Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Creative Space Digital

I'm working on a plan. A Christmas present plan. If it works, it could save me massive time and stress.

Okay, here's the deal: I'm designing a school girl (and possibly boy) pattern. Saved as a jpg I'll send it off to be printed by Spoonflower. Three wonderful cheers for Spoonflower. I'll whip together the front and backs patterns and presto! Little dolls wearing our school's uniform and ready to be given to teachers and students.

(I have not grown big ears and a tail. That is my assistant Pep helping me. If he tries to tell you he does all the design work around here, just smile and ignore him.) And then click here for other creative spaces with amazing ideas although perhaps not with sock monkies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Michigan is Growing

For the Coopersville Farm Museum art and photography contest. The theme is Michigan's bounty. Actually, graphic--computer generated illustration does not neatly fit into one of their categories so this may not be an official entry. We'll see what they say when I submit it tomorrow.

**** The fine folks at the Farm Museum loved the illustration and placed it in the "catch all" category. Yippee!*****

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Creative Space--Be Prepared

Christmas is coming whether the goose is on a diet or not. You know and I know it.

I have just finished my calculations. I estimate that I will need approximately 455,672,003 Christmas presents--give or take a few thousand. I'm not talking about gifts for family. I'm talking about tokens of appreciation for all those "others": the butcher, the baker, the burrito maker.

You know how it is. You go through life meeting people who then must be given a Christmas present. Just when you think you've got it sorted the taxidermist gives you 15 lbs of reindeer meat gift wrapped in a buffalo hide and then what do you do? You've got no more paper mache machetes to give--augh!

That's why I'm making my list early and checking more than twice. I'm thinking the gift of choice this year will be notebooks with hand-embroidered covers--at least for teachers and preachers and friends. Which is why I'm getting started now and why My Creative Space features lots of floss.

For more creative spaces (which probably do not mention reindeer meat) check here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Creative Space--I Got Fleeced!

Cold winds. Grey days. Rain. And a 50% off sale at the fabric store. It all adds up to a bundle of new fleece which is being transformed into softies.

Sorry the photo quality isn't great. My camera is being wonky; I'm not best pleased. Find other awesome creativity here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gone Batty

Flaps Battingwood has taken up residence at our house. He is of the Battingwood Pest Control family, of course. The Battingwoods are graduates of the University of Kansas. Therefore, when they find pests: ants, beetles, spiders, etc. they relocate them to K-State.

Flaps is my design made from fleece and felt--so quickly stitched that I think I'll need to make more of the Battingwood clan.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I got yet another project finished. Wahoo! I am on a roll which is sort of "pun"ny considering my latest finished work is a wreath.

I wrapped a metal wreath with fabric strips which I had sewn end to end. Then, I whip stitched my jumbo yo-yos together and tacked them to the wreath. Lastly, I created my Wreath Wren and added it to the centre. Easy peasy.

So welcome Fall. You're coming here anyway so we might as well be cheery about it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One Done

I finished one of my projects! Here is my latest softie, a cat named Autumn Night. It's made from fleece and felt. My design. I think I'm going to tweak the face size for the next one.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Creative Space--Fragmented

I have a starting and stopping problem. I need to stop starting projects before the last project(s) is finished.

Just look at all this stuff: a Halloween cat softie, a WildOlives Halloween embroidery, more yo-yos for a fall door hanging. And I didn't even include my Frank N. Stein's garage piece which is awaiting bonding and applique.

And then I wonder why my life seems so fragmented and stressful....hmmmm....maybe because it is fragmented.

Memo to self: finish these projects and the other half dozen before you start on anything else. (Internal voice: but I have a great idea for a Christmas softie....)

Find voices of reason, finished projects and organized crafters at My Creative Space.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm Ready!

For once in my life I am totally prepared for an upcoming holiday. Yes, indeedy. Not Thanksgiving. Not Christmas. No, I---organized person extraordinaire--am ready for Ground Hogs Day! I know, I know. It's hard to believe. It's fine; go ahead and weep.

Seriously, remember how I told you Spoonflower was offering free fabric swatches? Any money you wanted to contribute towards your swatches went to Heifer Fund? Remember?

Well, I got these lovely samples printed. Yes, Ground Hog Day Gig is ready.

The sample pieces are sort of small so I think I might better order a couple of yards of this groovy fabric designed by yours truly. I'm thinking pjs. But curtains are an idea. Does anyone else have holiday curtains? Curtains for just one day of the year? I could start a trend. I could start an industry. Someone get me the phone number for Hallmark quick!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Creative Space--Falling

The temps are starting to cool off, the leaves are starting to turn, the mums are in full bloom.

