Category: on my work table

on fire for captain charmley

The heavy lifting is done and I’m at the perfecting stage. Making lots of tiny adjustments, in the zone. This is the fun part, the woodshedding.

Captain Charmley has been through some changes since his first appearance here. The original soldier dolls sprang out of  this experiment and were much smaller. I do want him to be a companion to the elegant rag doll so his size and proportions were all re-worked. This is also known as pretty much starting over.

soldier rag doll and elegant lady doll in progress in ann wood's hand

legs and boots stitched form cotton in ann wood's hand

Through all his iterations I’ve waffled on a couple details. Expressive feet and sideburns mainly. It comes down to a balance between effort, complication and effect. Is a tiny detail worth adding steps to the pattern. I’ve decided that the sideburns and expressive feet are definitely worth it.

The other big hurdle is his lined jacket. The mechanics have been worked out and I’m super happy with the process. You’re gonna love it. PS – the fabric was a gift from artist indira johnosn  and marketplaceindia – i love it.

The Captain Charmley pattern will be available later this year. Stay tuned.

stitchbook progress

15 minutes a day is magic. One of the big lessons of this process for me is not getting too attached to previous work, not falling in love to early. Composition is king.
I post each day on instagram and here. I’ve included a 5 day page cycle below.

Are you stitching with me? Checkout out lots of reader stitchbook pages here.

PS – Happy almost daylight savings time! I sure do love March.

PPS – I usually stitch features on dolls after I sew and stuff them – how about you – before or after? Let us know in the comments.

the fourth annual international scrap festival – 10 ideas for your fabric scraps

small fabric projects on a table - made from scraps of cotton and linen and text in the center -scrap festival 2022

small fabric projects on a table - made from scraps of cotton and linen and text in the center -scrap festival 2022

Welcome to the fourth annual scrap festival! That magical time of year when we celebrate scraps a little extra. I’ve scoured the interwebs for some awesome tutorials  and created a new fabric book DIY that’s perfect for scraps.

book made form cotton and linen fabric scraps rest on a worn blue table with sewing notions and a pile of scraps

It’s also perfect for the 100 day project if you feel like trying that. Fun and very manageable – you could do 15 minutes a day.  I’m participating using the book as my project. My daily progress post will be in the @annwood instagram stories and on a page here too. If you’d like to sew along with me use #annwoodstitchbook and #annwoodpattern on instagram.  You don’t have to commit to the hundred days to sew along but If you would like to more details are here.

Next week  On February 23rd I’ll post a full tutorial for making the book. For now let’s talk about how to get started on a couple pages:

*Download the template and cut 2 rectangles – these will be 2 pages.

template and two fabric rectangles - each 7 X 5.5 one is borwn one is black

Ignore the other marks on the pattern for now – just cut the rectangles. I’m using cotton and linen for the pages – the brown is from a worn out duvet and the black was a little jacket.

Stitch whatever you like on your rectangles, embroidery, collage, mess around, try stuff, meander. Leave about 1/2 inch margin all around the edge to make book assembly easy. Need some inspiration? You might find this post helpful. I test drove the 15 minutes a day idea and this is what I came up with.

fabric rectangle with 15 minutes of experimental stitching and patching

I used a timer and everything. It was a focused 15 minutes and felt good. The time limit eliminates paralysis and overthinking and invites happenstance. I love the idea of each day building on the previous.

For the one hundred day project my suggestion is 15 minutes per day. The book has 20 pages including the front and back covers so each page is stitched for 5 days, 15 minutes per day. So do-able! Over achievers feel free to do more. As I’m stitching and sharing I’ll include some simple prompts and suggestions in case you’re feeling stuck.

Why do it? It’s a little window of time to listen to yourself, try stuff, make marks, experiment. A place for ideas to turn up. And a perfect place to celebrate your most precious scraps!

book made form cotton and linen fabric scraps rest on a worn blue table with sewing notions and a pile of scraps

You don’t have to do the 100 days to sew along but if you are, start stitching on Sunday 2/13- 15 minutes per day. After 5 days, move on to the second page. Meet me back here on February 23rd for the full book tutorial (you’re gonna love it, super easy to make and the binding is clever).

