Thursday, September 30, 2010

My favorite class at The Creative Connection Event

When I signed up for The Creative Connection Event months ago, it was really hard to choose my classes. It wasn't for lack of options - that's for sure. As I was perusing the list, there were all sorts of wonderful options and talented teachers to choose from. However, when I saw that Kaari Meng of French General was among the instructors, I immediately knew I had to be in one of her classes. I've admired her style and work for many years. It was hard to choose but I narrowed it down to her Petite Coeur Cushion class and impatiently waited the many months for the conference and the class to arrive as it was the one I was most looking forward to.

Finally, the conference came and so did class! It was so much fun and even better than I had hoped for! This was my favorite class of the whole event. Not only did we get to stitch up these lovely little cushions stuffed with lavender and lambs wool, we got to create necklaces and bracelets with interchangeable charms. I can't leave well enough alone so once I got back home to my craft room, I had to embellish the heart a bit with some silk ribbon and beads.

I love wearing the simply elegant jewelry and how lovely it looks decorating my bedroom wall when I'm not wearing it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A break from our usual programming

Much as it pained me to do so, I needed to take a little break from my Creative Connection fun and creativity to stitch up something for my mom. In exchange for her supplying me and my hubby with her wonderful Tastefully Simple products, she sometimes sends me projects that she wants stitched up. She sent me a pattern and supplies to stitch up this this little wool felt candle mat - now I may just need to stitch up one for our home!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Connection Day 1 Project

I've been feeling a bit under the weather but wanted to finally get one of the projects from my classes at The Creative Connection Event posted here. My first afternoon at the conference was spent learning how to make these beautiful felted wool ornaments and a couple of others. I had the best time and got to meet wonderful new people who were seated at our table. I met a wonderful woman named Anne from Sew4Home - you should definitely check out her site!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Freebie

One of the fantastic parts of The Creative Connection Event was all the giveaways!!!! Once I arrived back home, I discovered that a few of the items we received are items I already have. So, in the spirit of sharing the love, I'm offering my first giveaway! I'm hoping to make this a more regular occurrence so keep your eyes (and computers) peeled in the future!

I love both of these magazines but want to share them with my followers, so if you leave a comment before noon Central Time on Monday, September 27, I'll do a drawing and the winner will have two new mags to add to their collection!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Desserts

Even the food at The Creative Connection Event is creative and inspired. The S'mores cupcake wasn't actually at the event but what I consumed before heading to the Handmade Market the first night of the conference - I needed massive sugar intake to power me through all those aisles of fantastic art and crafting possibilities! This little delicacy comes from Hell's Kitchen - an amazing restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. I've missed it terribly living along the North Shore as ours has been converted to a burger place.

The lovely red velvet cake was served at our luncheon on the opening day of the conference. The recipe comes straight from the Pioneer Woman Cooks, courtesy of Ree Drummond, the speaker at our luncheon. I have a sentimental attachment to red velvet cake as it is what my husband and I served at our wedding reception. This recipe is my very favorite of Ree's many wonderful recipes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sign here, please

This is the minuscule pile of books that was my traveling companion to The Creative Connection Event. This little, light stack of hardboard and paper necessitated it's very own bag to Minneapolis. While others were purchasing their books at the Barnes and Noble booth at the conference site, I brought all these books that have graced my bookshelves for years and are now graced by the greetings and autographs of all my "she"roes! Though I did not have the books of all 30 or so authors at the event, this was quite enough for me! I think any more would have necessitated back surgery on my part following the conference! You'll also notice that Amy Butler's books are at the very top of the stack!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Swap meet

The weekend before The Creative Connection Event was spent finishing up this "little" project to swap with my new friend, Vicki. We met through the message board set up for the event and connected initially because she lived in an area of the country where I had lived for many years. As we emailed one another prior to the event we decided to set up our own little swap and create traveling art kits from old cigar boxes. We each answered a few questions to guide our choices as we were creating for each other.

Vicki shared some of her interests - personal and creativity-wise. As I was putting her kit together, I tried to incorporate her favorite colors and personal interests into the exterior design of the kit. She and her husband like to go cruising on their motorcycle on weekends so I chose to cover the exterior in black and mustard colored leather all stitched together with thick mustard thread. Punching the little holes to thread the pieces together is not for the faint of heart (or those prone to carpal tunnel!). All the work was definitely worth it and I loved it when I was finished and Vicki did, too!!! You can see the original cigar tin in the pic below.

I filled the inside with lots of little trinkets, beads and baubles - perfect for creating lots of mixed media art journals. Little fabric yo-yos, hand-lettered ribbons, tiny cardboard flowers, wooden spools of bakers twine, and mini journals fill vintage baking molds. Covered matchbooks are filled with tiny pinked denim patches, handmade paper beads, cork circles, vintage stamps, and paint chip buttons.

We got to meet in person after the end of the first full day of the conference following the incredible keynote address and opening dinner. We got to talk for about an hour before fatigue completely took over and the excitement of going to look through our gigantic goodie bags from the dinner was too much to bear!!!

