Laura is a 30-something California native who transplanted to the Midwest seven years ago with the love of her life. She isn’t always enamored of the cold weather, but she does love having a great excuse to knit and spin warm woolies. She is a knitter, spinner, podcaster and lover of all things creative.
I’ve been a knitter as long as I can remember. When I was 6 or 7, my grandmother taught me to knit. She patiently cast the stitches onto the needles and talked me through the process, helping me rip things out when I made mistakes and start again.
I knit on and off through my teenage years, but picked it back up again in college. When I moved home after college, it was the early 2000’s and knitting and the fiber arts were enjoying something of a renaissance. Suddenly I wasn’t shopping at Michael’s any more, but at beautiful stores filled with nothing but yarn and fiber.
One of the things I had never seen before was people taking fiber, whether straight from the sheep or processed and dyed in beautiful colors, and turning it into yarn. I was fascinated with getting to touch so many parts of the process. I decided to try it – I took a class on spindle spinning and created my first yarn, something that approximated boat rope. I was fairly discouraged and went back to my knitting.
In 2010 I decided that I wanted to try again. I had made quite a few knitting and spinning friends online through Ravelry, and the spinners were posting gorgeous braids of fiber and even more gorgeous skeins of yarn.
I picked up my spindle again and practiced at it. I had to learn how to handle the fiber. How to open it up and loosen the fiber (a process called drafting) so that I could then add twist to it and create a single strand. Then I could wind multiple strands together (a process called plying) to create stronger yarn.
I spun happily on the spindle for about 6 months and then decided that I wanted to try a spinning wheel. I took a class at a local yarn shop and I got to sit at at least a dozen different kinds of wheels, and try my hand at spinning yarn. I ended up with a petite wheel made by an Australian company, an Ashford Joy.
These days I continue to spin almost every day. I love purchasing colorful braids of fiber from dyers and turning them into one of a kind yarns. I sell some of my yarns in an etsy shop and others I use to knit my own sweaters and winter accessories and also to knit toys and gifts for others. I love photographing the entire process from fiber to knitted garment.
One of the hidden gems I have recently discovered as a parent are all of the local theater productions put on by kids. My daughter loves to watch live music and it doesn’t get better for her than to see other kids singing and dancing on stage. They are usually very affordable and just short enough to keep her attention. We went to see The Little Mermaid Jr. with some of her besties and I wanted to make something fun for them to wear during the show.
Believe it or not, all of my crafting supplies came from the dollar store. My idea was to make wands, but I couldn’t resist the matching crowns. I didn’t expect to use all of this stuff, but that is the luxury of shopping at the dollar store!
Sticking to an an “Under the Sea” color scheme, I tied extra ribbons to the wands.
I liked the star wands, but wanted the star to have a bigger presence. I cut out starfish shapes from the glitter foam and bunched and glue-gunned pieces of iridescent cellophane to the backs.
This was then glued to the star on the wand with a matching glitter foam piece to cover the back.
The starfish were finished with turquoise and lime sequins.
I used the same techniques with the crowns as I did the wands. Bunched cellophane pieces and ribbons added an ocean touch. I glued a ribbon to the inside base of the crown so the cellophane would not irritate their foreheads.
Jeweled necklaces finished the ensemble! Our little mermaid princesses wore the crowns throughout the entire performance and they waved their wands in applause for the very talented kids in the show.
I am an auntie again! My adorable little niece is a week and a couple days old and to celebrate this new life, I wanted to share something my mother in law, Vicki, and I made for her.
Vicki told me that she got some letters from the craft store and would love my help in thinking of ways to decorate them for the nursery. In brainstorming this process, I knew that I wanted multiple textures in order to keep the letters interesting and to give it a really custom and handmade feel. After a very successful shopping trip, we picked up yarn, tulle, embossed scrapbook paper, glitter, adhesive pearls and chiffon flowers.
To cover the letters in scrapbook paper, trace a flipped over letter on the back of the paper. After cutting it out, we used spray adhesive to affix it to the letter. In a matter of minutes, it was dry.