I hope you make stitch books! Don’t forget to use #annwoodstitchbook and #annwoodpattern  on instagram. And if you’re doing the hundred days also use #The100DayProject

UPDATE 2/13 – find day 1 here!

9 more scrap projects!

tiny pouch mad from scraps

1.  A sweet bucket pouch from honeyfolkclothing.  The pfd is free through the end of this month only and you can find it here. And checkout @honeyfolkclothing (heidi) on on iinstagram for lots of inspiration. She is a scrap hero!

2. string quilt – Lots and lots of skinny fabric strips stitched together and can be arranged in intriguing ways. Simple, meditative and built for scraps. Find the tutorial here.

3. Something for little folks by sewmariana –  a fabric memory game – find the tutorial for the game squares here.

4, And use your bigger scraps or pieced scraps (like hexies or the afore mentioned string piecing) to make a sweet fabric container to keep them in with this DIY.

There are tons of scrap friendly projects in the free pattern library here – a couple favorites are:

small stuffed cats in two sizes - sewing diy

5. happy cats

bunny doll in dancing pose with lace collar held in hand - other bunnies in background

6.  and the newest – dancing hares

7. Improv with X. I love the idea of experimenting with a simple shape.  Checkout the X quilt improv blocks here.  And tons more inspiration from shecanquilt on Flickr here.

little pyramid shaped charms made form scraps on a white table

8. Something for your littlest scraps, These charms are super sweet. I love how mini they are and  they could be stuffed with lemon verbena or lavender. Such a sweet little gift. Find the tutorial here.

9. Sweet for spring  – carrot treat bags to sew – plus find fabric eggs and  more spring ideas here.

A couple bonus ideas from the blog

Long pin cushions are a perfect scrap project and super handy to have. And imperial cats are great to experiment with.

Do you have a favorite scrap project? Will you join me in sewing a fabric book? Let us know in the comments and happy scrap festival 2022!

the big 2021 review and plan for the new year

mini wood stove made form and egg carton held in hand

2021 is kind of a mushy blur from here. But a couple projects stand out. If I had to pick a favorite it would be this little stove. Something about it. And the runner up is the campsite.
Or maybe that’s tied with imperial cats.

Each was the kind of project that time disappears in. Happy, focused, present.

a few more highlights

 

sewing pattern for a realistic crow

There was one new sewing pattern – the crow

And 7 new tutorials:

For the second time in less than two years I moved. A small move, upstairs in the same building, but still. The place is great, the kind of thing you couldn’t invent and the fit is perfect. It’s a creaky old carriage house with a distinctly 70’s feeling renovation that I’m leaning into.

There is space and light and a generally good spirit to the place. The plants are happy and so am I.
You can check out a couple domestic projects: the sewing room here and the painting room here.

work table with art supplies and prints

Year 3 of daily paintings was accomplished and year 4 is underway. The daily thing is hard. And, I so recommend it. Committing to a do-able assignment and applying small consistent effort is as close to a magic formula as there is for growing creatively and getting unstuck.

The 100 day project is starting again on February 13th. It’s a great way to test drive the daily situation. If you decide to do it these ideas might help:

* Be realistic about time. The amount of time you commit can be very small and still have lots of benefits.
* Have a plan for the bad days, a minimal but acceptable effort. And accept the bad days. Everybody will have lots of them. I have some very bad days and post some real stinkers.
Also if instagram/social media is not your thing get yourself an accountability partner.

The daily paintings have turned into cards and soon prints. They find their way into everything. Ideas bounce back and forth from the painting to sewing projects and ceramics and back again. The ceramic work boils down gestures, the sewing simplifies shapes, each informs the other.
You can see this most recently in the first diy project for 2022 dancing hares.

small ceramic dishes decorated with mushrooms and bunnies and windmills and ships on a work table

the big goal for 2022

efficientize

I did make that word up. But that’s what I want to do – streamline, simplify, systemize. Stop wasting time on clunky processes, redundant tasks and do-overs. Make my irrational enterprise a little more rational, more thoughtful planning and less reacting. Easy to say. It will involve some dismantling and tedious rebuilding. My plan is to chunk it. Give it a little time everyday.

