fortuny creatures

I spent much of the last two weeks working on a large order for Fortuny Venice.  It was a good excuse to replenish my fancy antique button stock  and I found some wonderful stuff.

antique buttons
cat buttonsCats! I love them so much I may never be able to use them.

I brought the whole group to the spectacular New York Showroom yesterday to be packed and sent on to Venice – these creatures have exciting lives.
textile art rat
soft sculpture owls

(photos below by Meena Dimian)
soft sculpture owls
textile art

a couple related notes:
* If you’re curious –  Abby Glassenberg  and I talk about my work with Fortuny ( and lots of other stuff)  in episode 23  of her podcast.

* Stay tuned in January for a new Fortuny collaboration – I can’t wait to show you.

on December 17, 2014 4

handmade christmas

I got a tree!  And I made ornaments to put on it. It’s my  first ever as a grown up and it’s a living potted tree- a Norfolk Pine.  I hope it’s happy here for a long time. I also hope deciding to live with a tree  in my tinyish Brooklyn apartment wasn’t a mistake. I like plants and they seem to tolerate me well enough  - I think we’ll be all right.

ann wood christmas tree 2014

Full disclosure,  the holidays aren’t my favorite, I don’t exactly look forward to them but I decided to dive into the parts I can get enthusiastic about. I like making things – I like making presents for people and I do love a Christmas tree.  I pulled out my box of saved Christmas treasures,  some that I made as a child and I created some new things. I’m so happy with my little tree it has nearly unscrooged me.  Some of the handmade ornaments are below and I included links to the patterns or tutorials where possible. The first is a little clothespin ballerina I made as a child – she magically reappeared last year.

clothespin ballerina

handmade cardboard horse holiday ornament

Find the cardboard horse pattern here and the paper mache teacup here. The ballerina is part of a set I designed for Crate and Barrel – they are sold out online but still in some stores.

clothespin soldier     fancy bird ornament     catherines bird       whale ornament

(click the tumbnail for a larger image)

The little soldier above is another childhood clothespin creation – his arms are coffee stirrers and his hat is a pom pom. The silk bird has a fluffy, lace wired tail that winds around the branch - she was made with this pattern. The little blue bird is a gift  for my sister Catherine. It’s embroidered with her wedding date and made from a blue vevet dress that was our mother’s.  It’s made from the merry wobbler pattern. The little white whale pattern is here And the pattern for the felt boat is here. Or for another boat ornament idea you could print the template for my free  paper mache boat at about 50%  of the original size.

ann wood handmade boat ornament

 merry merry!

on December 7, 2014 16

new patterns in the shop

I’ve just added 2 more new patterns to the shop – that’s three in the last week! It hurt my brain a little – sewing all this coming weekend seems like a tropical vacation compared to all that step writing, photgraphing etc. – I do enjoy it though – very much. And  I love these patterns – if I do say so myself and apparently I do – sweet as ornamnets or gifts, quick and simple to make and they have all sorts of other possibilities – like mobiles or garlands….  And they are small – a great way to use the little bits you’ve been saving – I’ve got lots of little bits.

felt boat craft pattern

ann wood whale pattern

He’s got a blow hole and spout!!


I hope you enjoy them and as always if you’d like an email when new patterns are released you can sign up here.

on December 5, 2014 2

new pattern : merry wobblers

I’ve finished my third pattern and it’s available now. Merry Wobblers are cheerfull little birds that are easy to make and it’s a great way to use little bits of saved  fabric. There is also a pattern and instructions for the little nest pictured and a leaf tassel for hanging.

merry wobblers sewing pattern

wobbler pattern

I’ve also posted a little video on how to embroider the eyes ( this works well for the little bird pattern too) – it’s a useful trick for hiding knots when sewing or embroidering.  If you don’t see the video below  click here:

 If you’ve made my paper mache ships wobblers make perfect little passengers. And I’ve included a couple other ideas below.



wobbler ornament

tassel bird

I hope you make Wobblers!

And a couple other notes:

* Check back later this week for 2 !! new patterns.

* Squam  Art Retreats has posted their 2015 offerings and pre- registration is open – I’m teaching my botanical class again in June (spring 2015) – I’d love to see you there. I’ll post about the class a little later this week and if you have questions please email me.

on December 1, 2014 3

my next workshop : Sweet Paul Makerie

My next workshop is open for registration. I’m teaching  Stitched Botanicals this coming April (11- 12th) at the Sweet Paul Makerie. You can get all  the  details about the weekend, classes (the teacher line up is spectacular – so many people I admire) and registration right here.

stitched botanicals

I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been a huge Sweet Paul fan from afar forever  - I worked with him earlier this year and was incredibly impressed and the Makerie retreats always look so beautiful. The spring retreat is taking place at the Antropologie / Terrain head quarters in Philadephia.  Hope to see you there and if you’ve got questions just email me.

stitched botaniclas

on November 13, 2014 2

birds made from my pattern

I’ve collected a few images of birds made from my pattern to share- people have made wonderful, imaginative birds and taken fabulous photos:
becky's bird

 from Becky – “the stand off”

christina's bird

from Christina – Daisy Chain Creations


from Amanda – Hanging by a Thread – A snow scene!


