Wednesday, March 31, 2010

spring prints and getting ready

I've been squeezing in as much carving, printing, and sewing as I can in order to have a shop update on Thursday. For some reason umbrellas are making me incredibly happy. I made two more yesterday! There was a quiet calm as dinner was cooking itself (my favorite kind!), my son was working on his research paper (the history of the piano) and my daughter was making a book about rocks and minerals (just because). I realized that I didn't HAVE to put the laundry away... so I sat down beside my girl and drew two new umbrellas. In the process it started to hail outside. We were all cozy by the wood stove, the smell of  vegetable chowder was tickling our noses, and I had a huge rush of contentment. You know the ones that take your breath away and make your eyes water... with gratitude. It was gone in the blink of an eye... the phone rang, the kids started fighting over a Pandora station, and the biscuits got a little dark (ahem). Writing it down helps keep the sweetness close by... somehow.

Oh yes, back to prints. I'll have a few spring  note card sets like the umbrellas above and the birds/garden below.

I've fallen in love with the little sized Moleskine journals and will add these to the shop, as well.

I got into my sewing groove and will have 7 or 8 burlap buckets along with some other new items... here's a peek at a couple pre-photoshoot...
Hoping for a brighter day (and no hail) to take some good photos! Are you having sunshine today where ever you might be?
Pin It

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

easy peanut butter cups

I love giving my children a sense of independence. I'm always on the look out for snacks they can prepare by all by their self. Even though my son is very comfortable cooking,  this little snacky dessert is our new go-to treat. It can be made elegant in a paper "cup" for tea parties. Mostly I'm just setting out the ingredients and letting them go to town. Any child old enough to wield a butter knife can try their hand at natural peanut butter cups. My five year old will tell you that this is "good and messy". A big thanks to my good friend Kathrin for another simple and marvelous idea that we're all gobbling up!

As you can see: 3 ingredients. Bananas. Peanut butter. Chocolate chips. Grain sweetened chips can be used if you're wanting to avoid sugar.Any nut butter will work.

Pin It

flying to...

Thanks for your amazing comments. I really would love to send some fun mail to each of you! I'm wrapping up the blue swallow bucket (and more) and sending it to:
"love the blog, a wonderful source for inspiration. Excited for the giveaway."
I will be contacting you today. Congratulations!

All right, friends... on to year # 3! I'll be back in a little while with today's post.

Pin It

Monday, March 29, 2010

home again

Happy Monday! What an amazing amount of love and enthusiasm last week's give-away has created! Overwhelmed is an understatement. I'm soaking it all in. We just returned from a whirlwind trip to New Hampshire and Boston for a fun weekend filled with extended family. I love coming home! 780 miles! I don't know what we would have done with out our antiquated Heather Forest story tapes. They're available on CD, too... we're just old school sometimes! Highly recommended for travel with small ones (find them here and here). I'm recuperating with my laundry piles and to-do lists... and your lovely comments have sweetened the task. So have the baby leaves on our forced crab apple branches, that welcomed us when we returned.

Coming home to rain inspired me to carve this stamp on my "to make" list. So instead of posting right away today... I carved. Very grounding for me, as you know. A few more umbrellas might need to be made for April, because it's so fun creating collages with raindrops made from security envelopes... and a few digital drops tossed in.p.s. Blogger is having some odd problems with formatting photos today... please bare with the strange layout and cut off images. You can see all photos in their entirety on my flickr page.

p.p.s. I think blogger's troubles may be over. phew! Pin It

Friday, March 26, 2010

maya*made give-away!

As a little thank you for joining me over the past two years, I'm offering a sampling of some of my favorites:
-a linen bucket printed with a blue barn swallow
-a pincushion made from a salvaged coffee sack scrap
-a hand printed floral Moleskine journal
I'm so sentimental, and they each represent a little bit of this blog's history.

If you'd like an opportunity to have me wrap these up and send them to you, please leave a comment in this post before Monday, the 29th at 5 pm EST. As always, anyone in the world can enter, just make sure to leave your contact info. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning.

Good luck!
Thanks so much! The Give-Away is now closed!
Pin It

Thursday, March 25, 2010

on the board...

