can you believe it? a whole new year!
i love january. it always feels so inspiring: the clean slate of a brand new year. september through december are madness for me, as they are for most handmakers, and the whole time i have to postpone everything i WANT to do until january. so, here we are, and i’ve got lots of plans to tell you about, but for the moment i just need to tell you that i’ve got some super fun new workshops going on over at creativebug! two spankin’ new ones debut this week, and the timing couldn’t be better: what else is there to do in january but whip yourself up a new batch of LEGGINGS?
today was the premiere of the Drafting Leggings Pattern Workshop, and on thursday you’ll have the complete set with Sewing Leggings. i just ordered myself some new woolly knits to play with, because at this time of year i wear leggings under everything, for an added layer of cozy. and even though we’ve still got lots of cold ahead, spring isn’t that far off, so a couple new pairs of cotton ones will allow you to jump into your favorite spring-y dresses that much sooner!
and in case you still haven’t investigated the amazingness that is creativebug yet, i’ve got a little promo code to get you $10 off a new subscription through january 31! it’s easy to remember: CALPATCH
and, if that’s not enough for you, my buddies over there are letting me give away a FREE MONTH of unlimited workshops! i mean, have you been keeping tabs on some of the recent additions to the superb list of teachers? so many of my craft crushes, like maya donenfeld! amy karol! gretchen hirsch! anna maria horner! and cathy callahan! all you gotta do is leave a comment on this post, describing your dream leggings, by midnight on sunday (1/6), and a winner will be randomly selected and announced on monday the 7th.
ok, i think that’s all the news for now. GO FORTH AND MAKE LEGGINGS!
i love it when the past circles around into the present. many many moons ago, when i worked in the fashion industry, the sales reps would come back after trade shows with these incredible rugs that looked like giant potholders made from recycled sweaters, by a mythical person named Crispina. zooming forward nearly twenty years, this weekend i’m participating in the final of my four holiday craft fairs, hosted by none other than Crispina herself! the Shire City Sanctuary Holiday Shindy, in Pittsfield, MA, begins this friday from 5-8pm and continues saturday and sunday from 10-6. i’ve attended this sale before and it’s certainly worthy of a day-trip to the gorgeous Berkshires! there will be 40 carefully chosen artisans, (among them my pals Jill Draper Makes Stuff and Christine Fromm) who will be bringing every sort of handmade gift. you can read about each of the vendors over at Crispina’s blog, where she’s been profiling the makers and their wares for weeks. it takes place in a spectacular enormous former cathedral, which is now artist’s studios and event space. trust me, if you believe in shopping handmade and local, you don’t want to miss this one! i don’t know a lot of people in the Berkshires region, so if you do, please help me spread the word…
one more chance to buy local, handmade gifts from your favorite Hudson Valley artisans! this will be my last fair in the HV this year (next weekend: Pittsfield, MA!!!) so i hope to see you there…
oh my! suddenly it’s THAT time of year again… you know, the one where you’re supposed to find (or make) the perfect gift to express just how much each of your loved ones mean to you. it snuck up on me so fast this year that i neglected to tell you about CRAFTED, the lovely holiday gift fair i did last weekend (i did try to make my local peeps aware via email and facebook). however, fear not if you missed out because i’ve got 3 more sales coming up! 2 are this weekend, and one the next.
this Friday, November 30, i am excited to participate for the first time in the 9th annual Bard Arts and Crafts Fair. it’s right on campus, which should be fun, and the vendors will include students and local artisans such as myself, my fiber buddy Jill Draper Makes Stuff, my textile designer pal Alison Tauber, and my new friend as of last weekend, postage-stamp-painter extraordinaire Molly Rausch.
hope you can come by! i’ll fill you in on the others tomorrow…
you may (or may not) have noticed that my shop had been closed for a while, but EXCITING NEWS! i’ve re-opened it, and renovated it too! for a long time now, most of my transactions have been custom orders, but it wasn’t always clear to potential customers how to go about placing such an order. the shop often looked empty and stagnant, because all of the action was happening behind the curtain, as people convo-ed me their requests and i quietly made custom items, then posted a reserved listing which would be gone in a few hours. as a result, i’ve created new made-to-order listings, so that it’s easy for you to commission me to create the smock dress/leggings/sweatshirt of your DREAMS!
