Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fun Freebie (Midwest)

My friend Jackie sent me this link to a site by Marilyn Scott-Waters. This site catalogs a variety of images, templates and paper patterns (downloadable as pdfs) for creating a variety of paper toys. As Marilyn says on her site, "Welcome to my odd, little world of paper toys, holiday cards, valentines, sun boxes, baskets and bags, origami and ephemera... all for you to make. My goal is to help grownups and kids spend time together making things. It is my wish to amuse and delight." The best part is it's FREE!

The image at the top of the post is for creating a paper rocking horse and this one is a paper gazebo. There is so much more on this site. Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Balls (West Coast)

These felted balls are really wonderful. Can you see the tiny ones that are on bobby pins? So cute! Each one is embroidered with tiny stitches. They reminded me of the balls you made with the kids a little bit ago. I was thinking a strand of them on a colored thread would be really pretty hanging from someplace in my house... I just have to find the right place.

This past weekend I bought some roving at Imagiknit (in San Francisco)—to make some balls of my own (and I thought the kids would like to try felting as well).

I also bought these balls... More sock yarn! I couldn't pass it up, the color is wonderful. My camera doesn't do it justice. I have a sock yarn habit these days! This is a new yarn put out by Colinette, the British yarn company that always has yummy colors. It reminds me of Koigu.

West Coast: My Swap Group (plus Amy!)

Here are my ornaments hanging in my office. They look so cute together. So far almost my whole group did something sewn. They all look so cute together! We have yet to pull out the decorations for the rest of the house. I have been too busy crafting!

Cool Finds

Part of my birthday weekend included going to a great Japanese book store in San Jose. They had some really nice craft books. I found it difficult to decide what to get. Alan was no help, he told me to get them all... So I did. Here are some samples.

I love the colors in these first few pages. I thought these little objects would make some cool pin cushions!

I love the colors and the graphic shapes on this bag... I really like the stitching elements as well. The photography is perfect also... Such cool stuff!

Incoming! (Midwest)

After much anticipation and extreme impatience on my part, my Swap Ornaments are finally arriving. Whoopee! I have received 4 so far. That's half. And, of course the bonus ornament from Laurie. I'm so excited.

This first picture is the ornament from Emily in California. She must be a graphic designer type because her label, card and tags all worked so well together paper wise, type wise and color wise. Just yummy.

This second photo shows the others grouped together. I really like how they all work as a set with the reds, ribbons, and transparent materials. The far left ornament is simple yet intricate with it's detailed curved red wires. Laurie's ornament is second from the left. You can see more photos of it if you scroll down through our blog. Makes me want to buy more vintage buttons. I love it. The next ornament from Lindsey is a resin (I think) ornament with glass beads on the inside. Will be neat in front of the tree lights. And the last from Lauren is glass (hand cut maybe?) with glass beads and a mirror. I like the concept of reflection at this time of year and it will also be interesting in front of the tree lights.

I have four more ornaments to go. I will be at the door waiting for the mailman again tomorrow! Oh, and Laurie, I can't wait to see pictures of the ornaments you received (hint. hint.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Small Forest

I made these simply sewn felt trees with embroidery embellishments using the pattern posted on the Little Birds blog (scroll down a ways, it's posted in November just before Thanksgiving). I could seriously whip out a dozen or so of these in one night. Hmmm. Should I actually do that? I'm just digging how generous this crafting community is. I've been seeing projects, tutorials, free patterns everywhere. I'm passing them along to my crafty friends, as well. I love it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

From Boredom to Ornament Factory (Midwest)

A few weeks ago the girls needed to focus some misguided energy on something productive, so I suggested they start some Christmas projects. They zealously made several assorted felt balls. This was a really good project for them. It involved water and bubbles - always a favorite. I had to cut them off at about 8 felt balls each. They had such pruney hands and water was EVERYWHERE.

Today we strung the balls along with beads and ribbon to make holiday ornaments. I am realizing now that I can probably categorize myself as a true crafter. I had all the materials for this project on hand. I had wool and mohair yarns in my knitting stash, beads in every room of our house, earring pins in my craft box, and ribbons again in the knitting stash. I even own my own needle nose pliers!

