Happy Halloween :: Prayers for all touched by Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This little guy is about 24" tall and he is made of cheese cloth and a bit, or well, a lot of starch. Go here to find the tutorial.

Happy Halloween!

First, prayers, hugs, and thoughts of encouragement go out to all those touched by Hurricane Sandy this weekend.Our family was lucky enough to be spared and we are giving thanks. May God help the courage, strength and souls of those picking pieces of this world in these moments as I type these words. It can't be easy, but we hope that with the hope, love and compassion of all in this great Nation that we call all rebuild together.

Light is shining through the wet dark bare branches of the trees this morning. It is cold out, and a bit raw. My government working husband is tele-commuting today since we don't know that public transportation will be able to get hime to and from his office safely. I am breathing a sigh of relief that I can actually have a moment of time to breath deep and write the words that come this morning.


I found felt bags just like these in our local grocery store. The kiddos demanded we bring some home, but Mama of course said, I can make those!! A bit of felt, embroidery floss, a sewing machine and those pictures I took with my phone, these replicas past the kid-test.


I've been working on things as of late. Just as the winds and the rains swept in fear and humility to nature, they also swept in my artistic streak and so putting pencil in hand, I started preparing for the Advent season that will soon be upon us.

Just a peek...More to come and of course a little sharing. :)



Hugs and Prayers,

Links I'm Loving :: Eyes Opened and Sharing Creativity

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Artful Year Cover 600

Jean, The Artful Parent has a new e-book out The Artful Year: Autumn. Through Monday, October 22nd, you can purchase her book for what you are able to pay...If her regular price is out of your budget, click through to her site and you can name your own price that you can afford. Just remember that e-books take time, energy, and passion to create for all of us. Be generous and the few dollars you'd spend on a latte to the mom who is sharing her talent!

We Were Blind: How a Homeless Couple Taught Us to See...by Tony Kriz via the Huffington Post. I so need this constant reminder to keep my eyes open and my heart at the ready. Every individual really is a human being with feelings, fears, loves, and talents that can amaze you, grace you, and bring life to spirit. Remember that when you look into the eyes of the next person you do not know and offer them your love and grace right back.

A creatively made home...a home decore/lifestyle e-course via Jennifer Rizzo Learn how to turn your house into a celebration of what matters most; family.

Why the crazy sacrifices are worth it...from Ann Voskamp. You'll need tissues to watch these videos...but please do...it floods your eyes with tears and your soul with thanksgiving and joy.

Halloween Bucket Fun

Friday, October 19, 2012

This fabric + a little time + my sewing machine = this treat or treat bucket.

Small handles = very functional
Duck canvas = no need for interfacing, fusible anything...
Halloween prints = fun.

Not from a pattern. Just a little playing around. Sewing, for the sake of sewing. Put aside the camera, shun the thoughts of another blog tutorial and just stitch. It was quite wonderfully organic. And very relaxing until I had to figure out how to piece together the orange trim from not-enough-scraps from another project.

The kiddos sure were surprised. And they began right away filling their treat buckets with everything not-Halloween; aka, cars, babies, and trains.

What are you stitching for Halloween?

Printing on Fabric :: A Little Mercy & Love

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Printing on Fabric...

First I treat the fabric with this solution... (Faux Bubble Jet Solution by Rebecca of Gather Yer Roses.)
And then I used her tutorial to print my image onto the fabric.

Make a tote, affix said print out where you like, and voila, and wonderful adornment.

Here are a couple more images you can print on any fabric you like...


You can download U & Me here. And Mercy & Love here.

Oh, and the Him & Me image is here.
Please use for personal use only.

A Big Thanks for Your Tote Bag Sewing Help

I am so overwhelmed by the positive responses and promises of help I've gotten for the Giving Bag collection. Thank you to all who are sewing, embroidering, and collecting out there! My goal is to collect 200 tote bags for The Giving Heart charity in Richmond, Virginia and I've already received my first few in the mail! Thank you! The bags pictured above are ones I made of duck cloth canvas and are waiting for children to decorate them!