running the shop this way opens up endless possibilities, as opposed to the old model of listing pieces that were already completed and ready to ship, but possibly not the right fabric/size/color/sleeve length for you. now, we can work together and i’ll custom make the piece exactly to your specification. to support this new plan, i’ve been working on the *hodge podge handmade clothing* gallery on flickr, where you can easily see examples of different styles, fabrics, colors etc in order to help pinpoint your selection. i will keep updating the gallery as i make new pieces.
i’m also excited about the new *hodge podge fabric stockroom*, where you can see what fabrics i currently have on hand. this is still a work in progress, as i’ll be photographing and uploading more fabrics all the time.
i hope you will like what you see, and let me know if you have any ideas, suggestions or requests. this will be a new adventure for sure, and i’ve no doubt there will be some kinks to work out, but i’m quite certain it’s the right direction!
a few months ago i was down in NYC filming some new classes for Creativebug, and i got the lucky chance to have dinner with a fellow Creativebug teacher, the brilliant Liesl Gibson, who i have long admired. it was wonderful to meet Liesl in person after years of having a casual online acquaintance, and she is as warm and lovely as i expected. i think it was the very next day that an email appeared in my inbox, introducing me to Ali DeJohn and inviting me to teach at the brand new Makerie Sewing retreat in Colorado next spring. WOW! when i read the list of instructors, i couldn’t believe i was being offered the chance to join this illustrious group. Amy Butler! Jenny Hart! Tamar Mogendorff! Heather Jones! Kaari Meng! and of course, Liesl herself, whose idea it was to add a sewing-only retreat to the original Makerie concept.
i can’t decide which part of this i’m most excited about. i can’t wait to meet and hang out with some of these superstars of the sewing world! all of the classes sound spectacular, and as teachers we get to take some of the classes ourselves too. listen to this (from the Makerie blog):
“Amy Butler, who couldn’t be more kind and heart-centered, will be taking her students on a journey to find their own unique color story. It’s really fun to imagine how this could affect not only your creative pursuits, but your life and home environments too! Amy rarely teaches classes and we feel so incredibly lucky she wanted to come to Boulder to teach you! The lovely Cal Patch, author of Design Your Own Clothes, will be teaching a fantastic workshop on how to create patterns to fit your own body. Won’t that be amazing to learn this foundational skill that can then be used to create your own wardrobe? The possibilities are endless and we are thrilled to have the talented Cal on board. If you’ve ever been curious about the improv quilting process, we’ve got just the ticket for you. The wonderful Heather Jones ~ improvisational quilter extraordinaire ~ will be sharing her tricks of the trade to help you create a one of a kind quilt project, guided by your design intuition. Besides being a wonderful technique to learn, anything that can help strengthen your intuition on any level is a winner in our book! The fabulous Jenny Hart, known worldwide for her dazzling embroidery art and author of seven Chronicle Books, will be leading a special hand lettering workshop that will leave you with an inspiring, permanent take home treat. All you need to bring to this class is a message in your heart (we love that!). If you’ve been a long time fan of French General like we have, well then you know the dynamic dynamo Kaari Meng who’s behind it all. She will be teaching natural plant dyeing, which is a very unique process and one that can take you in unexpected ways, maybe the very best part of it all. The lovely Liesl Gibson brings her world of sewing and teaching experience, as well as savvy style, into the classroom with a hand smocking necklace workshop. Liesl delivers a fresh, modern approach to all she does and these handmade necklaces will add a terrific touch to any outfit. And lastly, Tamar Mogendorff, whose work can be found in stores, galleries and publications around the world, will be teaching a soft sculpture class using an organic hand sewing process. She will share not only her insight on how to bring an object to life through your own unique personality and view of the world, but you’ll learn how to create a magnificent sewn mobile to adorn a special place. And if that wasn’t enough, we are so happy to announce that Fancy Tiger will be bringing their crafting boutique pop-up shop to Chautauqua once again, for the third year in a row for the Makerie Sewing weekend.”
as if the classes aren’t enough, the venue, the Colorado Chautauqua, sounds fascinating and adorable. i had never heard of the Chautauqua Movement before this and i can’t wait to learn more: “As its members and graduates spread the Chautauqua idea, many towns—especially in rural areas where opportunities for secondary education were limited—established “chautauquas.” These seasonal establishments… reflected the intense desire for self-improvement through education that has always marked the American striver. “Chautauqua” had a degree of cachet and became short hand for an organized gathering intended to introduce people to the great ideas, new ideas, and issues of public concern.” i’ve never been to Colorado, and the pictures i’ve seen in the Makerie flickr group just knock me down. you may also enjoy reading the lovely Karyn of the workroom‘s testimonial.
