why you should make things with your hands and tell your story

You know what most people’s problem is? Too much money. (You know that I’m only a little bit serious, I hope?) But I’ve been thinking about this lately. That whole necessity is the mother of invention thing, ya know? I believe that. We are ALL more creative when we have to be. But buying has become the new making. And not just this decade but since the early 1900’s and after the industrial revolution. The subsequent plummeting price of goods began to be felt by the masses through places like Sears, Robuck & Co. and continues today with the fast-fashion of H&M. read more

It totally takes a village. Thank you, Village.

Sally, me, Danny, Sharon, Julie, Sharon, LaRose, Bonnie, and Becky

It takes a village to do just about everything well… at least it does for me. I can imagine exceptions to this rule–social proclivities and introversions that make some people prefer to fly solo. I can imagine feeling undeserving of the support and love of your community. But something has happened in the last half decade for me… actually, since having children. I now think almost everything is made better by the web of connection we share with each other. Parenting is for sure. Parenting babies alone, in a vacuum, can be isolating to say the least. But reaching out and holding the hands of friends and neighbors makes it all more fun, easier. 

I used to have friends over for playdates when my son was a young baby…around a year old. The mamas would talk and share and the babies would stagger around the back yard in that bewildered, toddling walk and investigate flowers and toys. Then bath time would come and we would throw all babies in the bath together. We would share the washing, the cleaning, the feeding, the diapers, wine, pajamas, organic broccoli puree, everything. That is when I learned about my village.

But in recent years and through my company, SUCH Designs, I have found many such villages everywhere I go. In fact, not just in my business, but in my whole life. I have a very lovely relationship with Fong, who is my postmaster at the post office. I see her many times a week. She is part of my web–my village. Our idle chat is a momentary flash of kindness and connection in my day. This sharing of life is deeply spiritual to me. If I could go so far as to make a big statement, I hope you will take it for what it is worth: I see the face of god in all of my relationships, big or small, enduring or fleeting. I see and learn more about whatever God is or means when my life overlaps with the lives of others. I put love out. I get love back. It is a simple math. 1+1=the abundant, radiant connection of a shared life. The more you give, the more you get.

This modern craft movement that we are all a part of is filled with that spirit of people seeking a village. We all love to get together to make stuff…to be near others and learn things as we create. It is in our bones to gather in such a way. It is an ancient, tribal urge. It feels really good. If you let it, your whole life begins to look like a sewing or painting class, a knitting circle, a yoga workshop….it spreads out and you see the divine connection in every relationship, all day long, everywhere. This feels like a sacred blessing to me. The only way I can describe is that it feels shimmering. It feels beautiful, connected, alive.

So, I have this new fabric line coming out in April with Windham Fabrics and many people volunteered to sew with it. I decided it would be fun to say yes to these women, many of whom I didn’t know well and others who had taken classes with me or heard my lectures at Bernina Connection of Arizona, my local shop. I emailed them all and held out my hands. Nine women gathered to sew. 
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Sewing School 2 Giveaway

I LOVE this book. I LOVED their last book. (See a post about the first one here.) In their newest book, Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle walk us through fun and rad projects that your kids can tackle on their own! The images, writing, and projects in this book are amazing. They make your kiddos want to make stuff! They make me want to make stuff!

Leave a  comment below to win a copy of your very own! 

We made the felt guitar on the cover. No matter how young, there is something in this book for your children…I let my wee one do the cutting of the frets. She designed the colors. She stuffed it. And now she plays it! read more

we’re in a little museum show

So, I was asked about six months ago if my husband and I would like to be included in a show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art called Artists and Their Children. I thought it was nice that they included us. My husband is an artist too. We didn’t come up with a plan and just figured it would evolve. Which it has. And because this is a fun opportunity to showcase the beautiful mess that is our family’s creative life, I wanted it to just be playful. So for six months I silently curated the flotsam and jetsam of creative offerings that churn out of the day-to-day. Most things are not actual art objects but instead are creative solutions to homemade toys, which is to say—weapons. I think necessity is the mother of invention and if you don’t give your five year old a light saber he’s gonna make one himself. read more

Craft Camp!

Now that summer is here, it seems that whenever we scrape a few kids together over here for a play date it turns into Craft Camp. Oh, the joy! Last week we had two kids over for a lantern project. I just love Todd Oldham‘s book, Kid Made Modern. This ain’t your grandma’s kids crafting book. It is whip smart, hyper-cool, super gorgeous and just plain fun! Each chapter is introduced by the work of a modernist artist or designer and the crafts relate to that genre…Noguchi, Marimekko, Luis Barragan, Alexander Calder. Tremendously cool. So, this lantern project is from the book. read more

Renegade L.A.

I have been wanting to go to the uber-cool Renegade Craft Fair since I went to a screening of Handmade Nation last year. You can watch a clip here. And so I finally went last week in L.A.! It was great to go and be surrounded by clever and creative people selling their wares and walking around in a dirt lot looking at good, fresh craft. Mainly, I saw tons of letterpress stationary people, some sewing, some great printmaking and a whole bunch of mild-mannered and commonly bearded weirdos- weirdos just like us (me and my husband.) Weirdos in the normalest of ways. Minivan-driving mom and pop creatives. Same-same-different. That felt good. I didn’t really go to shop- more just to soak it in. But I did find a few great people. I really liked this bay area printmaker named Jen Hewett. You can see her etsy shop here. She is lovely and talented and her images tell simple, graceful stories. I bought cards like these:

And I almost forgot to mention the bestest part of the day. After Renegade, I wanted to go check out the now-defunct Home Ec craft lab in Silver Lake which was great and the women were so nice and they will still have a web presence (the brick and mortar was killing them.) So, on the way there we were wondering what to eat and I mentioned seeing some sort of a taco food-truck on the Food Network but I couldn’t remember any more than that. I just remembered that no one ever knows where it will be and the company tweets and blogs about their location then people flock to them and wait in line. So, lo and behold, after searching for parking in Silver Lake for way too long, we passed a graffiti-covered food truck followed by long line of very patient folks and my man recognized the name on the back of the truck as Kogi Korean BBQ! The very same truck for which we were wishing! The doors of the universe swung wide on their hinges for us that day. We sat on dirty steps in a parking lot and ate beef and pork tacos- infused with chinese five spice but served on a corn tortilla. If you go, get one of the amazing daily-changing desserts. read more