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 (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!


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.


Hand Printed Velvet Coloring Tees

mad mim_handprinting and fabric markers_11A couple months ago I started a private Pinterest board for Twinkie, and I’ve had such a good time getting a peek her head–her idea of beautiful and favorite things. Like for example, I never would have predicted that she would immediately pin dozens of pictures of stained glass windows. Stained glass windows! Who knew she had a thing for them?? There have been lots of surprises in there, I plan on making the board my jumping off point when I finally get around to decorating her bedroom. So fun, can’t wait.

But as I was brainstorming her and Tito’s back-to-school wardrobes I wanted to create a sort of stained glass window inspired tee for them that they could help color, because they’re so into coloring the both of them and love to take part in the creative process. As I sketched ideas, the project also started to really remind of those velvet coloring posters, which is awesome because my kids dig those too. I also liked the idea of using a sort of dimensional paint so that the coloring lines actually had a raised tactile surface so as to act as a sort of bumper for their coloring.

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I started out by carving three different stamps that each had lots of negative space for coloring. These type of designs take longer to carve for sure, but I found that using sharp tools really helped, and I also used my utility knife a lot. I actually just bought Flexcut’s slipstrope to sharpen my trusty Speedball cutter set, and am really pleased with the results–it brought them back to their former glory.  I also used my favorite Eco Karve blocks to carve, they are so thick and smooth to cut. Because of their thickness, they worked particularly well with double sided stamps like the horse  (I don’t have a picture of the opposite side but it’s the same just reversed (more on that later!). My balloon was pretty detailed, but the gem was a cinch and probably a great place to start with this technique. If your ambitious, google velvet coloring posters and get some ideas (a really detailed one would be epic, but I just had to lie down for a rest contemplating it).

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I decided to try Setacolor’s suede effect paint, which when heat set changes  into a velvety semi-raised, very tactile surface which was perfect for this project. Use a foam brush or sponge to dab on paint pretty heavily on your stamp (I found this worked better with this particular paint than my usual fuzzy roller), and then with firm, even pressure carefully print your design. It took two or three tests prints to build up the paint on my stamp enough to get really solid and saturated results. I printed on white cotton jersey knit pre cut  into the tee Front using a simple raglan pattern from Ottobre.  (There are tons of raglan patterns out there, Oliver + S, Pattern Anthology..)

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mad mim_handprinting and fabric markers_01 Allow to dry completely, and then on the wrong side, heat set this on your iron’s cotton setting for about five minutes. This is when the paint raises and creates a super soft, textured surface that really is suede like, it’s pretty cool.

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Then color! This was so fun, I forget how satisfying coloring can be. Twinkie rocked her coloring, the dimensional paint was really good for helping her stay in the lines. We used Fabrico Duel-tipped fabric markers and loved them! Lovely color and I loved the end with a long flexible tip, it was easy to fully saturate the coloring space.

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 I totally did the horse and and gem tee myself, I couldn’t help it.

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mad mim_handprinting and fabric markers_12Ah, good times. My kids are adorable, PS, and so are these tees. These stamps have also been killer on paper for cards and such and the kiddos love coloring them in using different colors. And I actually really love the look of the designs printed with the black paint just as-is without being colored in, it’s really striking. I think I’m going to print a baby blanket using that horse stamp with that technique, no coloring in. Gonna be good, maybe I’ll try and instagram it.

Has school started for ya’ll? We just began a couple days ago, and peeps, I made like SIXTEEN tees in two days for my kids. I’m getting faster than the wind, I  can sew up a tee (not including cutting out) i like 10-15 minutes. That sounded a little braggy, because it is, I mean I’m like the Usain Bolt of sewing tees. Hope you guys made it through the first week of school okay! My kids were happy and excited to go, and I was surprisingly fine with the change–I’m excited for this Fall.  I’ll probably be an emotional mess when my little Tiny starts her special-needs preschool in a few weeks, but I’ll hoist myself up and over that hurtle when we get there!

This is not a sponsored post, although Dharma Trading did supply me with most the supplies for the project. All the opinion expressed is honest and my own!

