My favorite textiles have been the ones that find me. They bring colors I could not imagine. These 18th century pieces (a beautiful gift) are mesmerizing and expanded my understanding of what yellow and pink can be.
This is yellow that sounds like trumpets, bright, triumphant trumpets and pink and crimson that sound like weeping violins.
“if a violin string could ache, i would be that string.” ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
I’m making songbirds and trying hard to do the colors and textures justice- they have waited such a long time.
Did you know – the larger a list is – scale-wise not length-wise – the more fun it is to check stuff off? I think so anyways. I love a list and at times when there’s a lot to move forward simultaneously (not my best thing) I put it all on poster board in sharpie and find that it helps me stay on task, helps me do the right stuff and follow through. I’ve wanted a chalkboard for this purpose for ages and finally made one for myself last weekend.
I painted a lovely old frame black and the chalkboard part was easy – it’s chalkboard contact paper on foam core. And I love it (PS- I’m not being compensated in any way for this – just sharing because I think it’s useful). I found it online and I was willing to give it a shot – to the tune of about 20 bucks – but wasn’t feeling super optimistic about it. I grew up in the 70’s and contact paper was a frequent and largely unsatisfactory design solution. This stuff is great though – it doesn’t look or feel plasticy and cleans easily with a damp cloth. They also sent a marker you can use – It’s a little harder to clean off but looks good.
I’m pleased with my chalkboards and pleased with the effect the presence of the big list has on my fidgety brain. I’m determined to have a record breaking year in terms of productivity – I’m always busy but I spin my wheels a lot.
Another time waster/ procrstinatey activity for me is looking for stuff. I have all my fabrics and other supplies and projects in file boxes and spent time recently labeling everything accurately. I’ve been using the same boxes for 5 or 6 years and clip clothespins are perfect for labeling- since projects and materials change often.
I’m tackling the computer next – it’s a mess.
What keeps you focused and on task? What de-rails you?
It is a lovely circumstance to have an expanse of days ahead of me that can fully accommodate a current hermit inclination. And the combination of having let go of a lot of things during a fall possessions purge and having a photo shoot for an upcoming magazine feature right before the holidays, I’m unusually tidy and organized. There are twinkle lights and quilts and happy plants – it’s pretty cozy.
With the exception of a dreaded visit to the DMV tomorrow morning I can spend hours and days parked on the couch with happy projects. I’m working on songbirds from 18th century textiles, some mr. socks and tiny rag dolls and lots of other projects including the flamingo kit.
I’ve made a couple prototypes and zeroed in on my paper choice – a combination of German and Italian papers. I may end up offering both options but I wonder if there is a strong preference for one or the other. What do you think – pale pink or all coral?
And the first of the 2017 fleet (find the pattern to make your own here).
I have more paper and fabric ships and boats in progress – some I’m making in preparation for my spring Sweet Paul Makerie workshop and some for the shop (next month I think). Speaking of workshops I’ll be adding a new one for the fall of 2017 – working out the details now.
And there is the possibility for next year (2018) of doing something in France – wouldn’t that be nice…….
Of course she needs a sensible coat! And it’s reversible! I’m pretty excited about the reversibleness of the coat – and the nifty way it goes together – it feels like kind of a magic trick ( I included a video link for that part). I also love that the coat is built from just two pieces and demonstrates an awesome system for making reversible doll garments – you could modify the pattern and use the same easy technique to create all sorts of lined or reversible little clothes.
I also made a little lined flat bottomed satchel for her foraging and a hat too. She is ready for adventure.
Find sample pages from the pattern here and here.
The winter wardrobe pattern is in the shop now and I’m including the little hat pattern in this post too – download the template here and instructions are below – it’s very simple, easy and quick – you can make one in under twenty minutes.
For the tiny hat you will need a little wool, felt or flannel and contrasting embroidery thread. Pin the hat pattern to the fabric and cut out.
Whip stitch all around the bottom edge with a strand or two of embroidery thread.
Fold the hat in half and whip stitch the back seam from the bottom towards the tip.
