Print, Paint, Sew // A Quilt for Jo

IMG_9040Print, Paint, Sew. My new mantra in life, and maybe the title of my new book (jk, but now that I’ve said it I think I need to make it happen). This quilt was the first time I thought to marry my two favorite art mediums together, and I’ve been on a roll since (my entire #100daysofhieroglyph project is based on this idea, see my instagram if you have no idea what I’m talking about).

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DIY Tutorial // Textile Painting

madmim-textile-painting_16Do you believe in love-at-first-art-medium? The first time I textile painted I think I just burst out laughing, cause it was so fun and satisfying and just BEST THING EVER, that I was like, oh yeah, this. THIS is what I want to be doing. It’s one of those art forms that is so delightful that you start dreaming about doing it again before you even finish your first attempt–like a first date so awesome, you text them as they walk back to their car from your doorstep. Besides being totally hot right now, textile painting is all at once romantic, bold, graphic and playful in style, and like I’ve said, completely cathartic creatively. If you follow me on Instagram (which you should!), then you’ll see it’s kinda taken front and center in my creative journey, and after you give it a go you’ll know why. I feel kinda like a gushing lover. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.madmim-textile-painting_13Tools and Materials

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Brushes: Round brushes—various sizes, flat brushes—various sizes, bristle brushes, applicator bottles/pipettes,  and your fingers for flicking. (These chinese wash brushes also look amazing!)

Paints: Dye-na-flow by Jacquard is my absolute fave, it’s the perfect consistency, and comes in a ton of beautiful colors. Jacquard textile colors and Dr Ph Martin’s craft inks work pretty well too, although I watered them down as they are still a little thick for this application.  I haven’t tried this, but I’m assuming that you could also use concentrated fabric dyes with success if you mixed a slurry really well.

Fabrics: If you’ve ever used watercolors, then imagine the different ways the paint acts on smooth vs. porous papers. It’s the same with fabrics. The paint will spread more quickly and widely over smooth tight weaves, resulting in a very wet, blurry effect. Looser, more textured weaves will absorb the paint more, and result in a dryer, more controlled stroke.  From smooth and tight to loose and textured: silk, quilting cotton, rayon, cotton canvas, linen/linen blends, raw silk, velvet. Below you can see the variation in stroke just based on the fabric–first the textured linen on the left is concise and dry-looking, and the Kona cotton on the right looks wet and blurred.  The samples with painted flowers show the difference between a delicate crepe de chine and a fuzzy velvet; the weave and texture will really affect the look you end up with.

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Prep and Set-up

You’ll want to find a flat surface much larger than the fabric you’re working with, so if you have a table—great. If not, try setting up on the floor. I like to paint on a cheap water-proof vinyl tablecloth, as it prevents bleed through. Make sure you have lots of water and paper towels for rinsing and drying brushes. Practice your design on a scrap-piece (of the same pre-washed fabric you plan to use!) to get a feel for saturation and effect before you go for the glory!

Techniques and Ideas to Try

Wet vs Dry: just like fabric absorbency and weave will alter the look of your stroke, so will the wetness/dryness of the fabric. Wet fabric will spread the paint creating a soft and beautiful watercolor-like look, whereas on dry fabric, the paint will sit more on the surface and result in a  more bold, concise and textured stroke.  Play around with this by using a spray bottle to mist or saturate your fabrics before painting; both wet and dry techniques work well depending on what look you want, and can be fun to combine.

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Splatter: let all your 90’s dreams loose, and go crazy. Try using a paintbrush or your fingers to flick. Splattering on wet fabric will result in an almost marbled look, and dry will give the classic spattered-look. Try layering both for a very organic effect.

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Speed/Saturation: This one is just common sense, but it bears mentioning. The faster you move, the less time your paint has to seep in; so faster movement will give a less saturated and more defined stroke, and a slow, measured stroke will give a heavily saturated, spread out effect, especially at the first touch down of a loaded brush on your fabric. This is especially important to note when painting stripes, I always touch down with the lightest possible touch, almost skidding across the surface at first.

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Create thick and thin strokes with a wide flat brush by using both the skinny and wide edge.

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Pattern: keep it simple. Try just playing around with basic brush strokes to create layers and texture. Simple shapes, when painted, will be 10X cooler than normal. Try doodling on the fabric, filling in all negative space for an amazing all-over design. Don’t overthink this! Just give yourself a simple parameter (say, “triangles”), and come up with a simple take that will give you an overall WOW effect.

