Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Favorite Crafting Tools

I thought I'd share some of my favorite crafting tools. When you worked in craft and design, you start to assume that everyone knows about every magical product that you do--but that's not the case! Here are my top seven tools:

favorite crafting tools xyron martha stewart versamark

1. My great grandma's vintage crochet hooks. I'm not the greatest crocheter in the world, but I love using these and knowing that they have been in the family for generations. My own baby blanket was crocheted using these hooks and I'm honored to use them again.

2. I know it's silly, but Vanna White's yarns are the best! Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand are worsted weight acrylic and come in the best colors. I'm allergic to wool, so this makes for the best blankets and scarves. I'm working on a special project right now. more to come!

3. The 12" Guillotine Trimmer, available at Paper Source. I love their description: "Inspired by the French with the best of intentions, only this time adapted to fit paper. A very cool way to trim large sheets of paper with a crisp, clean straight edge. Also available in 6", 8.5" and 12" wide base. Napoleon would be so proud!" Anything involving the French Revolution gets me going. I have two of these and neither have ever gotten dull. I love love love them!

4. Martha Stewart All-Purpose Craft Scissors. These are the sharpest, most meticulous scissors I've ever used. You'll want to have a separate pair for fabric, (and the odd bang trim!)

5. Rubber stamps! Some people swear by acrylic, but I love the feel of an old rubber stamp. Or a new one! Next week I'll use these Yellow Owl Workshop ones to show you a masking trick!

6. Versamark Watermark Ink Pad. Oh, how I love this schtuff. It creates the look of a colorless watermark when using stamps. Try it with embossing, and you get a colorless, glass-like surface.

7. The delightful, 1" Button Press. This machine began my official foray into my craft career, ten years ago. We still make buttons at Assemble today, and it's one of my favorite things to do. Besides, what's cuter than a button?

What are your favorite tools?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crafty Project: Junior High Love Note Folding

Speaking of things from our childhood, does anyone remember the awesome folding techniques that we used to employ when writing silly notes to each other in junior high? With Valentine's Day coming, I think we should all write fun, folded notes to each other! I know a few people who are definitely getting one. Here are a few of the folds I remember:
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Start with a few blank sheets of notebook paper (hee! hee!) and a red pen.

First pattern: The Write & Tuck!
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the top right corner in all the way to the left edge.
Turn sideways and fold the right edge over until it is flush with the left.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Flip it over and fold about 1/3 of the bottom up.
Fold 1/3 up again.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Flip over again, and tuck the remaining corner under
the pocket fold you have created. Crease. You're done!
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school

Next up: The "Pull Here" Tab!
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the top two corners in towards the center of the page. Flip vertically and repeat on the other side.
Then fold each side edge inwards towards the center.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the two points in towards the center. Then, flip the paper over and fold 1/3 upwards toward the center.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the remaining 1/3 towards the center until you have a small rectangle.
Tuck two of the points into the two little side folds you have created. Voila!
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school

And now for the Valentines coup de grâce: The Heart Fold
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold both top corners flush with the other sides' edges and unfold.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the top half of the paper down until it reaches the bottom of the creased 'x.'
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Push the two side creases in towards each other to create a triangle.
Fold the two base triangle points upwards to the top point.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold each side edge in towards the center.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the bottom edge up until it meets with the bottom of the diamond.
Flip over and fold the top of the front triangle down. Crease.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
Fold the bottom two points up until they are just covering the bottom of the point. They will meet in the middle nicely. Tuck under the diamond. Fold the left and right points of the diamond diagonally down. Tuck the two points into the flaps that we previously made above.
how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school
That's that! You've got a heart!

Happy folding! I'll pass you a note after class.


Update: In similar news, check out this adorable article about a couple who framed their original middle school love notes to display at their wedding. Love!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Were you a Child of the 90s?

My husband and I are in the midst of a new project (shh--can't tell you yet, sorry!), and have been discussing lots of themes. One of them just happens to be being a child of the 90s. Making lists of 90s nostalgia is actually hilariously fun, and I hope you'll join me, because we need all the ideas we can get. Here are a few of my favorite memories:

child of the 90s nostalgia 1990s

1. Swatch watches: oh my, I loved them. I think I had about three and I subsequently wore them all at the same time. Here's the weirdest part--I set them all for different times. (???)

2. Hold on for one more day. Enough said.

3. Bubble tape! Ever try to cram the entire roll into your mouth? Me neither....

4. Rollerblades. I am going to brag a bit. I was amazing on those things. In fact, I recently asked my husband how he would feel if I started rollerblading again for fitness. I could even listen to "Tainted Love" on my iPod! He was speechless. (Probably just jealous).

