Lightning Cross Stitch Pattern – Crafty Empowerment

This new Lightning cross stitch pattern (now available in my shop) is inspired by Serena Ryder’s outstanding song “Got Your Number.” lightning cross stitch pattern see my lightning hear my thunder cross stitch patternThe song is an empowering kick-butt break-up rocker in a similar vein as the Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie To You?” According to some online song lyric websites, this line actually is “See my lightning in my bottle” but I may have mis-heard the second half as “hear my thunder” and to tell the truth, I like it better! [No disrespect to Serena as her song kicks serious ass!] This misunderstanding counts among my favorite personal Mondegreens

The project uses white, three shades of grey, and I stitched the lettering in DMC E940 glow in the dark floss (also available in my Etsy shop). The photo below shows the project in black light and I love how the lettering glows while the white floss core of the lightning bolt pops! lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the dark blacklightThe photo below shows the lettering glowing in the dark – it actually glows brighter than that but it’s tough to photograph effectively. It’s still very cool, though…lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the darkI considered using a cartoon-like lightning bolt for this project but it just didn’t feel right. This project really started to come together when I started working with a photo of a real lightning bolt. I’d be curious to see how this project would look stitched on a white canvas with color in the lightning and lettering. Hm…

I’m not sure if this song got much airplay in the States as I only heard it on Canadian Broadcasting when I was very near the western Canada/US border in January 2017. However, the song is available at least on Amazon (where I purchased it). Please check out her great song and stitch this empowering lightning cross stitch pattern!

Deeds Not Words Cross Stitch Pattern

This Deeds Not Words cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!deeds not words cross stitch pattern suffragette bannerThis was one of the mottoes of the women’s suffrage movement, as seen on the massive banner in this photo:deeds not words cross stitch example suffragette banner

Although the image is black and white, I imagine that the banner was in the purple, white, and green colors of the British suffrage movement. The three colors symbolized loyalty, purity, and hope.

Women worked so hard for the right to vote. They were jailed, went on hunger strikes, and even died for the suffrage rights women hold today. This right is something no woman should take for granted. I was encouraged recently to see women in the House of Representatives and Senate wearing white in honor of the suffragettes (in other photos and articles you’ll see some women wore purple as well).deeds not words cross stitch democratic women wearing whiteWhile “Deeds not Words” was a rallying cry for the more militaristic suffragists, I am by no means advocating violence. Instead, I hope this pattern will inspire us to demand action from ourselves, others, and our elected officials. Anyone can talk about “what needs to happen” while it’s a precious few who actually take steps to create positive change. I hope this Deeds Not Words project may serve as a reminder to do just that.

Photo Organization – Tackling Those Pre-Digital Prints and Slides

This photo organization procedure is here to help those of us with what may seem like a insurmountable challenge. You have a lot of old pre-digital photographs you want to organize. Some are in albums, some are in their envelopes from the developer, some are loose, some are slides… and it’s feeling a little overwhelming. Organizing them is a big job but you can do it!

After we followed these steps, my husband and I now have all our photos organized chronologically, digitized, backed up, and the volume reduced by about 80%.

ancora crafts projects photo organizationThis photo shows my collection of printed photos and memorabilia BEFORE I organized them. Note the albums and the other box of photos on the chair in the corner.

Things to have handy: business size envelopes, manila folders, post-it notes, pen and pencil, note paper, time, and focus. Let’s get started!

Photo Organization Step 1: Take all the photos out of their envelopes, albums, boxes, etc., and put them into chronological order.

You don’t have to dig and find the earliest photos first. Just grab an album, envelope, box, or stack and start taking out the photos. If the album is of a certain occasion, say you went to Kauai in February 2012, put all the photos in an envelope with “February 2012 Kauai” written on it.

If there is no specific occasion, can you determine the month and the year (this was around Mom’s 50th birthday, this was around Chris’ high school graduation)? If you can, put it in another envelope with, for example, “March 1987”, on it. If not, can you determine the year? If you can, put it in another envelope with, for example, “1975”, on it. If not, can you determine the decade? If so, put it in another envelope with, for example, “1940’s”, on it. Keep these envelopes in order because you’re going to find more photos that go in these envelopes as you progress through the pile. [You’re going to love those photos with the date printed on the margins.]

As you go through the photos, if there are any blurry photos, duplicates, shots of the back of someone’s head, or just subjects that are not important (e.g., poorly photographed scenery) THROW THEM OUT! No big deal, who cares! And it’s less to deal with later.

The idea here is that EVERY photo gets put in an envelope or tossed out as part of this first step.

You’re going to find all sizes of photos. Most everything will fit into an open business envelope, but there are going to be some 8 x 10’s or maybe some even larger, so put those in the manila folders and label the folders same as the business envelopes and keep them together.

photo organization - timelineAs you create the envelopes, it will help to make a sort of timeline of events for the family. As this timeline develops, it will make it easier to date the photos. Making a chronological list of dates for birthdays, graduations, weddings, travels, funerals, new houses, etc. will help.

