January 30, 2012

my claim to (blog) fame!

I was honored to be included as a guest poster on The Artful Parent  which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite blogs. Jean is taking a bit of a sabbatical from her blog this month and asked if some of her readers would be willing to submit posts. How lovely of her to share her space.

Here's my post on our valentine cards – a current work in progress.

Spoiler alert: Grandmas and aunties might get a sneak peek of their future valentine mail if they check out this post!

January 27, 2012

another quilt finished

Just a bit smaller than the last one of course! But still – how amazing to dream something up and then whip it up in just a week or so!

I used scrap fabrics to make a matching doll quilt for my daughter. This is one just square patchwork. The squares didn't line up. That's ok. I have renewed appreciation for how well made prize-winning quilts!

It was a nice and speedy review of everything I learned while doing the big quilt. I did manage to mess up the binding but fortunately I had an excess of fabric strips cut from the first time around. I also quilted the entire thing on the machine. I don't have the "walking foot" that I have read about in quilting books but it seemed to go fairly well despite that. Sometimes the quilt needed some help moving along and I can certainly see how it would be difficult to do a large quilt but I don't think it would be impossible.

January 25, 2012

notable & quotable

 I came across this quote while reading the newspaper this past weekend:
To exist is to change. To change is to mature. To mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
–Henri Bergson
According to the writer, columnist and rabbi Albert Lewis, Henri Bergson is a French philosopher. I can't say that I've spent much time reading his works, or that of any philosopher, but I did feel a connection with this particular quote. I feel like I am constantly in the process of evaluating myself and my life and determining how I might want to change it. I think the concept of "creating oneself endlessly" might at first sound overwhelming or tiring but I prefer to think of it as hopeful. I think it speaks to the idea that living is about creating the life that you most want to have and creating the person you most want to be.

January 23, 2012

GRPL annual report

 It's back from the printer! Boxes of crisply arranged books with oh-so-vivid orange (printed as a Pantone spot color). Ooh la la! Getting a delivery of a print piece I am excited about is a bit like Christmas morning. Follow this link to experience the virtual version.

January 20, 2012

the white stuff

Whether you love it or hate it, snow is part of winter here in Michigan. After an unusually mild December we finally got a real dose of the white stuff. While it does make things like pushing a shopping cart out to your car more difficult, it certainly does have a magical beauty to it.

January 18, 2012

in progress

I've got a few creative projects in the works. Here's a peek – proof I am keeping up on my personal art.

I have a few scrapbooks that I tend to once a year. One for Halloween pics, one for Christmas pics, and this one which I refer to as "the family scrapbook." It gathers a year's worth of refrigerator art, Christmas cards, party invitations, funny notes, and the like into one place. More like a genuine old-fashioned scrapbook before the advent of paper shapes and fancy stickers.

This is going to be a doll quilt to match my daughter's bedroom quilt. Hopefully the small size means I won't be spending 18 months on it! The new favorite doll has been named "Sweetie Love." Isn't that cute?

January 16, 2012

freedom to decorate

 I just finished reading about, admiring, and absorbing the visual feast presented by the homes featured in the book Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design. The basic premise of the book is that you don't have to be a professional interior designer or know all the "rules" to do a fabulous job decorating. The homes featured were often of people who have a creative bent or profession but I did feel like there was a bit more variety in geography and lifestyle than there were in the book Details (which I wrote about earlier on this blog). I especially noticed there were more households with children featured.

While you might be looking at the book and thinking "my house is not the big" or "not everyone lives in a New York City loft" I think there are still ideas and inspiration that can be applied to your own life. I myself was especially inspired by the items people chose to frame and hang on the wall. Not everything was official "art." Some of it was simple snapshots, art created by their children, and there was even a healthy dose of thrift store finds represented. None of it had matchy matchy frames and it looked great all together on the wall. I am going to have to take a second look next time I go thrifting. I don't often study the framed prints and art at second hand stores. Perhaps I have missed a great treasure!

January 9, 2012

party hats!

When my 3-year-old daughter found out we were hosting a party at our house she insisted on making party hats. You don't have to ask this crafty mama twice to get a new project going. I especially love taking her idea and running with it.

We used the template from Jones Design Company. It neatly fit on a letter-sized piece of paper. Their instructions called for hot gluing them shut. This template from Oh Happy Day gets a little fancier with a tab that inserts into a slot. I especially admired the cool poms and fringe she made from crepe paper but we did not end up going that route.

I let my daughter choose the color paper for each hat. After I cut them out she painted them. We came back later to assemble them and choose various items to serve as pom poms and attach ribbons. I loved that we used items that we already had on hand to decorate. It was fun to be creative with the stuff I have stashed for just such a project. My favorite topper was probably the shapes we bent out of pipe cleaners. We made our ties with two pieces of ribbon. I think elastic would have been more comfortable for wearing but we did not have that on hand.

My daughter's pom was salvaged from a headband that didn't last long.

Tah dah! The hats await the guests.

January 6, 2012

sewing on paper – an experiment

I was crafting up a greeting card with fabric scraps. I was about to glue them together when I took a second look at my sewing machine, threaded with magenta thread and sitting idly. Why not? I scooted over there and ran my card through. It worked rather well!

 I do think a larger, more spaced apart stitch would have been better though. The small stitch my machine was set on basically ripped completely through the cardstock, as seen on the inside of the card. Everything seemed to be holding together well enough to finish it up and pop it in an envelope.

I almost feel as though I am free to sew any sort of thing now that the quilt is done. Can you believe it took me a year and a half?! Well, actually, I can believe it. I am very excited to start some new – small! – sewing projects. Hold me to it, blog friends.

January 4, 2012

Remembering a good day of design

I quick snapped this photo on a sunny afternoon in December. It was late in the work day and I had just finished a particularly fulfilling afternoon of graphic design experimenting and problem solving while working on the annual report. I was tired but good tired. The tired that comes from really stretching the brain in relative solitude for hours on end.

That, and I couldn't help but notice my snack coordinated with the spreads I had been working on!

The report is in booklet form. There will be an online version for virtual page-flipping. When that comes out, I will share it with you as I am rather pleased with the design of the report.

January 2, 2012

The quilt is done!

At long last, the quilt is complete. I mastered the mitered corners and figured out the binding and borrowed my mother-in-law's sewing machine for the final zigzag stitch (in the interest of completing this beast in the current decade, I declined on hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt).

Things aren't quite perfect but it is perfectly functional and perfectly homemade. What a wonderful way to start the year – with a crafting accomplishment!