Sunday, May 01, 2016

Make a Bead Embroidery Pendant class

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm teaching bead embroidery classes again! The first one I'm offering will be on Sunday, June 5, 2016, at Reframe Creative Reuse Center, 10230 W. 26th Ave. Unit 5, Lakewood, Colorado, 80215 from 1-5 pm. The cost of the class is $50 and includes a bead embroidery kit (size 15 or size 11 Japanese seed beads depending on your preference) and all the supplies needed to complete the pendant (chain is not included). You can make a pendant like the one shown here or design your own. Sign up by calling Reframe (303) 233-3506 or emailing me at
If you're interested, but live too far away to attend--I offer you this tutorial. Also, I can work with shops and guilds in your area to offer classes closer to you--contact me at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making wrapping paper from children's drawings

Sew pictures together using the zig zag feature on your sewing machine.
I have a hard time throwing things away--especially the drawing that my daughters make. They are amazing! I love them! But, I've filled three bins with drawings and at this rate, we'll need additional space if we're going to keep them all. So, I've started figuring out ways to reuse them (here's another way, Making Gift Bags).

You can also make envelopes by folding paper and sewing it closed on one end.
Making wrapping paper out of the drawings is super easy. The hard part is getting your children to agree to let their artwork be used in this way. We went through the bin together to choose pieces that could be used as wrapping paper. I explained that this was a great way to share their art with people they love and also recycle.

To make wrapping paper out of children's drawings (or any paper you want to recycle, for that matter)--set up your sewing machine for a zig zag stitch and thread it with the thread color of your choice. As the paper gets bigger, roll it up so that it will fit through the sewing machine. Trim your threads (or not, depending on the look you're going for), and then wrap presents.

You could use glue instead of sewing the pictures together, but I found the glue a little harder to work with--also it doesn't fold as easily as the stitched seams.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Vote on buttons

Pocket for my Ginny's Cardigan from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits.

Nearly finished cardigan with the owl buttons.
A bit of background: I started spinning this yarn in July of 2012 on my Lendrum spinning wheel using the fast flyer to make a fine, thin yarn. I finished spinning the 8 oz of dyed Polwarth that I had purchased from Wildhare on Etsy during Spinzilla 2013. I plied it shortly after Spinzilla and started knitting Ginny's Cardigan from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits 2013 on December 6, 2013.
On May 15, 2014, I had finished the cardigan through the yoke, buttonbands, pockets, and buttonbands. However, when I tried it on, I saw that the buttonbands needed more stitches per row to lay flat and that I had an uneven number of stitches on either side of the pattern on the back--making it skew to one side. I decided to frog it back to the beginning of the yoke to fix those mistakes. I still need to decide what buttons to use when I finish it--I have a number of great options. Maybe you can help me decide. I first thought it would be the owl buttons all the way (it is an owl cardigan afterall!), but I really am having a hard time deciding now that I've laid the buttons on the cloth. The owl buttons are a bit heavy (in weight and color).

The contenders: 
Vote on buttons in the comments!
1. Iris buttons from
2. Vine buttons purchased at Shuttles Spindles and Skeins, Boulder, CO.
3. Three crane buttons from
4. Owl buttons purchased at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins, Boulder, CO (no longer being made, sadly).
5. Snail buttons from
6. Green leaf buttons purchased at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins, Boulder, CO.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Photo ornament advent calendar

This felt tree with pockets was a gift--but it would be pretty easy to make if you're handy with a sewing machine.
Our advent calendar with ornaments ready to hang.

We made ornaments using polymer clay and photos.
Each year we add family and friends to our tree. Since we have a miniature tree, we make tiny ornaments.
I've posted about it here and here.  This is fun and easy--but takes a few days (mostly because I only get a couple hours out of a day to work on projects--but also because the glaze needs time to dry). And of course, most of my spinning and knitting projects take years--so this is fast in the context of what I normally am working on.

Digital photos
MS Publisher (or a similar photo editing program that allows you to group photos on one page and crop and size them to the size you need, then print to a printer with photo quality paper)
Cookie cutter in the size and shape you want for your ornaments
Polymer clay in a selection of colors
Oven or toaster oven 
Non-food cookie sheet
Rolling pin or pasta maker for polymer clay
Wire for earring posts
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Sculpey glaze
Paint brush

1. I use a template I made in MS Publisher to make the tiny photos of our family and friends. I print it on my Sony photo printer, and cut out the photos.
2. We use small cookie cutters to get the star shape--I trace the cookie cutter around the photo to make sure that the photo will fit on the ornament.  I trace the shape with a sharpie, then cut out the photo.
3. With a rolling pin or pasta maker to make thin sheets of polymer clay, cut out the ornaments with the cookie cutter.
4. Insert a wire with a loop in the top for hanging the ornament--this can be an earring post, cut it to the length needed. It should be imbedded inside the polymer clay for at least half the length of the ornament so that it will stay in.
5. Press the photos into the clay and cook them at a low heat following the directions on your polymer clay package. I cook mine for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.
6. Allow to cool.
7. Paint the ornament with sculpey glaze allowing it to dry on each side thoroughly before turning over to do the next side. This part of the process takes a couple of days--it takes some time for the glaze to dry all the way.
8. With the wire trimmed from the earring post and the needle nose pliers, make a small ornament hanger.
9. Hang on your tree.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bidding for Good