 

Note 1: This excludes photo albums over 60 years old or where there are written notations in the album that identifies the people, places, and things in the photos – but only if these photo albums have any meaning to you. This also excludes scrapbooks with more than photos. I’ll describe more about what to do with notated albums and scrapbooks in Step 3.

Note 2: Negatives. What to do with them? I say toss ‘em, only unless you see a terrific (and I mean it better be National Geographic cover worthy) photo that you would want to get a reprint of. Then get the reprint made and move on.

Photo Organization Step 2: Refine the envelopes

You’ve got an envelope with photos from say, November 1985 for Monica and Bob’s wedding. Hurray! However, how many photos tell a story? Lay out the photos on a table and really sort through them. How many photos do you need of each person at this event? Do you need four photos of the cake? How many photos of the dances do you need? Pick the best and toss the rest.

You’ve got an envelope with photos from 1977. Once again, lay out the photos and really sort through them. Can you now determine if there was an event in 1977 that you can sort into its own envelope or into another existing envelope? How many photos have meaning? Pick the best and toss the rest.

You’ve got an envelope with photos from the 1980’s. Again, lay out the photos and really sort through them. By looking at the other envelopes for the years and events of the 1980’s, can you now sort these photos into more specific envelopes? Which photos are truly significant? Pick the best and toss the rest.

Now is the time to identify people, places, and things in the photos. If the subject matter is obvious, you don’t need to make notes, but if there’s something that other people might not understand about the photo – who this person is, the significance of the item, etc. – make a note on the back of the photo or on a post-it placed on the back.

If you have a slide projector, now is the time to set it up for its final performance. If you don’t have a projector, get a slide viewer or a convenient window and a magnifying glass. Go through the slides with the same eye for content as you have with the printed photos.

At the end of this step, you want to be looking at a major reduction in the number of photos, as well as a good grasp of the content and importance of the remaining photos.

Photo Organization Step 3: Scan the photos and organize the scans

The scanning is a big job and you can either do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you. We did it ourselves, so I can’t add much information about the process of hiring it out. In doing it ourselves, we made sure the envelope groupings stayed intact.

If you have albums or scrapbooks where photos are permanently attached, there is information written on the pages, or a specific layout are important to maintain, scan the whole book, page by page. Modern scrapbooks are on 12” x 12” paper, and those won’t fit on a typical home office scanner. In this case, a trip to a UPS or FedEx office store scanner might be in order. If you have photos in those sticky magnetic and photo damaging album pages, NOW is the time to get those photos out of there!

There are a lot of ways to scan slides. I haven’t had to do it, but here’s an article that describes some different methods.

The digital file organization structure and naming is important. File managers generally sort folders alphabetically, so you don’t want to name your folders with the month name first, e.g., March 2010, April 2010, May 2010. You’ll end up with months in alphabetical order (May 2010, May 2011, May 2012…) and that’s not helpful. Instead, name your folders 201003, 201004, 201005 and they’ll keep their chronological order.

For earlier decades, there may be very few photos. You may want to only have one folder per decade, unless you can identify specific events, like Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding in October 1932. In this case, I’d create a file structure that looked like this:photo organization file structure 1930s

When I was organizing my 1970’s photos, there were so few that I just created one folder per year. Starting in the late 1980’s I had enough photos and events to necessitate monthly folders. Now, with digital photography, I have sub-monthly folders. For example, in February 2012 there was a family trip to Kauai. For us, that trip had three parts – Kauai with the family, then we went to Oahu to see an aunt who lives in Honolulu, and then we went back to Kauai to see friends on the other end of the island. The file structure looks like this:photo organization file structure 2012

The idea here is to create a file structure to keep the photos organized and in manageable groups.  You don’t need to create a folder for every year and month since the dawn of time. However, a good file structure can provide some context to the images.

Photo Organization Step 4: Tag the photos

This is optional, but tagging is a great way to sort photos IF you keep the tags very simple. I’m not sure how it works on a Mac, but on Windows File Manager, there is a data field for every photo called “Tags.” In this field, I put simplified names of people, places, and things.

As my Mom and Dad come from big families, there’s no way I can tag every dang person. My Mom, Dad, Grandmothers, and Grandfather have their own tags, but otherwise I use the first name (a lot of them have the same last name) of the relevant aunt or uncle for themselves and for their descendants.

I tag photos of friends with their last name. I tag photos of pets with their names. I tag locations with “Italy” “Hawaii” or “home.” For photos of my craft projects I use “craft.” I also tag the month and year, and when applicable, the holiday.photo organization tag field

I can then do a search in File Manager for a tag or tags. When I search for “Hawaii” it shows all my photos of Hawaii, regardless of the year I had taken the trip or their file location – because who wants to search through every dang folder?