the food (very important to me!) sounds perfect: “Meals for the weekend will feature local and organic choices (where possible), along with scrumptious homemade goodies of course! Mealtimes will range from family style gatherings to gourmet street food served picnic style” i love that last part!
lastly, and possibly most importantly, i want to make sure you know about the Makerie Sewing Scholarship program. one lucky winner will get to come on this journey for free! read all the details over here, and note the new application deadline of January 15.
hope to see you there!
Intuitive Lens with Thea Coughlin from Squam on Vimeo.
people tell me all the time that they wish they could go to Squam. and i always say that i wish everyone could go, because it is such a magical, transformative experience. well, here’s a way you can get a taste of the magic without having to travel all the way to the woods of New Hampshire: my Squam sister Thea is teaching an online photography workshop in January, bringing her wisdom and experience right to your home! you remember Thea of course: she’s the one who took those pictures of me that i now use for everything i do. her Spirit Sessions have a way of illuminating the inner radiance of her subjects; i know it sounds corny, but if you take a look at even a few you’ll see exactly what i mean. take the glowing Elizabeth, for example, who claims to be very uncomfortable in front of a camera. impossible to believe looking at these! or luminous Maya, another one who doesn’t tend to want the spotlight to shine on herself, but these portraits would have you think otherwise. and all of this is because Thea has such a way of connecting and communicating with everyone she encounters.
photography is becoming more important all the time, as we so often are communicating these days through written words and pictures. whether you are a maker who sells your work online, a cook who takes pride in showing off your dishes, a mother who wants to document the life of your family, or a knitter who enjoys sharing your projects on your blog or Ravelry, the photo represents you. wouldn’t you love to feel like you are able to create the best possible images to tell your story?
here’s an excerpt from the official workshop description:
For the first time ever, Thea Coughlin is offering an online workshop. Developed with direct input from her students, INTUITIVE LENS has been specifically designed for beginner photographers or anyone with a DSLR camera who wants to learn to get off “auto” and capture exceptional images in manual mode.
If you have never met Thea before, you are in for a treat. She is an extraordinary spirit and deeply intuitive. Thea listens carefully and understands precisely what you are looking to learn. And, one of her many gifts is the uncanny ability to present complex information in a simple, easy to understand format.
Intuitive Lens is a three-week class with just the right balance of technical info and tips on lighting and composition. But this is not merely a pragmatic exploration of ISO and shutter speed. Thea will help you to see and capture the spiritual connection between photographer and subject.
find out more, and register over at the SAW site. get your spot before they’re all gone!
It just occurred to me that now that I’ve entered the world of Fancy Phones maybe I can actually blog from my phone? This could lead to much more frequent posting if it works! Hmmmm…
in september i attended my sixth session of Squam Art Workshops. such bliss. now that i have been so many times, it’s almost more like coming home to a family, than leaving home to go somewhere… we can have multiple homes, and families, right? these ladies, my tribe, are so inspiring, energizing, and uplifting. it’s funny how close to them i feel, even thought i see most of them only once or twice a year (some of them more…).
this session was extra special because it was SAW’s fifth anniversary! it all started with the Fall session in 2008, and many of the attendees from that very first one were back this time to celebrate. friday night we had a fancy dinner, after which tales were told, (happy) tears were shed, and gifts were given to those pioneers, most of whom have attended every year since. this year there were four– yes FOUR sessions! in addition to Spring and Fall, there was SquamItalia and Squam by the Sea, both of which just happened this month. that is some impressive progress for a little arts retreat started by one incredible woman! i can’t wait to see what happens in 2014.
i was in a cabin with all teachers, which is always beyond fun. my roomie was Kayte who is now a total Squammie ever since her first visit last year, and i can’t imagine it without her! it was a treat to reconnect with Heather Moore of Skinny la Minx again (and score some of her pouches at the Art Fair); she had taken a class with me a few year’s ago at Lena’s. it’s always fun to be in Helene’s cabin because she brings home the leftover treats (cupcakes and scones this time) from her classes! and just hearing that infectious cackle of Susy Pilgrim Waters at least once a day should be a requirement. finally, SO lovely to meet the adorable Jen Korff, who snatched up one of my denim folk dresses hot off the sewing machine saturday afternoon! you can see in the pic above that it was meant to be hers.