Today was filled with thrifting, rescuing coffee sacks, and cutting burlap. All are time consuming, and I hadn't anticipated posting tonight, but I wanted to thank you for those wonderful wishes left on yesterday's post. So fun to celebrate with you!
I've moved a little blackboard into our main room. My family and I have been rotating words and thoughts. These three stayed for some time because they're such good reminders... especially during those transitions to get out the door. I think I'll be sharing the board with you now and then. Just thought I'd let you know.
this and that:
  • The leather leaf cuff circled around blogland yesterday. So happy when that happens!
  • I had a little interview over at Indie Fixx. Thanks, Jen!
  • I did it! I ordered my summer sandals!
  • Working on another shop update for next week, and it will include several burlap buckets for those many etsy convo/requests that have been coming in... along with new market totes.
  • Tomorrow I'll have a give-away for you first thing in the AM.
Sweet dreams!
Pin It

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

happy blogiversary!

Yesterday my blog turned two years old! Oh my, how did that happen!? I celebrated its anniversary quietly. It's been such a life-changing experience to record this creative journey. I chose to spend some time reflecting and painting one of my friends who just returned home. Hello spring robin! It was just what I needed... slow down time. I've discovered a great deal about myself and how to make dreams come true, especially in the last year. I've learned to believe in myself and value my work. But I couldn't have... and simply wouldn't have accomplished so much without your incredible encouragement and love. For this I am grateful beyond words, so a little thank you give-away is in the works for the end of the week. It will include several quintessential maya*made items that I am looking forward to sharing with one of you. Today I wanted to give you ALL a little something. This is one of my favorite quotes... I've had it up for years in each creative work space I've used:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium... the world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
-Martha Graham

Thanks for a wonderful two years, friends! Hope you'll join me for another... I think it's going to be the most exciting year, yet! Pin It

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

leather leaf cuff: how to

The little leather leaves from last week were my first foray into working with recycled leather. I loved it! Now every time I'm at the thrift store, I'll be scouting out potential leather. The green piece I have is soft and supple, so I felt brave enough to try it out on my sewing machine. An all purpose needle didn't work... not at all. I inserted a leather needle- what an amazing difference! So, as you can see, I stitched them up and added a button to make a cuff. I'm so excited about it, I couldn't wait to show you! I know it's just a little project, but sometimes these small discoveries get me the giddiest! It must have been contagious because I had a request for another smaller cuff from my daughter. Absolutely the best compliment I could ask for... and we do like to match.

Did I mention they're a quick whip up?! Another little cuff was ready in minutes. I'm might link some more leather in the form of circles... not necessarily cuffs next time, because they're versatile enough to morph into any number of creations. I'll leave it open-ended for now.

So here's how I made the cuff, just in case you have some scraps of leather around the house and feel inspired...

  1. Fold the leather and cut out a half leaf shape with sharp scissors... just like cutting out hearts on the fold.
  2. Overlap them rotating the smooth and suede side for texture and interest.
  3. Insert leather needle into your sewing machine.
  4. Feed each leaf through your machine slowly, adding one at a time. (I'm still mastering smooth joining of two pieces, but any roughness in my stitches doesn't bother me too much.)
  5. Once you have a length of leaf links that will comfortably fit around your wrist, with one leaf overlapping the end, remove from your machine. Make sure to back stitch to lock threads.
  6. Sew on a little button to the last leaf.
  7. Cut a slit for a button hole on the first leaf.
  8. Wear.

So soft and comfortable... with whispers of forest magic. Pin It

Monday, March 22, 2010

personal pizza party

Dinner for a bunch of friends of mixed ages, and with varying eating preferences, can be a challenge. We always seem to have success with a make your own personal pizza party. This past Saturday night was another good one, and I realized that there's a hidden bonus: you don't have to prep much before your guests arrive... dinner becomes a cooperative endeavor. Community cooking is always more festive! The act of rolling out dough and decorating their own little pizza is entertaining for even the smallest guests... who, inevitably just like "plain pizza". Grown-ups will have an inordinate amount of fun getting creative with toppings while drinking a good bottle of wine. If you haven't had a pizza party... please, do! If you already are a pizza party giver... go make plans for another one soon... so delicious!

Personal Pizzas
  1. Double any pizza dough recipe and divide into small fist sized balls. Cover with a cloth and let rest until you're ready to roll.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Roll (with a pin) until very thin, no more than 1/4 of an inch and place on baking sheet. I love the pizza pans with holes to achieve a nice crispy crust.
  4. Brush with olive oil. This creates a barrier between the sauce and dough to prevent soggy pizza.
  5. Add your toppings and then slightly roll over all of the edges.
  6. Lower heat to 475 degrees and bake until golden and bubbly. This won't take long, so keep an eye on your pizzas!
Topping suggestions:
The Basic: tomato sauce and grated mozzarella.
The sky's the limit for getting wild or sophisticated with extra toppings. Try The Basic with any of the following: pesto, garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, feta, spinach, red onions,tepenade, goat cheese etc.
One of our Saturday night chefs made a scrumptious white garlic pizza. No tomatoes, just mozzarella, feta, and lots of fresh pressed garlic. Or go in the opposite direction for a vegan pizza by just adding fresh tomatoes, pesto (w/o cheese) and kalamata olives. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the possibilities.

