There is something sweet about a craft party.

A lovely little group of crafty girls coming together to celebrate a birthday and to make things...what a great combination! We had a blast when my friend

Krista Salmon

and her husband Mike rented a party bus, loaded up a gang if giggling gals and made their way to the studio for an afternoon of glitter, fun and some serious crafting.. I don't  do birthday parties very often but when I do, I cannot help getting caught up in all if the crazy glitter fun! Are the photos fab? The talented Cydney from

Afton Photography

did an amazing job capturing the entire afternoon of fun!

Time to get Creative!!





As most of you know, last year I filmed 5 crafty video workshops with Creativebug! It was so much fun, Ruby and I loved every minute. Well here is the exciting thing about Creativebug, now you can subscribe to the website and watch as many videos as you like for one price of $9.95 per month. That is like 2 lattes and a people magazine!

I will be giving them as gifts this year for all my crafty friends...you should too!

I am especially excited to take Lisa Congdon's line drawing class this March...I am such a fan!


                      





                                  Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

Palm Springs Crafting.....Kids edition


I am just back from a wonderful week (and a bit) in dreamy Palm Springs. I was so lucky to be teaching at both the Heather Ross Mother daughter craft/sewing weekend but also the craft/sewing weekend for the grown ups!

What can  say about the Mother daughter weekend....it was just fantastic!
9 sweet girls and their mothers arrived at the Ace Hotel to craft and sew away the weekend with the lovely Jodie Levine, Heather and I. Janome were kind enough to provide us with the most amazing sewing machines ever! The memory craft 8900 was unbelieveable. And don't get me started on the Cameo Silhouette machine that we were lucky enough to work with!

We worked on cross body bags and cut paper chandeliers, embroidered pets and felt flower ponchos....I was able to teach with some of my favorite people and watch these girls jump into every project with excitement!

 My favorite part had to be that after every project, they would wear whatever they had made. At the end of the weekend, these girls were wearing EVERYTHING all at the same time..so proud of their handiwork!

Can't wait until next year!

















The year in a nutshell.





2013 was quite a year for Little Pincushion Studio and my little sewing classes. In the space of 12 months, my first book was released; I finished work on my second and am now halfway through my third. Now that I type it I cannot quite believe it is true (no wonder I am exhausted!)

I filmed some fun sewing classes with Creativebug…something I had wanted to do for the longest time! The videos they make are so beautiful and I am so excited to be involved with them!

 I went home for a long overdue visit with family and the best friends a girl could ask for.

My kids grew…….a lot!!

My hubbie became the best chef, laundry manager and all around house-husband (on top of his full time job) to help me get it all done. 

I have made some amazing new friends whose emails, kind words, sweet gestures and choc chip cookies have brightened my days. All in all, it was an amazing year!

2014 is already shaping up to be a great one! Many, many new kids are coming through the studio doors and I truly love every minute of teaching them every day.

My new year’s resolution is to enjoy every single day and appreciate every little opportunity. Oh and also to blog a little more frequently!


Happy 2014 friends!









It's a fantastic Creativebug Giveaway!!





I am so excited to share the Creativebug love with you all this holiday season. So thanks to the awesome folks at Creativebug, I am offering this amazing giveaway of a free 3 month subscription to Creativebug. Thats right! You get 3 full months of full access to all of Creativebug's awesome crafty classes. Knitting, they have it. Sewing, yep, they have that too. From crafts to quilting and embroidery, there is something for everyone! I think it is perfect for a cozy crafting break over the holidays!
Ok, so if this isn't enough..I can sweeten the deal with another free 3 month subscription for you to give to your Bestie! Yay!




All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog and pop over and like my facebook page. On Christmas eve I will randomly choose a winner and you will find your 3 month membership in your inbox on Christmas day!





Give the gift of handmade and buy a subscription for a friend (you can even customize the subscription start date). Or, buy one for yourself if you’re sticking to handmade gifts this year and want to beef up your own sewing/knitting/quilting skills.
 Snap up these great prices:
3-month subscription for $30
6-month subscription for $60
12-month subscription for $99
 Subscribers get access to video workshops that cover everything from embroidery, to upholstery, to flower arranging. If you’ve ever wanted to nudge your friend in the direction of an amazing hobby, this is where to push them.





Festive Antler Headband



We are slowly creeping our way into the holiday season and this time of year always means crafty get togethers! This year I got together with Alessandra Gutierrez  of Tribal Times and we came up with a sweet little craft for you! A festive antler headband, perfect for those holiday pictures! This is a simple craft to do with the kiddos while sipping hot chocolate and listening to holiday tunes
Materials List:
-Martha Stewart crafter’s clay
-headband
-glitter
-hot glue gun
-tacky glue
Step 1:
Roll the clay in your hands till it becomes malleable and shape it into an antler shape. It is easy to make three little rolls and attach them all together to make the shape.  Let them air dry overnight. 
Step 2: 
Using your tacky glue, apply a small amount where you would like the glitter to be. If you prefer a more natural look just leave them the original clay color. Hot glue into place on the headband. That's it!
Enjoy! 

