Monday, December 21, 2009

Easiest Candy houses to make with kids!

Nothing like telling a four year old you're going to make candy houses to insure that it happens. I carved some between playgroup car repair and work deadline to squeeze a sugar rush into our afternoon. Elliot had his good friend Gabe over who was very willing to participate in the eating and building.  Yesterday I'd purchased a good selection of candy and cookies at good ole fashioned Reny's department store in Bath. The only other preparation was sifting through the recycling bin to turn up cardboard bases and an assortment of food boxes and cartons for the building structures. You can easily cut boxes in half to get the right size. It's a good idea to cover the cardboard base with wax paper so that the frosting and candies don't permeate the base. I'd like to say we make royal frosting but we don't, simply crack open tubs of white frosting and pass out the knives. These are not masterpieces but they're incredibly simple and provide instant gratification. Celia can spread the frosting on the side of a carton and stick the cookie wall in place by herself. I read her Jan Brett's 'Gingerbread Boy' before bed and she noticed that our houses were not of the same caliber as the elaborate illustrations. One day I'll roll out the gingerbread and make a real house again but for now this project is a winner.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Girls Night Out Winter Craft Workshops

Please join me for an evening of jewelry making (Jan 19th) and/or needle felting (Feb 9th) at the beautiful Art Mind and Soul studio in Fort Andross. Enjoy a relaxing couple of hours of creativity, all supplies dessert and coffee are included!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santas in the workshop.

During the kids snowday Wednesday Elliot took Celia outside to play, giving me some time to escape into the garage. I'd been itching to spruce up the wooden Santas Jon and I have been working on. Like our popular Lobsters they're made from old fence pickets. Jon cuts out the wood pieces and I get the easy job of playing graffiti artist. I apply multiple layers of old house, spray and dimesional craft paint onto the cut boards. Santas' eyes are washers and upholstery tacks, and his glasses are formed with rebar wire. Something was missing and I had an ah hah moment when I delved into the scrap bin and found small wood pieces for eyebrows. They perfectly frame the top of his face. A few hits of silver spray paint helped give his beard and moustache some more dimension.

When I came back in the house I tripped over a mound of abandoned wet coats, mittens and boots. The clothes didn't dampen my good mood though, I was happy to have had an undisturbed half hour to give our Santas finishing touches before the holidays.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Penelope or Henrietta the Hedgehog?

I unveiled this new softie design at North Yarmouth Fair over the weekend. I was thrilled by how well she was received. I was completely surprised that each woman who purchased one had already named her. The names were absolutely hysterical, and perfectly fit each hedgies' personality.

The body is simply three pieces of felted wool sweaters. The spines are sewn in place as a complete strip and then later cut apart. I had pitched the design to Stitch magazine for their upcoming Spring issue. On Sunday morning I awoke to an e-mail from them asking me to make the hedgehog along with five other projects. I'll make her with easy to find fleece for their baby story.
I'm hoping to whip up a few more for this Friday and Saturday fairs. My sweater supply is drying up. Sewing with felted sweaters has definitely become popular this year. I found a yard of white wool suiting for the face and underside at JoAnn's. Fortunately I still have a supply of the wonderful Feltworks tm flowers sent to me from Dimensions. She wouldn't be the same without them. This time I'll make some child friendly versions without the wooden bead eyes. It'll be tricky to keep the same expression with sewn wool scraps but I'm up for the challenge.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Every little girl loves a Mermaid!

I had no idea the romance that mermaids held over little girls. Celia truly believes they exist, and is always disappointed when we leave the beach without a sighting. I've convinced her that they've swam to warmer waters south of Maine for the winter. When she heard that the last of the Navy families were leaving to Florida she was sure that they would be fortunate to see the mermaids, and just why couldn't her dad work for the Navy too?

I created the first felted mermaid for the Harpswell summer fair, they were a huge hit! This third generation of mermaids are larger and more sturdy, like everything we get better with practice. They're made of pure wool roving that I purchase at the Portland fiber Company, These wooly mermaids are equiped to can handle Maines frigid winters, and are sure to warm little girls hearts.

Wish me luck sneaking them out of the house Saturday morning!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Congratulations Julie Brown!

Celia drew a name out of the hat and Julie is the lucky winner of Craftcycle! Just in time for the holidays there's still time to make some quick gifts from the book. Thank you to the friends who stopped by and posted comments I love hearing from you.

I've been crafting up a storm this weekend, check back in a day or so to see images of hedgehogs cat and dog softies along with some brand new miniature paintings.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free Craftcycle Book giveaway!

Please leave a comment here or become one of my first followers.
I'll pick a random lucky winner on Friday November 27th, 2009.
Happy Thanksgiving and good luck!

Inside Craftcycle, you will find a mix of over 100 ideas for crafts, recipes, sustainable living ideas and construction projects - all organized by season to offer year-round green living. Within each chapter, there are larger projects to build, quick crafts to complete using basic materials or recycled items, seasonally appropriate tips, and recipes using seasonal ingredients. Detailed diagrams accompany the larger-scale projects, while the basic crafts feature step by step photographs and illustrations, making them accessible for the entire family.

Mycraftivity is offering a great deal on my latest book.