In Dots – by Irene (love the tags)


from Karen- these are so sweet- checkout the satchel on the bird in the center

abby's bird

and a thoughtful little bird in the garden by  Abby Glassenberg!

on November 12, 2014 4


I’m working on a large project, a collaboration that I can’t show you until January or there abouts – the photo below is of some of the many, many muslin drafts I make on the way to a new design.


This is the first time I’ve made something jointed and pose-able  (which these will be) and I came across something new to me and you might find it useful in your own projects: coolant hose.


Also known as The Best Stuff In The World if you’re making something pose-able or just need a flexible and reliable armature.  It’s made by a company in Taiwan called Jeton. According to their website they specialize in:  adjustable coolant hose, doll armature and doll eyes.  It’s quite a niche.  I purchased it through CR’s Crafts - I got the 3/16th inch coolant hose and the 8th inch doll armature ( it’s just like the hose but no hole. This stuff is easy to work with and holds its shape well. I purchased my joint hardware from C R’s Crafts as well – they have a huge selection right here.  If you buy cotter pin joints I recommend you get the tool – it makes bending the pins much easier.  The joint hardware is new to me too – and it’s giving me all sorts of ideas…. I  love new supplies.

I’m also working on several new patterns and the next is just about ready to go- I’m photographing the steps and beauty shots now - here’s a peek at the new and improved merry wobbler.

merry wobbler

wobbler nest

If you’d like an email when new patterns are released you can sign up here.


on November 5, 2014 2

making things

For weeks and weeks I’ve been occupied with lots of the things necessary to keep a making things business afloat  and there hasn’t been much time for making things.  I’ve worked on web stuff, book keeping stuff, teaching stuff, designed some things and did some press stuff (some fun things coming in the spring) among other things. All good and important things but I miss my time, my hours and hours in my place making things. This week I finally got back to it and made this dastardly fellow out of one of my favorite ever Sri Threads treasures – a thick striped gray wool flannel- just enough for one bad tempered owl. gray_owl_2   Also made from Sri Textiles – a curious spider, her legs are hammered iron wire – I use a little anvil. spider coming Skittering away with her bustle in the air. spider going   sri specimens And new mushroom specimens – more of the signed and numbered edition. All these things and more will be in the shop in about a week- you can sign up for the mailing list if you’d like a notification. And I made a dress! My first ever – it’s a jumper / apron / pinafore / sort of affair. The older I get the more I dress like Holly Hobby and I’m OK with that – it’s contemporary Holly Hobby. It’s got pockets and french seams and I’m very proud of it -it was challenging and satisfying and I want to sew lots more clothes. I got the pattern here – there aren’t a lot of instructions  but I was able to figure it out and I found a tutorial on french seams here. apron dress

on October 2, 2014 10


I’m in a year of experimenting and shifting and being a beginner. One of my main life skills is being a good beginner – moving  forward without a lot of attachment to outcome – being willing to act in uncertainty. From the perspective of feeling confident and comfortable The Squam Retreat is a terrible idea for me. The days are intense and challenge me in so many ways: I’m used to, and enjoy, being by myself. The idea of sharing a cabin with strangers for 4 days seems impossible. Teaching – speaking to a group – managing precious time for other people, all seem like giant mountains to climb. It was all so worth it – and then some. I had wonderful cabin mates and that was a big part of the experience – left to my own devices I would have missed that. Elizabeth Duvivier plans every detail of this experience thoughtfully, insightfully and expertly. I loved teaching- again. It got my wheels turning in new ways.  I loved getting glimpses of other peoples imaginations and processes. I think there is a moment in learning a new skill or technique when doors open in your imagination – possibilities emerge and you experience an elusive kind of flow and focus.  It’s inspiring and motivating to watch that unfold.

I came home exhausted and charged up at the same time. Four days out of my routine was valuable in so many ways.  I did things I was afraid of, learned more about my own rhythms, got a million new ideas and made friends. Real Friends. The experience left me with a New Year’s day kind of feeling – a map of things I need to pay more attention to, ways in which I should be challenging myself more often, ways I need to grow and ideas that I have been consistently resistant to that I don’t just need to consider but should be marching towards.  I did as much learning as I did teaching – from students and the class experience and from spending time with women who run creative businesses and run them beautifully.

little house

It was my second time at Squam  and the second time I was so engaged in the moment and the experience I forgot to record it. I’m so grateful to Andi Schrader for taking the wonderful photos below.  She also made this little house  - I love it and it is a perfect token of the experience.

Some glimpses of the botanical class through Andi’s lense:

botanical inspiration

andi's toadstools

suzan's mushroom


(more photos after the break)

Continue Reading →

on September 16, 2014 5
Made Happy by Pictalo