Creating these gifts for each other was so much fun and is something I love to do in my everyday life. When birthdays and holidays come up, I always try to create personalized, meaningful gifts for others. In the next few days I'll share the fun kit that Vicki put together for me - I just have to stop myself from using all the stuff in my art before I get to take pictures of it all!!! You should also check out Vicki's blog, Killer Queen Boutique sometime!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Butler did it!

I will have so much more to say about this in the coming days, but for right now I just wanted to share one pic from my magnificent trip to The Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis over the last few days. One of the absolute highlights, if not the best moment, for me was getting to meet Amy Butler!!!!! This is the moment I got to meet her and have her sign the books she's authored. This amazing autograph party was jam-packed with nearly 30 amazing women creatives and authors. I did not get books signed by all of them, but suffice it to say I did have to pack a whole extra bag just for all the books of my "she"roes!!!!!

The autograph party was followed by the opening dinner and keynote addresses given by Amy as well as Mary Jane Butters, farmgirl extraordinaire! It was the best way to wrap up an exciting first day of this amazing event. I loved Amy's presentation which included a slide show of the evolution of her life and business. She also shared the influences in her life that inspired her love of stitching and design. Probably most inspiring to me was her message of being your genuine, authentic self and following your passion - something I must remind myself of everyday and the message I will strive to pass on to every one I meet.

That's all I can manage for tonight - unpacking and ooohing and aaahing over all of the gifts we were given during the conference just absolutely took it all out of me!!!! More to come tomorrow and in the following days (along with some giveaways to share my stash of artistic booty with my faithful followers!!!!!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

So excited!!!!!!!!!

I can hardly stand the excitement!!!!! I am not very patiently waiting to hit the road for The Creative Connection event in Minneapolis!!!!! The actual event begins next Thursday but there is a Handmade Market preview on Wednesday evening. I'll be heading down on Wednesday morning on board the Rocket Rider to get checked in at my hotel and get all checked in at the conference. I can't wait to pick up my goodie bag and start meeting face-to-face all the wonderful people that I've only "met" online so far!!! I keep looking over my class choices and panel selections and all the special events like the Pajama Party and the Cupcake Farewell (though I shouldn't be excited for the farewell when it hasn't even begun yet!) and getting more giddy! I've already started packing for the event - I thought I was the only person doing that when it's still about a week away, but then I got an email from one of my new friends that I'll be swapping with at the event and she was packing, too! Now I don't feel like such a dork but I really don't care about feeling so dorkily (is that a word? I just made it one!) excited for the conference!

How can I not be excited about getting to hear and meet so many of my arts and crafts and women entrepreneurial sheroes! Amy Butler, Mary Jane Butters, Ree Drummond, and Kaari Meng are but a few of the incredible women that will share their amazing stories and wisdom with us. The pile of books that I have to be signed by them nearly necessitates it's very own suitcase for the trip! As wonderful and thrilling as it is to meet all of them, I can't wait to be among all the other attendees and form new friendships with all the other creative and artistic souls out there!

I have to be at least a bit patient as I haven't finished all of my items for swapping with others at the event. The main job for this weekend (in addition to making sure there are enough frozen meals for my husband so he doesn't just go out and get McDonald's salads and Subway to eat) is to finish a cigar box traveling art kit (which I'll share when it's all finished).

One project I did finish up early this week is a set of my Dual Duty Coasters. I stitched them up using my most recent fabric designs at Spoonflower called Family Forever (that's a baby pic of my mom you see in the close-up photo) and vintage linen. Once they were all stitched up, I wanted to make them even more vintage-y feeling so I tatted a little edge around each of them. It was a nice little task to keep me busy on the car trip to Iowa last weekend. Once they were all finished, I knew I didn't want to just hand these coasters over to Nan (my new online buddy and I hope face-to-face friend very soon). I discovered that these coasters fit perfectly inside those little rounds Laughing Cow Cheese boxes. I grabbed the box that I knew I had been keeping for some special reason and added vintage scrapbook paper, a coffee filter ruffle, sage raffia and little coffee cuff corrugated flowers. I topped with more corrugated cardboard and an orange juice can lid embellishment with my Family Forever design and mini Scrabble tiles. I can't wait to meet Nan in person and share this little gift and I'm so excited to see what she's created for me!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words...

... but sometimes the combination of the two is profoundly more beautiful and meaningful. Letters and words have been my obsession for so long which I mostly attribute to beginning my practice of the art of calligraphy at age 10. I've collected notebooks full of quotations and meaningful verse that inspires me. Those words find their way into my calligraphic creations and other design work.

I am also a collector of many things vintage and one of my favorite vintage collectibles are photos. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful collection of old photos of my ancestors which I love to pull out and also often find their way into my designs. I've also been compiling other written memorabilia from my family - grandma's recipes, poems that my great grandfather authored, letters and cards crafted by my mom and grandma. I have plans and sketches to combine these items on projects in the future; there are just not enough hours in the day for all the plans in my head.

In the meantime, I have combined some of these family photos with words of different languages meaning family in fabric form. You saw the preview of one color combination in my last post. Above you'll see a second color combo, which is my favorite! A lovely blogger named Gay took note of this design, which you can find at Spoonflower, in her most recent posting at It is a beautiful site and very inspirational and I feel so blessed and honored that she chose to highlight one of my designs among other stunning works that combine words and images!