Monday, January 31, 2011

Fabric Inspiration & Giveaway

Here is a fabric and book giveaway by author and designer Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction.  If you're going to enter, make sure you comment on Amy's blog here.

Here is Amy's blog post about it: 

Many times I’ve been asked how I get the ideas for my books, patterns or fabric lines? And the short answer is lots of places.  My passion for seeking out vintage sewing treasures and collecting sewing books and ephemera has lead to many of my projects over the years. The Sew-it Book, Buttonware, Hankie Style and Vintage Notions are just a few of the books that I have created based on inspiring vintage items I’ve found and collected.
Through my travels, I always seek out antique malls, galleries or flea markets to rummage through. Often, I see something beautiful that catches my eye – colors, fabric textures, the shear artistry of a piece or the details in the stitching. It may just be an old book filled with gorgeous illustrations.

Many times this stirs my creative juices and I combine the inspiration with current trends in the market to come up with a new book or pattern idea. Other times, I find a vintage piece and realize the concept or creation would be interesting to today’s consumer and feel the need to “rescue” it from obscurity.
One example is my latest embroidery book, A Stitch in Time with Mother Goose. This book of vintage embroidery designs, along with my coordinating fabric line from Red Rooster Fabrics of the same name, was inspired by a darling baby blanket I found during my travels. The quilt was created from an old Butterick transfers pattern circa 1920’s. I’ve also discovered in my collection the original magazine ad featuring the pattern for sale. Below are a few shots of the original blanket.
I was toying already with the idea of creating a new embroidery book with a vintage feel and had some wonderful Mother Goose line art that I wanted to use, but the project had not yet come to fruition. I happened upon this hand embroidered baby blanket in bluework, along with the original vintage transfers and the entire project took shape.
Embroidery is really making a come back. The book includes 25 designs to be transferred to fabric and instructions for 7 different projects including two quilts. Here are just a few projects included in this book:
Another method of embroidery can be done with just the Mother Goose fabric itself. Two of the fabric line coordinates are “cheater” blocks. These two panels – one in red and one in blue – have the Mother Goose line art already printed directly on the fabric. All one has to do it thread your needle and following the lines. No transfers needed.
Enter to win A Stitch in Time with Mother Goose fabric bundle and book

For a chance to win a bundle of A Stitch in Time with Mother Goose fabric (one yard of many coordinate plus one each of the two embroidery cheater block panels – please note that only 19 of the 24 coordinates are available in this giveaway) AND a copy of A Stitch in Time with Mother Goose, you have five ways to enter the drawing.
1.    Post a comment to this blog post only letting me know what you would create with this collection.
2.    “Like” my Facebook page at
3.    Sign up for my twitter account at
4.    Repost this blog entry on your blog. Email me at with the link to your post.
5.    Post this blog entry on your Facebook page. Email me at with the link to your FB page.
A winner will be drawn at random from all entries. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, February 1st at midnight and a winner announced on Thursday, February 3rd.
Good luck!!

OK!  I've already signed up to win.  Now's your chance, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saying Good-bye to Chaco Canyon

Moonrise on our last night in Chaco Canyon

On our hike on the South Mesa Trail, there were tracks of those who had been there before we got there.

And a colorful resident who paused so I could take his photograph:

By mid-day it was HOT (after wearing fleece that morning) and we headed back to our campsite to get out of the sun.  The little thermometer that was in our tent said it was more than 100 degrees in there!  No more exploring in the sun for that day!!

Our nice campsite had a couple of large boulders that were arranged just so . . .  We called it the Bat Cave.  Here's my man sitting in the cool shade of our cave. 

We spent most of the afternoon enjoying the relative cool of this spot.  We ate, relaxed, snacked, drank, and planned the next part of our trip here in the Bat Cave.

The Bat Cave even had some color!!

When the sun started to get lower in the sky, we emerged from our cave to fix dinner.  By the time dinner was over and the dishes cleaned, we were starting to bundle up again.

The next morning, we weren't quite ready to leave Chaco Canyon, but it was time to move on to the next part of our adventure.  We were on the trail of more Ancient Puebloans and were headed to Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado.   

We have an idea that we'll be back to the quiet of Chaco Canyon . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Vacation Photos--More Chaco Canyon

Moon setting at Chaco Canyon after the full moon night

There is no hotel/motel at Chaco Canyon.  It's a rustic place--from the road to get there to the "lodgings."  We stayed in the campground there at the Canyon.  There is an area for tents that's in a little side canyon so the tents are better protected from the wind.

