Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Shout-Out: Sammysgrammy

This weekend I am sharing conversations I had with Rita of "Sammysgrammy." Rita does some wonderful work with yarn and up-cycling of a variety of materials. Her handknitted and felted tiny ballet slippers caught my eye, so I dropped her a note and she was willing to give me some time to chat!

Here is our interview:

You work in a variety of mediums. Tell us about what you make.
The things I create are usually made from something you'd find in your grandmother's sewing room (buttons, bit 'n pieces of broken jewelry, a torn tablecloth or pillowcase, some yarn....)

My mission in my crafting is to honor the needlework arts of our grandmothers, present them to a new generation, and encourage interest in these dying arts (crocheting, knitting, tatting, embroidery, etc.) first of all: by treasuring the work, redeeming it into a conversation piece. So, I turn a 40's dresser scarf into a born again angel, a pillowcase into a dress, a bunch of buttons in to a brooch......

How long have you been creating ?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't creating. As a child, I'd watch my grandmother at her treadle sewing machine making all of her own clothing, then, out of the scraps, making doll clothes for my dolls. She did let me use her machine. Again, from scraps, I'd make halters for my sisters and myself to wear with our summer shorts. I made aprons to everyone. Still make aprons!!

What is your favorite project to work on?
Whatever I'm currently working on is my favorite project. I'm very fickle.

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or trinkets or a concept in mind first?
Ideas are always exploding in my head. I love to "people watch", magazines, art galleries, gift shops are all fertile idea fields for me. I would say I'm more stimulated by ideas than materials, so the concept is usually first. Except for the buttons. I had all those beautiful buttons. What could I imagine them to become?

What other type of crafting to do you?
Of course, I do all the needlework but I also make jewelry, greeting cards, labels and gift tags, scrapbooking.

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite
I have been making my "born again angels" for quite some time now and that would be my favorite because there's such a drastic change from the soiled thing it once was to what it is now. They are such a perfect demonstration of 2 Cor. 5:17.

You mention “re-imagining” and “rescuing landfill candidates” to create your work. Tell us a little about that.
When I say that I rescue landfill candidates I mean that if I don't purchase that soiled old doily at an estate sale, it'll end up at the curb on the day after the sale. Many people, wanting to rid their houses off grandma's old stuff, will put her beautiful hand crocheted tablecloths in their garage sale for a pittance. All of that wonderful handmade lace which embellished pillowcases, towels, napkins, petticoats......all tossed. It makes me so sad. I want to treasure it, give it the respect it deserves, up-cycle it into something that someone will value.

You knit for charity, as described on your Etsy page. Take a moment to tell us about the work you do for them and how others can get involved.
For charity: I knit children's hats for the Arkansas Children's Hospital, one of the top ten pediatric hospitals in the country. If you would like to be part of the ACH team(together everyone achieves miracles), go to I also knit preemie hats for our local neo-natal unit at Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. This is something anyone can do for their own local neo natal unit. They always need hats. The babies are always taking them home and,sadly, some of them are treasured rememberances for a grieving mom and dad.

For FUN!

What is something that makes you laugh out loud?
most Seinfield episodes

What is the funniest/cutest/sweetest thing your grandchildren have done?
My grandchildren are all born comedians but they don't know it. My own kids were so funny and I'm so sorry I didn't keep a good record of their hilarious quips but for my grandchildren, I bought a journal which only has in it the funny things they said and did. Whenever I get around to doing a blog, that's what the subject matter will be. One example: My son took his children to the playground. The elder rode his bike, the younger of the two, rode in a child carrier on the dad's bike. While at the playground, the younger made a mess in the diaper. When time to leave, my son called for the child to come so he could scoop her up into the child seat. She said, "no thanks, I'll walk."

What is your best “stress buster”?
The best stress buster is: Phillipians 4:6&7 - "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything but in every circumstance...., by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants know to God. And God's peace, which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds......"

Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and which of their works do you enjoy the most?
Jane Austen is my favorite author

If we looked inside your frig, what would we find?
I wish you would find some great noshing stuff in my fridge but right now it's pretty bare. You will always find iced tea there and yogurt. Doesn't sound very appetizing, does it?

While cruising Rita's items, as well as the beautiful angel at the top of this article, I found a lovely charm bracelet and a fun bag and being a purse/tote/bag creator myself, just LOVED this one:

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Rita and happy creating!
Quilty Hugs,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

6/12/2010 Weekend Shout Out: Michele of By Your Side

(Above: Itty Bitty Brittney Bag)
(Below: The Katie Fun Bag)
Soooo... I really love bags and purses, so I just HAD to take a better look at my newest Facebook Fan's goodies: Michele of By Your Side! They are sweet! Michele and I had a bit of an email chat and her is my interview with her:

How long have you been creating with fabric?
About 8 years.