Have you got big plans for the year ahead? Will you try the 100 day project? did you have a favorite project last year? Let us know in the comments.

a cozy spot and something to sew : what’s on my worktable

fabric needle case stuffed to bursting with important scraps

fabric needle case stuffed to bursting with important scraps

They get better with age and use. All sorts of important treasures are stuffed in here. The original ribbon closure blew out a while ago as the girth increased and was replaced with a red string that wraps around. I love the red string, a happy accident.

stitch experiments on my worktable

I’m working on some smaller needle books, just one or two pages, really just for needles. There were a bunch of little stitch experiments (I think the original idea was amulets) hiding in the above over stuffed book that are being incorporated into the covers. A couple are for gifts and there will be a few in the shop too (post holiday I think).

Little pin dishes will be available in January too. They are glazed and waiting to be fired right now.

and little dolls

sewing fabric hair to a tiny doll

The hairstyle on this tiny lady is a little different than the style in the pattern – it’s super easy.

1. Add about a quarter inch to the length of the hair fabric.  Other than that follow the pattern instructions until the hair is attached. Tuck in the edges of the end and gather.

2. Twist the fabric.

3. Wrap around the head, pin and whip stitch with tiny stitches to tack it to the head. So sweet.

tiny doll with fabric hair

tiny rag dolls in progress

It’s been ages since I worked on tiny dolls and wardrobes but now I’m on a roll. I’ll show you more next week-ish.

not a creature was stirring…

christmas card with water color illustration of a mouse, seen through a baseboard mouse hole, decorating a tree

christmas card with water color illustration of a mouse, seen through a baseboard mouse hole, decorating a tr

Except this guy.

A brand new card made from a daily painting. Also note in the background the beginnings of a Christmas tree. The Norfolk pine has been on Christmas tree duty since 2014. It was my first tree as an adult. Some years it’s fancy and some years it’s simple. I’m still on the fence about this year. So far it just has a little tinsel. It takes me around ten minutes to place a single strand of tinsel. I’m one of those people… Next week I’ll get serious about decorating and wrapping and will of course report all developments to you here.

Are you decorating? Have you made ornaments or garlands or cookies? Are you sewing gifts? How long does it take you to place a strand of tinsel? Let us know in the comments.

news from the notecard department

painting table with notecards in progress

painting table with notecards in progress

All of a sudden there’s a real notecard department. It’s taken about 2 years of research, experiments and failures (so much failure) to put together this little collection of 11 notecards. The imagery is from the daily paintings. They’re printed on super deluxe, thick cotton paper. Totally frameworthy.

cat notecards 4 images - cat with fish dinner, cat with frog soup, sleeping cat and cats on a tiny island

The cards a re 4.25 by 5.5 and are packaged with a heavy weight craft or natural white envelope. And you get a discount on multiple cards – 20% of 5 or more with code – artcard21

My first (and only card) last year was square. It features an interspecies friendship and I love it but it turns out square cards need extra postage. Such a pain. So lesson learned, the square card is being retired and you can get it a an awesome closeout price.

card with illustration of goats in a snowy twilight

The response to the new cards has been outstanding and I’d love to add more stationary items next year with daily paintings imagery.  And maybe fabric.  After the holiday busyness I’m going to explore some hand printing methods and maybe try making some repeat patterns.

There is so much involved in choosing paper and learning about printing. I found a ton of help here.  And the paper saga continues. Did you know there is a global  paper shortage?  I bought all I could find and hopefully it will get me to next year when stuff will be available again.

find all the notecards here

Are you a snail mailer? Is there a design from the daily paintings you’d love to see on a card?  Let me know in the comments.

project 2 – the sewing room *or : how to eat an elephant

fish, cats and other small sewing prjects haung on a white wall behind a vintage sewing machine

There is a little room at each end of the new place. The back room was the first project, a place for painting and drawing mostly. The room at the other end, the front of the building, is for sewing and shipping orders. It’s currently about half way painted and somewhat furnished…

That’s the elephant part. The saying goes:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I’ve been getting things done here a little bit at a time.  The pace is slow but steady and completing each little task builds momentum and helps me feel less overwhelmed by all there is to do. I’d love to show you what I’ve got so far in the sewing/shipping room, I’m super pleased with it and putting it together has been generating lots of new ideas.