Examples and Ideas to Try:madmim-textile-painting_10

Finalizing your Fabric

To make your gorgeous painted design permanent, allow to cure for a couple of days and then heat-set thoroughly with a dry iron on the hottest setting appropriate for your fabric. Then allow to cure again for a week or so, and at that point you should be good and can wash normally.

 

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Go nuts my peeps! Whatever you make, think of it as art—as hand painted ANYTHING will be a statement piece. I know you’ll love it if you give it a try, and tag my on Instagram if you do! 

Blue Apron, Cloth Napkins & Proper Manners

One time when I was 23, my mother-in-law asked me to set the table and I had to whip out my phone on the sly to google ‘how to set a table’. I love food and eating with family, but growing up the fourth out of nine brazen kids, it was more about spearing as much as we possibly could on our forks than the proper place to set them.  Even though over the years I’ve taken great pride in the fact that we DO eat together every night, and that there IS something to eat on that dang table, I’ve never made it too far past the super casual manners of my youth, hashtag raceforthefood.
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I remember a few years back a good friend and I were sewing together, and she was working on cloth napkins for her family and I was like SAY WHA? People use those at home?? And with curiousity, I decided I’d go home and just see if were fancy enough to handle that level of civility. I cut up some cheap muslin I had on hand, zipped around the squares with a smart little coral rolled hem, and boom. It upped our dinner game immediately to like a 3 out of 5! Not only did my kids love it, but it kinda changed the way I ate too, slower and more mindfully. Three years later and they’re still helping us wipe our mouths and feel proper.

Along with manners, I’m always working on cooking side of things as well. Cooking is really not my thang thang; I mean I don’t mind it once I get going, but I would rather do pretty much anything else in the world besides start dinner.  And I absolutely dread grocery shopping and meal planning and honestly resent the time it takes me do those things. But I value so much the quality family time that I grit my teeth and do it. Every. Single. Night. And I go through lots of phases. Sometimes I’m out there like a culinary MacGyver, searching pinterest and library cook books for delicious healthy meals, and other times it’s weeks of grilled cheese and Costco staples. When Blue Apron reached out to me I was really interested in giving their meal planning and prep services a try, because anything that cuts those two steps out of my life sounds amazing to me.madmim_food_blueapron_1

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Tiny Art // Book Corner Frame DIY

mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_10Have you ever gone back to a place you used to work and nonchalantly mentioned to the current young employee that you used to work there as well, and they’re like cool. And you’re like yeah, cool. And you kinda get the feeling that they secretly aren’t buying it cause you’re just too old to have actually worked at a hip establishment like this. That happened to me once when I was at Coldstone Creamery; I told the fresh faced youth that I had once worked there, and she looked at me like in what lifetime, Grandma? 

I also kinda feel like that trying to blog around here. I click the New Post button and my Dashboard is like, whoa wait. Really? Reealllly? And I’m like I can blog if I want to, Dash. 

But anyway, I have this cool little DIY that I think is so great I want to send it out there to bump around the cosmic web and maybe end up on someone’s pin board. OR ON THEIR WALL (they’re REAL wall, people).

You know how I have a thing for tiny art, but sometimes it can be hard to frame. The tiny frame market is sparse, and in the past I’ve gotten creative when thinking of ways to frame tiny art. This easy DIY is cheap and easy, and is my fave way to frame those small pieces of awesomeness in a pretty way.  It is capable of making that important ticket stub or pretty postage stamp feel all grown up and legit and like they deserve a place in your gallery wall.

To do this you need a couple of things that are cheap and worth investing in.

  • glass cutter
  • Metal Book Corners, also called scrapbooking corners, photo corners, menu corners and like half a dozen other things. People really need to come a consensus on this point.
  • glass from unused or broken frames
  • needle nose pliers, protective gloves, ruler, marker

Grab you reject glass and with a dry erase marker (or any marker really) mark off the dimensions of your frame. Your going to have to cut across the entire length of the glass, so keep that in mind.

