Hello, friends.

It’s been some time since I’ve had words to lay down here. In recent weeks especially, there has been a weight on my soul. Since November 8, to be exact.  I know many of you feel the same. That there is nothing but darkness and despair lying before us for the next 4 years. Because when it comes right down to it, there are people in our country who had no problem, who thought it right, to vote for a man to be President who thinks it’s ok to “grab them by the pussy”.  No matter all the other reasons not to vote for him, that one alone should have been enough.

But here we are.

Broken-hearted, yes. And for awhile, hopeless. Literally without hope. Bitter even.

But then, the art came. Beauty seen at the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. The mind-blowing voice of Andra Day at a show the day after the election. The gritty words and music of Sturgill Simpson a few days before. Those things started to mend me.

I am myself not an artist. At best, I make things. I assemble things. I started a new project making junk journals as gifts, turning old papers and books and maps and junk mail into something new.


In the midst of this, when I was taking pages out of an old book from 1929, I found this. img_0190

And now those pages live on in something new, something shiny. Bringing me a little peace and joy in the making.


And more music most recently in the form of Bowie tributes by the fabulous Star Anna as well as the Seattle Symphony with Tony Vincent.

Star Anna

Star Anna


Seattle Symphony & Tony Vincent

Seattle Symphony & Tony Vincent

I am more grateful than ever for the artists who can give us the music from their soul and the art of their heart. Who are not afraid to be vulnerable that way, in the way that I cannot. We need it. I need it to fill in the cracks, to make the dark a little less shadowy. To remind me that there is still beauty in this world, that all is not lost.

There are still things like this.

Find yourselves some art, friends. A concert. A glorious sunset. A really great meal or cocktail. Some words that strike you. A visit to a gallery.  A little doodle you drew. Whatever it is that lifts you. Even better when shared with friends.

We’ve got this.




It’s sweeping the nation, nay, the world, you know. This Pinterest thing. I know some of you already are on board. “On board” – ha, that’s funny.

It’s basically a visual way to collect your favorite things online – a virtual bulletin board. Any time you see a photo of something, you “pin” it to the board of your choice.  I currently have 1,441 pins on 18 boards.  You can find things in your own internet travels, or on the boards of someone else – that’s called “repinning”. You can even “follow” the boards of friends or people who seem to have similar taste.

The problem is I’ve been spending too much time “pinning” and not enough time going back to try the stuff I’ve pinned!  What good is collecting it if you never use it!  So tonight I’ll be making this off my Yummy board –

Chicken and dumplings

In crafty land, there are MANY, MANY things I would like to do off my Craft board. One hardly knows where to begin.  Maybe this –

DIY Atomic Starburst Mirror

Or this –

Pleated Bag

The beauty of Pinterest is when you pin something, the original URL to the item is preserved, so you can go back to the recipe or pattern or whatever the source is. And it’s so FUN to see everything collaged in one place.

I’ve got a Garden board to help with outdoor inspiration. Scenes like this move me to get going on the backyard –

Now that's a garden

Or this paver patio I love –

Paver Patio

If there is a photo, you can pin it. Some of my favorites are my Little Bits of Awesome board.

B -I-N-G-O

Zombie Survival

To start pinning, you need to request an “invite”, which can several days or even a couple weeks. Once you’re accepted, prepare to lose hours of your life. Even the Geek pins! Mostly guns and robots, but still.

Happy weekend! I’ve got things to make and cook, zombies to survive…

mail sackage

One week before Mom’s Day this year, I was struck by inspiration (or a brain fart, depending on how you look at it.)   I had plans to get together with some other moms on Mother’s Day for some crafting.  I know! I will make them bags! Who cares that I’ll have to cut out 48 pieces of fabric and interfacing!

4 bags – one week. Not out of the realm of possibility. The pattern I used is one that I had already made a few times – the Mail Sack by local designer Kathy Mack of  Pink Chalk Studio on Bainbridge Island.   I already had the bulk of the fabric, so I ran down to the fabric store to fill in some gaps and get more interfacing and buttons.

I’ve made 3 of the large size of this pattern and now 6 of the smaller version. I’ve also made several other purse/bag type patterns I got online, and let me tell you, this one is by far the most straightforward.   I love how you can mix and match fabric to get a really unique look.  Plus it’s comfortable to wear and good-looking!


