for you from your own fabric? For free?

Like most crafters, my fabric scrap cup runneth over, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to de-stash a bit, support Eva and get one of her hedgehogs for myself. I happened to get the fabric in the mail to her the next day, and within a couple off weeks, I had these three adorable hedgies back in my hands. I love the way she used the fabric, especially on the one little guy who ends up with a leaf on one side of his body, and a flower on the other. You can tell she put a lot of thought and work into situating the pattern to make fantastic hedgies.

I'm so thankful to have been a part of this "crazy hedgehog project" (partly because it's fun to have emails in your inbox with the subject line "crazy hedgehog project" and I love my sweet little collection of hedgies from Eva. It was such fun to think of moving some fabric I've had for ages and haven't know what to do with yet across the ocean to Germany to Eva's hands and then to have it returned in such cute form so quickly! I haven't seen the others listed in her shop yet, but do check it out - her work is amazing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crack! Bam! Flower! Win a book!

Remember when I told you a few weeks ago to be on the lookout for a freebie pattern from the Embroidered Effects book by Jenny Hart? Well, it was up last Friday over on CRAFT. I would have mentioned it sooner if we werent' hit with shingles, flu, deadlines and general mayhem over here.

I'm especially excited, because the pattern is of one of the projects I stitched for the book: a Mah Jong table cloth. My mom has been playing Mah Jong for ages, and always wanted me to learn. Finally, about 9 years ago, we were stuck out at a friend's house on a holiday weekend and I had nothing to do. I reluctantly sat down at the table with her friends and learned to play.

They had to pry me away from the table more than five hours later. It was that fun and that addictive.

Now, I'm not talking about the Mah Jong some of you may be familiar with on the computer where you click and match tiles. We're talking the real deal, four-player Mah Jong. I've been told it's like Gin Rummy, but I don't play Gin Rummy, so I can't say for sure. All I know is that it's a blast, and it's the kind of game you can get wrapped up in and play for hours.

Which explains why, despite my mother giving me my own Mah Jong set 8 years ago, I haven't gotten to play much. Once you have kids, chunks of hours at a time to play a game vaporize. But I still love the game and wish I had more friends my age to play with me (hint, hint, friends)

I've been hoping Jenny would do a Mah Jong pattern at some point (turns out she's a big Mah Jong player, too) and was thrilled beyond thrilled when she told me that the first project I'd be stitching for the book would be a Mah Jong table cloth. How rad is that!? I love that the majority of the deisgn is created to rest on top of the table and frames the tile holders - so cool!

Sadly, the photo stylist for the book must not have known much about Mah Jong, as the picture was set up like the computer tile matching game. Ah well!

So, you can scurry over on to CRAFT and download the free Mah Jong pattern for yourself. IF you don't feel like making a table cloth, they would be great for napkins, tea towels, coin purses (for the betting Mah Jong players) and more. The designs are gorgeous - enjoy! And go learn how to play Mah Jong if you don't already know!

This is my son, modeling one of the other projects I stitched for the book - a robot control panel t-shirt! hehehe! When I put it on him, he couldn't stop running around saying (in a robot voice), "I am a robot! I will destroy you! I am a robot!"

And what's even better - if the one free pattern isn't enough for you - you can win the entire book right here! The fine folks at Chronicle Books have given me an extra copy of Embroidered Effects to share with you fine folks! Just leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favorite game to play is, and I'll draw a winner at random on Tuesday, October 20 and will post the winner on Wednesday, Oct 21. Enjoy, and spread the word!