If you are interested in donating, go here to find out more. Here are a couple of the mentions I've found around town! (If you've blogged about this donation drive, send me a note at abbieipark(at)gmail(dot)com.  I'd love to hear from you!)

Mollie Johansen - Wild Olive and new patterns here too!

The Choate Family Blog posted great pictures of the girls sewing!

Leslie - Leslie's Art and Sew

Make and give to others more than you yourself would like to receive.

Links I'm Loving :: Giving Thanks and Stitch and Send

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This weekend a little sand, ocean, Christopher Columbus, a muscle car show and drag racing the lights until 2 am, OC Maryland, family time with grandparents, a little unplugged time, end of season Maryland blue crabs, and then returning to a crashed laptop, a skin rash, and a head cold...so are the ups and downs of this ride called life. 

Coming up soon, some progress news on The Giving Heart bag collection, other crafting for charity ideas, and that fabric printing how-to I promised. My, so much to do! Hope you are moving right along too!

Here are some of the links I'm loving...

As I am starting to feel harried by our carpool schedule and the bits at home, school, and a head cold...I wonder if this would be the best stress remedy for it all...

Wild Olive designed some great simple embroidery patterns for the Stitch and Send project for charity! Stitch a simple embroidery patch, and send it to me to be affixed to a tote bag for The Giving Heart charity of Richmond, VA.

I have fallen in love with these 2012 Christmas wall art pieces by between You and Me! Head on over to their Etsy store for more information.

Him & me :: Mercy & Love ~ Free Printables

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sometimes the lightning bolt of inspiration comes crashing down in a flurry of pen to paper, thoughts scribbled and colors splashed down on the page all in a flash dash to empty the mind. 
Other times it is like waiting for it to rain. It looks like it might happen. It smells like it might start. It feels like it could begin to fall, but those darkened skies just hold out and will not shed a single drop. 

Sometimes, my inner artist is trying her hardest. Turning out ideas day and night. Most of them land on paper. Plans are made. Materials located are gathered together. Pieces printed, cut, ironed on, painted, sewn. And then the product is so ugly my inner human averts her eyes in detest. 

I used to think that was wasted failure. Now I think it is all progress. 
In the movie Finding Nemo, Dori the fish said, "Just keep swimming." I just keep going. I am learning to let go of the messy flops and move on. Remove the rubble and toss it. Purge my heart of disappointment, frustration and fear of failure. Lessons learned here people. You emerge from the dust one single step ahead. Another advancement along the path of life. The path that God meant you to follow, exactly. I am choosing to accept that "just right" path with my fabric shears in one hand, and paint brush and portfolio in the other. God is next to me, in me, and all around me. This journey is Him & me.

This can be a stencil. It can be a printable. It can be an iron on, if you want to flip it. Click here to get the PDF image. I'll be back after the long weekend with a brief print-on-fabric how-to.

I am also posting this one on the Stitch and Send Flickr Group here. If you are already sewing for the Stitch and Send, you can post your stitchery here too! If you aren't already participating, I'd so appreciate your help! I am collecting tote bags for charity and my goal is 200 by next month! Find out how you can help and more information here!

Oh, and while you are at it...here is another version...just for fun. (Note, I haven't fully refined it to be a stencil pattern...you'd have floaters...just cut out joined pieces to make this one a stencil. In the mean time, think, iron-on, or fabric printable.)

Have a wonderful Columbus Day weekend if you are here in the States! And a wonderful weekend besides if you are a bit further away!

