Category: on my work table

the big 2020 review and plans for the new year

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

let’s start with the first project of the new year:

Years ago I got a very old, wobbly, pink console table at a flea market in Brooklyn. Turning it into a place to make my little daily paintings was the first project of 2021. My current living situation (Guilford, Connecticut since June) is serviceable but I have not really made friends with it. The pink desk is the first thing that has made me feel at home, less disoriented in disorienting times.
It needed a thorough cleaning to brighten the odd pink paint and tightening the leg screws completely eliminated the wobble.

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

Ritual and habit anchor me. And the pink desk adds to the painting ritual. They happen mostly in the evening, the last thing I do each day. Pretty much. I haven’t missed a day in two plus years. I love that it’s waiting for me. It removes an obstacle to beginning. Removing obstacles is super helpful when committing to practice, to building a habit.

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

more on new year plans in a minute, first let’s look back

Amidst the swirling debacle that was 2020, two lifelong dreams were fulfilled.

You know I love a list. Partly because I like to look back and see what stuck and what didn’t. What plans turned into reality and what stayed in the someday folder. I made an intentionally audacious (audacious for me anyway) list in 2015.  Looking back at it now I’m surprised how much of it came true. It also pointed me back at some things I’d still like to accomplish and some I’m probably letting go of. Like surfing. Mostly cause I’m scared of sharks.

Two big items on the list happened this past summer:

I planted a garden and took a pottery class. The hurricane at the beginning of August dropped a huge tree on the little garden and pretty much wiped it out but still… some stuff survived (mostly herbs and radishes) and I got to play in dirt and ate stuff I grew myself. I also learned a lot about bunnies, bugs and deer…

3 ceramic handmade plates

The pottery class was at the Guilford Art Center over the summer. It took most of the ten week class for me to figure out what I want to make and learn even the basic rules of clay. I am swirling with ideas and all the energy of being a beginner.

hand holding a tiny ceramic mushroom

And I made a painting. I’ve been intending to bust out the mini scale of my painting work and experiment for a long time.  At the end of the year I made it a priority. It was an experience. I learned a lot, including that paint is expensive. It’s something I’ll continue to experiment with but at a less ambitious size unless I win the lottery.

blog and shop stuff

A few highlights : The Elegant (and sometimes nude) Rag doll pattern was released as well as 9 new free tutorials:

picnic bugs
wire doll house bed
overalls for the tiny rag doll and mr. socks
miniature paper hens
scrap flower garlands
chicken ornaments
owl ornaments
pin girls
lucky fish

mouse doll house tea party

My favorite project of the year was the mouse house. Made for joy. 100% Joy. And that’s my plan for 2021. Look for Joy. Indulge in and commit hard to things that bring Joy and let go of things that don’t.

Two of the big lessons from 2020 for me were:

1. Take nothing for granted.
2. I’m capable of more than I think.

Weeding out the things that don’t really bring Joy is harder than it sounds. But I can make it the first question. Put it at the top of the list when deciding what to spend time on, let it steer me. I think the daily painting practice helps with that. Showing up and listening to myself.

If you’re feeling up for a daily practice the 100 Day Project is a good opportunity to test drive one. The next round starts January 31st. Think of it as an opportunity to listen to yourself.

I’m still feeling around for my goals for this year. There are a few things I know for sure in the short term – in the next few weeks you will see a new sewing pattern (the crow), prints and notecards made from daily paintings and plans for the third annual international scrap festival.

Lots of other ideas are still swirling and percolating and I’m giving them room to do that. Building more time in my days to feel around for Joy.

what’s on my worktable : mending, rag dolls and other loose ends

mending a linen smock

mending a linen smock

Mending never ends. The contemporary holly hobby look requires constant maintenance and if I let it get ahead of me I have nothing to wear. I currently have nothing to wear except yoga pants so I’ve officially declared November wardrobe maintenance month. Plus I like to do it, I love the meandering stitches, patches on patches and unexpected color combinations. It chills me out and invites the universe in. Once I sink in I can spend lost hours stitching, percolating ideas and talking to the plants.

mending a linen smock

(Find the free pattern for the awesome pin cushion here)

Hexies sneak into everything, I love the way the look, just popping up once in a while in non-hexie situations and they are also super handy for tight spots with angles, like near a zipper or seam corner and little pull holes near pockets or straps.

