Thursday, April 23, 2015

experimenting

I was so thrilled with the love and enthusiasm that poured out over the web about my new book earlier this week. Thank you!

And now, of course- back to rope! I had to pull myself away from my YELLOW project to stitch up a birthday basket for one of my favorite 10 year olds. I've been contemplating freezer paper stenciling on rope for a few weeks. I first experimented on a sampler ( a spiral disk) and decided that it had potential, but wasn't quite right yet, nor predictable.
 Freezer paper on the flat bottom interior of a basket/bowl was easier than on a curve. All of the wrinkling compelled me to peel it off before I flubbed up a handmade birthday present.  Let me know if you are braver and give freezer paper a try. In the meantime- I opted for tiny dots with a pencil eraser which turned out quite sweetly.
 And that sampler? It can be tossed in your picnic "basket" for your next outdoor gathering. They make AWESOME  frisbees!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HOPE, MAKE, HEAL

 My second book is ready for pre-order! Yes!!! What an amazing thing to be able to say to you! I'm so proud of this book and what I hope it will offer to others.  As many of you know, three years ago a dark cloud landed over my home and heart. I shifted gears and invested all of my energy into finding healing and solace for my children and myself. Every bit of my creativity was channeled into mending the wounds. Since I use my hands so much, of course crafting was part of my path to wholeness.  Today, I wake up happy and content again, knowing myself more deeply and enjoying life fully! In fact, I'm dyeing more sunshiny yellow rope as I type! I hope that what I learned along the way may be a source of inspiration for anyone going through their own unique challenge.

Please do read on to hear a little more about Hope, Make, Heal….


A welcome companion to anyone suffering a great loss—20 inspiring craft projects to help work through grief. 
Published by Roost Books.

Grief and pain are universal experiences that touch everyone at one time or another. When we grieve, most of us reach for the steady hand of loved ones. But even if we're blessed with an understanding community, a deep sense of isolation comes with tragedy. No one else stands in our shoes. Rarely is there another person who can understand just what it means to be you. 
     
When faced with the trauma of a sudden and unexpected ending to my marriage of sixteen years, I yearned to find something that would allow me to focus and channel my powerful flood of emotions into something I could see and touch. Knowing that busy hands can profoundly nurture the heart and quiet the mind, I began making things to wear, carry, touch, and gaze upon—beautiful and expressive objects that were simple, intentional, and most of all, meaningful. 

The result is the collection of projects here. This book offers a unique approach to mending wounds with inspiring projects that integrate hand, heart, and mind with thread, ink, and more. The projects encourage renewal and restoration during life's transitions and after deep loss. Each one offers comfort and support and is designed to have a personal impact on the maker and those around them. It's a resource for personal healing and a gift for your friend in need.

Pre-order here:



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Monday, April 20, 2015

making sunshine

My rope sewing obsession seems to be spreading!  I'm loving watching everyone's beautiful creations pop up on instagram and across the web. Amanda went gloriously wild over the weekend… go see what she's been up to. If you've been caught by this bug, I know you understand the power it has to expand your creativity. Those spirals must be potent brain boosters. My latest iteration included dyeing another 200 feet of rope in a pot of boiling turmeric broth. I only put half in the pot, which lead to the interesting variations you can see above. Turmeric is always a successful natural dye to use because the color is so darn rich and happy… like making sunshine.
After rinsing it and letting it dry overnight, I threw the entire length into my dryer to heat set it and get out the last bit of moisture. Untangling it into a tidy ball took a bit of patience, but also felt like another form of meditation. And then you're ready to roll… er sew!
 
 Don't the forced forsythia match perfectly? Couldn't have planned it better, since my bushes aren't even close to blossoming.
 This is my first little attempt at a lidded vessel. It was tiny and quick… now I think I'll go BIG.
This one reminds me a bit of the striped stoneware mixing bowls I bake with. I think a need some smalls for nesting.
And these?  They sunny discs might look like trivets and coaster, but they are part of a bigger project that I'm experimenting with. I just need to go dye more rope before it's done. Any guesses?
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Friday, April 17, 2015

200 feet

I wanted to see how big 200 feet of rope could be. My diameter was 1 foot. I circled around from there for 14 inches in height. I created a slight tapering towards the top to keep it structured when I realized half way through that my tight zigzag stitch hadn't been switched back from a different project. Whoops! This meant that there was some stretch and give… not a serious "bad" thing, but not as sturdy as my previous bowls and baskets. A good lesson- I was happy that I'd only used white thread and I could easily reinforce looser areas by running it through my machine with confidence that imperfections would not take away from the beauty of it shape and overall appearance.
It looks quite handsome standing tall by my back door. That free-form stitching was also a bit fun. I love that I keep learning with these. This vessel turned out to be perfect for its intended use… to not only see what 200 ft offers, but to lovingly store/display our yoga mats so that we always feel invited to roll them out. I'm now practicing in classes three times a week (at minimum) and going for 4 days on my own. Yes- that's an every day goal! We shall see how it goes… it's a practice, after all.
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

soul bowl

 The rope sewing hasn't let up… it's only increased. Holy!  Every time I meet with a friend, I stitch up a basket/bowl. They are now being shipped to loved ones far and wide. Each one carries a bit of my soul, as I can't help meditating through the spiraling process… so a soul bowl seems like a good name. A couple of the latest ones have leather, bone, wood or stone details. I'm having so much fun!
 Today I am finishing up my biggest one yet… using 200 ft. of rope. There's a peek on Instagram- right here. More tomorrow. I'm thrilled to see that I'm not alone in this fabulously satisfying new craft- Amanda has joined in with some beauties. Between the two of us, we are definitely wiping out our local hardware stores' supply of cotton laundry cord! I do hope you'll stop by your own hardware store to give it a try!