Honestly, I only did a couple small things differently than the pattern.  One involves sewing the pocket on – I think it tells you to sew the dividing line down the middle of the pocket and THEN to sew the pocket onto the lining.  I just sewed the dividing line at the same time I sewed the pocket onto the lining. That way you don’t have to sew on top of another line.  I also added a big button accent onto the side I liked the best, and I did that before I assembled the bag, so the sewing is hidden inside the lining.  And a tip when it comes to sewing the strap pieces together and doing the final strap top-stitching – reverse your sewing direction when you do the other side.  It seems to make the strap lay flatter.  Otherwise, it really is super easy!

ta da!

One last thing to consider: strap length.  I like my bag long enough to cross over and still get a hand in, so I made my straps a good 3-4 inches longer than the pattern, except for Ms. Professor Lady, who is more of a shoulder bag gal – hers is the one in front. I made hers 3-4 SHORTER than the pattern.  So think about that when cutting your pieces.

ladies and their bags

I like how each of these has a piece from a bag I have.  And the one on the right has the last pieces of the Godzilla fabric from this project.  Don’t they pose pretty!

back in the knit of it

At lunch yesterday- a very grim, gray and soggy day- I killed some time in the Barnes and Noble crafty magazine section.  Normally I’d pick up a sewing magazine since that’s my current drug of choice, but it occurred to me that like many things lately (insert: recipes, patterns, plants, house projects) , I’ve been collecting ideas and not DOING.  So I grabbed a knitting magazine.

I learned to knit probably 15 years ago at a yarn store downtown that no longer exists.  They offered lunch time classes and I actually did make a sweater in that class. I have no idea where it is.  Since then, I made a Charlie Brown sweater for The Geek which is *ahem* a tad over-sized but I am afraid to shrink it for fear of irreversible damage, an Icelandic-style sweater (no seams!), a baby sweater or two, a vest, and a few other odds and ends, but my favorites are the hats I made for the bar staff a few Christmases ago.  Based on The Geek’s hat which says “geek” (duh), each one was titled appropriately.  Kat = “gato”, John = “juan”, Dwight = “coach” – wish I could remember them all.  That was some serious crunch time knitting.

I let knitting fall by the wayside a while back.  For one thing, to make a sweater, it takes a LONG time – and I’m a pretty fast knitter.  I’m more an instant gratification gal. The biggest problem is the pain I get in my hands from too much knitting – it starts to hurt too much so that big sweater project never gets finished. Plus, while tempting to buy all the new delicious yarn, if you don’t have a pattern in mind, you don’t know how much to buy, and yarn takes up more storage space than fabric, which you CAN buy and store for future unknown projects.

Anyhoo, the magazines I bought yesterday inspired me to dig out my unfinished projects and random knitting bits.  I know one is at least 5 years old (but still cool!  basically a sweater with just sleeves and a turtleneck!), a purse that will be felted when finished, and a  couple scarves. Luckily I also found a shit-ton of circular needles (expensive buggers) BUT not one single complete set of double-pointed needles, which is a pisser.  I’m thinking I will look on Ebay to fill in the gaps.

The irony in all this is that for the past year and a half, some college pals and I have met weekly at the Roanoke for Stitch.  Before this current group, I would meet there on and off to teach people who wanted to learn, but each time the group would fade away.  This one has stuck and it’s the best therapy ever.  We don’t always knit, but now that the nip is in the air, the yarn is out and needles clicking.  I usually have a scarf I make a piddling attempt at, but my heart hasn’t been in it.  I watch their progress and envy their new knitting toys from afar.

Tonight, I am back in the game.  I will hit the new yarn store downtown at lunch and hopefully discover all the new knitting gadgets that have been invented in my absence.  The interweb is chock-a-block with knitting blogs and free patterns now – one more thing to collect.  I will finish the pre-NYC turtleneck scarf.  And this year, maybe, just maybe, will be the year of the Jayne hat.

