Tag: repurposing

sewing granny's birthday gift

sewing granny's birthday gift

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here is the sweet bag that helen made for granny for her birthday. this is the front.

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this button was made by my grandfather who was a button molder. it has a horse head on it. sweet pea and her granny are huge horse fans so she wanted to make sure that granny had one of these buttons. there are only 6 left now.

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here is the detail on the back. helen did all of the sewing and design.

i sewed the ribbons and button for her.

learning to sew

learning to sew

8-6-2009 154 sweet pea has been wanting to learn to use the sewing machine. we decided to try and learn to sew with a project for granny's birthday gift.

granny has been doing all the sewing since she was born and my mother-in law is also the one who is teaching me to sew.

sweet pea chose a few fabric pieces of fabric from the fabric sample books that i received from a woman that works at an interior design library and posted on freecycle that she was getting rid of older fabric sample books that they no longer needed. i wasn't sure what i was going to use them for at the time but i knew that we would find something to do with them. i am hoping to use some to try to make my first quilt soon.

8-8-2009 181 sweet pea chose some fabric to make a little bag for granny. i will post pictures when we finish. she cut off the bottom of the fabric samples with the paper on the back and used them to practice different stiches. then she realized that they would make very good bookmarks. can't wait until she makes me one.

neighbor's yard sale finds

neighbor's yard sale finds

7-6-2009 made from scratch i am reading this book called made from scratch discovering the pleasures of a handmade life by jenna wogenrich. she talks about the joy of reuse. one of my favorite topics. she suggests that best coffee is from an old percolator. i was talking to my husband about this and he said that he loved the coffee that you get at the big family gatherings from the percolator. i told him that i was on the hunt for one.

7-6-2009 perculator is this beautiful or what? loving this and the coffee tastes great too. i had been wating to get a new coffee pot until the kitchen was done but we have been having people drop in more often with my mom home and wanted some coffee to share,the cup at a time that the espresso machine makes was not cutting it anymore.

Tags: repurposing
creating at squam

creating at squam

the path to class

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felting class

my first class was felting with another new creative friend and house mate betz white she has 2 books that you need to check out.

Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects
Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials

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my felted project in process

i wish that i had taken more pictures in this class. everyone made very unique things. i was really feeling challenged with my design and my sewing skills. with so much support in this class i pushed on and ended up with a nearly finished bag, nothing short of a miracle. one of the big goals is to complete projects. this was the only class that i did not do some initial prep for.

creative characters

i did get to take one of mirsa's classes. yippee! as soon as i signed up for this class we started to discussing what types of charcters i could make. i asked helen if she would make some drawings that i could use to make some characters. in the end, i used a drawing that my husband and i love very much that she did before i even knew about squam.

meet shy horse.

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this is the pattern that i made from helen's picture in the process of cutting the pieces.

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this is the pattern all cut and pinned and ready to sew. it went just fine. marisa was so encouraging. i so enjoyed my day.

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i stuffed it was some buckwheat that helen loves and sewed it up. i still need to work on the embellishments but shy horse is all together! helen loved her.

i am very excited. i can't wait to make more of these from her drawings. i think that this is going to be something very fun that we can do with her friends too. so much of this project the kids will be able to do. i think they will love picking out the fabric and embellishments.

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here are most of the other creative characters from my class. again incredible creative.

block printing fabric

the last class that i took was block printing with incredible lizzy house

i don't want to seem redundant but she is yet another amazingly creative new fabulous friend from nirvana.

we really clicked. i am just sorry that i missed the first two days with her. but we had fun after that.

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here is lizzy giving us the printing demonstration

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i made blocks from helen's shy horse and another older picture that she had done called "baby bird in a tree"

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here is the take home of my creations from my time at squam.

the second night that i was there when we were visiting in nirvana and sharing some wine i was able to make some bracelets for breast cancer. the other two night that i had left i was so exhausted from creating during the day, eating and the evening events that i didn't have any energy to make more bracelets.

saw - squam art workshops - nirvana

saw - squam art workshops - nirvana


how to even start about this amazing experience. i may need to just share the pictures because the words still have not come after being home for over a week. when i keep starting most of what i say sounds very cliche.

i added a little wine to the mix and here comes the share+++ who cares how cliche it sounds, it was a life changing experience and i made so many incredible friends and enjoyed myself so much i want to share it!