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Then after you dig up your garden gloves for safety (cause GLASS) place a quilter’s ruler where you want the cut, and starting at the VERY edge, carefully and firmly run the glass cutter along your marked line. It really should be called a glass scorer, cause that’s all it’s doing. Scoring the glass. The trickiest part are the very beginning and very ends–you want to go a little gingerly there, but make sure to score right to the ends.
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Now for the fun part. Place your score line right on top of a hard edge, gently push the overhanging edge down, and POP.  The glass will snap right at the score line. Big time thrill.mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_05

Repeat for the other side. If I want to float something in the glass, I’ll cut a matching pane, so that I can sandwich the art between two pieces of glass.  It’s important to note that in order to do that the glass must be very thin so the book corners can fit around the two pieces; you can find thin glass in some frames, but I don’t know what else to tell you about where to find it. What I usually do is cut a piece of white cardstock and thin chip board to match the glass, and sandwich the art in this order: glass, art, white cardstock, and chipboard.

mad_mim_tiny art_book corner frames_06Once you have everything sandwiched, add the gold corners one at a time; use some needle nose pliers to gingerly pinch the corners around the art. Kaboom. Beautiful, cheap and easy.
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And then go nuts. I use this technique all the time, here are a few pieces from around the house that I’ve framed this way. 
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In other news, baby Girl is doing great, she’s just the best. Finally getting into the rhythm of four kids, and so I felt like it was time to shake things up. I’m planning on opening up an online shop! I have officially tripped over the line between hobbiest and artist (self declared of course), and I’m going to start selling some of my original hand printed art prints and anything else I want. Oh and of course the Boho Baby Blanket for a limited time! (don’t know what I’m talking about? See my instagram!) In addition to opening a shop, my hubs is working on helping with a site redesign, so look for that in the next month, cool cool cool. AND, I’m also going to sell at my very first handmade fair, the Beehive Bazaar December 3-5 at the Startup Building! (111 W 600 S Provo). I’m pretty pumped, come and see me if you’re in the area!!

A Birth Story and other plans

mad_mim_tootsie's birthstory_15Buckle up for some high quality baby spam! It’s been two and half months since my sweet little baby girl was born, and I’m finally turning my mind to the blog and sharing her story here.  It’s a wonderful story;  a juicy guts and glory no-details-spared type of tale.  I had a home birth, which I’m well aware people are generally passionately either for or against–so before I dive into the juicy details I want to quickly say that I love natural childbirth and all that jazz, but I’m not someone who thinks it’s for everyone. I think birth is one of those incredibly personal decisions that each woman will know exactly what’s right for her, and I think that’s how it should be. The most important thing in child birth is to feel confident and safe in your surroundings and in your body, and for some women that’s in her home with a  midwife but for others it’s in a hospital with and epidural. No judgment here about which was is the right way to do it. So here’s my experience as I wrote it a week post-partum, eat your heart out.

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The Little Tub Chair Reupholster

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Here she is! My adorable little tub chair that I’ve spent the last week or two getting boatloads of contractions on behalf of.  I have been on a veritable nesting rampage these last couple months, tackling massive jobs that apparently I couldn’t tackle until I was massively with child, there must be some magical hormones at play. For fun I’ll tell you that right  now I’m currently working on getting a guestroom put together for my sister who is going to spend a little while post-baby with me (that includes clearing out and relocating lots of art/sewing supplies, painting a dresser, building a night table, making a bedspread, and then finding/making the necessary accessories like lamps, mirrors, plants, art etc). No biggy. And that was just today! SO I’m trying to say that I really didn’t need another project on my hands.

But when I stumbled upon this little tub chair selling for a song on KSL (like Craigslist), I knew that whether I liked it or not, re-upholstery was on my horizon. I was actually looking for a chair for my livingroom, but ended up deciding this one is perfect for our office/studio space because we just needed something cozy in there for relaxed crafting and programming (hers and his) pastimes. (I ended up getting a pair of chairs for the livingroom, so that settled it–this little tub chair was destined to become the favorite family chair for the favorite family room (we spend a LOT of time in there). Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

When I picked this little gem up she was in pretty crappy condition. The kinda-cute peach floral/swan fabric was incredibly shabby and coming undone in several places like the back (where the frame was completely showing through the fabric–no foam or support back there), and when you sat down you’d sink so far it was nearly impossible for me and my 8 month pregnant booty to hoist myself out. I couldn’t sit in it cause it grossed me out, but my family took to it immediately despite my efforts to constantly have a blanket draped over it. Gross.

