Pattern Poll

4:13 PM

I've been playing around with the idea of posting patterns in my shop before they're stitched.  I'd love to have some other opinions on the topic.

1. Would you purchase a pattern that is listed only as a black and white line drawing such as:

Plain ol' B&W - too boring?

2. Would you purchase a pattern that is listed only as a colored line drawing such as:

While this shows color suggestions, does it limit the imagination?

3. Do you prefer to purchase  patterns that have a fully stitched sample in the listing such as:

This is how the pattern looks stitched up - with my own color & stitchy style.

4. Do you have any preference at all regarding how the pattern is listed?

I've seen successful shops that have just the line drawing patterns listed as well as shops like mine that have fully stitched samples. I've also seen shops that have a blend of both. 

I think the fully stitched samples give the shop more of a handmade feel, though I could offer more patterns to customers by not stitching everything.

I would really love to know what you think, so please chime in!

Free pattern to the first three people who comment so be sure to leave an email address!

Thanks bunches! ♥


August Stitchalong Finished

4:06 PM

As mentioned previously, I participated in the  Feeling Stitchy stitchalong this month.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Initially I opted to include black in the color scheme, as you can see here:

Modern Ref is not a good look for this little one.

After I finished the shirt I realized it was a poor color choice as she looked like a referee instead of a darling little citrus slice.

All those stitches were picked out and I began again using the dark pink from the skirt. I like this much, much better:

French knot accents look like tiny flowers!

I pinked her cheeks and skirt with a little bit of chalk.  I like the cheeks a lot but am not totally thrilled with how it looks on the skirt.

Quite cheeky!
I tried many different stitches to fill the wedges and didn't like any of them. Eventually it was impossible to tell I didn't pick a gazillion stitches out of it.

Pink fruity wedges- not the best look.

I think my favorite part is the rind of the grapefruit slice. I used split stitches and three colors for a more realistic color fade.   Here's a close up:

Split stitch color fading

The wedges are also split stitches with a single strand of darker pink whip-stitched around to give a candy-like feel.

I also gave her a sweet pair of shoes & socks:

Shoes should always match the belt, right?

And here she is finished:
Grapefruit Girl - pattern courtesy of Cate Anevski

So far I've seen only a few pictures over in the group on Flickr, but am anxious to see more. I love being able to see how other people interpret designs.  There's still plenty of time to stitch along, so please do pop over and get stitchy!

kids lunches

Our Veggie Tale

5:00 AM

As many of you know, my husband is a fantastic cook and blogs about all the yummy things he makes for us.   He recently decided to go Vegetarian for his health and in his typical way, he's taking us with him.

Back in June he started reading books by chef Jamie Oliver.  He found some really great recipes  including one for meatballs and pasta, which was awesome. 

The NoOb!

We both looked through the book and found a recipe for homemade pasta.  We thought we'd give it a try.   I helped a bit, mostly taking photos.  He was so excited about the fresh pasta that he invited his parents for dinner.

So, here's the scene:  his Dad is sitting at the dining room table, his mom is standing at the kitchen island helping him cut the pasta and I was taking photos.

NoOb rolling out pasta

cutting pasta with a handy pizza cutter!

lovely pasta, though a bit too thick

Right after he cut the pasta, The NoOb began getting some raw chicken ready for tenderizing.  Pretty soon we hear the tell-tale whack! whack! whack! of the chicken taking a beating.  Dinner is proceeding nicely.

I scooped up the pasta to drop it into the pot of boiling water and I noticed flecks of something white all over the side of the pot. My eyes darted to the section of the counter adjacent to the stove where the chicken whacking was taking place.  It was then that I saw it.  Uncovered raw chicken being whacked with a mallet. UNCOVERED. RAW. CHICKEN.

This is where my freak flag comes out and I wave it around. I got a thing about raw chicken.  By thing I mean OCD. By OCD I mean CDO where the letters are in the proper order, as they should be.  I drop the pasta into the pot while my eyes take in the mayhem.  Raw chicken bits EVERYWHERE. On the cabinets, the fridge, the stove, two open pots on the stove, the NoOb himself, and god help us all, ME.

