Monday, December 8, 2014

Ornament Experiments

Embroidery is such a soothing craft activity and, bonus: it is portable. I had much fun experimenting with stitching this holiday season and decided to create a few ornaments out of small embroidery hoops. This is a trend I've noticed for a few years on Pinterest and Etsy, you simply loop a ribbon in the hoop clasp and boom, you've got an ornament!

I decided to use my go-to material, linen, as the background and to create simple snowflake patterns. I found some gorgeous (and ahem, pricy) metallic embroidery floss at my local fabric store, in both silver and gold. I also used white and a vibrant red. The ribbon for hanging is satin rattail in coordinating colors.

I sold a bunch of these ornaments at the Holiday Arts & Crafts Open House, but a few more are available in my Etsy shop. I'll definitely make more of these next year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Report from the Holiday Arts & Crafts Open House

The Holiday Arts & Crafts Open House was a huge success this year! Thank you to all my friends and loyal customers who came by. Such fun to see you all at Red Square Yoga Studio in Seattle!

There were so many wonderful vendors there, including a few returning greats and some new ones. Check out a few of my favorites: Pearl Moon Designs, LoveBird Handmade Soaps, Moultonology, Irene Akio, Chavah's Garden and Plumbop. (More info and links here.)

Here are a few photos of my booth for those who couldn't be there.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Save The Date: Arts & Crafts Open House on Saturday 11/22

For the 3rd year in a row, I will be a vendor at the Holiday Arts + Crafts Open House at Red Square Yoga in Seattle, WA. The event will take place on Saturday, November 22 from 12 to 6pm.

If you're a local, please save the date and come by for a visit! You can join the Facebook event here.

There should be plenty of unique, handmade gifts to browse and purchase. Great opportunity for some holiday shopping! We will have live acoustic guitar music and some drinks and treats to enjoy.

I am hard at work on table runners and fabric baskets among other things. I am hoping to have a variety of items priced between $10 and $70. I plan on introducing some new designs too: placements, nesting baskets and ornaments. We'll see how much I actually get done before the big day!

I sure hope to see you there!

More info here:
Facebook event:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween Ninjas


It's been FOREVER since I last posted, I am sorry! And this will just be a quick drive-by post to show you the costumes I made for my kiddos for Halloween. In previous years, I posted about my costume-making adventures on Stumbles & Stitches, but I'm trying to share more on this blog now --and doing a terrible job of it, ha!

This year, my boys wanted to be ninjas. So exciting --not. Henry had his mind set on Kai from LEGO Ninjago and Ben wanted to be a "regular" ninja.

I bought a whole lot of knit fabric and some metallic and pleather yardage too. The awesome part of this year's costume sewing is that I learned how to sew with knits!! I'm so excited! And it was so easy! I just looked at my Janome's user manual and set my machine on the tricot stitch. Oh, and I got a jersey needle. Done! It worked beautifully and a new world has now opened to me, filled with fun stretchy projects.

Anyway, back to the kiddos and their Halloween costumes.

Here's the sketch I drew based on their demands. (I promptly spilled coffee all over it, oops.)

Here are some images I found online and used for inspiration and authentic details:

And here are the finished costumes on Halloween morning!

I don't have time to get into the how-to and all those details because I have to get back to work on making things for the Holiday Arts + Crafts Open House in which I'm participating again this year. I'm horribly behind and need to focus. The Open House is on Saturday, November 22 from 12 to 6pm. If you're in Seattle, come by and say hello! There should be lots of beautiful handmade gifts available to browse and purchase.

But tell me, what costumes did you sew for your kids this year?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Fabric Blooms

Hello! And if you're visiting from Sew Mama Sew, welcome!

Some of you may know me from Stumbles & Stitches, the blog I co-wrote with my friend Angel for years. If you're new to this little blog, please take a look around. I create fiber art with recycled materials, as well as textile goods for the home with a mix of modern fabrics and linen. I do a lot of custom work and, when time allows, stock my Etsy shop with new designs. If you're curious, you can read more on my About Me page or visit me on Facebook.

Today, in honor of Giveaway Day, I'm excited to offer a fabulous book to a lucky winner. Fabric Blooms: 42 Flowers to Make, Wear & Adorn Your Life by Megan Hunt is a new release by Lark Crafts and it is FANTASTIC. Lark Crafts is generously sponsoring this giveaway with a copy of the book.