A few notes:
  • Optional: open the wine before you begin!
  • Set up two different stations: rolling and toppings.
  • Partner up with someone and collaborate.
  • Have children make several at a time, so that their pizza is in a quick rotation for the oven... they can't wait as long as we can.
  • Relax about all sitting down together for the whole meal... this is supposed to be casual. Someone will be topping a second or third sometime during the meal.
What's your favorite pizza topping combo? Pin It

Friday, March 19, 2010

10 spring things

Tomorrow is the first day of spring! Rarely does the calendar match up with our weather reality in Ithaca at the end of March. This weekend might be an exception. So here's I hope to celebrate in no particular order:
  1. Clip forsythia and crab apple branches for some indoor coaxing. Blossoms outside won't happen 'til the first week of May, we're ready now, please!
  2. Visit our neighbor's new calves... again! Who could resist baby kissing cows!
  3. Walk in the woods and down to the creek to see what's new.
  4. Make daffodils . Ours are still on the way, as you can see by the first photo.
  5. Get popsicles going in the freezer... I know it's early.
  6. Wash all the linens and hang them on the line!
  7. Consider making this for dinner.
  8. Dream about wearing any of these.
  9. Make a new skirt... for me and my girl.
  10. Play outside as much as possible!
Oh, that's a pretty nice list! I'll be happy for even one or two of those things. Do you have any special plans for celebrating the coming of spring? Pin It

spring calves!

Each morning for the last three days, I've taken my children to watch our neighbor's calves enjoying their brand new world.

We're in love.! Pin It

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

petite purls spring issue

I'm happy to announce that the spring issue of Petite Purls is up. Petite Purls is an e-zine dedicated to knitting for the littles, with some lovely sewing mixed in. The patterns are gorgeous, the articles are wonderful, and the photography is stunning. Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Also included in each issue are interviews, book & product reviews, and a great selection of articles. Editors, Allegra and Brandy, have done a truly terrific job with this latest one... and did I mention, it's their GREEN issue! I happen to have little project in there, too. I know I can't stop talking about sachets... I did this to you about the same time last year, as well. It seems that lavender helps usher in the spring for me... So what else could my project be, but a sachet that uses up the smallest bits from your scrap basket! It's actually a little (and very adapted) version of my love-letter pillows that were so enjoyed last year. So go check it out, and then please explore the entire magazine... I was so excited to see what incredible women were along side me in this issue. I think you will be, too. It's a good one!

Pin It

give-away winner

I'm happy to announce that the winner of two art prints from our wonderful sponsor Lori Portka is...
Please e-mail me with your contact info so that I may pass it on to Lori. Congratulations.! Pin It

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

leaves and branch brooches

I've received multiple e-mails about the branch brooch I was wearing with my new ruffle neck shirt. I decided the easiest way to answer them all was right here. Last week my children and I were walking in the woods and examining branches for little buds that are the first sign of spring leaves. Even though we knew it was far too early in these Northern parts, we were hopeful. Not yet, I kept saying to both them and myself. So, of course, I decided to create leaves... why wait! We're always gathering sticks and branches so we had plenty on hand. A forgotten scrap of light green leather had been patiently waiting for attention in my studio. I simply cut some leaf shapes and pinched the bottoms together with a couple stitches of thread. Instant leaf!

Next, the leaf got placed on a little stick and was wrapped multiple times with green thread. I had planned on just placing it on the mantle, but couldn't stop holding it. A lace ribbon wrapped around the bottom made the perfect spot to attach a safety pin. So that's how I "grew" a branch brooch. I think this is my new Vernal Equinox accessory!

There are two other branch ideas that I'm loving right here and over here.

Now, I'm obsessed with leaves! I can't stop thinking about them. Felt works equally well, by the way... here' a sneak peek at something I'm working on.

Pin It

Monday, March 15, 2010

sachets and journals::early spring update

Your responses to my post on Friday were so thoughtful... so insightful! I'm very lucky to have you all in my life, and I encourage you to go back and check out the comments.

