Saturday, January 30, 2010

One World, One Heart Giveaway

No, I'm not giving away a guitar. If you'd like to give me a guitar, on the other hand... :-)

Through OWOH I've been honored to encounter so many artists , so many brilliant people pursuing what their hearts sing about. In that spirit, I've decided to join the ride!

Instead of giving away something I've made, I'm giving away something even more dear to me: the soundtrack to my heart. Only when a heart is at rest can it truly create. This soundtrack contains music that has brought healing, delight and refreshing to my life, particularly in my most tender, vulnerable, and therefore beautiful moments.

Who is included on my soundtrack? They are relatively unknown musicians, singer/songwriters whose poetry is the stuff of lullabies or moonlit kisses. Some I encountered as a teenager, some in college, others in young adulthood. My hope is that by giving away their music, they will gain exposure and encouragement to continue doing what their hearts sing about even as we continue in our art.

Here's how it works:

1) Leave one comment on this post by midnight CST on Valentine's Day (February 14, 2010)
2) Include your name, email address, and blog if you have one
3) On February 15, one winner (at least) will be selected via a random numbers generator and announced. Winner(s) will receive their music via iTunes gifting. If you do not have iTunes, you can download it for free here .

Soundtrack includes 5 songs selected from Michael Tyler, Jerry Wise, Seth Wood, Elizabeth Seasons and United Pursuit Band. Music selections are non-negotiable and will be gifted to the email address provided in winning comment(s) at my expense. An invalid email address will result in an automatic forfeiture and alternative winner chosen.

Thank you for participating in the One World, One Heart giveaway! Enjoy your ride!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blame the Snow Day

Okay, I know I said I wouldn't... Well... I said I might have a hard time packing away these puppies instead of whipping them together... So... I finished my last pair of birds tonight. They are love birds!

And their presence on my stark project wall shows that I have indeed been "packing". See? Shadows demonstrate the void of nothingness left in the wake of boxing projects away.

What's with the keys, you ask? And what's with the yellow button? Hmm... for that I encourage you to investigate Michael Tyler and his lovely song "Hidden Key" to encounter the source of my inspiration! (You can also get the song on iTunes--I highly recommend it. I'd love to see how far this young man soars as his music career launches.)

Now, about this snow day. Here in the South schools routinely call off classes for expected snow, even when nothing is on the ground. Hence, this teacher's got herself a snow day with absolutely no precipitation in sight! We shall see what tomorrow brings, but until then, we celebrate! That you may share in my joy, I give you a few reference pics of my cathedral window quilt, taken many months apart. This is the grand project I'm working on while others slumber until after moving day.

Circa summer '09

Circa fall '09. My current goal is to complete at least this much before I marry. Having much hope but no tangible man in my life, I think my goal is feasible. :-)

And speaking of hope, I am moving to Hopedale! Here is a pic of what I hope to be my future studio space.

Enjoy your snow day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Moving Moratorium

I folded a couple of newly-laundered remnants and tucked them away. I glanced over my ironing board with its clutter of small-projects-in-pieces, thought of the sewing machine in the garage and the comment my friend made remembering my quilt. This afternoon it's become official: I am moving in a month! So in order to help myself prioritize packing, I am calling for a moratorium on all things bloggable, with the exception of the cathedral quilt, until I'm in my new digs.

Aw, heck, I may whip together those prophetic birds before I go. So many memories associated with them, and I'd hate to take down my "board" without their completion. There have been a few changes--back and forth and back again--since their inception...

...and even more since the above was taken (circa 12.27.09). Well. I'm ready for prophecy to be actualized. Something beautiful in this season, something new and alive and lovely. I'm so grateful for my new home! 'Til then, peace out homeskillets!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hats Für Mich!

It's been years since I made a hat for myself. My first, dubbed my "Snowball Hat", started out as a brilliant sparkly white in Lion Brand Wool-Ease. That was [counting on fingers] at least four years ago. I'm not sure exactly. I'd made a duplicate for myself in a mushroomy woodsy brown, but it ended up being given away when a friend couldn't find an awesome-enough hat to hold his locks at the farmer's market... Long story... [moment of silence to enjoy the memory]

Well, sometime around the time I was crafting Ira's commission, I felt a great desire to craft a new hat for myself! Not a yarmulke, not a beanie, an actual adorable hat. And It Must Be RED! So off to JoAnn's I went and found the perfect shade of obnoxious red in a not-on-sale-so-I-can-still-use-my-coupon brand, a brand which just happened to provide its wares of Peruvian wool with a side of sauciness befitting such a project as mine.

Now, I'm honestly not trying to give you so many Photo Booth pictures, but the ones I took on my camera just were not flattering. Hence...

Are those discrepancies in the double crochet stitch? Nope. They're intentional "bubbles" of shells spaced haphazardly around the hat.

The rosette was a spur-of-the-moment addition, created without cutting the yarn and worked onto the brim. Unlike previous pieces, I chain stitched around the brim then went back through the chains a second time (is the technical term "double chain"? Who knows?! I just experiment...)