In Fabric Blooms, author Megan Hunt takes you step-by-step through the process of creating simple flowers, beautiful bouquets and accessories including headbands, hairpins, brooches, and more. The book also includes patterns for decorative items like a pillow, a wreath, and a fun garland. Materials range from wool felt, to silk, burlap, oil cloth, and even an upcycled t-shirt. Fabric Blooms is chock-full of exciting projects and eye candy.

If you know my work or poke around this blog, you will notice that I am fairly obsessed with botanical themes. I include a lot of trees, leaves and flowers in my fiber art. I also love clean lines and a modern aesthetic. I was in my happy place, browsing through this lovely book. The design and layout of Fabric Blooms is crisp and pared down in an original way: each project features one photo, set against a warm wood grain background, that deconstructs the materials, steps and details for that particular flower. Clever!

And of course, the interpretation of the flowers in various fabrics is tasteful and beautifully executed. Megan Hunt is a wedding designer and creator of custom flower bouquets featured in countless bridal magazines and other media. You know she's a master at this craft! I am so glad she decided to share her tricks and tips with the rest of us in this gorgeous book.

I can't wait to start making flowers! What a perfect summer project for those rainy days when the kids might be doing a craft or painting. Now I only need to remember to hit the craft store and pick up some floral wire...


One lucky winner will receive a copy of Fabric Blooms: 42 Flowers to Make, Wear & Adorn Your Life by Megan Hunt, courtesy of Lark Crafts.

** How to enter the giveaway **

  • Please leave a comment on this blog post, and tell me: what is your favorite flower? (One entry per person, please.)
  • Make sure to include an email address if it's not included in your Blogger profile.
  • This giveaway is open until May 16 at 5PM PST, at which point I will choose a random winner and will contact them by email.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Apologies to my international friends.
  • $17.95 value. Void where prohibited

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated. Our lucky winner is Jenny. Congratulations!

Thank you to Sew Mama Sew for organizing this wonderful online event once again. Go check it out, there are many handmade items offered by bloggers all over the world, as well as crafting and sewing supplies.

Note: Publishers regularly send me books for review, but the choice to review them and opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Apron for Teacher Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Have you thanked and hugged a teacher?

My son Ben is in first grade and I'm class coordinator this year, which is a fancy term for "room mom".  For teacher appreciation, I orchestrated a week-long celebration for our fabulous teacher with the help of many other parents from our class.  It's been so fun, and truly wonderful to see her getting all this love and appreciation.

The first graders helped with a couple of things, including making an apron.  Their teacher loves to cook and loves birds.  Their school follows a project-based curriculum, and their current project for Spring is "Birds".  It worked out beautifully!

The first step in this project was to prep bird templates. I searched for "bird silhouettes" in Google Images and printed a few. I transferred the outlines to recycled cereal boxes and cut them out. I also ironed fusible web to a whole bunch of fabric scraps in a "Spring-y" color scheme.

Next, I sneaked into their art class (with the art teacher's approval!) and had the kiddos take turns at picking their favorite fabric scrap and favorite bird template. They traced their bird on the paper backing of the fabric and wrote their name.

Back at my sewing table, I cut the birds out, making sure to respect the imperfect tracing of each child. It gave each bird some personality.

Using one of my own aprons as a template, I made an apron with green linen. I made binding and ties out of a happy floral cotton print.

I played with the placement of the birds, trying to balance the colors and shapes. When I was happy with the layout, I took a digital photo to have a reference. I also drew a rough "map" in my sketchbook with the name of the kid belonging to each bird.

Time to fuse and stitch each bird onto the apron. I actually brought my iron to the floor to quickly half-fuse the birds before picking the apron up and moving it to my ironing table. It doesn't look like it messed up our horribly scratched hardwood floors any more than they already were! I stitched with a regular straight stitch rather than a zigzag one. The birds may fray a bit with washing, but they should hopefully hold up.


I wrote the name of each child under their bird in fine-point Sharpie and heat-set it with my iron. From my brief research on the internet, I found that this should withstand a few washes.

I am so happy with how it turned out!

To accompany the apron, I embellished a wooden spatula with stripes of colorful paint. This is an OXO spatula and I love how substantial it feels. With the embellishment, I can see it being used to serve salads at summer barbecues or picnics.