DIY Corner Bench

There are so many things I’d like to share with you from the last several months, but because I know I’ll never blog most of them, I’m choosing my faves. This wood-working project was something completely new to me, and very intimidating. Your first project in any craft is a big deal, you know? Despite being totally overwhelmed at times,  it was such a fun experience–probably mostly because I did it with my husband. We rarely craft together in the DIY-sense, and so this was just so fun; lots of podcasts and $5 pizza and headscratching and problem solving and lots and lots of saw dust.

Our little breakfast nook is tiny tiny tiny, and we knew that our only real option was to have a corner bench. Have you ever needed a corner bench? They are pretty hard to come by, there was just nothing out there that I even remotely liked.  Plus, to be honest, we needed something with such specific dimensions that it seemed like we had no other choice than to build. For Christmas last year I got Ana White‘s book The Handbuilt Home  (which I learned so much from), so this seemed like the perfect project to begin with. I came up with a  simple design (inspired by this ), and Allan drafted the plans using his fancy drafting software at work.  And then we just went for it.
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We used poplar for the outer seat frame, and just 2X4’s for the inner box. We ended up having to completely rethink our leg plan, but we decided on some basic square oak legs, which we subsequently had to strengthen by adding diagonal supports (which were alder, and we had a friend help us with them). Despite the legs having two different types of wood, they stained remarkably the same. I used Minwax in Natural for the legs, and did a white paint stain for the seat.  Paint staining, for those of you who don’t know, is just a fancy way of saying I watered down white paint and then worked it into the wood with a rag. It was a little tricky getting even results, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I wanted it to look white washed, with the beautiful grain still visible. To seal the deal I used a wipe-on polyurethane which I highly recommend.  It gave such a lovely finish, and has been very durable in the 3 months since we finished the project. And it is just so much easier to apply than the paint or spray on. 
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Although the diagonal supports were our solution for making our legs more stable, I ended up loving their design and am so happy we added them. I also love that we didn’t put legs in the middle, it’s plenty sturdy without them, and I think the openness looks cool. mad mim_corner bench_2

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Pretty excited by all these tight joints!mad mim_corner bench_6I was so proud of this project, I can’t even tell you. We made plenty of mistakes, but overall I think we nailed it, (pun unintended but welcomed) and it’s been so sturdy and easy to clean which translates into massive success in my book. I would show you pics of it actually IN the nook, but we need a new table REAL bad. When I find one I promise I’ll give you a whole (tiny) kitchen tour!

The Ginny Gown // a Color Magnet DIY

I really didn’t mean to take a blogging hiatus, but when we first moved into our house it was so exciting and there were (ARE) so many projects to work on, and so every night I would be like hmm, Blog? Or put up the curtains? Curtains. Blog? Or make a bench? Bench. And then I just got out of the habit of asking the question at all. And here I find myself, trying clumsily to explain why you haven’t heard from me round these parts. Well I’m back tonight, and I’ve got a project that ranks up there in my top five fave garments I’ve sewn (sentimentality definitely factored in).

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In my family growing up all of us girls had a very special and romantic nightgown somewhere between the ages of  6-10 that was called a Ginny Gown (although we never had anything to do with the dance studio where these originated, here’s the story).  These long, dreamy, twirly affairs were like a right of girlhood, and I have the most beautiful memories of lounging around in the buttery silky fabric–feeling so luxurious and pretty.  So this was a sewing project I’ve been planning for years, and although I did make Twinkie an earlier edition, it wasn’t up to par with my standards of dreaminess. So last Christmas I decided to embark on the project, and decided to go with Dharma’s rayon lawn because it’s so buttery and light and drapey and swingy and just perfect for what I wanted this night gown to be.  It was definitely the perfect choice.

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For the lovely two-tone printing, I went for one of my fave printing mediums color magnet. Because I’ve screwed up sewing garments with color magnet dyed fabric before, I’ve decided to go through the process with you here so you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Usually when printing the fabric I’m sewing with, I cut the fabric out, print it, and then sew. Not so with color magnet, if you cut out, print and THEN dye, your small pieces will fray and wad and you’ll end up with a massive ball of sadness. For colormagnet-garment-sewing happiness, begin first by tracing your pattern pieces (only the ones you plan on printing) onto your fabric. I used a washable magic marker.