5. Slap bracelets. Were they banned at your school? They were at mine, but I don't think that stopped any of us.

6. The Party. Okay, I realize this might be slightly obscure, but this was one of my favorite "bands" when I was a kid and was the first of the Disney/Mickey Mouse Club music groups. If you know them, you love them, and if you don't, well, you can watch this. (Pair this with the roller blades and some very awkward bangs and you have 11 year old Andie).

7. The yellow Sports Walkman. I think everyone might have had one of these. We might still all have one, taking up space in a box somewhere, a case for dead batteries. I just loved how it locked closed.

What are your favorite 90s nostalgic things? We're making a list!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Michelle's Simple Vinaigrette Recipe + Eating Well in the Winter

Part of this post is a remix from last year's Neatloaf Blog--however, it's still relevant today in the brrrzzy weather we are having. I've been cutting out a lot of junk food and drinks this week in attempts to shed that winter (and post-wedding) weight. It's always shocking when you calculate what you eat in a day. Regardless, I've got some tips and tricks, plus a brilliant recipe from our best pal, Michelle at Sparky & Marie + Jot Creates. See below!

a simple vinaigrette recipe for salads
Drawing by Michelle Beilner

Bottled salad dressing is fine, but a simple vinaigrette from scratch is the BEST, and oh so easy to make. Once you have this basic recipe down, you can vary it up by switching the vinegar and seasonings. You'll be known all over town for your amazing salads!

Here's what you need:
• Small Jar with Lid
• 2 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 tbsp Good-Quality Vinegar
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• 1/8 tsp Minced Shallot and/or Garlic
• 1/8 tsp or so Dijon Mustard

Here's what you do:
Measure everything into the jar and shake it! Taste to make sure you don't need to add more seasoning. Shake again right before dressing the salad. Please remember, salad should not be swimming in dressing. The best salads are those that are minimally dressed.

My rule for measuring olive oil and vinegar is 2 to 1 (ex. 2 tbsp of olive oil to every 1 tbsp vinegar). You can increase the recipe for more dressing by using this simple equation.


Plus, some of my tips for eating well in the winter:

It's so hard to resist the comfort foods in the grocery store when the weather outside is cold. All I want is macaroni and cheese, creamy soups, warm cookies and hot chocolate. But being in a one-room condo for over a week, eating tons of unburned calories will make for a real perfect storm. I have vowed to myself to keep eating my lean, summer foods: garden salads, smoothies, and baked chicken with vegetables.

Here are some of my tips for staying on track:

1. Tea. TEA! TEA! TEA! Have it with every meal. Eating a salad isn't the most satisfying thing on a regular day, but with a cup of warm tea, it's a filling, homey meal. Pour in a splash of non-fat milk for bulk.

2. Avoid sugars. Ever notice how a glass of wine makes you want to eat a bunch of bread and cheese? Yep. Sugars do nothing but make you even more hungry. Focus on hearty proteins like peanut butter, lean meats, wild salmon and yummy vegetable omelettes.

3. Keep exercising. A walk (trudge) in the snow with your iPod is relaxing and so good for you! Refresh your TV muscles and catch up on your This American Life podcasts. A 45-minute walk in the snow can burn over 200 calories!

4. Record every food and drink that you eat or drink to find your weaknesses. If you have an iPhone or iPad, I highly recommend my new favorite app, MyFitnessPal (it's a website too). I have never seen such a great (and free!) calorie counting app. It includes all Trader Joe's foods, plus homemade and obscure labels. It even subtracts burned calories from exercise and tracks sugars, fats and water. (My weakness is Malbec).

5. Make vegetables into comfort food. For my famous Rosemary Garlic Homefries: chop up small white or yellow potatoes into homefry-sized bits. Lay on a parchment-covered sheet pan, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic salt and rosemary (go easy on it, people). Bake in the oven at 325 for around 30 minutes or until potatoes are well-baked and browning. Enjoy! One cup is about 100 - 150 calories. Or, cover broccoli stalks with melted lite mozzarella and garlic. Perfecto!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crafting Video Series: Crocheted Granny Square Stitch Demonstrations

Yay! Finally a new video! I have to brag about Emily with this one: I stomped into her house after French class, dripping with rain holding my camera bag. "Wanna make a video??? Ehh??" Poor girl is ten days out from giving birth, and she's a trooper, crocheting away for Assemble in this video.