Got a Sewing Addiction? How to Find the Cheap Fabric Fix

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So, you've got a sewing addiction. That is why you popped over, no? Honesty can be the first step in recovery. *Shhhh, though* This article isn't about recovery. It's about...finding your next fix...on a budget! *ahem.*

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "addiction" as:

compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful
Let's begin by talking openly about addiction and start by replacing the elicit drugs in the dictionary definition with something more soothing such as the likes of: drapey lawn linen, organic cotton voile, or a few yards of a silky charmeuse.  I am almost sure vintage Vogue patterns, antique lace, and beautiful jacquard ribbons, could sooth even the edgiest of cravings. But please do jump in if your preferred *fix* isn't just listed out right here.
Perhaps we can bend the rules a little about that harmful part. Does spending hours on those narrow rolled hems and leaving late for appointments count as disruptive? Does cutting patterns take the place of cutting carrots for dinner? Does an obsession that overtakes bathroom breaks, favorite TV shows, and vital sleep count as an...addiction?

So, you've got a sewing addiction, and one that requires cash on a regular basis. It's a habit you've have a hard time kicking. So let's start kicking it now. (I mean kick the "requires cash" part, not the sewing addiction. Does this mean I'm an enabler?)

For starters, I'm sorry; I don't have time to scour the Internet looking for the best sales at 13 on-line outlets. I don't have time to cut all the coupons for the local stores nor rack up "frequent, preferred, VIP, elite, gold-member, buyer" points, for a $5 coupon off my 300th order.

I do have time for these few tactics which are usually how I get my cheap fabric fix. Do I come away with the most gorgeous this-season print hot off the line? No, most certainly not. Are any of these easy-peasy methods? No, some take time going through the racks, weeding out the bad stuff, the ugly stuff, and the no-way-under-the-sun stuff. But some of these adventures are way more interesting than cutting coupons and I can almost always come away with some fine fabrics, ribbons and notions I feel confident will feed my need.

**These ways may not all be applicable to you. And please use these methods with caution. A sewing addiction is nothing to play around with.**
*     *     *
Community Sales
Yard sales, church sales, estate sales, rummage sales, garage sales...do you notice a trend here?

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Unique, thrift stores...look for big yardage in the form of linens, curtains, bedding, towels, etc. Sometimes I find kits, notions, and regular yardage here too.

A Sewer You Know
Mom, your aunt, your grandmother...who ever in your family, or circle of friends, likes to sew and is willing to share. My mom first sewing teacher. 40+ years of sewing; yeah has lots to share! *Ask first!*

The Closet of Someone You Know
My husband's closet. Shirt has a hole? Pants aren't in style any more? Make corduroy pants for a toddler. Make a hoodie vest for a four year old. A hint here; it helps to have a larger husband. Also request permission before you take.

Bedding and Linens
A discount sale in the bedding/curtain/table linen aisle of Walmart, Target, Bed-Bath and Beyond, Ross, Marshalls...and any other department store with a good selection of woven cotton prints. Remember to look for quality and thread count here!

Free Cycle
Did you know you can request items in addition to offering them?

Fabric Co-ops
Wanna know how these work? This thread does a great job explaining. Some posts in the thread say that the discounts aren't all that good after shipping and cutting fees and waiting months for your order, and I agree to an extent. However, from personal experience, I've found I can get fabrics like PUL from a co-op that I can't get from my local JoAnns. Or anywhere else retail in my area for that matter.

Discount Fabric Stores
My favorite store in New Hampshire is actually called Fabric Fix. They buy wholesale, sometimes discounted, from distributors and sell it all in their bare bones store front. You may have a strictly discount store near you.

Last Resort - Retail
If you can't resist those retail fabric stores, after-the-holiday-sales are your best bet to not get into some heavy budget trouble. Remember to venture in cautiously, with a coupon.

Keep your fabric fix healthy. Wash everything right when you get home. Use the hottest water allowable, dry it, press it, fold it neatly, and stash it.

The next time the sewing monster in you gets itchy and needs to bust out, peruse your stash and make something for charity, or something to give away, or a gift that says simply, "thank you kind person!" Or yes, you can make something for yourself too!

 If you liked this article and you want to see more, subscribe to 
Abbie Living to continue getting tips, tricks and thoughts about sewing, knitting, and crafting to create a better world.

Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie

35 Small Ways You Can Start Helping Others Today

Monday, October 1, 2012

Could I do one nice thing a day? Could I afford to? Could I even think of that many?

