Knots, Quilts, and Postcards

Blogged under amigurumi by Tammy on Sunday 15 September 2013 at 9:25 am

Craftside: A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
How to tie a Ring Hitch, Double Ended knot from the book What Knot?

Worthy Postcard
Cherie makes a postcard for June’s mail art exchange.

Alaskan-inspired quilt
Cyndi shows how she went about blocking out her newest quilt, inspired by her travels to Alaska.

Card Making with Photoshop Elements
Photoshop and Photoshop Elements do not have art or image galleries but digital design elements can be found everywhere and many are free! You just need to know how to look.

Amigurumi Chimp of Sorts?

Blogged under amigurumi,My College Craft Club by Tammy on Sunday 8 September 2013 at 9:03 am

One of the charity organizations that my college craft club likes to help out is the Save the Chimps Sanctuary. We did a donation drive one year, and we have also made fleece blankets for them, an item always on the organization’s wish list since residents enjoy snuggling with them. We plan to make more blankets for them this semester. It is a very easy and fast project for us, and club members do not have to have advanced crafting skills to measure the fleece and cut it with scissors.

I got the idea that in addition to the blankets I could make an amigurumi chimp, and the club could raffle it off. I looked and looked and looked for a chimp pattern, only to find either lots of monkey patterns or some chimp patterns that just looked weird or were super small. Finally, I opted to turn an orangutang pattern I found in Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World into a chimp by using different colored yarn.

I think he works, but I’m going to show him around to a few people before I put him up for the raffle. I will be so embarrassed if no one can figure out what he is supposed to be!

Potholders, Selling Crafts, Journals

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 8 September 2013 at 8:54 am

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
Giveaway of The Quilt Block Book and The Pickle Dish Quilt Block pattern

Terry Potholders are Simply the Best
Retro terry potholders are simple to make for mere pennies!

Tales From a Flea Market
Cherie talks about her first experience selling her craft stuff.

A choose your own adventure book for grownups?
Yup! Gwen Diehn, book making and journaling wizard, has put together a book that will take you step by step through the process of creating a custom journal that is perfect for YOU!

Organizing in Sept. with Great Totes

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Monday 2 September 2013 at 9:54 am

Thirty-One has the perfect special going on for September 2013, a month when many of us are gearing up and going back to school and cranking up our busy lives again. For this month, there are two of my all time favorite totes on sale: the Organizing Utility Tote (#3105 p. 35 in the catalog) and the Super Organizing Tote (#3893 p. 36). With every $35 purchase, you can get either tote for 50% off. Here is how I use some of mine now.

This pattern is retired, but here is one of the Super Organizing Totes I have had for awhile. I use it to store all my roving and other spindling supplies. This is a huge bag, measuring 14 in. H x 19.5 in. W x 7.5 in. deep.

You can get a look at all the new patterns that these totes come in by heading over to my Thirty-One site. Just scroll down a tad and click on the fall catalog link. If you love purple, like I do, then you will love this in the Plum Awesome Blossom pattern, but it is also available in Best Buds, Big Dots, Black Floral Brushstrokes, and Brown Woodblock Floral.

I have a number of the Organizing Utility Totes, which now come in 20 different colors and prints. I keep one in my office for carrying books and other supplies back and forth from class. I had it personalized (just $7 extra) to say “Word Warrior.”

I have another one in Pink Pop Cross that I use to store books and paperwork for the two books I’m currently working on. It’s nice to have it all in one spot, and the pockets work great for letters and other small paper items I have to keep.

Finally, I have a third Organizing Utility Tote in the new Big Dots pattern. I use it for toting stuff back and forth from school like extra books, things I plan to mail, crafting supplies, etc. I love the big dots!

So, yes, September 2013 is the perfect month to have a Thirty-One web party with me! Or, heck, these would be great for a fund raiser too! Party in your PJs. No need to clean the house or find a baby sitter, and as the hostess, you can earn FREE Thirty-One products. Contact me tammypowley @ or go to my Thirty-One web site (I’m an independent consultant) and browse the new catalog and contact me through there:

Craft-A-Doodle – Book Review

Blogged under Good Books,paper arts by Tammy on Monday 2 September 2013 at 5:28 am

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists by Jenny Doh is published by Lark Crafts (who sent me a review copy) and retails for $19.95 in the US and $21.95 in Canada. Amazon sells it for $12 to $10 US. The back cover has a tag line that says “Where Drawing Meets Play,” and that is what came to mind while I was looking through this book. Many of us doodle as a way to keep ourselves occupied and awake when we are sitting in a boring meeting , but the focus of this book is to use the idea of doodling as a method for exploring the art of drawing, but near the end of the book, it also crosses over into other crafts a little like embroidery and altered books.