Halloween Fun Free Printables..



Don't you love a fun free Printable? I love these cute Fox and Panda mask ideas that Oliver (my 14 year old son) and I came up with! Just print em out, cut some eye holes and get ready for a super cute Halloween!
Want to make a costume to go with them? Scroll down and check out my Halloween Costume ideas on Fox 5 with Holly Morris! The hardest part will be deciding which one to make!


Download here

download here

I am also a bit of a sucker for a cute silhouette! Print these ones up and use them as a template to make some cute silhouette art.

download here

download here

download here

Here are some videos with all the instructions you need to make some super fun, home/kid made instructions and supplies!
DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG


Imperfection is beautiful...



Photo by Kristen Gardner Photography


Imperfection is Beautiful: How to teach Kids to embrace flaws in a perfect world

You know the drill; kids get home from school, rush to finish their homework and then run to sports practice on time. Maybe they even have after-school music class or tutoring, too. Sound familiar? It is probably the crazy weekly routine that you have with your children. In sports, our kids are taught to win, win, win, while in school they are taught to get straight A’s. In music class there is nothing pleasant about hitting the wrong notes.  These are just some of the reasons that the encouragement of creativity in a non-pressured, perfection-optional world is so necessary.
Call it therapy if you like, I certainly sometimes think of it that way. Giving children the space where they can sew, create and talk (or in our case sing a little) can change the child’s stress level enormously.
Each week we come up with fun projects that challenge each child whilst also giving them the opportunity to experiment with fabric, color and design thus giving them the fabulous feeling of autonomy and pride. The best part, never do the children feel the pressure to be perfect!
Never was I ever told as a child that imperfections were beautiful little bits of my personality and so sadly, I felt the pressure to constantly perform well in things at which I was honestly not very good. I think that feeling can linger around until adulthood. It is so important that we do not do the same thing to our kids!
That dropped stitch is a cute reminder of when you were paying more attention to the words of a Taylor Swift song than your knitting, the wonky stitched line is a reminder of the hilarious laughing fit you had when your sewing buddy told a funny joke and maybe that crazy fabric combo will always be a reminder of you and your crazy, individual personality.  And so it goes, imperfection IS a beautiful thing.



photo by Kristen Gardner Photography


Mood Boards.



I am a big believer in using mood/inspiration boards when I am working on a project. I love the process of collecting things that speak to me, whether it is a scrap of fabric or a photograph that evokes a feeling ! I am loving the idea of encouraging kids to use mood boards. Let's face it, kids are pretty picky when it comes to choosing things for their room and play spaces, especially as our kids move into teenager-dom. Ruby has a paint swatch on her wall and is obsessively discussing what shade of mint we should paint her room!
I thought that creating a workshop to make mood boards may be a fun idea and I think my students agreed. I gave the girls total freedom to explore all of my baskets of trim, pompoms, fabric scraps, magazines (just not the old Domino's, blueprints or cookies) Lets just say, it looked like a fabric/paper/paint bomb went off that day.....but I loved every minute of the controlled chaos!

They are pretty gorgeous don't you think?


























Sweet little hair ties...


Last week, Ruby decided that she needed to make head bands....lots of them...one for every outfit! The bands were gorgeous and very sweet and made me think of a tutorial for something similar but a little easier for little kids to make! This little hair elastic is quick to make and oh so sweet! The perfect stash buster and the perfect size for giving as gifts to all of her BFFs




Cut a piece of fabric approx 3.5 inches x 8 inches

Fold it in half with right sides together and give it a good press.


Roughly draw a line from the top corner of the folded edge to the raw edge. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect! Do the same at the other end.

Also mark a 2 inch line about halfway down the strip, this will be for turning out!

Time to start sewing! Sew on the angled line then sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way down to  the bottom angled line. Start and finish with a backstitch.

Dont forget to leave that hole!

Snip off the corners but be careful not to snip the stitching.

Carefully push the fabric right way out. I use a chopstick but you could use a pencil!

Spray with a little starch and iron nice and flat.

Sew up the hole nice and close to the edge.




Quilt as you go....with kids!

The past couple of weeks we have been working on Quilt as you go projects. It has been an amazing way to tighten up some rusty sewing skills after a long Summer Break and also an excellent example of each student's individuality. They loved having total control over the design and enjoyed every minute of the process!

Most girls made their QAYG panels into sweet little zip pouches but a couple changed it up with cross body purses that are too cute for words. Grace simply had to make a royal pillow for her bunny!

Ruby even showed them how to make little tassels...I think they add just the right amount of fab to each little pouch!