Remember the pink painting table from the old place? That’s a sewing machine table now. A bunch of little projects are hanging on the wall above it. Hanging the fish and chickens and cats etc inspired idea’s for more sweet and simple shapes to sew. Groups of things you could hang together or make garlands with. I love the idea of odd, sort of random groupings and maybe others with a story to tell. I’m working on some now and I’ll share the patterns soon. It’s easy to hang them, Just a stitch of embroidery thread across the back and a little nail or tack in the wall. So many possibilities. The wall makes me happy.

fish, cats and other small sewing prjects haung on a white wall behind a vintage sewing machine

chalkboard made form top of a cedar chest

You might also recall the damaged cedar chest that was repurposed as a container garden. I got it for pretty much free at a flea market.  The top has made an excellent chalkboard.

sewing room with large chalkboard

You can’t have too many chalkboards. The paint is just flat black craft paint and so far so good. If it doesn’t hold up I’ll spring for real chalkboard paint.

DecoArt brand craft paint

There is more to come, shelves and some sort of super cozy daybed situation for sewing and visiting dignitaries but the essentials are in place and I’m looking forward to lots of hours in this sunny little room making stuff. There are one million ideas percolating at the moment. All sorts of patterns and maybe some mushrooms and other little things for gifts and maybe the shop this holiday season.

Have you started sewing holiday stuff? I’m determined to be done before December.

onward,

ann

3 mini mushrooms sewn from vintage textiles in my handget the pattern buttonPS Did you know October 15th is international Mushroom Day? It’s a real thing, I had no idea.

PPS – It is officially soup season and this is a great one. I consider it my civic duty to remind you of it each autumn.  Have you got a favorite fall soup? I’m always on the look out.

the new place : project 1

In the new place (upstairs from the old place) there is a little room in the back with big windows, and a view of sweeping, weeping pines that crows and ravens roost in. Guilford Connecticut has a crazy amount of crows. Also my little garden is right below. It’s the first thing I look at every morning.
The first project after getting basic order shipping capabilities set up was to make that room delightful. It had been laundry/storage. There was indoor outdoor stained carpeting, dingy paint, wire shelves and great potential for charm. You can check out a before below- almost a before – I had already torn the carpet out.

Under the carpet was just a plywood subfloor. I painted a super simple gray and white check. The paint job is light for a worn in feel. Plus that was quick and easy to do and I like the softness of it. The walls are painted bright white (Benjamin Moore Snowfall White). And the curtain fabric is from India via Etsy.

The laundry closet is covered with a textile gift from a friend, a Peruvian (I think) poncho. I stitched the neck opening closed and added inexpensive rings. It is magically exactly the right size with no further alterations.

It’s a place I love to be. The light and breeze are excellent. There is room for a cardboard castle and all the other essential things. This place is for painting and sketching and some photography.

One of the many reasons for making a painting everyday is the wealth of ideas they generate. Most recently the funny little cats that wander through the many little towns in those paintings became a sewing pattern . You can find the free happy cat pattern right here.

Project 2 is the sewing room. Stay tuned for more on that. It is also currently full of potential to be delightful.

onward,

ann

make a travel sewing kit, mending big blow outs and a hexie punch

small cloth book with patches

It’s just the right size for a pocket. I made it for a friend who travels, a little book for essentials – like safety pins and bandaids, an emergency tea bag, that sort of thing. There is also a mini sewing kit built in and lots of good wishes for safe and happy travels. I’m sure it is lucky.

cloth book with pockets and pre-threaded sewing needles

carved twig toggle button on fabric book

The little toggle is carved from a twig. I made a notch in the center to grab the thread and stitched it to the edge. The loop is thin black twill tape. The book is made from the needle book sewing pattern using just the the page B and C templates.  The center page has one big pocket and I double sewed the seams so it won’t tear if it get’s over stuffed.

small cloth book with center pocket patch

let’s talk about mending

Not little tears and holes- the major catastrophes like this whole seat blow out. This requires some stabilizing before the sweet patch stuff.

