Funny Little Pots

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Between the new year and spring I took a pottery class. After the first class I thought I might cry – you know, even when you are constantly creative, figuring out the basics of a new craft often has a steep learning curve. I watched you tube videos, I got a little better every week, I vowed to use up every last bit of my clay. By the last throwing class I made two bowls that almost matched, and weren’t too wonky (success!). My favorite part was painting the underglaze (the bright colors like the rainbows and bird above), and then I realized, hey wait, I actually just really love to paint. That process turned my weird little shapes into cute weird little shapes that I started to like. After 10 weeks of an almost completely foreign-to-me process, I brought home all these funny little pots – glazed and shiny. I have no idea what I’ll do with most of them…

Like anything I’ve taken the time to learn, it gave me a new appreciation for ceramics – it is such a long process with so many steps and so much room for error (kind of the opposite of what I do everyday – where things can be finished in relatively short time and mistakes can be undone). A new appreciation for the craft of my ceramic artist friends, and a new appreciation for the pricing of handmade ceramics, for sure. If you’ve ever thought about taking a class, do it. And try not to cry.

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New Shapes, New Dolls

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Every once in a while I get the feeling that something needs to change (of course, in my everyday life, I get that feeling a lot – forever restless). The dolls needed to be revived, I needed to  stay interested. So I spent some time fooling around with shapes and made a few new patterns – I love these narrow, easy to hold bodies and thin limbs (even though they take considerably more time to turn and stuff!). There is a sweetness and elfishness about these dolls that intrigues me and makes me want to make one after the other, just to see what the next one will look like – it’s a surprise, even to me, until all the parts come together. Keep an eye out for more like this in the shop – I will be adding them as they are made. Here’s to the beginning of summer!

{ps, loved this episode}

Story of a Quilt

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Many months ago, I started a quilt. I randomly decided on this tiny triangle pattern (I do not like to research or look for patterns, I like to make things right now…) in hopes that it would use up a lot of my scrap fabric. Well, it did, and then in order to finish it I cut into lots of other fabric too – I really had no idea what I was getting into. When the Christmas rush of work took over the fall season, I put this project away. Then in the last weeks of December (the weeks that are generally very crafty anyway) I decided that I would finish it. I was at these triangles every spare minute and into the night. Over 1500 pieces later, I was. going. to. finish. it.

I completed the top just days before we headed to visit family – I took the quilt along hoping to make use of the quilting supplies at my parent’s church. I’m so glad there were other willing hands to help, which makes it that much more special to me in the end. Since I rarely do projects that involve this much time or materials, finishing this quilt felt epic. I’m guessing it’s the very last steps that keep quilters coming back for more (not so much, I think, the parts in the middle, when so much work has already been done and you’re asking yourself, do I even like this?) I don’t find that in quick projects there is room or time for me to doubt myself. In big projects, oh, there is loads of that.

Here is a how it came together:

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  1. The first hundred or so tiny triangles (the aforementioned ‘no idea what I was getting into’)
  2. Sewn into 40 blocks, laid out for the final design – just trying to make sure no two pieces of the same fabric were touching.

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3. Quilt top, two middle layers of bamboo, and bottom stripes (a lovely Marimekko flat sheet that I knew would wear well) sandwiched on a frame and ready for tying.

4. My mom, and friends (and kids!), came to help with the tying. It’s more fun that way.

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5. Two of my besties. Striped shirts mandatory.

6. Sewing on the top side of the bias binding edge – the first time I’ve done this! 1/2″ bias binding from Bumble of Beesquilt (7)

7. Many hours later, after handsewing the back of the binding in place. Complete!

Several weeks have passed and the quilt is still exactly there, like in that photo above. That’s where I read and stay warm, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy it.

To those of you who followed along with this over the months on Instagram, thank you for your encouragement — I’m honestly not sure how far I would have got without it. Though I won’t be after a project like this for a long time, I really do love how this all came together.

 

Bon Voyage

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Earlier this week I was cleaning out my studio. I have a lot of supplies and a pretty small space to keep them, so it doesn’t take long before it feels tight. These four big animals had been keeping me company in there for the last year since I made them as part of the Imaginary Architects exhibit at the Saskatchewan Craft Council. I am pretty fond of them, simply because of their size, but I knew it was time to make room, and perhaps someone else would like to adopt them. I put out a call on instagram for anyone wanting to give them a home, and within the day they were off – one locally, one to BC, one to New Hampshire, and One to the UK. I set them in our porch while they waited to be boxed up, and I kind of loved the sight of them there. Also, a shot of me looking like we are telling jokes, when really I am just trying to keep everyone upright after dashing into the photo (I’ll likely never relinquish the self timer…). Bon Voyage sweet animals, it was fun.

 

Inspiring People: Simpli Jessi

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Oh my plush-lovin heart! These dolls by Simpli Jessi are quite wonderful. I can’t decide if it’s the lovingly embroidered faces (those noses!) or all the sweet details in the clothing – whatever it is, it all adds up to so much personality in these little beings. I felt an instant connection when I discovered that she also does custom look a like dolls – you should see them, they are so spot on!  If you love dolls like I do, go check out her blog and Etsy shop – thanks for letting me share these Jessi!

Boolah Baguette Undies

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In the middle of pre-Christmas madness last year, I took a (momentary) step away from the dolls and started making some underwear for kids. Since I already make children’s items it seemed like a good fit – plus I’m so tired of seeing cheaply made, flimsy girl panties, and kids underwear decorated with movie characters in order to sell them. Maybe I’ve thought too much about it at this point, but I think kid’s underwear should hold it’s place through kartwheels and be easy enough for a potty trainer. Well, it’s been about a year since I started making these for my own kids, so I felt like I had tested and re-tested the pattern enough (this particular pattern is That Darn Kat – and if you sew, I definitely encourage you to try it!). I love the modesty, the elastic-free, and the contrasting front panel even in the girl’s pattern. And when I came across this beautiful organic cotton fabric from Lillestoff, well, I just had to. I had to! The fabric is so soft, some of the nicest I’ve ever worked with, and it is perfect for underwear. There should be a rule about undies being as cute as possible!

So far I have just been making these to accompany my dolls at a few craft sales, but maybe I will be able to offer them online soon. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Inspiring People: Donna Wilson

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I’ve been in love with the designs of Donna Wilson for years now – drawn to it initially by the plush dolls (of course), but also loving the housewares and especially the ceramics. I love seeing how designs for plush are transformed into knit creatures, and the amazing styling that she puts out in her shop season after season.  It seems that Donna’s business grew very organically from a creative place, and she learned as she went about running an actual business – She was so young when things really took off.  Everything she’s doing is working of course, since her goods are very well known – What is especially nice to hear is how much of her process she is able to keep local, supporting her own community and employing like minded people. Also, she just seems like the loveliest human being. There is a video interview by Uppercase here – and please, someone stop me from jumping into that studio…

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{images via Donna’s Blog , Happy Interiors Blog}