If you're having a little bit of trouble with your Granny Square Crochet Kit, or you are a bit nervous to try one because you are a beginner: this one's for you! Watch as Emily demonstrates the four basic crochet stitches. Watch on repeat, rewind, take notes, put your hands and yarn up to the screen--and I promise you'll get it. (I did, and I had never tried before Emily showed me!)

If you don't have a kit yet, don't worry! Just remember to take advantage of our 20% off sale on everything in our online shop through the end of January with the discount code SUPPORTSMALL. Yay, crochet!!

Crocheted Granny Square Kit Stitch Demonstrations from Assemble Shop and Studio on Vimeo. Music by Christian Powers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Inspiring Words from Ira Glass

Our dear friend Michelle shared this with us the other day, and the message resonated deeply with me. Leave it to Ira Glass to always put things into a perspective that inspires growth and encouragement. We're taking a little break today to edit a special video for tomorrow, so we'll leave you with this:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sale in Our Online Shop!

sale on assemble shop with berkley illustration, three bad seeds, nikki mcclure, yellow owl workshop and crafting kits
First row: Embrace Pregnancy Journal by Nikki McClure, Assemble Hardcover Bookbinding Kit, Grey Chihuahua Plushy
Second row: Knot & Bow Heart Stickers, Bubblegum Statement Necklace, Party Squirrel Crewel Embroidery Kit
Third row: Pigeon Print, French Rule Stationery Set, Farm Scene Stamp Set

We're happy to announce a sale in our online shop to kick off our brand new, exclusively online status! Please enjoy 20% off in our shop by using the coupon code "SUPPORTSMALL" at checkout. Code is valid through the end of January. We're so excited about the brand new items that we have in stock, including our crafting kits, brand new work by Berkley Illustration and much, much more. Have fun!! And if for some reason you don't see what you're looking for, please send us an email. Thanks! Andie & Emily

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Girls: The Art of Failing Up

It's a strange thing, not having the Assemble storefront. We are what we always were: a place to make & do. However, things are up in the air at the moment as to how exactly we will be going about those things. As of now, the making and doing is going on within ourselves. We have things in the works: a book, workshops, new kits, new products, projects, etc.

By no means do I believe that we have failed Assemble. In fact, I know we didn't. Some people that don't follow our website and blog may assume that we "went out of business." That is simply not the truth. Emily and I made the decision to close the space at the ending of our lease to make way for possibilities that weren't possible while running a storefront (at least not now). Including travel, teaching opportunities, more writing, and other projects that would eat our "home" time alive. We can grow as an online business in ways that we couldn't as a brick & mortar. So the question is, why do I feel like a failure?

Emily and Andie Assemble failing up those girls
Emily and I in the first days of our Greenwood Space, 2009

It's amazing how we as humans have a tendency--nay, a DESIRE--to only believe the negative? We feed on insults and duck away from compliments. Why is it that we shy away from positive comments and dwell on the negative? We repeat these negative comments again and again in our heads until we inevitably believe them. In fact, most of these negative comments are born of our own thoughts.

It's not uncommon for me to look around, on other blogs and websites, and comment to myself about how what this person is doing is better, easier, more profitable--how those girls will get what they want out of their business because of this reason, or this reason, or this reason, and how my specific idea will just be taken by someone else and done (inevitably) even better. This is a spiral of self-doubt that is nearly impossible to get out of without help. In this right, I'm so glad that I have a business partner. When I'm off--she's on. When she's off--I'm on. But, being away from our shared workspace is hard, especially with a new baby taking time and energy during maternity leave, and I begin to brave this spiral alone.

Upon one of my "spirals," I happened to hear a talk by Tavis Smiley on NPR about the concept of "failing up," or building success from perceived failure. To be honest, I didn't hear much of the talk except for that phrase: failing up, which resonated with me for months, until now. What is failing, but failing up? Regardless of whether or not "failing" pertains to us (my rational brain knows it does not), I plan, WE plan, to fail up. If you're anything like me, you have an array of brilliant ideas dancing around in your head about 24 hours a day. Creatives are blessed with this inevitable curse. The foresight to do amazing things, and none of the energy to get them done.

We're going to challenge you to summon that energy.