1. Starting with the garment inside out and the tear laid flat and smooth pin a piece of light weight fabric over it. Baste that fabric in place.  Put a magazine or piece of cardboard inside so you don’t  accidentally stitch  the leg or sleeve etc. closed.

2. With the garment right side out use small even stitches all around the the edge of the tear.

trimming excess stabilizing fabric

3. Turn it inside out and trim away the extra.  I didn’t remove the basting stitches because they will mostly get covered but you can if that’s how you roll. Turn right side out and start patching. Having the area stable will save you tons of time in the long run and helps create a smooth, soft and very wearable repair.

patching over a tear in corduroy shorts

I’m still working on these shorts, check out my instagram stories this weekend (@annwood)  for more mending and other recreational sewing including hexies.

 speaking of hexies

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

die cutter for making hexie papers and a one inch hexie quilt in progress

Did you know this was a thing? I had no idea such a magical device existed until I saw someone using one. I’ve had it for a couple weeks and I love it. Magazine covers are the perfect weight for the punch, it is not effective on anything heavier. Plus I like magazine covers for hexie papers – they hold up well to re-use.  You can find the *one inch hexie paper punch here.

And I use *this mini hole punch. The holes are not essential but they do make it easier to pull the paper out and re-use it.


get the free pin girl sewing pattern here

I’m in full summer mode, I love the expanse of swimming, garden, yard sales and sewing outside that is currently before me. I’m also in full packing mode. Again.  Moving in a few weeks. Let’s think of it as another opportunity to get super organized…

die cutter for making hexie papers and a one inch hexie quilt in progress

Have you tried a hexie punch? Do you have summer mending projects or mending tips to share?  Are you reading something awesome?  Let us know in the comments.

what’s on my worktable : rag doll wardrobe patterns and hexies

hexie quilt progress on my worktable

hexie quilt progress on my worktable

A late spring update on all the things.

Let’s start with hexies : while not at all consistent, I am quite slow. The consistent part is easy to fix : commit to making one every morning, which most often leads to more, you know, once you get going on something like this…

hexie quilt with color transitions in progress

I’m starting to have a vision for the color shifts plus I’ve decided to square off the edges, meaning my progress shape has been an irregular amoeba but I’m shifting into working in straight lines.

And sewing pattern work – a wardrobe for the elegant rag doll is in progress.

Patterns take forever to make. We’d be in real trouble if I didn’t enjoy the process.
The centerpiece of the doll wardrobe will be a versatile dress, a pattern you can add or subtract details from and make a short and long sleeved version – you get the idea.

doll dresses in progress

The construction needs to be simple, easy to make, and I want an option for a fitted look. This is accomplished with pleats and gathers in strategic places. I would totally wear this.

There is another summery tea dress too but this pattern is further along. It’s in the woodshedding stage, I am making tons of them to work out details and make adjustments. After the early muslin drafts I converted the hand drawn patterns to an illustrator file and start tightening things up. I’m pretty close to a final version and as I’m sewing little dresses the pattern starts to write itself, I’m hard in the zone and hear the directions in my head whether I want to or not.

doll dress making on my worktable

Besides the other tea dress I’m thinking of a satchel, slip and pinafore. Maybe some bloomers. She’ll need a coat too  and I’m pretty sure I can make a version of the free felt jacket in her size.

small garden with cedar chest container

A couple other projects on my mind – mending and garden beginnings.

I love everything about  having a tiny garden. Except bugs. The container is a re-purposed cedar chest I got for almost zero dollars last fall. I never really loved it and it was in sever disrepair so I took off the top and planted stuff in it. I suspect it will fall apart by the end of the season but it looks cute now.

What are you up to? Are you making hexies? Are you growing stuff?What would you like to see in the elegant wardrobe?

