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Japanese Bunka-Shishu Embroidery – a fun alternative to cross stitch!

For those of you not familiar with Japanese Tokyo Bunka Shishu punch embroidery, this traditional craft dates back approximately 100 years.  Bunka-Shishu has the appearance of an oil painting and has a special art status in Japan.  It’s fairly simply to get started with only a few tools needed.  Just a wood bunka frame, an N-3 Bunka Punch Needle, tacks and a kit will get you going. The thread used is a silky rayon that is worked on a soft tight polyester gabardine fabric that is printed with a numbered thread placement design (similar to the paint by number kits of your youth).  The needle used is unique to Bunka,...

Survival Tactics For the Bleak Mid-Winter

The bone-chilling cold and leaden gray skies are a soul-sapping  reality as we hunker down into February. It seems like everywhere we look, our eyes are inundated with varying shades of gray (way more than 50!). Personally, when the days are short and the terrain is drab and I am aching for a ray of sun, I have certain special rituals that help me make it through.  I know I am not alone in my dreams of sunshine and flowers- many of my friends tell me they feel the same, and to that end we take special pleasure in planning our gardens for the sunny spring.  Even a seed catalog...

Vintage Yukata Hand Dyed Kimono fabric

Are you looking for that unique print for your Asian quilt?  Vintage Yukata cottons really caught my eye when I was recently introduced to them by local expert, Patricia Belyea.  These lovely one of a kind designs are from the Showa period ranging from approx. WWII to 1989.  Bold large scale florals in bright colors contrast with traditional indigo blue and white geometric designs.  The bolts average approx. 13-14″ wide and are approx. 12 yards long, which makes a full kimono.  Yukata translates to “bathing clothes” in Japanese and the term also refers to summer cotton kimono.  These kimonos were traditionally worn to the community bath house. We are teaming up...

Taking Comfort in Handmade Crafts During Hard Times

We all gravitate towards things that give us comfort during times of stress.  Whether it be “comfort foods”, your stash of carefully gathered fabric, or a pile of soft yarn and a set of knitting needles, it’s those little pleasures that sooth our souls.  During these difficult economic times, we’re looking for a simpler way of life, a way to slow down and relax without spending a lot of money. We seek out our history in the creation of a quilt, a connection with a grandmother or aunt, and begin to create our own traditions.  Is there a special quilt that is begging to be made for each new baby...

Michael Miller Fairy Fabric Collection – Art from Cicely Mary Barker

Fairy lovers unite!  The beautiful art from the estate of Cicely Mary Barker has been transferred to fabric in Michael Miller’s Fairy Collection for every season.   Each season, a new collection of fabrics is released, including a panel of blocks to use for soft books or quilts, a large panel and many companion pieces.  We just recently took delivery of spring bolts, summer, fall and Christmas. If you were not previously familiar with Cicely Mary Barker, she was an artist in England in the early 1900’s who published beautiful fairy books for children, as well as greeting cards and postcards.  Ms. Barker used children to model for her flower fairies...

Baby’s First Sight by Michael Miller Fabrics

Did you know your newborn cannot see color?  Black and white, high contrast images are perfect for your new baby.  One of the first colors that babies can detect after black and white is red.  Michael Miller fabrics has created the Baby’s First Sight line of fabrics specifically with your newborn in mind. This very cute collection of red, black and white fabrics are just right to create baby’s first toys, quilts, wall hangings and more. Create a special gift for a baby shower or prepare for your own exciting event!...

Floorquilts Quilting Rage with Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth

If you’ve put a quilt on every bed and wall and your friends and family have been taken care of, what’s next?  How about checking out the lastest rage in quilting – Floorquilts! These new projects are quick and easy and allow your creativity to flow without being hampered by your sewing skills! Ellen Highsmith Silver has written a book entitled Floorquilts! that was just released.  This is the perfect way to use up your fabric scraps using decoupage techniques on a heavy multi purpose cloth.  We’ve recently discovered the Roc-lon Multi Purpose cloth that will be perfect for your floor quilt projects, as well as tote bags, home decor, window...

Alexander Henry 2008 Pin Up Girl Holiday Fabric

As far as I’m concerned, Alexander Henry is the king of retro fabrics!  The latest holiday releases for 2008 are Pin Up Girls for Halloween and Christmas.  Holiday on Ice features girls on Christmas packages and Bewitched is a charming Halloween girl print. These great prints are designed by Nicole De Leon, one of Alexander Henry’s co-owners. If your tastes run more to cute retro children’s prints, you’ll love the new silhouetted “Halloween Lane” print.  Kids in costumes on a black background grace this print....