This can be incredibly useful – when an uncle of mine passed away, his family put out a call for photos to include in a slideshow. It took me about three seconds to see every photo I had of him. From there it was easy to select the photos that I sent to the family.

Photo Organization Step 5: Back up the photos

Dropbox, Flickr, external hard drive, whatever. There’s lots of different things you can use here. Just make sure they’re in more than one place, one of which cannot be destroyed by fire or a natural disaster at your home.

Photo Organization Step 6: Keep the best and toss the rest, again.

Now that you have these photos scanned, do you really need to keep the originals?

I’ll give you a good example. I had a scrapbook of my first trip to Europe in January and February 1994. This was pre-digital photography. I had an inexpensive camera and it was cold and grey most of the time so most of my photos were dark and grainy. In the scrapbook, I mixed things like ticket stubs and museum postcards with the photos.

The photos and ephemera were not precious, but the memory of the trip was. So I scanned the pages of the scrapbook… and then I tossed them out.

The question is – how often will you look at these photos? Are they worth the space they take up? Are you more likely to look at them on screen or in print? Of course, there are going to be photos where you keep the originals – formal wedding photos, baby pictures, graduation shots, happy holidays, sentimental favorites. But do you need to keep ALL originals of the receptions, the birthday parties, and vacation trips? What is more important – holding on to the thing, or holding on to the memory of the thing? Keep the best and toss the rest.

Photo Organization Step 7: Organize the remaining photos

Decide how you want to store the remaining printed photos. Acid free albums and photo boxes, elaborate scrapbooks, frames, or just keeping them in envelopes in a Rubbermaid container all work. You may want to divide the photos amongst the family, or keep them together – it’s not as big a deal if everyone has digital access to every photo. That, and the sheer volume of the photos could be a small fraction of what it was originally.gypsy ways - what remains of my printed photos

The photo above shows the result of my organization effort – one small storage box plus a larger envelope for a few pieces that wouldn’t fit in the box. No more bulky albums for me!

Photo Organization Step 8: Include other items

My husband and I are in this phase now. Over the years, we’ve collected some stuff – a few Christmas photos from other families, ticket stubs, some choice greeting cards, kid art, just stuff we want to remember. We’re sorting, scanning, and adding these files to our digital photos. Then we’re keeping the very best and tossing the rest again… the result being a huge reduction in weight and volume in unnecessary stuff. It’s lovely!

Good luck with your photo organization! I think you’ll find that it’s very worth the effort.

Camino de Santiago Cross Stitch Pattern

This Camino de Santiago cross stitch pattern and kit is now available in my Etsy shop!camino de santiago cross stitch pattern

This project is a perfect way to commemorate a journey along the Way of St. James. The scallop shell has long been the symbol of the Camino, and it serves both practical and symbolic purposes.

The shell served as a makeshift bowl for water and food, and pilgrims would often take a Galician scallop shell on their return home as proof of their journey. The grooves in the scallop also symbolize the different paths the pilgrims follow on route to their one destination – Santiago de Compostela, legendary home of the apostle St. James’ remains.

Iglesia de Santiago de Compostela - Galicia - España.The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is in the province of Galicia in northwestern Spain.

[photo by Marcelo Jaramillo Cisneros via Flickr]

There are two main routes to the cathedral. There is a more inland route through Logroño, the Rioja region, Burgos, and León. Rioja is one of my favorite places – I wrote about it near the bottom of this post on our 2014 travels.

There is also a more coastal route through Bilbao and Santander, and then through Asturias and Galicia. I wrote about Asturias in another post on our 2014 travels – it’s simply gorgeous.

I was lucky enough to go inside the cathedral during a special mass. At this mass they used the massive 80kg (176 lb) censer (incense burner) called the “Botafumiero” that requires several people, the “tiraboleiros,” to operate. The censer is attached to a rope that then swings via a pulley across the cathedral transept. The tiraboleiros swing the censor nearly to the ceiling!

camino de santiago cross stitch - censer in action in cathedral

From the Wikipedia article, “One explanation of this custom, which originated more than 700 years ago—although incense has been used in Catholic ritual from the earliest times—is that it assisted in masking the stench emanating from hundreds of unwashed pilgrims.”

As with many travels, it’s not necessarily the destination that is important – it’s the journey you take to get there. I hope many of you will use this Camino de Santiago cross stitch project as a way to create a reminder of your journey.

ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Sylvia Windhurst!

Green Embroidered Heart TrioWhen did you start crafting? Did anyone help get you started or did you find your own way? SW: My mother is an artist. She is a printmaker as well as an expert knitter and seamstress. We were always encouraged to be creative, and I spent many hours drawing, sewing, and creating strange hats using scrap yarn and crochet hooks that my mother supplied. One of my favorite activities was doll making – creating a body out of a clothes pin or pipe cleaners and creating an outfit out of what ever materials we could find. I definitely credit my mother for fostering a creative atmosphere in our home and I hope I did the same for my daughter who is on her way to becoming a fine photographer.

