I'll be updating my website- stocking the "shop" with new pieces this Thursday. If you'd like more information about how my website update sales work, here's a link to all the details. If you have additional questions feel free to email me!

Summer Website Update
Thursday June 2nd at 12noon CST
(that's 1pm Eastern, 11am Mountain, 10am Pacific)

 If you're following me on Twitter- I'll be tweeting during the update sending out news as pieces sell updating info before I can post it on the website. And check out my facebook page for more sneak peeks this week!

This will be my only big update this summer. I'm working on a few different projects so I'll be using a lot of my time in the studio to concentrate on those (more info to come as things progress). I do hope to make a few pieces which I'll post on the blog, facebook and twitter now and then... so just one more reason to join us on one of the many social network sites! 

around here today...

it's slow, quiet, and stormy. We're staying in today. I've been sewing, Jay and Claude just made a Lego castle, and the clothes on the line may never dry again...  rain rain go away.

While I've been in the studio working this afternoon I've been listening to stories about our service men and women... thinking of all those who have served, their families, and all of those we've lost. thank you all and Happy Memorial Day.



they're surprise or really happy or startled- but no matter what's going on they make me laugh. I'm just making these guys outfits today- for my update this Thursday?! I'll announce the details tomorrow!

HAPPY SUNDAY! hope you're all enjoying your weekend... what are you doing this holiday weekend???


fav summer fabric...

just pulled this fabric- again. I've had it for 3 or 4 years and every summer I find it's my go to. It's the first thing I'm drawn to when choosing fabrics- everything looks good with the pattern and the color... and I have to stop myself from putting it on EVERYTHING. I think the pandas will have little neck ties in it for the update, but that's it for now. Lucky Pandas.



a little blog goodness...

I'm working in the studio today- the bears and animals are piling up for the update (date yet to be announced) but here are a few beautiful places to visit... somewhat kid related and all lovely:

and a really pretty bouquet of flowers from my dining room table...


pentagon colorful fabric balls... tutorial

Yesterday I went to a two-year-old's birthday party. There were five little boys there all under the age of 5 and lucky for us adults we get along as well as the kids do. It was a remarkably enjoyable afternoon. I brought one of these fabric balls as a gift and quickly realized that it is not only a hit at our house but across the board- from the 1.5 year old to the older boys balls are hands down the favorite toy. This one is soft but still very playable so it can be kicked and thrown without too much concern about the whole house coming down around an active indoor afternoon of playing.

Below you'll find all the info about how to make your own! Enjoy, JM

What you'll need:

printed pattern piece (below)
4-12 different scraps of fabric (preferably decor weight**)
sewing machine
stuffing (preferably cotton or wool)
needle and thread

 seam allowance: 1/2"

**I found using a slightly heavier weight fabric made the balls much smoother and more substantial once stuffed, but I would think it depends on the size ball you're making. If you made anything smaller than my "small" ball quilting-weight should be just fine. Another option would be to use interfacing on any smaller scraps you had lying around to beef up the weight- and that way you could mix and match different weights of fabrics too. 

 my samples:

large ball: about 7" across 
(the pattern piece 5" across at the widest point and 3" on side)

small ball: about 5" across
(the pattern piece 4" across at the widest point and 2.5" on side)

 Click on the pattern image above to pull up the full sized file, then just drag it to your desktop and print it at 100% on a piece on card stock for the larger ball or 80% for the smaller size. Re-size the pattern to create additional sizes. 

Cut out 12 or more pentagon pieces. You'll need to use at least 4 different fabrics in order to make sure no like pieces touch, but even that's a little tricky, I like to have at least 6 different fabrics. I cut out far more than 12, that way I could create the design as I sew it together.

With right sides together sew two pieces together using a seam allowance of approximately 1/2" (doesn't matter the exact measurement- just be consistent). Most importantly make sure you to start and stop your seam at dots marked on the pattern. There is no need to mark the fabric, but be sure keep it in mind while sewing.

Open your two pieces and...

place the next piece on top.

Sew the next two pieces together stopping as soon as it's met up with the first seam.

Open up the three pieces...

and fold the next two pieces with edges lined up and sew across, remembering to stop the seam at the mark on the pattern, not all the way across the piece.

These three pieces will not lay flat and as you continue to add pieces to this you'll begin to create the curve of the ball. Continue to work this piece until you've made the whole ball or...

sew six pieces together to create a half ball: one piece in the center and five- one off each side. By doing it this way it's easier to plan your overall design.

When fitting two halves together remember to fit each "point" into a "valley" where two pieces meet to continue the over all pattern.

Sew all but one (for the larger) or two sections (for the smaller) and turn the ball right side out. 

