Craft-Along Book Club – June 3rd: Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray

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The next meeting of the Craft-Along Book Club is coming up on Tuesday June 3, 2014 in the Stadler Room at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park, WA. Meeting starts at 7pm!

To reserve your spot, please fill out our online registration form:
http://bit.ly/SHCABCRegistration
(just $5 per person / FREE for paid Seattle Handmade members!)

We are excited to feature another amazing artist, blogger, collector of toys, and author; Aimee Ray! Aimee lives in NW Arkansas with her husband and son. She has written several books, but this month we are featuring her first book; Doodle Stitching: Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners.

We recently asked Aimee a few questions so we could get to know her a little better.

Seattle Handmade: What is your first crafting memory?

Aimee Ray: My earliest memories are stitching with my grandma, she loved to sew and would bring simple embroidery samplers for me to learn on when she came to visit.

SH: Where did the idea for your book come from?

AR: My first Doodle Stitching book was born out of me just having fun creating my own embroidery patterns. My publisher discovered my work online and my book took off from there. My second Doodle Stitching book (The Motif Collection) came from people asking for lots more patterns, so it is full of them! The third book, Embroidery and Beyond, is me exploring a variety of different, more advanced embroidery techniques, it’s an easy introduction to each one. Next up is Holiday motifs, it will be out this fall and is full of Christmas designs as well as lots of other holidays.

SH: What is your favorite project in the book?

AR: My favorite project in Doodle Stitching is probably the felt woodland animals, I’ve made lots of variations of them over the years!

SH: Where do you find inspiration?

AR: Everything inspires me. Especially nature, toys, other artists and crafters, there’s so much awesome work too explore online. I especially love Pinterest. :)

SH: How do you deal with creative blocks?

AR: I do a variety of different creative things, (embroidery, needle felting, doll customizing, digital illustration/painting, miniature sculpting) so I will often switch gears and work on something else until I feel inspired to do what I need to be doing.

SH: If you were on a deserted island, what three crafty items would you want with you?

AR: Embroidery floss and fabric, pencil and sketchbook, watercolors. (Does that count as 3? ;)

SH: If you were a crafty tool, what would you be and why?

AR: I’d probably just be an ordinary pencil for sketching, that’s where all of my ideas for anything I’m working on are born.

Thank you so much Aimee! We look forward to discussing your book and sharing our projects in person with all of our Craft-Along Book Club members!

Don’t forget to sign up for this and any of our upcoming Craft-Along Book Club nights!
http://bit.ly/SHCABCRegistration (just $5 per person at the meeting / FREE for paid Seattle Handmade members!)

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Seattle Handmade Craft-Along Book Club featured books:
  • May 6, 2014                       Wise Craft by Blair Stocker*

  • June 3, 2014                      Doodle Stitching: Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee R. Ray

  • July 1, 2014                       I Felt Awesome by Moxie*

  • August 5, 2014                 Quilting Happiness by Diane Gilleland

  • September 2, 2014          Button and Stitch by Kristen Rask

  • October 7, 2014                Soap Crafting by Ann-Marie Faiola*

*Meet the Author Night: The author is scheduled to be in attendance for this meeting!

Purchases via our affiliate links below will help Seattle Handmade continue great programs like this one!

Craft-Along Book Club Featured Author: Blair Stocker of Wise Craft

Welcome to our first Featured Author post for the Seattle Handmade Craft-Along Book Club! WooHoo!

WiseCraftBook

We are thrilled to introduce Blair Stocker, blogger at WiseCraftHandmade.com and author of Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love as our very first featured author!

Blair will be present at our meeting in the Stadler Room at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park, WA May 6, 2014 starting at 7pm.

To reserve your spot, please fill out our online registration form: http://bit.ly/SHCABCRegistration

We had a chance to catch up with Blair and asked her a few fun questions to get to know her a little better…enjoy!

Seattle Handmade: What is your first crafting memory?
Blair Stocker:
My maternal grandmother teaching me to knit and create garter stitch slippers with a big pom pom on top at age 4.

SH: Where did the idea for your book come from?
BS:
I love to make things, and I love having a home full of handmade things. I also love limiting myself to what I can either find here on hand, or at the thrift shop. My best ideas come from these self-imposed limitations.