Group of Beaded Bead Flying Saucer EarringsI actually have a fine arts degree in printmaking and continued to draw and paint for several years after graduating. Gradually as my professional life and family took up more of my time, I stopped painting and drawing. I have a full time job as a graphic artist/prepress technician, and thus spent my time designing, retouching and preparing the designs of other graphic artists for printing or web publication. Over the ensuing years, I really began to miss the idea of creating something unique with my own hands. I started going to life drawing classes and then began embroidering again. Then purely by accident about 8 years ago I saw some beaded jewelry online made with off loom bead weaving techniques – I loved the look and started learning both bead weaving and bead embroidery techniques. I am self taught – and I give credit to the many great craft bloggers out there who are willing to share their knowledge online as well as the crafters who took the time to post great YouTube instructional videos. I also invested in a small library of beading books and spent many night practicing and creating.

About the term craft — I think the term craft and art can be interchangeable – sometimes I think when something is termed a craft people look at it as a hobby – not something serious, so I like to think of myself as a bead and fiber artist and crafter. There are many people who create wonderfully artistic items using techniques considered “craft”. For example, last year I bought handcrafted brooms an from an artisan in Oregon. Not only are they lovingly handcrafted, functional brooms but they are aesthetically appealing and wonderful works of art as well.

French Lavender Sachet Embroidered Flowers Satin RibbonWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? SW: I dabbled briefly in stained glass and did not love it. However, if it has anything to do with beads, fabric, and thread, I am in heaven. I am still primarily a beader and hand embroiderer, but am incorporating my machine sewing skills into my work a bit more now. I also have played with polymer clay a little to make my own cabochons and that is something I want to continue exploring in the future.

What is your favorite craft book? SW: I don’t have a favorite, but I think Robin Atkins has written some nice beading books. Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher is a great reference book for beaders.

There are also some really great bloggers in the beading world. Inspirational Beading and Beading Arts are two nice blogs that come to mind. Both are informative and share a lot of information.

Purple Paisley Embroidered Wide Felt Cuff with Ombre Color ShadingHow have your crafts changed over time? SW: They have changed most definitely. I think my technique is far better than when I first started – and I have a lot more ideas now. I am willing to take more risks, and am also more willing to admit when something isn’t working and start again rather than being stubborn and investing more time in a project that just isn’t coming together.

 

Are you a person who is comfortable playing with color, or do you work better with color palettes you find – say, in photos or in nature? SW: I love color, and am always playing with it.

Boho Beaded HoopsRed and Black Beaded Sterling Hoops
Pale Blue Teardrop Beaded Sterling Hoops with Purple, Green and Orange Accents

Those are three examples of color palettes I have used in my beaded hoop earrings.

Nature's Jewel NecklaceI was inspired by the iridescent colors on a beetle for this one. Not only are the colors unusual, but the piece ended up having a bit of an ancient Egyptian style to it, which I also liked.

 

 

 

What craft project are you most proud of? SW: It’s a toss up.

Bollywood Bib Necklace with MalachiteThis Bollywood inspired bib necklace is a statement piece that took me many hours. What makes it special to me is the weblike gold embroidery I created in the background. It just adds something unique to the piece.

 

 

 

 

Moss Green Forest Fairy Cuff with Agate FocalThis cuff is another piece that I am very fond of. It has painted leather leaves and embroidery combined with bead weaving and bead embroidery. Despite the fact that I used so many techniques in one piece I think the monochromatic palette keeps the design cohesive.

 

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? SW: My beaded hoops are my best selling items. I have also done well with my cyclops pieces. I have a stash of realistic doll eyes which I used in little treasure boxes and a few stuffed creatures.

Mexican Folk Art Inspired Embroidered Cyclops Dragonfly Soft Sculpture Bead Embroidered Cyclops Gold Treasure Box

They are definitely on the odd side, which I like, and surprisingly sold quite well. I plan to make more cyclops boxes in the near future.

Moss and Burgundy Embroidered Tapestry Necklace with Vintage Rhinestones

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? SW: I think the challenge is ongoing – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas. A lot of times the translation of that idea into a workable project isn’t always smooth. Sometimes I have to experiment and accept when a technique isn’t working well and be willing to start over again. Also, I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to supplies and I need to remind myself that instead of constantly buying new supplies I need to find creative solutions to design issues using existing supplies.

Green and Gold Abstraction BraceletHow has crafting affected your character? SW: It has definitely made me more patient and persistent. I also find it calming. I initially started creating beaded jewelry and embroidered objects as a calming therapy after getting home from my “day job.” Even after starting to sell my work and running an online store, I still find the act of creating calming. The repetitive nature of beadweaving is particularly therapeutic.