How did you get started?
I am mostly self taught, both of my Grandmother’s sewed, but of course I had no interest then, when I had them here! But, it all started because my youngest daughter wanted a room in orange and purple!! Where the heck are you ever going to find that combination?!! So, I bought a $99 Brother and started with a quilt and curtains.

Then I made my oldest daughter and her 4 friends rag quilts and when she went to college I did the duvet, curtains, and pillows for her and her roommate’s dorm room (the college even used a picture of their room in a catalogue)!

The purse “thing” came next when I couldn’t find a summer bag I liked and just took off from there. People were always asking me where I got my purse and then started asking for me to make them one too!

What is your favorite project to create?
Hmmm… I really like creating any of my purse designs; my FAVORITE part of the process is picking out the fabric!! I LOVE fabric, and yarn too, I ALWAYS have to touch it! I like trying to come up with combinations that are fresh and fun!!

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric or a bag in mind?
Either I see something I like or “dream” up something I think is useful. I think the bag usually comes first, but then the Itty Bitty Brittney Bag came about trying to use up smaller cuts of fabric I had that I just couldn’t toss out!! Some of my favorite handbags have been custom orders, fabric combos and ideas I never would have thought of!

What other type of crafting to do you?
I knit bags too! Besides knitting I like to make jewelry for friends and my daughters and beaded bookmarks too!

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?
OH, probably the Itty Bitty Brittney Bag, it’s just so useful and fun to make! But as soon as the SUN decides to shine here in Oregon I have quite a few REALLY cute purses to photograph; the Tiny t and lil’ Miss M’s will be coming soon!!

You have a blog, how do you decide what to write about?
Usually it’s just me rambling!! I do have a weekly post “Handmade Goodness” featuring other artisan’s shops and I do a post called “Fabulous Friday.” I really try to make my blog a “fun” place to be, with a bit of sarcasm thrown in while keeping things up and positive, not all about “buy my stuff!”

Which super power would you like to have and why?
The ability to fly!! Because first, it would just be cool and second, because I could fly over all the traffic!! I DESPISE traffic!!

If I looked in your frig, what would I find?
Hmmm…. Fruit – pineapple (my favorite), strawberries, cantaloupe. Milk, COFFEE CREAMER (coffee is my life blood), and sandwich makings!

What is your favorite color?
PURPLE, any shade!! (woman after my own heart!!)

What is your favorite book?
LOVE the “Prey” series by John Sanford, I am currently reading “Wicked Prey.”

Want to check out her goodies? Click on the links below!
Etsy Shop:

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Michele! Happy creating, all!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A "thank you" to my teachers...

While it's still fresh in my mind, I wanted to thank those individuals who I had while in high school. Yesterday afternoon, I had a marvelous conversation with an English teacher from high school as she and several others were planning a celebration.

She is the last of the "original", so to speak. Those who were at our high school back in the 70's. Our chant (dare I say it...twill date me...oh what the heck...) "'78, '78, '78" rang through the halls. We, the Class of 1978, had survived the "storm of '78" and 4 years of high school. At the time, all we wanted was OUT! Give us LIFE...Let us free!

I have to smile now. Actually, yesterday afternoon I laughed out loud as we shared memories of what was then. Since that time I married my best friend from high school, went to college, have ALMOST raised 3 children, 2 of whom graduated from that same high school and one who in a week and a half becomes a junior (how the heck did THAT HAPPEN??? Whole 'nuther blog story....)have become a grandmother and a coach in that very same high school.

As we tossed out names and memories, Ms L asked me: "If you could meet any of them, who would it be?" In a heartbeat I said: "Miss Goodwin." I had two stories attached to that wonderful Social Studies teacher.

1. After taking Field Ecology (thought I might like to go into outdoor education at one time...) our class was going on a camping trip. In the middle of the winter. In New Hampshire. I'd never been camping in my life. Oh...and I was the only girl in the class. The only way the school would let me go was if a female staff memeber agreed to go as well. So, in stepped Miss Goodwin, my history teacher. I don't remember too much about the trip, other than we had to dig out under a log and sleep in the snow (coldest night of my life) but the stars we snowshoed out to see that night in Hancock were amazing, and that I will never forget. That weekend she taught me many things, including sometimes it's vital to put others first. I doubt she considered winter camping the height of fun...but she did it for me and I thank her.