SH: What is your favorite project in the book?
BS:
That’s hard. I love each of the quilts in the book, because quilting is my first love. I adore the leather covered rocks in the Spring chapter, because everyone seems to like them, they aren’t too masculine or feminine. And I love the dipdyed dishes in the Fall chapter, because they turned out exactly as I’d hoped they would.

SH: Where do you find inspiration?
BS:
Often it comes from what I see us using every day here at the house. I want those things to be handmade (placemats, for example). Other times I find inspiration from a bit of household problem solving. Like the time I made a huge beanbag for the family room because there wasn’t enough room on the couch for all of us. Then there are the times that I am inspired by a color combination, a crafty technique, a beautiful shop window.

SH: How do you deal with creative blocks?
BS:
It’s best for me to change up what I’m doing. If I spend too much time looking and comparing myself to what others are doing online, I always feel creatively stifled. When that happens, I try to think about a new technique or do something I never have time to do and make time to do it. I think so often when you have a creative business, you feel guilty making things just for fun or just because you want to. But I’ve found that not only is a fun way to get me out of my block, taking this time has actually helped me be more productive and expand my creativity. For instance, after my book was finished, I tried dyeing fabric for the first time. I’ve always wanted to try it, and finally had the time and materials at hand to give it a go. It was incredibly fun and, as a result, I would like to try and incorporate dye techniques in my work.

SH: Do you have a favorite local supply shop?
BS:
I love all of our local craft and fabric stores, and I go to all of them for different things. Fusion Beads for beads (of course) and, believe it or not, crochet cotton. Weaving Works for wool roving for felting projects, crochet cotton, and beautiful yarn, Michaels and Hobby Lobby for general supplies, Drygoods Design for beautiful fabric and Pacific Fabrics for general quilting/sewing supplies and solid cotton fabric. For thrift store shopping, I love the large Goodwill in the Central District (take a latte with you, you’ll need the fuel).

SH: If you were on a deserted island, what three crafty items would you want with you?
BS:

  • A crochet hook, so I could crochet vines or my hair, cause it would grow long.

  • English Paper Piece Hexagon template

  • Needle and thread (can that count as one?)

SH: If you were a crafty tool, what would you be and why?
BS:
I would be a pair of the most beautiful thread snips. Sewers have been known to wear theirs around their neck strung on a beautiful ribbon, and they are so indispensable, definitely worth fighting over.

Thanks so much for playing along Blair! We are looking forward to hanging out with you on May 6th!

Don’t forget to sign up for this and any of our upcoming Craft-Along Book Club nights!
http://bit.ly/SHCABCRegistration

Blair Stocker is a modern hand maker and prolific creative. In 2005, she left a career in apparel and textile design to stay at home with her small children, and began her blog, Wise Craft, as a way to stay connected to her own creative passions. Putting her skills to work creating inventive DIY projects for her home, quilts, and clever crafts with her children, Blair formed a loyal online following. She and her readers connected through handmade things. Eventually, all this writing lead to a book that was published in March of 2014, Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love. It contains over 60 projects divided by seasons, and spanning crochet, knitting, quilt making, painting, and sewing. Blair designs and sells original quilt patterns as well as original work , teaches handmade crafts, and speaks to groups about running a creative business. Blair lives and works in Seattle, Washington.

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Seattle Handmade Craft-Along Book Club featured books:
  • May 6, 2014                       Wise Craft by Blair Stocker*

  • June 3, 2014                      Doodle Stitching: Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee R. Ray

  • July 1, 2014                       I Felt Awesome by Moxie*

  • August 5, 2014                 Quilting Happiness by Diane Gilleland

  • September 2, 2014          Button and Stitch by Kristen Rask

  • October 7, 2014                Soap Crafting by Ann-Marie Faiola*

*Meet the Author Night: The author is scheduled to be in attendance for this meeting!

Purchases via our affiliate links below will help Seattle Handmade continue great programs like this one!

