Thursday, May 15, 2008

Old projects

Today I was cleaning out my photo files on the computer and found some pictures of a couple of projects that I either started and never finished, or finished but never liked that well. The first one is a wall hanging that falls into the "not my favorite" category. I like the fabrics I used, and I generally like how it turned out, but I think that if I'd been a little more daring it could have been a lot cuter. The cowboy fabric on the back is what made me want to make this, and now I'm sad that I didn't include any on the front. I do like the boot, though. It's made of real leather and the star is suede, but what I really like is how the stitching turned out.

Next is a fabric portrait of my two children made with applique and embroidery. I saw a demonstration on Martha of how to do this by Lori Marie Johnson (she & Martha did their dogs) and really wanted to try it. It's kind of an involved process, but not a difficult one. I like the way it turned out, but now I have to figure out how to finish it. Frame it? Stretch it on canvas? Stitch a fabric border around it? I just can't decide.

Last is another fabric wall hanging that remains unfinished. I like how colorful this one is, with all the mis-matched fabric patterns and happy red buttons. It just looks fun and silly. I need to finish embroidering the word "song" on the tree branch, and also figure out how to finish off the edges. Why do I have such a hard time finishing a project?? I mean, I spend so much time and energy on getting sooo close to being done, and then just put it away. Geez.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pretty picture books

Since starting this blog I've been noticing things in my home that I'm so glad to have around me- things that I got because they inspired me, made me want to make something, made me smile. Well, today's discovery was one of my kids' books, The Aesop For Children illustrated by Milo Winter. I've been collecting children's books for years, especially ones with beautiful illustrations. I call them "pretty picture books". Some of my most treasured books are ones like The Velveteen Rabbit and Iron Hans because they have such beautiful, glowing artwork.

Tonight my daughter was flipping through this book of fables and kept asking me questions like, "Mommy, why is that pig crying?", or "Mommy, why does that man look so mean?" She was enthralled with the illustrations in the book, so finally I had to borrow (read "snatch") it from her and have a look at it myself. I'd never really looked through it before and discovered that it's just gorgeous! I snapped some photos of a few of my favorite drawings to share with you. Honestly, I could have included every page here because each fable has a wonderful drawing to go along with it, but my batteries started to die before I even got halfway through the book. But here--look, admire, sigh. :)

The Frogs Who Wished For a King

The Lion and the Gnat

The Owl and the Grasshopper

The Owl and the Grasshopper

The Peacock

The Rose and the Butterfly

The Town Mouse and the City Mouse

The Vain Jackdaw and His Borrowed Feathers

Someday I'll figure out how to get these images enlarged and framed for my kids' bedroom walls. You can see the entire book here and view all the pretty pictures as well, but I'd really recommend getting your very own copy to moon over.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Heart Etsy

I just need to express my love for Etsy and its artists. I only discovered it last February, and immediately fell in love. I've bought SO many things there since, but never once felt guilty about it because I knew I was supporting someone much like myself- someone trying to earn some income using their talents and ingenuity. Seriously, I could write pages about how great their website is, but let me just show you. Here are a few of my recent purchases from various artists who reside there:

These cute number stamps by WillsArt are perfect for the size tags that I make for my shoes. They came unmounted, but all I had to do was glue them to these wooden circles that I found at a craft store. They're awesome, aren't they??

This is a custom stamp made just for me by craftpudding. I just e-mailed in a drawing of what I wanted, along with my specifications for dimensions and voila! - my very own birdie stamp!!

Made from a little bowl in my favorite color, this pincushion by natalierensink was just what I needed to corral my various needles and odd little sewing bits. And, yes, that is a mountain of unfinished shoes waiting patiently behind it.

I couldn't resist this poster by BluLima. It gives me encouragement every time I look at it and is currently sitting on my desk behind my postage scale, just needing to be nailed to the wall.

These brass floral bookmarks from DownToTheWireDesigns came to my rescue when searching for an inexpensive yet personal Mother's Day gift. I got one for my Mom and one for my Mom-in-law. I made the tassels myself and etched a little message to my mother on the back of one.

These two pairs of sterling silver earrings were made by silverbeadsandclay and are some of my most often worn pieces of jewelry. I absolutely LOVE them! The tear-drop pair was actually somewhat of a custom request, which makes them even more special to me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

quickly now

Just a quick post today as it's nearly 8 p.m. and I still haven't fed my kids. How they're not chewing on the furniture yet, I don't know, but I'm making the most of their patience to indulge in a little blogging. I'll let hubby handle dinner. :)

I've been spending some (okay a lot) of time lately browsing craft blogs to get a feel for what people write about, what kinds of photos to post, where to draw the line between public and private, etc. One that I found recently is One More Moore, written by Morgan Moore. I really like her writing style. She kind of writes the way I'd imagine she talks, which makes her blog all the moore (get it?) enjoyable. I also like how varied her posts are, ranging from family experiences, art projects, crafts, cooking, whatever. Anyway, I was scrolling through her blog and found the most darling little project that I can't wait to try. Check it out- a "book cozy"!

I actually saw a pattern for something like this a while back and thought it was such a good idea. But what I really like about Morgan's is how she's embellished it to make it look more fun with the nice big letters and fun colorful prints. And I should just tell you now, I LOVE polka dots. Like, it's bordering on obsession, so I really really like her choices in fabrics here. Yes, I think I'm going to have to try this one.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Try, try again...

Welcome to my shiny new blog! This will be a place where I can write about my passion for crafts, creativity, art and inspiration. I hope to include here glimpses into what I'm working on for my shop, peeks into my life as a mother and homemaker, as well as views of the work of other artists and crafters that I admire. This blog will also serve as something of a journal, so don't be surprised if you find musings here that have nothing to do with crafting. :)

Here's a look at something new that I've been trying. I found these canvas totes at a local craft store and just couldn't resist the urge to fancy them up a bit. They are so painfully plain, but are a good size and are very well made. For a long time now I have been totally smitten with embroidery and find myself drawn to anything that incorporates it. The sort of old fashioned, handmade quality it lends to an item really appeals to me.

birdie tote

hungry hedgie

silly owl

busy bee...with fabric pen still on :)

I'm not loving the bee design yet, but it's a start. I do love the idea of these bags being used by little kids as they carry books home from the library, or for bringing all of their favorite toys and treasures with them on a long car trip. Hopefully someone will find them useful.