{&stitches swap} Elizabeth Tower

I keep missing the Mr XStitch Fat Quarter swap.  Its something that seems very fun and its full of very talented artists.

So I was ecstatic to realize I could sign up for &stitches first ever swap. They are one of my favorite sites by far.  I set a calendar reminder to tell me when I could officially sign up. And I did, as soon as that alarm went off.

I got my swap partner.  Elisabeth from Germany.  She blogs at sewingfairytales.blogspot.com  and after looking at her blog and talking with her a bit I was even more excited.

I’ve said before that most of what I make are gifts.  I love the idea of making something for someone that I don’t know.  I feel like there is an odd purity to the chance to know very little about a person.  Maybe an email or two.  The only information you have is what they have told you about themselves.  Then come up with something uniquely for that person.  Its a challenge.  And a very satisfying one.

Elisabeth told me that she loves London and living in Germany she has been able to travel there twice.  I decided that she may like something that reminds her of one of her favorite places.  I choose to create a pattern for Big Ben because what’s more iconic than Big Ben?  I’ve never been there so my uncultured American guess is that its sorta a big deal.  I really hope I’m right.  Big Ben is the name of the clock that sits atop Elizabeth Tower.  It just so happened that my swap partners name is Elisabeth.  (Honestly. I realized that as I was just typing it.  That’s amazing.)

big Ben embroidery

I used yellow 783 green 501 and gray 844.   One strand of DMC all the way around. But as you can on the borders I doubled the stitch but still only had one thread for each stitch.  This is my now usual backstitch technique.

She is sitting in a 7′ hoop.

big Ben embroidery


I’ve never mailed a hoop before.  I’m only mildly terrified.

It got there and she likes it. :).

My package was amazing. The embroidery was only a piece of the wonderful goodie box. (Dedicated post to come)

My New York skyline is gorgeous and just my style. Manhattan remind me of what can be built from nothing.

Its up on my very special stuff wall :) Thank you Elisbeth!



A New Kind of Blog Hop

Last Monday I was tagged by my good friend and great blogger Rebecca at Hugs Are Fun.  She was tagged by someone else that was tagged.  This is a great idea guys.

Basically, If you are “it” you have to answer some questions and then tag 3 other blogs to do the same.  I really like questions.  I’ve never picked dare in Truth or Dare.  I loved standardized testing.  So hopefully the bloggers I’ve tagged enjoy this exercise as much as I do.

What are you working on?

Psh.  What am I not.  I have maybe 10 WIPS.  3 or 4 of which are serious ones.  Serious meaning there’s a deadline or a predetermined reason to be making them.  I’ve got my first Louche Puce coming up on 6/14.  And my first class as the Michael’s Crochet Instructor on 6/13.  I just finished the two beginner demos projects last Friday.  So now I guess I’m working on remembering how to facilitate a class.  And reading the instructors manual.


I’ve got my dropped Artbar piece that I feel like is still a wip because I am still holding it in my mind.  Artbar is over for the season but I need to still complete this idea before I can put it away.  This is what I did with white fabric and a printed picture of one of the first famous tattooed ladies.  I kinda love her just like this.

Maud Wagner

Maud Wagner on of the first painted ladies

My ‘sign” for my booth at Louche Puce, Two Brother’s Summer Fest, and Alley Art.  I’m going to need a tent.  I’m emmersed in the local art scene now.  I’m showing at shows and people are remembering me for my work.  It’s tent time.

Daisies logo

Daisies for Violet Stitched Sign

This doily that I started because I felt like I needed something somewhat intensive to do.  I want to make a few doilies and put them in hoops for the shows.


“georgia” from ohmygoodknits.com

My work space.  Is always a work in progress.  I just reorganized a bit.  There’s a whole lotta holes in this wall.  I’m pulling away from yarn and embroidery at the moment in to paints and color theory.  A color theory interest is not new but after taking a Art Therapy class all I can think about is painting.


My art journal.

art journal

Chip Board Art Journal

The stitch along.  I haven’t in a little while but its still on my mental list.

Stitch along

Photography.  Taking more photos.  Being more aware of whats around me.

