Sunday, November 25, 2012


I was picking up and tidying my workspace so I can start working on some Christmas stuff.  I got sidetracked when I came across a set of shrinky-dinks that I had submitted to a magazine but they got returned and rejected.

Originally I though I put a lot of creative energy in these.  They weren't just baked plastic, I crocheted a very delicate lace around them.  But seeing them now, months later, I see they weren't finished.  Surely, the lace made them unique, but they were still plain.  They needed much more to get the attention they deserve.
Their need for attention trapped me, and instead of making Christmas ornaments I found myself stitching.
I had this idea that the shrinkies should be a part of a pouch, a little tiny pocket, in which you could 'hide' a secret note, a spell, a lucky penny.....thus on the top I added a button and a button hole.  You can open it and put in whatever little secret you want to hide.  :-)

After few hours of stitching, this is what became out of the original shrinkies. 

I also got to use the hand-dyed seam binding I bought from a local artist a few weeks ago.  It made for a perfect necklace cord.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Somerset Studio Gallery

Ahhhh, my mail lady has been delivering exciting mail to me.  Last week I got a complimentary copy of the Sew Somerset, where my fabric pins appeared.  And this week she brought me Somerset Studio Gallery where my stitch hearts are spread over two pages.

What is really, really cool is that an artist who I admire, also had her work in both of these magazines.  Her work is actually on the cover of Somerset Studio Gallery you see below.

Her name is Colette Copeland.  I visit her blog all the time.

PS.  If you are interested in the 'evolution' of these hearts, see my post here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Red scarf project

A couple of weeks ago we went to downtown Mesa, they had a street fair with steampunk theme.  We stumbled upon a yarn shop that I had no idea was there.  I had to check it out.  After all I learned to crochet before I learned any other crafty techniques.  It is how it all started really, with crochet.
The yarn store was like a candy store, with caddies of colorful soft yarn.  They also had several looms and yarn spinners (I think that's what they are called).  But most important of all there was a table of knitters, knitting red scarfs.
'Are you all knitters?' I asked.
'Are you a knitter?' one of them asked me back.
'No, I am a hooker.'
These yarn enthusiasts got my joke.  See there is other types of hookers, the ones like myself who use crochet hooks.  I asked about the red scarfs they were making.  It is all part of a project called 'Red Scarf Project'.  It is supported by Foster Care to Success, a group who sends care packages to kids who are no longer in foster care, but are now out on their own to college.
I volunteered to make a scarf and finished it on Thanksgiving.  I now have to drop it off at the yarn store.  The red scarf will be part of the care packages the group will send to former foster kids for Valentine's Day. 

I like making things and gifts and giving them away.  Maybe part of it is out of some sort of 'guilt' I can't explain; that I am well and fortunate to have kids, a husband, parents that are alive, a brother, a niece and a nephew, sister in laws, and many other family and friends who I keep in touch with.  Knowing that there are people out there who don't have all that I makes me sad.  I know I can't fix sad things in this world, but perhaps occasionally I can make a little difference to someone.  Because in this big, loud world, it is the small things that count the most.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The night before Phoenix Craft Rave

In preparation for Phoenix Craft Rave 2012 I thought it would only be appropriate that I make me a special craft apron for the occasion. 
I almost never start garments from scratch anymore.  I rather alter something that was destined for Goodwill or the clothing recycling place.  This apron is half of a skirt.  I used old jeans pockets that I made 'pretty' prior to attaching them on the apron.

I added all kinds of little embellishments: lace, I stamped fabric and made appliques with a face of a woman and a love quote, I added some charms and an old key Patrick found at the playground and gave it to me.

I added something even super special (to me at least).  I added a little gypsy bell I bought some time ago at the Bead Museum in Glendale, AZ.  I wanted a bell to remind me that life is good and precious and it's meant to be enjoyed.  I needed this reminder at times of frustrations at life difficulties.  During those times I find myself crafting anyways, it was the perfect time to have a chiming bell. 