I got right to making several sachets with that coverlet, and I wore my new bag all weekend long! I'm so happy with it, but am refining the design in my head with each wearing. So to answer a couple of your questions: is it my pattern and will they be for sale in my shop? Yes to both. When? After I perfect the size and shape a tiny bit. I plan to make them in various materials: from burlap and ticking to more of the spring green tablecloth. For now, I've put the sachets up in my shop and even printed up some more Moleskine journals.

I can't live without mine! I always have several going at once: one in my bag, another on the kitchen counter (that's where I am most of the time),and a little one by my bed. I used them long before I started selling them, but am so proud to say that my hand stamped versions are now filling up with thoughts/sketches in several countries around the world.
In fact, the latest Sew Hip magazine from the UK just featured them in their "Things We Love" section. Yay!
p.s. I think this is my favorite sachet from the weekend and almost didn't put it in the shop, but I'll make more for me ! The little loop is Parisian lace from Sonia's wonderful shop.
Sonia just happened to be making her own beautiful Moleskine journals this weekend also! (I have one of hers, too... it's the one tucked in my bag!)

Hope you had a great weekend and for those of us that had to spring ahead... let's enjoy adjusting to the longer afternoon daylight! Pin It

Saturday, March 13, 2010

sponsor give-away: Lori Portka!

Good morning! I have such a beautiful way for us all to start our weekend. Lori Portka is generously offering one lucky reader their choice of two of her prints! What a way to bring some loving intention and vibrant beauty into your home! To read more about Lori and the joy she brings to each of her paintings, please check here and here. When you stop by her shop, you'll see how fortunate it is that she is giving two away... one would be so hard to choose... have fun trying to pick one. Looking through all of her images always makes me feel lighter, clearer and just plain HAPPY.

To enter: please leave a comment in this post before Tuesday, March 16th 5pm EST. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday morning. Happiness and good luck to you!

Pin It

Friday, March 12, 2010

bag of lessons

Yesterday did not go smoothly. I had the best intentions for a productive day. All of my design notes and fabrics were ready, coffee was had, music was playing, the house was empty... the making for a dream day in my studio ( if you follow me on twitter you heard a bit of this tale, bare with me please). I was almost done with my first bag... a messenger style that I was testing with my beloved vintage coverlet as one of the reversible sides. And then... RIP. Not a good sound.

Suddenly my sturdy white fabric was shredding in several places. I can't tell you how devastated I was. Far too much sadness for a bit of sewing, that's for sure. The tears over a project gone awry made me look in the mirror for closer examination... and here are just a couple of the hidden lessons this bag held:
  • When expectations aren't met, it needn't be taken personally. The fabric didn't rip to spite me, nor thwart my sale.
  • Planning doesn't guarantee anything.
  • Rolling with the unexpected doesn't hurt, what hurts is fighting what I can't change.
Turns out that rip reminded me of the inner work I continue to do.These are some of my biggies. We all have issues that keep cycling around in our lives. A wise friend once told me "our issues don't resolve as we get older, we evolve how we respond to them."

So the bag? A new liner was made last night out of a white linen skirt. It's a very happy carry-all/everyday type of messenger bag. I'm thinking I can't part with it now. I'll be making more in this style, I'm sure. This one holds my stuff just right!

And the coverlet? An answer to yesterday's question about stamps was found in the ripped pieces (thanks Patricia!). Sachets for spring are on their way.

Have a great weekend friends, and please stop back tomorrow for a wonderful sponsor give-away! Pin It

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Thanks so much for taking the time to cheer for the turtleneck revamping. I went through my shirt drawer yesterday and pulled out every lonely and forgotten turtleneck. As much as I'd like to chop up each one, I have some other sewing I'd like to attend to first. What I'm really excited about is cutting into some favorite thrifted fabrics I've been holding onto (desperately hoarding). It takes a great deal of courage to slice into a one-of-a-kind piece from my stash... but I'm ready. So, I've been preparing myself by choosing little groupings. Above is a vintage Ikea table cloth from a garage sale, a gorgeous white coverlet from a summer auction, and a piece of lace from a vintage pillowcase. I've got quite a crush on them together like that! Next I have ticking, striped denim, and organic cotton (new). These are classic favorites for me... add a little oatmeal shaded linen and I'm in love.

Finally, I'm pondering what to do with these hand stamped organic pieces. I cut them for tote pockets, but they might have to turn into the center sections of pillows. What would you do? I almost can't sew into them at all. Silliness.

And, yes I'm stamping flowers on everything in site... even stones! Pin It