This was not a typical NoOb move. I think having his parents over and me taking photos threw off his Chi and he forgot about covering the chicken.  After it was determined that it was not easier to just move, I decided it was time to cut it out with the chicken already and just eat vegetables.The NoOb cleaned the entire kitchen, though I still shudder to think there may be a salmonella bacteria just waiting to jump on me as I open the silverware drawer.

This was how that meal looked in the end. I couldn't eat a single bite.

Chicken Parmesan

Only a few short months before, I showed my daughter this little video...

... and managed to put the kibosh on all fast food/processed chicken in her diet. Yay! Because seriously, it's gross. And if you watched the video, sad that the kids would still eat them! But I digress.

We are now officially vegetarian and while I'm hanging on to things like the occasional egg and maybe a bit of yogurt, the NoOb is going vegan. It works really well for his health condition (IBS) and it keeps him feeling good.

It does present a challenge where our daughter is concerned, especially with lunches for school. I've been researching Bento lunch boxes and vegetarian lunches for kids so we make sure she gets the proper nutrition.

Part of the research the NoOb did was to watch a show called Food Matters, in which he learned all the horrible awful things that go into processed food and why humans shouldn't eat animal products.  Most of it makes sense, so I'm willing to swim in his pond for a bit to see what happens.  Our daughter is sad about not having bacon, but hell, who isn't.

If you're a vegetarian or vegan and have recipes or info you'd like to share, please do! 

feeling stitchy


3:46 PM

I can't believe it's been a year since I last did a stitchalong. This month Feeling Stitchy is stitching along to a pattern by Cate Anevski called Little Lemon Slice.

I'm thinking of making her into a little grapefruit slice, as you can see by the floss colors in this pic...

Little Miss Lemony!

I've already stitched part of the rind and have tried three times to stitch the middle wedge only to tear the stitches out.  I may have to go back and make her all lemon to keep the color balance.

If you're interesting in participating stop by Feeling Stitchy and be sure to post your photos in the Flickr group with the tag: auguststitchalong.

Hope to see your stitching!


Star Wars?

6:41 AM

The Forest Moon - Endor


The Ice Planet - Hoth

etsy feature

Mab Graves

6:46 AM

I'm terribly behind in my blogging this week.  I received an awesome package this week from Emily, who writes Tales for Karina Marie.  I won her Mab Graves giveaway and I couldn't possibly be any more pleased with what I received!

Mab Graves is a pop-surrealist artist and illustrator. Her work is wonderfully haunting with just the right combination of fun and creepy.

The first thing I got was Harlow, which is a paper doll.

Harlow - photo © mab graves

This illustration is so cool I can't bear to cut it up so I will be framing it as is and hanging in where I can look at it every day.

I also received two note cards, which I will hoard jealously and never send to anyone. Ever. 

Abbi and the Goldfish - photo © mab graves
Tuesday & Wednesday Addams - photo © mab graves
I think I will try to find frames for these also and have a totally awesome Mab Graves illustration grouping!

Emily also sent along two of Mab's vinyl stickers.
Pinky - photo © mab graves
Pinky is based on the very popular Blythe dolls. I've always liked the look of those dolls.. giant heads and big eyes that flip around! How is that not fun?  I must remember to put that on my Christmas wish list.

This guy is hilarious with his dolphin-like head and puff ball accents and that giant poofy poodle-do!
Vampoodle!  - photo © mab graves
Vampoodle also comes as a fully assembled articulated paper doll.  And if you like him, you will love Mr. Otto who is simply over the top awesome.  Yep, you gotta click to see him.. it is so worth it!

So those are my winnings.. aren't you jealous? :D

Ginormous thanks to Emily for sponsoring the giveaway and to Mab for generously donating the goodies in the first place.

If you'd like to see more of Mab's work, you can visit her Facebook page, her website, her blog, and on Flickr.

Please do stop by and say hello!



10:30 AM

Last week one of my patterns was featured on a wish list at Tales for Karina Marie.  I was very taken with the blog in general, especially after reading this page.

Emily, the author, is a super groovy chick! While I was there,  I entered a giveaway she was having and won it.  Exciting!    BUT! That's not the giveaway I'm talking about.  At least not yet. (I'll show off my swag when I get it in the mail.)

