More Brooch Swap Inspiration

Just in case you missed the announcement on Monday, Jen (of Sewn Natural) and I are co-hosting a brooch swap.

Brooch and photo by Mimi and Lucy
If you would you like to join the swap, you can find details here!  Just for fun, Jen created the two photo collages you will find below for more lovely brooch swap inspiration...

1) brooch three by if only i had chocolate 2) snowy owl brooch by lupin 3) bird brooch by Elsita 4) fox brooch by ink caravan 5) feather brooch by scientific culture 6) starry night by oksaniko 7) crochet flowers by Annie Design 8) ahoy by Zoe Larkins 9) green roof house by andODesign

1) cameo by biribis 2) maraeas brooch 3) feather brooch by Emily Cater 4) tiny houses by lilipopo 5) flower brooches by Ana Hagopian 6) pink crochet brooch 7) pink heart by beedeebabee 8) acorn bar brooch by seven fingers

Brooch and photo by Mibbi Design


Brooch Swap

Jen of Sewn Natural and I have been conspiring, and we have hatched a plan. Autumn has newly begun, and seems to us, 'tis time for some crafting and time for a swap... a brooch-swap!

The gift of jewelry and adornments is a special one... a small way to carry blessings from a friend over our hearts.  And so, to introduce this swap, I hope you'll indulge me while I share a little story about an adornment I received from a friend many years ago...

When I was 21, I set off on an adventure, Eurail-Pass in hand.  A few days before my departure, I had tea with a friend, and when I arrived at her home, I immediately noticed the peculiar necklace she was wearing -- a couple of seashells hanging from an old bit of leather cord.  This ornament was at odds with the usual sort of thing she liked to wear, and so, not only was I drawn to the simple beauty of the shells, but I was curious as to why she was wearing them.  After an hour of listening to tales of her own travel-adventures, she unlooped the leather cord from her neck and placed it over my head.  I was surprised to receive such a beautiful (and slightly strange) gift until she explained that she had gathered these shells on a very special beach and kept them close as a reminder of this wonderful place.  She wanted to give me the shell necklace as a talisman -- to keep me safe and guide me in my own adventures.  And she hoped that my adventures would be as wonderful as the ones she'd had.

brooch and photo by Ellen Munro
Not every piece of jewelry we might create or give is necessarily a talisman or imbued with such meaning.

brooch and photo by Rie Aoki
Sometimes it's fun to wear something to add a bit of dash, panache and sparkle...

brooch by Emily Cater
How could a girl not walk with an extra bounce in her step sporting a feather in her cap?

brooch and photo by Kate McCurrach
Do you favor ornaments which reflect the change of the seasons?

brooch and photo by Rie Aoki
Perhaps you live in the Southern Hemisphere where spring has sprung.  Will you greet the season with a posy of bright blossoms?
brooches and photo by Elsa Mora
Are you feeling inspired? Let your imagination fly!


-- Sign-ups are open starting today.  To sign up, please email me margaret (at) flyingteapot (dot) com or  jen (at) sewnnatural (dot) com with your name, mailing address, email address, blog URL (if you have one), plus a few sentences about yourself; you can mention your family, information about where you live, what kind of crafting you like to do, materials you like to use, etc...  This will help you and your swap-mate get to know each other a bit.

-- Sign-ups will close Friday, October 5th and information about your 1:1 swap-match will be emailed to you Saturday October 6th.

-- By signing up for this swap you are agreeing to create, with you own hands, a brooch for your swap-mate and send it off in a timely fashion.

-- Preferably, brooches should be posted to recipients by October 22nd.  If you are delayed in sending your parcel, it will be important to communicate this directly to your swap-mate so they know when it is coming.

-- Any questions?  Please feel free to send one of us an email!

brooches and photo by De Nardi Creative Design
For more inspiration, do visit Jen at her blog Sewn Natural.  She has more lovely photos of brooches posted there!

brooch and photo by Alina Bunaciu
We hope you'll join us and look forward to hearing from you...



A Tutorial: Teeny, Tiny Teleportation Devices

Through blogging, I've made a number of friends with whom I exchange emails on a regular basis.  We communicate back and forth about the day-to-dayness of our lives and about some of the larger issues which rest close to our hearts.  While I was working on my book, these friends were my cheering squad.  I knew that if I woke up fretting in the middle of the night, I could dash off an email and soon receive an answer full of encouragement from across the country or from across the globe.

We often, my long-distance friends and I, express the wish that, instead of communicating via internet, we could sit across a kitchen table from each other drinking cups of coffee or tea, knitting a bit and chatting.  Alas, this will not happen for us anytime soon, and so I have designed teeny, tiny teleportation devices as a way to bring my friends into my kitchen.

