shoes and a new studio space

Etsy is a weird bird. There are times when it is super silent and then times that it seems to explode. All of a sudden I was swarmed with shoe orders and I’ve been steadily working trying to stay ahead. Here’s some of the shoes I’ve done recently (and my first time with Converse high tops!)





And the biggest news is that after nearly 3 years of working in my dining room I am FINALLY moved back into my “new/old” studio space. We still have some work to do (trim, painting, hanging shelves etc) but all of my sewing stuff is finally in one spot and I am so relieved! Today was my first day of “working” down there officially and man it’s awesome. Here it is while I was bringing everything down and trying to get organized…



And here it was this morning :)



a new gig


Earlier this year I was asked to join the amazing team of stitchers over at the &stitches blog. I jumped at the chance to join and can’t wait for what this experience will bring. This is a great blog with awesome tutorials, stitchy news and just lots of fun things. Every month tends to have a theme and in September we are all working on this crazy technique called “stumpwork.” Head on over and follow along!

a little stumpwork practice

a little stumpwork practice

One of my long term stitching goals has been to learn how to do “stumpwork.” There is a long history of this type of dimensional embroidery and if you look back at some of the traditional stumpwork embroideries from the 17th and 18th century you would be amazed. They used golden thread and beads and all sorts of things to create these absolutely amazing embroidered scenes with so much texture.

My first project was to create a stumpwork butterfly.

It was actually a pretty simple process for something that looks so complicated. I learned a ton and made gobs of mistakes along the way, but for my first little attempt I was pretty impressed with myself!

I ended up using a mini hoop and turned my little butterfly into a happy magnet!




new stuff

I’ve been horrible about posting here and like always I’ve got great plans to become a better blogger…let’s hope. Just as an aside, this website space is going to look pretty wonky for a while. I’m in the process of redoing my website and until then I’m having issues with spacing and alignment and all sorts of other fun stuff.

Here’s a few new things hitting the shop and a few customs I’ve finished over the last couple of weeks.

This C.S. Lewis quote was on my to stitch list and I finally came up with a design I half liked and then it sat unfinished for months. I finally finished it this week and I do love how it turned out.



For once in my business life I feel a little bit ahead of the holiday game. This pattern is one that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months and is designed off of a vintage Christmas card I saw. The pillow will eventually be up for grabs in the shop (and there’s a tutorial coming soon on how to make it yourself), but for now you can grab the pdf pattern available in the shop. It’s a great pattern for beginners and those more advanced. I liken it to a stitch sampler – it’s full of many easy, yet common, embroidery stitches.



I’ve done a few pairs of shoes… I love stitching shoes.

UntitledBlack and white Keds with ring

custom embroidered TOMS 


I finished up this hoop for a customer’s teacher gift. I had so much fun stitching this little class. Untitled


I finished up a custom family portrait and this one with a little dog! (these make great gifts by the way!)

Family portrait


And I introduced my new ornaments for the 2015 holiday season. These are available now at a reduced price for pre-order. Order yours before October to get the discount!


over here today….











I’m over at the &Stitches blog today sharing how to add beaded thread to your embroidery designs. Check it out! I even threw in a free pattern for you to stitch up yourself!


And if you love the pattern, but don’t want to stitch it – you can buy the trio yourself in the shop!

a little organizing

This Fall is going to be full of some big changes in our house. The boy is headed to 6th grade (middle school here we come) and the chick is staying home and doing 3rd grade with me. That’s right. We have entered the wild world of homeschooling. Because I’m going to have to balance my work time at home with school time with her, I had to come up with a better system for planning.


 Enter the doctored up planner. I have a planner from Plum Paper which I do really like. I can’t say I’m 100 percent sure I’ll reorder another one from them for 2016 (I’ve kind of got my eyes on this one), but if I do I know some of the changes I’ll make (such as ordering a family style layout instead of breaking the day into morning-afternoon-evening). I knew I didn’t want another planner or anything else to carry around with me for school planning. I really wanted it to fit into this book too. But the spiral rings were throwing me for a loop with trying to figure out something to fit in there. I did a bunch of searching online for how to attach page protectors and discovered these little gems.


