Crafting is good for the soul

The world is much more beautiful with a little faith and a lot of magic...and tons of groovy handcrafted things!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

more rag blankets

I completed these a few weeks ago but finally got around to washing them yesterday. They look lovely! And only a few seams tore. I think washing them at the laundromat is rougher than washing them in our washer here. Oh well, no biggie - a few seams are easy to repair. Nothing like the misadventure of my brothers blanket, these are dainty little baby blankets.

The lavender one is for Ducky, the peach & white is for one of my pregnant friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

flowerseed necklaces!!

I completed these darlings a few weeks ago, but finally got around to writing about them and convincing the photographer and model to cooperate. Artist-types, let me tell you!!!!! So here's the fancy description (you'll see the same stuff on my Etsy page):

Flower - the beautiful and lovely scented reproductive structure of a plant. (mommy)

Seed - the tiny embryonic part of a plant. (baby)

Pregnant darcetta, surrounded by beautiful herbs and gemstones and natural aromatics, decided she would create a special body adornment to help keep her little babyseed peaceful in her cozy womb. Thus the inspiration for the flowerseed necklaces. Not only are they pretty, but the the specific properties of the gemstones provide balance and joy to both the mommyflower and babyseed.

The perfect adornment for a pregnant, or soon-to-be pregnant gal. This necklace helps encourage fertility as well as the happy and healthy growth of a baby while keeping mom calm and feeling beautiful. And, unlike ugly maternity jeans, these necklaces can be worn happily for years and years.

For now these will double as maternity and fertility necklaces, until I create some simple fertility-enhancing necklaces.

And here are some photos!

The original flowerseed necklace, which hangs kinda lopsided but I love it anyway and wear it constantly:

The pearl one:

The really really long silver one:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ducky fashion

I embroidered a peaceful lotus flower on a scrap of peach flannel recently, and yesterday I turned it into an applique and put it on a newborn t-shirt for Ducky. For the detail on the lotus petals I used a running stitch, but practiced with it like I was quilting. I figure I need all the practice I can get quilting, that duck quilt is going to take some time!

Cute! I'm going to make some more little appliques this week. Oh, and also some pregnancy/fertility necklaces....

Here is Luna modeling the Ducky Shirt. Behind her is a stack of flannel square sandwiches waiting patiently to be sewn into a baby rag quilt... I'll get to that later this week. Along with hemming the silk pj pants that Luna is holding down.

And a close-up of the lotus. Darling Husband made the stencil for me, so it was a group effort.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Crochet project #2 - crochet edged fleece baby blanket. Super soft!!

My crochet stitches are much more even on this blanket. I think for the next one I will actually build up a row or two and do a scalloped, lacy looking edge! Rounding the corners is nice, too... everything flows better that way.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

crafting Manifesto Rule #2

It's going to take a while to create the full Manifesto for my crafting, but here is my first rule. Ok, so it's actually going to be considered Rule #2 because I'm sure something amazing will come to me that absolutely must be Rule #1.

Rule #2:
If it can smell good, it should. Not only should the smell be pleasant, it should bring about a good feeling or help with a purposeful intent.

Today I made incense for the first time in at least a year. Really, I can't recall making incense at all while living in The Happys (what our neighborhood name loosely translates to). So I dusted off the old incense-making machine (me) and pulled some supplies out of deep storage and got to work. Lucky me - I have a stash of damn good incense materials, so the challenge was paring down and working simply. In the past I've gone overkill and added too many different elements, ending up with cones that didn't burn well, or powder or cones that just didn't smell good. I've almost learned my lesson in too much isn't necessarily a good thing with my essential oil creations, so I'm carrying that over to incense as well.

Today I made 1 non-combustible powder incense to be used with charcoal and 2 types of combustible cones. One cone is a groovy blend of opoponax, frankincense and sandalwood, the other is relatively plain which I plan to scent with essential oils as an experiment. The powder is amazing -- juniper with clove and some resins.

Below, left to right: completed powder blend, frankincense resin, opoponax resin.

Completed cones (which need to dry/cure for a week).

Luna, the assistant/familiar!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Okay, I just read this post on Crafting A Green World:

and now I'm inspired... To make more stuff? To try my hand at yet another craft? To finish UFO's (unfinished objects, neglected projects)? NO. I'd like to write a manifesto for my crafty self. Not today, though. I have some crocheting to do and a pair of lovely silk jammie bottoms to hem.