Before you dismiss this book because you are not much of a drawing artist, that is really a non-issue because many of the various exercises step you through the drawing process using very rudimentary sketching skills. For example, one exercise shows how to draw an owl, and you start by drawing a large U. I think most of us can do that. Some exercises like the owl and doodle cup cake are very specific and show you how to draw the item step by step. Others are more methodology rather than exact steps. The “Sweet Combination” exercise has you start with a list of words, and then you collaborate with a partner to turn this into an art piece.

Each exercise starts with a prompt, and then guides you through a process from there, which includes step drawing and finished art pieces to view. I think this book would appeal to someone who has wanted to pick up some drawing techniques but was not sure how to get started, and it obviously would fit in with in with anyone who enjoys paper arts and, of course, doodling.

The Funeral Dress: A Novel – Book Info

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Sunday 1 September 2013 at 4:15 pm

The Funeral Dress: A Novel by Susan Gregg Gilmore stitches a story of a young unwed mother who works in the textile industry during the 1970s. Here is a description from the press information I was sent:

The Funeral Dress is a deeply touching Southern story filled with struggle and hope. Emmalee Bullard and her new baby are on their own. Or so she thinks, until Leona Lane, the older seamstress who sat by her side at the local shirt factory where both women worked as collar makers, insists Emmalee come and live with her.  Just as Emmalee prepares to escape her hardscrabble life in Red Chert holler, Leona dies tragically.  Grief-stricken, Emmalee decides she’ll make Leona’s burying dress, but there are plenty of people who don’t think the unmarried Emmalee should design a dress for a Christian woman – or care for a child on her own. But with every stitch, Emmalee struggles to do what is right for her daughter and to honor Leona the best way she can, finding unlikely support among an indomitable group of seamstresses and the town’s funeral director. In a moving tale exploring Southern spirit and camaraderie among working women, a young mother will compel a town to become a community.”

As a crafter and someone who used to sew a great deal at one time, I like novels like this that are able to weave narratives with history and crafting. You can find out more information about this book along with some Q&As with the author and even a recipe for hash brown casserole on the author’s press site. The Funeral Dress is published by Penguin Random House and comes out this September.

Photos and Paint

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 1 September 2013 at 10:46 am

Coffee Table Redo
Cherie tiles and paints a rummage sale table.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi’s recent trip down the Alaskan inner passage ended with a mystical ride into Vancouver.

June is sharing lots of tips about how she gets text to show through the paint in her art.

Product Photography Tips from CreativeLive and Don Gianatti
Have you ever drooled over some of the product photos on websites or in online catalogs? Did you assume they had a huge studio with fancy lights and several assistants? I’m sure many do, but …

Flip Dolls and Other Toys – Book Review

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Sunday 1 September 2013 at 5:34 am

Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go by Laura Wilson is published by Lark Crafts and retails for $19.95 in the US and $21.95 in Canada. Amazon has it on sale ranging from $14 to $8 dollars US. It is a 144 page soft cover book that includes color photos of finished projects as well as how to flip some of the finished projects; drawn illustrations for stitching and constructing the projects; templates to create patterns for each project; and of course, step by step text as well.

I counted a total of 27 projects in this fun and whimsical book. The first chapter is called “Getting Started” and covers the materials you need as well as lots of information about techniques necessary for making the various projects. This section is 16 pages, so it covers a fairly large amount of information necessary to understand how some of the projects will work. For example, the author explains the basics of how to make a doll that flips inside out to produce a different doll.

Each project is rated on a difficulty level from easy to moderate to advanced, with most rated at moderate. For anyone who has some basic sewing skills, though, I think he/she could complete the moderate level of these projects with little difficulty. And, they are so cute! Seriously, toy lovers beware. You will want this book. It’s just fun and funny. Who can resist a super hero flip doll that is a mild mannered reporter but then flipped inside out turns into a super hero? Another project is the Cat-Fish Turnover Doll, rated easy, where one side is a cat and the other side is a goldfish. Or make a toy computer where you can slip a pad of paper in the center to function as the screen.

I love the fact that these are interactive toys with a sense of humor that children could actually play with, and they are hand-made, not some dang video game where children play with and become zombies as they stare at the screen.