Now, should I write a tutorial for the zip pouches?

Book Giveaway winner..



Congrats to Kathy Slaughter ! You are the winner of my book giveaway!
Send me a email with all of your mailing details and I will send a book your way!

Thanks to everyone who entered and for all of the lovely comments!

I have been thrilled with all of the positive support for my book and am excited to let you all know that my second book is now available for Pre-order on Amazon!.
I cannot believe how fast the time has flown and am just so excited to share the new book with everyone in the Spring of 2014.

Happy Weekend!





Creativebug giveaway! (happy dance!)





Have you heard about Creativebug yet? It is this amazing and beautiful website, chocka block full of gorgeous how to videos from all of your favorite crafty people.

I first heard about Creativebug after watching a Heather Ross video and I immediately added it to my bucket list. I thought to myself that I would just love to be involved with the website somehow.

I cannot explain how it felt to get the email from the Cbug folks  asking me to be involved....beyond excited and thrilled (and mildly terrified!)
So this past Spring they came out to little old Warrenton and spent a few days in my studio shooting some super fun projects for all of you crafty kiddos out there. After our initial camera terror, Ruby and I got in the swing of it and had a great time throughout the process!
The result is 5 fun Camp Creativebug how-to sewing videos covering everything from using a sewing machine to making a sweet flower headband. Click on the class links to get a little taste of my classes! They are fun and simple and perfect for that little crafty pixie in your life!


Go take a look at the website...I know you will be inspired by all the craftiness!

So in the spirit of late summer craftiness, I have decided to do a giveaway!
I am giving away not only a signed copy of my book...but the generous folks over at Creativebug are going to give away a stitched hoop class for free just to sweeten the deal. How awesome is that?
All you need to do is leave a comment on my blog anytime from now until September 7. A winner will be chosen randomly on that date!

Good luck and Stay Crafty!!

check it out here


class here

class here

class here






Crafty World Camp..



I missed teaching like crazy while I was back home in Australia and couldn't wait to get back to work...some may say a little soon (I am am still a jet lagged mess!)
This week I ran a mini tween workshop where we focused on  crafts influenced by the traditional crafts of other countries. Both classes ran for 3 1/2 hours and I can honestly say that these girls worked like crazed crafters getting their work finished...they barely touched their Pizza!

First up we took a look at beautiful Polish paper chandeliers known as Pajaki. Normally made with straw and paper flowers, ours were made with rolled card stock, fake rose petals , tissue paper and a few poms. The resulting chandeliers were staggering in their beauty and creativity...each a little insight into each students personality!

Day two saw us looking at the intricately decorated textiles of Hill Tribes of Thailand. The amazing use of Pompoms, beads and embroidery had us excited! The girls took the idea and and reinterpreted it in their own style. The resulting bags used a mixture of painted cross stitch, simple embroidery and the addition of trim here, there and everywhere!
I am planning to run a few more World crafting workshops throughout the year, give me a shout if you think your child would like to participate!

The thing I love the most about teaching children is the amazing creativity that can be seen when you give a child a basic concept and then let them run wild with the design. #bestjobever




Ruby's creation has pride of place at our house!






Summer Camp recap...




We really had an absolute ball at our Little Pincushion Summer Camp Program! So much crafting and fun!
There is something so great about new girls getting together and making new friends as they paint and sew and craft away. Stay tuned for more news about my new teen sewing club starting up in the Fall! Yahoo!!










Mushroom Mansions..



Last week, my lovely Saturday class tackled the Mushroom Mansions project from my new book, We Love to Sew.  I absolutely loved seeing how each mushroom looked so very different from the next.
This is the perfect project to showcase each girls unique style and awesome sewing skills. Next stop...county fair! I think we could win most interesting mushroom!

Well done girls!








Yay for a Book Giveaway!



So I'm feeling pretty lucky to have a neat little stack of books on my desk a couple of weeks before my book is officially released. I just happen to have a spare signed copy set aside for a lucky reader! Hooray!
Want to win it?
All you need to do is leave a comment below and I will randomly choose a lucky winner on Friday March 29.

Good luck and keep sewing!!






Chair Reinvention


A few months ago, I found this sweet but somewhat boring chair in my local habitat for humanity store. The $10 price tag was all I needed to take it home with me.
I really felt that it needed a little spiffing up ...not too much, just enough to give it a little something.
I set Ruby to work, I think the result is pretty great!











10 tips for teaching kids to sew.





Sometimes I worry that I am way too unconventional to teach sewing. Then I look at all my super sewing kids and remember how far they have come, from shy, quiet little novices to proud, independent and confident little artists. That pride and confidence is apparent in every little (sometimes wonky) stitch and fabric combination.
How to get a child to this level of sewing joy? I have put together a list of the ten things to think about before you sit down and start sewing with your little one.