Our tent in Chaco Canyon campground
Here is our humble abode for a few days in our little part of Chaco Canyon.

It was chilly in the mornings.  Fleece, flannel, and/or wool was required.  However, as the sun rose and we got moving more, the temperatures rose.

After breakfast, we headed out to explore more ruins at Chaco Canyon.  

Next on our list was Pueblo del Arroyo.  It is another large great house in Chaco Canyon. 

Modern day resident of Pueblo del Arroyo in Chaco Canyon

In the early morning, the sun's rays felt good.  To us . . . and to the lizard next to the trail.

Then we visited Kin Kletso, another great house.

Then on to Casa Rinconada (Round House?) and the trail up to the mesa and to another great house . . .

Looking back at Pueblo Bonito from the South Mesa Trail

After we walked along the trail for a while (it's easy once you get on top of the mesa), we reached great house Tsin Kletzin.  

By the time we arrived, it was HOT!  We ate our snack lunch in the meager shade provided by the ancient wall.  Then we made our way back the way we came.  Back to Casa Rinconada.

This hike was pleasant and not scary at all.  As you leave Casa Rinconada and head up the trail to get up on the mesa top, you need to keep your eyes peeled for rock cairns piled on the sandstone to mark the trail.  And . . . there is one section where you have to shinny through a sandstone chute that requires using hand and foot holds to get up and down that section.  It didn't scare me, though, because it wasn't straight up, wasn't exposed, and the fit was tight enough (my day pack scraped on both sides) that it wasn't likely I was going to fall.  I didn't take any photos of this section because I stowed my camera for that little bit of fancy footwork section.  Didn't want it dangling and hitting the sandstone or pulling me off balance.

My man's name for that section of trail?  The Jenny Craig section . . .

Thanks for indulging my still sharing our vacation photos with you even though it's been MONTHS since we got back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Handmade Olympics--My Nomination: Favorite Handmade Goodie With Innovative Design

Purple Alien soap by KristysLovelyLathers

Isn't this soap just amazing!  It's pretty.  It's fun.  It's colorful.  The description makes it sound as though it smells good, too. 

I nominated this soap for Favorite Handmade Goodie With Innovative Design.  the rikrak studio is hosting another Handmade Olympics at her blog.  rikrak is a hugely busy handmaking crafter and promoter.  Her blog is always fun and entertaining and sometimes makes me think.  You can win prizes by participating in the Handmade Olympics by nominating and voting.  And . . . you'll have an excuse for hunting around for items to nominate.  Well, sort of . . .  Check it out here!

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vacation Photos--Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Canyon

There is a very special place in the middle of nowhere called Chaco Culture National Historic Park.  It's in northwestern New Mexico.  It's about 40 miles south of Bloomfield, New Mexico.  Getting there is a bit of an adventure in itself.  When you turn off the highway to head to Chaco Canyon, you still have a paved road for a few miles.

Then the pavement ends and your trip slows considerably.  It's not that the road is narrow or winding.

It's not.  Its just that it's rough.

Think washboard. 

For thirteen miles. 

With an occasional pothole thrown in to make sure you're really watching.  Add a cow and a few sheep just for an audience and another potential hazard.  I was driving--with both hands firmly on the wheel--so no pictures of this part of the trip. 

But once you get there, what a magical place.

The above photograph shows Fajada Butte, a prominent feature in Chaco Canyon. 
Fajada Butte is closed to the public to protect it, but it has the Sun Dagger marker that is believed to align with celestial occurences.

From 850 to 1250, Chaco Canyon was a center of activity for the ancient Chacoan people all over the southwestern United State's Four Corners region.  They had a road system and this "community" of great houses.  Pre-planned architecture, astronomical alignments, agriculture, and engineering were all elements of this ancient culture.  All of this before the Iron Age!  No metal.  No paper.  No compass!

We arrived in August 2010 just in time (and by pure luck) to join in the full moon presentation at the monumental complex of ruins called Pueblo Bonito.  We went early enough to tour part of Pueblo Bonito on our own before we joined the tour with the ranger, who really LOVES astronomy and Chacoan culture. 

Please enjoy this photo essay of the rest of our first day (and night) in Chaco Canyon.  The ranger initiated us into the culture and deemed us Chacoans.  After that visit, we're honored. 

What an amazing place . . .