upcycling for dollars
redux …

Posted on May 8, 2015 | 0 comments

upcycling for dollars redux …

Every May our local elementary school, Countryside Elementary, has a silent auction fundraiser. Every April I think, “hmmmm, what can I do with t-shirts this year?” After the recent “extreme-snow” winter I’m ready for picnic weather! (For any Countryside alumni parents, the fundraiser is tonight, it should be a fun party!)

The top is pieced from donated school t-shirts and flannel pajama pants and measures approximately 60″ square.

To provide some protection from the still damp spring ground, I backed the quilt/blanket with medium weight nylon packcloth. To keep the picnic from drifting away in the spring breeze, I added triangular pockets in each back corner to hold a small rock or other weighty object. So that it doesn’t end up in a messy pile in the trunk, I added a side tie to make it easy to roll and secure.

Hmmmm, I may have to make another one like this for me! I’ll keep it in the car as a light windbreak or bleacher cover for those cool spring baseball games or for a quick picnic between those summer doubleheaders (by the way, if you are ever in Ware, MA between a couple of sad ball games, it can all be redeemed at Pig Park BBQ … really). And I’ll need a place to sit on the beach while I wait for the Marc Anthony’s pizza delivery … and breakfast picnics at the deCordova Sculpture Park … and ….
Oh yeah, and it machine washes nicely in cool water.

down by the cside ...

rock pocket for breezy days

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thinking inside the box …

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 | 0 comments

thinking inside the box …

Everyone talks about thinking outside the box. But sometimes, what really stretches you is thinking inside that box. Taking what you already know and re-working it to fit inside the box you are given.

In this case? A cigarette box. Yes, I’m talking Art-o-mat!!

Ever since I saw my first one, I’ve been hooked. I just had to come up with an idea to fit into that box. Well, after playing around with pictures and scraps and thread and stuffing, I did it. I made miniature pet pillows that will stand on their own and fit in a cigarette pack size box. And even better? I submitted my idea to the Art-o-mat folks. And better yet? They accepted my proposal! And the proverbial icing on the cake? Boston’s first Art-o-mat was recently installed in the new South End Whole Foods and my hypoallergenic MINI porta-pets will be sold there!
Clark Whittington, the mastermind of Art-o-mat, will be in town Friday, May 1st at 6:30pm for a meet and greet at the South End Whole Foods (old Boston Herald location). And I will be stopping by as well. If you haven’t picked up your weekend groceries and want to stop by for a smile, I’ll see you there!

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every fabric tells a story …

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 | 0 comments

every fabric tells a story …

After 50+ years, it suddenly dawns on me: I love stories. Reading stories. Listening to stories. And telling stories. So obvious, yet (oddly enough) I’ve never put that sentiment into words.

Our stories bind us together. Whether it’s the story of a personal journey, shared family stories, or stories that tie us to our larger community.

My love of sewing and fabrics moved from the personal to the professional a few years ago. And it’s been great fun (and often a great challenge) making new bags/aprons/quilts/pillows and honing my technique. Yet, I’ve struggled with defining my work. What is the over-arching thread (!) that ties it all together? Now I know. Stories.

For me, every fabric tells a story.

My t-shirt and memory quilts are pure narrative. I love the process of working with clients to narrow down their collection to tell their story. Sometimes we work with a pile of t-shirts, no longer worn but too precious to toss; or baby clothes filled with small memories; or special garments left behind by a loved one. Finding the story in that fabric and transforming it into a tangible object is a delight. I now hereby dub them Story Quilts!

Bess went to camp ...

So many of our stories are shared at the table. I first printed tea towels with my grandmother’s hand-written cookie recipe and it’s been a lovely connection to a shared family history. I’ve since added others to my collection, and as gifts for others, and each one tells a story.

Visiting Grandma ...

Pet pillows started as way for my college-bound daughter to take her kitten with her to school. And with each new pillow request, I’ve gathered another story.

Suzie is not impressed

Then there are the fabric stories to come: luggage tags and bags for the new adventures, aprons and tableware for the stories brought home.

Stories. Who knew?!

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don’t go around artless …*

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 | 0 comments

don’t go around artless …*

While in Santa Fe this Christmas I came across my first Art-o-Mat machine! And it took me to a very, very happy place. Why? I’m not sure. But I love it.

Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend, well, art. Put in $5.00, choose an artist, pull the knob, and out pops your very own art in a 2″ x 3″ format.

There are paintings, sculptures, jewelry … I even bought my very own slug shaped glycerin soap! (Yes, I chose it and yes I am saving it for a special soaping occasion.)

*For the full story, check out the Art-o-Mat website or their Facebook page. It’s just great fun!

Hmmm … what can I make for them …

decide ... pull ... art!

Santa Fe Art-o-Mat

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merry (retro) christmas!

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

merry (retro) christmas!

So much of the commercially available holiday fabric is cute. Too cute. And too much the same. However, sometimes I find some special yardage.

And this is one of them! I’ve had it for a while but not wanted to cut into it … but finally I did to make these fun holiday drink coasters. Perfect for that festive martini with the green and red olive!

Next up? A retro hostess apron for serving those martinis!

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tip of the day

Posted on Nov 19, 2014 | 0 comments

tip of the day

Self-threading needles. Why have I not known about these?

Being a sometimes perfectionist, I have been known to interrupt my quilting or top-stitching to correct wayward, imperfect stitches. And then I am left with loose ends to to tie and bury in the inner layers of whatever I am making. Often, those threads are short or slightly ravelled and it’s a major pain to thread them into the eye of my favorite, thin, hand-sewing needle.

Enter the self-threading needle! Just insert the needle into the fabric, slip the thread ends into the slot, and pull those tell tale ends into the interior. Dang, that was easy.

hallelujah choir of self-threading needles

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ready for cold & flu season …

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 | 0 comments

ready for cold & flu season …

I just completed 50 travel tissue covers! Available in a myriad of colors and all filled with a pack of tissues ready for those inevitable fall sneezes and sniffles.

(Please note: These are not available in my etsy shop. Please visit the Sign of the Dove in Burlington Mall, the Celebrate Newton Holiday Fair, or contact me directly.)

And when you do feel the clouds rolling in and that cold coming on, make up a batch of white chicken chili to warm you and your friends. (Green chiles are an excellent source of vitamin C!)

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