Photo 1

this was my first look at squam in the light of the morning.

i can tell you when we decided that i was going to attend i had so much anxiety about what classes i should take. there were so many that i wanted to take and so little time. i had no idea how many people were going to be trying to register and how many spots there were, i thought i would be lucky if i could get in, let alone get the classes that i wanted. oh the joy to get the note from elizabeth that i was confirmed and had my first choices! yippee!!!

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nirvana - the camp

i feel so fortunate that elizabeth, the creator of this event, put me in the cabin appropriately named nirvana with so many talented and creative women. i loved being in the "vault". i feel so nourished by my nirvana family. i was living with the women that were teaching my classes this was so incredible. they were so fun and so honest and shared so much of themselves as did all of my other wonderful housemates. so many late nights.

i was anxious about attending this workshop. i had no idea what to expect. the photos from the previous retreat can't begin to describe what it was like there. the campus is really expansive and all tucked into the woods and surrounded by water. beautiful everywhere you look.

when i first started college i went in as a studio art major. i had terrible creative anxiety and lack of self-confidence. i can appreciate creativity but it does not come freely to me. i know what i like but cannot readily express what i would like to.

it was extremely overwhelming how talented and creative the attendees were. i knew already that the teachers were but this was very intimidating. that did not last long though because everyone was really so supportive. they would share ideas for my projects and ask for input on their projects. also we were all so happy to be there. everyone was smiling all the time and chatting with everyone else. even if you were not in class with them you said hello to them and chatted in line or when you were looking at all the production on display at the end of the day. it was so exciting to be in such a positive mutually supportive group.

the product that came out at the end of the day was so overwhelming. that these beautiful pieces could be taught and created in such little time was amazing. i wanted to take so many home with me. also wished that i could have taken so many other classes in addition to what i took.

Photo 4

painting a day with my new sweet friend marisa haedike one of the many great classes that i could not fit in my schedule

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printing with botanical designs with another new sweet friend maya donenfeld and another wonderful class i did not attend

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one more wonderful maya class. coffee sack hack, repurposing with burlap missed this one too.

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lauren smith and derek fagerstrom taught wallpaper projects. I couldn't fit this class in either but I bought their book of the same title.


most of the ladies from nirvana. we are missing three. not sure how they escaped. photo from laura nelkin

i need to let you know who all of my new friends are here. i will also add the nirvana ladies that are missing from the photo.

alexandra almeyda, me, kellen meyer, lizzy house, laura nelkin, maggie hollinbeck, betz white, marisa haedike, maya donenfeld, missing - donna collins, andrea mckeen and kristin bonner

missing you all!

i did have some ideas about what i would like to accomplish while i was away from home. i really thought that this would be a time that i could learn about some ways to repurpose material and find new activities that i could share with my daughter.

i had planned on having the evenings to myself to rest and create having quiet time away from the calls of family and house work. i enjoyed my new friends so much that i only slept between 5 and 6 hours a night and enjoyed every minute that i could. i also had plans to set up my blog while i was there so that i could better record the experience and not have to try to remember when i returned home. again there was no time for that.

the time went so quickly. we had three yummy healthy (if you chose) meals each day. you didn't want to miss a meal not because you were necessarily hungry, but it was such a great time to catch up about the classes and visit with your new friends. also at afternoon and evening meals most of the classes would display what they were working for everyone to see.

we were also working off those great meals walking to all of our events and classes. all of my classes were a 15 to 20 minute walk through the woods . i never knew how heavy my sewing machine was until i started carrying it through the woods to class. where else would you go and see someone walking in the woods with a sewing machine. to think that a little over a month ago i didn't even know how to use this machine. you could say that i had a crash course. my mother-in-law actually gave me a lesson almost 2 months ago now. she helped me make some napkins and showed me how to use the machine.