Stitch at the Roanoke: Tuesday nights at 6.  Newbies welcome!

birth of a quilt

When it comes to big events where a gift is required, I tend to go for handmade things.  Collages, stitchery of some sort, quilts.  As was the case of a certain recent Bar Mitzvah.  When I heard it was a Godzilla theme, I thought “how great if I could find Godzilla fabric and make a quilt!”.  Easier said than done it turns out.  An online search only turned up one option – IKEA, and the fabric wasn’t even released yet.  I waited and finally made the trek south.  At first, it was nowhere to be found, but I’m nothing if not persistent, and turned over every bolt until we found it.  The good thing about IKEA fabric is its width and price tag, and unusual patterns (also great for purse making).  This is what I came home with:

Then came the figuring out of what to do with it.  I generally don’t like to follow patterns – I’m not that precise. I usually just buy stuff I like and go from there.  Here I’m laying out pieces to see what might look good.

At first I’d thought I’d mix it up with big squares and smaller 4-square blocks.  I tried that…

but I thought it was too busy.  So back to bigger blocks of various sizes.

I didn’t do this consciously, but I like how it looks very comic-strip-ish. Bold and graphic, suitable for a Godzilla-loving 13 year old boy.  Once I got the main section (the part that would lay on top of the bed) laid out, I pieced it, and went on to add borders for hanging over.  Then it was off to the fabric store for backing fabric and batting.  I first thought I’d do something black on the back, maybe flannel, but that would gray out the white fabric on the front.  I didn’t feel like making the trek back down to IKEA or I would have gone for the striped fabric for the back too.  Instead I found a green that was close to the green in one of the patterns on the front.  On to the tricky bit.

Normally I would probably send this out to be quilted by someone with a long-arm machine – which makes dealing with this much fabric MUCH easier.  But in the interest of time and money, I opted to straight line quilt it myself.  So that meant cramming a twin-sized quilt…

into a regular sewing machine…

Don’t get me wrong – my new sewing machine can kick some serious ass – but that is a SHIT TON of fabric to maneuver in a very small space.  I rolled one side like so…

I straight-line quilted it vertically, not going for precise lines because I like the movement the wiggly bits gave it.  I also grew some new muscles pushing and pulling all that fabric. Seriously.

Onto the binding, which in the past I have always finished by hand.  This time I wanted to do it soley by machine for added durability and speed.

Cut and pieced and ironed the binding strips, and sewed onto the back of the quilt edge.  I wish I had made it a smidge wider because it was a bear folding that over to the front edge for finishing.  I chose green thread for the front edge stitching (going for contrast) but I wish I had stuck with orange.  Live and learn.

The finishing touch, and then off to San Francisco and the long-awaited big event!  We did end up having to go back home to get it when we realized en route to the airport that we’d forgotten it!

And the big reveal!

UPDATE!  Photo of the quilt in action:

crafty sunday

Apparently spring only lasts for one day around here.  The high 60’s of yesterday gave way to wind and clouds and rain – there may be no planting today.  Instead, KC the Bride is coming over later to crank out more table runners.

She is getting married in August in her parents’ backyard and has a vision for the tables.  She plans to layer table runners done in blues in the True Lover’s Knot block on top of vintage lace.  An ambitious plan, given that she a) hasn’t sewn much and b) is doing it on her grandmother’s sewing machine.

So we will spend this blustery day making things.  I’m browsing some of my favorite books, trying to find a project, probably a bag of some sort using some of these awesome fabrics and buttons.

IKEA is a fantastic place for fabric, big pieces for not a lot of money.  The gray print and the blue came from there, for like $8!  The vintage buttons and rolled fabric came from the Beppa fabric sale, also super cheap.

As for patterns/construction ideas, I have a few go-to books curently. Fabricate has lots of unique construction ideas for all sorts of things, and encourages you to think outside the box.

For lots of useful projects, I like The New Handmade.  Someday when I’m feeling especially ambitious I will make the messenger bag.  But my current favorite bag pattern book is The Perfect Handmade Bag.   SO many cute bags!  She emphasizes using recycled materials, like felted sweaters (pick up for a song while thrifting, or your husband accidentally shrinks one and even your daughter can’t fit it).

And of course, there’s always Amy. Stinking cute bags and tunics! This time though, I think I will try to make a version of a bag I saw at the Beppa sale.  No pattern, but it didn’t look that complicated.  Keep your fingers crossed.  And if you happen to know anyone who’s going to the beach with me next weekend, you might mention there could be a bag in their future, should they happen to purchase some fabric.   I’m just saying.