Knot just before the tip and fray the tip. And finally tie little lengths of embroidery thread to the ear flaps and knot.
She is fully outfitted for her travels. A couple other notes on the pattern- the coat and satchel will fit mr. socks too and you could scale it for other dolls. I have not tried the hat on mr. socks – but I think it would work if you enlarge it a little.
If you make a tiny wardrobe I’d love to see – you can email photos to info at ann wood handmade dot com.
It might snow tonight – I hope it does ( just a little please – nothing crazy). I’m well nested – luxuriating in the post holiday stillness. I’ve taken to my bed with books, magazines, sketchbooks and some therapeutic hand sewing. Mainly, I’m making plans for the year ahead and resting the last of a wicked virus out of me.
There are a million things I’d like to do – my first projects will be new sewing patterns and kits. Kits are definitely going to happen this year – there, I’ve said it.
The first pattern will be a mini – a winter coat for the tiny rag doll (and mr. socks too). I’ve been playing with it for a while and lately got close to what I want: it should be scalable – something that could work for lots of dolls, easy, reversible and pretty quick to make. Look for that pattern next week.
Also – speaking of socks – the print version of the mr. socks pattern is nearly finished. And maybe he’ll be a kit too – what do you think?
I released 3 new patterns last year and feel like it should have been more – I’m hoping to at least double that this year. I’d love to do a collection of botanical patterns – maybe an e-book – with all my techniques for creating shapes and details like fancy root systems and organic feeling textures.
There will also be a naked rag doll pattern coming soon and a collection of clothes for her – including a kimono – for her more modest moods.
And I’m determined to finish a project started last year that I got good and stuck on – the flamingo kit. I’ve made it mandatory – one way ore another the flamingo kit is happening before Valentine’s day. I have to let go of something to make it work and spent a lot of time being obstinate with myself about that. I hand dye and paint the paper and that absolutely does not work for the kit – it’s labor intensive, difficult, challenging space- wise and puts the kit way outside the target price range. Now that I have a little perspective on it I’m not even sure my fussiness was justified. There is another round of gorgeous italian test paper on the way right now – stay tuned.
There are other plans too – for paintings and drawings – and all sorts of ideas that have been percolating for long enough.
What are you planning? What project will you finally dive into this year?
P.S. If you’d like email notification on the release any of the afore mentioned patterns you can sign up here.
Before I tell you about the workshop I have to tell you that the squam art retreat, where I’ll be teaching it, already sold out in pre- registration – both spring and fall sessions (there is a waiting list and stuff happens in a year so …. contact squam to get on the list). That’s the bad news. The good news is – just today I learned of a scholarship opportunity being offered by Honey & Oak:
We are offering one spot to attend the Squam Workshops either for their Spring session (June 7th – June 11th 2017) OR their Fall session (September 13th – September 17th 2017). You get to choose what works best for you! In addition, we will provide a $500.00 stipend to be used towards Travel Expenses and Extras.
It’s a pretty sweet deal – find all the details on how to enter right here. You must enter by January 3rd.
And also – just so you know – September will be the 10th and last retreat – I’m sad to see it go – it has been a truly marvelous experience.
In my diorama workshop (fall 2017) we will explore the poetry and spirit of things. I’m bringing all sorts of things to play with and we’ll forage the magnificent fall Squam forest for natural elements too. The compositions that emerge might be entirely abstract or tell a story, they might reflect an inner landscape, an outer landscape or an intersection of ideas – intersections are always interesting places.
There is more info on the class and retreat here.
I hope your holidays are lovely,
The Beaumonts are ready for the holidays (if you have not yet met fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods you can learn more here).
Tiny Fortuny stockings are hung, presents are wrapped, cookies baked, hearth blazing and the whole family is trimming the tree – such festive ants.
Mr. Socks is going to sea in his very own ship. I made it using my free paper mache boat pattern with a couple changes. If you’d like to make your own follow the original boat instructions but to make it just right for Socks use:
(a note on sail making – there are instructions here if you need them)
Socks is the kind of cat that does just what he wants so he is off to Paris for a holiday in his brand new ship.
au revoir mr. socks!