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Then, without cutting, print only those traced out areas, here I used a homemade floral stencil. mad mim_printing,dying,sewing_the ginny gown_9

Allow to dry, and then proceed with your dying normally. The color magnet will do it’s magic, and the printed areas will attract more dye and turn out a more saturated deeper color. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the fabric post dying, I waited so many months to actually dye it, and then so many more to actually sew it that I totally spaced taking a pic. After dying you’ll THEN cut, which will be easy because you’ll have these beautiful printed areas begging you to cut here!  Now you’re ready to sew ‘er up according to dictates of your whim and fancy.mad mim_printing,dying,sewing_the ginny gown_8

I used Simplicity 3510, which has been a favorite of mine lately (see here and here). The only modification that I made was to  add some more fullness to the sleeves.

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PS JUST SO YOU KNOW, her face isn’t dirty, it’s peeling. Wouldn’t want you to think she hasn’t bathed in a week, although that’s entirely possible.

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I absolutely love how this night gown turned out, and it is so appealing to me that I am going to make myself one like this. Exactly. Because I guess I need a still need a Ginny Gown to lounge around and feel luxurious and pretty. The reason why this project took a kazillion light years was because I just waited months between steps (too busy, then moving, then broken machine, then no machine, then borrowed machine, then new machine). My poor sewing machine was having major issues which eventually resulted in me having to take apart and resew everything. It (my machine) finally died! Kapoot, I sewed that sucker into the ground, God rest her soul.  BUT don’t cry for me friends, because I got a new one! After weeks of research I landed on a Bernina Activa, and so far I’m real happy.

And hey! if you’re in the area this week, I’m teaching a hand printing class at A fashionable Stitch in SLC this wednesday 6 pm, there are a couple spots left! Call the shop (801) 466-3110 to sign up, I’d love to see you! 

No-Hem Bow Cuff Leggings DIY // National Serger Month


I’m so jazzed that April is finally here, I mean it took you long enough, for real! And April means National Serger Month again, holla!  Always enthusiastic when it comes to all things serger, you know I love me some knit sewing. Last year I did my gathered basket weave pillow cases, which I love but was a bit more time-consuming than my typical serger project. This year I wanted to show you one of the many tricks I use with a serger that eliminates steps in the sewing process, because that’s the way I use my serger the most.  Whenever I’m sewing a knit project I usually try to minimize having to use my sewing machine or switching to coverstitch (which really isn’t bad, but I’m real lazy).  That’s why I love adding bands to finish off sleeves and cuffs, because they give a nice finished look without hemming. I often use my sneaky f aux band technique as well (last technique under Finishing Sleeves and Hems), which makes it like don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-fast.  But this little bow cuff is such a sweet little detail, and I feel like it takes ho-hum leggings into real-cute-land, which really is the place to be if you haven’t heard.  And they’re  fast, which is really (let’s be honest) why they’re my go-to legging finish.

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Begin with your fave legging pattern, I used one of Ottobre’s many varieties (which is incidentally,where I first saw this detail!).   When cutting out, shorten your pant length by about 3 inches, and then cut a rectangle that is the width of your bottom pant edges and has a length of  6″.  Also cut  a strip that is 2 3/4″ by 7″ or so.

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Assemble however you want, I usually zip up the inseams, and then nest leg into leg (right sides together), and sew the crotch. mad mim_no-hem bow band leggings_02

Fold your cuff pieces in half right sides together and lengthwise, and serge down the sides (be careful you get this right, you should be sewing the edge that is 6″).  Now with your tubes, fold the bottom edges up the top edges, wrong sides together, creating a cuff. mad mim_no-hem bow band leggings_03

Now grab your strip and fold it in half, right sides together and length wise, and then serge down the side, leaving your tails. Turn right side out, and finger press the seam so that it’s fully on one side.  Cut tab in half into two lengths (not pictured).mad mim_no-hem bow band leggings_04