Podcast of last nights blog radio interview and discussion about Craftcycle with Tiffany Windsor.
Inspired at Home Podcast Archives

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inspired at Home Radio Show Novemember 22nd, 7:00pm eastern time.

Very excited to chat with Tiffany Windsor this Sunday night. Please click into the Inspired at Home Blog Radio on your computer to listen in.

I've been playing back old shows while painting to get a feel for the show. I can't believe how much I've learned. It's incredibly interesting to hear how other people have found their path to a creative living. I loved listening to both Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club and Marisa Palwelko of Modern Surrealist, LLC. Both women shared their unique journey to creating successful businesses. Looking forward to listening to my friend Margot Potter talk about her latest beading title Beyond the Bead this afternoon.

The one show I caught live was Tiffany's interview of her mom Aleene, of Aleene's Tacky Glue Fame. Her stories of how different the crafting business used to be touched home. I clearly remember the days of shopping for supplies in model and hobby shops. My mom would never been able to control me had the mega craft chains existed in those days. I loved her answer to Abby Fosters (editor Crafts 'n Things) How do we inspire people to craft, her simple answer was to teach them. Her strength of character and determination shined through the inspiring interview. The best part of listening live is following along in the chat room it's just amazing to see the craft talent that checks into the show.

I'll be answering questions about my newest title Craftcycle. Here's hoping I'm not too nervous, the dog doesn't bark, the boys don't start playing bass or drums, and Celia doesn't break into our room (where I'll be hiding out). Wish me luck!

Don't forget to sign up for Sunday Night's giveaway!

NEW GIVEAWAY for Sunday November 22nd! Our guest on this Sunday's Inspired at Home Radio show, Heidi Boyd, has arranged for this gigantic ModPodge giveaway. And, she's also throwing in one of her wonderful CraftCycle books too! Is that the largest stack of ModPodge that you've ever seen? Way Cool! Just leave a comment on Inspired at homes face book fan page to qualify for this giveaway! (and pass it on :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tisket a tasket a basket of flower fairies

My very first craft book was Fairy Crafts I wrote it when my son Elliot was five years old, he's now in his last year of junior high school. At the time I relished all the girly-ness of writing a fairy book. It was a complete novelty in a house filled with boys toys. Almost ten years later I have my very own girl, our daughter Celia just turned four this fall.

Yesterday I took a break from the fair preparations and Celia and I built our own fairy house in the woods outside. We arranged branches around a moss covered stump to support a canopy of oak leaves. Mussel and clam shells  make a stair case to a stone table set with acorn cap plates. How magical it is to create with a child who believes in a world of fairies and mermaids. Each time we walk down the driveway and spy our creation, she discusses what the fairies have been doing in the house. Celia loves playing with the fairies and dressing up in the costumes that I saved from the photo shoot.I'm overjoyed to share them with her.

Jon and I have assembled piles of fairy kits so that other parents and children can share the magic of creating fairies. The design is in part the original fairy from Fairy crafts and another part the snow fairies which I designed for the holiday issue of Crafts n' Things. Each package contains everything you need to make a fairy along with the hand drawn instructions.

Wishing you a day of magical creativity,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Owls a plenty

Literally a pile of cheery owl ornaments to hang from the tree. These are a brand new design developed especially for the holiday fairs. They're made in a riot of colors out of felted wool sweater and National non woven felt scraps. the pieces are machine stitched together and then embellished with DMC embroidery floss. The hangers slip out of the top ribbon loops, so these little friends can travel in pockets and bags all year long!

This is such a popular image I included the Pattern and Step by Step to make these little guys in my newest book Stitched Whimsy.

Rings on her fingers!

I fell in love with wirework while designing projects for Wired Beautiful. This design is similar to one of the rings in the book. They whip up quickly, hoping if I price them right they will adorn many fingers this holiday season. The beautiful lampwork beads were made by my very talented neighbor Deb Merrill.

Birds of a feather flock together

These little birds have been such a hit. I created the first pair for my new book Craftcycle. Love the colors that the printed fabric brings to them. They still feature felted wool wings and beaks. Look for the great stovepipe wire that's used for their legs at your local hardware store. My little Celia is peeking out from behind them.


These colorful owls were adapted in fabric from a felt design I originally created for the fall issue of Crafts n' Things. You can find the original pattern in the magazine. I used National non woven felt for their wings and eye accents, be on the look out for their earth friendly bamboo line of felt. Also discovered that America Crafts felt flowers were the perfect embellishment for their eyes. The black faceted button eyes I picked at JoAnns. Their bottoms are weight with dry beans to help them stand at attention and keep an eye on the room.
Selling them at the fair this weekend!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Craft Fair Craziness

So excited to do my first solo craft fair at Casco Bay High School in Portland on Saturday. Jon's has been helping with the wood crafts and designing some great new displays. It feels like I've been stitching felted wool around the clock, my poor wrist is aching. I'm ready to give it a break and crack open the acrylics tomorrow. Painting should at least be a different motion looking forward to adding color without a needle and thread. The felted trees are a brand new design, and our favorite. They stand on real branch trunks and are embellished with felt flowers and buttons.

Hoping they're will be leftovers for NYA's fair on the 5th, and Bowdoin's Sunsplash festival on the 11th. Please stop by and check out the booth, love to see some friendly faces!
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