I’m working on patterns too – the crow is coming, seriously it is, there was a technical debacle but I’m still shooting for this year. Also patterns for the soldier doll, more clothes for the elegant rag doll  and a new botanical are in the works.

textile owls and birds in progress

And finishing other almost done stuff feels like a good way to end this weird year. For me that starts with making piles and gathering the supplies I need to finish. Also known as tricking myself into starting. The tiny bit of progress gets my wheels turning.

rag doll parts on my worktable

There was a big box of elegant rag doll parts and semi-done samples made for shooting the pattern. Naked and not naked ladies are emerging. I’ll start putting them (and anything else that makes it across the finish line) in the shop soon.

elegant and nude rag dolls

 What are you stitching this November? Are you mending? Making holiday stuff? I’ve got some gift an ornament stuff going too and  I’ll show you next week.  And check out this raccoon!  It’s genius! Made by @erinpcf from the very nice mice pattern with very clever modifications. I love him.

tiny felt raccoon made form the very nice mice pattern

shop news:

tiny rag doll sewing kit

Tiny rag doll and mr. socks kits are back in stock. And the stitch paintings are available again too including two new designs!

embroidery - blue rooster stitch painting

embroidery - bird stitch painting

lucky fish : slow stitch project

slow stitch scrap fish diy

slow stitch scrap fish diy

Who doesn’t need some luck? Plus these very simple fish are pulling me out of slushy, stubborn stuckness.

One thing leads to another, if you let it, but first you need to start. Where I really started was ironing, ironing scraps. It went on my to do list because it was an easy win (I felt like doing it). And I had saved a couple bundles of scraps, each sent by a friend, to sort and iron pre-move.

slow stitch fabric fish diy

As I ironed and sorted by color the wheels started to turn and I felt a strong and persistent spiritual directive to slow stitch some fish.

Maybe you feel like stitching some fish too. Let it be a meandering process, try stuff. Let one thing lead to another.

** DOWNLOAD THE FISH TEMPLATE **

You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – light cotton or linen
  • little scraps, buttons lace for embellishing
  • stuffing
  • a basic sewing kit
  • pencil

cutting out fabric fish shape

1. Pin the pattern to 2 layers of light cotton fabric – right sides of the fabric together – and cut out. Be sure to clip out the little triangle notches.

2. Mark the seam line lightly in pencil.

3. Stitch the seam by hand or machine, leaving open between the notches. Find hand sewing tips here. 

4.  Clip notches around the curves and clip off the points at the nose and tail. Be careful not to clip the seam.

5. Use a chopstick to turn the fish right side out.

6.  Pro tip: use a plastic mechanical pencil to push out the corners – retract the lead first.

7. Stuff your fish.

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so long new york city

ann wood's brooklyn apartment

ann wood's brooklyn apartment

After 24 years I’ve said goodbye to New York City and my creaky old place. And because of the current situation I didn’t even see the new place until I arrived with movers and all my worldly possessions. It was an extra big adventure.

guilford town green

The last few weeks have been consumed with all the moving chores and writing giant checks. So not fun. Yesterday I took a break and made my Inaugural Guilford Connecticut pot of soup (spring vegetable) and took a walk around my new neighborhood, it has awesome old trees. I especially love the giant droopy old pines – they have been appearing in my paintings for  the last year or so. Prophetic maybe.