There won't be many more days for me to sit outside and stitch while the girls play.

This is my latest work-in-progress (in addition to the millions of yo-yos I am still making): Frank the Mechanic.

Hey, check out more Creative Spaces. For bonus points, pop over to WildOlive's etsy site. All profits this month go to World Vision Caregiver Packs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cowgirl Red

I had planned to enter this in the Online Hand Embroidery Exhibit. I got it completed in time. I just didn't get it entered. The deadline was 1 Sept. Oh well.

* This embroidery has nothing to do with the Red Work Quilt Project over at kootoyoo but if you want to see some amazing, inspiring, gob-smacking great stitching and design, go over and check out the project.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I am fanatical about very little. I don't have a favourite brand, place, dog breed, sport, perfume, detergent, breakfast food. I barely prefer one colour to another. I'm pretty low key.

Except about my favourite television programme: NCIS. Let's review what it isn't: it is not going to inspire the viewer to go out and change the world. It will not expand your mind. It will not teach you new things. It's just a prime time American television programme.

But it is funny, entertaining, engaging, suspenseful, well written and it has Mark Harmon, sign language, agitated nuns and Abby.

1) Have I ever mentioned I have a bit of "a thing" for Mark Harmon? Probably not. I'm subtle with my drooling. In addition to the fact that he is handsome, he seems like a really nice guy. "Niceness" is pretty much at the top of my list of attractive qualities in a guy. (And what does that tell you about Head Honcho?) Mark Harmon refuses to dye the grey out of his hair and he's been happily married to the same woman for over 20 years. Years, not months. And he raises money for special needs kiddos. He's nice....and hot.

2) Abby and Gibbs communicate via signed english/asl from time to time. (Dare I mention that Mark Harmon was also a signing hottie in Reasonable Doubts, another of my fave shows?) I love knowing what they are saying while the rest of you don't! Uh....I mean I love having additional insight into the characters and would be happy to translate for anyone. Cause signing rules!

3) This show is really funny. You'll have to watch for yourself to find the agitated nuns reference. If you ask nicely, I'll tell you it's in Season Six.

4) And then there is Abby, the forensic scientist who dresses goth and rues meeting her former boyfriend in a graveyard. Did I mention funny? She is smart, gorgeous, adorable, sweet. I just know that Abby and I would be BFF.

5) Did I mention Mark Harmon? Cause I might have forgotten to say that he is in every single episode and his character is very interesting and he looks great in black. Did I mention him?

And so in honour of the kick-off episode of Season Seven I offer you NCIS: Amigurumi. I didn't have time to finish Gibb's arms yet but I think the pattern shows promise. So turn off your computer, grab your crocheting and watch NCIS!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


For some reason my girls have been clamouring for a camera. I simply cannot imagine why. After a disaster with a $20 Hello Kitty camera which was broken almost as soon as it was out of the packaging, I realized something different was in order.

First of all, I needed something which was gorilla-friendly or at least gorilla proof. And I realized a camera is a Magna Doodle. Some toys can and must be shared between sisters. Some toys cannot be shared and either each girl must have her own or we shall have none at all in this peaceful (hahahaha) house. Magna Doodles and cameras fall into the second category.

This fall, when summer school was adequately completed and surgery was successfully endured I rewarded my girls with their own cameras. I found some Crayola cameras which have been terrific--dropped many times but they keep coming back for more. In addition, all the pictures save to a standard HD memory card so there's no odd software to load, etc.

The girls can edit the pictures of the camera--especially nice in order to delete the 16 pictures of their foot, the electrical chord or their sister with rice krispies in her nose. For the record, none of my daughters have ever stuff rice krispies up their noses. Cheerios are a different matter.

The youngest two have been using their cameras for a school project. The local farm museum is hosting a photo contest; the theme is bounty. We are studying farms right now!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Creative Space--Achoo

Alas, as the weather turns colder and the kids return to school up here in the North, the cold germs have come a callin.

This is how I feel today. Blah...chooooo.

I did manage to finish my Sherlock Hones embroidery. Maybe I'll embroidery a cold germ next. Hope all the rest of you are well and rested. Check out other Creative Spaces.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Not Even Thursday

Lately, it seems I only update my blog for Creative Space Thursdays. Not good. Creative Spaces is good--it's great! Me not posting otherwise is not good.

Schooling my girls, who are none too sold on the value of education, is robbing me of all my spare time, creative energy and will to live. Okay, maybe not the will to live but any of you who have stood over an unwilling child and demanded that they do yet one more page of math understands.