We want to hear from you. We want to hear your story of "failing up." We'll give you two weeks, and one winning post will be published as a guest blogger here on our Assemble blog, plus the writer will win a special prize of one of our Assemble Crocheted Granny Square kits, to have fun with when the spiral commences. Creativity breeds creativity, and we want you to be creative. Please send us a blog entry (500 to 800 words) with your story of "failing up." Please include a few photos of at least 600 pixels wide. We'll choose one to publish in two weeks time. Deadline: February 4th. Kit prize open to US residents only. Please send entries to

granny square crochet kit

Assemble Modern Crocheted Granny Square Kit $35

Thanks so much, and happy writing. We're anxious to read your replies.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Be What You Believe In

martin luther king jr march on selma

Have a happy Martin Luther King Jr. holiday! We are taking this time to reflect on one of the greatest American heroes that ever lived. If you haven't read the entire transcript of his "I Have a Dream" speech, definitely do. See below:

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"
-Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

Friday, January 18, 2013

Favorite Friend Friday: Luke Haynes, Quilter//Fine Artist Extraordinaire

Luke Haynes is one of those people that we are kicking ourselves for not getting to work with more closely while we had a physical space. An absolute visionary when it comes to textile arts, Luke has created an arena of work that promotes masculinity in a female-dominated art form (if even accidentally).

He currently has three pieces in the High Fiber Diet fiber show at the Bellevue Art Museum--hurry! The show closes on February 5th! An "architect turned quilter," in his own words, it's been absolutely delightful to meet and chat with Luke over the years. (Even if Andie embarrassingly doesn't recognize him without a beard). See below for an awesome chat about his life, work and where he'd eat every day for a year if he could:

luke haynes quilter artist bellevue art museum

Your quilting style is unlike any other -- (mostly) non-gridded, includes portraiture and large scale objects, themes ranging from nostalgia to self-reflection to modern iconography. Your range is impressive, and still your artistry is consistent and cohesive. Is there one main drive or source of inspiration for you?
[Actually mostly gridded. though you cant see it as well from afar. Meaning that I work from square to square to dissect the image into workable parts.] There is one main drive for me and that is constant innovation. I worked for a few years on technique where the image was less important than learning how to make it, then I worked a few years on rendering images and making them clear as I could, THEN a few years on learning the methods of quilters and historical precedent AND THEN a few years learning about making cohesive exhibitions with common themes and notations. What is cohesive is that they all pull from my experience as filtered through my growth as a maker of objects.

christana's world luke haynes bellevue art museum
Christana's World by Luke Haynes

A common dilemma for fine artists is making a living. How do you balance your desire to create with your desire to sell work?
I live simply. Also I am lucky, my creativity is also what I sell. I create objects and stories that I then sell. It tends not to be mutually exclusive for me.

What is your day like, as a working artist? Are you constantly working on a project or new idea? Does this exhaust or exhilarate you?
I break up my time. I do Marketing Monday where I don't create at all and rather spend the time at the computer and/or taking care of infrastructure things. That and I work for a few months and then take one off to travel to shows and socialize. I work hard, and if I let myself I will burn out. I am constantly working on new projects and ideas and the more that I have and use the more come. I have quite a range of projects bouncing around in my brain. I get a lot of energy from ideas and schemes up until I have piles of them half made sitting around my studio which then distract me.

luke haynes bellevue art museum quilt art
The Artist with Rags to Riches

How much of an influence is being a male in the quilting world on your work? There are apparent themes of manhood, but how much of that is intentionally highlighted (versus simply being a fact)?
I would say that my gender affects my role in the quilting world in that I get to be a novelty. I made a series of quilts about that. I tend to make quilts or exhibitions to answer any reoccurring questions raised by my practice. For example I make a portrait of me for my bed every year to answer the question about if they are used. I also get LOTS of shows of people putting up shows of men in quilting.

Tell us about your work in the "High Fiber Diet" show, currently at the Bellevue Arts Museum?
That is a good show full of really really dedicated and skilled artists. The work I made was to answer the question "Why are the portraits I make Quilts?" Each portrait is made from the clothes of the individual portrait. The background is made from used clothes from the area the person is from. So it's a tactile story of the person and the environment they inhabit both daily and in general. I have three pieces at the show one each backed in red, white and black.

luke haynes bellevue art museum quilt art

What's next??

Where's your favorite place to work/create? To rest? To imagine yourself in 20 years?
Work: large quiet studio with natural and bright light. clean and efficiently designed.

Rest: Car or a bike. if I am in transit then I cant feel like I should be doing something else. I relax most when between places.

In 20 years?: Who in the world knows. I have trouble deciding where I am going to move to from Seattle. [Career wise I have plenty of ideas, but physical location isn't one of them that I am settled on.]

What other things do you love to do, other than quilting?
I love to cook and to have dinner parties. I love to be social, but only in small groups which is hard to do when 'out.'

If you could invite a role model or inspiration of yours to your studio (artist or otherwise) who would you like to host?
I do a lot of studio visits. I LOVE to ask questions of the artists I respect to learn their interpretations of my work and my practice. It's hard to pick a particular someone. Maybe Bill Murray just because: who wouldn't?