guilford ct

I’d only ever been here once for about 15 minutes. Apparently it made an impression. I did have a truly excellent artisanal donut that day so there’s that. Ever since the move my thinker has been being a stinker. Can’t focus and I spin my wheels a lot. And it is also the longest I have gone without making something or even stitching in 10 plus years. Over the holiday weekend I sat by a friend’s pool and mended and made hexies.

mending jeans and sewing hexies

I think it helped, I guess hexies really are necessary to my mental health #hexiesforsanity. Also as I sift through the chaos here and get unpacked more of the fog lifts. I hope to be smart again by August.

garden

And I’ve got a tiny garden. A life long dream realized. So simple and happy. It’s kind of a haphazard mess but I love it. I’ll share more as it develops but the big news today is my beets have sprouted. The universe truly is magic.

the new plan for scraps : filed by color

sorting quilting scraps by color

sorting quilting scraps by color

The organizing was a huge idea generator. It shifted something – seeing everything grouped that way, it was somehow thrilling and I got tons of new ideas. There was also a big editing process, I just kept the stuff I loved.

It took forever and was hugely fun and satisfying to do. I haven’t figured out how to store them yet plus I love looking at them so for now they’ll stay where they are, just hanging out on a table.

sorting quilting scraps by color

The idea was to organize some little groups of scraps for my hexie quilt project. It snowballed into sorting through every single little cotton quilting weight scrap I have and organizing them by color. How do you sort your fabric scraps? Historically my scraps have been sorted mostly by project – owl scraps, doll scraps etc. but the hexie project uses all the scraps plus I’m experimenting with color transitions.

sorting quilting scraps by color

I found little scrap treasures I’d forgotten, and the original miss thistle turned up too – she’s been missing for years (her dress is still missing).

original tiny rag doll

hexie quilt made from scraps

It’s perfect for the hexie quilt – I’m working from the pale neutral pile now. And it does help immensely to have things pre-sorted by color. All the sorting and organizing led to more sorting and organizing, you know how that goes, and I think my plan for the remainder of this odd spring will be to organize and edit all my possessions.

How do you store your scraps? Have you tried sorting by color? Share in the comments if you like and check out out lots of awesome #hexiesforsanity projects here.

how to make salt clay

making dolls and mini dishes from salt clay

salt clay diy

It’s also called Victorian Salt Clay, I even love the sound of it. The question was “ What if you want to make tiny dishes but don’t have paper clay?” I wondered if a homemade, air-dry clay could work and the answer is yes. It was a fun experiment plus I love the way it smells – I was immediately 11 again.

Salt is the main ingredient. It produces a clay that is a little more textured than paper clay. It takes a while to dry – a day or two. You shouldn’t bake it but you can put it someplace warm to speed up the process. My oven has a pilot so it’s always a little warm and I put my pieces in it overnight. The small things were dry but the larger pieces needed another day. It’s very hard when dry and can be sanded and painted – I have tips for that below. First let’s make the clay.

You will need:

1 cup of salt
⅓ cup water
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup cold water

!. Mix 1 cup of table salt with ⅓ cup of water. Heat in a small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat.

2. Quickly stir the ½ cup cornstarch into ¼ cup cold water. It’s very important that you sprinkle the cornstarch a little at a time stirring constantly or it won’t mix properly.

3. Put the salt mixture back on low heat and add the cornstarch mixture stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken. Keep stirring until it becomes dough like – this happens pretty quickly.

4. Scoop it out onto a plate and let it cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, knead it into a smooth ball. It’s ready to use – you can roll it like cookie dough or sculpt it. Left over clay can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. I did find it a little crumbly when I took it out of the fridge the next day but after I kneaded it again it was sculpt-able.

making dolls and mini dishes from salt clay

salt clay miniature teacup

I tried making some plates and cups from the tiny dish tutorial and got good results. When I formed it over things it was looser than the paper clay but it still worked. And in the plate tutorial I recommend letting it dry about halfway before cutting the shapes. With the salt clay you can’t do that – it becomes too brittle. It’s a pretty stiff clay though so easy to cut.

dollhouse dish tutorial

 

Over-all I was pleased with the results – not as fine as the paper clay but still charming and I definitely value heart over perfection in tiny dish making.

