Saturday, July 31, 2010

This weekend's Interview is....

Me! Lol! With all the softball I've been zipping around to, my time for what I do has been limited. So, as I wasn't able to connect with the individual I was supposed to chat with for this weekend, I thought, well, dang, how about answering those questions myself! So, here it goes!

You work in a variety of mediums. Tell us about what you make and how you got started.

My mom & grandmother helped me learn to sew somewhere around 9 years old. Made a particularly CRAZY blue checked shirt in middle school…horrible memory! I was quilting somewhere around college. My grandmother was an avid knitter ~ picked that up along the line. My mom was (and still is) one of the most creative people I know! She sewed our clothes as children (know that I DIDN’T appreciate the effort at the time, but we looked cute!) I think it was her creative gene w/crafts, tucked in with my dad’s inventiveness that have made me the creator I am today!

My business actually started with writing! I wasn’t very good at it (children’s book type…lots of rejection letters…) so I wondered what I might be good at writing and realized it was thematic materials for teaching! Made up some books, morphed into a line of Literacy Kits that I sold on line and to libraries…from there to scrapbooking and from there to fabric! Do you know Rascal Flatts “Along the broken road,”? That’s my creative life!

What is your favorite project to work on?

Whatever is new for me to try! I do love to work with fabric, it’s because I am so tactile! I’ve been dabbling in fabric covering old hardcover books to make journals…it’s WAY FUN!! I always seem to come back to fabric…

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or fabrics or a concept in mind first?

Both/all of the above. If I am going to try a new “something”, I begin with the idea and then head into the fabric rooms to find that perfect piece to make it happen. I would say that more often than not, it’s the project that comes first.

What other type of crafting to do you?

I sew and quilt, for the most part. I am trying HARD to go “hand-crafted” for family members birthdays and such, so since I have so much fabric….

I do knit. Cannot crochet to save my life! Could be that my best friend/mentor for crochet was left-handed…

I enjoy scrapbooking and making cards/tags/etc with paper.

I like to share sayings, so I work that into framed prints, photography and such.

I am the “slideshow creator extraordinaire” for my husband’s wrestling and softball teams and for my field hockey team ~ I love to take LOTs of pictures and turn them into slide shows!

I am thinking of dabbling in a bit of interior decorating by re-cycling old objects…we shall see how that goes!

Oh… and I am a new grandmother, so that opens a whole ‘nuther world!!

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?

Pillowcase kits! They are soooo easy to put together on this end and when you are done, you have such a GREAT gift YOU made! I’ve had folks come over, non-sewers, who leave here with their first project! It’s a GREAT feeling!

For FUN!

What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

My children (playing Wii w/my girls is hysterical!!) and now my grandson! He’s too dang funny!

Describe your crafting/studio space to us:

Well….the actual room of creation is two part: sometimes it’s my living room table, if it’s sewing ‘cause that’s where my machine is set up. But everything else? The laundry room! The washer and dryer take up the least amount of space! My ironing board is really my working space! I have a lovely LARGE table, but it’s usually covered with materials, patterns, a hot iron, several thread stands, etc..etc…etc!

There are some bolts on racking and some headers hanging in there, as well, but the newest space is a “someday bathroom” that I took over and FILLED with bolts, tubs, racks and such of sorted fabrics. It’s a heady sort of space!

What is your best “stress buster”?

Crafting is the biggie. Going out for a walk works well. Reading a good book is on the list and so is a lovely bubble bath!

What is your favorite color?
Duh, purple!!

If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would it be and why?

I have wee little list:

Colorado, to see that Grand Canyon. There is a bit of a problem: I am afraid of heights…we’ll have to see how that goes!

Australia, because my 20-year-old got to go and the pictures she took were amazing!