Updated – I’ve just added about 20 more to the shop – the last of series 1.
For the first time ever – there are paintings in the shop – little paintings – things I created over a period of about a year and a half as part of my daily art practice. I took what was intended to be a short break from that practice in August – and you know how that sort of thing goes – I never resumed. I miss it – and I’m planning to start again in 2017 – still working out the details of exactly what the will be.
The little works are paint and pencil (occasionally some collage) on hot press paper or bristol – 4 and 1/2 X 4 and 1/2 inches and they arrives boxed.
Of the 511 little paintings I made I’m choosing my favorites for the shop – I’ve added twenty today and if this works out I’ll add more.
Letting go of them is a little painful. I’ve changed my mind about it several times but ultimately concluded that what I need from them stays with me and I would very much like to put paintings and drawings out into the world.
Click here to see all available the paintings.
Woebegone pines, forlorn little trees who do not concern themselves with perfection. These trees are all about heart and the particular magic that something made by hand possesses. I’ve made you a sewing pattern with three sizes: small – 3 inches, medium – 4 inches, and large – 6 inches (the little guy is my favorite). You can add a little trunk and base or just set them on their bottom.
And Woebegone Pines sounds like a lovely place – doesn’t it? A perfect spot for a mouse to take a stroll and think his wistful thoughts.
The seam allowance is 1/4 inch. You could use a variety of fabrics – I’ve used cotton, linen. wool and felt – all worked well.
- fabric for the tree and scraps for patches
- matching and contrasting sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)
- stuffing ( I like wool)
- thin cotton batting (felt works as a substitute)
- cardboard – corrugated and thin- a cereal box is good
- pencil or disappearing fabric marker
- sewing and embroidery needles
- chopstick for turning and stuffing
- large bamboo skewer or similar pointy thing
- paper and fabric scissors
- wire cutters for snipping twigs
- Elmer’s glue
- glue stick
- twigs for trunks
- bases – I used little wood discs and drilled holes – or you can find spools, wood beads and other pre -drilled shaped at any large craft or art supply store.
1. Cut out the cardboard base and one or two squares of corrugated cardboard – smaller than the circle.
2. If you plan to add a trunk to your tree glue one of the corrugated pieces to the center of the circle. ( If you are making the large tree glue two – one on top of the other).
3. Use a glue stick to attach the circle to cotton batting and cut out. Let the glued cardboard dry completely.
4. Pin the tree and tree bottom patterns to a single layer of fabric – cut out one of each.
5. Fold the tree piece in half (right sides together) and mark the seam lines on the tree and circle. Stitch the seam – marked in red. Leave the center of the seam open – about 1/3 of it – enough to fit the cardboard circle through later.
6. Snip the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the opening, fold over and press.
Meet the Beaumonts, fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods.
To celebrate Fortuny’s 2016 Micromondo collection (which means micro–world in Italian) I created a miniature world of cosmopolitan, domestic bliss inhabited by sophisticated ants with a taste for midcentury furniture and modern art. They also really love christmas – that’s part 2.
The ants are 6 inches tall and made from the Micromondo collection. I made furniture, drapery etc. – everything a fully appointed ant penthouse needs – from the new wools, velvets and linens as well as many of the classic patterns – the blue and bronze above is one of my favorites. I also made ant art – I got super into the art making – and family portraits – lots of tiny details.
He’s a mischievous cat….. I’m so happy to share the sewing pattern with you today – you can find it in the shop right here. And in celebration of his debut when you purchase mr. socks with any additional pattern or patterns before Monday you can use discount code: socks For 20% off your entire purchase. The discount will expire at Midnight this Sunday 12/4.
PS – If you are purchasing on Etsy the code is HELLOSOCKS
What adventures will your mr. socks have? I’d love to see! You can email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com, share them on flickr or use #mrsocks on instagram.