Emily was kind enough to offer to host a giveaway for me on her blog. You can find the information in THIS POST.  Do stop by and say hello and enter; I'm giving away three patterns to the winner!

Good luck!


2:45 PM

Have you heard of Craftsy?  It's a  community that offers online crafting courses and workshops. They've just started a pattern section that allows indie designers to list their patterns for sale.  The cool thing is it provides instant download to the buyer, so unlike Etsy or any of the other handmade marketplaces, you can buy at anytime and get your pattern immediately.

I try to provide the best customer service I can, so I tend towards super fast turn around in all my shops, but that only works when I'm awake.  Craftsy will provide that alternative to buyers who buy at off times and want their patterns at lightning speed.

I've been sticking my nose in all sorts of places lately, so to update everyone here are all the places you can find my patterns for sale:


Over all there isn't much difference between the venues, at least from the perspective of the buyer.  Etsy is the most established and has lots of feedback for you to thumb through so you can check up on me. ;)

Now that I've been talking about this I think I'll do a review/comparison post on the different marketplaces I use. If that interests you, keep those peepers peeled. :)

For now I just wanted to mention Craftsy to you and now I'm back to see what classes they're offering!


etsy feature

They've Got What I Need

7:53 AM

There's more to handmade than just the technical aspect of getting the supplies and putting the pieces together.  I think the people that are truly artists and artisans stand out.  It takes the right balance of talent, originality, promotion, and perseverance to crest the wave on the sea of handmade. The shops that do rise to the top have that extra certain something.  While we can't define it, you know what I mean. The French call it je ne sais quoi. The two people I'm featuring in this blog post have it. In spades.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of shops on Etsy, Folksy, and other similar handmade marketplaces.  I could show you shop after shop of blurry pictures, products that look hastily slapped together, shops that lack any sort of quality control or even consistency in theme. Where is the artistry behind them?   Without these key ingredients, these shops cannot hope to express their artistic efforts to any effect, let alone be successful.

At the other end of the spectrum are the shops that are the complete package. They've got excellent photos, fantastic quality, consistency of theme, and a superb attention to detail. I'm going to show you two shops that fit that description.

I've been a fan of Kate at  Lili Popo at Glass Mountain on Folksy for a while and she is one of my "go to" shops when I'm talking about how to do handmade right.

Kate is an artist. She makes beautiful illustrations which she turns into amazing little magical ornaments and embroidery patterns.  I want to own them all. Desperately

These sweet  illustrations made using pens, watercolors, and pencils, like Maisie's Flower Stand are offered on paper in the form of frame-able art which also sometimes include accents of embroidery.
Maisie's Flower Stand by LiliPopo

It's so sweet! She is so sweet, with her little red shoes and her polka dot muffin hat and her ever so softly pinked cheeks!

Some of Kate's illustrations are offered as embroidery patterns so you can add a little of their magic in your own way to whatever you fancy stitching the designs on.  
mary jane and her umbrella embroidery pattern
Mary Jane with her umbrella by LiliPopo
Mary Jane reminds me a little of Mary Tyler Moore, though I can't really say why. She just does, which in turn gives me a connection to this little girl with her giant umbrella. That connection is something else that contributes to the success of artists... their artwork reaches out to you and evokes an emotional response. In my case, the fact that Mary Jane reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her little hat in the air on 70's television gives me a warm fuzzy and makes Mary Jane that much sweeter.

And some of Kate's sweet little girls wind up on delightfully appliqued sachet ornaments.
Orange and Red Lavender Girl by LiliPopo

It was these ornaments that really hit home for me the power of the right combination of talent and advertising.

Lili Popo like many of us, is on Facebook.  (I sometimes feel like a stalker on there as I tend to watch closely what's going on with people and shops I greatly admire and wish to emulate.)  I saw a Facebook post saying these ornaments were available in the Folksy shop, about an hour after they were listed. I clicked directly and promptly found them sold out.   Big YAY for Kate, but big boo-boo face for me.   Sold completely out of stock within an hour.  Thankfully she'll be making more in the future because I simply can't resist them.  And obviously I'm not the only one.

There's something about these adorable little bits of whimsy. What is It?  I don't know, maybe she puts love in each one. Her own brand of whimsical British-accented love.  Whatever it is, It exists and she's got it. I'm betting that while she works hard, it's a labor of love. And I'm betting that she puts pen to paper and these little dolls simply flow out across the page.