2. As my history teacher, she pushed. I was one of those over-achieving, book smarties. An "A" was the, read, write, make it happen. Well, this was the equivalent of AP as such things didn't exist at the time. That meant that just written work wasn't all there was to it...WHAT????? She pulled me aside and told me: "You have an 'A' on all your written work, BUT, there's more to it than need to talk in class to get an 'A' in here..." That was the epitome of torture for me, give me the 'B' then, 'cause I'm not going to talk. She did. I learned from that moment on that I would have to find a way to go beyond my books. In college I learned: "sit in the front, they at least recognize you that way" which slowly became "talk in class" and my friends and family know, you can't shut me up! Thanks, Miss Goodwin, for the push!

The other person was Mr Aldrich. His gift to me was simple. Read. Read for the love of reading. Read some more. I took Individualized reading with him and literally sat for an hour each day just reading. NO book reports. NO sharing with the class. Just read. It was pure enjoyment. It was the class that allowed me to be what I was: a reader. I loved him for it. I am a reader today because of it. Thank you, Mr Aldrich.

Those two and many other are celebrating tomorrow night and I wish them all the best. Thanks for all you gave us. Thanks for helping to create who I am today. Thanks for being teachers .... of high school students... and probably never knowing the gifts you gave us all. Enjoy your night!

Carrie Warren Whittemore

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My name is Carrie. I have a fabric stash...

Yes, that's right. I admit it. I have a bit of fabric on hand. Granted, I am fortunate that I sell it on eBay, gives me an excuse... the photo above is...well...a teeny tiny piece, a corner of one of 3 rooms with fabric...sigh...
When I go on a buying trip to south of Boston, it's an all day event, as one might expect. It's a 3 hour drive (if I've timed it wrong and find myself trying to edge my way into the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way down). Have to remember NOT to drink too much Dunkin' Donuts coffee on the way...can bit a bit tricky if I get caught in that!!
Then...I get there! Sometimes I have a list for Ricki to locate: "I need RJR # blah, blah...Timeless Treasures # whatever...and oh, do you have any Fossil Fern in purple?" So I stack up the bolts I want in little rows and oh joy, I head into the boxes! As a tactile person, this is the BEST! I sort through pound after pound of beautiful fabrics snagging all the ones I like.
There, I've said it: "...the ones I like" ~ yes, I choose fabrics I like!!! It's like archeology or "mining" as we say at work (a historical society) ~ that's it...I'm mining!! Looking for the "gem" in the boxes of fabrics ~ the undamaged pieces of colorful fabric that would make a lovely...well, I don't know...but it's lovely!
So, that is where my eBay fabrics come from ... a trip into the warehouse, digging through box after box and "mining"...looking for the perfect fabric for well, whatever! Perfect for me, perfect for the creative ideas I have and will have and perfect for the customers who stop by! There we go...right, customers!! It's not all about me! PHEW!! I do it all for them!!! Whooo hooo, I am FREE!!!
(okay, maybe not, but it sounded good, didn't it?)
So, stop by my eBay store and see what "gems" I have snagged recently. It's fun!
Oh...and if you'd like, let me know if there is something particular you are looking for ... I'd LOVE TO SEARCH FOR IT!!! Muahahaha!
Quilty hugs,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This weekend's Shout out...RMG Creations!

As you know, each weekend I take a look at a different fan of mine on Facebook. This weekend I had a chance to "chat" with Renee, of RMG Creations. She makes some lovely items out of paper. So, I was curious about how she got started and such...

How long have you been creating with paper?
13 yrs

How did you get started?
By accident actually, my friend asked me to start help her organizing and I said lets do a scrapbook! Back then they didn’t have all the cool stuff they did today but I loved it.

What is your favorite project to create?
My name banners have to be my favorite thing to do.

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with an idea, a piece of paper or an accent?
Usually I start with a theme and just go from there.

What other types of crafting do you do?
I love photography and anything that has to do with paper!

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?
The paper diaper bags are my favorite! They are so fun to make.

For fun:

What is your favorite thing to make for dinner?
I would have to say scramblers, its really a breakfast item but we have it for dinner. Its potatoes, cheese and bacon.

If you could visit anywhere, where would you go, why?
Ireland, my hubby is all irish and I would love to experience that with him.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be, why?
My favorite nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr

You can find Renee at Stop by and take a peek at the wonderful things she creates with paper!