This blog.  Always.  I’m still trying to find my identity as a blogger.  But the more I think about it the more it’s a lifestyle blog.  I just don’t enjoy talking about my kids (Chicken: Potty training, learning sarcasm and metaphor. The boy: teething, giggling and standing) Or my husband (he’s better than most and still pretty hot) or my house (it needs cleaning).  I enjoy writing about things that are a little more just about me.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I always say that what I’m working on is featured here about 50% of the time.  When asked what I do, I say I’m a photographer and fiber artist.  I think what is different about me is that I don’t think of my self as an artist.  I like to work with my hands and I like process and construction.  That’s why I have always leaned towards something fiber related.  There is some construction before you can start stitching.  A pattern.  Gauge.  Even just ironing some fabric.  What makes me different is I want to know how to do everything.  I want to learn everything.  I’m not interested in mastering anything. I don’t think I have a signature style.  Not yet anyway.  I’d like one of those.  In the words of the super group House of Pain in their summer of ’92 hit, Jump Around.  “Get used to one style and yo, and I must switch”.

Why do you write/create what you do?

I try to remember everything that inspires me in the day and it’s impossible.  The word inspire isn’t really it though.  It’s more like a bug.  A fly buzzing around my head.  I have to swat at it until I have it in my hands.  Its a compulsion. Sometimes something beautiful comes out.  Sometimes it’s something someone enjoys.  A lot of the time its to get it out of my head.  Crochet and Embroidery each have a million practical purposes.  I’ve made an afghan or two and I’ll make more. That is the craft, the relaxation part of it.  But it’s the thing in me that can’t just put it down that I do it for.  I think that’s why I move mediums or patterns or systems so often.  I very rarely make the same thing twice and when I do it’s pure labor.   I was purely a writer for a long time.  I got my first journal for Christmas when I was 12.  I kept a journal until I had a stroke at 24.  The writing wasn’t my thing anymore.  I painted and drew but not much.  I picked crochet back up when I was 22 and then dropped it when I started advancing at work.  Then my work was my expression.  I loved instruction design as much as I still love a needle and thread.  I’m about the process and learning and organically moving from one expression to another.

How does your writing/creating process work?

Something catches my eye.  Something I’ve never seen before.  A color I love.  Facebook.  Pinterest.  My friends.  That’s most of it.  My friends, my acquaintances.  I’m surrounded my good friends that are also great artists.  Its the best thing for what I try to do.  I jump in face first everything I start something, I work on it like crazy until its done, or more often then I’m done with it.  When it’s lost its newness.  (It’s a wonder Jeff and I have been together nearly 8 years).  It’s the discovery.  When that’s over.  The project probably is too.  But it’s always beautiful while it lasts.

Now that I sound like a total stuck up artsy type.  Its just some thread, a needle, some paint.  Maybe a long naptime and some ignored dirty dishes.  It’s just this is what I have to do to be good at the rest of my life.  :)


There are a few people I’d like you to meet.

Elisabeth at sewingfairytales.blogspot.com

Elisabeth was my partner for the &stitches Swap.  She sent me so many great things (that I will happily dedicate a entire blog post to later)  In our correspondence from the swap I have made a new mommy/crafty friend.  I’m very excited to share her work with all of my 10 readers.  :)  You will find all sorts or fun and sweet things on her blog from recipes to what she’s sewing and embroidering to the adorable things she picks up for her newborn.

Zakkiya at inkstruck.com

First of all, what a great blog name.  I met Zakkiya on a creative blogger facebook group.  She does design and illustration.  Her site is full of printable and inspiration.  There are many things I’d like to get my hands on for an embroidery pattern.  She’s a very nice lady with a very pretty site.

Coyote at coyoteduran.com

Coyote is a fellow Artbar artist.  He’s a painter and a damn fine one.  I would consider his art non traditional but we all know I don’t know anything about traditional art.  I just like the stuff.


Craftsy Sale!! Save Up to 50% on ALL Online Classes!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links**

Craftsy’s BIG Summer Sale: Save up to 50% on ALL Online Classes

craftsy banner


Want to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one? Now is your chance! You can save up to 50% off on ALL online classes at Craftsy’s BIG Summer Sale! Cooking, cake decorating, sewing, gardening and so much more… all up to 50% off, with some classes starting at just $9.99! This is a sale not to be missed, so make sure you hurry because it ends at 11:59pm MT on Monday, June 9th.

You guys know about craftsy right? It’s full of classes and its where I sell my patterns. It’s a great resource for crafts of all kinds. My first class was a quilting one. We all know I don’t quilt. That speaks to the quality of the teachers and information.

This is the biggest sale I’ve seen on the site. Don’t miss out!

{photos} I get obsessed with colors.