To create these devices, I started off by gathering the following supplies:

-- Three matchboxes per device, emptied of matches

-- Strips of decorative paper, 2 in. x 6 in. (or the correct
    measurements to fit around your stacked matchboxes)

-- Photos and other small, meaningful mementos

-- A pencil, ruler, scissors and glue

Step 1: Glue three match boxes together in a stack and allow to dry for a few minutes (note: they should be stacked evenly, otherwise the teleportation device will be a bit lopsided.)

Step 2: Glue a strip of paper around the stack of boxes (leaving the sliding drawer sections exposed.)


Step 3:  Break off small sections from a match stick and sand the ends smooth.

Step 4: Glue the bits of matchstick to the front of the drawers to create drawer-pulls (note: these drawer-pulls are not functional -- it's best to open each drawer by pushing from the back.)

Step 5:  Trim photos and other ephemera to fit inside the drawers.  I included photos of the  Golden Gate Bridge clipped from postcards, wrappings from coffee & tea, and a photo of my front door...

Step 6: Along with the teleportation device, I included the following letter (i.e. operating instructions) --

To my Dear Far-Away Friend,

In honor of all the times we've said in our emails how wonderful it would be to sit at a table, face to face, sipping cups of coffee or tea, I send you this teeny, tiny teleportation device.

We are separated by continents & oceans, but perhaps, via the assistance of magic glittering stars in the top drawer, images of the Golden Gate Bridge, the wild rocky northern California coast, and seashells in the second drawer, plus an image of my front door & wrappings from coffee and tea, you will somehow be transported to my table here with me.  If not in body, then surely in heart and spirit...

Thank you, my friend, for all the virtual cups of coffee we have shared.  I raise my cup to you!



Lately, I've been taking my wee Bloom to the park several mornings a week.  There is so much to see and do -- a sandbox filled with buckets, shovels and busy toddlers, a slide structure covered with climbing toddlers, a grassy area full of toddlers dashing about carrying and kicking brightly colored balls.  You get the picture.  It's been a while since we headed out the back door to explore our very own backyard.

This peaceful morning we filled our hands with pine cones and fronds of pine needles. We filled our pockets with treasures... acorns, feathers, an abandoned snail shell, some tiny twigs and a few small pebbles.   We did not fill our pockets with spiders.  We left those outside.


Tashlich 5773

Today we celebrated Rosh Hashannah -- the start of the Jewish year 5773.  Traditionally for Rosh Hashana we eat apples dipped in honey -- apples to symbolize the round earth and honey for a Sweet New Year.  This is one of our favorite rituals associated with the holiday, and our other favorite ritual is called "Tashlich," which means "casting off" in Hebrew. Tashlich is thought to have originated during the Middle Ages inspired by a verse attributed to the prophet Micah:

God will take us back in love;
God will cover up our iniquites,
You [God] will hurl all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:19)
 To perform the ritual of Tashlich, a person throws bread crumbs into a moving body of water. As the bread crumbs are carried away by the water, any regrets or wrong-doings (committed knowingly or unknowingly) from the previous year are symbolically cast off, giving the opportunity for a fresh start in the New Year.
 The coast was beautiful today and the scurrying sanderlings were irresistible...

 Wishing you and your family Shannah Tova -- a Good Year, a Sweet Year...


Making Peg Dolls: Clothespeg Ladies


Until I started working on my book Making Peg Dolls, I didn't give much thought to the fact that the little wooden doll bases I had been using were directly descended from clothes pegs.

If one saws the legs from a vintage clothespeg (pardon the suggestion of such brutality) one is left with a small, free-standing doll base -- closely akin to the ones I use to create my dolls.  And so, of course, when writing a book on peg dolls, I did not want to neglect mentioning their origins, nor miss the opportunity to include an attractive photo of charming examples.

To create a few charming examples of proper clothespeg dolls, I enlisted the help of Shannon (of the blog Rhythm and Rhyme.)

Not only did Shannon create some sweet little clothespeg ladies, she also composed a number of beautiful photographs.  While Shannon's dolls appear in the book, sadly, we were not able to use the delightful photos she had taken.


These photos, however, are too lovely to keep hidden, and so today, for your viewing pleasure, I have posted them here for you!

P.S.  In the photo with the tea setting, did you notice the little brown cat sewn from wool felt?  Can you believe Shannon stitched that tiny cat?  I was quite sure it had been sewn by the tiny, nimble digits of a ladybug...


Swimming Pool

A sweet little something for your enjoyment
(and it's appropriate for children, in case you were wondering!)



 Just in case you missed it the last time I posted a video for a song by Renee and Jeremy, here is another:

So beautiful... what's not to love about this?


Fig Jam

It's that time of year again...

My parents arrived for a visit and with them, they brought several pounds of fresh figs from the tree in their garden.

So today, I made jam. This is my favorite recipe...