Here are some necklaces I made yesterday and posted on Etsy. For some reason I can't seem to find my stuff after I post or re-list. Just today. Strange and frustrating. I think I'm going to apply to a few Etsy groups, get acquainted with local Etsy-ers and maybe even post some questions on the forums. (GAH! Dreaded forums! I'm such a forum lurker, not really my style to chat and rant on those things. Rather do that here, I suppose!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

crochet-edged receiving blanket

Yipee!!!! I finished my first ever crochet project.

About 6 months ago I decided I would teach myself how to crochet. Using library books and some online tutorials I fumbled with the basic stitches - chain stitch, slip stitch, single crochet stitch - and was ok. Then I set the yarn and fancy bamboo crochet hook aside and promptly forgot all I had learned. When I found out that Ducky was coming I decided it was time to figure out the crochet thing again. Luckily, my craftygoddes friend Delilahh was around to help guide me through the basics. Let me tell you, it's much easier to have someone help you than to try and figure it out on your own!

My first project is a flannel receiving blanket for Ducky with a crochet border. Very pretty. I learned a few things... to pay greater attention to yarn/thread gauge and to determine your stitches accordingly. The yarn I had was thicker than I would have liked for the weight of the flannel, and the pattern I was following was (of course) for smaller yarn and therefore called for a greater amount of stitches per inch... I figured it out as I went, but aren't all craft projects learning experiences? :)

The blanket kept me busy during our SF Honeymoon #1, Darling Husband drove lots and I was the crafty co-pilot. Note the bottom right corner of the photo -- Captain Henry's whiskers!

Friday, October 3, 2008

quilt for bro, quilt for Ducky!

I'm almost done with the rag quilt I've been making for my brother. My intention was to have it completed by the time he came to visit, so he could take it home to CO with him. Well, that didn't really happen. Last week I thought I was done, but after it went through the washer and dryer twice it came apart at a few of the seams. YIKES! I was having problems with the bobbin tension on my trusty ol' machine while I was sewing the quilt... guess the problems were bigger than I realized! So now I need to muster up some patience and patch the holes. It was a fun project and I learned that I definitely will not attempt to make a queen or full size rag quilt again any time soon. After 15 hours I stopped keeping track of how long the process took. A fun process... except for this damn hole-patching that I need to get on!

The cats were helpful, of course!

Completed it looks (and feels) cozy...

Ack! Loose seams = holy mess.

On a brighter note, my friend Darling Delilahh (craft goddess) gave me some amazing things last week during our crafty girl dinner date... A vintage hinged picnic/craft basket full of fun cross-stitch kits, crochet yarn and misc. craft stuffs! She remembered I'd been wanting a basket and came across this one recently and put it aside for me. As if that wasn't amazing enough on its own, she gifted me with a vintage baby quilt for Ducky... 18 years ago she bought the 1940's completed quilt top and started on a quilt for the child she was expecting. She made the bottom in a coordinating cotton muslin, placed the batting between, traced an amazing heart quilt pattern on the light squares and began quilting away! A few weeks ago she was cleaning out a closet and discovered this partially completed quilt, realizing that the design on the soft pink squares were dressed up duckies and decided to give it to me to complete. Her husband looked at her like she was nuts, he remembered her slaving away at that thing years ago and never finishing it. Now she was going to dump it off on someone else? Of course Darling Delilahh knows me well enough to know that I'd appreciate all the history of the duckie quilt: vintage, updated, worked on with love by her hands and passed on with grace to an aspiring quilter and mom-to-be.

It's a beautiful quilt.

Look at the fancy boyducks and girlducks!

Of course, I definitely need to work on it. There are a few stains, some strange holes in the original top and lots of finishing work. But I get to practice hand-quilting! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

photographer keeps her job!

It's been a while, dear blog. I do apologize. Life got in the way, please don't take it personally. 2 weeks ago my brother came to LA from the mountains of Colorado to visit, skateboard and see Nick Cave at The Hollywood Bowl. (wow, an amazing concert.) Then Dear Husband and I took off for a spur of the moment road trip to the Bay Area. So many excuses, I know. But I've been crafting away the whole time. Really! Proof will come pouring in, in the form of posts. Soon.