So there you have my new red hat--hooray!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So... I started a new blog. Why? Well... because I've been getting lots of requests and questions about whether the pieces I've been making as gifts are available for sale! I feel there is a time and season to launch--what, a shop? A line? An era? Your guess is as good as mine. In preparation, may I present Mem-Hey, my blog exclusively for commission-able, buy-able pieces. At this point everything is still being done by hand, so please do not get confused and think I have a business going on. But you are more than welcome to join me on the journey of wherever this leads!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Little Bit

Photobooth, I love you! You make it so easy to document my tiny projects!

It is a button broach... pin... thing... worn especially so the students who watched me stitch it together could see it worn the next day :-)

The "scarf" is a scrap of black polyester trimmed off one of my dance skirts, or maybe culottes, I can't remember which. RECYCLED ACCESSORY GLORY!

For kicks, here's a picture of a "hat" I custom-made for a friend. Had to remake it three times to fit him exactly. He insisted it wasn't to be a yarmulke, although I made it yarmulke-style. "Hat". Hmphf. :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Does every post of mine begin with an exclamation? Please understand this is indicative of a delightful life and true joy as I write. :-)

Tonight's post is brought to you by a trip through my iPhoto library.

Here is my story: when I was making my first set of quilted coasters I decided I needed green buttons to anchor the centers (tufted quilt style). Alas, I had none, so I prayed and asked God for favor as I went button-shopping. Lo and behold, I found just what I needed... on clearance! Hooray! I was so stoked that I relayed my story to my best friend, and she was excited with me.

Next day, my friend comes over with several amorphous bags brimming with buttons! And not just any buttons, oh no. These are remnants of her grandmother's stash, her grandmother who was a tailor, her grandmother who saved buttons from the turn of the century. And here I was, thinking green buttons on clearance were such an answer to prayer, and then BOOM! God delivers infinitely more than I could have imagined!

These delightful trinkets have worked their way into so many projects, provided new closure for my Goodwill-of-Iowa trench coat, given me hours of pleasure pondering and discovering, etc. etc. May you live vicariously through my photos and take delight as I do! :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My friend's birthday headband was so well-received that I told her I'd make two more. Hence:

Like the original, this one features a band of ticking and white elastic. Each mother of pearl button is backed by a circle of calico then mounted on an amorphous gray cotton backed with two layers of iron-on interfacing.

I love this one! The band is from a piece of denim leftover from a tablecloth, and the leaf is eight layers of calicoes stitched together to create veins. It is attached to the band by a set of stitches down the center length so the "veins" can be appreciated from the underside. Black elastic finished this band. The recipient's name and artist's initials are written in waterproof ink on the edge of the seventh layer.

Like the first, my friend LOVES these! I begged to borrow them so I could document them for my blog (thanks again, Photo Booth!), but she is eager to have them back in her trove. How affirming! It is so sweet having one's art appreciated like this!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ira!

One of my favorite people turns 24 today. For his birthday I crocheted a toboggan for him! He was thrilled, especially since he received it on my first SNOW DAY of my new job! After he and I parted for the afternoon, I got several text messages from him about the compliments others were giving my work. Finally he asked if he could commission a duplicate hat for his best friend. Huzzah! I feel like I am back in grad school when I was supplying yarmulkes to friends in the Jewish community!

Ira the model
An aside: Ira is also the recipient of the first pair birds I whipped together. He reported that they are now nesting in his recording studio among black and white soundproofing panels. :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Birthday Band!

Too lazy to take real photos... Photobooth to the rescue! I love my MacBook! Just sayin'.

And now, zee headband for zee favorite friend modeled by zee author herzelf!

Not bad if I do say so myself, and yes, as always, it was all hand-stitched. Dear friend, thou art worth the toil of my fingers. May your 25th year be wildly better than you could ask or imagine!

New Year, New Job, New Possibilities!

This much newness only comes around once in a blue--well, you get the picture. Happy 2010! I feel remiss in not writing earlier. It has been an interesting New Year so far! Lots of things have been in the works, lots of changes are happening, and I am excited about life!

Just before the new year I had an opportunity to collaborate with two of my favorite artists on a stage design using batting, PVC pipe, spray paint and glitter for the above creation. Here we are worshipping our work...

...Okay, we weren't really worshipping it. But it was pretty spectac, especially when the lights managers got on board. Since I did help sew the batting around the frame, this is technically a sewing project. As the painter went around spraying the batting, I followed along barefoot with glitter. Glitter done, I popped my still-wet feet into my socks and like MAGIC glued them there! Huzzah! Final score: paint--1, Mary--0.

In other news, 1/3 of the artists in the above photograph has a birthday this week. I am hand-stitching a headband for her out of blue ticking and a "flower" copied off this adorable broach. Pics to follow, I hope!

Meanwhile I have just begun working at a Waldorf school! These places are fantastic! Unlike many other schools, Waldorf schools place emphasis on actually integrating art, music, motion and fine motor work into the curriculum. Children learn to knit, sew, embroider, weave, work in wood and clay. Such a creative atmosphere! And in the midst of that, I still have children curious about what I am doing in quilting. Have I found my niche? Quite hopefully so! I'll let you know as we keep going. Who knows--maybe a five-year-old can teach this crocheter how to knit? :-)