Northern Maine to do genealogy research! We went once and it was really to watch my son play baseball in Presque Isle…scoured one cemetery and found relatives!! Want terribly to go back!
Anything else?
Well, let's see...I do coach field hockey in the fall! We start Monday...Go Cougars!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Shout-Out: Conduit Press

Recently I made the decision to do my very best to buy homemade for gifts. I ran across this lovely little notebook, perfect for my niece, from Talia of Conduit Press. I recently asked her if she would mind "stopping by" my Weekend Shout Out, and she graciously agreed! Here is our "chat"...

How did you come up with the name “Conduit Press” and what does it mean to you?

When I was a senior in college I took my first book-binding class and we had to come up with a 'press' name to 'stamp' in our created books. The first name I came up with (I'm horrible with names! I hate titling my poems and it took me MONTHS to figure out and finally settle on a name for my first born!) was Ampersand Press- but, alas, social consciousness let someone else in my class choose that name first. Darn. So, I thought and thought and was sitting in my apt one night trying to think of a 'cool' word, and there, on the side of a videotape, you know, those old VHS things we used to watch, was 'conduit' (it was the name of X-Files episode I had on VHS) and that was that. A brand was born. ;)

Since then I've really had to think about whether the word still means the same thing to me as it did then. Then it was just a cool sounding word, but now it's definitely grown with me. A conduit is a natural passage- something used to get from one thing to another. The way I figure it, this little old business of mine is a conduit- it allows me to create, be creative, and help to support my family.

Your work appears to be mostly with hand crafted books. Tell us about what you make and how you got started.

It all started in that class in college which as actually a class on making 'artist's books' which are a bit more artistic and personal than what I make now.

Now, I specialize in handbound/handmade blank books and journals that range in size from pocket to scrapbook and in style from vintage to modern. Cover materials are often upcycled from leather, vinyl, other fabrics and vintage library books. All books are hand bound (either sewn or wire bound) and are filled with hand cut archival environmentally friendly papers.

How long have you been creating ?

I have been creating my whole life, and I have a feeling I'll never stop.

What is your favorite project to work on?

I really like custom orders. I like making things especially for a person or a group that I know they are absolutely going to Love because they picked out all the details!

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with the paper or a concept in mind first?

Basically I look at what I have and try to think of a way to put it all together. I really try to use what I have and not purchase a ton of new materials to just add to the consumerism in the world. I know I know, how political. But, really. Books are a dying breed. And so are our trees, so if I can use recycled items to make into beautiful books, maybe they'll come back into style. ;)
You mention “upcycling” in your profile. How do you recycle/upcycle/etc in your crafting world? (The leather journals are particularly gorgeous…just my opinion!)

Like I said before, nearly everything I use (except maybe the thread) is upcycled or recycled in some way. The leather I'm currently using is from a local upholsterer. Scrap leather that would just have been thrown out. The vintage notebooks I make are made from discarded library books that otherwise would have been thrown out. The new paper notebooks I'm making are from scrap paper lying around my 'studio'. All the paper I use inside my books are at least partially recycled and I'm working on using only 100% recycled paper.

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?
It's really like choosing a favorite child- it's impossible.

For FUN!

What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

My baby's laugh, he has such a deep voice his little giggle is really special.

Describe your crafting/studio space to us:

Ha! well, that kinda makes me laugh out loud, too. ;)

I design in my dining room. I like to be in the middle of things (for some reason) so that's where I set up shop. Our dining room is home to: our computer desk, a piano, my work desk, a hutch filled with my work and other art supplies, two book shelves filled with music books (my husbands), vintage books waiting to be turned, and crafty things that won't fit anywhere else, a high chair, and a dining room table of course. Most recently I've acquired my desk (mentioned above) from a freecycler and created three shelves to hang above in order to hold all my supplies (to get away from the almost walking babe!). I had my older boy help me to paint them so they are colorful but not quite workable as I'm not handy with hanging things with toggles evidently. Sad.

What is your best “stress buster”?

Oddly enough, creating or taking a walk with the babe.

What is absolutely the best cookie you’ve ever had?

