Month: December 2010

A Handmade Holiday Fabric Photo Book

A Handmade Holiday Fabric Photo Book sewnEvery Christmas my husband and I give each other a handmade gift.  This year, I made Josh and Monet a photo book by basically sewing photos onto felt along with other memorable items like old letters, ribbon, keys, and rings.

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fabric photo book sewn together

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a handmade holiday fabric photo book sewn

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a handmade holiday fabric photo book sewn

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a handmade holiday fabric photo book sewn

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A Handmade Holiday Fabric Photo Book sewn

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What do you think?

Did you ever see the accordion style book that Josh made for me last year?  If you haven’t you must, it’s amazing!  One of the nicest things he has ever made for me.

And while I’m happy with how the book I made turned out, I fear it doesn’t even compare to the book he made for me.   That’s how it goes when you’re married to an artist. It’s the thought that counts –right!?

I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year!

My Creative Odyssey

I want to tell you a story.  But first let me introduce Jessica Van Den from Epheriell Designs; she is running a blog hop called Creative Odyssey right now.  You can also hop to my partner in crime today, City Kitten Designs, and you can check out the full  blog hop list here.  Now back to my story…

Once there was a girl who ate, slept and breathed volleyball.  She had big dreams and goals.  Her senior year, after signing on to play at a small university in Nebraska, she got inured.  This wasn’t a small injury either; rather it was an injury that would take years to fully recover from.  It seemed that maybe her dreams of college volleyball were over.  And instead of resting and healing, she pushed on with all her might; often ignoring the signs her body sent her and the instructions given to her by her doctors.  She thought with pure will-power, she could beat the injury and push on to accomplish her goals.

Two years in a row, she struggled with complication after complication never letting her body heal.  Her leg soon atrophied.  When her doctors didn’t clear her to play, she felt completely defeated.  After working so hard to “heal” for two years, her spirit was crushed and she quit.  That day she met with the coach, released her contract, cleaned out her locker, and walked back to her dorm feeling defeated.

Six months later, after she had stopped training on a daily basis and finally took time to rest, she noticed that her symptoms had started to subside.  It seemed she no longer had complications.  She slowly started training again, a little here and a little there, and noticed that she was still passionate about her previous dreams.  After taking one year off, she tried out the following season.  She was stronger, smarter, more agile, and she made the team again and for the first time in years, she started her first game at the university level.

Why am I telling you this story?  Well, recently I have received an “injury” –not a physical injury, but rather some disappointing news that had temporarily defeated my spirits.  When your heart is a part of your work, a part of what you do everyday, I believe rejection hurts a bit more than in day to day work.

I think the reality of being a creative entrepreneur is that at times you will face rejection, and during those times, it’s important to stop, and heal.  Listen to your body, the signs around you, and don’t look at the setback as failure –find a new path to your destination.

And so this leads me into my creative goals for 2011:

  • Break the habit of keeping my nose to the grindstone –rather look up, and take time for reflection and healing.
  • Find a mentor, someone who knows the realities of running a creative business similar to mine.
  • Celebrate and notice the little accomplishments along the way.
  • Submit my quilts to get published in magazines.
  • Continue to follow my dreams of getting a book published.
  • Learn new embroidery techniques.
  • Exhibit my work in at least two fine art shows this summer.
  • Share my passions with other people by leading a quilt-a-long on my blog.
  • Sketch more and start playing with the idea of fabric design.
  • Continue to improve my photography skills.
  • Continue to learn illustrator.

Today I turn 30; did I forget to mention that?  However it is with confidence that I step into my 30’s, knowing that this will be my most creative years yet.

image credit:  Niela Photography and Design

A Heartmade Eco-Holiday Contest

Have you heard about the eco-holiday contest going on over at Heartmade, inspired by the lovely Mayi Carles?  Today is the last day to submit work.  Check it out.

hearmade's eco-holiday contest

I decided to submit a few items --both inspired by applique and Christmas.

Growing up, my grandmother whom I’m very close to, never wasted anything.  For example, I have vivid memories of her putting water into a basically empty ketchup bottle where she would shake it around and dump it into a pot of soup she was cooking on the stove.  Wasting was not an option.  And since I lived with my grandmother for awhile, and grew up around her after we moved out, I believe her ability to use every last drop has been past down to me.  This is why I love applique –applique allows me to use all the scraps of fabric I collect over time, instead of throwing them away.

The print below for example, was made entirely out of scrap fabric, scrap binding, scrap ribbon, buttons, and embroidery thread.  And the Christmas tree was made from re-purposed felt, originally a sweater with moth holes from my wardrobe.

christmas machine applique scene

I made this holiday applique scene awhile back, as I was getting ready for the "A Crafty Holiday" blog hop event.

