All posts by annwood

abandoned quilt tops and stitched crows

fabric crow

It has some great moments and some highly questionable choices (worn towels…). All of it is very nostalgic for me.

salvaged quilt top

I’m always on the look out for  vintage or antique quilt tops. They are frequently super cheap and a great source for unusual little bits of fabric, perfect for all sorts of small projects (including doll quilts). Or if you find something  with no objectionable moments or issues you can take it across the quilt finish line. The quilt above (found on ebay) was probably assembled in the 70’s and has lots of sweet calicos. Another I found recently is pale and has a mix of small turn of the century and depression era prints salvaged from garments. Both are coming to workshops in LA with me.

needle book pages

I’m using the older quilt for needle book pages. I’ve been stitching up lots for the class.  You wouldn’t think machine sewing a ton of rectangles would be appealing but it is. I’ll probably get over it but right now I can’t get enough. It’s peaceful and satisfying to stack up the finished pages. Also I’m thinking of offering the pre-sewn, ready to embellish  pages as a kit this winter – what do you think?

stitching crow wings

Besides needle books we will be making paper ships, beetles, mushrooms and crows. I’m bringing lots of old garments to work with.

fabric crow

carved beaks and an edwardian skirt

paper ship

find workshop details and sign up here

 

basket of edwardian lawn gowns

And as soon as I get back to Brooklyn I’ll start shooting steps for a crow sewing pattern. In other pattern news the large rag doll and soldier patterns are coming soon too – I have a major do-over to deal with but hope to have at least one of those ready before the holidays.

stitched beetles

stitched beetles made from scraps

I wonder what they talk about – somebody seems pretty bossy…

PS – you can checkout highlights from this week in LA as it happens if you like -look at the LA workshop story highlights in instagram.

make a paper boat : a free tutorial

*This post contains an affiliate link

paper boat template image

Some projects are most satisfying to work on in batches. These paper boats are like that. They are quick and easy and you can make a bunch at once without much extra effort. Plus the finished group is very satisfying.  You probably already have most of the materials you need and you could easily be hanging a respectable fleet by the end of the day, who doesn’t want that?

download the boat template

 

you will also need:

  • heavy paper (I’m using water color paper) or light cardboard (like poster board)
  • a bamboo skewer
  • paper for the sail
  • elmer’s glue
  • gluestick
  • embroidery thread or light string (like baker’s twine)
  • buttons
  • paints, brushes  and/or collage materials
  • exacto knife
  • clothespins or paperclips for clamping

*Please read through all the steps before beginning.

*Also note I included some simple directions on the sail template for your convenience  but the directions below include more details and options.

1.  Cut out the boat and mast support templates and trace them onto light cardboard or a heavy weight paper. I’m Using water color paper (140 pound hot press is my favorite). Optional – paint both sides. I almost always paint a wash of water color on both sides of the boat and mast support.

2. Place the template back on the boat and poke your pencil through where the score lines intersect. Mark with a dot. Remove the template and draw on the score lines. Draw the score lines on the mast support too and mark an X on the center of the top section.

3. Use the back of an x-acto knife to score the lines on the boat and  mast support.

4. Gently fold the boat and mast support at the score lines.

5. Add glue to the last section of the mast support, fold it into a triangle and glue the top section over it.

6. Clamp with paper clip or clothespins while it dries.

make a paper boat

7. While your mast support dries paint or collage or draw on your boat. I did all three. I used a wash of watercolor, some pencil lines and a little collage. If you’re doing lots of collage I recommend using nori paste instead of blue stick . It is awesome. You can find it here. * FYI – this is an affiliate link – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

8. Apply glue to the bow as indicated on the template.

9. Fold the boat together at the front and clamp with clothespins or paper clips while the glue dries.  Alternatively – you can skip the glue, bring the front sides together and stitch on the sewing machine close to the edge.

how to make a paper ship

10. Fold the center back ( A on the template) and apply glue to the top.

11. Bend up tab B – covering the top of tab A and matching the top edges. Apply glue and bend up tab C covering the top of tab B and matching the top edges. Clamp and let dry. Alternatively – skip the glue and attach the three layers with a stitch and a button (step 16 below).