If you could eat at only one local restaurant for the rest of the year, where would it be?
Skillet. Oh man its tasty! and they even have kale sallads PLUS they have that cute plaid dress code. I'd go there all the time given the option. ALL the time!

luke haynes quilt art bellevue art museum self portrait

Any New Year's resolutions?

My best resolution is to be more self indulgent. I should have resolved to do that years ago!
I am also getting up at 8am every day. Seattle is so grey that I have had issues with sleeping my days away. [I don't have to get OUT of bed, just up.]

Thanks, Luke!!

Images via Luke Haynes

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Seattle Recommendation: Get Your Hot Cakes! // Ballard

You may remember that back in December, sweet Autumn from Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Ballard, Seattle sponsored our Pre-Kit Release Press Party and brought delicious sipping caramel, mini s'mores and devilishly delicious chocolate cookies. I've been dreaming about those goodies ever since, so I was excited to stop by the shop for a coffee and lunch with a close friend.

On my menu: Beecher's Grilled Cheese (it comes in that perfect package!) with pickled beets and cauliflower, a soy mocha and a S'more Chocolate Hot Cake (there are several different types). As a bonus: the fabulous branding. Everything in the the shop is adorable and streamlined, chic and crisp. If you haven't been, I highly recommend sampling a savory (béchamel pocket pie!) as well as a sweet. I'd like to go back and grab a boozy shake one evening! Valentine's Day, anyone? Get there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Best Gifts to Buy a New Mom, by a Non-Mom

In light of our recent events: brand new George coming into the world, I thought I'd put together my perfect list of gifts to give a new mom. Yes, I know I'm not a mom--however, about 90% of my friends are. I hear their gripes, I hear their wants, I read endless Facebook status updates about onesies and diapers. HOWEVER, I still have an anchor to the "I'm just a lady" side of being a woman. Not the mother side--the woman side. So I take pride in enhancing that in even the most exhausted new mom. Below are my favorite gifts to give a new mom:

the best gifts for a brand new mom

1. Lipstick. I may take heat for this, but I stand by my choice. It really doesn't matter how cheap or expensive it is. Lipstick is the fastest way to brighten your face. Add a lip balm like this this Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm, and a new mom is set. Feeling more fresh, pretty, and moisturized.

2. Comfy, stylish slippers. Let's be honest: Mom's going to be home a lot. Slippers are nice, especially cute ones. Indulge in cuddlies for your pal. My favorite are these Moccasin Slippers from J. Crew.

3. A coupon for pretty much anything is going to make their day. A coupon for babysitting, cleaning, a free meal, a free massage, a date night with their spouse: whatever. Don't forget to bug them to use it though, because most people feel a bit uncomfortable demanding your time.

4. If you're ready to drop some cash, grab them an iPad Mini. Endless breastfeeding entertainment.

5. Another appearance enhancer: chew beads. We've talked about these before, but they are awesome. I don't even have a baby and I think they're adorable. Non-toxic, baby-safe, cute jewelry from baby mamas.

Got any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How to Make: Buttons, Badges & Pins

Did you know we design and manufacture pinback buttons? Well, we do! We thought it would be fun to show the process of what goes into one little button. Enjoy!

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 1: Get all of your supplies together. One-inch button machines and supplies can be found at a variety of online retailers. Supplies include: 1-inch button machine, a 1 1/8″ circle cutter, mylar plastic top coats, metal shells, metal collets, spring pins and the paper image you will be making into a button. I punched my images out of a larger piece of paper before the tutorial.

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 2: Load a shell facing smooth-side-up into the circular crevice on the left side of the machine (the one with a indented rim), and your collet facing upside down in the circular crevice of the right side of the machine.

how to make a pinback button badge pinhow to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 3: Place your image facing right-side-up on top of the shell, directly in the middle of the circular crevice. Place your mylar directly on top.

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 4: Rotate the two button sides until they are vertical and flush with the machine, with the image side under the base and the collet facing you.

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 5: Clamp the handle of the button machine firmly down onto the imaged side, then rotate the two sides 180 degrees. Now the image side is facing you (the button piece will be hidden inside of the machine). Clamp again firmly.

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 6: Remove the finished top of the button from the pin and get your spring pins ready!

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Step 7: Squeeze the spring pin into the back opening of the button and adjust appropriately.

how to make a pinback button badge pin

Voila! A button! We love making them, so let us know if you need any buttons for an event (or just for fun).

Images via our Instagram
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