Christmas machine applique pillow

I then turned the print into a pillow for my mother, again using scraps I had left over from quilting.

Christmas machine applique pillowChristmas machine applique pillow

Lastly, I used scrap fabric to make name tags, putting the names of all the grandchildren in my immediate family on the presents, and the pillow insert was made using scrap batting and scrap polly-fill.

sewn paper and fabric cards

I also made a few Holiday cards, again using scrap paper, buttons, and fabric.

I hope this inspires you to save your scrap fabric in the future.  Any piece of ribbon or fabric, bigger than an inch, get’s saved in my studio.  Look at the tiny presents, with their tiny ribbons –really, every last drop can be used, just like my grandmother use to do.

Handmade Holiday Tutorials

Josh and I love giving handmade over the holidays.  Here are 3 easy handmade holiday gift ideas and tutorials for you and your family to try, inspired by gifts that we have given in the past.  Enjoy.

#1:  Homemade Coffee Liqueur Recipe

homemade coffee liquor tutorial recipe handmade holiday gift ideas

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#2:  Etched Glasses Tutorial

handmade holiday gift glass etching

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#3:  Machine Appliqued Clothing Tutorial

homemade holiday gift machine applique onesie tutorialhandmade holiday gift machine applique onesie tutorial

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What are you making for people this holiday season?

Bedrooms with Beautiful Handmade Quilts

bedrooms with beautiful handmade quilts

Every bedroom deserves a beautiful handmade quilt.

The quilt from my childhood is moving towards the fragile state, so we no longer use it on our bed.  I’m hoping to make a quilt for my bedroom this winter, and I’m finding these pictures very inspiring.

bedooms with beautiful handmade quilts

I love the light walls, and the way the fabrics on the quilt play with the other items in the room.

bedrooms with beautiful handmade quilts

Do you see how the quilt speaks up and really makes a statement in these spaces?  They’re simple, classic, and breathtaking!

bedrooms with beautiful handmade quilts

What do you think?

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image credits:  Apartment Therapy, Habitually Chic, With Love, Jamie’, Coco Cozy

A Discount for Crafty Holiday Blog Hoppers

support handmade etsy saleBaby Jives

Use the code “CraftyHoliday10” to take 10% off any purchase in Baby Jives shop and if you are in the US I will upgrade your shipping to Priority for Free!  Promotion ends December 24th.

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support handmade etsy saleDodeline Design

Dodeline Design is having a sale!  10% off through midnight on 12/13/10 on all holiday cards and personalized card sets.

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Molly Muses

USA Residents in Time for Christmas Sale:  Prices are marked 10% off between now until 11pm December 15th (Eastern Time) through the etsy on sale app.  If you are outside of the USA you can enjoy the sale, but photography prints will definitely not make it to you by Christmas 🙂

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Bridget and Lucy

20% off from now until December 19th at midnight (last day to order for Christmas delivery!)

coupon code – HOLIDAY20

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machine applique quiltThe Artists’ House

Free shipping in the U.S. and 15% off all items now through 12/16/10.

All items guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas.

Coupon code -CRAFTYHOLIDAY

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support handmade etsy saleCatie’s Blue

Enjoy free First Class shipping worldwide at Catie’s Blue! Prices have already been adjusted, so you can purchase as normal. Promotion runs till Wednesday, December 15th, at which time Catie’s Blue will close for the holidays.

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support handmade etsy saleMolly Finds

USA Residents in Time for Christmas Sale:  Prices  are marked 30% between now until 11pm  December 15th (Eastern Time) through the etsy on sale app.
If you are outside of the USA you can enjoy the sale, but it probably won’t make it by Christmas 🙂

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support handmade sale etsyWhat. No Mints?

10% off your entire purchase – Simply enter the coupon code BLOGHOP10 at checkout!  Promotion ends Friday, December 17th.

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support handmade etsy salek.o’brien jewelry

20% off now through 12.18.10
enter code: craftyholiday10

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support handmade saleCandied Fabrics

I’m offering free Priority Mail shipping in the US from now until December 17 (international orders I’ll take $5.50 off the total shipping cost.)

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support handmade etsy saleMarked by the Muse Inspirational Art Shop by Stephey Baker

Exclusive “Crafty Holiday Hop” Angelic Special = LTD Print Save $8.00 or

Save 10% with coupon code IAMSHINING

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Gadanke

Start celebrating your story with a Gadanke journal.  Each Gadanke book has writing prompts to get the creativity flowing, perfect for documenting your world. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll never forget.

Take 15% off your order with the code HANDMADE.  Expires on Tuesday, 12/14/2010, at midnight.

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support handmade sale etsyLissaBee Creations

10% discount on everything in my crochet shop, now until 12/19. Use coupon code: HappyHolidays2010.