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nirvana dock - finally made it down here on the last day as i was leaving. how can we fit more hours in the day!

the next post is the classes that i did take. i think that i may be blogging about this workshop forever...

the beginning

the beginning

Hawaii 302 i am mother to one adventurous girl and wife to a very patient and supportive husband. trying to create a healthy peaceful environment for my family and friends.

We are looking to discover ways that we could be gentler to the earth. I wanted to start a blog to follow our journey. There were so many things that people have done in the past that have gone away due to the abundance of our nation. I am working to reduce our consumption; we have a long way to go.

Also on this blog I will be sharing other adventures that we have as a family and my quest to create more of what we use.

Inaguration With all the talk in the news about how we need to help our environment and the great toll that the war has been taking on our economy, I had been so surprised that more emphasis hadnb t been on the way the b everymanb pitched in to help with these issues in the 1930b s and 40b s. I have always loved the idea of the victory garden I was so excited to find this link. It makes me so happy that Michelle Obama has made this so chic. It was also so timely for the Kit Kittredge movie to come out too. My daughter is so funny now when I wear vintage skirts and dresses she asks me if I am wearing flour sacks like they did in the movie.

I feel that we need to look back to find out some of the lost art of conservation. As I was growing up both sets of my grandparents had habits that they had learned growing up in the depression. I always wondered why more people didnb t do some of these things.

My maternal grandmother was uber-creative. She did everything; she sewed most of her kids clothes, she also made many of their toys and dresses for their dolls, she knitted, crocheted, embroidered, cross stitched, canned, baked, cooked, and gardened this list seems endless. Amazingly she did this all while holding down a job out of the house. I remember her hanging clothes on the line instead of using the dryer; outside in the summer, inside in the winter.

My paternal grandmother was also a very busy woman. She had 9 kids and needed to stretch everything a little farther. They lived in the city but had a plot that they leased and would farm. They also sold eggs to the neighbors. My grandfather seemed to have endless odd jobs he was very resourceful he could do just about any odd job he washed windows, worked in the bingo halls and delivered flowers at the holidays all in addition to his fulltime job. When he b retiredb he painted, wallpapered and taught classes about basic home repair.

I remember my grandmother being a big recycler. I know that they used to take trips to the salvage yard all the time drop off paper and other things. My father told me that they saved tin, bacon grease and rubber for the war effort. He also told me that a couple of local garderners donated land in the city for the neighbors to plant victory gardens. l

When I was little one of my favorite jobs was to recycle the newspaper. I kept paper bags of old newspapers and magazines in the basement. When we had enough to fill the trunk my father would drive me to the dump. We would drive onto a scale, we would go empty the car of papers and then have the car weighed again. They would pay us for what we left. I thought I was that was so cool.

I used to save pencil shavings and sawdust too; I believed that one day I would find something that I could make with them. My theory at the time was to use them with glue to decorate a breakfast in bed tray, something of a disaster as you could imagine. Hopefully I will come up with some better ideas for us soon.

I wanted to start this blog for some time now. I must be honest; I have been procrastinating. My husband started a family blog in 2005 to keep my family posted when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I really enjoyed sharing photos and what we were doing as a family once we were able to leave the breast cancer topic, but I was not very consistent posting, the blog software that we used was not very user friendly for photo posting and that was the bulk of what I wanted to post. Then I found some really amazing blogs that used typepad and thought I should give it another try.

I have been following this inspiring blog called Soule Mama since March 2008. She is amazingly talented mother of four of what I must believe are super sweet kids. She generously shares so much about what she and her family are creating. I was reading her blog one day in January and she mentioned that she was going to be speaking at SAW b Squam Art Workshop in June. I looked at the information and the classes that were being taught and thought this would be such a great opportunity. I was telling my husband about it and he said you should go. I was so excited and anxious, there were so many great teachers and classes it was so hard to choose just three.

Well. I have been trying to gather my thoughts from this stunning four days of creating in the woods. And here begins the blog...