All in all this was a successful kid's craft project. It was easy and clean. We will move on to bookmarks next.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful (Midwest)

As I cleaned up the morning dishes while listening to Dave Matthews on the Ipod and Sam accompanying on pots and pans, I decided to think about ALL the things I'm thankful for. First, let me say I think I'm thankful for having and endless list of things to be thankful for. Each time I thought about something I thought of another thing, and another, and another. I'm a lucky person. Here is a short list of a few of my thoughts.

I am thankful for my family and friends (duh), music, books, preschool, public school, truth, having U.S. citizenship (and not growing up in say Iraq or Darfur), technology things (The Internet, my vacuum cleaner, tv, ), nature things (trees, lakes, grass, birds), creativity, parenthesis (I use them a lot), a husband who can engage the kids giving me time to think about being thankful and later type about it on my blog, medicinal things (Advil, birth control), art, knitting, smiles, and the list goes on and on. Mostly though, I'm thankful for the health of my family. Sam has the runniest of noses today, but is playing and running and happy. His behavior reminds me how healthy he truly is.

I wish you all a Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ornament Swap (West Coast)

Here are the final ornaments getting ready to be packaged up. I have changed my direction with packaging to a little gift. Let me know what you think. I have been having such a great time making these up this week. I am on such a roll, I am excited to start on the next round!

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Mature Seven Year Old (Midwest)

So last year Hannah wrote to Santa asking for the following items for Christmas: An Ipod, a computer, and a swimming pool. He did not come through. This year she said she doesn't know what she wants. Relieved, I said maybe she should just wait to see what she gets. I'm thinking this is a really, really, good idea. Yesterday she handed me the Red Envelope catalog. She circled the items she wants. Maybe Santa needs to give her a Sears catalog with a note that says "Try Again".

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Can't Stop! (Midwest)

I have hundreds of things to do right now. Important stuff. Like sorting through the 6 foot stack of magazines and catalogs we won't ever order from, or maybe cleaning the fish bowl so we can see if Mo is still in there. BUT NO! I'm thinking that the blog needs another photo. And, since no one wants to see a picture of my other housekeeping projects (maybe the stack of magacatalogs - it is impressive), let's have another look at my ornament swap project! These are little flower thingamajigs that I'm making for ??? I'm convinced I can turn them into a little extra something for the other Swappers. What can or will they be? I'm not sure yet. But, they are far more fun to think about then what else I have going on here. I feel better now. I can go sort the laundry.

Laurie, I read your comment that you want to try these. Here's the link for the tutorial.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ornaments (West Coast)

Here is the latest progress on my ornaments. I have them all cut and pinned. I still need to iron and sew... This also shows my tags (at the bottom). I have not tried to package one to see how it will look finished. That will come later...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ornament (Midwest)

Ok Laurie, since you've been on me to post a picture of my ornament, I'm cutting into my limited trash tv time to post this. This is a preview of my ornament for the Cake + Pie and Freshly{Blended} ornament swap. I'm doing all the stitching by hand except the wing. I can proudly say I've only poked myself twice. Also, the small amount of machine stitching on the wings has really helped me navigate my new sewing machine functions. I still need to learn how to steer better. Isn't that the key to being a good seamstress? I'm so not there yet. Anyhoo, I'm about 3/4 of the way finished with these buggers and then I move on to the packaging which will be the really fun part for me.

A Purchase (Midwest)

On Saturday I bought this small and wonderful art quilt made by local fiber artist Sally Jerney. Sally happens to be my knitter, crafter, and fellow mother, friend Jackie's mom. I love the cheerful color palette and textural elements in this quilt. Now I need to find the perfect spot for it in my house.

This detail shows a section of the quilt with pieces of kimono fabric.

Monday, November 06, 2006

WIP (West Coast)

Hey Miss Amy, here is my WIP. I am doing the same out here. Twice to my favorite yarn/fabric store. Lots of sketching. The sewing machine is out. Buttons are everywhere. I think I have it. At least a rough "it". Take a look and let me know what you think.

The first photo is my working stash for the project. The second, is my first go round with the ornament. It is doable with both cost and timing of the whole thing. Also, with my level of sewing. I think I can do 10 of these in a reasonable amount of time without my family suffering the consequences.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

WIP (Midwest)

This is an overexposed photo of my ornament for the Swap in progress. I'm so excited about this project. I just can't stand it. Joey can't stand me obsessing over it. I've been sketching and thinking. I've been to Jo-Ann Fabrics three times. I've made prototypes. I have several rejects in the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree category. I've burnt a banana bread because of it (we still ate it). I'm am, however, optimistic that I will soon move beyond the development phase, whizz through financing, and into final production.

