New Years Organic Dyeing

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To welcome in the New Year, I decided to set another organic dye bath, this time using an extract of Cutch. According to Kristine Vejar’s amazing book, The Modern Natural Dyer, Cutch “has more than a thousand  species…achieving colors ranging from copper to terra cotta.”  Linen, cotton and rayon fibers and fabric went into my pot.

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Here’s my bounty! I was thrilled with the results. My color range was from a fawn to a mocha, subtle shades with warm rose brown undertones!

Happy New Year! What have you done to artistically/creatively herald in 2017?!

Day 24 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Scarves, scarves and scarves!

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Those of you who know me well know about my daily afternoon Starbucks coffee ritual. On the way home from teaching at the nursery school, I pick up my customized Mocha beverage. This truly helps me to power on through sewing lessons with private students in my home studio.

I have often thought of purchasing a beautiful expresso making machine for the time and money it could save me but to be honest I do enjoy seeing and chatting it up with my friendly baristas.  They are such fun and interesting young people!

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So every year I gift each and every barista in the 3 different Starbuck locations in my area with a fringed fleece scarf.

Now that’s a lot of scarves…this year it was somewhere over 45! But they are always so excited to see me walk through their doors with my big bundle of goodies!

Look at those happy faces!

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Merry Christmas and a big caffeinated thank you to my Starbucks family!!

B-Inspired!

 

Day 23 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Queen of the Silver Lining

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I’m very excited to tell you about today’s recipient of Day 23 Make & Give. This lady is without a doubt one of the most resilient, positive people I know. She is truly the Queen of Silver Linings. In past years she has weathered the most difficult storms imaginable.  And despite how rough things got, and they had to be unbearable, she navigated through with the utmost style and grace. This gal is the definition of inner strength.

So for my dear friend, I am gifting one of my handmade journals, as she is a most gifted (and published) writer, a copy of one of my favorite holiday CDs and some jingle antlers because she loves to be festive!

Write on and jingle all the way, dear girl!

Is there someone who inspires you…remember them today and always….

B-Inspired!

Day 21 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Kindness rendered and returned

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Life and times here in our home and in my studio, these last couple months sure haven’t been the same since our sweet and beautiful fur baby Millie passed away. Such a lively and loving kitty! During her decline we had many phone conversations and visits to our vet at The Greenfield Animal Hospital. Millie and our family were always treated with the greatest kindness and care. It seemed befitting to dedicate today’s Make & Give to Dr Andrew Marsh, Colby and the rest of the staff.

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I fringed up a batch of leopard anti pill fleece scarves for each person on the staff and added a nice big loaf of my home baked cranberry orange pecan bread. It’s just a little token of the great appreciation and affection we have for those lovely people!  When I dropped everything off, they seemed so surprised and grateful. For them it’s just the professional and yet personal way they conduct business at The GAH.

B-Inspired!

Day 20 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Holiday Dress Journal

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Today’s Make & Give goes out to our dear friend, Jean. For those of you makers who are acquainted with the Rag Bag Girls art group, you know how deserving this lady is! Jean started this group and blog to inspire and promote fabric, fiber and other mixed media artists and their work. And she is absolutely devoted to encouraging and sharing the latest works and achievements of each and every RBG. She posts daily. She positively and enthusiastically responds to each and every other post. That’s dedication!

For Jean this year, I made up one of my signature fabric journal covers with this darling Michael Miller cotton printed holiday fabric and tied a luscious black velvet bow around her waist! I use a light weight quilt batting to line these journals so they have a quilty feeling! Other makes pictured include: a holiday cloth gift tag organically dyed with marigolds, hemp from some Shibori bindings and a wooden spool and bead  spray painted with both silver and gold.

Enjoy my dear friend!

What are you doing today to show gratitude to someone who encourages and supports you?

B-Inspired!

Day 19 of My 25 Days of Make & Give… Red Bird Holiday Journals

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Look at these ‘lil cuties:  raw edged canvas mini journals, with holiday-themed fabric scraps sewn together, chain style, and stitched to the spine. I used Jacquard Crimson fabric paint to stamp the birds. Inside there’s a variety of lovely papers. A wide zig zag machine stitch worked well to attach the signature.  Sew festive!  I’m meeting up with some of my sewing sisters and thought these handmades were just perfect for gifting!

Simple and sweet!

What creative makings are you up to?

B-Inspired!

Day 18 of My 25 Days of Make & Give: Keep those tootsies warm!