Most importantly, our photographer has redeemed herself and we've decided to keep her around. After watching a few tutorials on Etsy and reading a bit about point-and-shoot macro shots and lighting she's managed to take some decent shots. At least they're better than the old jewelry shots! Yikes! Here's a before and an after sample. To see more, visit my much more moody and image-friendly Etsy page.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumnal Equinox 2008

Autumnal Equinox 2008


September 22

First day of Libra, waning moon

THEMES: Thanks & Balance

Ahh… the long days of Summer are slowly leaving us. The Autumnal Equinox is, like the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox, a time of balance. Both dark and light - day and nite - are equal. Preparing to move into a phase of darkness, we now reap what we've sown and use that to sustain us thru the dark times.

Have you worked hard this summer? Played hard this summer? Worked hard at playing this summer? If so, congratulate yourselves and give thanks. Make a list of all that you are thankful for, focusing on your own personal strengths. So often at Thanksgiving we are so busy thanking others that we forget to honor ourselves and the beautiful bodies that support us. How are we feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually?

Not only are the dark and light at balance today, but it is also the first day of Libra – the ultimate sign of balance. The scales. Are you giving too much of yourself emotionally or have you been withdrawn and guarded? Selfish or overly nurturing? Fasting or binging? Don't judge yourself, just assess and make some changes.

Remember Vernal Equinox (March 21st)? At that time we planted seeds for ideas and projects to manifest throughout the spring and summer, to harvest in the fall. Well harvest time is here. Do you remember what your seeds were? Did you water & support their growth and manifestation? Personally I'm completely focused on supporting one of the seeds that I planted… the one to grow a baby and start a family. My partner and I conceived in between Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice and are happily focused on the exciting and amazing growth of our unborn child.

Here is something I received from this past Monday, the day of the Harvest moon. I find it valuable and a great exercise to do at this time of the year.

What happens when someone worries? Basically, they think of 100 reasons why something might go wrong. And all of those thoughts then struggle to become things, sometimes overriding their more constructive thoughts. It's like a train wreck. Ain't pretty. But that's the power of worry.

Now, let's say you want something fantastic to manifest in your life. Hypothetically, let's say you want a magical life and perfect mate. (I know you.) Have you sat down yet and listed 100 reasons why it might come to you easily, fast, and harmoniously? I think you should. Today works, The Universe

Traditionally this is a big-feast sort of Sabbat. Eat, drink and relax. Thank the Earth for her bounty. Give thanks for all the gifts you've received this year and for all the supportive friends and family that surround you (they are a gift).

Thursday, September 11, 2008


So, I've decided to put my photographer on probation. She has 1 month to get it together and provide me with better images for my Etsy site. Right now the photos are basic, you see the jewelry and focus points of each piece, but the lighting is inconsistent and the photos are just damn boring. They don't speak, don't give you a real taste of the personality of either the designer (me) or of the individual piece itself.

Now I just need to come up with some creative display and background ideas for her... She can figure out her camera settings and the appropriate lighting. If anyone has suggestions, please share!

Ok. Off to work on the rag quilt for my brother....

Friday, September 5, 2008

softcards.... halloweenie style!

Ok, so I started these cards a while ago then got involved in some other projects. (life, quilt, jewelry, etc). Finally I have completed them. It took some thinking and pacing around Swains (art supply store) to come up with the perfect paper for the signature page. In the past I've hand embroidered a custom message, but that isn't always practical.

My apologies for the crappy pictures - my photographer sucks, but she's cheap. Eventually I'll figure out the perfect lighting and angle for my jewelry and softcards and all the things I post to Etsy. Right now these will have to make do. They certainly get the image across clearly... but it seems to me that the photos could be much better and that makes a difference when you're trying to sell something on Etsy by photos and words only.

Anyways, here they are!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

onyx. garnet. labradorite. beautiful.

So I've had these gorgeous faceted onyx teardrop points for a while now, but I've not found the perfect design for them. Usually things look either too busy or too simple. On a delicate silver chain is nice, but soooo boring. Then I thought silk thread with a few little silver accents might work nicely. Here is one with black silk and one with midnight blue silk.