5 spring project ideas to try

projects - apron, sachets, cleaning cloths herb marker rocks

projects - apron, sachets, cleaning cloths herb marker rocks

Besides being customarily fired up by spring I’m getting ready to move again this summer. It’s a tiny move – upstairs in the same building but still – all the packing of all the things… Again. On the up side it’s going to be the sunniest and biggest place I’ve ever lived in and I’m pretty excited about that. My plants are too. And I get to keep the tiny garden.

Last year was my rookie garden year. I got a late start (after moving in mid June) and weeks in a hurricane dropped a huge tree on it. Many lessons were learned though and I’m excited about getting the full season this year. I find growing anything super exciting. Both of these little projects are in my plans:

1. Herb markersa super sweet and simple idea from the always inspring august wren.

2. Make a harvest/ foraging apronfind a diy here and another here. I have to make it. It’s illegal to have a garden in Connecticut without one.

And of course new, upstairs me will be extremely tidy and perfectly organized at all times. I’ve got a couple projects planned in the cleaning and organizing department that involve using stuff I already have:

3. Cleaning cloths – I’m using a towel I’ve been hauling around for decades and an old sweatshirt combined with cotton and linen scraps. Find a sewing tutorial here.

4. I love this scrap rug idea but I’m not feeling rug size ambition about it. I feel more trivet size ambition about it. It would also make an awesome bag. Again though I think I’ll test drive it at a trivet or place mat size. Find the diy here.

5. You know I love a good smell. These sachets are simple and easy and I love the aesthetic choices made here. The free chicken sewing pattern would also make a great sachet. I’m going to grow some lemon verbena and dry it for filling them. Lemon verbena sachets will be great in upstairs me’s perfectly organized closet.

PS – bonus idea :
I don’t know why this reusable coffee filter idea has never occurred to me before, especially in coffee filter emergencies. So easy.

What spring ideas and projects are you fired up about? Have you got a favorite spring soup?

Let us know  in the comments please.

 

           

5 things bringing me joy this week

March sure does have a sensation. And it’s not even technically here yet. But the days are already gloriously longer and blustery.  In addition to spring seeming like a real possibility here are a few more things that are bringing me joy right now:

1. Recreational ironing.  Which led to recreational sorting. Which led to the next item on the list.

2. Making to-go sewing projects. Way ahead of time. So far I have color coordinated hexies, tiny doll clothes, and lots of mending (one of my favorite road projects).  Pro tip: medium gray thread is super handy for travel sewing. Color-wise it works with most things and it’s way easier just to bring one color.

The most urgent mending project is the eternal shorts. They started as pants and have been on the job for 20 plus years.

Making a bunch of projects completely organized ahead of time makes me feel like an overachiever. I can just grab whichever one I like to take to the park or the beach or for the train. And I’m not done yet, I’d love to have a whole summer of projects, lined up and ready to go.

If you need project bags find a sweet bag tutorial here and a needle book is super handy too – find the pattern here (and the little flower pin cushion on the needle book above here – you can make it in about 3 minutes.).

little bird sewing pattern

 

3. Birds in the world – A customer sent me some amazing images this week of the library she created for the birds she made with the little bird sewing pattern.

Everything about it is detailed and delightful. So full of joy.

From the maker Jennifer : “I have become an expert maker of tiny books! Many are the same books that I have in my own bookcase, including a full set of Nancy Drew mysteries that match the ones I received for Christmas when I was eight years old. Now, I’ve been making tiny plants out of things in my recycling bin, so they may have a garden soon.”

 4. Plants and pottery. Two things I can’t get enough of. And they work well together. I’m propagating new plants from cuttings and making pots for them.

5. Working on the tiny rag doll world.  I decided to downsize her hearth. The original one was huge and ended up being overwhelming for the house – functionally, spiritually and aesthetically.  The new mini one feels right and  It’s easy to make (cardboard, egg cartons spackle and paint),  there’s a giant tutorial here.

What’s bringing  you joy right now?  What are you sewing for spring? Do you secretly love to iron?

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.