if you’d like to see everyone’s photos, look over here.
wowzers! do you like prizes? and making stuff? well then, you are in LUCK! i’m here to tell you about a doozy of a contest involving two of my favorite ways to use my free time: Creativebug and Pinterest (are you following my boards?). there are so many good prizes, generously donated by many of the stellar teachers, who of course are all makers themselves. some of the ones i would be most excited to win (if i were allowed to play) are these:
top to bottom: Alabama Studio Sewing & Design + a project kit from Alabama Chanin, yarn by Jill Draper, Rebecca Ringquist’s awesome printed samplers and embroidery kit, and a collection of patterns from Liesl Gibson.
because this is an Official Contest, there are Official guidelines which i will take directly from headquarters:
My friends at Creativebug just launched a new contest that I think you might LOVE. From now until October 16th you have three ways to win their grand prize worth well over $400, including a free THREE-month subscription to Creativebug and a heaping pile of materials and supplies that will enable you to complete many of the projects found on the site. There will also be 4 bonus prizes that include 2-month subscriptions to Creativebug plus materials. FULL list o’ prizes seen here! Yowza.
- 3 months to Creativebug +
- Alabama Chanin Kit including: 2 yards Alabama Chanin Jersey knit, 4 spools of Button Craft Thread, sewing needles, and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin
- Radmegan’s Needle felting Peeps Kit including: Wool Roving, Needle felting needle and foam, and instructions
- 2 skeins of Debbie Stoller’s Alpaca Love yarn + 1 year subscription to BUST magazine
- 1 skein of hand-dyed yarn by Jill Draper Makes Stuff
- 2 Fiskars Hand Drills + 1 pair Fiskars scissors
- Assorted Rebecca Ringquist Samplers + needles + hoop
- Hello! Lucky Cake Topper Workshop Kit
- Found Bead Necklace Workshop Kit
- Herringbone Necklace Workshop Kit
- Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson
- Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch
- Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross
- Weekend Handmade: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting by Kelly Wilkinson
- Improv Sewing: 101 Fast, Fun and Fearless Projects, by Nicole Blum & Debra Immergut
- Mod Podge Gift Pack including: Mod Podge, Podgeable Papers, Podgeable Shapes, Gold Glue and so much more!
- Washi tape
(4) Bonus Prizes:
- 2 months to Creativebug +
- One of these books by Jenny Doh: We Make Dolls:Top Dollmakers Share Their Secrets & Patterns,Signature Styles: 20 Stitchers Craft Their Look, Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids, Creative Pilgrimage: An Exploration of Artful Gatherings and Discovery of Innovative Art Techniques
- 1 skein of Debbie Stoller’s Alpaca Love yarn
- 1 Rebecca Ringquist sampler + 1 hoop
- 1 Liesl Gibson Straight Stitch Society Pattern
- Assorted Patterns, Fabric & Yarn
- Hello! Lucky Cake Topper Workshop Kit
- Found Bead Necklace Workshop Kit
- Herringbone Necklace Workshop Kit
- Washi tape
How does it work?
Creativebug is enamored with Pinterest (who isn’t!) so to participate in this contest, you must first be following Creativebug on Pinterest, then create a Pinterest board that includes at least 5 projects you have made, or projects on Creativebug that you would like to take, plus an official contest pin from the Creativebug I made this! Contest Board at http://pinterest.com/creativebuginc/
. Call your Pinterest board “I made this!” and then go to Creativebug’s blog at http://blog.creativebug.com/i-made-this-contest/
and enter the link to your Pinterest board and your email address so they can contact you and tell you when you WIN!
To increase your chances of winning, after you build your Pinterest board you can leave a comment here on MY BLOG with just your name and email address. You can also visit the blogs of my fellow Creativebug instructors, and leave a comment on their Creativebug contest posts. Each comment counts as one more entry! (Limit one comment per blog though.) Here’s the list of my participating Creativebug pals:
Creativebug is also accepting tweets about the contest as entries if you follow @Creativebug on twitter, and include the hashtag #Imadethis and @creativebug.