Friday, April 11, 2014

Announcing: The Rowan Tree!

Spring greetings & happy Friday, friends!

I'm very excited to publish this post but nervous too, I've been dawdling forever, in fact this post has been sitting in my drafts for two weeks, clogging up the works. Fear and feelings of  "am I good enough?" are powerful forces, but I won't let my silly fears keep me from pursuing what I love and share it, so here I go!

Recently couple of my girlfriends opened a new store in the downtown area of my home town, Lodi, California called The Rowan Tree, and it's a great little place you guys! The stars aligned the store came together very quickly, quicker than one might imagine! It's getting better every day as it fills with art and handmade goodness by local artists and makers and I am honored to say that they've asked me along in this journey as a contributing maker & artist!

So exciting! A rare and fabulous opportunity for someone like me. I mean real talk - I've never sold a thing, I've never tried. I don't have an Esty shop and although I take what I do seriously and always put my best effort into everything I make, it's been a passion and my need to create, but never a commercial endeavor.

What to make? What's my style? What do I dooooooo?

I've given this a lot of thought, and came back to where I started - the things I've always loved. Flowers, embroidery, felt. This is my starting place and where I am most comfortable, things I never tire of, which have a lot of room for exploration, interpretation and room to make my own. I've got lots and lots of ideas in a rapidly filling notebook stuffed with little bits of this and that, doodles and drawings, lists of suppliers and bigger grander things as one idea tends to lead to another. I am excited!

I had to start somewhere, so I started with pretty things to wear, broaches in soft, springy colors! 100% Merino wool felt, embroidered touches and just a tiny bit of sparkle. Here are my first contributions to The Rowan Tree!

Yellow Spring Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Green Spring Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Blue Spring Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Floral Leaf Embroidered Broach by Lisa Leggett

Light Blue Embroidered Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Bunny Broach by Lisa Leggett

Hello Easter Bunny

White Floral Embroidered Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Floral Leaf Embroidered Broach by Lisa Leggett

Strawberry Felt Broach by Lisa Leggett

Here is the display I made to showcase my pins in the store. I've had this mannequin for some time, but it's not usually this cute.{wink!}Normally it sits in our living room and displays one of my husbands collection of ice hockey jerseys. He's graciously let me borrow it for the time being. I gave the pedestal & top piece a coat of spray paint and covered the body in a yard of this (the only link I can find) gorgeous Pam Kitty Morning fabric I picked up on a recent trip to The Nimble Thimble

Broach Display by Lisa Leggett

I also made a few little needle books, these in a wonderfully soft wool blend felt with embroidered touches.

Felt & Embroidered Needle Books by Lisa Leggett

Oh, and a big, cheery pin cushion and some hand made greeting cards embellished with fabric & small touches of embroidery. Fun little extras that I was playing with. Looking forward to expanding on the idea of embellished cards.
Pin Cushion & Cards by Lisa Leggett

Looking forward to A LOT. I wish I had more time to make all the things that I'm dreaming of! I've always wanted more time (who doesn't?), but lately the urge is fierce! Now, if only I could make this into a full time job with bennies! 

Well... whew! That was a long post. I've already made several other things for the store and there's more on the way, and now that I've gotten this ball rolling, perhaps it won't be so long til we can chat again, and I can share a little more about what I've been up to and what I'm planning in the coming months. I'm pretty stoked about it!

Can't wait to chat about this with my blogging peeps, so lay it on me! Advice, pointers, critiques (but please be gentle ♥ ) I'm all ears.

Big love!

p.s. Go check out the The Rowan Tree! Give us a "like" if you're pickin' up what we're laying down. Pretty please with sugar on top!

p.p.s. Hey look, The Rowan Tree has a write up in our local paper today! The shop is open all weekend, if you're local, pop in and say hi! Tell 'em Lisa sent you. ♥

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Paddy's!

Top O' The Morning!

Did you remember to wear green today? (I  forgot, hope I don't get pinched!) Will you be having corned beef & cabbage for dinner? I will have to wait a few days for mine as I won't be home tonight, I'll be in Sacramento being crooned to by the marvelous Mr. Mraz. Lucky day indeed!

Vintage St. Pat's image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
I haven't had time yet to formulate a post about what I've been up to, but I've been very busy indeed and I'm equal part nervous & excited to share it! I will say that stitched for about 12 solid hours yesterday and forced myself to stop and go to bed at about 1am, I could have gone on and on. Hyacinth Bucket (that's "Bouquet" to the uninitiated) and poor Richard have been keeping me company on my late night stitch sessions lately. Poor Richard, God bless 'im! His facial expressions and Hyacinth's ridiculous hi-jinks crack me up, her escapades are legend. 