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

getting ready

Buds are bursting off of branches, tulip and daffodil bulbs are reaching their greens toward the sky… all of nature seems to be preparing for the colorful extravaganza earth is about to throw in the next few weeks.
I took a piece of printer paper outside and slipped it behind my subjects before I took a picture. It was a cool little photography experiment that let them truly shine.
 
And now we await the blooms and blossoms… I must admit that I'm most excited for these fuzzy babes  below to unfurl. My star magnolia is getting ready for her annual showcase, and I can barely wait!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

forcin'

 I don't believe in rushing most things, but "forcing" our forsythia's golden blossoms out early is always a favorite April activity. They typically bloom around May Day. Who needs to wait, when you can drop a few snipped branches into water and and have an indoor bouquet a wee bit sooner.
 I saved these pretty bottles for just this occasion. I think they're going to look perfect! I'll share how these do soon...
Do you force any blooms? I'm thinking of adding some of our crabapple branches to the mix, but might have to find some "just right bottles" for them.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

horse sittin'

These two beauties are our new neighbors. Since my daughter's horse passion is known far and wide… she was asked to horse sit for these (HUGE) Belgian Drafts! 
Love seeing her dreams come true… and her fearlessness. I'm a bit of a scaredy cat around such big creatures- glad I had my spunky girl to show me what to do.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

rope vessels


 My latest bucket love… or are they baskets, maybe even bowls? Whatever you want to call them- I'm head over heels for sewing with rope!
 Gorgeous. Sturdy. Totally useful. I'm hooked!
 Here's some perspective on its size… substantial for sure. I have lots of plans for experimentation. I tried it with jute garden twine.
Thin and delicate… but I'm thinking something thicker in both cotton and jute is the direction I'll take next.
Head over heels, I tell you!  Now, off to the hardware store for some more supplies!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

eggs and baskets

Good morning, belated welcome to April and happy Monday to you! So happy to return to routine and rhythm after a very full spring break with busy kids and quite a few of their friends, as well. We were ecstatic to see all of the snow melt away.
And dealt patiently when it returned.
We ate a lot of good food, took a mini road trip, played a lot and made a lot. Our week culminated with all kinds of eggs… fresh, decorated and chocolate ones, too!
On Easter Eve, I decided it was time for a few new baskets. How come my best creative moments are always at midnight the night before something? So there I was... stitching cotton laundry cord into the wee hours- completely enthralled! I made a total of 4 baskets. Two minis, a medium (filled with eggs above) and a large. 
Creative Bug has a great workshop by Nicole Blum on how to make rope baskets right here. But I must admit, I haven't watched more than the intro yet and just winged it- something I think Nicole would totally relate too, as an artist who also loves to improvise! But for many, careful instructions makes producing something new much less stressful- so go check it out! Since I made these up as I went along, they kept improving, and I got more inspired with each new basket. This spiral sewing is addictive beyond belief. 
 More pics tomorrow!


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Friday, March 27, 2015

hedgehogs!

 For three months we've been immersed in all things hedgehog. For my daughter's annual research paper she chose the pet of her dreams (in hopes I might give in, perhaps!). She spent months writing up and organizing several hundred notecards, which were used to create an extremely informative and very well written paper. I love her Montessori school and how they celebrate the completion of this huge body of work. Each child creates a board on their research topic and memorizes a thorough presentation. 
All of the parents are then invited to a research fair where these brilliant young experts are ready and waiting to give one-on-one lectures about their topic. 
 Of course, a hedgehog accessory was necessary! We made a hedgie rubber stamp (see first pic) and printed it onto linen for a headband just right for the occasion.
 If you have any hedgehog related questions (besides if I will be granting her wish for one!), this lovely girl most likely has a very articulate answer!

Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

yoga, bags and blogiversaries


The significant adults in my daughter's world all do yoga. She was inspired by our many conversations about how transformative it has been for us- and decided to join in.
Of course, yoga is  a wonderful tool for any age and gender, but I believe that tween girls in our culture can especially gain so much from learning how to tune into their bodies and minds in a non judgmental way. After several months, she's hooked. And will even get up in the morning and do a few poses if there's a mat open and waiting for her. 
And so I've assisted in making three yoga mat bags for my new little yogi and her two friends who all take a weekly yoga class for 9-12 year olds.

The key to making a bag that works for this age (or anyone not wanting struggle!) is to make it roomy enough for a loosely rolled mat. Who needs the challenge of stuffing a mat into a tiny package at the end of an expansive hour? These bags also have a drawstring that cinches into the handles to eliminate tying and fussing.
The girls each selected fabric from a stash of batiks my mother had brought back from a trip to Bali many years ago. These fabrics have been tucked into a back corner of my studio for so long, it's been fun to see them being put to use again.

One of the first times those batiks made an appearance on this blog was 7 years ago in my first month of posting (right here). Look at that little 3 year old munchkin! Oh my!

 In fact, it's  been seven full years this week since I began maya*made! Can't believe how fast it's flown. Life keeps evolving. Children keep growing. Time does not stop. But this online home records frozen moments of beauty and discovery that I find so sweet to revisit. It's also been a steady landing spot for me during this journey, and I'm super grateful for all of you who have joined me along the way! Thank you!!!

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