Slide one cuff over pant leg RST, and pin the raw edges making sure to match the inseam of the legs to the seam of the cuff.
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Now  slip one tab between leg and cuff on the OPPOSITE side of the inseam, and pin. Make sure that your tab is facing seam-side out towards you. Serge around beginning an inch before your tab, making sure to catch all layers. Upon completing the round, stop, but leave your work under the pressure foot, needle down.
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Reach in between leg and cuff and pull your tab out and around (scrunching and cinching the cuff) and then pin, creating a loop around the cuff. You want the the loop  to be almost as tight as you can make it. Align this tab end to the first tab so they are right on top of each other, and carefully continue serging so you’ve caught ALL six layers at that point. Continue serging for an inch or so after that point and then serge off. mad mim_no-hem bow band leggings_09

Flip right side out and make sure you haven’t missed any layers (so cute!)mad mim_no-hem bow band leggings_07Finish legging waist as per your instructions, I always do an elastic waistband with coverstitch topstitch (or zig zag). 

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And that’s a wrap. You’ll notice I used sweatshirt fleece which although it worked ok, was much harder to work with than regular knit which is a cinch. Just FYI so you know and have been warned.  I’ve only ever sewn this detail for my girls, but if this is your flava, it would be famous on grown-up sized leggings too!
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Be sure to head over to the NSM’s blog and check my project and so much more  amazing serger spectacularness there!


Pretty Storage // Soft Knit Woven Plastic Storage Bins

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Little by little I’ve been working on organizing and beautifying my craft and sewing space. Sometimes the little-by-little nature of decorating in general really bums me out–I want it NOW, Daddy!, but sometimes here and there projects are just the ticket to scratch the itch to create, and satisfy the need to check something off the list, you know?

In the first few months that we moved in I mounted some pegboard on my craft closet and have been picking up a few pieces of hardware every time I stop by Home Depot, and thinking of other ways to mount various notions and supplies.  The one thing I wasn’t really finding were pretty bins to mount, there are some blah baskets out there, but nothing I was jonesing after, I can tell you. Then I remembered these cheapo plastic bins that my mom had given me, and I decided to use them until I found something cuter. But once they were up there, it occurred to me they might have some real potential.

I can’t be the first one to think of this, but a quick google search didn’t surface anything so I thought I’d share my (sorta) quicky solution here.  I cut up some strips of knit fabric (like 3/4’s wide), and hand tacked one to one strip around one of the rungs (for lack of a better word).

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And from there I just weaved it in and out through the slats of the bins, hand tacking another strip to the end whenever I ran out. mad mim_weaving fabric through plastic bins_01

I found that in order to keep the rows weaving alternating (like it goes over the slat on one row, and under on the next), I had to skip a slat on one end every time, but the opposite end I could weave normally. When I reached the top when I really couldn’t stuff in another row, I would just tack it around a slat again on the inside of the bin.

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One day in the not-too-distant-future I’ll show you the whole closet, which, although it’s nothing Martha Stewart would get worked up about, it sure gets my heart pumping. Where do you craft? Do you have a table or corner or studio? Do you care as much as I do about making it pretty?

W is for Wings

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Last week I had a spectacular flying dream—one of the only flying dreams I can ever remember having. Boy oh boy was I the best flying middle-aged woman you’ve ever seen, I mean Super Man  had nothing on me, I was dodging-and-weaving it through the clouds like a gravity defying running back.  You can’t imagine the let-down I experienced those first few moments of cognition when I realized that my fantastic flight was very unfortunately not real. Bummer.

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So when I turned my mind this week to the letter W for the BRILLIANT Katy Dill’s inspiring alphabet sewing series Sew All 26, I stayed true to my wizzing-through-the-air-tendencies, and gave my Twinkie some Wings. Now granted, in a shoot-out between flying powers these wings are rather less impressive than the super hero way I’m accustomed to.  But! If you’re in the mood for a bit of flitting and fluttering, this bell-sleeved swing tee with wings is just your ticket.

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A bit about how it came to pass. I started  with Figgy’s Banyan tee, because it’s always a wise place to start. I deepened the armscye because I was planning on using this lightweight woven for the sleeve, and knew I would likely need a bit more room for the lack of stretch. I adjusted the sleeve to fit, and slashed and spread it to make a bell sleeve. I then straightened out those curved side seams, and cut the bottom to fall straight across.