It’s always been this way. Every 6-12 months I shift my ‘taste’. I’ve always disliked nature-y colors. Deep brown and green. Now I’m leaning towards liking neutral and neon. With is the closest I think I will ever get to nature-y. I’ve loved purple all my life. Then I got really into Robin’s egg blue and canary yellow. That combo started to slide this winter when I started to see this new melon-y/coral color. I can’t get enough of it. I want to paint my whole house. But I’d just have to do it again in 6 months.

I picked up with yarn at Hobby Lobby for some doily experiments and I just couldn’t not buy this color. It’s called bashful, by Baby Bee. It’s soft and small. Good for over sized but not huge doilies.

The gray is called Toy Elephant. Adorable.

I set it down after starting a project and took some photos to try to get the shade. My phone on my camera was failing me.

I took these with my D7000 and 35mm lens. No editing, only cropping. Pretty huh?

Bashful yarn

Bashful yarn

Bashful yarn

Renegade Thread Organization

Something that I’m always trying to go is organize my colors.  As an artist that has never taken an art class I have a whole lot of anxiety when picking out colors and palettes.

Before this last summer I owned about 50 DMC colors.  That was my embroidery kit made from my grandmother’s extras she handed over when I was about 20. I had held onto it like a prize until just a few months ago when I begain to daydream about all the colors and all the gradients.

Attempt #1 was to put all colors in number order so I can easily find them. I soon realized that DMC, although the largest selection, doesn’t have every color that I want. And, as I’m sure you know, the numbers make no sense. I’m sure they make sense to someone at DMC but they don’t make an ordered sense. That didn’t work. I also don’t make many things that I have to find a specific number. I go purely off the colors.

Attempt #2 Colors. I have dark blue, blue, light blue. There was no attempt at purple/blue, bright blue, navy blue, green/blue. It was purely what I perceived as dark and light. That worked alright. Until I wanted a gradient. And I don’t want some half ass this looks color gradient. I want the real one. The three colors that are made to be a step away from each other. That was impossible to find because 1. I didn’t own every single color. And 2. They were all spread out.

Attempt #3. DMC Color Families. Although a great idea in theory. There are the gradients, there is the logical progression. I used the color card to obtain most of the colors (I have 80 left to pick up at the time of this writing, quite a jump from the 50 I had 6 months ago) DMC has 434 colors. Just in it’s regular colors. I need some greens still. This didn’t work cause I couldnt get them in the plastic holders without the colors that I hadn’t got yet. AND I had gradients but what red fit what purple. There was way too much just staring at this sea of slivers of color.

Attempt #4. FUCK IT. There are three types of colors. Warm. Cool. Neutral. Going with that.

I love color. I like big messes of color. It seems to be the only thing in my life I prefer to be messing. Somehow I can see tone and value better that way. So I went with it. So far I rummage through until I find he orange I want. Then I shift some more to find the yellow that has a similar tone to the orange. I feel a bitt like a renegade doing it this way.

I highly recommend it. Now I’m all;

Picking out colors can be this much fun!

First, I got one of these from Michaels. I hated the plastic holders. They just are so not pretty to hold something so pretty.

thread organization

Blues and greens. I got some wrapping to do.

thread organization

Neutrals and varigated.

neutrals thread colors

Brights! Aka the colors I like.

warm thread colors


thread organization

I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Oh no, not me. I’m not.  Not at all.

But some of my friends are.  Especially Jeanne.  

She’s kind of a huge deal in our enormous little town.

Aurora, Il is the second larges city in IL.  And if you are someone in this town you know Jeanne.  She was the force behind Culture Stock bookstore and Louche Puce Flea Market. She was my personal introduction in the art center that is still a little bit hidden in my city but also bursting at the seems.  And for that I am grateful.  She is also a bit of an aunt and role model to my kids.  She’s tells it exactly like it is and is someone I look up to and respect.

So, I made her this.




4 Inch hoop. Very simple one strand in a melon pink that I forgot to write down the color number. Whoops. Forgive me. She only took about 3 hours. Super fun to make.

Samsonite is my kryptonite.

I’ve decided to start a new series called….thriftstorescorebanner


In this, my first edition.  We discus Samsonite and how I have too more vintage Samsonite than 1 housewife could ever need.

Actually, I should do an entire post on my vintage bags and luggage.  I sorta use them, but mostly I can’t say no.  Can you say no?  I didn’t think so.

My parents took my kids for a little bit this week and mom told me to get out.  Which I happily do, for about an hour or two, once a week or so.  Usually I thrift.  Today I went to Thrift and Dollar in Aurora.  It’s near my house and a favorite amoung my group of thrifters and crafters.

I got three things.

