Monday, December 28, 2009

Needle felting makes a "cameo appearance".

I have been going crazy trying to find time to do this project! I love needle felting, and now you can fall in love too. I have the "felting mat" (which looks more like a grooming brush for my horse) and the felting needle tool available on my Open Sky sore. I only mention this because after seeing Martha Stewart do a demo on her show, I had some difficulty finding these tools. These are not her tools, but they work the same. You can use wool felt, shrunken (felted by the hot water wash and hot drying process) wool sweaters and vintage blankets, or even plain old felt from the craft department. That's fine for a tree skirt or a x-mas stocking, but for a pillow or a project that will get more day to day manhandling you may want something more durable and lasting. Wool felt is actually quite luxurious!
Cut the wool shape to be appliqued onto the background fabric.
Cut the background fabric the same size as the pillow you are using- if you are making a pillow. So, 16" x16" if you have a 16"x 16" pillow.
Start felting the cut shape by placing it where you want it on the background fabric and place this over the felting mat.
Start in the center and work out toward the edges.
If you have the finer point needle tool use this at the edges of your silhouette as shown.
You will begin to see how to the two fabrics start to mesh together and get fuzzy on the back side. (I rather like this ghostly effect on the reverse side, too.)
When the appliqued silhouette is completely at one with the other fabric, you can sew the felt squares wrong sides together, leaving one side open.
Squeeze the pillow in and stitch up the fourth side. Trim the edges with a pinking shears. Felt doesn't fray! YEAH! Dress her up with a vintage pin or earring.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Create a family heirloom.

I got this idea from some place mats i saw at Anthropologie. Strips of vintage lace are stitched together with some strips of muslin. Stamp a message with archival fabric safe ink. I think a set of place mats might be overwhelming, but a lacey table runner is perfect for winter tables. Quick construction, no edges to finish of. If you are worried about unraveling, use some fray stop on the raw edges. It is a nice compliment to my pottery pieces made by my friend Maeera Mougin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gone fishing.

I think I was inspired by our recent trip to Nashville with this last project. My husband Tim was doing a video project with our friends Gary and Linda Shiebler. Gary is an incredibly talented singer/song writer in the Americana Country style. They took us fishing in between video shoots and while it wasn't salmon we were catching- in fact I caught nothing but "rays"- I thought some quilted fish would be fun. Since I have been on a potholder kick, (super holiday gift that is always appreciated!), I combined it with some cedar planks to go and a little baggie of brown sugar rub. Check my archives for the video on how to do this yourself. Or, you can get the kits from me...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The workshop has been busy.

I have neglected my posts and for that I apologize. I have been so busy getting ready for the holidays, but at last, I seem to have things under control... for the moment! The month started out silk screening 120 towels for a fundraiser. My friend, the talented ceramist Maeera Mougin, enlisted me to collaborate on this special project. Kate McGarrigal (folk singers The McGarrigal Sisters), mother to Martha and Rufus Wainright (and a few others?), had created a concert to raise funds for cancer research. Last year it was a holiday concert at Carnegie Hall, and this year it was at the Royal Albert Hall in London! It was a huge success, and V.I.P. guests like Annie Lennox, Boy George, Tim Burton and Helena Bonhem -Carter received a goodie bag that included a soapdish, soap and linen hand towel, embossed with a lovely drawing that Kate did herself. What an incedibly talented family! The "Little Ski Girl" was inspired by cookies that Kate bakes every Christmas. In fact she was a guest on "Martha" last year- you can make them yourself! We wish Kate luck in raising millions of dollars for this important research, and send love and payers her way in her own fight with cancer. FYI, my dining room/print shop is finally back to normal.
Then it was back to work for the big Sis Boom Bash! About 40 pot-holders, 10 tree skirts, and a herd of bobby horses later, and we were off and running. Thank you to all of Jennifer's loyal followers for coming out and boosting the economy. It's always so much fun- more like a party than a sale, really.
Woman's Day Magazine featured my hobby horse and published a pattern- without giving me credit OR asking permission... but in the spirit of giving- I hope it brings someone some joy out there! And, of course, I'm flattered.
In between there have been a few gift fairs, and now, silence. I have a slew of orders before Christmas, but I should be able to squeeze in a few batches of Kate's Ski cookies myself. Feels good to be home, not rushing out the door. Baby, it's cold outside!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm getting ready for the big sale!

Place mats, hot pads, hobby horses, and quilts. Get 'em while they're hot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My fellow blogger and Open Sky neighbor, Bailey from Makeover Momma, has put out an all points bulletin just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. She has asked us to post a favorite holiday recipe. Check her site to see the others. There is even a recipe that is really for the birds... quite literally! Sharon, the Birdchick, has that one up on her site. Don't forget that our little feathered friends need a handout when the cold weather arrives.

My mother in law, Clarita, was half Mexican. In the past we have had full on Mexican Thanksgivings in her honor, (smoked turkey enchiladas, etc...) but now we give her a shout out with at least one Mexican side dish and more than a few toasts to remembering her and Jim, her beloved husband, and her beautiful tables of Thanksgivings past. I am Thankful to have been a part of their world.

Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Cream.

Preheat oven to 375.

Butter a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish.

layer sliced pealed 1/2'' rounds of 6-8 sweet potatoes

in a blender combine 1 1/2 cups heavey cream and 1 small chipotle pepper from a can

blend until smooth

pour mixture over potatoes and sprinkle with brown sugar (and pecans if you like)

bake for 1 hour

if you like, sprinkle on a bit more sugar and pass under the broiler.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's in the bag, baby.

With all of the holiday shows coming up, including the annual Sis Boom Holiday extravaganza 12/3- 12/5, I have started to prepare for all of my big sales... fingers crossed! I always try to package things as nicely as possible, but I really didn't want to order bags again. So, I came up with my "re-purposed" horse bedding bag. A pair of pinking shears trimmed it down to size with pizazz, and the left over strips (or fabric) get stitched on for handles. These will work nicely at the grocery store, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cooking with Friends

I am so loving my new blog buddies at Cooking with Friends and all of their incredibly tasty entries! My first wake up call was "No Knead Bread". ( No- I don't really NEED it...) But, I mean- it's so sinfully simple and satisfying! A must try. These gals seem to be completely tuned into my internal appetite gauge. The most recent thing I made from there was the Root Soup- spectacular and not too sinful. Mine came out a bit richer in color, but that may have been from the type of squash I used. I , for some reason, was inspired to add a dollop of Greek yogurt and some toasted pumpkin seeds. We served it with grilled sausage and a salad with persimmon and a balsamic vinaigrette.
I must also add, it looked pretty dazzling on my new autumnal place mats made with Laura Gunn's Lantern Bloom line- mix and match, flip 'em over- all of these colors work for me , especially this time of year. Please go visit Alison and Shannon at Cooking with Friends. They have some really great holiday menu ideas, and they would love to hear about your favorites, too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The raffle quilt cometh.

Anna Fogge, from Bohemian Cotton, requested similar fabrics to the ones I used in the "Give Thanks Raw Edge Applique Tutorial". Happy to oblige, I got more into it than planned, and her whole clothe quilt turned into more of a giant path patchwork quilt. I hope she is pleased.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nice way to share baked goods.

I thought this was a cute way to make a paper plate a little more special when sharing baked goods with friends. I don't know about you, but by the time the holidays are over, I am out of Tupperware and missing more than a few cake plates! Just punch some holes around your plate and thread through some seam binding. Oooh, fancy!