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THE WORST part of re-upholstery–BY FAR–is removing the upholstery. It’s just so gross, with decades of dust and grime flying up and in your face and contaminating the air. And it’s super labor intensive, pulling out all the thousands of staples. This time around I wised-up and purchased this little baby to help remove staples, and it made all the difference in the world. Best $13 bucks I ever spent. But after pulling off that sea of peachy floral grossness, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to discover ANOTHER older and grosser layer of upholstery underneath—they had just re-upholstered right over the top of that sucker. Now at this point I was practically convulsing with disgust (ask my husband, he was getting pretty annoyed at my hysterics), but I just muscled through it and had it all stripped off in an evening. Yuck yuck gross nasty bleh. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Down to her knickers, the foam and cotton wadding underneath were super gross too–but surprisingly not in as bad of shape as you’d think. There’s NO WAY I was going to reuse any of it, I knew it would just prevent me from ever sitting my keister down on it though, so I had to pony up to buying new foam and batting which isn’t cheap. The back also had nothing to support the upholstery, which is why the frame was showing through. I ended up finding all my high density foam and cotton wadding from Russell’s Upholstery shop in Provo, where the most adorable old men you can imagine sold me it at a very fair price by the yard. They also gave me some good tips on how to tackle this beast, it totally made me want to ask them if I can apprentice there, but then I remembered that upholstery is so much work and so so gross and I’ll never do it for anyone else but me. Selfish but true.

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Here she is naked and exposing those bare bones.  Everything was solid structurally, but the seat webbing was incredibly stretched out and sagging. I re stretched it, but used the same material; hopefully that won’t come back to haunt me. This is the point in re-upholstering that I start to believe that I could actually build furniture from scratch, because it’s just a wood frame! It seems amazing that this will become my cozy chair!

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Here she is with her new underwear, I could finally stop convulsing!

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And here I stretched the back piece over the cotton wadding. It’s three pieces seamed together, I had to resew the seams several times to get that sleek fit, the curve of the chair made it kind tricky.

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And then the seat and front foam and upholstery. This was the trickiest part and the part I’m least happy with. It would be impossible to explain how that front seam was done, but it was very thick, two layers of upholstery, a burlap bumper piece and two layers of 1″ foam, and I really needed longer staples to make it smooth. The bumpiness of that seam where the seat curves into the front bumper really bugs me and I was about to take it apart and start again, but I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort since it’s covered up by the seat cushion. Still bugs me, but I’ve moved on.

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This was how the back was, it had nothing to structure the fabric over that frame. I decided to first layer a sheet tight over it, and then my 1/2″ foam, which as you can see, I had to do some clever seaming to get a smooth fit.

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Then for the fun part where I added piping and the three-paneled back piece, it was so fun and satisfying to make it look so sleek. The original chair didn’t have the piping, but I love the crispness and structure it adds.

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Worked extra hard to get the front seaming to match the back seaming. Nailed it.

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Almost there!Processed with VSCOcamThen I just took apart the cushion covers and used them as a pattern to create new ones. I even reused the zippers cause I’m thrifty like that.

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And finally, I slapped on some mid century legs that I found on Home Depot for a great price (I stained them and spray painted the silver finish gold). In the end my family veto’d the legs because they were all enamored with those easy-to-move caster wheels, and loved to be able to just push the chair around the room according to needs. So now the chair is back to the casters, but I took photos with the legs, just cause they’re so perty. In the end I spent just under $150 for everything: the chair/fabric/foam/buttons/thread etc which I think is great for getting a comfy chair I love.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

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When people ask me if re-upholstery is hard I always say that skill wise, it’s very doable. It’s just taking apart a puzzle and putting it back together. The sewing skills are very basic, and really there’s nothing that’s too complicated. But it is a TON of work. And as I’ve been clear about, it’s super gross. But once you get past the gross part, it’s incredibly fun and rewarding to put it back together with your pretty new fabric and see the new piece of furniture take life.  If you’ve always wanted to try re-upholstering, I highly recommend just heading to your library and checking out as many books as you can find to get a feel for the tools and process. You can also try youtube of course, but I love the thoroughness and organization of a book, myself. I am planning on buying this book because it looks like a great reference book I’d love to have. mim's-little-tub-chair1