Announcing Our New Venue for the 5th Annual Handmade Holiday Show

We are super excited about our new venue for 2013…

2013 etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show Seattle, WA
5th Annual etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show
Elliott Hall at Pier 66 in the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal
Black Friday and Saturday, November 29 & 30, 2013
11:00am to 5:00pm both days!
This huge venue is right on the waterfront on Alaskan Way with super convenient parking in the Art Institute / Bell Street Pier Garage #28 at 2323 Elliott Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 – complete with covered skybridge directly connected to the building!
Our show will be the first of its kind in this building, which is normally used for cruise guest check-in during the Summer months, corporate events, fundraisers, weddings and other special events in the off-season.
We are so happy to be working with the fine folks at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. It really is a great place to put on an event!
Please join us this Holiday to celebrate Handmade and support local artists and craft makers from all over the PNW!
Have questions about the show? Check out the Show FAQ page here!

How to prepare for a big (or any) craft fair


So you’re just starting out and you’re getting ready to sell your hand crafted items to the public? You’re nervous? That’s normal.  You worried? It’s okay, you’ll have fun! You feel unprepared? Here’s a few tips for you.
The three big things you need to consider are:
1. Who your audience is.

  • This is vital because knowing your shopper will help determine if a show is right for you.

2. Having enough stuff.

  •  How do you know if you do? That’s easy. You should plan to be able to completely replenish your table at least once. In other words, if you sell out of everything, you have enough to make your table look pretty well stocked. i.e. avoid the ‘picked over’ look.
Also consider:
  • How big the show is. 
  •  How many hours/days in the show.
  • Ask the organizer what the expected attendance is.
3. Having a great booth display.
Visit other craft fairs for ideas. Look on the web, like this stream of pictures.  Do a test run before hand to practice how quick you can set up and tear down.  And write yourself a checklist like this one to make sure you have everything you need.
 
The most important thing to remember is to SMILE, HAVE FUN and RELAX! It makes a difference.

What’s all the fuss about McCaw Hall?

etsyRAIN’s Handmade Holiday Show is getting an upgrade this year!  

Wait! First, a little homage needs to be paid to the Intiman Theatre. It was a wonderful host to the show for three years.

But, the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center is bigger, gorgeous and has a reputation that packs a punch. From the moment this location became a contender for the next home of the etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show, the enthusiasm of all involved in securing the site spread like wildfire.

So?

There’s more!

There are quite a few benefits that come along with holding an event at the McCaw Hall:

  • There’s the event plug on McCall Hall’s website.

  • And the event plug on Seattle Center’s website.

  • Plus, an e-blast promoting the show that goes out to nearly 300,000 people who frequent McCaw Hall’s prestigious events.

  • AND the news release has already been sent to 250 media outlets.

  • ALSO those giant marquees that promote the events at Seattle Center will promote the Handmade Holiday Show leading up to the event.

This is all in addition to the efforts of the etsyRAIN leadership team and volunteer coalition’s efforts to publicize the show, including a multi-phased public relations plan.

What does all this mean?

It means the show is going to be HUGE!

etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show on KOMONews.com

http://www.komonews.com/living/shopping-style/168618126.html

Handmade gift bonanza: etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show at McCaw Hall this November

Free Admission! 100 FREE Swag Bags EACH morning at 11am

 By Jill Russell Published: Sep 5, 2012 at 8:25 AM PDT

Lovers of the handmade gift website etsy will have the chance to meet vendors and get great holiday gifts this November.

The fourth annual etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show kicks off Nov. 23-24 (Black Friday weekend) at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. The show will give holiday shoppers the chance to kick off the biggest shopping season of the year with beautiful handmade gifts from more than 100 local artists and craft makers.

“We were looking for a great location to expand our Handmade Holiday show to present even more quality gifts to shoppers and were thrilled to discover that Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center was available,” etsyRAIN Organizer, Marlo Miyashiro said. “It’s a beautiful, spacious venue that will help us fulfill our main mission to support as many Pacific Northwest based handmade artists as we can.”
Admission to etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show is free. Swag bags will be given to the first 100 attendees through the street level entrance on Mercer Street all weekend.

For more information on the event, please visit www.etsyRAIN.com or contact organizer Marlo Miyashiro at (206) 683-9744.

“Artificial Light” Art Installation by Local Artist Suzanne Tidwell

Nestled in Redmond’s Anderson Park and snuggled in custom made sweaters are some very warm, colorful and grateful trees. They’ve been given special treatment thanks to Suzanne Tidwell’s Artificial Light project. It’s a temporary project by nature because it stays on the move. The sweaters have been wrapped around trees in several locations in the Puget Sound before landing in Redmond. Designed to make people stop and take notice, the sweaters are crafted in bright and contrasting colors; just the thing to get spectators and the trees through a gray and cloud spring.