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Reading the forecast for the next couple days, an arctic plunge is heading our way. Yikes! Better bundle up!

Yes, old man winter is on its way! But back when we were enjoying those warm days of late autumn, I did some indigo dyeing outside and tried my luck at socks! It can be hard, these days, to find socks that have a fiber content of more than 90%. But I scored a whole bunch of 93% cotton, white, textured boot socks at Old Navy. I set a couple dye baths up outside. Some socks I bound with hemp and some not. I am so happy with the results: lovely, rich blue tones! These babies will be heading out to warm up lots of tootsies this holiday season!

Stay warm and B-Inspired!

Day 16 of My 25 Days of Make & Give- Canvas & Satin Sewing Journals

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You all know how I adore making journals and I have to say that these beauties are probably some of my very favorites! They are actually journal covers that hold a composition size notebook, which means when you fill up that notebook, you can replace it and start journaling all over again! Another feature about this particular journal cover is that since it is made from a very sturdy 7 oz unprimed cotton duck fabric, you can paint or stitch on to your hearts content. It will hold up beautifully! Now about that luscious heavy, double faced satin ribbon…its just gorgeous! I picked it up in NYC at a studio closeout sale…each journal used about a 50″ length, in order to make a nice bow. The buttons are vintage.

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I added a little hand stamping on the front and the inside back flap.

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These lovelies are going out to some of my sewing students and needle art aficionados.

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Enjoy my enthusiastic sewists!

B-Inspired!

Day 12 of My 25 Days of Make & Give-Stitch Journals

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Today’s M & G goes out to my creative friends who enjoy and inspire me with their embroidery and stitching. Pictured above are just a few of the goodie bags I sent to them.

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Inside my Shibori dyed canvas bags, I packed embroidery floss, I dyed in indigo and marigold and a handmade canvas journal for each to embellish.  I bundled up these treats with: pieces of dyed hemp used for binding in my Shibori dye baths, silver and gold spray painted wooden beads and thread spools and marigold dyed canvas tags I lettered with their initials. I can’t wait to see how they stitch up the journals! All these gals are so creative and inspiring!

Enjoy ladies and please send along pics of your stitched journals!!

B-Inspired!

Sugar Stitching

Fall sewing is in full swing in the studio! To get my students warmed up, I decided we needed a quick project to incorporate machine and hand stitching as well as some embroidery and beading. We used some of that sweet Sugar Skull fabric left over from my tote, see previous post, and appliquéd it on a white, cotton long sleeve waffle tees. To do this,  first we fused Wonder Under onto the woven sugar skull fabric cut out.  Then ironed the sugar skull appliqué onto the knit shirt fabric. This fusing step stabilizes the knit fabric and makes all stitching and embellishing a breeze.  Using machine appliqué we stitched all around it a few times. Now, we were was ready to go to town with some hand embroidery and beading.  Below is my version..IMG_4763.JPGI used both DMC 6-stranded embroidery floss as well as size 8 Perle cotton for the hand embroidery. French knots. backstitch, statin stitch, couching and chain stitch were some of the stitches I used. Japanese glass seed beads in different sizes and some teeny tiny Delicas  added some pop and sparkle. When I finished all the hand work, I put the embellished shirt in a tea dye bath for about 45 minutes. The result was a warm, light tan color. Just the vintage look I was hoping for!

For the last year, I have enjoyed learning all about and trying some styles of “Slow Stitching”. I have worked Sashiko, Kantha and Boro stitching combinations on jeans, jackets and journal covers. Here’s a pair of boyfriend jeans that I recently distressed and stitched.

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On knee areas, I used patches of cotton Ikat fabric under the denim to add interest and to stabilize the  area. Then I cut several lines across the knees, sand papered and carefully picked out rows of thread to get the distressed look I wanted.  I used white Sashiko thread and stitched neat little rows of running stitches through the denim and the Ikat patches underneath.

IMG_4784.jpgUp by the front left pocket, I continued with the same treatment of adding an Ikat patch of fabric, distressing the denim and then stitching tiny running stitches.

Today was a beautiful, quiet, Fall Sunday. Daughter T and I went up to Easton, CT to pick up apples, pumpkins, cider and cider doughnuts from one of the local orchards. Driving around we found some cool old red barns, sheds and lovely stone walls. T is to be credited with these fun and autumnal photos! Well done and thanks girl!

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IMG_4798.jpgHave you seen these Sugar Skull Cookies at Starbucks…note they taste as good as they look! I couldn’t resist! Happy Fall ya’ll.

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