They are called sticke clips and I found them on etsy. I actually had these smaller sized photo pages from another project (score!) so once my clips came I was ready to go.

my insert pages for planner

My planner is set up with one month page at the beginning of the section and then a group of weekly pages. Into each week, I will stick that weeks homeschool plan. I drafted up this planning page (which I’m sure I’ll have to adapt more once I’m actually using it) and I have one printed for the next week slipped in on the other side. Untitled

I also made this little bookmark with my goals for the week. I know I could write these on the side (and I might do that) but for some reason having this little extra bookmark in there makes me more likely to actually focus on those things (I’m beginning to understand where my child gets her ADD from). I actually made this by just cutting on of those photo pages off. The bookmark just slides in there and I haven’t had any issue with it falling out yet.


One other thing I need to work on in the next year is blogging. Come August I have an awesome blogging related announcement, but I also wanted to get back into a better rhythm of just writing and posting in general. I found this gem of a planner here and I shrunk it down to fit into one of my photo pages and I’m planning on keeping it at the beginning of each month’s section.

Here’s a copy of my weekly planning page if you are interested.


an embroidery update

Some of the things my hands have been stitching lately…

I’m currently working on a 50th anniversary commission and I’m so excited with how these little people turned out. It was a rough start to figure out how to do their faces, but I think I got it figured out!


Custom embroidery on a baptismal gown


I’m still stitching up shoes




An animal nursery set


I updated a version of some lyrics from Hillsong United’s Oceans song.


Another floral birth announcement


Continuing with my button stars series, I stitched up a portion of a song by Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings


And I participated in the Freaky Flower Swap on the &stitches blog

Freaky flower swap

And I leave you with a picture of my silly campers. This was my first time doing a sewing camp and wow! was it ever exhausting but fun. This one was called Mustaches, Monsters and Masks.


on fasting from social media

The end of my 40 days is near and it’s been an interesting 40 days. If you are new to this space, I turned 40 back on April 2nd and in celebration of my 40th birthday made a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 41. At the top of that list was a 40 day fast from social media and a break from my etsy shop.

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP


I spent the first week finishing up open orders and completing a few other projects that were on a deadline. I have had some other projects that I’ve had to do with a time crunch during these 40 days, but for the most part I’ve spent these days with lots of space. As this time comes to a close, I felt like reflecting on a few of the things I’ve experienced and learned.

1. Fasting from social media (or even just saying no to things and reducing your commitments) is not a magic bullet to clarity. I truly had this expectation that when I removed some of these temptations I would automatically feel refreshed. So not true. Silencing all this extra “noise” in my life was truly refreshing at first, but it hasn’t been until the last week or so that I’ve really started to feel (and I hesitate to use the world feel) some clearing in my mind.

2. Removing something from your life truly makes you realize how often you run to it. Removing the mindlessness of facebook and even instagram I realized how much I went to it just to veg out. It was shocking to me how many times I would be working (like truly working) on the computer and find myself done with that I was working on and start to check out facebook or blogs. While the clarity didn’t come right away, the extra time in my day to find other ways to relax came on day one.


Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

3. I had to admit completely that I got a lot of good feelings (think the Norweigian dude from Frozen – “lutefisk for gud feelings?” only in my case say “social media for gud feelings?) from checking instagram and facebook for likes and comments. I really think I was in this place where I was sewing, stitching, creating etc merely because I was using it as a means to making myself feel good. And it led to a very quick burnout and creative depression.


Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3


4. Take a break is a good thing. I really do think I was in a horrible creative depression. While I found myself able to design things as people were bringing ideas to me – there was little happening in the way of just my own open expression. I have to say that I’ve had such an amazing break and putting my shop on vacation for these 40 days has been so good for me. There has been great clarity and free-ness of mind when it has come to seeing art in the world around me and being able to express that. I really don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t taken a break. Everyone finds a slump in their work at periods of time no matter what their work is. That’s the whole reason we have a Sabbath! A weekly point of rest for us. It’s why vacations are so refreshing at times.


dragonfly @ urban threads WIP


5. Social media isn’t all bad – there is community there. I have to say that I have missed my stitching community on instagram so much. I’ve missed seeing what other people are stitching, having conversations with other makers and just the encouragement that I do find there. I’m super excited to jump back in and the same for facebook. There are people on there that I don’t ever get to see and I do love seeing their faces and I’ve missed that. I guess ultimately it’s all a matter of using it wisely and with balance.