Plus it’s fun to make the clay!

 

 

I sanded the pieces and painted with watercolor, acrylic craft paint and finished some with nail-polish. Use quick multiple coats of paint. I found if I overworked the paint it would lift.

miniature cast iron pan

The handle on the tiny cast iron frying pan broke when I sanded it but I glued it back on and painted it with black nail polish. The teacup got painted with black nail polish too. The soup kettle was made by forming the clay over a handle – similar to the process for creating the teacup in the dish tutorial.

salt clay diy - pots and pans

salt clay diy

mini doll parts made form salt clay

Parts for a little doll experiment showed up too. Such a funny little lady, I love her. I’ll post a photo when she’s finished.

magic stones made form victorian salt clay

And magic stones.

I made them, that’s how I know for sure they’re magic. They are painted with watercolor and acrylic and finished with a layer of nail polish. The clay and stones would be a fun project to do with little folks and a magic rock in your pocket can’t hurt.

I hope you make victorian salt clay!

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.


paintings to stitch, the hexie quilt and nude rag doll news

painting sampler - teacup

stitch painting embroidery

Every day starts with stitching owls and castles and swans etc. and making scrap hexies. I chose a few images from the daily paintings to print on linen and stitch and I love stitching them, I find it hypnotic. It’s a free style situation – choosing lines or details to highlight and embellish. I’ve only been using 3 stitches – back stitch, satin and french knots.

a cozy sewing situation

You can find the stitch paintings in the shop.

When I finish these I’ll keep them in the hoops and hang them in a little group –  I’ll show you how to do that soon. I’m using DMC floss – the six strand stuff – separating one, two or three strands. 

painting sampler - teacup

embroider a blue bug

I love this blue bug gentleman, where is he going? Who are those flowers for? And I love the little french knot flowers for his bouquet.  I used two strands of thread for these. 

french knots:

Bring the needle through the fabric where you would like the knot.  Hold the thread tight about and inch from the fabric with your other hand. Place your needle in front of the tight floss – be sure it’s in front – not behind. 

Wind the floss around the needle twice (or once for a tiny knot),  Don’t twirl the needle to wind the floss – wind it around the needle with your non-needle hand,

Keep the tension of the floss and put the needle back in right next to (not in the same hole – but very close to it) where you began. Keep the thread tight with your non-needle hand and pull the coil downward towards your fabric. Pull the needle through to finish the knot.

hexie update:

I add a few every day- I’m moving from the multicolor scrap area into a pale section and starting a  dark blue group too, Lots of people are making hexies! Check out #hexiesforsanity to see. And I found a printable sheet of templates here.

 making a hexie quilt from scraps

embroidering a doll face

Scandalous doll pattern update: Just about there and it is awesome. The hard part for me was the head – I changed my mind over and over but finally settled on a solution I’m super happy with.  Stay tuned.  And get some fabric – muslin or any light cotton.

What are you working on?  Come across any cool projects, recipes, awesome books  or ideas you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments.

the hexie project

hexie scrap sewing project

hexie scrap sewing project

It’s a perfect plan, here’s why: You can do it in bed, all you need are some scraps, the most basic sewing ability and paper. Plus it has a calming effect, for me anyway. The first thought was to use only pale, small prints. But then the idea of playing with scale and color was appealing – using large prints in these little hexies. That dissolved into abandoning all constraints and going with a fully random assemblage – no planning, no thought, inviting serendipity.

I also didn’t really have a plan for what they would become, that evolved too. At first I thought I’d patch a quilt with them- I love it when hexies or groups of them just turn up somewhere. And I used a few in my mending.

mending a linen smock with hexies

I like making them so much though I want a legit hexie project. The current plan is to just keep going and going. Instead of a fully random situation I’ve begun to plan some color transitions and shapes and lines, still taking a meandering, “yes and approach” and  not laying out a design beforehand.