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support handmade etsy saleWhollyafool

Whollyafool is a small shop on etsy featuring photo prints, art, scrap packs collage and journaling, and “wanderlust” map pendants. Everything in the shop is 15% off until New Years Day. Use the coupon code ‘happyholiday’ at checkout to receive the discount.

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support handmade sale on etsyRoseWoolls Designs

is based in original leather work and whimsical knits waiting to find their homes. Not only is it the holiday season, but it’s my birthday too!

From now until December 20th everything in the shop is 15% off when you use the code HAPPYHAPPY.

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“A Crafty Holiday” hops on just one more week.  We hop to kristen walker today where she wrote a truthful and funny post on buying handmade — a Christmas Mix Tape (err, CD) will  also be given to someone drawn randomly from her comments.  Check it out.

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So tell me, did you buy any handmade gifts this holiday season?

Take a Break

Cappuccino Coffee and Cake - Fine Art Photography PrintI’ve fallen into a routine –I guess that is what happens when you become a mother.  My day systematically ticks along, from one item to the next, usually the same as the day before.  Some days are perfect, and others are difficult, yet the routine for the most part stays the same.  And no matter the type of day I’m having, everyday around 1:30, after Monet has gone down for her nap, I sit down with a hot cup of coffee, a small sweet treat, and I take a 15 minute break.  It doesn’t matter how busy I am, or how much I need to cram into that short window of time where Monet naps –I break for at least 15 minutes.

I sip my warm coffee, enjoy my sweet treat, and daydream.  When my cup is empty, it’s off to work –I feel uplifted every time.

Image credit – ZenzPhotography

om [one moment] meet upOM is *one moment* and is a meet-up designed to notice & relish a moment in everyday life. The meet-up idea was created by Linda at her blog, a la mode stuff.  If you’d like to participate in OM, just click the button and you’ll be taken to Linda’s post explaining it all.

A Nice Email

machine applique felt coaster

I just received the sweetest email from a happy customer.

Her name is Sheree and she ordered some custom felt applique coasters for her mother who loves western themed stuff.  I love doing custom work.  It’s great to be able to create something just so, perfect for someone else.

machine applique felt coasters

I'm happy she was pleased with how they turned out.

machine applique felt coasters

I'm not a western girl, but I thought they were pretty darn cute myself.

Boutiques & Sales

machine applique pillows with embroidery using felt

Did you know that a lot of holiday boutiques take a small percentage of the sales –similarly to that of a store?

As I jump from boutique to boutique this holiday season, I wanted to take the percentage that the boutique takes to run an event, and offer that savings to you.

everyday napkins

My etsy shop is currently full of new items, and I’ll continually be adding additional items today.

So turn off the T.V.

Find a comfortable place to sit, and check out the savings.

Use the coupon code “boutique” to get an additional 15% off all items in my shop.

…..Happy Shopping…..

Easy and Delicious Martha Stewart Recipes for Breakfast – Tested and Approved

Breakfast in Bed Tray

Breakfast is a beloved meal in my household.  Yes, cold cereal, granola, and frozen waffles are a staple most days of the week, but every weekend, my husband makes a great breakfast for the family.  And usually a few times a week, I make a nice breakfast for just Monet and I.  Honestly we don’t have time to be fancy, yet I like fancy things, and so I rely on these three easy and delicious recipes from Martha Stewart for breakfast.  They are a staple in my household.

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martha stewart's basic pancake recipe#1:  Martha Stewart’s Basic Pankcake Recipe

Forget pancakes from a box.  Making pancakes from scratch are just as easy and taste 100% better.  I like to control what goes into my food, to avoid unnecessary ingredients and preservatives that we don’t need.  These pancakes are amazing, so good in fact that I don’t even put syrup on them.

Seriously, give them a try!

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Martha Stewart's Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe#2:  Martha Stewart’s Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe

This is my favorite breakfast recipe.  It seems fancy, which a lot of people think means difficult, but this recipe couldn’t be easier.  I use to order this at a local restaurant, and this past Mother’s Day –or was it my last birthday, I can’t remember.  Anyway, my hubby made these for me at home along with mimosas and ever since we have been hooked.  They are wonderful!

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Martha Stewart's Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe with Apples and Cardamom#3: Martha Stewart’s Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe with Apples and Cardamom

One morning, when I was making breakfast for Monet and I, Monet kept asking for an apple.  I wanted more than an apple though, as I had just read about Candy’s Birthday dinner over at CandiedFabrics.com and as a result my mouth was salivating.  (She mentions a great pumpkin cheesecake recipe if you’re interested)  The solution to my dilemma was this recipe.  It was easy, quick, met my daughter’s “apple” demand, and my salivating needs.  I made this recipe with vanilla soy milk and it turned out just as good.  Give it a try.

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A few other unrelated thoughts:

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