small pea studio at neighborhood fall festival

Apologies for the lack of recent's been a busy fall!

I have been slowly inching toward a more official and robust studio business concept and am starting to have a better idea of what small pea studio may become:) In an effort to speed along some decisions (at least in my mind), I decided to share a table with a friend (who is also a doll-maker) at a local neighborhood Fall Festival this past weekend. Our table was surrounded by a face-painting and kids crafting corner, local small business set-ups, and tables of hand-crafted items including letterpressed cards, knitted baby hats, jewelry made with found antique buttons, and slices of pie!

I had one mini-quilt and three pillows, along with some temporary business cards and an email sign-up list. A start, right?

Yes, but definitely not enough inventory to actually sell anything. Despite the samples-only display, I had a great time talking to those who stopped by the table, friends and strangers alike. It felt good to be part of the community in that way, and I look forward to this small pea studio sprouting and growing where it may.

As I begin to make some of the temporary studio ideas more permanent, you may see some changes around here. Any feedback is welcome and encouraged:)


Planet progress

I have made some progress on the space mat I first told you about here. I think this phase of the project was the most time-consuming, but also the most fun—picking the right fabrics for the planets. The kids helped me with this, of course. After consulting their many books about the solar system, and even some real photographs online, we tried to pick fabrics that were close to the actual color of the planet, but that were also semi-coordinated with each other. The stack above is in order starting at the bottom: the gray of Mercury, followed by the mustard brown of Venus (and her clouds too), then the green and blue of Earth, the rusty orange of Mars, the stripes of Jupiter, the yellow-green of Saturn, the light aqua of Uranus, and finally the darker blue-green of Neptune.

Next, we researched the relative sizes of the planets and then found some circular objects around the house to trace onto the fabric squares. I sewed each fabric piece to fusible interfacing and then inverted the pieces just like I did in this project. Once all of the planets were circles, it was time to think about their placement on the mat.

We placed them in their proper celestial order with Mercury at the top and Neptune at the bottom. And I had to add a red spot on Jupiter.

O made sure we had all eight planets. (Poor Pluto.)

Now I just have to sew them in place and figure out how to make Saturn's rings.

At least there is some progress in our universe:)


Letter pocket aprons for kids

Inspired by the apron I made for Q's teacher, Mrs. S, and because I had some canvas fabric leftover, and because I felt bad that it took me a little longer to finish the teacher apron than I had hoped, I decided to make two kid-sized aprons for Mrs. S's young daughters, H and M.

As a graphic designer, I have spent much of my adult life studying letterforms and loving typography. So, instead of the striped rectangular pocket I made for the teacher apron, I thought the kids might like a pocket sewn with their first initial. I remembered seeing and loving the loose, folk-like quality of the patchwork alphabet quilting icon Denyse Schmidt designed for her Proverbial Quilt pattern seen here, but for the square pockets on these small aprons, I was imagining letters that were a bit more geometric. Why not try my own hand at patchwork letterforms? 

So I started measuring and sewing and ironing and cutting and pinning. 

And before I knew it, I had two sister aprons with letter pockets, in pink and purple, no less.

Then of course, O had to try one on to make sure it was the right size and especially to make sure the pocket worked.

And it did.

H is for hiding hand, too.

I need to get better at sewing curves before attempting Q and O aprons:)


Teacher apron

It's been a busy spring as always. After both Q and O's birthdays, many end of the school year field trips and festivities, freelance design projects, and grandparent visits, (let me catch my breath), I am once again here.

Q's kindergarten class has three themed units throughout the year. The classes use these themes to loosely structure lessons, art projects, and field trips. The first one was trees. Remember these trees? The second unit was fabric. Mrs. S, his teacher, asked parents to donate fabric scraps for various projects, and I was very happy to send in some of my stash. She loved the fabric that I had donated, and asked if I wouldn't mind making her an apron to wear in the classroom to hold various items she always needs as she walks around the room. Pens, scissors, index cards, etc. I would be happy to, I said, though I had never made one before.

Hmmmm...where to start? I looked at Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, which has a whole chapter devoted to aprons, as well as Denyse Schmidt Quilts, containing one patchwork apron pattern, and decided to use the latter as my inspiration. Instead of the log cabin square pocket in Denyse's pattern, I decided to use equal-width fabric strips to make a striped rectangular panel that I could divide into different sized pockets.

It is always hard for me to decide which fabrics to use. Mrs. S told me that she loves green. And... if you haven't already guessed, green is my personal favorite too:) But that made it almost more difficult because I have quite a collection of green fabric. to narrow it down? After much deliberation, I decided to stick with the dots and circles (another personal favorite), and made sure to include some solids to keep it modern. A partial color spectrum seemed to work best, with green in the middle and a bit of blue and a bit of yellow on either end. 

I adjusted the dimensions of the base canvas to make it shorter since this apron would be worn in the classroom instead of the kitchen. And after I had attached the patchwork piece to the center of the apron, I divided it into three pockets, two small and one big enough to hold a folded piece of paper. To do this, I sewed along the vertical fabric seams (this might be called sewing in the ditch?). Note: I did not sew the total height of the panel in this way—I left a few inches open at the top of the panel for easy pocket access. Then I thought that a few smaller and shallower side pockets might be a good idea.

For these smaller pockets I used the off-white canvas so as not to detract from the central colorful panel.

I also added a few loops to one side of the apron (for small scissors, or a key-clip, perhaps?) and to add some asymmetry.

Et voilà!

I think one of my favorite parts of the apron is the pom-pom trim at the bottom edge and how it echoes the dot/circle theme of the fabrics.

An apron to go along with her personality—youthful, organized, and happy!

And especially happy to always have her chapstick handy now.


Easter dress 2011

After having stayed up late the night before Easter last year finishing a dress for O, I thought I would start earlier this year:)

I found a pattern on Etsy for a "criss-cross reversible dress" from the seller winkhandmade. Reversible! So, if you're like me and have a hard time deciding on that one fabric that you want to use, this is the perfect option. You can use your favorite two (or three!). I decided to use three. One floral print, one solid and one floral solid.

Here is a detail.

And the reverse below.

In the past two weeks or so, O all of a sudden has very strong opinions about what she wears. She wants to change her clothes about sixteen times a day. Friends with older girls had warned me that this phase was coming. It is at once frustrating (trying to convince her that 47 degrees is still too cold for shorts and flip-flops!), and heart-warming... my little O is becoming her own little person, stubborn and indecisive, like me (I am told:)

With this dress at least she has two options.

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