I just packed all of the crafting supplies for the Craft Rave tomorrow: fabric, shrink plastic, stamps, inks, fabric markers, spray sealer and an oven.  With these I will teach other crafty people how to make rings out of fabric and out of shrinky dink plastic.  I am looking forward to have a lot of fun.
On a side note, look what came in the mail a few days ago:

And look what's on page 118.  My work.

The magazine will be on newsstands on Dec.1.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Maggie found her doll I made for her on her first birthday.  Pretty primitve, now that I am closely examining it.  It almost looks like a voo-doo doll.  Her hair was falling apart and Maggie asked me to fix it.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Good news

I wished there was a bell that could ring when I am having some kind of misadventure in life and remind me that it's not all that bad and good things are on the way.  But because there isn't such a bell, I am writing this to remind myself that good things are coming, even though bad things may be coming too.  So keep your chin up, keep on doing what you are doing, be true, be kind, be enough, talk to your heart, dare greatly and remember that when you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it (I borrowed these advices from various people: Brene Brown, Alan Moore, Mr. E, Paulo Coelho, E.F. Schumacher and also some fictional characters)

Do you remember a year or so ago when I had my wearable Valentine Day art work published in Belle Armoire magazine?  Well that encouraged me to submit more of my work.  So in the next month I will have some of my work in Sew Somerset and Somerset Studio Gallery (both available Dec.1 at Barnes & Nobles, JoAnn's Fabric and other craft stores).  And today I found out that another work that I submitted to GreenCraft magazine was also selected and it will be in their next issue that comes out in February.  So see....good things are coming (even though I just had a streak of misfortunes in the last three weeks, but they are now behind: car broke again, water heater exploded and flooded my house, my husband lost his job).

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Craft, dance and making friends

I think I just had the most 'social' weekend I've had since I became a mom.  A bit unusual and very busy.
On Friday morning I went to a zumba class for the first time in my life.  My friend Susan invited me, she was the instructor.  It was held at the Sunset Library only a few miles from our house.  And it was free, which is exactly the type of activity I need after my husband lost his job last week.  I must say the class was actually fun, in an odd way, because the only time I feel comfortable dancing with a bunch of other people in the same room is when I go folk dancing. 
Ahhh folk dancing, I got quite a bit of that too this weekend.  There was a Serbian festival at St. Sava Orthodox Church and my friend JoAnna invited me.  I took Maggie with me too.  Aside from dancing 'kolo' which usually at a Serbian festival is hours and hours of variation of a dance step called 'u shest', we also got to see some dance performance by kids as young as 3. 

In between all the dancing I did this weekend, there was time for art too.  On Friday night we went to 'First Fridays' - a monthly art walk the city of Phoenix holds downtown.  It's a big street party, with art galleries staying open late, srteet vendors, local musicians and everything else in between.  It can get crowded, which as I am getting older is starting to bother me in a way I am not sure how to explain at the moment.  But considering we only go a couple of times a year, it's all right.
I also went to a stamp show the city of Mesa had this weekend and got some new stamps to work with.  In order to have my money go a long way I purchased unmounted stamps, and I just finished mounting them myself on a foam I purchased. 

And I made a new friend at the stamp show, a friendly local lady named Karen who aside from being mixed media artst herself, she had wonderful trinkets that were exactly the type of items I would use in my projects.   So I got some old keys, a hand died seam binding, a small porcelan doll head (to go on the headless angel I found in San Francisco a couple of years ago), a brass bracelet that I need to embelish myself and.....I can't remember what else.  I am sure I will see her again.  She actually has a booth at the antique store a few miles from my house.

I also had a visit from a new friend Pavna, who I met at a craft meetup last month.  Pavna is from India and I think next weekend we are going to go to an Indian festival.  So until I can travel the world with my kids, they will be getting a lot of ethnic experiences by going to local cultural festivals with me.