Tidwell measures each tree, designs the 1000 row panels and produces the colorful blocks on her knitting machine. She uses reclaimed acrylic yarn (i.e. from thrift shop finds) to make the sweaters more durable. Each panel is hand sewn onto the trees. It’s a process that takes weeks to complete and she has learned the hard way to only work on the installations when the temperature gets to a comfortable level.

“You either love it or hate it,” Tidwell says of the public feedback so far. “People talk about it and sparking conersation about art is a powerful thing. We all have a favorite sweater or blanket that we wrap ourselves in for warmth and comfort.” Tidwell says she jumped on the ‘yarn bombing’ bandwagon when she started this project. She’s not sure what her next project will be but she’s pretty sure it will be something she can do indoors.

Artificial Light is part of the City of Redmond’s 100 year anniversary. See the artwork at Anderson Park through June 3.

YARN BOMBING: A graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn rather than paint or chalk – Wikipedia

The weather outside is frightful, is your crafting so delightful?

We’re in the middle of one of the biggest snow storms this area has seen in quite a while. Most of us are used to given the snow report in inches (2, 3 or 4 really) but more than a foot of snow in some places? Wow! So, we’re trapped in with a limited agenda. Perfect conditions for crafting efforts, right?
Cari, who is just North of Poulsbo says she’s already cranked out several new pillow covers for her shop Seclusion Cove. She’s finalizing details of custom orders and gearing up to take some pictures of her latest work …after a short break, “My “snow day” project should be tidying up my workroom and re-doing some product photos, but now, I’m snuggled under a quilt and finishing a good British mystery novel, with a cup of tea close at hand.”
Amy Harris of Solstice Designs couldn’t make it in to open her shop at the Pike Place Market but says she’s sewing away at home in Burien, “It’s a crafter’s paradise,” she said via text.
That’s not the case for everyone. Keri of UPTown DownTown is too busy babysitting her grandson to get anything done in University Place where seven inches of snow fell.
Thankfully, a warm up is coming and that much needed run for supplies, whether it’s food or crafting supplies is right around the corner.

Post Holiday Blues?

Through the months of November and December the number of crafts fairs, holiday bazaars and Christmas shows shoots up exponentially. The Puget Sound offers at least a dozen each weekend to help Christmas shoppers cross off their lists, buy a few treats, pump up their winter accessories and wardrobes and complete their decorating efforts. Also, internet sales skyrocket too, sending many crafters on multiple trips to the post office. It’s a prime opportunity to sell your product to the masses. We lug around tables, display gear and our carefully made items …some have it worse than others. It makes for a busy holiday season that requires lots of energy and a never-ending smile.
Now that the season is behind us, it’s not unusual to feel a bit of a lull. The lack of activity can leave some feeling without purpose and possibly a little lost. That’s normal. It will pass. Many crafters see it as an opportunity to recoup and refuel.
Dawn of  http://www.scarywhitegirl.etsy.com/  says, “I used the time when I wasn’t as frantic with my crocheting to start planning the new things I want to do this year, to organize my craft room, and to look at the massive quantities of yarn that have somehow ended up in my closet.”
Planning for the next year is a great way to focus your newly found free time. Reflecting on the good moments of the busy holiday craft season and doing your best to correct the not-so-special things.
“I have to admit that the lack of sales can be a real bummer.  The spigot totally shuts off.  It takes me a little while to re-train myself to stop checking my various online sales venues looking for activity,” says Anne Sylte Bloom of http://www.seattlesundries.etsy.com/.
Anne uses this time to make a lot of changes to her product line. She creates new soap varieties, changes labels, and experiments with completely new items.  “It’s really the most creative and rejuvenating time of year for me.”
Taking time away from your craft is another way to recover from the holiday rush.
 “For me things tend to pick back up in February so I enjoy this time after the extreme craziness post holidays. In this time I catch up on side projects like knitting & quilting which isn’t my “professional” craft. It’s like a nice diversion to do other things,” says Thea Starr of http://www.theastarr.etsy.com/ .
Good luck, keep crafting and Happy New Year!