Spray adhesive was also used to cover the “I” with glitter. We used a couple coats of both just to make sure that there was an even cover of glitter. Using white glitter on a white painted letter helped to disguise any holes, if there were any.Wrapping the letters in yarn and tulle was by far the hardest step. I found that by wrapping in the long direction first, as pictured above, and then continuing to wrap in the short direction covered most of the gaps. A glue gun also helped tremendously to keep the wraps in place as we went along.
Probably the most fun part of the process was embellishing each letter with the florals and pearls in a unique but cohesive way.
It was a challenge to mix so many different elements while sticking to one style. One thing I try to do, is to pick one element that you really love and center your design around that. The fabric flowers were one of the first things we found and our favorite. Everything else we chose was based on those flowers.We can’t wait to see what they will look like up on the wall of the nursery. I will have to post a photo when they are hung.
Stay tuned as I really want to try these letters again for a friend’s living room!
I have a handful of projects that I can’t wait to share with you, but I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know how incredibly thankful and humbled I am for all of the positive feedback I have received on my blog. This originally started as a way to document everything I create and while that is still very much true, I have also found a passion in inspiring others to be creative. Life is busy, there is never enough time or energy and that is why I feel it is so important to take pride in your creativity. I would love my blog to not only be a collection of what I make, but also as a forum for you to share your creations.
Whether it be inspirational posters for the children in the hospital…
or a party you threw…
a gift made for a loved one…
or an invitation you designed…
and especially if you were inspired by one of my posts or put your own spin on it…
Want to see what inspires me or save a project I have posted? Follow me on Pinterest! I have made a conscious effort to express my style and to only pin projects that I would actually do or use as inspiration to make something new.
Again, thank you for all of the support. Creating and crafting is near and dear to my heart and it means a ton to know that you are with me in this adventure!
Since my husband had to work this weekend in San Francisco, my sister, daughter and I got to explore the city and came across this gem, the Children’s Creativity Museum right by the convention center. Any opportunity to experience creativity, I am in!I loved their vision, especially the importance of the ability to think and act creatively.Starting in the Imagination Lab, we were one of the first visitors to arrive. There was so much to do in just the first room. From all types of building materials… to a puppet theater…to an interactive floor and touch screen. One of my daughter’s favorites was the foamy, sculpting table. She made a pancake. At the “Snap It” station, Auntie Ems colored, cut out and snapped together a monster with a tail and movable arm. Just one arm. I think she got tired. At the “Move It” station, you could take that monster and create a stop motion, animated film. My daughter pressed all the buttons, changing the border, the background and intermittently pressing the camera button to take individual stills. Then, it plays your movie and will email you the final product. Genius. We took the “Mystery Box Challenge.” After picking a card and a mystery box of supplies, the challenge was to create a pizza. Of course, the pizza of choice was styrofoam cheese. Yum. In the music studio, we played the air harp by running our fingers over the sensor in the box. My daughter got her first Karaoke experience. She picked The Alphabet song and got a kick out of seeing herself on the screen. They emailed this video to us as well! There was even a dress-up station for your musical debut. If you are ever in San Francisco, I highly suggest you try to make it here. There was just enough to do in a couple hours without making the experience overwhelming. I loved letting my daughter experience all of the exhibits as she wanted to experience them. After all, isn’t that the point of creativity?
P.S. Being in San Francisco during PRIDE and after the Supreme Court ruling was something I will never forget. I got a little teary eyed watching the parade, thinking about how when our daughter is ready to find a partner, this is something she will not have to worry about anymore regardless of who she chooses. I feel humbled and grateful to be able to take part in such a momentous time in history.
It’s time for another felt project! After making the Chicka Letters, I wanted to use the same concept to create personalized pillows for some of the dear little ones in our lives.
Using the same font but in a smaller size as the Chicka Letters, I printed and cut out letter stencils from the computer.
From my abundant supply of felt, I tried to pick complementary colors for each letter of the name. I love this pillow cover because it allows the colors to pop and brings a youthful and modern balance.
In order to center the name on the pillow, I simply folded the pillow in half height and lengthwise and marked it with a pin. This gave me a guideline to work from. After placing all of the letters down, I then measured the left and right margins in order to make sure they were of similar length. A plastic cutting board inside the pillow case allowed for an easier pinning session!