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The butterfly wings I sketched and then exacto-d into a stencil using my rapidly disappearing stash of stencil film, and then after a quick spritz of spray adhesive, my little second-hand man Tito did most of painting (it’s fool-proof, he was so proud!).

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So W is for Wings. Wings to flit and flutter and fly through the air at the speed of light. I’ll suspend the laws of science just for you, don’t mention it.

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Sewing Classes at A Fashionable Stitch!

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Hey hey friends! And how are you all? How’s the new year treating you? I already feel like it’s gonna be a good year for me, I feel like I’ve finally learned some things that will help me keep my life simpler and happier.  Not that I’ve been unhappy, but I’ll tell you what–it hit me recently that I have anxiety. It runs in my fam, so I guess I should have seen it before now, but I just didn’t. I guess because I’m high-functioning?  But I realized that I feel an unnecessary and probably abnormal amount of worry and stress over things that are no big deal. It’s not that I don’t like doing things that cause me stress (they’re often very fulfilling!), but I sometimes it’s a rocky road getting there. Lately I’ve been learning about mindfulness, which essentially is the practice of focusing on one simple thing at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It’s helping me.  I say this because I’m also learning how to embrace the things in my life that bless me and my family and make me happier, and drop the rest.  Blogging is a wonderful blessing to me, but only if I keep it a rather marginal aspect. I so love sharing with like-minded creative friends the things that I’m working on and that really ring my bell, and so I’m truly grateful I have this outlet. But if I get too involved, too busy, too distracted or just compare myself too much at all to others then I get depressed, and that’s the truth.  On the other hand, if keep it minimal i.e. slow i.e. sporadic and spaced, then it’s fun and rewarding which is why I love it.

Speaking of doing things that make me happy, I’m going to be teaching sewing classes at my lovely friend Sunni’s new brick and morter shop A Fashionable Stitch! Some of you know that Sunni just bought what was Yellow Bird Fabrics in SLC, and when she heard that I was interested in teaching again, she asked me step on as a teacher there!  I’m so excited!  I love teaching, and teaching sewing and stuff that I love is even better.  For February I’ll be teaching a (4 week) kid’s beginning [hand] sewing class,  hand printing, and clothing refashioning! I’m so pumped about each of them, they’re going to be awesome. To read more in depth class descriptions and check out pricing, dates and whatever else, see Sunni’s classes page.

The hand printing class will be a 2 hour class similar to the one I taught at Sewing Summit–you’ll learn all the tools and  materials, carving/printing techniques and applications,  and then we’ll do it together. This class was a BLAST, and I anticipate more of that awesomeness.  

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I can’t even wait for this class, I LOVE me some refashioning. We’ll learn what to look for when considering a refashion, all the ins and outs (the short cuts and extra mile fitting techniques), and then we’ll do some fashion sketching and refashioning magic together. mad mim_sewing lessons at a fashionable stitch_03

I’ve wanted to teach a children’s beginning sewing class forever, and I’m really so excited for this! This class will be the very first introduction to sewing for little kiddies who can’t keep their paws out of your sewing stuff. It will cover all the basic s(threading, cutting, pinning, gathering, running stitch, whip stitch, buttons, patterns etc.), and my goal is for the kids to gain the skills to dream up and execute sewing projects independently (within reason), and be inspired and confident to do so.  They’ll come home with several adorable projects and their very first set of patterns. mad mim_sewing lessons at a fashionable stitch_04Exciting right?? I’m still considering what other classes I’ll teach, but for March I’m thinking How to Sew a Tshirt, and How to Draft and Sew a Maxi Skirt. In the future also look for a beginning [sewing machine] sewing class for kids, and Sewing a Hobby Horse class for sure.  Anything you’d like to learn from me? Let me know! And I’d love to see some of you at my classes this month!

