Wednesday, April 15, 2015

what I'm up to


Making something fun. Just playing. Digging in the compacted stash piles. Poking through my ribbons. Opening drawers to see what I have. This idea has lived in my head for a great long while and now it's becoming real. It's changing as I go. I'm always fascinated with the process of bringing an idea to life.

My sketches always seem to have more appeal to me than the final product. Does that happen to you? Maybe it's the potential that makes them so attractive. The final product is never exactly like the sketch or the phantom in my head, but sometimes they are better. Other times just...no. However, it's that over-confident feeling that the end product is going to be fantasmic that keeps me going.


In other news: Spring break was fun. We got away to the beach. This is the girls sharing a drink. Like two angry badgers arm wrestling. Feeling like it's the home stretch on home schooling. 5th and 7th grades almost in the bag. Can I get an ay-men? I'm hoping that this academic year can end earlier than other years. We usually school from September through mid-July but this year is different because we were on the Konos schedule and we've logged a lot more days than we usually have by now. A longer summer than usual...oh what will I do? *throatclearingthatsoundslikeornaments*

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

hello, lover

Oh I love you, my DMC darling.

Every pretty pretty floss color available...

...and you are not printed. Nooo.
You have actual floss samples. Be still my heart!

OK, I'll stop being all weird about the floss color guide. Is the photo good enough for you to see? It's real floss wrapped around cardboard columns. No more after-the-fact spec'ing headaches. Of which there have been many. So many. Because I always forget to label my floss skeins.

Even the metallic and variegated flosses that I never use are there. Haha. But I might use them. And if I do I can spec 'em.

And a handy visual guide for widths of Pearl Cottons. So nice.

My sincere thanks to Renae of Benzie Design for giving me the link to purchase this wondrous thing. I had been searching for one and all I could find was a wildly inaccurate printed version on Amazon. It's nice to know smart people.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Twelve Days color themes emerging


Apparently I love oranges, maroons, blues and pinks together. It's probably why I end up with one in each pattern sample batch. And why I never seem to give them as gifts. One day I will have a white Christmas tree and these ornaments will rock it. You might think I planned this color theme ahead of time...mmkay sure, let's go with that. I completely and professionally planned it like a forward thinking micro business owner. *coughs*


Oooh. Aquas, mints and greens. This theme is late to the party. I'm diggin it. I need to make it retroactive with the first two ornaments so I have a complete set so far.


And yellows. There's a theme in this grouping somehow. It's not quite as cohesive. More yellows will be in the future. I need to bring back that lighter yellow like on the Partridge and Pear. It's got zing. *snapping fingers*

I can't get as excited about traditional red and green combos but I do think a whole set done in whites and ivories would be so pretty. Hey, one of you guys do that! And send me pictures. That's what's so great about DIY and digital patterns. You can make whatever color combos float your boat.

Friday, March 27, 2015

nesting, bobbling Larissa magnets


If you've stuck with me any amount of time you'll know I love matryoshka dolls. Do you collect them? Small, cleverly made things are powerful Larissa magnets. I'm drawn to them by an irresistible, tractor beamish force. The same force opens my wallet and turns down the volume on the sensible 'save your money' voice. These are two recent purchases that give me much joy.


This wooden set is designed by one of my favorite illustrators ever, Helen Dardik. Oh, how I love her cheerful, bizarre drawings and print patterns! I'm the proud owner of three of her watercolors. I was so lucky to be able to buy this matryoshka directly from her. I loves it. Animals who are holding tasty things to eat. Mr Bear with an apple. Mrs Owl with a bowl of um. Pistachio pudding! Obviously.


I'm actually not sure what Mr Middle there is. No ears. But has a snout. And claws. (Bear/Owl love child?) And clutches a bowl of...Greek yogurt. Hmm. Mr Squirrel is eating a fish. I didn't know squirrels liked fish. Maybe it's a fish-shaped nut loaf. Or maybe Mr Squirrel is really Mr Beaver. Do Beavers eat fish? No. Maybe Mr Squirrel is just taking his pet fish for a walk. The fish looks keen. And a nervous girl (Goldilocks?) who is hoping 1) she is not the main course 2) they will share their snacks.

I like a bit of drama and mystery in my nesting dolls.

 And they have tails! Except for Goldi, of course.


And this vintage bobble-head Japanese set I picked up on Etsy a while ago might be my favorite in the Crazy-Tiny Wow Factor category. I love the dry brush paint strokes. Did I mention they bobble?


As in, they all have bobble heads. Not just the big one.
(Imagine some really stellar gel polish or Jamberries on my nails, will you?)