This is a case where an embroidery hoop really comes in handy because the pillowcase is pre-made. Using the hoop kept the opening of the pillowcase wide enough to stitch in and out. And, it’s done!
Kid life doesn’t get much better than playing with an empty cardboard box. That’s why I am so excited to introduce you to Alicia, Carolyn and Sasha, Product Design Engineers at Stanford University. Their unique creation, Boxly, touches on all the things a parent could want in a toy: simplistic in form but imaginative and creative in value, environmentally friendly, easy to store, and no batteries required.
Our idea for Boxly started with the frustration that so many of the latest toys come with a set of instructions or one “right way to play,” limiting creativity and innovation. As Product Design Engineers, the three of us are always using our hands to build, explore, and problem solve. We believe these are critical skills to develop from an early age. For kids, however, this creative exploration can be scary and unfamiliar — unless it’s in the form of a fort.
But forts take up all the furniture, consume the entire living room, and stay up for weeks.
We loved the idea of being able to use what kids can find around the house and we began to notice tons of cardboard boxes. So we took this fun and familiar object and created Boxly, a 100% recyclable fort building kit.
It lets kids define their own creative space by giving them the confidence — and the cardboard — necessary to build big. It has the familiarity of a cardboard box without constraining shape or size.
And, the connectors can be used with any standard one-ply cardboard, providing even more opportunities for creativity.
We have intentionally avoided instructions and sample structures because we want kids to take ownership over their play. Kids can use their own cardboard and art supplies to build something they have complete creative control over — and Boxly helps them get started.
With only 16 days left on Kickstarter, they need your help to make Boxly a reality! I can’t wait to see what our daughter can create, and let’s be honest, my husband and I can’t wait to play either. I hope you will consider supporting Boxly and even better, getting a set of your own!
Greeting cards…from birthdays, from showers, from graduations, stacked high in boxes, in the closet, in the garage, or not. Maybe they collect for a day or so and then find themselves in the trash bin. Yes, we have all done it with maybe just a little bit of guilt, or not.
The first Milestone Frame I ever did was after our wedding. This project lent itself nicely to this time as we had just celebrated a major moment in our lives and were beginning to build our home. The same goes for baby showers and first birthdays as the parents I know are always looking for ways to decorate the walls of the nursery. This current project is from the cards from Julie’s baby shower. After gathering all of the cards from the occasion, I used a heart shaped punch to highlight certain pictures or patterns that I thought were interesting and in this case, cute! Sometimes, I find entire pieces of a card to incorporate, like the letters, the bear, and the duckie. The best part about getting a card is the message inside. Before closing up the back, I wanted to make sure to preserve and include these well wishes.
In this piece, the hearts took a very organic shape around the letters. In others, I have used a more structured form. On a side note, my favorite place to buy frames is IKEA. This is the Viserum, but I also love the Ribba and the Sondrum. The frames are classy, modern, come with matte board and are unbeatable in price!
As a gift or something you do for yourself, with happy occasions or even ones with grief, these Milestone Frames can serve as a constant reminder of all the love and support around you.
It probably comes as no surprise that there is a little artist in our house. Creating since age 6 months means that we have curated about a year and half worth of abstract finger paintings, provocative marker drawings and captivating Crayola sketches.
In the beginning, every piece was a stroke of genius (to us anyways) and the perfect expression of the inner workings of our toddler’s mind. That did not last long. As much as it would be wonderful to keep them all, most of them made it to the…(gasp!)…trash bin. I took the select few we had decided to save and taped them to my daughter’s bedroom and bathroom door. They were artwork with meaning. They gave character and personality to the simple doors…but they also looked a mess!
At work, one day, I was admiring the drawings of my colleague’s kids that were hanging at her desk. The pieces were in a kids art show and looked so polished mounted on a black sheet of paper. I knew that I wanted to recreate this at home.
Coordinating colors and prints, I matched sheets of scrapbook paper to the art I wanted to mount. The rectangular shapes gave the doors order and the bright colored paper highlighted each individual piece.
With very little time and on a budget, my daughter’s doors were transformed from merely a collection of refrigerator drawings to a Little Artist Gallery!