The first, and the reason I went back, was these hoops.  There was 19 complete hoop and I got the for ten bucks.  I had to explain to the guy why there were supposed to be TWO peices and why I needed both of them.  I let him keep 10 halves and just took the whole ones.  I’m totally set.  I got maybe 8 of these from the same store 5 years ago and I’m still working through that score.

embroidery hoop

The second.  This big pink hat.  I’m doing more craft shows this year than I had before.  Ok, I’ve only ever done one.  Ya caught me.  And I’m unnecessarily concerned with looking the part.  When I was a corporate hotshot it was important to look the part.  People are creatures of habit and they are very visual.  If you look like someone you want to be then you ARE.  I don’t know if this pink hat is “the part” but I love it.  I stitch a goldfish on it cause the internet told me they were good luck.  I named him Morty.  I like to stitch and crochet little animals.  If there is something with eyes, they usually get a name.  Whatever name comes to me while I”m making them.  I usually remember them forever and refer to them by name.  So my big pink church hat is now Morty.

Pink goldfish hat

Pink goldfish hat

The last, this Samsonite make up bag.  I love her.  She’s Maude.  (when I was a kid I used to name things because I thought it would give them a soul.  I don’t know if that is weird.  But its a subconscious habit now).  She is a great diaper bag.  Yarn bag. Grocery bag.  Bag.  Shes a great bag.  There is a receipt in it from Walgreen from 5/12/1989.  4 months younger than my 26 year old brother.  That kind of stuff BLOWS MY MIND.





I spent $18.40. Hell yes.

{a gift} Pixel People Family

My best friend through our most formative and intense years moved to Italy in January.  I made these buttons for her daughter and the family picture for her.  I did this one a little different than the usual lined up family.  I prefer this more natural set up much better and I think I’ll do this more often in the future.   It’s based on a photo she gave me  of them at a wedding.  I guess Liddy loves her red sweater.  >3

{How to} Orgnaize! Project File Idea

cover - project file


A year or two ago I saw something on pinterest that was kind of a calendar that you can use for years.  Of course I can’t find it now.  But I made it and I never used it.

Recently I haven’t been crocheting as much because of being busy in, you know, life.  I feel like I’ve done nothing with myself and I started wishing I had something to show all the things I’ve made.

The blog posts here are maybe 50% of what I’ve actually made and completed.  That said, I have some blankets and some random little things.  But most of my work I’ve given away.  Christmas 2012 I made something like 40 things.  But I couldn’t tell you what they are.  Or what I actually did to create them.

I also tend to start something and forget what hook I used, or the name of the yarn or where the hell the pattern is.  This will remedy that too.  :)

I found my little box for that calendar and decided to turn it into a project file.

To begin
Start with note cards and a box. Then make dividers   I choose to stick with the months I had already made.  The project will be found in the month that I started it in.

On each card I have.

and on the back

project organization project organization project organization


Project is the name.  The first one I made was the baby blanket that I made for my then gestating little boy.  You can see here I started it when we were thinking of naming him simply “West”. So it says “Chevron Blankie for name“.  Then Hook is a G and the Yarn is Patron’s Beehive baby Chunky.  (I kinda love this stuff).

Time is mostly so I know how long it would take if someone wanted one like it.  Or so I know the last possible second I can start one.  Completed is so I know that it took 5 hours to make but I stretched it over 2 months.

And then pattern.  When its something like a chevron I just need a simple diagram or two rows.  That I will print on the back.  Something more complicated I’ll bookmark the site and the just write down the name of the bookmark.  Also the color pattern, if there is one.   I tend to change my mind on this part way in, so this MAY help prevent that.

{photography} Fujufilm Instax 50s


I have a huge softspot for instant cameras.  I miss film, but you can’t buy film and develop it anywhere.  I have a Birdfly and I tried to develop the film at Walgreens.  Bad call.  The machine corrected the color.  Totally negating the whole point.

I got a Polariod 600 for my 18th birthday and I used it all the time.  The film was expensive even then and was discontinued 5 years later.  The impossible project is awesome but again, I can’t afford it.  When I can I’m all over it.

I was originally looking at the Fujufilm Instax 8 because they sell them at Michea’ls where I work and I can get the film at a discount.  I started comparing prices and stats and I realized that if I was going to do it I needed to get the 50s.

So here she is.

instax 50s

instax 50s


I ordered her off B&H.com.  Which if you are into cameras, is the devil.  Free shipping.  kthanksbye.  I can get the film at Micheals and don’t have to wait for it.   The film was really the deciding factor, as I explained above.

I’ll add another post of photos when I have some good ones to show off :)