Would I be thanked? Would my thoughts and actions be recognized...or appreciated? Would I make even a tiny difference?

Would I be met with skepticism? Would I be met with rebuke? Would I be met with embarrassment? Would I be met with greed?

Would HE know what I was up to? Would HE smile? Or just think I was working some extra chits to get into Heaven? Would HE know what is in my heart? I think most certainly.
I believe actions speak louder than words.
I believe children learn from modeling.
I believe my spirit needs exercise in giving.
I believe it's a stretch for me to reach out.
I know I feel better having helped another.
Here are a few simple and not so simple ways, you might help someone else. If there are any more ways please add to the this list below. We can all work together, one tiny step at a time, to bring about a better world.
  1. Bring a morning mug of coffee or tea to a spouse.

  2. Give a child a hug.

  3. Rake leaves for a neighbor.

  4. Complement a co-worker.

  5. Bend down grab the newspaper off the curb and hand it to your elderly neighbor.

  6. Listen to what a child has to say, no matter how run-on it may be.

  7. Hold hands with your significant other.

  8. Give a favorite book to a senior.

  9. Pray to God and ask for His grace--for someone else.

  10. Pay for someone's Drive Thru meal who is in line behind you. (from WGTS's drive thru difference.)

  11. Babysit for a neighbor.

  12. Make a baked chicken dinner for a family with a very new newborn.

  13. Call a long distance relative or friend--just to listen.

  14. Send a hand-written note to a friend with a real stamp on it.

  15. Give a homeless individual a sandwich and juice. (A new friend of mine always has a ziploc baggie in her car stocked with a juice pouch, a package of crackers, a box of raisins and a few dollars, so she is always ready to reach her hand out to the poor.) 

  16. Let the father with a fussy toddler at the grocery store go ahead of you in line.

  17. Tip the waiter a little more, even if their service doesn't deserve it.

  18. Lend your book on CD to a friend with a long commute.

  19. Make a donation to the children selling lemonade, even if you don't care to drink any.

  20. Ask your boss how you can help.

  21. Read an extra book to a child at bed-time.

  22. Share your new sweater with your daughter. (and feel thankful she enjoys your fashion sense!)

  23. Say to someone, "I'm glad you are here." (from InCourage.)

  24. Offer an arm to lean on to the person who is struggling up the stairs.

  25. Smile sincerely to the mother with a fussy baby.

  26. Give the $5 Starbucks gift card you won in the office raffle to your child's teacher and say thank you to them for being such a positive influence in your little one's life.

  27. Break into your stash of pre-schooler artwork, crop a couple of pieces, add them to a multi-pose frame, insert a few photos of the kids, and send it off to far-away-relatives...just because.

  28. Say, "I am so sorry," to the person you've been thinking about.

  29. Bring out the trash for your spouse without saying anything.

  30. Leave an encouraging note on someone's blog page, facebook page, or send an email saying thank you for the time you spend inspiring others.

  31. Tweet about the loving words someone else wrote and how they moved your heart...in 140 characters or less of course.

  32. Let in the pushy person in front of you when you are all hopelessly locked in a never ending sea of traffic. (They might just need to get somewhere really quickly!)

  33. Pick up a piece of road-way trash on someone else's street or lawn.

  34. Say, "thank you! Have a nice weekend!" to the toll collector, cafeteria lady, secretary, custodial staff, postal worker, cashier, waiter, flight-attendant, cab driver, gas station attendant, dry-cleaner, mechanic, plummer, and the grocery shelf-stocker.

  35. Look outside of you...outside your head, your body, to the other humans around you who have feelings, beliefs, trials, and triumphs. Help them celebrate, grieve, elate, and sorrow in life and all that it has to offer. Give them companionship, assistance, support, and love. Gift them prayers and hope and show them Jesus Christ working in your heart to make this world a better world for us all.

 If you liked this article and you want to see more, subscribe to 
Abbie Living to continue getting tips, tricks and thoughts about sewing, knitting, and crafting to create a better world.

Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie
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