Kate has mad handmade skillz!

To see more of  Lili Popo you can visit her Folksy Shop,  her Luulla shop, her Etsy shop, like her on Facebook, read her blog, and visit her on Flickr.

I'm going to leave you with this last image from Lili Popo because it's one of my favs. That hair is beyond adorable.
Twelve Dancing Princesses by LiliPopo

Another super successful handmade artist is Shelly from Gingermelon.

Shelly makes insanely cute patterns for felt plush dolls, like this pocket pixie.
A Ginger Melon Pocket Pixie

Just look at that face! That tiny tilted smile! Those eyes! That petite little dress with it's tiny buttons and lace edging. Not to mention those ginger locks!

If she isn't already tugging at your heart strings, I know this little one will.
Sleeping Fox by Gingermelon

Try not to squee too loudly as you'll wake the little darling. Did you ever think a green felt fox could be so adorable?

There's just the right combination of colors, quality products, sweetness, attention to detail, and skill that makes Gingermelon so successful. Nearly 8700 admirers on Etsy are not wrong.  In fact, Shelly is doing it so completely right that customers don't want to chance not getting their felt colors and quality right. To that end Shelly has guest curated a felt color collection at Benzie Bazaar.  You can purchase a pre-packaged compilation of colors that will work with just about any of the patterns at Gingermelon.

Consistency is also one of the ingredients to handmade success. Every image by Gingermelon harkens back to fairy tale times and sweet, enchanting dreams. These warm fuzzy feelings that well up in us is what keeps us coming back for more.

Shelly has no lack of ideas either with her most recent line of Fairy Tale dolls, in which Lil' Red was my favorite. 
Little Red Riding Hood by Gingermelon

That little basket of flowers with the tiny french knot flowers and the red laces on her shoes. Those little details are one of the things that makes Gingermelon dolls so spectacular.

Shelly's latest patterns, which I can tell you are eagerly awaited by her fans, are for a line of International dolls.
Geisha & Palace Guard by Gingermelon

I fell in love with that Geisha and her tiny sandals instantly.. and that Palace Guard? *swoon*

Shelly also reaches out to her fans quite a bit. By that I mean she has giveaways of finished dolls and patterns alike. You can also find her on Facebook getting feedback from her fans about preferred design features for upcoming patterns.  Keeping in touch with your fan base is integral to getting those sales and keeping customers coming back.  Further, Shelly happily posts to Facebook creations customers make with her patterns.

I have to share one last image from Gingermelon, again one of my favs.
tHe sCaRiES by Gingermelon

Even a departure from her "normal" style with these quirky little dolls (which Shelly refers to as the "kookiest things" she's ever made) are consistent in quality, attention to detail, and are jam packed with cuteness.

To sum up? Shelly has mad handmade skillz too! 

To see more of Gingermelon you can visit her Etsy shop, her Luulla Shop, like her on Facebook, read her blog, and check out her photos on Flickr.

If you're like me and looking to do it right, these two women are setting the standard beautifully.

Many thanks to Shelly and Kate for being such incredible influences in the handmade community. 
All images in this post are used with permission from the artists.


Gracie's Garden Bazaar

1:45 PM

Cassandra at Gracie's Garden Bazaar friended me on Facebook a while ago and I've had her shop in my  Etsy favorites for a while now.

She has beautifully hand-stitched original textiles including hoop art, bags, dolls, and even jewelry.   While sighing over this item...

Lollipop Phone Case

I noticed that her Etsy shop could really use a sales boost. She has such pretty things in it!  Here's an adorable Bee..

Bzzz - look at that stitching!!!
This Queen Bee is so original and the stitching is completely free-style which means no two will ever be alike. 

And then there's her hoop art, which is gorgeous.

A Mermaid's Song

Ok, seriously look at that stitching!! I swoon over how beautiful this piece is.  The quality of Cassandra's work is just amazing.

Gracie's is also on Folksy  which,  as some of you may already know,  is a UK only handcrafted venue.  There are many things there as well including a larger selection of jewelry items like this brooch:

Wonderfully nostalgic!
Luckily the UK restriction is only for selling and not buying! So feel free to stop by Folksy as well!

