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Pretty dried weed

Originally uploaded by nerdymark

I really like this photo of a dried plant out in my parents' ditch at the back of our property. The ladder and fence in the background give me images of laying back in the ditch during the summer, watching birds and trees in the distance, occasionally chewing on the green version of this plant's papery blooms. I think next time I make it up there I'll collect some for use in paper making. So sheer, so delicate. They catch the light like a chinese paper lantern, and I think it's a beautiful early summer site.

Itching to make clothing

Today I really feel like all I want to do is make clothing. Really.

I have these images in my head of cute little t shirts and fun skirts, but unfortunately for me and my little seamstress needs, I have to work in the salon for a while today. It's not for very long, 4 hours or so, but long enough of a chunk that I could have spent otherwise sewing.

I need to work my way through some of the fabric I've already purchased or acquired soon, since I keep seeing new fabrics places, and really have to work hard to not just collect fabric yardage. What good is fabric (other than making my office look pretty) if it doesn't become the item it longs to be?

I have a swap item or two that I need to complete as well, so maybe that will be my starting point after work today. Heck, maybe I'll get in a little time this morning for cutting some pieces out.

I'm looking forward to my day, I am. I just need to get moving and start living it!

Critique my Threadless T Shirt Design! Falling Leaves

I posted my first design today in the Critiques section on Threadless. My design is called Falling Leaves, and is a very organic, natural, and flowing design. What do you think about it? Would you wear it? Can it use some work?

Let me know what you think. Click here to critique my design. Leave me a comment too, I'd love the feedback!

Finishing Handspun Yarn and Winding a Skein Video Tutorial

Here I'm demonstrating how to wind newly-spun yarn into a hank, tie it to keep from tangling, setting twist, and winding the hank into a skein.

Enjoy the tutorial! :)

Spinning on a Drop Spindle Video Tutorial

In this video I'm spinning BFL wool on a top whorl drop spindle.

Enjoy the tutorial. :)

Drafting Wool for Spinning Video Tutorial

Here's a video of me prepping some BFL wool for spinning on my drop spindle. You also prep wool for a spinning wheel this way.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial. :)

TerraCycle Inc - Innovative recycling company

My husband was telling me about something kinda neat today. Target has paired up with a company called TerraCycle Inc to recycle target bags into a heavier duty fused target shoppers.

I checked into the company, a little interested in what they actually do, and here's a snippet I pulled from their website:

"The TerraCycle Story... a tale of ultimate Eco-Capitalism. The company's flagship product, TerraCycle Plant Food™, is an all-natural, all-organic, 'goof-proof' liquid plant food made from waste (worm poop) and packaged in waste (reused soda bottles)!"

Pretty neat, eh?

Here's the link:

They have a little selection of products and they're starting to add to their line. They have their lawn and garden area, including the mulch and potting soils in recycled packaging, as well as cleaning supplies, and they are developing bags, office supplies, and winter and holiday items. In the office supply section they'll be offering neat recycled zippered pouches from juice drinks, candy packages, and the like.

I think it's pretty darn cool. And imagine, these people make trash their treasure. Check em out!

WOTD - May 4, 2008 - The Random Act of Kindness Foundation

It has been brought to my attention lately that I need to shift my attitude a bit. It's the truth, it really is. I'm overdue for a re-tuning, and I need to bring a bit more kindness into my life.

What can I do?

I can start by being nicer to my husband. I can continue by letting that kindness move into other aspects of my life. Every place I bring it, it will grow and expand and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Need some ideas?

Check out the Random Act of Kindness Foundation. Here's their website:

The Random Act of Kindness Foundation

Do something nice. Start right now.

Needle Felted Bead Cabochon Tutorial

Felt Cabochons
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

We're going to be making these awesome little needle felted cabochons today. I love how you can make a whole set that works together, but no matter what they're all individual and beautiful.