But soon! Soon I will share what I've been up to. 


Monday, March 10, 2014

In The Bag

Hi Everyone,
I've been a busy little bee over the last two weeks and have some big things to share and some fun things coming up for a big personal milestone, so stay tuned!

Today I thought I'd go back a little ways to show you something I made for Christmas for a friend. I had big plans to make several of these for other friends, and I still still hope to, but time has a sneaky way of getting away from me and I get distracted by new ideas. I can't be the only one, right?
Right, guys?

Ok, moving right along...
Large canvas tote with matching pocket, handles and interior.

This handy, dandy tote is not earth shattering , but I claim it all my own. I didn't have a pattern, I just knew wanted to make a big (bigger than average) sturdy, lined tote with a matching pocket and a wide gusset. My aim was for my friends to be able to carry a weekends worth of clothes & stuff in this bag, it's definitely big enough. Without much more than a few measurements sketched out in my notebook, I kind of eyeballed the whole thing and it turned out great!

Totebag Pocket Detail

I bought a big, canvas painters tarp from Home Depot to use for the exterior of the bag. Do you know how much yardage you can get out of those? Lots! I bought a 12' x 10' and I believe it was about $13. I could not buy heavy canvas for that price at the fabric store, no way, no how. It pays to think outside the box.

Hand stitched label on interior pocket

I stitched a little tag for the inside pocket, actually, it's kind of a big tag, and it's the only thing I wish now that I'd done differently...  I made the lining, handles and pocket out of some pretty remnant yardage I picked up at JoAnn's. I love this fabric, I have a lot of it too, I think I'd like to try to make a blouse. We'll see.

Interior lining of tote bag

And here's the bag all finished! My friend really liked it (yaaay!) and now, not only do I want to make the rest for my other friends like I'd planned to, I want to make one for myself! The last one I made for myself was plenty big, but I didn't do something right with the handles and they keep coming apart at the top. 

Large tote for toting lots of things!

Here was the bag just before I delivered it (way back at Cristmas, sheesh, did I take my time posting this or what?), filled with goodies. I'm very pleased with it. I'm having pretty good luck winging sewing projects lately. Whew! Maybe I'm finally gaining enough experience to do that with some success. I've certainly paid my dues with flops, that's for sure!

I can't wait to show you what I've been working on so feverishly the last few weeks, come back soon, m'kay!

What have you been up to, m'dearies? Do tell!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Appliqued Heart Table Runner

Fussy cutting. You guys know what that is, right? It's when you cut pieces of fabric so that a particular part of the printed design is centered or featured.

The weekend leading up to Valentine's Day I got a wild hair and started fussy cutting hearts out of some hot pink flannel fabric that I've had in my stash for a long time (and which I used in small doses for this project a couple of years ago). Mainly I was just playing with my new scalloped scissors and getting the feel of them, but the more I cut, the more I realized how much I liked those printed hearts. The fabric on the whole is just too bright for my tastes (and that's really saying something, because you know I love bright colors) but all those darling hearts! So what to do with them?

I know, I'll make a table runner!

Appliqued Heart Table Runner

I cut a long, wide strip of canvas and without any plan whatsoever, just started spreading out the hearts across the fabric in all directions. I stepped back and squinted a couple of times just to make sure the color was evenly distributed (very scientific, aye?) and when it was, I pinned them down and started stitching.

Here's a picture I posted on Instagram just as I was getting started. I never thought I would like it as much as I do, but I'm really starting to love Instagram for quick little WIP pictures.
Pinning down the hearts

Once I started I was a stitching machine. I queued up a book on Audibles (kind of "meh" as far as books go, but an easy listen, and one of my book club picks so I had to get through it anyway)
Stitching progress, hearts table runner

Somewhere along the way I fell in love with the stitching on the back and decided that I wasn't going to back or quilt this piece, I was just going to add binding and call it a day.
Back side of hearts table runner

I mean really, look at that! It's kind of accidentally pretty isn't it? I'm not fussed about the knots, it's a table runner, not a hard wearing pair of jeans...
Accidentally pretty reverse side of heart appliqued table runner

Speaking of binding, Instagram is also great for quick opinions. Like choosing which binding to go with, hot pink or aqua gingham?
Choosing the binding

Gingham for the win! I loved the pink, but there was a lot of pink in those hearts already, and I thought the aqua was a good balance, and besides... gingham!!
Appliqued Heart Table Runner

I'm pretty much in love with this runner now, it's one of my all-time favorites out of ALL the things I've ever made and that just tickles me because I really didn't put any thought into this. No planning, no worrying, I just cut a bunch of hearts out of some too-pink fabric and stitched those babies down. Talk about pretty accidents.
Appliqued Heart Table Runner

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but the runner remains out on the coffee table in the family room. It's just too pretty to put away.
Appliqued Heart Table Runner

Finally this fabric which has been sitting on a shelf for years met it's best potential (or at least the best I could give it) and has struck the right balance of bright & pretty and just a little bit tame. I love it!

