It happened a couple weeks ago. Sitting on my porch, drinking my first cup of coffee for the day, carried there by a breeze chilly enough to have me wearing a sweatshirt in August, a yellow leaf fell at my feet. It happened again yesterday while mowing: I ran over the first walnut of the season. Autumn is arriving early for Missouri after an uncharacteristically cool summer. I, for one, welcome our autumnal overlords.
Fall is the start of prime crafting season! Cooler weather means more time in my craft studio, but it also means time to start thinking about… dare I say it?
I know, I know, I know, but we’re crafters! We must face the truth. If you haven’t already started thinking about what you’re making loved ones, now’s the time to start! For the next couple months, we’ll be bringing you a free project every week to jump-start your creativity and gift stockpile. This week, we’re getting organized with our to-do list. Click on the link to download our Holiday Gift List and fill yours out, at least with who all you’ll be giving a gift to this year.
We’re also starting a new thing over on our Instagram. We’ll be going live every Wednesday night at 7pm central time crafting, listening to music, and answering your questions. So be sure to follow and join us for a chill little weekly craft party!
And last but not least, if you’re at Fall Paducah QuiltWeek September 13-17, come say hi to me in the AQS booth! I’ll be the cute lil’ redhead working register.
The weather in southwest Missouri gave us a break from summer this week. It’s hard to want to stay in the craft studio when it’s so gorgeous outside! So, Sara and I packed up our cameras and went for a nature walk to seek fresh air, good company, and a little inspiration.
When the natural world catches your eye, snap a picture or sketch a quick rendering. There are so many ways to get inspired. Below, Sara and I share pictures from our walk along with how they inspired us or how we plan to use them.
Emily: We had tons of rain this year, so there were lots of driftwood logs in the river bottom where we walked. One of the logs had a space packed with this dried mud and river rock. The colors caught my eye and I took a picture of it to create a palette. No need for a fancy palette generator either, because I used MS Paint!
Emily: I love this picture of my sister. She saw the drainage pipe and yelled, “I want to stand on that!” She hesitated because there was a bit of a slope to the pipe, so I offered my hand and she used me for balance. I’m inspired by my sister’s love of chasing every adventure, and I’m reminded that we have the best adventures together.
(Click through to see each of Sara’s photos individually!)
Sara: I went into the walk without expectations of what would inspire me. As we went along, I found myself getting close for pictures of details. Looking back through what I took, I was inspired by the uniqueness and intricacy found in those details.
See what I mean about loving adventures with Sara? (This is Emily, again.) Thanks for joining us for an adventure outdoors and into our creative process.
A few weeks ago, I found myself with a honey-do list—those little chores that accumulate when one is asked, “honey, will you do that?”—longer than my arm. To cope with how overwhelming I found this, I pushed aside anything I deemed non-critical and got to work on the list. In that time I learned how to mow a yard, how many hoops there are to jump through just to install a fence, how to install a fence, and what to look for in a through-the-wall air conditioner. I’m throwing a parade when the AC is installed and the path will be from my room, down the hall, into the kitchen/dining room, and ending in the living room—all of which will be 69° F.
This week, I found myself puttering out like my lawn mower putters as it runs out of gas. My mind was still trying to run at hyper speed, but with nothing much left on my list, I was only spinning my tires. Luckily, that’s when my imagination stepped in. In the middle of talking to Sara about what I needed at the grocery store, I drifted off into a hundred yard stare right over her shoulder. In between imagining the contents of the baking aisle and the frozen foods section, I imagined what could get four people on a ship to Mars at the end of the world without tarnishing their heroic qualities. This, of course, sounds like nonsense, as it certainly did when I answered Sara’s alarmed question, “What are you thinking so hard about?” But to me, it’s a problem I’m dealing with in a story I’ve been wanting to write for some time.
I commandeered my grocery list for some quick story notes, and afterwards thought, “But I don’t have time for this right now! I have so much work to do!” The nice thing about sewing is you end up with lots of thinking time, and my brain kept turning over the problem of the story. And a funny thing happened. I was excited to get to my sewing machine. Or to load and unload the dishwasher quickly so I could run to my notebook. Even talking through dialogue while mowing the yard so no one had to listen to me talk to myself.
I thought I had no time for personal creative endeavors because I had work to do. I was wrong! The time I thought I lacked was actually ripe for my creative taking. Writing on my lunch break, or calling it quits half an hour early to pick up a personal sewing project was exactly what I needed to get me excited again. Making the time for my creativity fueled everything else around me. We all fall into the trap of pushing our creativity aside, or focusing only on one aspect of that creativity. So this is your reminder thatyou have the time, and it’s actually your priorities holding you back. Your personal creativity is a lot more valuable than you may realize.
Summer’s here in spirit and almost here in fact. For many of us, that means time outdoors, adventuring, and yard work. For others of us, it means staying cool inside, pouring ourselves a cold beverage, and craft projects. No matter who you are, summer is the perfect time to catch up with friends.
That’s why this week the tip is to send a postcard or letter to a friend! We have a few great ideas for making your own stationery to fit every lifestyle.
Whether you’re going on a vacation, day-trip, or even staycation, postcards are a fun, cheap way to drop a note to a loved one. Cut a sheet of card stock into fourths, mark the half way point on one side, and you’re ready to go! Pack your art supplies and the postcards so you can sketch your adventures and discoveries while out and about.
I’m more of a letter writer myself, but writing on notebook paper gets old fast. I spruced up this blue printer paper with a little dot punch for a fun, abstract corner margin decoration.
There’s no excuse to leave the envelope out of the postal makeover. Cut some scrapbook paper slightly smaller than your envelope. Insert the paper, leaving space between the end of the insert and the bottom of the envelope for folding space. I used the sticky strip of the envelope to attach the paper and will use a sticker to close the envelope.
So there you have it, three ways to create darling stationery. Time to crack open your address book, or to ask your friends on Facebook to send your their address if they’d like a postcard from you. I’m going to pour myself a lemonade and write to my friend, Rachel. Who will you write?
A few weeks ago I gave a tip on using metallic embroidery to up your embellishment game. I improvised a little design of an inspirational phrase, and today I’m going to show you how to turn that into a pillow.
The phrase and design can be anything you want. I used my own handwriting for this, but you could type out your desired phrase with a cool font and trace it if you like for everything to be just so. Once the front of the pillow is made, cut a back the same shape and size as the front.
Layer the front and back pieces right sides together and sew all around, leaving an approximately 2″ opening at the bottom of the pillow. You can see in the picture that I reverse stitched back over my sewing line to secure the opening. Trim corner off for sharper corners.
Reach into the opening and pull the pillow through so it’s right sides out. At this point, use something pointy but not sharp—like a knitting needle—to push out the corners and seams. I like to press everything flat then because it helps set the opening, but it’s totally optional. Stuff the pillow with something inexpensive like Poly-Fil, or scrap batting, yarn, and fabric. I’ve even had friends use plastic bags as stuffing in purely decorative pillows!
Close the opening with your preferred method. I’m doing a ladder stitch in this photo, but a whip stitch or even a top stitch by machine works fine.
And all done! A perfect little reminder for myself to enjoy every day, or a great gift for a friend.