The idea of approaching a hexie project in a painterly and abstract way is super duper appealing to me. It’s also super duper appealing that it will take an immense amount of time over days, months, years…

hexie scrap sewing project

They are simple to make.  There are tons of detailed hexie (english paper piecing) methods, tutorials, tips and ideas on the interwebs to explore, I’ll give you some basics on my process  here. I started with template paper that was precut and later made my own paper templates using magazine pages. My shape is 2 inches at the widest point. Place the paper on your fabric and cut about  3/8th of an inch from the edge.

Fold one side over the edge and finger press the fold.

Fold an adjacent side down, finger press the edge and stitch through the fold to hold it in place. Don’t stitch through the paper.

Keep your needle attached and fold down the next side and finger press the edge.

Stitch that fold and continue around until all 6 sides are basted.

hexie project

After I get a bunch I press them. To stitch them together place 2 with the right sides together and whip stitch the edge. Keep adding hexies stitching one edge at a time.

hexie scrap sewing project

After a bunch are assembled I’ve been pressing the whole thing and taking the paper out to use again – snipping out a couple stitches and using my needle to lift out the paper. This may be controversial…. I think you’re supposed to leave them in until it’s finished.  Feel free to share your opinion.

I’m working on it every morning, marking these strange moments with hexies. I so recommend it. If you’d like to join me use #hexiesforsanity on instagram. Make something small, make something big, make a design or go free form or both – that could be awesome. I’ll be updating you regularly on my progress.

Onward,
ann

PS – if the idea appeals to you but you’re not on instagram let me know in the comments – I’ll try to put together another sharing option.

PPS – If you have tips for making and assembling hexies please share in the comments.

Be sure to check the comments for great tips!

 

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.


the hexie project

house for a mouse : make mini chandeliers and a bed

mouse house diy projects

doll house diy

Making a cozy house for nice mice: part 2 – the bedroom

If you haven’t checked out Part 1 find it right here.

 

doll house furniture tutorials

mouse house tutorials

mouse house diy

The Admiral escorts Mrs. Croft off to bed.

 

doll or fairy bed diy

 

 

Of course they need a bedroom too, a cozy escape from the trials of the day.  The tutorial for their dear little wire bed is here.

 

 

 

dollhouse chandelier diy

*some links are affiliate links – meaning I get a tiny commission if you purchase through the links – they are marked with an asterisk

The fancy chandeliers are made from vintage beads and buttons and *24 gauge wire. Any wire small enough to fit through your beads will work. Improvise and work with what you’ve got – that is the spirit of the mouse house. I didn’t have a ton of beads – I gave most of them away a while ago – what was I thinking… So I took apart a couple vintage earrings, found a few glass buttons and beads and some tiny plastic seed beads.

I’ve got some tips below to get you started:

dollhouse chandelier diy

Make a circle of beads on your wire – whatever size you like. Twist 3 or four wires onto the ring – with a short end and a long end.

dollhouse chandelier diy

I used four wires – spaced out pretty evenly around the circle of beads.

dollhouse chandelier diy

Add a bead or button to the short ends and curl them up.

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extreme mending and how to make a front bustle and scrap binding

binding mad from scraps

mending clothes with scraps

The Second Annual International Scrap Festival comes to a close today!  Thanks to everybody who participated – you can checkout some of the swaps and projects here. I’m already planning the 2021 festival…

You can’t have a scrap festival without talking about mending. I love my mended sleeves and knees, it has nothing to do with being practical or frugal, although I am both of those things. Pretty much. I get nostalgic and attached about clothes and the practice itself, the mending, the meandering stitches and serendipitous layers, is a daily meditation for me.

mended linen smock with front bustle

And I like an interesting hem, not sure why, but it might be at least in part because I’m pretty short (you may not have noticed this because I project quite tall). The hitched up skirt has a little lengthening effect. And it fits right in with my middle age art lady personal style ( #contemporaryhollyhobby). I stumbled onto the front bustle, or bustled hem idea idea while mending this dress.