I've donated a few items for a good cause--Compass Montessori in Golden, Colorado is a charter public school (pre-K through 12th grade) with a learning farm and a vibrant fiber arts program where they are teaching the kids to spin, knit, weave, felt, dye, crochet, and sew as part of the daily curriculum. The school is hosting an auction--many people have donated many wonderful things to help raise money for the school.
You have a chance to bid on: Two Apples --a bead embroidery piece.
I also put together a few gift baskets:
Jane Austen Knits Gift Basket
Spinning Gift Basket
Beaded Embellishment Gift Basket

I'm also knitting up a scarf from the yarn the kids spun from one of the alpacas on the farm and dyed with indigo--as soon as I finish it, I'll upload it to the bidding for good site.

Friday, July 08, 2011

More words, glorious words

When Hannah was 21 months old, I made a list of words that she was saying. Something triggered the memory and today I went back and looked at it --and thought I'd do the same for Sarah.

All done!, all gone, Amy (mi-mi), baa (sheep), baby, ball, banana, beep (microwave), Ben, belly, birdie, boobies, bottle, Bri, bye-bye, cake (Happy!), cat (Meow!), cookie (tootie), cry, Daddy, dirty, Dog (woof, woof), down, duck (quack), eye, Granddad (Gan-dad), Grandma (Gaa-ma), go, Hannah, hat, hello (he-woo: said into a phone), hi!, hot, huh? (means—what?), juice, Julia (says Daddy-a), Kelly (Ke-wee), kiss (tiss), knee, mama, mine!, mommie (means "I want it!"), more (mo), night night (nigh nigh--means sleep and bed), no!, nose, one (counts: one, two, three), open, outside, owie (means band-aid and hurt), pee, please (pease), pocket, poopie (means underwear as well as bottom), shoe, shoes, swing (means slide and park), teeth, toast, that, three, two, uh oh, up, wow, yay!, yeah.
She also has lots of phrases that are all run together:
There you go (der-you-go), Here we are (ear-we-are--she says this when we arrive some where she recognizes), All done, all gone, I want it (uhwan-tit), There it is (der-it-is), There he/she is (when she sees someone she recognizes), I want to swing (uwan-ta-wing), I want juice (uwan-juuuuu).

More new words as of 8-1-2011: Duckie, knee, Sarah, why?, Happy Birthday (sounds like Happy Doo-day!).

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A visit from the Grinch

So, this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway to take Hannah to school, I noticed a hole in the ground where before lived a sweet little dwarf pine tree.

Here's the hole, and here's one of the remaining trees that the missing tree looks like. It appears that the Grinch visited us in the middle of the night.

Here's the trail of dirt left as the tree was yanked from the ground and pulled through my garden and into the street.

The strange noises that invaded my dreams last night, but didn't wake me up, now make sense.

Somewhere, there is someone using our little pine tree as their Christmas tree. It is hard to imagine the joy that they'll get out of this--it makes me sad for them. They must be pretty desperate people to commit a crime to decorate their house for the holidays--what a lot to risk for something that they'll most likely discard, rather than plant (even though they ripped it out by the roots).
I'm also thinking that this was premeditated. They had to have scouted out the neighborhood, selected the tree they wanted, and then arrived with a truck, a chain and a shovel.
I'm actually thankful that I didn't wake up enough to really comprehend what was going on. We might have run outside in our pajamas to try to stop it. At the very least we would have lost sleep and been cold, and it is possible that we could have been hurt.

So what started out as a sad moment, disappointed in the poor choices of a fellow human(as Hannah put it, "They made a really bad choice, didn't they mama?"), got me thinking about what I'm thankful for. I found myself humming the Welcome Christmas song from the end of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas . . . welcome, welcome fahoo ramus, welcome, welcome dahoo damus, Christmas Day is in our grasp, as long as we have hands to clasp. . .

I'm thankful for my sweet husband who took this in stride. I'm thankful for my daughters who bring me so much joy every day. We've been having fun making gingerbread men and decorating our house for Christmas.

Hannah has been going through her toys and selecting gifts for her cousins--things she thinks they'll really love. She wrapped this gift very lovingly for Sarah.

Sarah delights in the lights and loves to show me all the things that she finds.
I'm thankful for the roof over our heads, the food on our table, the jobs that sustain us, the loving family that surrounds us. I hope that the little tree does provide some peace and joy for a family who must not have much.