I am feeling very tired and very very pregnant (36 weeks!) and uncomfortable (oh the back pain!!), and am starting to be consumed with thoughts about this little girl and our changing family and preparing myself for it. I’m really excited, although I’ve definitely run the gambit with my emotions this pregnancy. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that our 3 and half year old Tiny started having seizures in January, and that really threw me for a loop emotionally, I was having so much doubt and insecurity about being able to handle a newborn AND a special needs daughter who was having a SUPER difficult time on her seizure meds in addition to just still being a baby in so many ways. But gratefully (and I mean that in the most sincere, poignant way I can possibly say), she hasn’t had any seizures for a long while and our neurologist okayed her going off the meds for now at least. I’ve been using Frankincense oil on her religiously (supposed to have anti-seizing effects), which I’m not sure is the reason for her not having more seizures, but on the off chance it is I’ll keep using it.  And a couple months ago I had this sweet moment where I was watching my kids and was filled with all that motherly-love and joy and had this sweet thought that this new little girl would bring with her every bit as much joy and love that my other children have, and I can’t even imagine how good it will be–it’s impossible to imagine before they come and bring it all with them. So I’m excited. And keeping busy with every last home project and can squeeze in before she comes!

Leather Tablet Sleeve

mad_mim_leather_tablet sleeve_03If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been working on an upholstery project for the last week. It’s a little tub chair, and I finished it yesterday!! I am sort of thrilled with how it turned out, so as soon as I mount some new legs I’ll snap some pictures and share it her. This morning though, I was inexplicably motivated to share another leather DIY that I did with my leather hide store leather.

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I did this over the holidays (my husband’s birthday is right after Christmas), and it was one of those satisfying gifts that he needed really bad but didn’t even know it. I had seen him just shove his tablet in our diaper bag when going places, and then get all nervous that it would get damaged (entirely possible). He was also always finagling creative ways to prop it up on our counter when doing dishes or helping me cook or whatever. That man needed a tablet sleeve real bad.

So I searched online, and I’m not ashamed to say this is a straight up knock off of one that I found (which I’m embarrassed to report I can’t find again). It was awesome, and like $250 bucks. Mine is not perfect–a little homemade looking really–but it’s completely functional and that’s what matters. Allan put that sucker to use immediately, and hasn’t stopped since. Very gratifying.


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I basically just measured the heck out of his tablet and then made the pattern to fit, being careful to leave openings where buttons and speakers etc. were. I used leather, felt and really stiff cardboard, and it props up two different ways. Now we can watch Last Night This Week while cleaning the kitchen!

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Anyway, that’s it. I’ll be back pretty soon to share that tub chair!

DIY Picture Ledge Coat Rack // Woodworking

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As you know, this past year we bought our first home. I’m just gonna say, that being a homeowners has been EVERY BIT as amazing as I’ve been dreaming of over the past 8 years. I always looked forward to the day that we’d have our own home and could paint it, DIY it, and do WHATEVER we wanted to it, it became this ultimate fantasy for me, so good that it felt like a fairytale that would never actually happen. Until it did. And it’s been amazing, we love our little house. And I freaking love making this place our home, and this year has been stupendously fun doing project after project, attacking one space at a time, slowly pulling it all together. Our biggest challenge was furniture of course, we had so little when we moved in. And actually I take it back it hasn’t been all fun in the sun, there’s been a lot of heartache mixed in–because especially in the beginning it was so crappy trying to make this place a home without any furniture and without any money. BUT, little by little over the past year, with absolute diligence scouring KSL and Craiglist, and with a few choice new purchases, we’re getting closer.  mad_mim_handbuilding_picture_ledge_coat_rack_01

One of the little design problems I’ve been grappling with this past year is our side entrance, which is really our main entrance–for us and most of our family and friends.  It goes directly into the kitchen and stairs to our basement, with a sidestep into our living room. The problem is that there is no entryway at all, and although I make my kids and husbands truck their coats and bags into our hall closet, guests never had a place to put their stuff, and it would just pile up there on the floor by the door.  No bueno.

The obvious solution was a coat rack, but I resisted for a long time because I HATED the idea of a coat rack in our living room.  There really isn’t space there for any piece of storage furniture, and I didn’t want it to feel cramped or heavy there anyway. It wasn’t until the December issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine that I spotted a peg board coat rack that they had just set pictures on top of, so it functioned as a little art moment and a coat rack. BING! Pretty and functional.  Subtle and open feeling. The design in the magazine was completely impractical for family life, the pictures just balanced on top of the pegs and would undoubtedly get knocked off every time someone took off a coat, but I loved the idea and decided to design my own version.

