Experimenting with Shibori Dyeing

This past weekend I took a shibori dyeing class at Brooklyn Craft Company and it was so much fun!  I've always wanted to try it out, but It seemed complicated and living in a small space with no utility sink or room to make a inky blue mess I figured this class was my chance to go dye crazy (and I did!).

 I'm totally in love with the whole process. By folding the fabric certain ways and adding resists, like rubber bands, wood blocks, and string you'll get different patterns. It's kinda like origami meets tye-dye. There's a lot of chance at play too, so even when you use the same technique the outcome will most likely vary. That's the beauty of the process to me- that wonderful moment when you untie your fabric and see what you've got. I dyed lots of pieces and each one is completely different.

We used this kit to make the indigo dye. To create the resists and hold the folds in place we used wood blocks, rubber bands, thick popsicle sticks, and clamps. You'll also need a bucket for the dye, rubber gloves, and a drying rack. It was amazing to have a big space to work out of, because this got messy real fast. The most beautiful kind of mess indigo blue drips, pools of cyan, and dyed wooden blocks.

I'm wondering what I should make with the samples I made. I dyed a bunch of linen scraps I had from my handkerchiefs. Any Ideas?

If you want to give shibori dyeing a go you can check out these great how-to posts by Design*Sponge (which Brooklyn Craft Co. contributed) and HonestlyWTF.

postcard from home

The world is a crazy place. I'm listening to the news right now and just can't believe what I'm hearing. So on this Monday morning I'm relishing these happy scenes from my humble Brooklyn apartment. Cats, cactus, some work, and flowers Jeremy brought home.

My fluffy bunny Banjo is going to the vet this morning, so wish him well if you get a moment.

 Here's to a great week ahead. Make it the best day (even if it's a Monday)!

an embroidered family history

I recently had the pleasure of adding some hand embroidery to a very special family heirloom. This baptismal gown, dating from the 1950s in France, is shared with family members when they baptize their children. Then the child's name and birth date is embroidered onto the gauzy slip. I added a few of these names with the most delicate hand I could.

I don't usually take on these types of projects because of the logistical difficulties, but this beautiful piece called to me. I love the story of this gown, an embroidered family history.

You know I'm a sucker for a good vintage piece too! Really enjoyed photographing it. Here are a few behind the scenes and details of this gorgeous gown. The details are amazing!

Does your family have any heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations?

A little bit about Bonnaroo...

So Bonnaroo happened.

If you don't know about the music festival Bonnaroo, lemme tell you. IT'S INSANE! Farmland in Tennessee is cleared, giant stages are erected, and there's music all day and all night for four days. There are so, so many people, some 80,000+ people come out and the place is so huge that I'd often find myself lost or stuck in a sea of people. Some of those people were surely hula hooping. There was a lot of that happening. 

Just look at this very impressive line up, which includes Elton John, Yeezus, Jack White and on and on. Yeah, I got to see the rocket man himself sing Tiny Dancer. Surreal, life affirming moment! 

I was there working with Teva giving away sandals and customizing them with a DIY bar, or as everyone there was calling it Bedazzeling. So much fun- make all day, live music all night! I must have helped 40-50 (or more) people a day customize their shoes.

I also got to work alongside the firecracker florist Rosemary Stafford, who led floral workshops & is pretty fun & amazing. How great is this wall of flowers she made? So people who visited the Teva campsite got treated to diy sandal workshops, floral crown and jewelry workshops, and free concerts. Not too shabby! Lucky little bonnarooers. 

Never would I have thought I would attend this fest or have so much fun! I hope I get to go again next year!!

Photo 1-4 by Adam Macchia 

Mollie Makes Outtakes

In the last issue of Mollie Makes #37 I contributed a constellation banner project. When I got the contributors copy I was so happy to see that they also included and feature story about me too! The headline, "Small yet mighty" makes me so happy. The issue is full of creative projects, and features my friend Jessica Pigza's new book Bibliocraft, and it even comes with a full kit(!) to make a hot pink argyle mug cozy.

I thought it would nice to share some of the images that didn't make it into the the magazine. I always try to sneak in a picture of my cats. It's a not so secret goal to make them internet famous. That's Bullet up there with a kitty fu manchu.

This is my favorite image from the bunch. I love this little collection of art and books from our living room.

You can purchase the Mollie Makes #37 with the full project instructions, and pattern here.  

Hand Stitching for West Elm & Steven Alan

Funny story, recently I worked with West Elm for the launch of their collaboration with Steven Alan, Stripes.  I helped consult on totes that were made just for the collaboration, and helped organize a few stitchy cohorts to monogram these totes during the launch event. Super cool gig.

So here's the funny part, during the event there were so many people requesting monogramed totes that eventually we needed to turn people away. So one of these people I turned away was the president of West Elm, Jim Brett. I literally said no to the president of West Elm. Palm to the face moment! Of course I didn't know who he was, and he was incredibly nice. One of his people kindly let me know later that that was the president of the company and would I please stitch a tote for him? Coming right up! So in the end it was all good. I got to personally stitch a monogram for the big chief of West Elm. Pretty cool.

Julie of Your Secret Admiral and Nguyen of Knit Knit, stitching it up. Desira Pesta and Cheyne of Cut Out and Collect also helped. We estimated that over a hundred totes were stitched in a just a few short hours. Here are some...

All photos by BFA

Hall & Oates Embroidered Record

Sometimes I get a custom request I just can't refuse. It's just too thoughtful or too tempting an image to stitch up. This request was both. I loved the idea of a stitched record of a favorite song.  The Valentine's Day gift was inspired by a scene in 300 Days of Summer, where this Hall & Oates song plays as Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character is so happy in love he dances in the streets, high-fives strangers and hits an imaginary home run. It's just that good! I couldn't be happier to help people contain that feeling through my work.

Here's the original images that were sent to me to work with and a detail. The lettering was damn tiny that I had change it up a bit, but I wanted it to look close to the real thing. The finished piece was mounted on a 6x6" wood canvas.

I was thinking about what song I might have chosen to memorialize like this. Hmmm? Maybe Smashing Pumpkins Today or Depeche Mode, Blue Dress.  What about you?

Message in a Bottle Class & Giveaway!

I'm wrapped in a blanket watching the snow rain down. All the trees and streets are blanketed in snow and I just can't believe it's already February! Where did January go?! This year is already going too fast.

With February here it's time to think about Valentine's Day. I'm excited to be teaching a very sweet class at Brooklyn Craft Co. (Feb. 10th 7-9 pm) where we will be making a Embroidered Message in a Bottle. Such a great DIY Valentine gift! It's a great deal too since all the materials are provided!

Brett, the founder of BCC, has generously offered to giveaway one seat in the class for you! If you're around the NY/Brooklyn area and would like to enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment here. You can get an extra entry by sharing the class. Just tag us on FB (Brooklyn Craft Co./ Miniature Rhino), Instagram or Twitter (@bkcraftco / @miniaturerhino)

I'll announce the randomly picked winner on the 7th. Good luck & thanks so much!!