Oh! And here's another take on the rough garnet pendant. It really looks like both garnet and labradorite are in that stone, so I strung some faceted labradorite beads on light green silk and added the garnet. Gold accents, for some lift and life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

scary and sweet softcards

Darling Husband and I are already thinking about Halloween costumes, which makes me realize that it's also time to start thinking about All Things Halloween & Samhain. Ahhh.... my favorite time of the year. And a perfect time to start on a few softcards.

While I've made variations of embroidered notes over the past few years, I've settled on a basic design which is more like a traditional card. Except larger. And soft. Stiff felt, soft felt, scrap fabric, glue and embroidery thread all come together to make a darling and super special card.

Here are a few cards in progress:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

my first foray into the world of quilting

Ever since I was a little girl (ok, littler than I am now) I've wanted to make a quilt. I had a lovely quilt that I slept with that had old fashioned ladies on it. No, not Sun Bonnet Sue - another more elegant lady with a parasol. Anyway, I adored that quilt. Still do, but it's only allowed out for special occasions because the cotton has worn away in spots exposing the batting. Recently I decided to check out a few books from the library on quilting and see how it's done.
There's much more math involved in quilting than I'm really comfortable with. Darling Husband has offered his logical, mathematical skills to help with the process - but I'm still intimidated. Well, I was intimidated. Now I'm excited about creating a real quilt after completing my first practice quilt.
Dear Delilahh is my craftiest friend. She taught me how to embroider a few years back and I'm addicted. Well, I mentioned the quilt desire to her and she offered to teach me. Of course she quilts. I should have known. Anyway, right after I returned the quiltmath books to the library Delilahh emailed me with images of rag quilts, explaining they were easy and the perfect starter quilt. I decided to make a baby rag quilt for my friend Viv who's having a boy in a few months.

Rag quilts are made with cotton fabrics, usually flannel because it's soft and frays really well. After about an hour in SAS Fabrics (amazing bargain buy by the pound fabric store in Lawndale, CA) I arrived at Delilahh's nest with a huge bag of fabric and a burning desire to quilt. She showed me how to fold and measure and cut the flannel and taught me how to use my rotary cutter safely. She showed me how to make the flannel sandwiches and how to attach them and assemble my quilt. Then we ate pizza, blended essential oils, cut hair and talked girl talk. With that bit of instruction I was on my own... And here's how it went!

Gobs of flannel, and choices... which ones for the baby boy?

Cut, cut, cut. The cutting went by quickly, probably because I had kitty-help.

After all the squares were cut I assembled them into little sandwiches and sewed each sandwich together. On one special square I hand-embroidered the baby boys name.

The final layout. Darling Husband helped, thankfully.

The basic quilt. Note the exposed edges. I may be a messy sewer, but really it's supposed to look like this. All of these edges are then snipped into little fringes 1/4" apart. Then you wash the quilt a few times and those edges fray, giving it the ragged look. Hence the name rag quilt. :P Captain Henry really likes the quilt.

The final quilt, from the other side. Only the topside is frayed, the bottom is smooth. I like it.

After one washing. Nice fraying, but I will wash it a few more times. Hope the mom and little one enjoy the quilt as much as I enjoyed making it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Raw garnets

On a recent trip downtown to the jewelry mart I found these amazing stones. They were hanging there with all the other semiprecious gemstone beads just screaming my name. I knew they were something special, although they really just looked like granite or something.

Turns out they are garnets. One of my favorites! Raw garnets, to be exact. You can see traces of deep red as well as some opalescent trails that remind me of labradorite.

The depth and rustic quality of the stone called for oxidized sterling silver, but I wanted to give the necklace a bit of softness and femininity so I added just a few round white freshwater pearls. With this stone you can really see the red garnet-ness!!

Garnets are known to enhance creativity and promote productivity. They are also said to bring about prosperity and happiness. Perfect!! I've been wearing this lovely necklace ever since I made it. Hopefully it will give me some inspiration and keep me on track with my newest project... a baby rag quilt!!!

Ok, off to buy some thread and then sew sew sew....

Friday, August 8, 2008

The smell of Catholic Guilt actually cheers us up!

Just another reason to love and burn frankincense resin:

Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.

(Of course this means more new anti-depressant drugs. isolate the active constituents, replicate them, make sure the rats like it, then turn it into pills and market it to Pfizer.