Friday, February 24, 2012

To Remember....

I'm headed out to New York today, not for business or a bead dig...but to remember an old friend who passed away in December. Molly, Ryan and I are meeting up in the Big Apple to celebrate the life of a girl we all loved - and considered as close as family. Suzanne was one of Molly's closest friends in high school and moved to New York to experience everything - once, or maybe twice. I think a lot people move to New York City for this reason - to try out something different - I know I did. I wanted to live in a big city, meet strange people and live on the edge. Suzanne moved to New York to live in a 100 year old walk-up building, eat out every night and make a difference in the advertising world. I am nervous and excited about celebrating a life that was cut short - but I know that everyone I see this weekend will have a story to tell about Suzanne and we will all feel just a little bit closer to her for 48 hours. Au revoir my friend....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Bag of Winners

I wish I could send everyone a bag of our paper is so hard to only give away a handful! But, I have to limit myself or I will be packing and shipping for the next week! So, without further ado...the winners, chosen randomly, are:
Jen Clair
Lisa from Lisa Call Designs
Nancy from Silly Stitching
Kimberly Jones, and
April Sunshine
Please send a note to with Scrap Winner written in the subject line and we will send out a bag of bits and pieces from the new paper collection with Jolee's Boutique. Once you have made up something beautiful, please send us a picture so we can share your work with everyone!
Thanks for playing along - and keep your eye out for the collection to be in craft and scrapbook shops this Spring!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scraps of Paper Giveaway

After our Art of Craft weekend, I am left with a bag full of scraps from our new paper craft line with Jolee's Boutique. I would love to send some bits out to someone who would like to create something beautiful.

So here are the rules....

1. Leave me your name.
2. If you receive a bag of scraps, create something beautiful.
3. Send a picture to me at
4. Be willing to let me show it here on the blog when our paper line is released in May 2012.

That's all...just a few guidelines...anyone up for the challenge? You've got nothing to lose, except an hour of creativity! Here we go.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is Inspiration?

Lately I have been plagued with the idea of art and craft and how we come to create our own style. I am inspired by so many things every, nature, color, beads, Sofia, stripes, old houses, museums, magazines, textiles, flea markets, friends, France, food, family...the list goes on and on. How can we own one idea when we all are influenced by so many of the same ideas? How is it that we presume to think that since we created something, we own it? Isn't every great design simply an interpretation of an older design? Shouldn't all of our life be about sharing something we create in order to inspire others? Maybe this is too optimistic - maybe we haven't developed enough to carry this out - but I believe that if we are all going to move forward in this big world of creative design, we need to always create from within and credit those who have inspired us. I have been in the creative business long enough to have been scarred by the feeling that someone "knocked me off" - it made me sick - to death. I had to take a backseat and begin again, begin from the point of owning nothing but wanting to explore everything, again, for the first time. The anxiety that comes with feeling ripped off or copied is a very negative feeling - one that works against the creative process. There will always be people who want to profit from someone else's hard work - but hopefully, they will learn to develop their own sense of style if they hope to stay afloat. Maybe we should be willing to let people be inspired by us - just a bit - so that we are pushed to develop more. I have always hesitated writing about this - becasue it is such a hot spot for so many people - but I think the time has come for everyone to admit that inspiration comes from all of us and we couldn't do what we do without everyone that has come before us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Woading in Elysian Park

I guess I am addicted to Woad! I have dyed with the natural weed seven times now, and by the end of this summer I will have done it another it another four times! I still get excited by the process and the technique - I actually learn something new every time. Something happens when you gather with a group of curious crafters and spend five hours together - dipping whites into huge vats of different shades of blue. Denise, the master woad dyer, who visits from France, likens it to a sort of magic. In fact, in the 17th century, woad was considered a type of alchemy - a mystical process that turned fabric from acid yellow, to bright green and finally to a deep, rich shade of blue - what is now known as the eponymous French Blue.

If you haven't joined us for a day of Woad, consider signing up for our Spring Workshop, to be held Saturday, May 5th from 9-4. We gather at French General in the morning for coffee and snacks, then carpool up to a historical field in Elysian Park - about 5 minutes away - where we meet Denise and hear about the history of woad. After donning our blue aprons and gloves, we set to work dying everything in sight - feel free to bring your white smocks, aprons, tennis shoes and napkins - anything natural soaks up the dye beautifully and reinvents itself! After a hearty lunch at the picnic tables, we return to the vats to finish up and then head back down the hill to French General for a glass of Lillet and a wrap-up of the day. I'm always surprised how we all like gathering afterwards for a show and tell - everyone has a woad story.
Since we began hosting these workshops, word has gotten out and we now help plan two other workshops - one in Seattle and one in New York - both run by woad aficionados!

See more images of a Woad Workshop - all photographs by Colin Cooke, master Woad photographer!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Art of Craft Wrap-up

Another creative-filled weekend has come and gone - but what fun we had! This year we had students from all of the US come for three days to make jewelry, stitch a sailor's valentine, build a valentine box, collage a monthly book and paint with beeswax. A big thank you to all of the teachers for giving so much of themselves, to the students who tapped deep into their creative spirit and to the crew who helped pull this off - yet again! Here are just a few snaps of the fun we had at the annual Art of Craft workshops held at French General....

If you would like to join us for next years event, please sign up at Art of Craft for advance notice of all of our workshops!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Millinery at French General!

Come learn to make a custom, hand-blocked hat at French General this Saturday, February 4th. Join Michelle Jorgensen as she walks us through the basics of hat making and learn to create a beautiful chapeau - that fits perfectly on your head! Embellish your hand-blocked straw hat with vintage French ribbon and flowers to make it look like an old hat right out of the millinery factory in France!