Happy Monday everyone! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fairy Lights Update

Hi Fairy Folk!
I've had quite a few emails, comments and a lot of traffic lately from my original post about my Fairy Garden, specifically about the lights that I used. I've written a pretty lengthy update on the subject but instead of just leaving hanging out there in the archives, I thought I'd post about it real quick in case my regular readers were also curious. So without further adieu...

Those lights, those lights, those fabulous fairy lights!
Hens & Chicks, Birdbaths & Fairy Lights at A Cuppa Tea With Me
(if you're into this kind of thing)
Night Party in the Fairy Garden at A Cuppa Tea With Me
In the meantime, revisiting these posts has me dreaming of spring. Winter isn't very nice to a fairy garden, and I'm looking forward to digging in, freshening up and puttering around my tiny garden. It's almost time for a garden tea, I think!
Tea in the Fairy Garden at A Cuppa Tea With Me
Until then we'll have to suffice on memories and pretty pictures!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Big Heart

Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you've all had a simply smashing Valentine's Day, have you done anything special?

We had a quiet evening here at home, dinner (Korean Beef , so good!) and a Walking Dead catch up, good times. My honey has to work in the morning, so we're saving our date for tomorrow night, going to a Sweethearts Ball at the Moose Lodge. Oh! I forgot to tell you, we're Moose now! Well, Sean is a Moose, I am a "Woman of the Moose". I wonder if there'll be a secret handshake? 

So earlier this week I came across this pin of a giant cross stitched heart and was so inspired, I had to try a smaller version for my family room right away. 

I bought a piece of red poster board from JoAnn's for $1.79 (with my handy 40% off phone app coupon) and strategically punched holes, after graphing a big heart out on graph paper. Then I stitched the design with big, fluffy yarn.

Hey look, it's the neatest back-of-a-cross stitch you'll ever see from me! Probably a fluke. Anyway, after the design was stitched and I evened things up by cutting the poster board evenly around the heart, then I mounted the entire thing to foam core I already had left over from another project with double sided stick tape.

Those couple pieces of scotch tape are where I accidentally punched more holes than I needed - whoopsies! I simply took the little circle I punched out, put it back and covered it with tape. You can't even see it from the front, not at all, whew!

I used a length of satin ribbon and two long sewing pins pushed into the foam core as hanging hardware and put this baby on the wall,

My girlfriend sent me the most perfect goodies in our Valentine swap which make for a very happy little scene together with the big heart, just look! Two new embroideries, a cute Valentine print out, a wee bucket of sweets and a beautiful Valentine Pin!  

Pam is such a great stitcher, just look at this darling little pup in a basket! He is oh, so sweet.

I do love this big heart. In fact, I'm already planning to make one out of painted wood to leave up permanently. Hearts are okay year round in my book!

The little bunting on the lamp shade is from last years door wreath, reuse and recycle, kids!

When I make the wooden stitched heart, I'll definitely be sure to share. Speaking of sharing, I can't wait to show you the little table runner I made this week as well (I've been a very industrious crafty lady this week!), I think it's one of my all time favorite projects, so come back and visit again soon.

Have a great weekend, sweetstuffs!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine Pins

I just can't seem to stop myself playing with more hearts this week, I'm beginning to understand why my pal loves them so much, they're so versatile!

This sweetie pie crust heart is a pin that I made for a friend, this is our third year swapping Valentines. 
Embroidered Felt Heart Pin by Lisa Leggett
This year we decided to make each other pins, something pretty to pin to our sweaters for Valentine's Day and this flowery heart is what I made for her. When you see what I got you'll agree that she got the short end of the stick, she spoils me! 

This little pin was the first to fly from my fingers this year, sort of a practice piece, but none too shabby, so I sent it far, far away. All the way to Korea where my niece Alex is currently stationed with the US Army. She isn't a girly-girl, so I think she'll like the more "not-so-cuteishness" of it with the touches of black. 
Embroidered Felt Heart Pin by Lisa Leggett

Embroidered Felt Heart Pin by Lisa Leggett

And speaking of black, here's one more for a good friend, a bad boy, my chum, Sic. Yes, Sic. 
He's rad, you'd like him.
I only wish now that I'd thought to add little devils horns at the tops of the heart, that would have been perfect for him. Sigh... there's always next year.