Gold Leaf Christmas Cards and Sewing Lessons

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So, yeah. All those things I wanted to get done last time I posted? Man, I was chillin’ in Fantasyland, none of them happened. I’ve been so busy trying to unpack and settle in that as of right now, I’ve made exactly one handmade gift, and I made it at my in-laws house. Point is, life can be a real shiz-fan sometimes, and although it’s been a really great shiz-fan, there was no room in the inn for crafting. I’m mostly unpacked, just working on my craft room bit by bit, but it’s taking a while cause we’re pimping out my craft closet which is pretty exciting. No pictures up yet, but we LOVE our house, love the neighborhood, and love being here in Springville! It’s gonna take me probably a year to get this place where I want it with furniture and styling and whatnot, but I don’t mind waiting, and I’m excited to get to work on all my projects.  Nothing like a boatload of post-holiday projects on the horizon to pull you through the post-holiday blues, I always say. I really tend to struggle when the holidays are over, so having a lot on my plate is always good for me.

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These foil Christmas cards just sort of happened as I was digging through boxes trying to come up with something for some handwritten notes I wanted to write.  I carved this tribal Christmas tree last year for gift tags, and boy has it served me right. I dug it out from my ever-growing stamp collection and  just squirted out some Jones Foil glue onto my trusty oatmeal lid, and gave my stamp a good coat with my roller, and stamped it onto card stock card blanks.  After letting it dry I pressed my Jones foil paper (shiny side UP!), and then lifted off the foil to reveal a gorgeous metallic leafed design.

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So easy, and so so pretty. I always get frustrated trying photograph foil projects, because they never photograph as brilliant as they look in real life. After some simple lettering, they were ready to pop in the mail.

This little project was about all I could manage this year, and I’m abandoning almost all my homemade gifts by the wayside at this point–just focusing on getting my home ready to house family.  I’m SO looking forward to spending time with my fave peeps and eating some good old fashioned beef-up-my-booty foods. Nothing like throwing caution into the wind for the Holidays, right!?

One last thing I wanted to say! I’m fixing to teach sewing lessons again! I taught for 3-4 years back when my kids were little, and I’m excited to do it again this year. Instead of just on-going lessons though, I’m planning on doing 2-3 six week sessions through out the year. Class size  will be small (3-5 per class), and I want to teach 2-3 classes per session. I haven’t nailed down how I want to group my classes, but I’ll be able to do that a little more easily when I see who is interested. I would LOVE to teach a very beginning class for really young girls (6-9) that would cover hand sewing and machine basics. I would also like a beginning and intermediate teen-adult class. I’ll group classes according to age and skill level, and we will have set projects that we’ll work on together– I’m working on specific outlines right now (well, you know…in my head).  Price will be $150  per person per session.  If you’re interested or know someone who is, please email me at! Let me know skill level, desired skills, and ideal time.  I will hopefully be ready late January or February.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays folks! I’ve got nothing but love for you all, and hope you have a really nice time with the people you love. Love and guts and Christmas candy!

SolarFast Statement Earrings

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I don’t know what it is about having short hair, but it really begs for statement earrings sometimes. Is that just me? I don’t know, I guess I feel a little extra sassy or something, and I want something that says Hey! I’m a fun person! I know that not everyone is a statement-earring kind of gal, but I definitely believe that everyone has a need for self-expression in what they wear.  Just ask my hubs about his quirky tees, the man wants the world to know without a shadow of a doubt that he is a nerd and is absolutely beaming with pride about it.

I’m new to Jacqaurd’s SolarFast (sunlight developed dye), but have been having a blast playing with it. It is seriously cool stuff, and I have a ton of projects I want to do with it (especially gifts! You can use photos in your printing, so there’s tons of potential for awesome inside-joke/shared memory/ personalized projects) Because I wanted to get a handle on the medium before I jumped into any big projects, I decided to begin with these statement earrings because it would allow me to trouble shoot without using any significant yardage or dye.

