Sweet 16

I believe that we are all thoughtfully and mindfully connected creatively by a common thread chain.


Wishing all of you a very happy, healthy and creatively fulfilling   New Year!

“Notice,” my word for 2016, and Be Inspired my friends!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 25!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We made it! Congrats to all those who put their creative abilities to worthwhile and charitable uses this season!

Doesn’t it feel great to make and give?!

For my M & G on Day 25, I am gifting my two children with my annual handmade Christmas Tree ornament. Someday when they have their own Christmas trees, they will each have their own collection of hand mades to decorate with (if they like? no pressure!).



This year’s ornie was inspired by my Shibori fabric dyeing adventures this summer and fall. For this ornament I used fabric that featured the “Arashi” binding technique where you wrap the fabric around a PVC pole and bind it with twine. Next, I layered the dyed organic cotton twill fabric with batting also dyed. Never dyed batting before…easy peasy!


I then stitched the sandwiched fabrics in a heart shape and used some of the dyed twine for the hanging loop. Waste not want not?!

The last part of the process was using Sashiko hand stitching. I’m pretty excited to continue to expand my knowledge and practice of this very simple but impactful “little stabs” or “big stitch” needle art form. In my 2016 workshops I will be combining both Sashiko stitching and Shibori dyeing. Can’t wait!


But now it’s time to slow everything down and enjoy my much look forward time off with family and friends.

Thank you all for following my 25 Days of Make & Give for 2015! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!. Be inspired!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 24

Dedicated Service

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

There are some M & G’s that most definitely deserve a repeat each year: this is one of them. Up the street we have a family where Mr. is a firefighter (originally an EMT), Mrs. is a nurse (also originally an EMT) and one of their children is a Marine on what must be his fourth tour in the infantry division overseas. Last year I decorated a tree for them in a patriotic red, white and blue. This year I did the same. And we secretly delivered it this morning.


Thank you my dear friends for your dedicated service and patriotism.



25 Days of Make & Give- Day 23

“Measure twice, cut once”


This is Craig. He is my go-to guy at The Home Depot. During the summer and fall I held 6 Shibori fabric dyeing workshops. For each workshop, I added a new technique for binding the fabric to create a resist for the dye. I went to THD to buy an 8′ length of wood and hopefully get it out down into blocks for my workshops. Craig, not only walked me through the proper wood selection process but also meticulously measured and cut 4″ square blocks for me with a smile and a “oh, it’s really no problem” attitude. What a guy! I stopped by to thank him and gift him with a cloth feed sack towel that demonstrated the use of the wood blocks (that would be the design on the top). He was so surprised! Surely, it was my pleasure!



25 Days of Make & Give- Day 22

“Custom Beverage”

In my studio, at this time of the year, I go through yards and yards of fleece: almost 13 yards! It’s a tradition that I gift the baristas at our local Starbucks with hand cut and fringed scarves for Christmas. This year’s fleece motifs include a cool giraffe print and a black & white  graphic flower design.


Yes, I am a longtime Starbucks patron (don’t worry I love a good cuppa at all those very fine indies as well!). And those very sweet guys and gals make my favorite beverage just right. It’s usually around 1-2pm, when I am between jobs, that I am jonesing for my 1/2 cafe, non fat latte with one pump of mocha syrup…these baristas never disappoint!


So thank you my very excellent artisan coffee makers for another  year of superb service!



25 Days of Make & Give- Day 21

“Paris, The City of Lights”

My parents have a friend, a native Parisian, who is also a dear friend of mine.  Ida will be turning 90 years old on 12/23. What incredibly strong and brave woman she is!  She attended a convent school in Paris and was taught there by French Nuns. Ida, also a cancer survivor, is an amazing needle artist, making lace and doilies. Her intricate handwork is beautiful and I am very fortunate that she has gifted many pieces to me over the years.

Ida met her husband, an American soldier, in Paris, they fell in love and have been married 69 years!


I saw these lovely Eiffel Tower die cuts on Etsy and thought they would remind Ida of her many sweet memories there. To add brilliance, I spray painted, added glitter and then tied a organza ribbon to make a Christmas ornament for her. She told me how upset she has been by the recent terrorist attacks on her beloved city. Hopefully, this ornie will slowly replace her sadness with a nostalgic smile!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 20

“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise”

That is what I was thinking, thanks Jim Nabors for the memory of that favorite tv show and exclamation from my childhood(!), when planning out this Make & Give! Since our daughter has just returned home from her LA film internship, we have been diving into movie conversation. A fave in The Duke household. T and I had said a while back that we would love to take my Mom to see “Brooklyn” as she still has some dear Italian cousins living there. So yesterday was the day. I thought it would be fun to surprise “Nana” by showing up with T and “making” it a girls’ day at the movies!



Mom aka Nana was so happily surprised! Afterwards over a cuppa we talked about “Brooklyn”, the movie and Mary, Lenny and their family still residing there.


Nothing like making time for family!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 19


Jean Rubman is one very devoted lady. As an incredibly talented and  published mixed media artist in her own right, she somehow finds the time to not only post on her creative daily blog, “Rag Bag Girls”, but to also read and thoughtfully comment on the numerous posts of RBG followers. I met Jean, and her creative and beautiful daughter Amy, years ago at Art Is You. And even though we usually only see each other once a year, it’s as if it was yesterday! She emanates such warmth and is always fascinated by and genuinely interested in what her fellow artists are up to!

As a little appreciation for all the love and support she shows me and all the others in our RBG community (and beyond), I dedicate today’s M & G to her!


I have mailed her one of my Shibori dyed scarves. It is made from organic 100 % cotton knit and dyed in Indigo. Over the summer I had held numerous fabric dyeing workshops here in my hometown and she has always enthusiastically complimented me on the pieces I shared on this blog and on FB.

So Jean, this one is for you!

Enjoy my friend and thank you!


25 Days of Make & Give -Day 18

” Green Day”

One my my dear art sistahs, who lives up North, loves the color green.

Today’s M & G is for her. She has had hand her hands full with family responsibilities over the last few years and she still she bravely soldiers on. She has a strong faith and believes that things will all work out.

With green as my theme, I am gifting her one of my Hunter Green, Shibori dyed tea towels, some green tea, a lil green beaded garland and a cool girl themed coloring book (she is the only gal in her house!). I tied up it all up with some jumbo bright green ric rac! This is one super cheerful looking package! I hope she always knows that I’m always thinking about her and keeping her and her family in my thoughts and prayers.


25 Days of Make & Give-Day 17

“Making Ready”

Tonight we are awaiting the arrival of our daughter who has spent her college senior fall semester interning out LA. We haven’t seen her since August, five months and one day (but who’s counting!) and that’s waaaaaaaaay tooooooo long for this momma!!


So to help distract me while I wait, I got into some serious nesting activities. I cleaned her room, arranged her stuffed lovies on her bed, put a couple blooms on her bed stand and laid out the fluffy new booties, I bought for her!


And then there was the baking! Yup, I figured there’s no time like the present so first I made “Magic Bars”.


Then the “Honey Boys & Girls”


She should be home soon…now just let me finish decorating the Christmas Tree….!! Waiting IS the hardest part!

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