easy paper boat project

Read More

a paper ship installation and other notes from the forest

paper boats in a basket

paper boats in a basket

It was a pretty cozy situation, hanging out by the fire watching paper vessels turn in the breeze. And that’s what I wanted to make. A cozy situation, a daydreaming place for anybody who chose to partake. A situation I think Mr. Roger’s would approve of. That is my barometer for lots of things – “what would Mr. Rogers think of this? What would Mr. Rogers do about this?” It never steers me wrong.

paper ships hung in a library(photo by awesome @bailey.b.raha)

And the world needs more paper ships. This is my firm belief. I made lots of paper ships and boats over the last couple months to bring to the Squam Art Retreat. I hung an installation of them in the sweet little library, it’s my favorite room at the camp.

paper ship and boat installation

The smaller boats are quick and easy to make and I’ve made you a tutorial and templates for making your own. You can find that right here. And I’m teaching the larger ships in a workshop in October.

squam lake

squam art tote bag

I love the retreat and I love that giant forest and I made the artwork for the tote bag this year! So happy with how it turned out.

tiny rag doll under a mushroom

embroidered felt doll jacket

 

And it was an exceptionally good year for mushrooms at Squam Lake. Big colorful mushrooms kept popping up all over the place. This one was just right for sheltering a tiny lady. You can find the free pattern for her little jacket and hat right here. Bundle up somebody little. It comes in Mr. socks size too.

mr. socks dolls

Speaking of that mischievous cat I ran into some of the Socks cousin’s on a path, it was a happy meeting for everybody. You just never know who you might meet. As usual I was so busy being in the forest I hardly took any photos but you can find more images from the Squam Art Retreat right here.

owl sewing pattern booklet

In other news : The Owl Booklet starts shipping today! It turned out even better than I expected and I’m excited for you to get it. Thanks so much to everybody who pre-ordered. The first printing is just about sold out and there are more on the way.

owl sewing pattern booklet

applique bat : a free template and tutorial – how to make really pointy points

bat applique tutorial

making sharp applique points

It’s like boiling eggs, there are tons of different methods for getting sharp applique points. I’ve been messing around with a bat shape and working out the point situation. And I made you a template and a little tutorial because I’m nice like that.

Bats sure are pointy, they are like the applique sharp point olympics. Before we dive into that I want to show you a couple other ideas that I think would make cool embroidery or applique projects.  I’m especially exited to try that green house.  I think it will be my first spoonflower print. I’ve been wanting to try that for ages. The details of the house and little cat etc. could be embroidered. What do you think?

download the bat template

I think it helps to read through all the steps once before beginning.  I’ll get you started with the points and curves today and be back on Sunday with more.  The points took some practice for me but once I got going it want faster than I expected.  Also I mostly laid it flat to take photos but found it easier to do the points especially with it draped over my knee.

1. Trace the stitch line on the template onto freezer paper.

2. Place the pattern on  a piece of folded fabric. Use a cotton that’s light weight and not ravely.  Tip: Use some spray starch to make the fabric a bit stiff. It helps a lot. You can even make your own spray starch if you like.

iron bat template to fabric

3. I cut the template in half before placing it shiny side down on the right side of the cut out fabric. Cutting it made it easier to match up all those points and the center can absorb any margin of error rather than the edges or points. Iron it to the fabric.  I pinned it to a piece of vintage linen. It conveniently covers a couple spots and holes. You’ll want to use a ton of pins.

4. I’m beginning on one of the long curves. Make a small knot at the end of the thread and insert your needle from underneath. Come out at the edge of the freezer paper. You will need to make some little clips along the curve. Clip as you go in little sections. Don’t do all the clipping first. Clip to just before the edge of the paper.  Don’t clip too close to the points – leave about an inch.

5. Use your needle and finger to fold the edge under and begin stitching with very tiny stitches.

6. Notice I have left about an inch of unclipped fabric before the point. Stop stitching here.

7. Tuck the fabric under the side of the point you are working on and stitch, stop about 1/4 inch before the point.

8. Fold the tip under as shown – with the folded edge flat.

9. Make a couple tiny stitches at the point.

how to make a very sharp an applique point

10. For the next step I found it way easier to pick the work up off the table. Take out the pin and use your finger or the needle to fold the other side of the point down and under. Stitch down the side of the point, put the pin back in and then clip in the curve to continue towards the next point.

11.  When all your points are stitched clip on each side of the head.

12. Turn the edge of the wing under and stitch. Leave the head unstitched.  Clip on each side of the bottom of the bat body too – stitch on each side of the wing and tuck in the edges around the little end of the body and stitch.

13. Cut two little teardrop shapes for ears.

14. Tuck one side of the head under.

15. Fold one of the ear shapes and tuck it in on one side of the head.  Stitch it in place. Repeat for the other side. Finally tuck in the edge at the top of the head and stitch.

There will be a part 2 soon for the embroidered and applique details. If you give the bat a try please use tag #annwoodpattern on instagram – I’d love to see!

bat applique tutorial

PPS – I can’t stop listening to this song. Blast from the past.

experiments in paper and lovely old handwork

ships made from antique paper

One of the benefits of being prolific is the mistakes and failures don’t phase you. They are just information. My process is deeply iterative. I try and fail and try again, adjusting and experimenting endlessly. I love being right in the middle of that process and it can go on for years.

ships made from antique paper

The ships are like that, the paper mache ships and lately paper ships. Endless experiments and all sorts of failures and all sorts of discoveries. Discoveries and innovations that can only come (I think) from that kind of process.

antique french paper

I’ve been playing with paper I found in France. I went to tons of spectacular flea markets with French General. My main objective was finding paper for the ship class this October.  These antique booklets are ideal and I got lots of them – the colors and quality of the paper are perfect. Totally worth the schlepping. And Kaari (French General) found wonderful old letters, ghost messages traveling time.

scrap of antique french wallpaper

This antique wallpaper and these gorgeous old pattern tracings were French flea market finds too.  I’m thinking of making ships with the tracings. And maybe framing a couple. The wallpaper I love just as it is.

antique french pattern tracings

My other paper project involves making lots and lots of smaller paper ship and boat experiments. I’m going to hang them as in installation later this year, more on that soon. It’s daydreamy work, I do my best thinking when my hands are busy.

boats mad from antique paper on my work table

And I’m making a ton of them so I feel improvisational and uninhibited about trying stuff. It’s a “yes and” unedited process, one thing does lead to another if you let it. I’ve been working on them every day for a while and like the cardboard horse project years ago the growing fleet is surprising me.  I love looking at them. That was my original impetus for making the paper mache ships – to live with them, to look at them, it was a thing I wanted in the world. There is a full tutorial for the small paper boats coming soon (early September- ish).  They are fast, easy and magic so be on the lookout for interesting paper.

And old linen:

My mother always collected fabric for me, even when I didn’t know I needed it. And apparently she still is, with perfect timing. My sister Catherine sent me this bundle of hand stitched linens she found in our Mom’s things, mostly collected at the flea markets she haunted almost every weekend. They are exquisite.

They even smell good, they smell like they should. I’m keeping almost all of them in tact, making pillow covers, stuff like that. So much beautiful handwork. There are a couple with a lot of damage I’ll make needle books with and incorporate into some applique experiments.

hand stitched beetles and mushroom

PS – Are you making ships and needle books  and mushrooms and beetles with me in LA?  The  antique french paper ship is a weekend class and the others are evening classes. It’s a lovely time stitching with like minded individuals and  I’m bringing all sorts of cool stuff to play with – signups are here.

traveling stitch experiments, little paint boxes and something to read

slow stitch experiments

slow stitch experiments

The trick is to not have a plan, choose a scrap of fabric and then choose another, a “yes and” sort of process, just see where it goes. Maybe it goes nowhere at all. It doesn’t matter. I like to take these little experiments with me, it’s good road sewing, gentle and meandering summer sewing. It’s also easy to pick up when I don’t really feel like doing anything at all but not doing anything has become awkward… This engages my curiosity very quickly and gets my wheels turning again.

summer stitch experiments

Some of the experiments will become amulets and I think some may be part of a needle book. I can’t stop making needle books. And I can’t believe I didn’t make one for myself until this year. It’s so handy, always ready to go with everything I need in it. Plus the aesthetic appeal, it feels good in my hand and I love to look at it. Have you made one? Here are some more from the workshops in France.

I’m making a bigger version for traveling with larger projects. I used a piece of printer paper as a template for the page I’m working on – adding 1/4 inch seam allowance.

book made from fabric scraps

book made from fabric scraps

It’s ideal for owl and songbird wings, pinning all the little parts to a page. And maybe I need one for my paint brushes and pencils too.

water color travel sets

*FYI – some of the links below are affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

I’ve held onto my daily painting/drawing/collage habit (it’s mostly painting). Today makes 214 consecutive days. It’s firmly engrained in my routine and still a huge pain in the a** some times. Having a plan for making them while traveling has helped and there are a couple little tools that made a difference. Champagne cocktails did not help (I was pretty much done when the champagne showed up though). I bring a little rag for wiping brushes and a small pad of 140 pound hot pressed paper. And lately I put a little mustard jar in my bag when I go – for water and I can mix color in the little lid.

travel water color set

The pocket water color box is awesome. Historically water color is not my favorite, not by itself anyway. But I also don’t like traveling with lots of tubes of acrylic. So I bring a couple basic acrylics and mix them with the water colors. The box came with a little brush that you can put water in the barrel of. I thought this was ridiculous and gimmicky and almost didn’t try it. It is so good. The water is easy to control and the quality of the brush is excellent. I just ordered a set with different sizes here. And you can get the rectangle watercolor box here for about $12 bucks. I paid almost $30…. I also bought a little round stackable box in Toulouse.  I couldn’t resist the stacked circles. You can find it here.

painting of the arc de triomphe

Having a plan for the bad times is the most important thing. And accepting them. The strength of the habit helps in those times. It helps a lot. It helped in the airport in Paris after flying overnight. I was unspeakably tired and it was unspeakably hot. Being intrigued by the new little box of colors and the fancy water brush helped too. A little novelty in the mix never hurts.

melancholy evening pool

I’ll leave you with the annual melancholy pool photo, a couple questions and a book recommendation.

Questions:

How do you feel about embroidery and applique patterns? I’ve had some ideas swirling around for awhile, bats, houses, botanical designs. I’m thinking of putting together some patterns and kits. What do you think? Leave a comment below please.

And the book:

I just finished The Writing Life by  Annie Dillard (this is an affiliate link too). Magnificent. It’s shockingly beautiful and I didn’t want it to end. Now I’m reading a Room Of One’s Own. What are you reading? What’s on your summer book list?  Please leave a comment if you feel like sharing.

 

 

ann wood painting

Hamish Bowles’ Paris Apartment

PS- There will be lots of new little paintings in the shop on Tuesday 8/6 – noonish – NY time.  If you are on the list for new artwork you will get an email when they are up. If you aren’t sure if you’re on the list send me a message and I’ll check for you.

flea market report (french edition), summer doll pattern sale and a glorious chunk of nothing

antique textiles and paper found in france

In the corner of a sweltering hot barn jammed with mountains of dusty ancient things there was a little box of crumpled tissue. First a little silver fork pokes out. Then a tiny china lid that might belong to a teapot.

box of antique miniatures found in france

A shell thin glass vase that is somehow not broken is floating in the tissue too. I stop looking because I already know I need it and the rest should be discovered slowly and savored, each thing emerging. A tiny sterling candlestick and then unbelievably it’s mate, miniature binoculars, and the lid does belong to a teapot, the little set is complete and even has a platter. Old and wonderful. Everything about it is magic and sweet and melancholy and lonesome.

daily painting in a french chateau

Vacations are not my thing. And technically this is not a vacation, I am in France to teach workshops with French General. I brought lots of projects to work on too, things to sew, writing projects, all sorts of fun things. But I did nothing. Almost nothing. My brain refused to participate. I did more of nothing than I ever have in my life. 3 weeks of nothing. Plus it was 105 degrees, making nothing the only reasonable choice anyway.

cherrie tree in the south of france

Glorious nothing, swimming and cherries from a tree for breakfast, loads of coffee and wine, fantastic cheese and bread. Feeling supremely happy wandering brocantes and vide greniers eating a jambon beurre and finding treasures. Mostly things for making things. Loads of that. And Edwardian garments and antique paper for the October workshops in LA.

antique textiles and paper found in france

lace scraps

Checkout some highlights from the France workshops and wanderings below. And if you’d like to spend time with me in France next summer signups will be open soon. Send me a message with France 2020 as the subject if you’d like more info.

needle book workshop in france

ps – have you made a needle book?  Find the tutorial here. The exquisite book above was made here in the workshop by Petra.

antique fabric scrap bundles

textile seed pods

I’m headed home tomorrow and I felt my brain come back on line today. Sad to go but ready to work and think and experiment. Ready to dive into the busyness of finishing sewing patterns, preparing for the next 3 workshops and something special for September involving old paper and the forest.

tiny rag doll picnic

tiny rag doll patterns and kits are 25 % off through july

And Summer is for making tiny dolls and outfitting the little ladies with summer hats and dresses and miss matched china for lawn picnics. I’ve put the miss thistle society patterns and tutorials all in one place for you and for the remainder of July all the tiny rag doll patterns and kits are 25 % off. I’d love to see what you make – use #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.

experiments in garment sewing and the inevitable matching doll outfits

ann wood studio

This was bound to happen eventually… The doll and my blouse are made from a recently acquired vintage dress.  Somebody lovely gave me an awesome bag of depression era dresses.

PS – There is a pattern for the elegant rag doll and soldier doll coming soon.

elegant rag doll in vintage green silk chiffon

*This post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the links.

ann wood studio

Do you sew garments? I’ve been wanting to try forever.  My only adult experience was an apron/dress several years ago. It took forever and I immediately spilled bleach on it. I always meant to try again though and I kept seeing a photo of a blouse on pinterest that I loved, loved as in had to have it. It was pattern B from The Stylish Dress Book. I changed the neckline and added that little bow. Really I think my Mother added that bow, asserting herself from the beyond. It’s just the sort of thing she would do.

stylish dress book pattern B

I learned a lot making it. Using fabric from the skirt of the sheer, vintage silk chiffon dress added a ton of difficulty. Slippery…  Never again. And because it was so sheer I had to do french seams. But now I’m totally sold on french seams, so tidy and not difficult. You can find a tutorial for sewing french seams here.

french seams

I loved the simple styles in this book and found the instructions straightforward and easy to follow. The sizing and fit were hard and I had to combine sizes to make it work for me.

I also made top D from another of the vintage dresses (you might recognize the print from one of  the tiny rag dolls new dresses). Again with changes. I skipped the buttons, raised the neckline and added gathering. I love it. The construction of it is super simple and I like the easy sleeve.

stylish dress pattern D (modified)

Here I am. Loving my just finished shirt and feeling deeply awkward about photographing myself in it. Feeling super happy about making a shirt myself won though. Pretty much.

the stylish dress book

I’m working on a dress version of pattern D now.  I’m all lit up with learning and plan to sew lots more garments. There are several more in the book I want to try.

You can get the book here (I get a small commission if you do). If you try it be prepared to make muslin versions first to work out sizing.

Green has been turning up a lot lately. In non-garment sewing I’m making an owl and songbird from an Edwardian bodice and green velvet dress. I’m taking them with me to work on in France. I’ve got ambitious hand sewing plans for that trip, these guys, toadstools, seedpods, amulets – all sorts of things.

green textiles

I’m officially in full on pre-departure frenzy right now and should probably stop sewing clothes. This week I tried watering globes for my plants.  I wasn’t all that optimistic about them but I’m a week in and they’re working out surprisingly well, I’m going to get a bunch more before I leave.

It’s important to saturate the soil and then make a hole with a stick, tamping down the dirt so it’s not loose. The first time I put them in the plants weren’t saturated enough and the water ran right out. I think the globes will get my dear plant friends through the few days they’ll be on their own. You can find the watering globes here (this is an affiliate link – I get a small commission if you use it to purchase). And if you’ve got other automatic plant watering ideas I’d love to hear.

toadstools : a retrospective

hand stitched mushroom pattern

hand stitched mushroom pattern

Sometimes you know. You know you have no hustle in you. You’re all hustled out.I guess the natsubate has kicked in a little early this year. And the warm months are always a simmering and percolating time for me, thinking, experimenting, and meandering explorations. I feel a strong spiritual (irresistible) directive to be exceptionally lazy for a couple days.  For me that means reading and very slow hand stitching. I’m reading about the middle ages and starting some mini toadstools to travel with me. In about a week I’m headed for France to teach and explore again.

mini hand sewn toadstools

I like having lots of little things already begun to work on in the in between times, airports etc. And I love having enchanted toadstools to plop down somewhere new for a photo. It’s the intersection I love, that fairytale, soundstage place where real meets pretend.

hand sewn toadstools in moss

hand stitched mushrooms

When you travel with an enchanted toadstool in your pocket the shift in perspective is remarkable. All sorts of opportunities for magic appear. I can’t get enough of it.

mushroom sewing pattern and wool

easy doll clothes patterns and a free mini straw hat diy

easy doll clothes

A tiny summer top! Who would  have guessed she’d reveal even a hint of midriff. But there it is. Scandalous. You just never know about someone…

easy doll dress, top and hat sewing patterns

A new sewing pattern! And a free tutorial too!

Use your scraps to make adorable dresses and tops for your tiny ladies. She can wear the dress frontwards or backwards for a variety of looks (it would also make a sweet nightgown made from eyelet or a vintage handkerchief).

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

The dress, top and hat are quick and easy to make. I spent a ton of time working out a tiny dress pattern that does not require lots of  hems and has no fasteners. You could use the simple technique to create all sorts of little garments. They are just the right size for the tiny rag doll and the pattern scales well for other rag dolls.

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

easy doll dress sewing pattern

The tiny rag doll needed a summer wardrobe.  She is headed for the French countryside soon so a big sun hat was a must.  The hat is included in the pdf and I’ve shared it below too.

easy doll dress pattern

get the pattern

make a mini straw hat:

free min straw hat diy

A couple material notes – I used cheese cloth – it’s cheap and easy to find. You can also experiment with any very light weight, gauzy, open weave cotton or linen fabric for different effects.

The nail polish bottle is used for forming the hat crown – any similar glass or plastic container can be used. The bottle I’m using made a hat that’s just the right size for the tiny rag doll – it is 5/8th inches across.

I’m using elmer’s glue

Paint – I used acrylic craft paint – mixing shades of brown, ochre and white for a straw shade.

I finished the hat with a mini silk ribbon. I love these ribbons and you can find them here. They are great for lots of tiny details and embroidery too (fyi – the miss thistle society gets a small commission if you purchase through the link).

mini straw hat making suplies

1. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 5 inches by 5 inches. Cheese cloth has 4 layers and we will use them all.

2. Mix a straw shade of paint and add white glue (about 4 parts glue to 1 part paint). Paint the top 1/4 inch of the cap. Optional – I’m mixing glue into the paint but if you prefer you can just use glue and paint later or leave unpainted.

3. Center the cheesecloth over the cap and pull it tightly over it.

4. Hold the cheesecloth tight with an elastic.  Paint a thin layer of glue or the glue paint mixture on the cheesecloth. Let this dry completely.

5. Remove the rubber band and remove the cheesecloth from the bottle and spread it flat on wax paper.

6. Paint the cheese cloth with a thin coat glue or the glue mixture a little wider than you would like the brim. Brush firmly out from the center. Let this dry completely.

7. When it’s dry lift it off the wax paper.

8. Trim the brim to whatever size you like.

free straw doll hat diy

To finish you can add ribbon or a mini flower or stitch a detail on the brim or crown with embroidery thread. I used 4mm silk ribbon (affiliate link – meaning the miss thistle gets a tiny commission if you purchase through this link).

doll hat diy

I hope you make tiny hats! share your photos with the tiny rag doll community by using  #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.

mini straw hat diy

new fall 2019 workshops

antique paper ship workshop

paper ship workshop

French paper ships, edwardian birds, stitched beetles and toadstools and a sweet needle book. I’m headed back to LA in October for a big week of workshops.  And I’m still trying to squeeze a couple more in for 2019 (east coasters stay tuned – how would you feel about Connecticut?). If you’d like to suggest someplace near you that might like to offer a workshop with me let me know.

french paper ships

antique paper ship workshop

They glow like the moon and twirl in the breeze. Spend two days making romantic paper vessels with billowy sails. You will learn my top secret paper layering techniques and create your ship hull from antique and handmade papers. The stitched linen and cotton sails will be finished with antique fabrics and garment fragments.

All tools and materials are supplied for this workshop including specialty handmade papers and a collection of antique french paper for finishing, sail fabrics and embellishments and antique buttons and rigging. If you have fabrics or papers that are meaningful to you, you are welcome to bring them, but it is not required. The finished ship measures approximately 13 inches by 18 inches.

Are you traveling? Your ship disassembles and folds flat for travel. It’s magic.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Coffee/tea, lunch and aperos served.

details and registration

edwardian birds

edwardian bird workshop

Working with antique garments we will create a creature inspired by ravens and crows. A dark bird with a mysterious and intelligent presence.

You will learn to stitch and sculpt the body shape, create intricate layers of feathers, sculpt talons and carve the beak.

The antique Edwardian mourning garments we will work with provide interesting textures, colors and detail that will be unique to your bird. We will be stitching by hand and machine. The finished bird is 8-9 inches tall.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Coffee/tea, lunch and aperos served.

details and registration

stitched beetles

stitched beetle workshop

Spend and evening stitching a sweet beetle with me. We will work with vintage and antique fabrics, lace, wire and a couple secret ingredients to create these whimsical little creatures that fit in the palm of your hand. The finished beetle is approximately 4 inches long (excluding his darling antennae).

All materials are provided for this workshop. Aperos served.

details and registration

stitched mushrooms

stitched mushroom workshop

Make magical toadstools! We will spend an evening stitching enchanted fungi. You will work with vintage and antique scraps to create caps and stems and you’ll learn the top secret method for making a concave cap underside.

All materials are provided for this workshop. The finished mushroom is 4-6 inches long. Aperos served.

details and registration

needle book

needle book

Stitch a little book for your needles and notions and the scraps you can’t part with.

Spend an evening slow stitching with me. We will embellish and personalize pre- sewn pages to create a mini 6 page booklet plus cover and center heart. There will be exquisite antique buttons and fabric and lace scraps to choose from. You will learn to assemble the book, add details, embroidery and create spaces for your notions. The finished book is approximately 3 and ½ by 5 inches.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Aperos served.

details and registraion

a misbehaving beetle, homemade spray starch and 4 more little joys

a guilty little beetle up to no good

a guilty little beetle up to no good

He’s done something. I’m sure of it. It’s all over his face.  More about this naughty little beetle  in a minute. First I want to tell you about some simple things that are bringing me joy this spring. Since you found your way here they might be up your alley too:

sewing in bed

1. sewing in bed

It’s always on the joy list, such a gentle way to wake up. Get something ready to sew the night before and there is nothing at all to think about. Just start sewing. My current bed sewing is sails and needle books (I can’t stop making those little pages). Simple, meditative stitching.

 

tiny rag doll gardening

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

2. the adventures of althea

This is sweet, and beautiful and funny. Dawn Smith has created a magic world for her tiny rag doll  and she photographs Althea’s adventures daily.

Follow her while she has tea and visit friends and gardens. It’s awesome.

 

lilacs in my studio

3. lilacs

It’s such a glorious smell and gone so quickly. When I wake up to the cool spring lilac air I have no choice but to sew in bed. It’s the only responsible thing to do.

 

how to make laundry spray starch

4. homemade spray starch

It’s easy to make, cheap, works beautifully and it is non-aerosol and packaging free. Most importantly I did not have to leave my apartment when I ran out of spray starch for my sails.

I love to iron.  I’ve been sorting through sail fabric for ships, ironing it and making neat little piles. This is also called procrastination.  Productive procrastination but still…  Anyway the homemade laundry starch adds even a little more joy to the ironing party.

recreational ironing

The starch is just cornstarch and water. Add a couple drops of lavender oil (or whatever you like) for a glorious fresh laundry smell. Laundry is right up there with lilacs for me smell wise. Plus I feel super thrifty and oldschool.

make some laundry starch:

  • Whisk 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 and ½ cups water. You’re already almost done.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, boil for about a minute while stirring.
  • Remove from the heat and let is cool to room temperature, add a couple drops of scent if you like and pour it through a strainer into a spray bottle.

 

5 sketchbook

My daily painting and drawings. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, such a huge pain in the a**  when I’m super busy.  But the joy wins. And it makes me a better thinker.

 

yogi tea

and a little bonus joy:

I love this tea! I drink buckets of it all day long. You can find it in most grocery stores I think.

 

what’s on my work table this week

hand stitched beetle

You have met the guilty beetle, the naughty little fellow is regretting his mischief.  He is made from gorgeous and very old French scraps. I’m working on lots of misbehaving little french anthropods.

so long little beetle

And ships. I love living with them and have been without a personal fleet for too long. This one has a final layer of old paper collage. Come make beetles and paper ships with me this October – I’m teaching several workshops in LA at French General – find info and registration here.

paper mache ship collaged with antique paper

PS – What are you working on? Have you made a doll bed? What smell transports you?

homemade laundry starch