 

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? SW: I had made a cuff inspired by Boudica, the Irish Warrior Queen. It had a shield like shape (kind of like Wonder Woman’s arm pieces!) and a lovely brown, gold and green color scheme with an celtic knot symbol on it. A woman purchased it and messaged me saying that she had been suffering from some serious personal issues and that in recovering she had used Boudica as an inspirational figure, which was why she purchased the cuff.

Pink and Blue Microorganism BroochWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? SW: I am starting to play with hand painted fabrics as a base for my embroidery and bead embroidery. I am still in the experiment phase for the most part right now, although I did make a small series of brooches using fabric I had painted. The photo here shows an example:

I am also planning to play with polymer clay and make some cabochons to use. I have only used polymer clay a little bit but I am amazed at some of the fantastic things artists have created with this medium. I would love to take a class in metal polymer clay – I just have to find one that fits in with my schedule and is geographically convenient!

Many thanks to Sylvia sharing her art and craft with us and for participating in this ACrafty Interview series! You can follow Sylvia’s ongoing adventures on her blog, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and her Etsy shop.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamiltonbasketweaver Tina Puckettcross stitcher Meredith Cait, the two part interview with textile artist Arlee Barr, Halloween costume maker Justin Newton, and multi-crafter Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes.

Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Linda Martin, quilter and pursemaker!

acrafty interview - linda martin bargello quiltWhen did you start crafting? LM: I think I have always worked on craft type projects. I remember as a child getting craft kits as gifts. Making collages, animals, painting, knitting, sewing, and crochet were always something I did. My Mom and Grandma always worked with me on them and taught me many useful skills along the way.

acrafty interview - linda martin painting of son jasonWhat crafts have you tried and what’s your favorite now? LM: I probably have tried most every kind of craft. In addition to those I already mentioned I have made many clothes, curtains, tablecloths and pillows. For many years I painted with oils and acrylics. I made many landscapes, portraits and animal paintings. Working with color and design was always part of my life. My favorite now is quilting. It’s been a natural progression of my interest in color and design projects.

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin musical quiltWhat project are you most proud of? LM: Right now I’m very proud of a project I created this summer. I was asked by a friend to make a “music” quilt. I thought a lot about it and came up with a very free form kind of create as you go project. Of course I had the help of a friend as we brainstormed ideas back and forth. The quilt took me outside my normal comfort zone of making quilt blocks and putting them together.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 2Have you ever started a project without a pattern or a plan? LM: I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have some kind of a plan, pattern or design in my head. Sometimes things change along the way, but I have a picture in my head.

 

 

 

 

 

acrafty interview - linda martin seaside quiltHas a project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? LM: Some projects have challenged me for sure, but I have always found a way to complete them. Sometimes I will put a quilt away for a while and let it rest! Really my head usually needs a “vacation” from it while I figure out a way to make it work.

 

How has crafting affected your character? LM: Since I have been making some kind of creative projects most of my life, it’s hard to tell if my character has developed because of my life experiences or creative experiences. I suspect it’s both.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 1Since I was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years my organizational skills from teaching have certainly help me be better at my creative projects. When I began teaching we had to create our own classroom environment. That gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to draw and paint. I had always been too reticent to to take art classes because of fear of criticism. But as I got compliments and “oh wows” on my work from fellow teachers, my confidence grew. I gradually began painting. This taught me lots of perseverance because painting is very much a developmental process. Observing details is also important to a successful product. (whether it’s painting or quilting). Color and patterns in nature transfer to the finished painting or quilt.

acrafty interview - linda martin regatta quiltEven though I’m no longer painting, many of these skills apply to my sewing and quilting. The balance of color and design elements are also very important. This is often the most important part of the quilt. Without the right balance the quilt will not work. When I finish a project whether it’s a purse or a quilt I’m really proud of it. Sometimes I look at the result and say wow, I did it!

As I’ve gained confidence in my work, I’ve definitely become more adventurous to try new things. This summer I made a landscape and a portrait quilt (wall hangings really)! I guess I was brave to try those things.

acrafty interview - linda martin quiltCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? LM: Some of my friends who are not quilters have been curious about what I do. I have shared my skills with them as well as the process of creating a quilt. I helped and encouraged one to make a purse and a pillow! I have also given many quilts and purses as gifts.

acrafty interview - linda martin purse 3What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? LM: I’d like to continue with making purses and quilts, trying to expand my horizons with new kinds of projects. Another goal of mine is to do more free hand quilting on my long arm quilting machine. That’s a whole other learning curve!

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Linda for taking the time to participate in this ACrafty interview series, and thanks to previous interviewee, jeweler Ron Buhler, for recommending her for the series! Best of luck with the free hand quilting…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpitatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, potter Nancy Germond, and Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets.

ACrafty Interview with Nancy Germond

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Nancy Germond, potter for Germond Designs.

freedomWhen did you start crafting? NG: I started crafting when I was really little – my favorite baby sitter used to spend hours drawing with me and my mom taught me to sew back in elementary school. I’ve been crafting since I’ve been walking!