The spatula was unfinished wood so I didn't need to prep it before painting. The stripes are painted freehand with several coats of acrylic paint. I finished them with a couple coats of clear water-based varnish.


To round out this cooking lover's gift, we got the teacher the school cookbook.

The kids were so excited to give their teacher this handmade gift. Judging from the tears and hugs, I think she was happy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Never Been Stitched: Book Review and Giveaway

Happy Monday!

Today I have a book review and giveaway to share with you.

Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects just released this February. This fun collection of projects is edited by Amanda Carestio and published by Lark Crafts.

I am excited to introduce this book to you, because I designed and wrote 2 projects in it! Both of them made the cover -- one on the front, one on the back. I am so grateful to Amanda and Lark Crafts for giving me a chance and couldn't be more thrilled!

Oh, wait, I could: Lark Crafts is offering one copy of the book to a lucky reader!! See below for giveaway guidelines.

Never Been Stitched promises 45 awesome projects with little or no sewing. These clever projects come together with techniques like gluing, fusing, using grommets, knotting and more. A few of them require a bit of simple hand-stitching or a machine-sewn seam. Required skills are easy-peasy, even for the most squeamish of us when it comes to sewing. The featured designers devised creative tricks to eschew stitches while bringing their projects to life.

The book leans heavily toward upcycling, which I love. For example, it shows you how to transform a favorite t-shirt into a fringe scarf or into a carryall tote bag, how to turn a button-down into a kid skirt, or a plain old skirt into an Anthropologie-inspired fashion statement -- all with minimal or no stitching.

Hexagon Art Panel by Jenny Bartoy

Autumn Leaves Skirt by Jenny Bartoy

The variety of projects included in Never Been Stitched is impressive. You will find everything from artwork to note cards, from bags to fashion accessories, from practical house wares (a rug! a lampshade!) to toys. And they all use fabric in out-of-the-box ways. In terms of taste as well, there seems to be something for everyone, whether you're into modern, classic, whimsical or kitschy.

Try it out: Lark Crafts has offered one free project pattern from the book on their website, the Woven Chevron Cowl.

Woven Chevron Cowl, photo copyright Lark Crafts

Never Been Stitched is a satisfying collection of fun and simple projects. It would make a nice gift for someone who is dipping their toes into sewing, or anyone who likes instant gratification-type projects! I hope you'll check it out.


The winner of this giveaway will receive a copy of Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects by Amanda Carestio, courtesy of Lark Crafts. ($17.95 value)

>> How to enter the giveaway <<

  • Please leave a comment on this blog post. One entry per person, please. If you'd like, tell me what's on your crafty to-do list these days.
  • Make sure to include an email address if it's not listed in your Google/other profile.
  • This giveaway is open until Sunday, April 20 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • On Monday, April 21, I will choose a random winner, announce the name here, and contact them by email.
  • This giveaway is open to all, international friends welcome.
  • Void where prohibited.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Update!

Hello friends,

First off, my heartfelt apologies for the radio silence these past few months. After the craziness of the holiday season, the beginning of the new year was unsettling. I felt in limbo between sewing, writing and family and couldn't quite find my mojo to blog. A few months into 2014, I'm back on track with some exciting news!

I designed and wrote 2 projects for the brand new book Never Been Stitched! This is a fun book of 45 no-sew and low-sew projects, edited by the lovely Amanda Carestio and published by Lark Crafts (February 2014). I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with Lark Crafts, as I already have projects sent off for another book to be released in early 2015. I'm so excited! Stay tuned for a review and GIVEAWAY of Never Been Stitched here on my blog. (Ahem, on Monday.)

Speaking of designing projects, one of my professional goals for 2014 is to create patterns for sale on Etsy. I have so many ideas but I've finally picked one to start with. I hope it will be ready to unveil soon!

And finally, after several years spent co-writing the blog Stumbles & Stitches with my dear friend Angel, it was time to put it to sleep -- or at least, make the announcement, since it's been dormant for nearly a year. All archives are still available to browse, but for the foreseeable future, we won't be blogging. If you followed our adventures over there, do not despair. I will be sharing my craft and sewing projects HERE instead, along with my Etsy creations! I am pumped!!

If you're reading this, thank you for your support. And I look forward to hearing from you in the comments as I start posting more content!