If you enjoy original embroidery mixed with vintage textiles and as Gracie puts it "stitched storybook prettiness" her shop is the way to go. 

Please take a peek at her shop on Etsy especially! And tell your friends too.  
You can also find Gracie on Facebook, her blog, and on Flickr

Have a super holiday weekend!

etsy feature

Craftie Nellie IS crafty!

5:30 AM

This past week I won a giveaway.  I love presents and of course I love winning them even more, and this time it comes all the way from the U.K.! :)

Kim at Craftie Nellie makes beautiful photo cards, stationary, and  bookmarks.  One of the downsides of selling online is that the buyer is unable to touch the products and see the quality up close. (Which is the main reason good photographs are so important.)

Kim does an excellent job of depicting her products, yet I was still surprised at the excellent quality of the items I received!

This is the note card Kim included, congratulating me on my winning. 

The photo and card quality are excellent.  I'll admit freely I am not a saver of thank you cards in general, but this one is so lovely it will be tucked into the corner of my inspiration board so I can look at it every day. 

I also received two blank cards with sweet lady bugs on them.

There are two of them!
I know they're meant for writing in and giving away, but tough luck people, I'm keeping them! Well, maybe, if I find a special reason to send it I might.

But wait, there's more!

I also won these lovely bookmarks...

Darling hearts and flowers

These adorable bookmarks stayed in their package as Q was looking quite eager to check out the ribbon and twine. 

And last, but certainly not least, is this beautiful fabric bookmark..

Floral bookmark is mesmerizing

Q and I both were amazed at this fabric bookmark which had a beautiful lavender scent to it.  Kim's listing doesn't specify that the bookmarks are scented, so this may have been a little extra something for me - which was awesome!

I do want to mention the packaging. Each item came in a cello bag, sealed with a little heart sticker. 

Tiny hearts are so sweet!
Every item was perfect, the quality amazing, and very reasonably priced. The cards would make lovely gifts and are less expensive, even getting them from the UK, than most cards you can find in the shops. And! Buying handmade helps support independent businesses and crafters around the world, which I am very much in favor of doing. :)

Kim puts her personal touch on her products, which I think makes all the difference.

WAY better than Hallmark!

You can find Craftie Nellie on Etsy,  on Folksy, on Facebook, (where you should go and Like her page!) as well as on her personal blog.

Please support handmade and visit Kim, check out her products;  you won't be disappointed in what you'll find!

Many thanks to Kim for sending me such lovely gifts! ♥


Amigurumi's = Behind!

6:20 AM

I am officially 10 weeks behind on the TAST challenge, which makes me mega sad. There's hope yet that I'll catch up.  I had to put the stitching aside for a time to give my old eyes a rest. It's definitely time for new glasses.

In the meantime I've been crocheting which requires much less focus on the peepers! I've created an album on my Facebook page of the amigurumi's that are currently for sale and or/order.

 Just in time for spring I have two bunnies ready to ship! 

Blue Bunny in a spring hat

Pink Bunny with hoodie
Feel free to contact me for purchase and or order information.  I'm toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop just for my crochet which would include patterns for amigurumi's as well as finished ones.  Yes, pun definitely intended. ;)

Elsewhere, the jewelry shop is hanging on and there are still a few items in there for sale. If you haven't been by, please feel free to take a peek and use code "Close50" to save 50% off anything you find there. This beautiful necklace is still available...

Purple marigold and brass necklace

A couple of amigurumi's doesn't seem like very much to keep me so intently busy as to miss 10 weeks of stitching does it.  Where did all that time go, anyway?

Watch this space for some serious catching up!


Simply Handmade

10:56 AM

Wowza! This is exciting news... my work is shown in this month's issue of Simply Handmade magazine!

It's a marvelous mag and this issue is dedicated to Sewing. You can purchase a digital or print version by visiting the Northridge Publishing website.

Their editor, Delaney, contacted me several months ago requesting to include photos of my embroidery hoops in this issue. I was tickled pink to say the least!  What's even more exciting is that they are going to feature my hoop art again in the July issue!  *squee!!*

I'm among good company on this page...

Thank you so much to Simply Handmade for putting not one, but two of my hoops in their magazine! :D

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