 

 

acrafty interview with nancy germond '70s red birdWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? NG: I have tried everything from painting to macrame to knitting to decoupage to metal stamping. Clay is my current favorite medium because it is SO versatile and it has allowed me to incorporate many different crafts such as silk screening and painting.

 

Nest with Green EggsWhat is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? NG: I once completed a tile backsplash for a client and she asked if the design would wipe off if she used water… practical question from her perspective but what kind of backsplash would that have been?!

 

 

Nancy Jean & Lima BeanWhat craft project are you most proud of? NG: I am super proud of my most recent sculpture – the inspiration was a 7000 mile road trip towing a 1975 trailer. The sculpture is a self portrait of me, with the wind in my hair, popping out of the top of the trailer’s ceiling (see picture). It’s titled “Nancy Jean and Lima Bean.”

 

 

 

What is your most popular (or bestselling) project? NG: My doodle bowls are very popular and I have many customers who keep growing their collection. Each bowl has a unique design and the size is perfect.
Doodle Bowl Grouping #2

 

Gold Aqua BowlHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? NG: Getting organized enough to travel with my art booth was quite challenging – thank goodness I have the Lima Bean! On my first out of state show, my car was packed with my pottery and my tent and shelves were packed into the camper. After my 12 hour first leg of the journey, I pulled into a KOA campground, crawled over the supplies and slept on my little twin bed. The golden rule is NO pottery packed into the trailer – it would end up in many, many pieces after the first bump in the road.

BlackBirdLIteBlueDotsHow has crafting affected your character? NG: Devoting 100% of my time to making art was a huge leap of faith but one I had to take! It can be challenging to make art that you hope someone will like enough to purchase but I’ve learned to trust myself and ‘go’ with it. I constantly quell the thoughts of self doubt and replace them with gratitude, thankfulness and joy at being able to do art full-time. I never have to ‘make’ myself do art – it’s something I always enjoy and ‘must do’ to be happy – like breathing and exercise. This summer, I made the decision to apply to art shows in Colorado so I could escape the crazy Texas heat – I call that ‘creating my own universe’ as well as creating my own art!

Bird and RosesCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? NG: After an art show at my house, a good friend of mine decided she could also follow her passion – baking. It’s a great story – Amanda and her mom, Kit started the venture called Tiny Pies. Since starting the company in 2010, they have been written up in Oprah Magazine and recently appeared with Katie Couric. While their success is due to a fantastic product and lots of hard work, I like to think that my decision to follow my passion inspired them.

Navajo Wisdom BowlWhat is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? NG: Hmmm – that would have to be “Would you be interested in having your product for sale in Anthropologie?!” followed by “Sorry, we won’t be able to pay you in dollars – would you accept bartering your pottery for our fabulous clothes?”

 

Grasshopper Butter dishWhat crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? NG: [Some new pieces made their premier at a show in Salida, Colorado on August 10-11.] I love the interaction with people at art shows – it’s always interesting to see which pieces sell and to whom. I was super excited to sell a grasshopper butter dish to a woman whose husband worked for Grasshopper Mower- how perfect is that?! I am a total extrovert so while I love creating my pottery in my studio, I live for customer interactions at art shows! I am also excited to be back in the studio later in the month; I want to make some little wall plaques to sell at my next show in Durango late September.

Thanks so much to Nancy for participating in this ACrafty interview series! I saw her lovely booth at an art show a few weeks ago and was drawn in immediately. Nancy really struck me with her open and positive attitude and I hope you will be able to meet her and see her lovely works in person!

You can follow Nancy’s adventures on her websiteFacebook, and she’s aiming to really fire up her Etsy shop in September.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, and tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton.

ACrafty Interview with Mimilove

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Mimilove – painter and embroiderer Karen Grenfell.

When did you start crafting? KG: I have been painting for many moons, but it was in 2002 that Mimilove was born, providing a range of artworks mainly large portraits and abstracts for both individual and commercial clients. In 2004/5 a selection of my work appeared at the Birmingham Nec as part of the Memorabilia UK show, it was here that several paintings were signed by celebrities including David Carridine and Britt Ekland.
Daisy02

The sporting heroes World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst MBE and boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper OBE also signed pieces and the Henry Cooper painting was eventually sold at Sotheby’s later that year!

Since then I have been involved with providing illustrations and artworks for various companies including Blast Recording Studios and Brand New Films.
Funky Chickens!

A collaboration with promoter Steve Wraith and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock helped to raise funds for children’s charity The Bubble Foundation UK. I have also worked with former Scorpions keyboard player and prog rock musician John Young and grafitti/street artists Id iom.

Over the past 2 years I have moved away from the large scale “pop art” pieces and have combined my love of embroidery with painting to produce mixed media works including a range of Cockney Sparrows and Budgie Stufferies and a unique pet portrait service which can be found around the globe from Alaska to Australia!