The first bustle was a simple button and loop. I’ve just button bustled my ancient and  beloved  cal patch smock. The mending on this smock is so extreme it will eventually be nothing but mends.

mending a linen smock with scraps

I have a flannel shirt (purchased for 25 cents at the Herkimer NY Goodwill) that’s like that too – just can’t let it go. Plus it keeps getting more interesting. The edges near the buttons were shredded so I made edge binding from scraps.

binding mad from scraps

Check out this tutorial on how to make your own. It’s super easy.  And it begins with “iron your scraps” so you know it’s a winner. I’m making a bunch of this for frayed pillowcase edges too.

Back to the bustles. I tried a different method on an antique linen nightgown I got in France last year (it started out ivory – I dyed it blue with woad).

make a bustled hem

I’m using a strip of cotton fabric that’s about 3 inches wide. You can make it any length you like – depending on how bustled you want to be. I made the cord from very light weight fabric  – you could also use ribbon or twill tape, any sort of cord you like. I started with about 30 inches of cord and trimmed it .

bustled hem tutorial

Fold the side edges under and press, then folded the top and bottom edges over twice and pressed.  Pin the piece to the skirt.

Sew a U shaped channel in the center –  about one half inch wide. Sew the long sides down as well- I used a tiny whip stitch along the edge. Be sure to leave the top and bottom edges open.

Use a large needle  to thread the cord through from the top.

Come out at the bottom and go back in and come out at the top again. Once the cord is in you can stitch the bottom closed (being careful not to catch the cord) or just leave it open – I left it open.

bustled hem tutorial

bustled hem tutorial

Trim the cord and knot the ends. You are bustled! If you bustle a hem I’d love to see – use #contemporaryhollyhobby on instagram.

how to maker a bustled hem

elegant rag dolls

PS – There has been serious naked lady rag doll progress – The pattern is almost done – I’m in the tiny adjustment/improvement stage. This process involves making tons of dolls and some of those, in various states of dress, will be in the shop  soon.

bustled hem tutorial

the big 2019 review and what’s coming for 2020 : predictions, wishes and plans

antique japanese textiles

let’s start with what’s new

The second annual international scrap festival is in the works and it’s  expanding to an entire month. February will officially and forever be International Scrap Month. That’s one of the nice things about inventing a festival, you get to be the boss of everything and do stuff like that. If you have met me then you know I have freakishly strong hands and I like to be the boss of everything.
antique japanese textiles*The magic fabric above is courtesy of my Brooklyn neighbor Sri threads. There is more about it at the bottom of the post

Stay tuned for details, I’m gathering a bunch of cool projects for  scraps and creating a couple new tutorials for you.

And I wonder what you think of a scrap swap? Is that something you’d be interested in participating in? Tell me in the comments please. If you’re into it I’ll try to hook you up.

bat applique on a vintage linen

I’ve just added part 2 – embroidering the details to the bat appliqué – find it here.

More about what’s coming up in a minute – let’s look back

2019 went by so fast. And negativity bias is real. When I looked back my first thought was – what happened? I only made one new pdf sewing pattern and one new booklet for the shop. It seemed like an extremely unproductive year but then I scrolled through the year of blog posts and saw I published a record breaking 13 free tutorials. That was not my plan but it is what I did. Here’s the list in the order they appeared:

needle book
easy rag doll shoes
dollhouse fireplace
tiny dishes
little pants
doll bed
doll quilt
straw doll hat
bat -updated!
paper boat
penny rug
paper swan box
wax paper crystal ornaments

I’m already working on more tutorials for this year. You’ll see the first couple during the February Scrap Festival.

a couple other 2019 highlights:

*365 little paintings – I stuck to it, didn’t miss a single day. I found a rhythm and I feel like a voice is emerging. And I’ve kept going with the daily practice, still making a little painting (or drawing) everyday. I put them in the shop about every 6 weeks and there will be a new batch on Tuesday 1/21.