Miss Laurie, how is the ornament situation on the West Coast? Do we need to set up a conference call???

Monday, October 30, 2006

Holiday Card Project (Midwest)

I'm really having fun making mini block prints. I've been creating handcut rubber stamps since the summer and have been experimenting with ink mediums, paper, and fabrics. Some of the things I'm making I can't post until later because they are meant for holiday gifts, but here is an idea for my holiday cards. I made a small floral design, inspired by my diaper bag of all things, and have been using this flower as a textural element in white over a blue background. I will probably substitute a snowflake for the flower, although I like the idea of a wintery flower.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Baby Knitting (West Coast)

I knit this little sweater out of One Skein for Robyn's new baby Chloe. My first sweater with arms... I used Rowan baby wool in a very pale ivory with hints of pink. I turned out very sweet!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Our History

Hello Everyone.

For those of you who haven't known us longer than 20 minutes, you may not know the reason why Laurie and I are sharing this blog. I will fill you in.

Laurie and I (Amy) became business partners of a small Bay Area graphic design studio in 1995. We named our business "The Hive Design Studio" because we liked how the busy and efficient bee metaphor fit with our workstyles. Also, we were just coming off job positions at another design company were we did the majority of the work without any credit. Tired of being underappreciated worker bees, we collaborated in what was one of the best decisions of my life. We worked closely together for about 8 years. Then my husband and I moved from the West Coast to the Midwest to be nearer to our families. Laurie and I continue to work together if a project calls for it. But, being stay at home moms doesn't leave a huge amount of time for outside graphic design work.

We are using this blog to share our creative endeavors with each other. We used to sit at a conference table and show and tell with each other face to face. Now we are using the Internet. How cool is technology?

Current Knitting Projects (West Coast)

Here is a vest I am working on right now... I am knitting the vest out of some very pretty vareigated hand dyed yarn I bought at the Stitches West show earlier this year. I bought a huge hank, not knowing what I would do with it. I recently bought Rowan 38, a really inspiring pattern book, and have come up with a knock off (easier version) of one of the vest patterns. My yarn is a mereno/mohair mix. I have added a dark brown boarder to accent the yarn, and make up the base, neck, and armholes. So far it looks great. When knitting with vareigated yarns, I like the little color surprises that happen every couple of rows.

Katie as Charlotte

This is Katie in the Halloween costume that I designed for her. She wanted to be Charlotte from Charlotte's Web—her current favorite book. I found a cool yarn-web pattern for the spider web, then sewed each of the legs separately. Each leg has both cotton stuffing, and wire so they can bend and pose. She thought it would be great to give all her friends eight legged hugs! I am really happy with the final result!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Current Knitting Project (Midwest)

Here is my current knitting project. It's a scarf knit on the bias. It was really fun knitting for about 20 rows. Now, I'm so bored with it. And, I'm not even sure if I like it. The yarn is a combo of a variegated cotton and a red cotton/acrylic ribbony tape-type yarn. The colors are pretty together, however.


Today was Opening Day at our new Trader Joe's. I went. I cried. It was so nice to have my turkey meatballs back. They had the whole line of lettuce packaging we designed. They even implemented the design on a bag of yams. I miss the old days of working in the Hive office in Los Gatos with crazy clients and fun projects. Big sigh.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

WIP (Midwest)

Here is a picture of the Boh Bon Soap Co. packaging in progress. I'm very pleased with how it's looking. Hopefully, they will have their website up soon and folks can order online. I need to locate an inexpensive but decent quality label printer.


Greetings to everyone. And, by everyone I mean you Laurie. You are officially the first person to be sent to my (our) blog. Isn't it cool? I probably should have looked around for some sort of guide or tutorial which would educate me on the right way to blog, post pictures, comment, reply, etc. I chose instead to wing it.

I'm hoping to use this blog as a way to journal my work and related craft endeavors, and general thoughts on design. You are welcome to join me since you are the other half of The Hive Design Studio.

Anyway, here it goes my first post. Whoopee!