Saturday, June 28, 2014

Spoonflower Swatch Fabric Envelope DIY

Ever since my friend Estyn told me about Spoonflower, i've been itching to try it. Several years down the line I designed a bunch of pretty pictures, uploaded them to their site and ordered samples!

There are several options open to designers who upload their own design. I opted for the 15 sample package, and after hemming and hawing over all the types I ended up picking Cotton Sateen for my first go. They are more expensive, but print crisply, and judging from the little swatch book I purchased (only $1.00) it would be soft and luxurious.

True to form it is very soft. I have yet to try washing them, but I will give the duplicate button swatch I ordered a go, and then compare it to the original soon.

Point being, I knew going in that I was planning on ordering swatches, and realized I would have a bunch of 8" pieces of my own fabric to play with. What to do? Design a pattern using it of course!

I fidgeted and played with paper and looked at my little color swatch for inspiration, and came up with a pattern that will give you two little fabric envelopes if you have two swatches (or any two pieces of fabric 8" x 8").

Swatch Template

Then I took that pattern and made a little jpg. You can download it from here to print at home.

So! If you want to make them follow along. Directions below.


Spoonflower Swatch Fabric Envelope DIY

Supply List:
2 8"x8" pieces of fabric (probably better with a smaller pattern)
1 pair of paper scissors
1 pair of fabric scissors
1 needle
three small buttons
embroidery thread
small crochet hook
paper embellishments

Take your two swatches and your pattern. If you do not have two swatches, cut an 8" swatch from your liner fabric now. Cut out the paper pattern. For this particular pattern I'm suggesting that you only add a slim seam allowance. As you can see from the photo below, it's tiny, maybe 1/16" - 1/8" per piece. If you add a bigger seam allowance you will only get one envelope per 8" swatch (or white bits from the selvage on your finished envelopes).

Mark around the patterns using whatever you are most comfortable with. I used a regular pencil on the back, knowing it will get turned in later. Cut out your pieces.

Place your cut pieces right sides together. At this point you can pin them if you want, but I didn't bother, they were so small I didn't find I needed to pin.

Stitch approximately 1/8" all the way around the envelopes, leaving at least 1" open to turn them inside out. You can pull out your sewing machine for this step, but I preferred doing a neat hand stitched running stitch.

Make sure to cut some tiny slits where there are sharp corners. You'll need those for the fabric to turn over correctly.

Turn your envelope inside out. You can press it now if you like. I just used my fingertips, as I was looking for a little more of a handmade feel. Stitch the opening closed with a neat hand stitch.

This is where I decided to do some embellishing. I wanted my envelopes to look 'real', so I added a hand sewn 'stamp' made out of of a red rose teabag (supplied by my lovely neighbor G) and a 'to' and 'from' section made from hand torn paper bags. This step is much easier now than later, and serves to further bind the sides together.

Now you can glance back at your pattern and fold accordingly. I neatly hand stitched up the sides, but again you can do this by machine if you like.

Now it's the closure! I found some buttons in my stash and used those. For the 'memo' envelope I stitched on two buttons and then crocheted a little embroidery thread into a long thin 'string'. Then I stitched it to the bottom button so it will close if wrapped. For the 'regular' envelope I cut a tiny slit in the top and delicately stitched a little buttonhole. This is another step you could do by machine if you like.

Tada! Now you have two little adorable envelopes! Make one for a friend, or a loved one, or someone who needs cheering up. Or tuck into your bag to hold your business cards, or little ephemera. Maybe store your needles in one! It's all up to you.

Hope you have fun with my little tutorial. It's been kicking around in my brain for awhile now and it was time to share!

Main source of inspiration: Griffin and Sabine



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doodling, Arting, Healing

I've been on an art rampage lately. Making stuff left to right. I have my star project ongoing, and there's the little denim book (detailed so far on my instagram). I'm about to get my first swatches back from Spoonflower, which is very exciting, and I'm thinking about designing a carmat for all the toddlers that are suddenly surrounding my friends and family!

Some new fun things in my Etsy shop!

A sketch for a car playmat with room for boats and trains. Currently going with the concept of all buildings inspired by 1980's horror and science fiction movies.

I'm excited about all the art I'm making, and I'm having a lot of fun instagramming and reading blogs and doing online things. We're almost into full fledged summer but I'm still feeling Sprung from Spring.

What about you? What has Spring brought into your life? Any new projects to report?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Buried Treasure 2014

Here is my contribution to this years Buried Treasure. As organized by Seth Apter over at The Altered Page. And here is the link to the TREASURE CHEST if you want to see all the other posts.

I picked this piece from September of 2010 (there aren't a lot of options when you've been off writing for the better part of three years!). Apparently according to blogger this is one of my most popular posts. Anyway, hope you all enjoy. I'll make the title link to the original.

Bird Goddess Mask Completed

So I tantalized you all with this picture over on flickr.

But now I finally have finished her. The second mask, the Bird Goddess Mask.

I'm really loving the organic flow of making these masks. I'm tapping into a spiritual part of myself to make these, and pulling from cultural and religious memes as I do it. For this project I was particularly inspired by a mask I had seen in the Tate Modern in London in 2005*. It was a piece made of two beautiful swan wings. They hooked onto a wire headdress, which you could wear, and they would open so you could invite someone over, and then close the wings around both of your heads, providing an intimate place for secrets to be discussed. It was in the surrealist section and I was greatly moved by it.