dragonfly - Flying Menagerie @ Urban Threads


I’ve been in a book study these last few months reading Tara Owen’s book Embracing the Body. I’m still wrestling through my thoughts on it, but in essence it’s about being awake to the world around us. Probably my favorite part of this book so far is what she wrote about creativity and making.

creation is the act that declares the physical world and can bear the weight of glory – glory expressed through us, in us and with us. Glory manifest through beauty…{the idea that} simple threads can be redeemed to physically bear messages of goodness and kindness.

Last year at this time I was really wrestling with being real. With taking a jump and being brave. I had read a  speech that Roosevelt had given about stepping into the arena. Not just being a spectator, but being brave and taking that jump. I’ve been amazingly blessed and I’m so glad that I did take the jump last year. But now, I am moving more towards being alive and aware of why I’m creating and for whom. There is nothing I love more than running my hands over something that I’ve just stitched up. I am always amazed that simple threads can be combined with stitches to make a picture of something. And I want the work of my hands to be nothing more than a message of goodness and kindness.

**photos are of a dragonfly embroidery I just finished. Pattern is from Urban Threads and it will be available in the shop soon!

following your heart’s cry

Without a doubt, every Spring I start to go into panic mode. All the local school systems start hiring for the next year, our tax return money has run out and I start to seriously doubt what I’m doing. I convince myself that what I need to be doing is working in a “regular” job and earning “regular” income for our family. And so, every spring I apply for jobs and every spring for the past 5 years absolutely. nothing. happens.

a pocket full of thankfuls

All of this makes me question and doubt and struggle and end up frustrated and in need of a massage…weekly.
But this Spring it’s made me ask myself “why do you keep striving for the thing that isn’t really the cry of your heart?”
And I think it’s a super hard thing when the cry of your heart changes.
And even harder when you are truly able to do the thing that your heart cries out for.

For nearly ten years I taught special education. I worked at residential schools for the deaf and in public school systems and I absolutely loved it. I have amazing memories of all my years teaching and I cherish all that time. And at that time, it really was the cry of my heart to teach these students and move and work within a school. To sit and work on communication skills with a sweet little girl named Lilli. To watch Tanner draw square by square the latest movie was obsessed with. And to joke around with Connor as he wheeled himself around and asked for things he couldn’t have with his Dynavox.

But, as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that this is still the cry of my heart – it isn’t. I’m so thankful for all the closed doors that repeatedly have never opened because I truly think it’s taken this long for my stubborn heart to admit it.

Vintage embroidery contest 2014

I read a really great post this week by Abby Glassenberg about becoming a writer. How she never really thought of herself as a writer and I’m sure she never thought into the future she would be impacting so many with her words. It’s that weird thing when you start doing what you thought you never really would do and it ends up being the thing you wanted to do all along.

I never, ever thought I would remotely be considered an artist. And I still have a really hard time considering that what I do with a needle, thread and a hoop is art – but I’m coming around to the fact that it is and I am. I never thought that I could take a hobby like sewing and combine it with what I know about classrooms and consider myself a teacher – just not one in the “traditional” sense. But I am.

I am working to embrace what the cry of my heart is right now. I know the experiences that bring me alive and excited and I’m beyond humbled that I’m able to pursue those. My business has undergone so many rabbit trails and changes over the last couple of years and I’ve never fully embraced it. I’ve kept on the edge of it, treating more like a fun little hobby and a way to bring in a little bit of money for dance lessons and field trips. I’ve ignored that part of me that goes crazy over planning and designing and making. And I have come to realize how difficult it is to be an “artist” and think of it as a real job. No, not a job that brings in gobs of money, but a career none the less.

Today I had a a business lunch with two women I had never met. A friend set it up for me and encouraged me to go if only to make connections. It was amazing. Nothing big happened, but it was amazing to sit and talk and be moving in a direction that I am supposed to be going. It was a learning experience to be sure, but I realized sitting at that table that this, this is the cry of my heart and what an amazing thing to be able to follow it.