Eh, can't answer that, but I will say the best cupcake I've ever had (and I don't like cupcakes ordinarily) is the red velvet cupcake from the Flying Cupcake in Indianapolis.
Thanks so much to Talia, for sharing her world with us! If you would like to see more of her creations, stop by her Etsy shop at and take a look around!
Have a GREAT week, friends and keep creating!
Quilty hugs,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Celebrating growth on my Facebook page!

We are just inches away from 400 fans on Facebook ~ what a surprise THAT is!

Once we hit that magic number, I am celebrating by giving away a pillowcase kit or BRAND NEW Rag Sandwich Kit from my eBay store! (The photos above are of an undone kit and then one I did that my little grandson LOVES!) Follow the link to the eBay store and click on "kits" to take a peek at what the winner can choose from!

Here's the plan:
  1. We hit 400 fans. (could be ANY MOMENT!)
  2. To be entered just "comment" to this posting with your choice if you win. You can describe it, use the ID# or add a link.
  3. I will announce when we've hit the number and how long you all have to comment.
  4. Drawing will be done using the random number generator at
  5. YOU MAY WIN!! If and when you do, you pick a kit...I mail it out to follow the directions and viola! You have something special for YOU or someone you love! How cool is that?

So, good luck to you all!

Quilty hugs,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home Videos... what a gift!

While cleaning out the back bedroom before my college daughter comes home tomorrow, I ran across a large tub I needed to empty to use for the fabric room. It was filled with videos...haphazardly tucked away. I realized some of them were home video...from the day when the camera was the size of today's TV cameras and about as easy to operate!

I hauled them out, dusted them off (and I don't mean that figuratively...) and my youngest and I started to watch them. Laugh? Till we about fell off the couch! We started with one in which my son who turns 26 tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Rory!) was celebrating his 2nd birthday. The first thing we realized is that we NOW KNOW where HIS son get's his behavior in front of a camera from...they "work the crowd" that's for sure! Somehow, it was connected to the TV so that our wonderful first time video was instantly on TV for everyone to see! "Rory, look at the TV..." "Baby," he said, grinning at the screen...

The extra bonus (beyond remembering how cute and sweet my 6' tall son was) was my grandparents, now both gone, alive and well chatting with us. There is a sadness/sweetness to that gift. It brought them back, for just a moment, and opened up memories I had forgotten.

It is interesting how life comes around. My son and his family now live in that home and we sit around, just as we did back those 20+ years ago, watching the children. There is no video of my childhood (but I do believe there is some reel-to-reel floating around somewhere...) but I would imagine it would be very similar, just a different generation oohing and ahhing over our antics, as we did our children and now do for our grandchildren. For us, it's in the very same room. How special is that?

There is something incredibly special about film ~ it captures voice (and oh, if you could hear that same daughter due home tomorrow shreak over her new dollhouse at Christmas when she was almost she's 21 now...) and movement. I love my photos, but speaks. It's like someone has touched a place somewhere in the brain/heart and brings those memories back in a way no photograph can. I love my photos, but this fun!

Can't wait to share it with the two "stars" of most of the films tomorrow night! Welcome home, Kelly and Happy Birthday, Ror! Shauna can't wait for you to see!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10th ~ Weekend Shout Out goes to... Chocolate Dog Studio

This week I've been chatting with a new friend and would love to introduce YOU to Karen of Chocolate Dog Studios!

Read on!

You work in a variety of mediums. Tell us about what you make and how you got started with each.

My Grandmother taught me crocheting when I was a girl. I played around with painting and artwork all of my life. My mother taught me how to sew by teaching me how to make stuffed animals for my cousins when I was about 13. I prefer not to sew clothing or follow a pattern. Knitting I taught myself when my kids were babies. It was fun knitting little sweaters for them to wear.

How long have you been creating ?

Since I was a little girl. About 40 years now!

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or fabrics or a concept in mind first?