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? KG: Ooo all sorts from knitting and crochet (epic failures!) to most recently, concrete casting!
Hero in a half shell...

I pretty much enjoy all the art/craft projects that I do, or try to do! Obviously I’d have to say my painting and embroidery is my main love but I do enjoy pottering around in my garden shed and messing around making things for the garden… I have made quite a few insect and bee houses this year which I’m quite proud to say all have tenants!

What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? KG: I don’t think I’ve been asked anything silly really. And even I did I would answer it, as I’m always delighted if people are willing to take the time to ask me anything about what I do!
Gordon Bennett! Cockney Sparrow-bit peckish!

What craft project are you most proud of? KG: I would have to say all of the commissioned portraits I’ve worked on. At times they can be overwhelmingly emotional as a lot of the portraits are done posthumously and commissioned by a grieving owner and I’m only too familiar with how devastating a loss like that can be, but when you get it right it’s so rewarding and such a lovely feeling.
Doggy commission - After!

But to know you’ve made someone happy, laugh or cry (in a good way!), that all the research, getting to know the subject, etc. has worked, you can’t get better than that.

What’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? KG: It was actually a painting commission a few years ago. I was commissioned by Blast Recording Studios (in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) to provide a range of musician/band portraits for their new studio. There were 15 in total, most of which measured over 6 ft. x 5 ft. That was quite a challenge, as was posting them!
Gnomely Lonely Heart

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? KG: Apart from threading the needle with my increasingly bad eyesight?! Trying to maintain confidence and motivation especially during quieter times… It’s like buses; nothing for ages and then all of a sudden 3 come along at once! Also juggling the time for family, cake breaks/naps and the boring day-to-day stuff etc.
...Winter wonderland

How has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? KG: All of the above!

Crazy World of Arthur Brown Guinea Pig!Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? KG: I recently had a comment from a teacher in the USA who uses pictures of my work to inspire her students and I have also had a lot of students from various fields (art, textiles, etc.) who have included my work/cited it as their inspiration in their projects and essays which I was really chuffed about. I have had some really touching emails and letters from people that I have worked for too, which I keep as they inspire me to keep working.

 

What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? KG: That’s a tough one! I’m not really sure?! I do get a lot of people contacting me asking me about my technique and where I get my inspiration from etc. which is lovely because it’s nice to know I’m doing something folks are interested in!
Pidge

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? KG: From an art point of view I’m busy with commissions and I’m also going to be holding a three day workshop/talk for the Northern Ireland Embroider’s Guild in November so really looking forward to that, although quite nervous too!
Pigeons

On the home front my husband and I are currently in the middle of completely renovating our garden, so I’m working on lots of different projects. I’ve completed a lot of insect/bee hotels and have most recently woven a hazel fence and archway. Our next project is a living willow sculpture and we’ve also recently acquired a concrete polisher so there will be a lot of casting activity!

Big budgie blog GIVEAWAY!I just love being in the garden and in touch with nature etc., and there’s that wonderful feeling at the end of the day, even when you’re absolutely exhausted and filthy when you sit back and look at what you’ve achieved. I also got a great buzz (pardon the pun!) when my first leaf cutter bee moved into the bee box I built!

 

I’m a huge fan of Karen’s work. Her watercolors are absolutely stunning on their own, but the embroidery gives her pieces such texture and depth – they’re like nothing else on earth. So a special thank you from me to Karen for participating in this ACrafty Interview series!

You can follow Mimilove’s adventures on her websiteFlickrblog, Facebook, and Etsy. She says “I’m always thrilled when folks visit my sites so please do drop by and say hello! :)”

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedin, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, and tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton.

ACrafty Interview with David Tedin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with David Tedin: carpenter, baker, basket weaver, woodworker, cook, and gardener. He is of Scandinavian heritage but has the soul of a Tuscan chef, and his biscotti is so good that he brings it to Italy (seriously!).

acrafty interview with david tedin basket collectionWhen did you start crafting? DT: To answer that, I would have to decide what is crafting and what is just making stuff. I can remember, before I even started school, nailing two pieces of wood together and nailing a sardine can on the back to make a truck. That would be making stuff. Because you needed something or thought it would be neat.

My family made gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.  So I guess it started at home at an early age.

seashell jewelry collectionWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DT: Stenciling designs on towels and pillowcases, and making shell jewelry. This was something I enjoyed doing. There were kits, with packets of different shapes and colors of seashells along with instructions. You could make earrings, pendants, pins, and brooches. I haven’t seen these kits in over 50 years.

I’ve also tried whittling, carving, hide tanning and leatherwork, model making (many of these were kits, but some went with whittling and carving), drawing, pottery, basket weaving, gardening, cooking, baking, and woodworking.

acrafty interview with david tedin tableWoodworking is probably my current favorite since I now have the time, place, tools and equipment to do what I want. My woodworking now is mostly small furniture, tables, jewelry boxes, cutting boards, toys, and small projects that other people come up with for me to do.