That's not all the hearty goodness I have to share, stay tuned! 
Are busy making Valentine's tonight? Do tell!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Love Is In The Air

'Ello Sweeties!
Hearts, hearts everywhere! I've had hearts on the brain lately, been fiddling around and making sweet little things, these are a few of them. I made these heart pins for a Valentine's Swap organized by Aunt Peaches. The idea was simple, you make and send three Valentines and you'll receive three back - but not from the same people, which makes thing interesting because what you get, and from whomever really is a surprise.

Felt Heart Valentine Pins by Lisa Leggett

As I've repeated often, I'm not so great at papercraft, I dunno, I try, but it just doesn't seem to be my thing, thank dog I'm handy with a needle! *wink* Having said that, I knew I'd stitch something for the ladies whose names I was given.

Detail of back of pin

Small and sweet pins, cute, but not too over the top, something I would wear in public myself. I added a little pin to the back of each so that my Valentines can wear them on a jacket or sweater, or lanyard, or whatever floats their boat.

Felt Heart Valentine Pins by Lisa Leggett

I enjoyed making these pins, it really felt like playing, and got to use a new tool that I purchased recently, which I've wanted forever, scalloped sheers! Found them on eBay for a song. I have pinking shears and they're great, but I adore the soft bumps of a scallop.

Felt Heart Valentine Pins by Lisa Leggett

I made (very) simple little cards to attach the pins to and wrote a note to each gal on the inside, then away they went. Off to Kentucky, New Mexico and Idaho, fly away little pins, be free!

Felt Heart Valentine Pins by Lisa Leggett

I hope my Valentines like their pins and don't find them too gauche. I have had two Valentine's come back to me so far, pretty handmade things, crafty people are my favorite people!

Do you have any Valentine making going on in your neck of the woods? Do tell!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reflecting On 2013

So yeah, I've never done one of these look back mosaics of all the things I've made in the previous year, but this year I thought I would, I think it might help light my fire a bit and help me accept that I'm not quite the lazy chump I sometimes feel like, I've been struggling with that lately.

Less than some years, and more than others. I've only got two hands and I work full time so I can't (and not sure I'd want to) pump out the number of projects a lot of folks can, but then again this has never been a competition. I make things that interest me in the moment, for fun swaps, and gifts for my family & friends - because it makes me happy. Making makes me happy and like the hokey pokey, that's what it's all about.

  I don't really plan ahead very much either. If you'd asked me what kinds of things I was going to make in  2013 at about this time last year, I wouldn't have guessed any of these things. Whimsy & inspiration are powerful joy rides!

I've found it's been fun to take this look back, some of these things (like the Valentine's Day makes) have been packed away for almost a year already, seeing them again has given me some neat "oh yeah! I made that!" moments. Let's peruse, shall we?

These things are more or less in about the order I made them, it made putting these mosaics together a heck of a lot easier, links to details about each photo are listed below.

Not too shabby, eh? I've enjoyed seeing these things again, a lot of them have been sent all over the world and live with other people now. That makes me feel a bit warm & fuzzy.

I cooked a few extremely good (read picture worthy) things too!
1. Ham, Potato & Corn Chowder 2. Cinnamon Muffins 3. Salsa 4. Greek Cous Cous Salad 5. Ricotta, Baby Zucchini & Penne 6. Birthday Margaritas! 7. Minestrone 8. Zuppa Toscana 9. Mexican Pizza
(These are all here)

Food is goooood.

 And then there's these guys...
Oh yes, these babies o' mine. They do consume me. I'd bet that dollars to donuts every stitch I've stitched, is equal to one or more kisses on their furry little heads. I love them ever so...

I guess I wasn't as lazy as I thought I was this year... That chunk at the last part of the summer was a real bummer, I don't recommend fracturing any part of your body, friends. Its a drag and that walking boot was no joke. Also, it takes forever to heal. I'm still having problems with my ankle, in fact I'm going back into treatment for it shortly, it's not acting right and I have a lot of years ahead of me, so it needs to get with the program.

I'm looking forward to seeing what will materialize in 2014, there are some big things underway! Ok, so mayybe I plan a little... *wink* 

I hope you'll stay with me on this journey, it's fun to share and I love seeing what you're up to, too!