Inspiration hits, when I look at new fabric or sit around and wonder "well, what about this? Would it work, well it might." I often pin things together to see if it would be a workable design, because I hate to take things apart if they don't work out.

You do quite a bit of “up-cycling/recycling” of materials. How do you go about that? (IE: all your closet, yard sale finds, etc.) What has been the coolest “find” you’ve made to date?

Hmm, well some have come from our closet as the kids are in growing spurts right now. That is the way I know that some of these things were hardly ever worn! Estate sales, garage sales and resale shops near my home are things that always call to me when I am looking for things to upcycle. I also have a great Mother-in-law that gives me fabric that she has in her stash when it gets overloaded. The coolest find is always the last one I did!

What other type of crafting to do you?

I make curtains for the kids rooms, pillows and rag quilts with the kids favorite t-shirts. I love to make all kinds of things for fun. I paint in acrylics or watercolor from time to time and love to dabble in pastel chalks. I have been painting old window frames lately as wall art. I also love to make tie dye t-shirts but I haven't done that lately.

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?

Wow, that is a really hard question. I am pretty hard on myself and I really struggle with worrying that they are good enough to sell! I like the colors in the dot pants purse. I love the crocheted purses and use one myself. It has been a great purse and I love the feel of it in my hands. My favorite item right now are my cup cozies, I don't have any listed yet, but I hope to get those up this week.

You have some wonderful items marked in your “Favorites” on your Etsy page. What do you think some of those choices say about you? (personally: I think I’d like to go shopping with you!!!)

I love colors. I like things that speak to my heart and soul. I just can't buy art in the a discount store and hang it on the wall. It has to be something that has some kind of memory or story attached to it.

For FUN!What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

The kids and our dogs. They are so funny. The old Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, G-force (it reminds me of my daughter's guinea pig), My husband joking around with the kids and the funny voices that they create. Cake wrecks is one of my all time favorite blogs, and I also like the Cheezeburger cats website as well, and quoting Monty Python skits!

Describe your crafting/studio space to us:

I work in our sunroom/eating area which looks out on our backyard deck and on to the green trees behind. There is a wall of windows on the door side of the room. The wall that I work on is full of cubby storage bins that houses the fabric, yarn and some of the notions that I use. I keep a huge laundry hamper full of upcycled clothing nearby and also the ironing board. My serger is across the room as is the computer desk. The cubbies are stacked almost 6 + feet high with baskets across the top! I also have rolling plastic storage drawers with finished work, ribbons, lace, thread, buttons and packing supplies.

I cut out projects on the our dining table. I tend to cut out a lot at one time since it is the table we eat on! I also try to sew things with similar colors all at one time so I don't have to change thread colors. I am project oriented, if a project does not have the right look or I feel that it is not quite right I will set it aside and look at it often months later.

I tend to make a lot of one series of a thing at a time. Right now I am making cup cozies! I wanted something in a different price point for my shop. I already had alll the supplies and tons of fabric scraps. I am also thinking about the treasure box of goodies that my Mother-in Law gave me recently. I haven't come up with the perfect project but it is rolling around in the back of my mind. Then there are also the personalized snowman Christmas art that I have also been thinking about.

What is your best “stress buster”?

Now that we have teenagers and a ton of Friday night driving to do, Thursday night has become pizza and movie night! That is always a great relief. Sometimes we make our own, sometimes we order in.

My quiet times that I spend praying and talking to God. I release a ton of stress that way. Date night with my best friend and husband of 23 years.

If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would it be and why?

London England, or anywhere in England. I spent some time there as a child and I love going back. I like their city and it still feels like home to me. The years that we lived there were wonderful happy years. The history speaks to me and history is always just around the corner.

I notice you are from Tulsa ~ tell us something GREAT about living there!