1.Perfection is for the birds.
I think that before you actually start the sewing process, it is important to talk to your student about expectation. The prospect of using a sewing machine for the first time is probably a little scary... You don't want the child to be striving for instant perfection. Make it clear that perfection is optional... Sewing takes practice, kind of like learning to ride a bike except without the helmet and skinned knees.

2. Set the scene
Create a space that inspires learning and focus. Turn off the tv, mute the cell phone and get down to the business of sewing.
A nice sized table and a comfy chair will do the trick. I have also found that in a room of little sewing girls, Taylor swift cd's are a wonder for concentration. Instead of chatting with their friends and being silly, their focus is on singing along whilst sewing hard!

3. Sewing machine practice
Apart from the obvious practice involved with threading the machine (I have my students thread and re-thread their machines multiple times) speed control is the most important thing to master. I always say that it is like a car... Drive too fast and you can lose control and have a crash..noone wants a sewing crash right?
Like a car, the idea of using the machine is simply to steer the fabric through the machine. Seems simple right? Well for a new sewer it is a lot harder than you would think.
I have a pretty foolproof method of teaching speed control and at the same time having the kids practice on straight line sewing.
I like to cut a large square of white canvas and use my pilot frixion marker to draw 10-12 lines from the top to the bottom of the fabric. I thread the machine with a bright colored thread and let them go. It is pretty awesome to watch how long it takes them to understand how to control speed and sew on the line.. It becomes somewhat of a challenge to get it right. I will never let a student move on to a real piece of fabric until they have mastered control and can sew in a straight line.
Still having trouble with speed? Stop and take a look under the table. If the child's heel cannot reach the floor, they are going to have a really hard time controlling their speed.

4. Offer choices
So they are ready to start working on a real project. If you want to have a class of super motivated and excited students, think about offering choices of fabrics. You may need to Pre-cut your fabrics in advance, so think about cutting a small variety of fabric choices for them to mix and match. There is nothing worse than thinking that you have found the cutest, sweetest fabric in the world only to have half the class absolutely hate it. Offering options unlocks the inner artist in the children and offers a kind of creative pride in their work. You may not love the choices they make but they do and that's all that counts right?

5. Be realistic
Just like a bad hair day, a bad sewing day happens to all of us at some point. Don't get frustrated if your students are just not getting it. Most kids are not that handy with pair of scissors or even with pins. Sometimes it is ok for you to take over that part for them. Think about pre -cutting your pattern pieces and accept the fact that you may need to step in and help with the parts they hate. Don't worry, they will eventually get it.

6. Class structure
I like to have my class size at about 4 kids. Sometimes I will take 5 if I know that I have my trusty sewing assistant around to help with any sewing machine snafus. I never will go over that number. It is not fair to you or your students to do that.
I like to teach in 1 hour classes. Kids these days are so over scheduled and overwhelmed with school work that 1 hour is enough to keep them engaged without putting them to sleep.
When I teach workshops I like to teach for 2 or 2 1/2 hours with a little hot cocoa break in the middle.

7. Don't make promises you cannot keep.
It is the question most asked in my class. "Will we finish today?"
I have made a point of never promising anything. Just because I can sew an owl in 30 minutes doesn't mean that a child can... It's more like 4 times that. I like to take 2-3 weeks to work on a project. The owl in my book is a great example of that. The first class is creating the face and sewing on the eyes and the second is putting him all together and making the wings. You really have to be realistic in your expectations of children. It may take one child 5 minutes to sew a button and 30 minutes for another. Try not to rush your students and only step in if you feel that they need help.
We have been working on quilts for about 6 weeks and for most classes we took a break halfway through the process to make something quick and fun. It really helped to re energize the kids to keep going with their big project!

8. Acknowledge the skills.
It's is always great to be able to introduce a new skill with every new project that you tackle and acknowledging that new skill is just as important. I have found it funny to see how boys and girls are different in that way. My boys class are thrilled to earn their colored belt (actually just a piece of twine) for every new skill learned. My girls all want me to create a certificate for them for their new skills!
Every new skill, no matter how small, is a great achievement for them so try to make a point of rewarding it!
Every summer we love to enter projects in the local county fair, the great thing about this is that in most cases all the projects will earn a ribbon. It's amazing the effect this has on the kids, it is like they won the lottery, how awesome is that?

9. The power of Pinterest.
We all love Pinterest right? Well did you know that it is such an amazing tool for class planning? Think about creating a board and having your students pin projects and other favorite things to the board. It will open your eyes to the things that they really want to make. You will get a better understanding of the fabrics that move them and the designs that woo them!

10. Have fun
For me, this is the most important aspect in teaching children. Find your groove, create a safe, open environment for discussion and confidence building and do your thing! There is nothing better for me than having kid tell me that sewing class is the highlight of their week. Remember, make it interesting and fun and you will have a sewer for life!