The problem is I need to be creative, imaginative, expressive. When I'm not I get glum, depressed, irritated, get the idea.

That's why I've been hitting back, fighting for creative time and energy. First, I completed this banner using Wild Olive's Ice Cream Socializers. I intentionally kept the stitching big and bold so it could be seen from a distance.

Second, Head Honcho very graciously offered to take the girls to the park yesterday evening so I could have some "down time." In addition to a nice spot of uninterrupted...yes, I did say uninterrupted....reading, I got a good start on this embroidery piece of my own design: Sherlock Hones.

Next on my "to do list" is to catch up on all my fave blog reading to get inspired by everyone else's creative flame.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Creative Space--Screaming

This week I'm doing a wee bit of screaming....for ice cream. I'm working on another great embroidery pattern from Wild Olive--this time of her ice cream socializers.

Yes, summer is over (for us in the north), but this weekend we're hosting our church's Special Needs Ministry "New School Year" kick-off ice cream social. Whew. I think this pattern is going to look great as a banner hanging from the trees.

As a bonus, I will show you yet one more cool yo-yo project. I had some pj pants which became too small through no fault of my own. They shrunk in the dresser. Really. I hated to give them away because the fabric is so cute--Hello Kitty! And my girls gave them to me as a gift. Then I bought the jumbo yo-yo maker. I figured why not.

The soft, often laundered fabric, makes the very best yo-yos ever. I haven't decided what I will do with them yet but suffice to say it will be something that will not shrink in the dresser. Plus I love a project which fits completely in a quart size ziplock--the perfect grab it and go kit.

Check out other creative spaces--which won't shrink--here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Down Wonder!

Hey little bunny! What are you doing upside down?

I'm practicing so I'll be right side up when I get to Australia.

Why are you going to Australia?

I'm part of the Softies for Mirabel crusade. This is the 3rd year that cool crafters have banded together to make softies for the children of parents with substance abuse. I'll be traveling to some awesome kid's home for Christmas.

Well now! How cool is that! I think other cool crafters should check out this to learn more information about how they can join the crusade too. And now it's time to get you off on your journey little rabbit.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Creative Space--Books and a Box

School is back on. I'm the teacher of four kids, four different grades and about 4,000 different subjects. I'm also taxi driver, cook, supply officer, nurse, mechanic, char all know the drill.

But in the midst of all that I need creativity. Like air, like water, like's an essential. I know you can relate.

That's why I had my eye on this little beauty: the purely portable, highly durable, darlingly adorable small sewing box. I've been wanting, wanting, wanting it but held off until Head Honcho got paid last week. Then, I pounced.

It's perfect for holding everything for hand-sewing yo-yos: some pre-cut fabric squares, the yo-yo maker, thread, needs, scissors...and a hippo for company and good luck.

I can make yo-yos while my daughters are reading to me, yo-yos while daughter number one pokes around not getting her math done (rolling my eyes), yo-yos while overseeing recess, yo-yos in the evening during Scooby Doo time (cause you know my girls can't live a day without watching some part of a Scooby Doo dvd).

That's my creative space. What's yours? Don't forget to check these ones out too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Colour of Learning

Another summer is gone. The days are getting shorter. Which means that three things will happen: 1) Merchants will start dousing their stores with Christmas paraphernalia 2) Cold and possibly flu germs will start planning extended visits to our house and 3) The kids will start back to school.

Back to school has been THE topic of choice at our house for weeks. How many weeks until it starts? When can I pack my backpack? Can I wear my new clothes yet? It's been on my mind constantly too. But school and learning colour us each differently.

Daughters 1 and 2 start attending afternoon classes three days a week at a Christian school. Daughter 1 has a few "new school" hesitations but that blinking yellow is going to change to pure green once she gets started. Daughter 2 is purple passion--happy to be out and about with normal hearing kids, looking forward to an adventure. I think this is going to be a good year for her.

Daughter 3 is dead set against going anywhere away from home. Even though she could start kindergarten at this same school she won't. Won't. She's the one with attachment disorder. In her case, she has the more rare form called Anxious Attachment. She is terrorized by the certainty that something bad will happen to her or me and she **much** prefers to be home with me at all times. That's fine. We'll paint her red. We could also paint her black and white since that's how she often sees things. She isn't happy her sisters are leaving home to go to school but I think, ultimately, she's going to be tickled pink to have more one on one time with me.

That leaves us with Daughter 4. Her colour is in the Agent Orange or dioxin poisoning which we are becoming increasingly certain she suffered from before birth. All the pieces fit: cleft lip and palate, hernia, pervasive but scattered developmental delays. She was born to a family who lived on the Mekong River Delta, an area of Vietnam with high Agent Orange exposure. And birth defects certainly remain prevalent in Vietnam despite time passing. I'm knee deep in pages of highly technical medical reports about the effects of dioxin on fetus; it's sobering reading. She and I have a lot of work to do this year which we are going to accomplish via play with a purpose.

And then there's me: a bit blue that I have three daughters facing difficult futures as they work harder than their peers to overcome their disabilities, a bit green with envy of other parents with "normal" kids, but mostly white with fear that I'm not going to "get this right"--that I'll miss something I need to give my girls, particularly Daughter 2 and 4. I have neither a background in education nor early child development. But these kids are golden. I can do a lot wrong and they keep coming back right--not to mention colourful characters.

So think of us Monday morning when we start off our learning kaleidoscope. One thing is for certain: it's never boring and I'm glad I get the pleasure of raising these rainbow girls.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Creative Space--Yo Yo Ma

Help me! I'm addicted. Not just to Cadbury almond chocolate bars--that's old news. No, it's worse.

It's yo-yos....those cute little puffy medallion things. Someone help me!

I've loved them all my life. My step-grandmother had yo-yo covered throw pillows on her couch. Even though there were some serious family tensions that swamped us all when we visited, I loved that house: the fruit magnets on the fridge, the black and white linoleum and the yo yo cushions.

A month ago I took my mother to a quilt show where I confessed to my love of all things yo yo. Was I surprised--she loves them too---because her mother and her aunts used to make them all the time. In fact, it was my grandmother's yo yos which became my step-grandmother's pillows. (Feel that mucky swamp water rising?)

And so, armed with the knowledge that I was continuing in the steps of a grandmother I never met...and that Christmas will be here before I know it (gifts, gifts, gifts), I hopped down to the fabric store where I purchased a Clover yo yo maker--size x-large.

And I've been yo-yoing since. It but it's a family tradition. More great creative spaces here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Creative Space-Crossroads

Just like Vera, the new sock puppy I made this week, I'm at a crossroad. Most of my big projects are finished: two quilts for Breaking Traditions, redwork piece for the Embroidery Expo, first piece of Bearly Fall.

With Littlest One recovering from surgery plus all the rest of us getting the cold--and summer colds are ick--I just haven't moved on to a new project. Maybe today I'll stop drifting and settle on something new.

More Creative Spaces including one amazing "shoe-in" for best redwork ever can be found here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Spoonflower is offering free swatches tomorrow as way of helping one of my fave charities Heifer International. Now how cool is that? Win, win, win, win!!!!! Jump over here for the details.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to the hospital we go

If you wonder why it's been so quiet here at the ranch, our youngest daughter had surgery Friday. As many times as I do this, it never gets any easier to take my kids to the hospital and turn them over to some maniac with a knife skilled medical professionals.

You think to many times as you have done this? What? Is this the second time? third? This marks the 13th operation for the girls--and that doesn't count two for me and three for Head Honcho--in the past five years. We love our medical insurance! We send BCBS a Christmas card, never forget birthdays, send "just thinking of you" cards...

So daughter number four, sighing with resignation, had hernia repair surgery--two incisions in her abdomen. Then, she caught a cold from another child whose idiot, irresponsible, brainless, imbecile parents were stupid enough to bring in for surgery. Did I mention I want to drag these people through hot lava? My poor sweetie has been miserable this weekend. Even Scooby Doo could not cheer her up.

All of which did not lead to crafting this weekend.... But that's small fries when it comes to the important thing like raising healthy tater tots.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Creative Space Stitched

This is the first panel of a series I'm doing called "Bearly Fall."

I know! I know! We shouldn't even be thinking about fall yet. It's still summer! The thing is it's been so cold up here in the North (coldest July on record) that it's no stretch of the imagination to think of fall days.

I also have a certain longing for the girls (my oldest two) to start school. They will be going three afternoons a week. Bad Mummy to wish her kids to school--but they're going to have fun and it will be so much easier to do therapy with the younger two this way.

Okay, so don't forget to visit the other My Creative Spaces here. Since it's gone Friday in Australia I'll probably be the last to enter. (Apologies to the Southern Hemisphere readers who are probably thrilled to be thinking of Spring.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moooo ve on over

Although I purport to be a softie maker I have not been making a lot of softies as of late. This causes me some concern. Does anyone know: if a person were to report on their income tax or some other official paperwork that they were a softie maker, would the federal government require that said person create a said number of softies? Could there be fines? Charges of false impersonation? Questions of libel?