You'll need the following items:

Foam platform
A few colors of wool roving
Various sized felting needles, including a multi-needle tool
Metal cabochon bead back
Seed beads
Embroidery thread
Embroidery needle

Working in a complimenting palette of roving colors, pull a small amount of fibers from each color.

Pull a few fibers at a time from each color and lay them over each other. Alternate colors and shift down so the ends of the staples overlap.

Coil roving fibers around each other, and smooth ends around edges.

Since we're working with such a small area, a pair of long handled tweezers works perfectly to keep fingers out of the way of our very, very sharp felting needles.

Begin needle felting the disk of roving slowly, flipping the circle over every so often.

Insert the size 38 needle perpendicular to the side edges of the disk, being careful not to hit the tweezers with the needle. Felting needles are fragile due to the barbs along the tip and irregular shapes, and can break rather easily.

Keep the shape as round and even on the edges as possible while you work. Flatten out the top edges a little as you go.

Continue sizing down the disk along the edges, moving to the size of the metal bead backing. Keep paying attention to the thickness around the edges and keep them even.

Once the disk is the right shape to sit inside the rope rim of the backing, it's time to start focusing on our finished shape. Check your sizing and shaping of your edges and smooth any large or uneven areas to their final size.

Rounding top edges
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Now it's time to give our felt disk the look of an actual cabochon by rounding our top corners into the felt. Slowly needle the edge into a graduating dome, working evenly and smoothly all the way around. Make sure to not distort your shape or your edges.

Create concave underside
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Lightly and gently, work a little crevice into the underside of the cabochon. This concave underside will give us a place to put our glue, as well as hide threads from embroidery.

Be careful not to push the needle all the way through the top of the bead, as this will push some little fibers out from the surface of the top.

If this does happen at all, gently needle felt over the loosened fibers on the top, being careful to not level out the concave underside.

Take a few fibers between your fingers, then twist to create a loose mini section of yarn. Lay your designs down one line at a time, and needle felt into place.

The more you needle the design, the more it will meld into the background of the bead. Your best bet is to felt it to the point that the surface is just smooth and there are no more loose fibers.

Tuck the end fibers around the back and secure into the crevice by needle felting.

Hand sew any beaded or embroidered embellishments to cabochon, hiding knots and loose ends on the underside of the bead.

Apply a small amount of hot glue to the crevice. Press bead to backing (I've scuffed mine here with a pair of pliers to get a better grip of my glue)
and hold firmly until metal bead feels completely cool on the back.

Here you see our new bead from the side, attached to our metal base. There's two holes on either side of each base. What can we do with these lovely things? I bet we can come up with a few things, right?

Rhumba Earrings Tutorial

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Today we're going to be making a set of earrings that require very little supplies, one basic skill, and can be completely customized to any color or to compliment any outfit. It's a fun and playful earring that I just love!

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's our materials for this project:

10 small jump rings
18 large jump rings
2 wire ear hooks
Seed beads, your choice of color
needle nose pliers
flat nose pliers

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

To begin, tighten and completely close 4 of the small jump rings. Twist the ring ends sideways past each other slightly if they aren't lining up.

Next, open the rest of the jump rings by twisting the ends past each other while holding with 2 pairs of pliers. Never pull the ends away from each other, this will distort the circular shape of the ring and make it difficult to return to its previous form.

With one opened small ring, pick up two of the closed small rings. Twist the open ring closed completely, being careful there are no gaps between wire ends.

Attach another ring to the end of the chain and twist closed. Add one final ring to the end of the chain, and attach an ear wire.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's what the chains will look like when you have all 5 rings attached to each hook.

The chain links are where we'll be attaching the beaded jump rings.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Add a seed bead to each large jump ring. Close one beaded ring on the bottom link of the chain, and two on each link moving up, on opposite sides of the chain as pictured.

Note: It's definitely easier to attach the beaded rings from the bottom up, not starting at the top as pictured here. This just makes it easier to see how to attach the rings to either side of the chain.

Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Lots of Rhumba Earrings, lots of different colors! Make a pair for any, no, every outfit!

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