Monday, January 25, 2010

Pillow talk.

I have started teaching a class at this new and groovy craft studio, Make & Mingle. It's owned by 3 hip gals, Natalie, Karen and Alexcia who really have their fingers on the pulse of the new world of crafting. They have just opened and the response has been outstanding. My first class is Pillow Making 101. Three classes, three pillows. You get the basics: Choosing the right fabric, zipper setting, buttons and button holes and trim. The best thing about it is that they have everything there that you need, including amazing fabric choices! I recommend stopping by their blog and website- or better yet, come in for a class!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No more paper napkins!!!

"No more paper napkins!" I sound eerily like Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest" when she (Joan Crawford) nearly exploded at the sight of wire hangers in the closet, but we are really trying to stick with this new years resolution. I have cut flour sacks into quarters and printed on them with my YUDU Screen printing machine. I'm finding that hearts are a theme, makes sense with Valentines Day just around the corner. I am also making use of my not so pristine vintage table cloths by cutting and serging them for the same purpose. We have at least one anal retentive personality in the household, so we mark the napkins with an initialed tag on a safety pin, or you can stamp a more permanent initial or name with rubber stamps and fabric safe ink. This way, the same napkin can be used for an entire day, then toss in the hamper and use fresh ones the next day. They also work in the microwave instead of a paper towel. We have already seen a drastic reduction in the number of paper towels and napkins that we go through. Worth a try....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spin cycle.

I am fortunate to work with one of the most talented fabric designers around today, Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom. She is so inspiring, and I often leave her studio dreaming about my own fabric designs and what they might look like. My Lotta Jansdotter book is the perfect introduction to printing my own yardage. I am starting with the most elementary of techniques by using rubber stamps and water proof archival ink pads. Not only has she got a great eye, but she gives lots of great hints and there are great projects to do. Lotta's Printing Studio is available in my Open Sky Shop, and don't forget that UNTIL SUNDAY JANUARY 17TH 100% OF ALL SALES MADE THROUGH OPEN SKY (FROM ANY SHOPKEEPER!) WILL GO TO HELP HAITI!
I wanted to make a salad spinner, like my mother in law, Clarita used to use. My husband and his siblings would be more than glad to run outside and spin the sack over their heads until the greens were nice and dry.
I used 2 pre washed all cotton flour sacks from the American Chair Store. They are perfect for making a salad drying sack because they are lint free.
Lotta recommends you put a bath towel on the work surface and smooth out with your hands.
Put the flour sack you want to print on right side up, smooth it out and print your design with the rubber stamps.
When the ink is dry, heat set with your iron.
Stitch the two sacks together at one side seam, right sides together.
Then I folded over the top 1'' and stitched the tube for the drawstring, leaving the ends open.
Then I stitched the other side seam, right sides together, careful NOT to stitch close the ends of the open drawstring tunnel.
Now stitch the bottom.
Turn right side out, and using a large safety pin pull ribbon or seam binding tape through the tube.
Draw shut after putting washed lettuce in the sack. Take it outside and let the kids spin it over their heads until there is no more water splattering about.
Toss in a bowl and dress!
***DON'T FORGET to check out Design2Share, Cooking with Friends, Amy Powers from Inspire Co, Tasra Dawson and all of the other fabulous and talented shopkeepers who are so generous at this time of need. ***

Friday, January 15, 2010



Still stuck in neutrals.

A new member of the Dark Horse Farm extended family has arrived. His name is Dove and he is a Rocky Mountain Horse. His earthy toned coat and silvery mane and tail would be envied by any Orange County Housewife! His coloring has inspired another project. Placemats with a kind of primitive horse motif, brown and buff like him, with a bit of a sloppy zig zag boarder to give it that folk like hand made feel.
Cut the pieces 16''x 20''. Fold over edges 1/2" and sew seam. Sew a row of zig zag next to that, and anther straight seam down the other side.
I think we will have fun with him while he's here, and I know that Tys will no longer be lonesome, now that we have Dove.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cleansing my palette.

I'm getting ready for the next wave of sewing, color, fabrics and making by clearing out my head a bit. I've been working with white, black, and neutrals and plan on slowly introducing color back in. A "visual fasting" if you will. "Sensual deprivation". I wonder which color I will crave first.
Black and white quilted pillows, and a quilted throw and pillow made with Ralph Lauren nautical blueprint fabric, bound with ticking. Simple choices, simply stunning.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Green Grocer Bags tutorial-as promised!