I love living in Tulsa, there are hills, the river, bike trails, woods, trees, and pasture land almost right in the city. Deer jumped out in front of our car not 1/4 mile from our house! The cost of living is unbelievably low. We have three distinct seasons, Winter, Summer and Fall. Spring jumps right into summer within about 1 week and we usually have 75 degree weather the first week in Feb. Of course, then it snows in March sometime around Spring break. :0)

Don't you just want to see some of her goodies? Stop by these links and take a peek!

You can also visit her blog at

Have a wonderful, creative weekend, all!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Weekend Shout Out goes to ....

... my Internet friend, Lynnell of Kreationsforkids. Take a gander into Lynnell’s world!

How did you get started?

I began sewing when my daughter (who will be 29 in July) was about 2-1/2 to 3 years old. I loved the ruffly, frilly dresses (she called them rounding dresses) and I could not afford them, so I learned to sew. I quickly found that I loved it and was always trying new things. When my boys came along, I learned to make t-shirts and sweats. I made a lot of their clothes. I was a stay-at-home mom, so I had time to sew. Then I got divorced and had to go to work, so my sewing went away for many years. I hauled my sewing machine and serger around with me for many years, and just a couple of years ago after having grandchildren was I able to devote more time to sewing again, and now I have started my own business and am sewing all the time.

What is your favorite project to create?

My favorite project to create would have to be anything ruffly and/or twirly, although now with my new embroidery machine I love to create designs on fabric with color - much like a box of crayons, only "coloring" on fabric.

How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric or a concept in mind first?

Sometimes I will see a fabric I like and have an idea of what I want to make with it right away. Sometimes I am not sure what I want to do with a piece of fabric when I buy it, but I usually have some idea of what I might do with it. Sometimes I have a definite project in mind and go looking for just the right fabric, and then sometimes that fabric turns out to be not exactly what I wanted for the project and I will choose another.

What other type of crafting to do you?

I used to do counted cross-stitch and hand embroidery, but I no longer do those. I sew and embroider.

Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?

I just made an adorable peek-a-boo twirly skirt of the most beautiful aqua fabric (Sweet Pea by RJR) that I just absolutely LOVE!! The minute I saw the fabric for sale I bought some and now I'm wishing I had bought more. I also embroidered a pink t-shirt with a coordinating applique and it turned out pretty well for being a beginner embroiderer.

You recently got an embroidery machine! (very cool!) How do you think that may impact your designs & creations? What do you enjoy about working with it?

I think with the embroidery machine the possibilities are endless!! I still plan to focus on children's items such as clothing, blankets and burp pads, but I may add more down the road. My new machine is a Brother PE770, a middle of the road machine and it is so much fun and actually quite easy to use! It stitches out very well! The main drawback is that the LCD screen is very small and in black and white, but I just have the design on my laptop desktop that I am working on and can see the colors, etc., perfectly fine. I LOVE my embroidery machine!

You make some lovely tutus! What made you decide to produce them?

Thank you! I might not have ventured into the tutu business had I not had several special requests for them when I first started my business in March 2010. I had not sewn on tulle prior to that time and was a little nervous about it, but I figured the only way I would learn was to just do it! And, boy am I glad I did! I think of colors I want to put together sometimes when I should be sleeping, or I put together the colors a customer asks for, but I always then add a ribbon bow and sometimes I add other embellishments as well to finish the tutu completely. I now plan to offer appliqued or embroidered shirts/onesies with tutus as a set. :)

For FUN!How many hats OR shoes to do own?

A woman can never have enough shoes!

What is something that makes you laugh out loud?

Children laughing always makes me laugh!

What is your favorite color?

Pink, pink and pink!

What is your best “stress buster”?

My best stress buster is to sit down with a good, fun book and read and just escape from everything!

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

I absolutely LOVE to read and have several authors I really like, but I would have to say Nora Roberts is my all-time favorite author! She writes about so many different subjects and while all of her books are romance novels in one way or another, many of them have suspense built in and those are my favorite - romantic suspense or mystery. I just finished a series of hers call Night Tales and loved them all!!

Would you like to see some of Lynnell’s “Kreations”? Take a peek: