Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Stress Management

I had a particularly stressful week at work, so creative ways to manage stress are on my mind. I thought I'd share them with you today!

From The Write Network:

Eat nutrients that increase energy
Stay away from diet colas, iced coffees, and chocolate coffee beans - they'll give you a quick high, but you’ll crash soon! A healthier way to reduce stress is to eat foods that increase energy production, which will help your body to cope with stress. Focusing on B Vitamins, magnesium and ribose (ribose is the key building block for energy) is an important part of stress management.

laugh necklace by Piano Bench Designs
From The American School of Laughter Yoga:

Try Laughter Yoga!
Using laughter as a form of exercise is a sure-fire way to reduce your stress. You can download some laughter "exercises" here.

From Elizabeth Scott, MS on About.com:

Create a vision board.
Vision boards are a type of blueprint for the kind of life you'd like to create for yourself -- a visual representation of what you'd like to include (and exclude) in your future. Creating a vision board helps you hone in on your goals and priorities, stay motivated for positive change, and perhaps even draw positive things into your life. You can find out how to create one here.

From Health.com:

Be assertive.
A lot of stress is caused by us agreeing to take on more than we can handle because we're afraid of saying no. Being assertive is an excellent way to take care of yourself and reduce your stress. Learn some techniques here.

And from me:

Get creative.
Drawing up a new pattern or sewing anything at all really help me to relax. Sometimes, though, I'm stressed due to spending so much time on The Quilted House. At time like that, I like to be creative in other ways: cooking, trying a new recipe, making a batch of ice cream, crocheting, rug hooking, beadwork, pretty much any creative activity at all will work. And if I'm still stressed, my absolute favorite activity: a hot, steamy bath paired with a bowl of ice cream. It works every time!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday on the Worktable: More Custom Bags - So Fun!

This week my worktable is taken up with more custom bag creations. Most of the bags I make are custom orders from friends of ladies for whom I've made bags in the past - the very best kinds of referrals! This one is one of my favorites. This woman wanted a very funky black and white paisley exterior and I paired it with a fun bright purple interior for a little surprise every time she opens it! One of my new quilted flower pins is just the funky finishing touch that was needed!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday's Friday's Fresh Find: Holly Kitaura

Hello! I took the weekend off to celebrate my anniversary and didn't realize that my Friday Fresh Find didn't publish out - I had it scheduled in advance so that I wouldn't have to worry about it, but no luck! So, I figure since I didn't create any marvels for Monday's Marvels, I'd take the opportunity to share last Friday's Fresh Find with you instead! Enjoy!

Yesterday I got a new heart on Etsy and I love the way the new Etsy system works: when you get a new heart it shows up in your activity feed and you also see all the other favorites that the person who loves you has. That's how I found Holly Kitaura!

Mermaid Lullaby Art Print
I fell in love with this art the minute I saw the tiny thumbnail in my activity feed and just had to visit her shop! WOW just doesn't say it! I love the colors and brightness and depth! Holly is a Hawaiian artist and her art really illustrates my imagination of Hawaii: bright, beautiful, hot, lush, amazing!

Mushroom House
My particular favorite is Bubblebath Cat - I just can't get over the kitty in a bikini! Such whimsy, such fun! I hope you head over and check out these wonderful creations! Definitely a fresh find!
Bubblebath Cat

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Ready for Spring!

Organic Bachelor Button Seeds
from Wall Flower Studio
Right now all I can think about is spring. Rochester just got another serving of snow as the crocuses were trying to show their faces. I truly love all four seasons, but I'm ready for winter to hand over the reigns to spring! So, in that vein, here are five thoughts to get us ready for spring:

From Better Homes and Gardens:
Yoga for gardening: I'm a newly avid gardener - have a large square foot garden in my backyard which we will be doubling in size this year, plus I do yoga, so this one is perfect for me. If you are love both or are new to either, take a gander at this link.

From Wall Flower Studio Seeds:
Cultivate a different attitude about pests: I read  great post today about dandelions and made the decisions to think about alot of other springtime pests the same way. Not as the enemy, but just as one part of the beautiful season.

From TLC:
Spring clean. . .naturally! If you live anywhere like Rochester, the winters are long and by the time spring gets here, I am only interested in being outside (and in the sunny studio). I do my spring cleaning while winter is still hanging on. That makes using natural cleaning methods even more important since the windows are usually still shut.

From Moving.com:
Change up your decor for spring on the cheap! Even if it doesn't look like spring outside, bring a spring inside will lift spirits and get your home ready for the season! I have to admit that I need to take this one to heart - I've sort of not taken down my Christmas tree yet (tee hee!). We could use a little springification in this house! You can find beautifully crafted spring items to decorate your home by doing a simple search with the keyword "spring home decor" on Etsy!

and from Me:
Take a walk around your neigborhood. Even here in Rochester with snow on the ground there are lovely signs of spring. I love walking the block, re-meeting neighbors I rarely see during the winter hibernation!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday on the Worktable: qPouch - Kindle, Nook, and iPad Style

The worktable has been covered with creations in preparation for two shows in April:
  • Library Services Craft Show, April 29th at the Rochester Holiday Inn Airport 8 - 5
  • MayDay Art + Crafts, April 30th at the Main Street Armory 10 - 4
I plan to introduce three or four new designs at MayDay - likely with a preview at the Library show. I've been working sewing up the first this week: qPouch - Kindle, Nook, and iPad style! Take a look and tell me what you think!

A nicely padded space to keep devices safe!

External pockets on the front and back

Says it all!

Double batting in the body and pockets = quadruple padding for your device

And pretty fabric combinations make the whole design perfect!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures: Springtime Yellow

If I had a favorite season (I truly love them all!) it would be spring, when everything is so yellow! Since spring has just begun and my favorite color is yellow, I thought I'd bring you five springtime yellow treasures!

Recycled Upcycled Spoon Pendant - Pressed Flower
by Sunshyne Silverwear
Delightful Daffodils - Lucite Flower Earrings
by Forbidden Glade
Orange and Yellow Whispy Tulip Spring Wreath
by Elegant Holidays
Spring Acorn Decorations
by Fairy Folk
Sunshine on the Windowsill
by LeBeau

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday's Marvel: Spring Flowers

Happy first day of spring! I thought it was perfectly appropriate that the weekend before the first day of spring I was working on creating quilted flower pins.

These are for a collaboration with Karen of Duncan Creative. Karen makes amazing hats upon which these pins will rest. We're launching our collaborative line at the MayDay Underground Art + Crafts show here in Rochester on April 30th - if you're in town, it's a show you won't want to miss!

These flowers are so much fun to make! I loved picking out just the right combination of fabrics, finding a fun button, and deciding on the flower shape. I settled on three different shapes, each with it's particular center. Each flower takes longer than I had originally thought it would - I think due to the quilting, cutting and layering - but I definitely think the extra time and effort is worth it! Just looking at them makes me happy and I hope they make you happy too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's Fresh Find: Circuit Board Jewelry by Beadwork by Amanda

I've got to be honest: this isn't technically a fresh find for me. I've seen Amanda's work for a few years now, but I think it's fresh and different from other things out there, so it qualifies as a fresh find!

Green Circuit Bobby Pin Set
I just love the concept of circuit board jewelry - my dad's a computer programmer, so growing up with him and around computers, set me up with an affinity for techie things. Amanda takes that to the next level by taking something pretty geeky and making it into something gorgeous - and still a little geeky, which is what makes it totally cool!

Turquoise Sterling Silver Circuit Necklace
I had planned to feature Beadwork by Amanda as my fresh find this week and then low and behold I find out that she has a heartsy deal going for her awesome items. You can get $50 worth of credit in her shop for only 19 bucks! WOW!

Recycled Circuit Board Bracelet in Rouge
Beadwork by Amanda is definitely a shop to check out. Head over to her shop and check out her techie creations. Oh, and if you're in the Rochester area in April, come to MayDay Underground Arts + Crafts on April 30th at the Main Street Armory - you can meet her in person! You see, not only is she the awesome artist behind gorgeous circuit board accessories, but she co-coordinates one of the best arts and crafts shows in town! Definitely a fresh and fabulous find!

Mondo Green Recycled Circuit Key Chain


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Japan Relief


LOVE JAPAN (eathquake and tsunami relief)
Custom Pillow Keychain
by Sweet Mimi Designs
Right now, our hearts and minds are on the tragedies happening in Japan, so I thought I would use this Thursday's Thoughts to bring some creative ways to help relief efforts. Sometimes money is the one thing you don't have to give, but it's still possible to help if you think outside the collection box.

From A Beautiful Idea:
Artists can partner with A Beautiful Idea to donate a portion of their sales to relief efforts. Pooling money as a group feels like such a unified effort. 100 peoples' $20 together as $2,000 feels bigger than 100 $20 donations.

Remember - print
by Designtwentysix
Make your purchases count, either by purchasing from shops donating a portion of their proceeds to disaster relief, purchasing specially created items, like Lady Gaga’s “We Pray for Japan” bracelets, or using services like SwipeGood, which automatically donates the change from debit and credit card purchases to the charity of your choice.

You can contribute stories and illustrations to Books That Help. The organization will publish a collection of stories, poems, and art honoring and celebrating Japan. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to relief efforts.

I Love JAPAN Mini Dot Cookies
by Artsy Cookies
If time is more the issue than money, you can text your support:
Text JAPAN to 20222 = $10 to Save the Children
Text MERCY to 25283 = $10 to Mercy Corps
Text REDCROSS to 90999 = $10 to the American Red Cross
Text 4JAPAN to 20222 = $10 to World Vision
Text TSUNAMI to 50555 = $10 to Convoy of Hope
Text JAPAN to 80888 = $10 to The Salvation Army

And from me:
Give to where and however you can. You’ll be helping someone.
One thing to remember, relief organizations around the world still need your support. Often at times of devastation, well-thinking individuals funnel all their charitable donations to support the current issue and other agencies suffer. I’m guilty of this myself. We all have limited resources, so we just need to be aware that organizations and projects that we’re currently supporting with time and money still need our support while our hearts and attention are on Japan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday on the Worktable: Karen's Under-the-Sea Satchel

My friend Karen, of Duncan Creative, asked me to make her a new satchel. She fell in love with Michael Miller's Sea Beauties fabric, but wanted that for the interior to avoid having the bag look like a diaper bag. I decided to create the bag in dark brown to 1. match the hair of a couple of the mermaids and 2. hide dirt!

I had a ball creating this custom satchel. I love the mermaid-covered fabric Karen chose. I decided to compliment it with variegated sea blue thread for the quilting. I love how it pops off the dark brown. The addition of the patch I showed you on Monday gives her a little preview of the interior and then when she opens the bag she gets a nice under-the-sea surprise!

And don't think this bag is just a pretty face. With five pockets on the inside, a large pocket on the bag, and an attached key fob, this little beauty is a workhorse too! I have a good feeling that it's just what Karen is looking for!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures: Wintry Blue Skies

Winter still has a hold on us here in New York, but as we get closer to spring we get the prettiest days: brilliant blue skies and bright silvery white snow. These five treasures make me think of blue-skied snowy winter days.
On the Blue Bracelet by Leela Bijou

Seaglass Blues Scarflette Neckwarmer by Maddie and Me
   
Cool and Blue Glass Dish by BMeg Designs

Silver Blues Ribbon Wreath by Handmade Colectibles
Winter Blues by Art Happens

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday's Marvel: Fussy Cut Applique Patches

This weekend I had fun working on a custom bag for a client and friend. I'll show you the rest of the project in my Wednesday on the Worktable post, but today I wanted to share something a little new and a little different that I made for this project: fussy cut applique patches. Now, I've done fussy cutting before - cutting out a particular motif on fabric, rather than cutting yardage as normal. And I've done applique and made patches. I've just never combined all three in this way.
Mermaid applique patches - fun fun!

The little mermaids on Michael Miller's Sea Beauties fabric were just perfect for this project. The little patches will be the perfect addition to this bag - adding just the right amount of fun and funky! If you know how to cut and applique, you can make fun patches for your projects, too. I can see these being great added to the front of a journal, bag, purse, or apparel item. They'd be incredibly cool on quilted works of art too!

Michael Miller's Sea Beauties fabric
is perfect for this kind of project!
Hmmm, I'm giving myself ideas! I created a dolphin landscape mini quilt last year. Maybe it's time to add a few sea beauties to those waves!
I think it's time to create a second sea landscape quilt with a
couple sea beauties surfing the waves!

Monday's Marvel: Prize Winners

Now, if you follow on Facebook, you know that I promised if we reached 150 entries then I would draw two winners and yippee!! Random.org has picked two winners of my Gettin' Down to Business Card Wallets: #14, Birgit, and #128, Asuka! Congratulations!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's Fresh Find: REaction Gifts

Owen Clockpop
This Friday's Fresh Find comes from right here in Rochester, NY: REaction gifts. I actually found this shop a few weeks ago and refound it yesterday to use one of her listing to illustrate my Thursday's Thoughts on time management. I knew immediately it was the perfect shop for today's find.

Alison Davidson carefully handcrafts her time pieces using materials that are recycled, reused or repurposed. She says, "This helps to conserve our planet’s REsources, and gives nature a better chance of REstoring her balance." I couldn't agree more! This is such a fun and unique way to recycle!


Linda Clockpop
I hope to meet Alison and see her wares in person at MayDay Underground Arts + Crafts on April 30 - we'll be two of over 90 awesome artisans at what I think is the greatest indie art show ever!

Take a look around REaction Gifts and give the shop some love - it's definitely worth the time!
Sylvia Clockpop

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Time Management

Mara Clockpop by REaction Gifts
Time management, one of my favorite subjects because I am so very bad at it! By day, I work fulltime as an Instructional Designer and my afternoon, evening, and weekend hours are consumed by running my business, maintaining relationships, and caring for my home. Not an uncommon story - everyone has demands on thier time that they need to manage. I thought for this first Thursday's Thoughts, I would comb the internet for words of wisdom on time management (which is actually a great use of my time since I have a time management project I'm working on at my day job! Two birds, one stone (not that I would throw a stone at a bird!))

Marilyn1545:
"Take an hour or so the evening before to organize your chores for the next day."
Additions: On social networking:
"You don't have to do everything. It is easy to get sucked in [to social media], so limit your time on each site. 5 - 10 minutes is enough time for facebook and twitter, and the more you stick to a schedule the easier it will become."
Pure Handmade:
"I can not survive in my workshop without having my To Do list very visible on my desk. I have too much to do everyday that the only way to keep up with everything is having my TO DO List update."

An Etsy Life:
"DO NOT have a tv in your work space, and if you have no choice,  don't turn it on."

And from me:
Use your tools. Technology can be a time drain, but it can also be a time saver. Schedule a little time to explore the calendaring features of your phone, to find apps that will save time, to link work, home, school, and personal calendars in one, etc.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you! I know looking through all the great advise helped me and now off to work I go!

Before you go off to get organized, don't forget to enter Monday's giveaway to win your choice of Gettin' Down to Business Card Wallets!