With something more than a little apprehension I decided perhaps it was time to make a softie or two. Here is "Seventeen", the sock cow. That is her name: 17. She's not the 17th cow. Or the 17th softie. It's just a nice prime number which makes her.....yes, beef. Hehehehehe....

That should put the IRS off for a few weeks while I think of more sock animals to make....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This art quilt came into the world kicking, screaming and fighting every one of it's 12 square inches. Or is it 24 square inches? It's 12 by 12. Well, whatever. Let's just say this thing seriously tested my patience.

To recap, I created the hula bunny using crayon and embroidery. So far so good. Then, I had the brilliant idea to turn it into the focal point of my second ever art quilt.

First, I fused it to a pink floral fabric but, after one week, I cut that away. A trip to the fabric store for something else entirely scored me this cool black-red-orange floral. Cut away the first fabric, rebond, rework, add leaves.

I spent a very hot and humid Saturday machine appliquing the pieces. This is the very first time I've tried that little trick--5,000 miles on my button hole stitch. It's not perfect but it was really satisfying.

Then, there were two days and two shopping trips to find the right embellishments. Thank you Hobby Lobby for having flat flower buttons. Trim added to the edge to frame it, a final pressing, and it's now ready to head to Detroit--priority mail. Cause it's due by Saturday. Sigh.

Friday, August 7, 2009


The other night I transformed a doodle from my planner into a little embroidery pattern. I've never embroidered something this small.

I like the way Nickel Dog turned out--so much so that I'm wearing it today. I covered the front in clear vinyl, added a pin back and voila! wearable art.

Isn't life grand?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Creative Space needs a cleaning

This week I've been working and working and working on another art quilt. I've still got time to enter it in the Breaking Traditions Exhibit....maybe....

If only I could get it to sort itself out. I've been through so many scraps of fabric trying to tie this pun intended.

Pop over here to see more very inspired and probably less messy creative spaces.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let Me Off of This Ride

That's how I feel today: four kids, all out of sorts, all getting into mischief and sometimes being down right disobedient. Forget the Calgon, I want the Mounties to take me away....hopefully to a very secluded lodge on Lake Louise.

I will be amazed if anyone is still reading this blog seeing as I haven't posted for days and days. First, my parents arrived and stay for six days. House guests are hard no matter how much you like them. The visit unsettled our youngest daughter: read not sleeping through the night, has hot glued herself to my leg. And then the house guests left which has thrown the entire house into absolute bedlam. Even Bedlam couldn't hold a candle to us. Oh, did I mention summer camp? This is T-Rex's first year to attend. I'm trying to remember why I thought a child with attachment disorder could handle house guests and summer camp at the same time. Today, she hit her younger sister with a book and gave her a nice bruise...under her eye. Oh, let's just call it what it is: she gave her baby sister a black eye. Oy! Where are those Mounties already?

But through it all I have still been crafting. Of course, I've been crafting! It's my only source of sanity. I test drove a softie pattern for WildOlive. I won't show the pictures of that though until she releases the pattern. I finished The Secret Entry for the Embroidery Exhibit. After I photograph The Secret Entry I can put that aside. And I got this finished:

It's Super Cheddar--the Sharpest Mouse in the Universe. I'm not sure exactly what he fights for: truth, justice and cheese puffs? Anyone have a suggestion?

And there you have from the nut house.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What grows

What grows on your work table or work basket? In mine is this:

I doodled a hula bunny one day while on the phone while "on hold" for which ever medical personal office I was blessed to call that day. I liked it (the bunny, not being on hold) so I reworked it larger. Then I did my colour, embroider method--which needs a really awesome Crayola DMC method--maybe Coats of Crayola?

So I was thinking, thinking, thinking...I know there's another chocolate bar somewhere around here what shall I do with this embroidery?

At that moment, more or less, I got an email that Breaking Traditions Art Quilt Exhibit still needs submissions. For whatever reason, they've been slow to arrive. Since we are allowed to submit two pieces I figured I'd have a second go at an art quilt. This time I'm using iron-on fusing for the pieces. I'll let you know how it goes...maybe in time for My Creative Space.

For good measure, see what else grows at our house. This is a tree in the front yard. Could it be summer?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

That Silly Game

Remember how much I love Pet Society? The game on Facebook?

They're having a contest to celebrate their first birthday: what would you do with a million coins. Coins in this case means Pet Society coins, not English pounds or American dollars.

My idea: A public paradise....yes, what Pet Society needs is not only a beach but also a cute dog like this. (Which could be turning into an embroidery pattern soon.)

Back to parenting and crafting and cleaning....