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This was MY project from start to finish. I designed it, bought the wood, built it, painted it, and mounted it (okay, Allan helped me mount it). I painted out the bottom coat rack part the same color as our wall paint (Martha Stewart Wetstone Grey), and then painted bright white just the front portion of the picture ledge for some subtle contrast.  The beautiful hook hardware was a bit of a splurge, I paid about $30 bucks for 4. The wood was from the Home Depot, and I’m pretty sure it was around $10. I used the 1/2″ X 3″ X 3′ and 1/2″ X 1.5″ X 3′ precut poplar boards, and then had them cut a 3/4″ X 4″ poplar board down to 3′ to match. To build it I just used wood glue, nails and clamps. Nothing fancy there.
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Finally I styled it with some art and choice tchotchkes and it’s now one of my favorite moments in the house. (That old guitar dude on that little Mate I brought home from Argentina years ago was just waiting for the day I would realize his true destiny was housing a tiny cactus). mad_mim_handbuilding_picture_ledge_coat_rack_04

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So, I’m gonna call this one as a win. When guests come over we have somewhere for them stash coats and bags, and it the area still looks pretty and intentional.  You better believe I still make my kids and hub truck their crap to the closet, not gonna let them clutter it up all the time.  This is one of the many nesting projects I’ve attacked with a vengeance that can only be attributed to the mysterious burst of energy one gets in the last couple months of pregnancy.  More projects to come! What about you, have you solved any  little design problems that you wanna tell me about? I’d love to hear, I could talk interior design til the cows come home.

Like Moths to a Light Collection and Diangular Filaments Art Prints

mad mim_handprinting_like moths to a light collection_3So last time I told you that I’d been doing a little designing and was exploring using my designs for art. Entering the design challenges at Minted has been so good for me! The next challenge after the fabric challenge was an art print challenge, a collaboration with West Elm, and even though at first I wasn’t even considering entering, my wheels started turning over how I could see what I do as art. Up til now I’ve always just seen what I do as like crafting, or as just part of my sewing or other craft endeavors.  So anyway, all these ideas started coming to me, and I had so much fun materializing this little narrative collection of art using my moths stamps (oh yeah, here are some moth stamps I carved). I did several others, all using some of my hand carved blocks as a base.  I really don’t think I ever would have started thinking this way if it weren’t for the challenge, but it’s really shifted how I see myself and what I can do with what I love to do, you know?  I’m really…excited. Excited about working on something that I love, and excited about stretching myself creatively.  As for the minted challenge, I really don’t have ANY expectations because there are about a BAZILLION entries, and so so many are so so good. BUT regardless, I’ve really enjoyed this experience. If you want to see everything I submitted and vote for me, here is my profile.

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This one is called Diangular Filaments, and I love it. More abstract and graphic, and I see it in gold foil.  And shoot! I just realized I had the picture upside down! It looks way better right side up. mad mim_handprinting_like moths to a light collection_4

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This serpent/dna block was inspired after reading a book last week, The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby. So interesting, really blew my mind at parts.

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And then there’s my beehive You’re-the-Bees-Knees block too, so go check them all out.

ALSO. I’m 31+ weeks pregnant this week! You would not believe how many home projects I’ve been doing, I am in HYPER nesting mode. And I am supremely uncomfortable, I think I’ve forgotten how miserable it gets towards the end, because I’m like, could I have possibly done this before??

Tribal Rose Stamp and Repeat Design

madmim_handprinting_tribal rose pattern_1Over the last several years I’ve realized that I really love designing and carving stamps, and just hand printing and surface design in general. And you’re like, duh…we knew that. Well I guess I’m saying that I REALLY like it, and I want to really pursue it this year. I want to challenge myself and start turning my designs into repeatable patterns and would like to make more art work with it too. Thinking about lots of different ideas and plans (which are all incredibly tentative because I’m about to have my fourth child and life will be just bonkers), and I’ve realized that I’ve only shared just a tiny bit of all that I do here by way of all this here on le blog. I want to change that, and even if it’s simple, I want to start documenting more of my work.