 

 

Have you ever started a project without a pattern or plan? DT: Many times. It is part of the learning process. At times the results are amazing. Other times it comes out; what is that? Or I don’t want to do that again.

What craft project are you most proud of? DT: Here again, what is crafting?  I am a retired carpenter and a craftsman by trade.

With the help of my wife Rita, we designed and built a 7,000 sq. ft. two story, solar heated home. The only things that were contracted were excavation, concrete delivery, renting a crane to set trusses, hooking up the electrical panel, and installing cable TV. Along with some help from friends pouring concrete and setting trusses, we did the rest. It took 8 years. but it was a great way to retire. Even though I had been in construction for over 20 years I learned a lot. One benefit of many years of crafting, it teaches you how to pay attention to detail.

acrafty interview with david tedin basket from fishing suppliesHas a craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DT: Yes. After watching a lady weaving baskets I thought that would be fun to try. After finally finding a book with instructions on basket weaving, finding the material (reed) in Southeast Alaska was not going to be easy. The basket I chose was coil with a rod core and interlocking stitches. I was a long way from the Southwest where this type of basket is made, so I went to the fishing supply store and bought rope for the core and fishing line (the type used for halibut hooks). I use this basket today when I do weaving demonstrations. It is so strong you can stand on it.

How has crafting affected your character? DT: It has made me more…

  • Patient. When you are working with small pieces, messing up one part can ruin the whole project. This has carried over in my work. When you have to concentrate on getting the small pieces right, then paying attention to detail becomes much easier when working with big pieces in construction. I do not like to do the same job over because I didn’t pay attention.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin kneelerGrateful. For those people who have put up with the mess that I am sure to make with a project, and for the ability to do whatever I may choose.
  • Organized. With any project, I like to have the materials ready ahead of time. It is easy to lose interest if you have to go searching for what you need next.
  • Supportive. If someone shows an interest in something you are doing it is nice to be able to teach another how it is done or just talk about what you are doing. It is also enjoyable to work along side someone who is doing the same thing you are, sharing ideas and methods.
  • Adventurous. Sometimes trying something new may make the stomach a little queasy. It is not only can I do this but can I do it right. It is rather exciting to try something new, but you have to want to do it. I often times had that feeling when I would start a new project in my work.
  • Persistent. This is something I am still working on. Some projects have taken a long time to complete. I suppose it depends on my interest level, sometimes I can get distracted with something that looks more interesting.
  • Proactive. This for me goes with being organized. Anticipating what will be needed and how it should be done. It also worked very well for me in my work.
  • Independent.  At times it is fun to work with others, sharing ideas and different ways to do things; at other times it is nice to be able to work alone. I find it easier to concentrate and things tend to go more smoothly. Most of all the rest of the world goes away.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin basket with pink and purpleDiverse.  Many different things interest me. Seeing something and wanting to try it without the fear of not being able to is great. If I mess it up or quickly lose interest I don’t do it again. The best part is finding things you like and continue doing it.
  • Imaginative. After working with other people’s plans, designs, recipes, etc. and learning the basics I find it easier to adapt or do it my way with good results.
  • Observant. Hopefully I have learned to see what others like and dislike; and how others accomplish some of the same things I am doing.
  • Consistent. I do some things over and over the same way because other ways I’ve tried just aren’t as good. Baking biscotti is one example. With woodworking there is always something new to learn; even though you are making the same initial design. Basket making, and pottery take years of doing to make each one the same.
  • Brave. Just do it.
  • Calm. I’ve found that if I lose my cool or try to hurry what I am doing I usually mess it up.

acrafty interview with david tedin basketCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DT: I’ve taught and encouraged others who have shown an interest in what I am doing to go ahead and try it. I also have taught classes and done demonstrations to the public. I hope that when our kids were growing up my crafts made an impression on them.

 

 

 

acrafty interview with david tedin storage bench

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DT: Harvesting and selling the garlic we have raised, canning produce for the coming year. Making spice cabinets for the church bazaar; I’ve never made one before and a friend of ours wanted one modified to fit her spice jars. A half round table, because the plan I have looks interesting. A drop leaf table, a challenge to me because I have never done rule hinges. Basket weaving and baking comes with the winter months.

A special thanks to David for taking the time to do this interview. When he sent his responses back to me he said “I found out more about myself than I thought I would. Things I hadn’t thought about in years and things that I take for granted in daily life.” I always learn something from these interviews and it’s even more special when the interviewee gains from the process as well.

Dave happens to be my uncle (his wife Rita is my aunt), and their son, Chris Tedin, was featured in a previous ACrafty Interview. Another of their sons, Mark Tedin, is an artist probably best known for his continued work on Magic: The Gathering and other fantasy projects.

If you would like to contact David with questions about his crafts (or his outstanding biscotti), please contact me and I’ll be happy to relay the message…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?, jeweler Ron Buhler, and embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!.