*And I made a  paper ship installation at the Squam Art Retreat and taught workshops in Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Vermont, France and Kentucky. Such a big year.

what’s coming in 2020

In addition to planning the second annual scrap festival January is for organizing and finishing. I get very spring cleany in January – do you? There are too many unfinished projects and too many piles of things waiting to be sorted. I’m tackling those things first.

stitching a soldier rag doll and owl

And by the time you’re reading this, I will be deeply focused on getting new sewing patterns across the finish line: the large scandalously nude rag doll, captain charmley (currently headless above) and the crow. Probably not in that order. And news is coming soon on 2020 Workshops – I’ll be in France in June and July and at Squam (spring session) in New Hampshire but those are both waitlist situations. You can join me in Vermont in March though for a super cozy workshop with French General and there will be more workshop dates for the fall very soon, I’m working out logistics now.

predictions, wishes

Looking ahead – I think and hope in 2020 we will see a resurgence of blogging. Blogging like it used to be. So many disappeared into social media. I love seeing people’s creative lives and homes. If you have a favorite blog please share it in the comments – I’d love to see. I also think smaller networks will continue to emerge – online meeting places where conversations happen and algorithms don’t choose for us.

And for me: there are all sorts of things I’d like to make this year and things I’d like to try – like printing fabric and sewing more clothes. I’ve got lots of ideas percolating and I bet you do too. My biggest wish for 2020 is margin. Putting some space between things. I’m very happy in just about everything I do as long as I don’t have to rush. I’m making a rule for myself to never rush again. I will definitely fail at this but I’m trying anyway, keeping it at the front of my mind when I’m planning things. I think it’s a discipline and will take practice. And I also believe it’s a choice.
I hope your year is full of ideas and projects and lots of time to make things.

And as always, thanks for showing up here – it makes all things possible,
ann

antique pink textiles

PS – Fabric is almost always where I start, and often fabrics that finds me. The glorious fabric at the top of the post appeared on my doorstep, a magical gift from Sri Threads. So much to think about, color combinations I would never have thought of, mending by other hands, all sorts of serendipity and  endless places to start. You can see more of it on my instagram story today and check out the Sri Threads instagram feed here – there is lots of inspiration there.

PPS – Don’t forget to tell me about the scrap swap – if it’s something you’d like to participate in please let me know in the comments and I’ll get to work on it.

scrap flowers and cardinals on my work table

cardinal made from red fabric

Is there a color, or colors you have a hard time working with? For me it’s red. It’s not that I don’t like red, it just hardly ever seems to find its way in to anything. Until lately, all of a sudden lots of rich red scraps have been turning up (or maybe I’ve just started noticing them) and my worktable is covered with magnificent reds and crimsons.  

hand stitched cardinal and flowers

stitched cardinal

I’m working on two projects to share at the Sugar House Retreat in March. a cardinal, and a fabric necklace.  The cardinal is made from the songbird sewing pattern with a few modifications. I love all the varieties of red and pink that turn up in cardinals and I’m working on a few. 

stitched flower necklace

The necklace is a scrap project, most of them collected in France this summer. It’s a jump in without a plan sort of process, step one is just cutting some circles.  I’m adding little bits of green too. I like the idea of using color as a starting point and a constraint and I’ll probably use the scrap necklace project ro experiment in other shades. I’ve started collecting some teal scraps for another.

sugar house retreat

If you’d like to join me in Vermont for the Sugar harvest and lots of projects, exploring and fantastic food and friends you can find more details here. It’s a small and super friendly retreat.  I had a fantastic time last year and you can checkout some images from that here. Or checkout out #warmbrookbarn on instagram.