A few weeks ago I stumbled on minted.com (saw the ad in Martha Stewart Living), and discovered that all their products are made by designers that submit their work through on going design challenges. Anyone can enter, aka even me who has never had the bravery to call myself an artist or designer and have largely done all my work for just my family and as a hobby. Well they were having a challenge to design fabric, and I’ve always wanted to learn more about how to do that like I said. So even though the deadline for submissions was just a couple days a way–I decided to just go for it–and take the design challenge as an opportunity to finally teach myself. I had bought the book A Field Guide to Fabric Design a while back (I highly recommend this book!), and I finally poured over it to help me turn one of my favorite floral stamps into a repeat. It was kinda hard for me–definitely not just wham bam thank you m’am, but I loved doing it and was so excited about how it turned out.

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And then I submitted it to the challenge! I mean, why not. If you like it, you should vote for it to be turned into fabric and sold on Minted, I wouldn’t be mad. I think the voting ends February 9th.  (As far as I understand you just rate it).

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What new creative challenges are you taking on? 

Leather Minimalist Tote Bag // Leather Hide Store Giveaway!

I recently jumped out of my shoes with gusto for the chance to work with the Leather Hide Store and a large piece of remnant upholstery leather. After I stopped hyperventilating and finished my happy-leather-dance, I settled on the remnant labeled B17–a supple, rich caramel hide with lots of depth and variation. When it arrived and I finished wallowing around on it (that happened), I decided it was just about the prettiest thing I’d ever wallowed around on. The only trouble was deciding on what to make! At first I was thinking I’d upholster these chairs with it, and then I was almost settled on making a gorgeous pouf ottoman. But then I remembered to listen to my heart, and it was reminding me how long I’ve pined for a leather bag I could carry around when I’m sans kids.  Also, I wanted to get the most out of my hide, so I could also make the chic new diaper bag I’ve been dreaming of (currently in the works), the tablet cover my husband wanted (finished and he loves it!), and various other things my heart was telling me I needed to make like a wrap clutch and dop kit. I’m planning on blogging them all, so bug me about them if I don’t. And hey! You can have your own gorgeous hide to wallow around in! The Leather Hide Store is super awesome and nice and is giving one of my cool readers $50 to their store, so keep reading to find out how to enter, which you should DEFINITELY do.

mad mim_minimalist leather tote bag_15There were lots of leather bags that I considered, but I landed on this minimalist tote by Renske Solkesz featured on Design Sponge, because it was simple yet completely amazing, and it was a free pattern to boot.   It was a thrilling project to sew, one of those times when every step is so pretty and pleasing and satisfying that you want to just throw it a party.  I had to make several modifications to make it work for leather, as well as add some additional features to suite my needs.  I added a zipper pocket on one side, and a patch pocket adorned with rivets on the other, and to me they really make the bag. The patch pocket especially has proved to be so handy for sliding in my phone and keys. To me the rivets and grommets make it look so polished and not-homemade, but don’t be fooled, this is super simple sewing.

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I love the way the angular tabs fits into each other; because of the body of the leather it doesn’t close by itself when the strap is pulled, but I like the way it looks up, so that’s not an issue for me.

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I likewise added a zipper pocket and patch pocket to the inside lining for chapstick, phone, whatever. Never can have enough pockets, can we?

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To read more about how make your own tote and enter the sweet giveaway, read on!

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Hand Printing // Painted Horse Swaddle Blanket

Last Saturday I spent a lovely weekend in my sweet friend’s charming cabin. Everything Juliette touches is beautiful, she has got magic in her fingertips (really!! You should taste her bread and see her sewing…and weaving…and calligraphy…and doll-making…and stamp carving!) While we were there we all worked on various craft projects and I took advantage of the time to hand print this very light gauze swaddle blanket for my sister, who I expected to hear word from at any moment that she’d had her baby. It turned out that even though she was laboring when I left, she was still laboring when I got home, and didn’t end up having her baby until the following day. She was amazing, (!!!) and baby boy was born healthy and hearty at 9 and half pounds!

As I mentioned in my last post I was only planning on instagramming this blanket, but Juliette snapped some pretty photos for me, and I thought it was blogworthy. I used the same stamp as I did for my Bub’s shirt that I blogged last time, but as you can see here, it was double sided and I used both sides here.  Wish I had thought to get some photos of the process, but I just chalked out some stripes to follow, and printed with Versatex’s Primary Blue, which printed quite well on the gauze.

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As soon as I got home I hemmed and delivered it, and less than 24 hours later it was swaddling a perfect little boy.

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