Past Projects

January has a way of making you look back at the last year. What you did, or didn’t, do. What you wanted to get done. And what you wish for the months ahead. I’m usually surprised at what I’ve accomplished when I take a peek at past projects. This year was no different.

Lydia's Attic patterns by Barbara Weiland

Pretty in Pink

Barbara Weiland is an award-winning freelance editor and writer with years of experience in the fashion, sewing, quilting and crafts industries. You may know her from her days as editor of Sewing Savvy magazine. I was thrilled to work with her on several projects this past year.

In early November, Barbara introduced three new patterns in her Jo-Lydia’s Attic pattern line, and I was lucky to do the cover layouts, plus the inside how-to illustrations!

You can read more about the patterns–and order your copy online–at Barbara’s blog and website.

All the Answers

Barbara’s been a busy girl! Watch for her newest book, The Quilting Answer Book, due out this spring from Storey publishing. This book is presented in the same format as Storey’s popular Answer Book series–absolutely packed with information, but small enough to easily tuck into a tote or project bag. I have their Knitting Answer Book, and I absolutely love it.

Quilting Answer Book illustrations
Barbara recommended me to do the how-to illustrations for the book, and this has been one project that I’ve really enjoyed. The Storey staff is so organized, easy-going and great to work with. I hope to work with them again! I’ve been quilting for years, but I learned a lot while working on this project. I can’t wait to see the book in its final form. Download the Storey catalog pdf for a sneak peek.

Illustration sample from More Splash than CashMore Splash than Cash®

Home Dec expert Donna Babylon is hard at work on a new book for her More Splash Than Cash series of how-to home dec titles. I had a lot of fun creating the how-to illustrations for this. In some ways, it’s kind of like playing house in two-dimensions–all those windows and curtains. Creating the fabric patterns was especially fun. I’ve got to do some more of that!

If you haven’t had a chance to view any of Donna’s books, you’ve missed a special treat. Donna writes in a fun, down-to-earth style that makes you feel as if she’s stitching along right beside you. Her books are full of information and time-saving tips for getting the most home dec happiness for your money.

Watch Donna’s website for an upcoming announcement on when the book will be available.

Stitch-lady Logos!

Once in a while, I get to do a few logos for ladies in the stitching world. I’m always amazed at how diverse and creative people can be. These are such fun!

Business cards for Lynn WeglarzLynn Weglarz is an educator, author and creative designer in Portland, Oregon. Her designs and articles have been published in Sewing Savvy and Sew News magazine, and she’s currently teaching several courses at Portland Community College.

 

Business cards for SAF-T-POCKETS

 

 

Marsha McClintock is the owner/designer of SAF-T-POCKETS® patterns This line of patterns features designs with strategically hidden, secure pockets for carrying all your valuable items. No need to tote around a heavy purse! Marsha also teaches a multitude of sewing-related classes and organizes sewing adventures through Sew Many Options Tours.

logo for IPCA

IPCA, the Independent Pattern Company Alliance, is a group of independent fashion pattern designers.

 

It’s Still Winter

It’s been ages since the first snow of the season fell, and there’s still white stuff on the ground. A LOT of it. Over the past month and a half, we’ve had freezing rain, ice, snow, below-zero wind chills and bitterly low temperatures. Not that any of that is out of place for mid-winter in Illinois–I’ve just had enough of it. I’m ready for spring. Mother Nature, I guess, is not.

Curled-toe holiday stocking

While we were barricaded against the before-holiday bitter temps, I tried to make good use of my time. I stitched up a stocking or two to brighten up the holiday, and filled them with fun little gifts and goodies. The main stocking material is free-motion quilted with a variety of threads–something that’s really fun to do. I could easily get carried away with embellishing these. What do you think? Bells and beads? Encrusted with buttons? Hmmm. I may have to get an extra-early start on next year’s stockings.

 

One side effect of all this winter weather is that I want to cook. Maybe it’s some sort of cold weather survival code kicking in. Or, maybe it’s just warmer with the toaster oven* going. Whatever it is, we’re eating better. Homemade soup. Fresh-baked breads. Yellow cake corn muffins. Twice-baked taters. Chicken veggie casserole. Yum. For the holidays, I churned out several different kinds of cookies, snack mix, and my first ever batch of these.

Peppermint marshmallows

I’d been wanting to try making marshmallows for quite a while, so one day, while the snowflakes were flying, I thought “Well, why not?” I printed the recipe, unpacked the candy thermometer, and fired up the ol’ hot plate*. And then I realized I couldn’t find the hand mixer. I had the beaters, but no mixer. A bit of a problem, since you have to whip this stuff for 8-10 minutes, until it’s very fluffy and stiff. Undaunted, I plunged ahead with the milkshake maker–one of those handheld blenders that fit in a glass and are great for making fruit smoothies. Bad idea. It gave up the ghost in just a few minutes, and hasn’t started since.

So, I was left with a whisk and a hand-cranked eggbeater. I whisked. I cranked. I almost cried. The glop of sticky sweetness in the bowl was nowhere near fluffy, and my hands were getting stiff.

Enter the Answer Man. The dear hubster (who, for whatever reason, always seems to hover nearby when the cooking code kicks in) came up with this:

The drill mixer

…and it worked like a charm. So well, in fact, that I later used it to mix up a couple batches of cookies. I’m still hoping for a true kitchen mixer, but it’s nice to know there’s a backup nearby.

*We’ve been remodeling for, well, forever. While the house kitchen is out of commission, we’re cooking in a tiny studio kitchen space with just a few appliances. Talk about a creative challenge.

First Snow

It’s official. We’ve had the first snow of the season. Winter has arrived. Actually, the first snow fell over the weekend, while the calendar was still on November. Big wet flakes that stuck to most anything, and stayed. The brief bit of sun that shone yesterday was just not enough to chase the snow away.

The dear hubster (my hero) shoveled most of the wet stuff off the walk between the house and studio, but another inch or two fell overnight. That snow is now compacted and frozen solid on the deck and walk, making morning and evening commutes a bit treacherous. I tend to ‘penguin walk’ from one door to the other–stiff legs, arms outstretched–much to the amusement of the aforementioned hubster. I’ve never gotten the hang of walking on frozen winter surfaces.

I’m not a cold weather person, by any means. Once I get chilled, it takes forever for me to get warm. So when the temperature drops and those big white flakes start piling up outside, I start dreaming of cozy blankets and cups of hot cocoa. If I could, I’d hunker down under a pile of quilts with plenty of hot tea and a stack of storybooks, and just wait it out until warmer weather. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.

So when the weather turns wintry, I pile on an extra sweater and pull on a pair of woolly socks, make like a penguin, and head out to work in the studio. And I’m ever so thankful that I can work from home, close to quilts and cups of hot tea.