*(I just spent twenty minutes googling the piece and can't seem to find it)

It's also inspired by hands. Both sides of the mask were made initially with me tracing my hands onto the felt, and the underlying wire structure was also modelled on my hands.

So it's part bird, hands, mystical, ballroom. And of course I used dupioni silk again, which is a lovely material, really, if you're never used it, treat yourself to a yard. This one has black in it, so when you twist it it catches the light differently.

I'm not making a pattern or anything for these. They're happening as I pull and prod them into something. I know I will not duplicate them.

I had some gold thread left over from a class I taught, so I used it to make Masquerade Ball Mask style curliques with couching.

There is a third eye stitched in the middle of the forehead of the mask with chain stitch, which I also used to 'Kohl' the main mask eyes. If you look carefully at the image above, you will see that on each of the 'feathers/fingers' of the mask I added fuzzy red yarn to the edges of the couched gold thread, to further identify them as feathers.

Up next, the polar bear mask!

Oh, and yes, my hiatus from the internet is mostly over, and was mostly refreshing. I will be spending considerably less time online than I used to, and I think I will be the better for it. We'll see if I abandon my resolve when it gets cold again and I can't hang out on the porch with the dog.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Star Cloth, a collaborative experiment in fabric design

I had an idea, inspired by various sources around the net, including Spirit Cloth and... I'm not quite sure. Perhaps Seth Apter, who is always inviting people to join him in his projects. Or that lovely mail project Meet Me At Mike's did a few years ago. Anyway.

I'd like to create a fabric at Spoonflower full of stars. I love stars. Star prints, star mugs, star things. I always have. And while it would be a challenge and fun to design my own star print fabric, how much more fun if it's collaborative? I miss theatre sometimes, and a lot of what I miss is the collaboration...

Would you like to help me design a starry sky full of individual, unique stars?

I'm going to spend a while (so far indeterminate) collecting stars. I'll take them by mail, by email, by flickr, by instagram by train or in a box or with a fox. The catch is I want them to be drawn by YOU. Yes even you, who say you can't draw. I don't care, draw me a star.

Draw me a star.

Sample star (of a very simplistic design, not meant to impose rules on you of course) 
next to a lovely merman card from this sumptuous deck by John Littleboy.

(Or you know, embroider a star, or paint it, or arrange sticks or something and take a photo, I'm not picky). And one day, I'll create a design for Spoonflower that anyone can buy (even you!) that has ALL the stars. A field of stars, as unique as each and every one of us.

Doesn't that sound nice? To surround yourself with stars from the hands of a multitude? The creative talents of people from (potentially) all over the world?

I was thinking of putting limits on it, but really I think the only limits should be that it has to be a star, and that it has to be made by YOU. You could add your name, or your initials, or your town or whatever you like to it. Or nothing. It could just be the star, all on its own.

I think it just sounds beautiful. A sky full of stars.

Help me build the night sky.

I feel good about it. I think we should do it.

What do you think? Want to help? Send me your stars.

Love and Hugs

OH! And just because things are always more fun when there are gifts involved, at the end of it all I'll draw one name from all the participants and send them something lovely to do with the project. Something starry and delicious. A surprise. Who doesn't like surprises?


Synopsis for those who like them/official rules blah blah
1. It has to be made by you
2. You really want more limits? Well... ideally I'd like if they were smaller than a playing card and in a decent enough resolution that it won't go all pixely when I have it printed. 150 dpi or more would be lovely.
3. Email me if you'd like my snail mail address to send me physical art, otherwise just email me the art or a link to where you have the art, instagram or whatever and I'll keep you posted here/contact you when the design is available for sale
4. It'd be nice if it was on a plain white background, but if you're really feeling the need to do something different and out of the box, who am I to judge? Go for it!
5. Should there be more rules here? I don't think we really need more.
6. Okay fine when it's all said and done the plan is to make a 36" x 54" design that is a very lovely size for say a picnic blanket or a quilt or something. Why that size? Because it's a good size.
8. You skipped rule 7.

PS fineprint nonsense: Blah blah blah if you submit a star to me you are giving me the right to post it to Spoonflower (which is a really groovy fabric/wallpaper/decal print on demand design company) and considering it's going to be a lot of work taking them all and arranging them in photoshop and hopefully I'm getting LOTS of stars I can't afford to share the commission (if any) I receive, but you'll be free to order it as wallpaper or gift wrap or something nice and silky to make into a quilt or picnic blanket or scarf and won't that just be lovely? Also once it's out there there's potential for other people to use it in their own work, but instead of seeing that as bad I think it's awesome. So what if someone makes baby swaddles and sells them at the craft market, to me that's just MORE awesome. How cool if someone else loved it enough to make something from it?

Kafka always gets it right

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief." - Franz Kafka, writing to a friend

Found here, from this

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Living life through Instagram lately.

Some highlights:

Finding uses for bread tags. 

Playing with fabric designing on Spoonflower.

Marvelling at the taller half's lovely glass work.

Hiking around Westchester, NY.

Be sure to check out my spoonflower and my etsy shop. Links on the sidebar.