I get pretty excited when I finish a sewing pattern. They take forever and parts of it are deeply tedious. Usually at some point along the way it feels like it will never be done and I have to swim through a torturous spell. And then all of a sudden there’s a surge of momentum and it’s done. I’m going to bask in the glow of completion for a day and then dive in to making another – what do you think it should be?
Miniature fascinates me – we’ve talked about it before. It fascinates and delights me – takes me to that marvelous creative place where time and self-consciousness completely disappear – I can lose myself for hours and hours. I began to create a very particular miniature world, with very particular inhabitants more than a year ago and I can finally show it to you next week. It’s been one of my most favorite projects of all time.
Just lately that little world got ready for the holidays – and of course it needed poinsettias, pink and white poinsettias.
They are made from crepe paper – I painted it just the right shade of pink. Tip – adding water and rubbing alcohol to acrylic paint makes it penetrate crepe paper much better – you can get clear, bright and translucent color.
There are a couple previews of the recently festivised version of the project below and more to come next week.
PS – The vinegar, citrus, clove cleaner I made is awesome – smells good – and works great. I’m pretty pleased.
PPS – The mr. socks pattern is imminent – probably tomorrow – just finished up a couple last minute reshoots today – crammed into the one corner of my place where I can get some light on a rainy day.
I don’t bake anymore- at least not very often – because I can’t control myself around baked goods. At all. So I have to limit my exposure. One of the things I miss about it are the fabulous smells – especially this time of year. Cloves are a favorite and lately I started simmering cloves in a crock pot – I throw in citrus peels too if I have them. I tried adding cinnamon – that was a little too much for me. But the cloves are magnificent – a warm, clean smell – just enough – and I’m surprised at how much it affects my mood. It’s such a simple and pretty much free thing that brings me a lot of happiness.
And if some is good – more is better. I’m experimenting with homemade clove citrus cleaner. I Googled recipes and it could not be simpler to make – add white vinegar and citrus peels to a jar along with optional spices – cloves in my case because of the new clove obsession.
Full disclosure – I don’t know if it works yet. My jar has been sitting for about a week and I’ll test it out in about another. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Have you tried this? I clean with vinegar often but hate the smell – so I thought it was worth a shot. Plus it looks pretty.
Another simple and happy and pretty inexpensive thing that brings me lots of joy – my plants. Potted plants and stuff I pick up in the park and plop in water – sprigs of white pine etc. Most of the potted plants were given to me or found abandoned on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. The one exception is the Norfolk Pine. I spent 30 bucks on it 3 years ago to serve as a christmas tree. It will again this year too – I give it a shower about every ten days and coffee every once in a while – it loves it.
In other news – the mr. socks pattern is getting close – maybe next week or right after Thanksgiving. You can sign up here if you’d like and email when the patterns is available.
There are a couple mr. socks prototypes in the shop right now along with several new green shoed tiny ladies. Also – this is the last time the tiny dolls will be offered at their current price – there is just too much time in the fully wardrobed little dolls so if I do make more there will be a significant price increase.
P. S. If you’ve been making your own tiny rag dolls from the pattern stay tuned for a winter coat pattern coming soon.
I’ve been wanting to tell you about this for ages. I began working with Anthopologie last fall on a couple projects for this holiday season – paper mache teacups and bundled up little fabric birds.
They are both items that are near and dear to me and I have a particularly long history with the little birds – it began more than ten years ago. I walked into Anthropologie on Fifth Avenue today and there they were – lots and lots of familiar little birds looking back at me. It was a little disorienting and it’s kind of a funny thing to think about – how many little birds and teacups there are in the world now. I am not someone who thinks in quantity. I think its a good thing though – a good thing that there is a place in the bigness and busyness of the world for paper mache teacups and earnest little fabric birds.
There are two birds and two teacups – one a souvenir of Paris and the other New York City. The insides have festive stripes and dots and are sparkly.
I had fun making them – loved painting the illustrations for the cups. You can find the birds and teacups online and in stores – you can find Anthro’s entire ornament assortment for this year here (there is lots of fun stuff – including an oyster by Tamar Mogendorff).
Or if you like you can make your own. Find the pattern for the teacups here and the little bird sewing pattern here.