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For this project you’ll need some:

  • SolarFast Dye
  • SolarFast film and inkjet printer (there are other options if you only have a laser printer I’ll talk about it later)
  • SolarFast wash
  • Some white cotton fabric (only a bit!)
  • bright colored embroidery floss
  • bright colored beads and
  • earring findings: hooks, jump rings and eye pins
  • pliers

Okay, let’s talk about the printing process. First, watch this short video to familiarize yourself with the process.  To begin you’ll need to choose and image and create a negative. *In photoshop or other photo editing software, you’ll need to first make it black and white, and then invert it (both options in the adjustment panel). Images with really high contrast do best (you want the darks  black and lights white). If you need to,  knock up your contrast just a tad and bring down your brightness levels a bit until you’re happy.   Important!  **Once you print (print on the Matte side of the film!) you want the dark parts of the image to be completely opaque–meaning if you hold it up to the light you can’t see any light shining through those parts; conversely the white areas will be completely transparent and then a variation of opacity for all the shades in between. You can adjust your printer to let out a heavy layer of ink, or you can double up your transparency which is what really worked for me (one layer was not opaque enough and I was getting just solid colored squares).

*If you have no photo editing software, you can make these adjustments in your printer settings as well, mine said something like print in black and white and make a negative to invert. Also, if you take your image to a print shop they can easily make these adjustments as well.

**You must use an inkjet printer with the Solar Fast film because a laser printer will melt it. I don’t have an inkjet so I went to a print shop (OfficMax) and had them print on a transparency. Transparency will work but sometimes has problems with not being waterproof and the ink bleeding. It worked fine for me, but I was told that that can be an issue.

Once you get your negative, the process is simple. Working on a non-absorbent surface (a clip board with a bit of plastic or plastic wrap worked great), paint the dye over the area that will be printed with a foam brush or sponge. You can tape it off or just go for it, whatever. Once you have a fully saturated  area (enough that there is no dry spots), take a paper towel and really blot the heck out of it. It will be damp still, but you don’t want it to be wet feeling–you want to remove the excess liquid, it will make a clearer print.  Put your negative down (shiny side which is the waterproof side face down) and secure ( a sheet of plastic glass and clips or something similar can be really helpful, you just don’t want that negative shifting at all).

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Take outside and expose. Noon is the best time, but if you’re a little late or early(between 10-3 is best)  just prop up your print so that’s it’s angled towards the sun. Exposure time varies depending on the color you use and the weather, but my orange dye took only about 5 minutes to expose. Exposure time is important, it was one of my first mistakes–my prints were almost solid colors and barely discernible and it was partly due to over exposure at 20-30 minutes. With my print I discovered that even 10 minutes was too long.  If you’re doing a larger scale project, I suggest doing a small test print to figure out optimal exposure time.

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Troubleshooting: The top row here didn’t have an opaque enough transparency, and the bottom piece was just a bit overexposed. mad mim_solar fast earrings_19

Rinse it immediately after bringing it in so that you remove any non-exposed dye! Rinse it with running hot hot water and wash with the SolarFast wash. Machine washing is best, but because I was just doing such small pieces I hand washed vigorously.

To assemble the earrings I made two prints for each earring (front and back),cut into my desired shape and applied some iron on interfacing to the back. I then sandwhiched some thicker canvas fabric in between my printed fabrics and glued together with a glue stick.

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Blanket stitch with your embroidery floss around the edge (threading your tails to the inside),

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and then poke an eye pin through the top.

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Add a couple bright colored beads, and then snip off excess wire and bend the top into a loop. Attach a small jump ring then attach that to an earwire.

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(photo credits: the old man is from an old issue of National Geographic, the Silly Walker is of course from Monte Python sketch, and the racoon is just from our friend Google)

Pretty cool stuff, right? Every time I brought in a print from outside, that moment of reveal was always so thrilling–it brings in this element of surprise and anticipation to printing that really kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s like extreme crafting, complete with that adrenaline rush. I can’t wait to play around with it more, I’m thinking sweaters, pillows, coasters, art prints on fabric, the list goes on. I think it’s gonna be a SolarFast Christmas.

BUT. I absolutely need to stop crafting and start packing now, we move in just a couple of weeks!  Man, I just can’t make myself get in gear with moving, I’m dreading it so. Depending on how quickly we get moved and then settled, I’m predicting a pretty slow holiday season here on the blog.  Catch up with me on instagram though, and send me all the most efficient moving vibes you can!