 All the way down...

 ...to this guy. Yes. His head bobbles too. 
(I know!)


So you see. I had to make them mine forever. I know you support me in this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

alterations are scary


In between ornament patterns I am trying to do much-needed and much-procrastinated clothing alterations. Do you hate doing this? I love the results but the actual doing is such a pain.
 
I have to brag that I successfully altered the waistband of one of my pencil skirts...the right way this time. (Usually I sew a hurried dart in the waistband, which gets the job done but looks bulky and  terrible.)

It was scary! I had to unpick the waistband at the side seams (so many parts coming together there, the fabric, the lining, the grosgrain ribbon finishing the inside, and some kind of thin ribbon that I had no idea what it was for) and resew it at an angle and then figure out how to put it all back together like it was and not make a hash of it. Then of course sweat bullets wondering if I'd taken it in too much. Huge relief to try it on and see that it no longer sticks out at my waist and fits properly. 

Now I have about five other pencil skirts that need the same treatment. Plus a pile of other clothes that I could wear if I'd spend a little time fixing them. Need to keep the momentum...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

curated felt color collection for Colly Bird ornaments



 Photos courtesy of Benzie Design

This ten-color collection of wool blend felt and matching embroidery floss was custom made for my Colly Bird pattern samples shown above and is now available in Benzie Design's shop! Thanks again, Renae!

Colly Bird Benzie felt colors: 
Black
Graphite
Julep
Moss
Coral
Mustard
Peacock
Cyan
Copper
Orange

There's an extra choice for the blue in there. You can purchase this Benzie felt bundle with or without the matching flosses. You'll need matching floss anyway to sew your ornaments together, so having the pre-matched flosses comes in handy! NOTE: You will still need to purchase floss for the contrast decorative embroidery!
See colors below.



Green/black/mint colly bird contrast embroidery colors:
DMC White
DMC Black
DMC 3804  (DK Cyclamen Pink)
DMC 608  (Bright Orange)
DMC 581 (Moss Green)
DMC 958 (DK Seagreen)

Gray/blue/mustard colly bird contrast embroidery colors:
DMC White
DMC Black
DMC 3846  (LT Bright Turquoise)
DMC 608  (Bright Orange)
DMC 3852  (V DK Straw)
DMC 3799  (V DK Pewter Gray)

I've also done a curated bundle of felt for each of the previous Twelve Days patterns and you can find them all under that same Benzie listing in the drop down menu. See these older blog posts for more pictures and details: Partridge & Pear, Turtle Dove, and French Hen.

Happy hand sewing!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Colly Bird pattern is now available!


Bit tardy. Sorry! See what happens when I verbalize a deadline? It sets Murphy's Law into motion. Murphy's kind of a jerk and he was out to get me. Physical therapy, stomach viruses, school projects, sample making apathy, overcast days, house looking, stupid Daylight Saving Time (I've been sleepy and grumpy ever since) etc...

But it's done! ShaZAM! It's available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops for your sewing pleasure.


OK, you might be asking 'why colly bird and not calling bird?'. If you've missed the previous posts about this, the Twelve Days of Christmas song originally included the Old English term colly bird, which means blackbird. Calling bird was added later because no one knew what the heck a colly bird was. Which didn't help a whole lot because what the heck is a calling bird?



I remember being really thrilled to find this old book in my thrift store a few years back because it has 'colly bird' instead of calling bird! I also dig the economical seventies-licious three-color litho (orange, olive and black! the power trio) and crinkly plastic library binding. This book. Smells exactly like my elementary school library.

(Whatever happened to good ol' two color picture books anyway? We just throw four color process around willy nilly like it grows on trees nowadays! Kids in my day didn't have decadent, glossy CMYK books like that. We had to use our imaginations to fill in the color. And we liked it! *waving cane*)


So anyway, I'm really pleased with the way this colly bird pattern turned out and I hope you like him too. Like all the Twelve Days patterns, it takes advantage of the awesomeness of Sulky Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy (cue Korben Dallas saying "...that whole thing's your name, huh?"). Just print the pattern on this stabilizer, stick it to the felt and embroider right through it. Doesn't get any easier than that!


Make it a blackbird or a whatever color of bird a calling bird is.

So now I'm going to take an ornament-free breather. Fold some towels. Maybe sew some things to wear. Spring has arrived in Atlanta. And overnight one day soon it will go from balmy and pleasant to wilted and sweaty and will remain stuck on that setting until October. I will reluctantly retire my tights and suede booties and go get a pedicure.

Next up on the blog: My curated color collection at Benzie Design for Colly Bird, for those of you who are waiting.