Glad to hear that everyone is anxious to do their part in restoring our environment.
I am including instructions for the Large Bag with Wooden Handles and for the Reusable Fresh Produce Bags. There are two more bags that complete the entire "Green Grocer" ensemble collection. Details and images to come.
I am envisioning a bevy of beauties strolling down a catwalk that looks suspiciously like a shopping aisle, with there haute couture totes en carte! Or am I thinking of a scene from "Stepford Wives"? EEEK! What does this say about me???

Green Grocer Bag with Wooden Handles Tutorial

Cut one piece of oil cloth or lightweight upholstery fabric that measures 42" x 18". This will be the front, bottom , and back of the bag.

Cut 2 more that measure 14"x 10". These will be the 2 side panels.

Cut two wood 5/8" dowels cut to 16-16 1/2".

lay out the long piece lengthwise and measure 6 inches from one edge of the 18" end and make a cut 6 inches deep. Do the same from the other edge. Cut across making a 6 inch cut out that will be for the handles.

Do the same for the other end.

Make a small 1/4'' cut diagonally at each corner, and turn the edge over. Stitch in place. Stitch right next to this seam to reinforce it.

Turn ALL raw edges over 1/4'' and stitch. All edges of the big piece should now be turned, stitched and finished before the next step.

Fold over 1/4'' and stitch all 4 raw edges of the 2 smaller (14"x 10") pieces of fabric.

Mark the very center of both long sides with a pin. You can find the center by simply folding the fabric in half and marking the fold.
Do the same with the 10" side of the smaller (side panels). Mark with a pin.

Putting RIGHT sides together, match the pins of the small piece to the longer one. Stitch in place with a 1/4'' seam. Do the same with the other side panel.

Now stitch up the side panels (right sides together) to the front and back. Now you should have a 3 sided box (inside out).

Now, take the part that will create a casing to hold the handles and fold over 1 1/2" and sew. Now sew ONLY the outside edge of that casing. This will keep one end of the dowel from slipping out. Do this with the other 3 handle casings- leaving the center ends of the casing un-sewn. Slip the dowels in.

Turn the bag inside out. I guarantee you will love this bag!

I hope this is clear enough... I'm learning the fine art of instruction writing the hard way!

Reusable Fresh Produce Bags Tutorial

Using tule, netting or any sheer fabric cut as many 15"x 34" rectangles for each bag desired. It is just important that you are able to see what is in the bag, that it is machine washable, and that it is light, as they will be weighed at the register. Each bag will be approximately 14"X15" when finished. the weight will be about .2 ounces more than a plastic bag from the store.

Fold the netting over one inch at each 15" (shorter) edge and stitch, leaving a tunnel big enough to run your twine, ribbon or seam binding through.
Now fold in half,matching the sewn 15" seams, and stitch sides 1/2" from the edge being sure to start the seams below the "ribbon tunnel".
Run the seam binding or twine of choice through the tunnel with a safety pin and then tie at the end with a knot. When using the bag, draw it tight and use a slip-knot to keep it taught.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Green Grocer Bags

I finally got my reusable grocery bag situation stylin' big time. Actually, this set is a gift for my friend Linda. I made sure that I included plenty of the sheer reusable produce bags as she is always buying carrots and apples for her bunny rescue. If you are concerned about the weight of these bags,they are only .2 to .3 ounces more than a plastic bag. The big bag with the wooden handles is great for cereal boxes and other large boxy items. The smaller square bag works best for milk and juice cartons, and the large soft sack is perfect for all of your fruits and veggies in their reusable tule bags. These bags should make grocery shopping a more, if not enjoyable, at least "glamorous" daily excursion. I will try to include patterns and directions in my next post- anyone interested?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oh, deer. I did it again.

It has been so nice to find felting. As my friend Nina commented, it is quite the Zen task. I tend to like this type of activity and have found that the kind of focus it requires is worth developing. It comes in handy when you have a repetitive task to do at home or in the yard. Think of it like baking a loaf of bread from scratch. At the end of the time spent, your task has taken shape and transformed into something quite wonderful. Space out (without needle felting your finger tips!) and imagine all of the wonderful things you will make in the new year ahead. Not to forget the past, the edelweiss pendent was a Christmas gift from my mother and father.