Stuff with cotton, wool, or kapok. Sometimes it can be difficult to find an alternative to poly-fiberfill but it's worth the hunt. Natural fibers are not just better for the child who's lucky enough to play with this hand-made toy and the environment, but they're also much healthier to work with. If you're having trouble with finding a source check out quilt batting, it's readily available in organic cotton and wool in most quilt shops. Just be sure to pull it apart as you stuff so that the work doesn't get too lumpy. It should be stuffed firmly but still have some give when squeezed. Hand sew the opening closed. Iron the whole ball after it's stuffed.


Consider sewing in tags, tabs, a twill tape "handle", or a noisemaker to make it even more playful and interesting for the little ones.

When fitting larger pieces together make sure that the edges of each pentagon line up and fold all seams away from the center. This insures that the pieces will fit together properly and with as little puckering as possible.

With this pattern puckering occurs when edges are over-sewn or seams are tacked down by stitches on the wrong side. To keep all the work as neat as possible try to have all seams met (but not pass each other) and keep seams "untacked"  like the image below:



your eyes are not deceiving you...

over there... on the side bar- YES! is does say twitter and facebook. I have joined the rest of humanity- yes I know I'm a little slow, but you can now connect with me there too!

I've been planning a number of changes around here, one being with how I communicate about updates and other news. I've gotten a little lax about sending out emails to everyone each time I have something to share, instead I post the information here. In order to better connect with more of you I've decided to also share that news and more on twitter and facebook. I'll be doing away with my old email update notices and in their place I'll be posting all info here plus I'll be tweeting and posting on facebook. While I'm new to all of this I hope each "location" you find me at has a little something different to offer, be it notes about interesting things and events I've found, my usual blog posts, snippets from the day, and of course all the details about when new pieces become available.

Fear not, if you don't care much for facebook or twitter you can sign up to receive all my blog posts via email (it's over there in the side bar too)- so you won't miss a thing.


wo-wo-wo-working! AGAIN!!!!

and it feels so nice. These bigger kitties (14")  have been really coming along ... I'm looking forward to putting on their eyes and expressions on for "real" this morning.

Ohhh to be back to work- I've really missed it these last few months.



Just settling back in here. The trip home was as painless as a 16 hour journey can be- I feel so lucky the flights were delay free and relatively smooth sailing. Now, we're all just getting used to being home... it's strange. My feelings oscillate from feeling totally out of place here and then I blink and it's as if we never left, but all in all it feels very good to be home. I'll be back to work shortly. Until then...


goodbye Rome and an informal list

We are headed home very soon- time is running out and this list is due so without further ado, I will miss very much:
  •  walking past the Colosseum on a regular basis
  • getting pizza bianca on the way to the park nearly every morning with Jay and Claude
  • the super fresh and beautiful food at nearly every store and every market (it's truly breath-taking and it makes grocery shopping so so much fun)
  • the 87 bus- who knew I would love the buses- but I'll miss them terribly
  • being able to walk into a new church nearly everyday and still be surprised each and every time
  • PIZZA- in all forms- everyday - yes, every-day
  • wine and cheese and olive oil and all the baked goods
  • the fountains everywhere from the simplest to the most complex- all with clean drinking water for thirsty little boys and their mothers
  • the utter and overwhelming kindness that Italians shower onto all babies and children
  • the Pantheon
  • and all the other amazing structures, sculptures, paintings, fountains and...
  • the salty sea
  • the plants and trees and flowers and the smell spring blossoms as you walk down the street
  • this time with Claude - watching him become more and more and more....... and more
  • the breadth and depth of the beauty and complexity of this city

goodbye Rome- my home away from home. (each day when we get back to the house after a long walkabout- Claude spreads his arms wide, arches his back, and yells "HOME!". I know I'm not the only one who will miss this place.)



    To all mothers, soon to be mothers, and to the daughters and sons of mothers too- HAPPY DAY!


    little photos from home...

    it's nice to see Spring has finally come to Minneapolis. A friend sent me a few photos of my yard just beginning to bloom. This will make our homecoming much easier as it seems I've gotten a little too used to all this lush green, warm days, and plants heavy with blooms and fruit... it still looks a bit shabby but I'm just so happy the snow is gone, and how lucky to experience the onset of spring a second time in one year?!



    Even after 3 months here Rome continues to unfold, surprising me with something new and unexpected nearly every day. We leave here in less than a week and even now I'm trying to reconsile what my life is, was, and will be. This place and time has changed me- and while I think it will be a long time before I can feel out how and what is different, I know I am very much the better for it all.

    I'm trying to make a list of my favorite parts of living here. It's a tough list to narrow down but it will be thoroughly considered and reconsidered, written, photographed, and posted before we get on that long plane ride HOME.