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I've created a line of wooden peg looms to make potholders and projects of other sizes. Read the story behind the looms and check out my etsy shop.

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CraftSanity Episode 133: A conversation with Runaway Press artist, Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry prepares ink to print at Not Design Studio in Grand Rapids where she and fellow letterpress artists offer occasional workshops.

For some, the best professional move begins with a giant leap of faith. 

Messy inks and a collection of wood and lead type eventually lured Michelle Terry, 30, of Wyoming, away from spending her professional life in front of a computer screen. Michelle got her creative parachute ready in November 2013 when she decided to leave her graphic design job and give up the steady paycheck that came with it. 

“I decided I was going to take on a little adventure in letterpress,” she said.

Her design job was fun and the her coworkers were nice but something was missing.

“I wasn’t making things with my hands,” she said. “I was just working on the computer.”

Tune in to this episode of CraftSanity to find out how Michelle’s love of letterpress inspired her to make a fun and exciting career change and launch Runaway Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Letterpress artist, Michelle Terry, uses her Showcard Sign Press to create cards and art prints. She bought the 300-pound press from a printer in Philadelphia and made the 13-hour drive with her dad to pick it up. The press was manufactured in the 1960s and is still fully operational. On the wall is one of Terry’s signature pieces. She printed the shape of the state of Michigan using more than 250 individual blocks.

You can read the rest of the newspaper column I wrote about Michelle on MLive and shop her letterpress goods on Etsy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram. And watch her make a print in the video clip below.

* I don’t know about you, but I’m currently obsessed with large fonts and plotting to carve my own to block print on paper and fabric. Get in touch if you have a story to share involving letterpress, printmaking, text or fonts. Print is not dead, so let’s keep talking about it. 

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 132: Conversations with ‘Little One-Yard Wonders’ authors Rebecca Yaker and Trish Hoskins

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This episode of CraftSanity features mini-interviews with Twin Cities authors of “Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids.”

We start the show with a chat with Patricia “Trish” Hoskins, co-owner of Crafty Planet in Minneapolis, and then continue with another chat with Rebecca Yaker, a crafty lady with a background in apparel and bedding design and machine knitting. (You may recall that Rebecca was the star of CraftSanity Episode 112. You can listen that episode over here.)

LittleOneYardWondersCo-authors and friends, Hoskins and Yaker are celebrating the publication of this their third 101-project sewing book. With help from their talented contributors, this successful publishing duo have once again compiled a sewing book packed with fun inspiration for using up stash fabric one yard at a time. This 360-page edition includes six full-sized pattern pages and fun patterns for moms like me to sew for our kids. Even though my daughters are 8 and 10 now, I have marked about a dozen projects for future sewing. Some of the garment patterns go up to size 10 and 12 and many of the patterns for plushies, totes and accessories have all-ages appeal which is great.

photo 1So far I’ve made my daughters the girlie undies and tank tops on p. 145. Because I can’t seem to ever follow a pattern exactly as written, I added lining to the undies and rounded out the back of the tank neck. Both projects were a hit with my daughters who still think it’s cool that their mom can sew underwear. (Who knew that was going to be one of my craft super powers.) The book includes a pattern for “mister briefs,” and a matching tank, too, so no one is left out of the custom underpants game. And, yes, I agree that it’s amusing that I would hone in on the underpants when there are 100 other patterns to choose from. The project was fast and easy, so it fit my deadline criteria perfectly. Now, that I’m sewn the basic essentials, I’m moving on to the outerwear and accessories. :  )

With my kids just about to grow out of the garment patterns it contains, I’m kind of blown away by how much I dig this book. Seriously, it’s really cool and contains some super cute patterns that I want to make for my kids and their cousins. There’s even a summer hat pattern with clever ponytail access. I love little deals like that.

Ok, so go listen to the podcast and read my MLive.com column in the July 29, 2014 edition of The Grand Rapids Press. Then leave a comment about what you like to sew OR what you want to learn to sew to enter the random drawing to win a copy to “Little One-Yard Wonders.” (Thanks to Storey Publishing for donating a copy of the book to the giveaway!) The deadline to enter is July 6, 2014. Good luck!

UPDATE!!! We have a winner! Jacqueline was randomly selected as the giveaway winner by CraftSanity’s Co-V.P of Fun, Amelia Claire. Congrats, Jacqueline! Send your mailing address along and we’ll get you your book ASAP. :  ) 

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CraftSanity Podcast Episode #131 – A conversation with Ambrose founder Adam Weiler

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A summer camp romance and a $5,000 grant have given arts education a boost on the lakeshore where a small business is providing opportunities for kids to express themselves creatively.

This is what happens when cupid and a creative guy named Adam Weiler cross paths with a lovely lady on a basketball court. But more about that later. 

IMG_2127As the founder and director of Ambrose, the Holland, Michigan based screen printing and design business with a commitment to educating kids about the arts, Adam, 32, and his team of collaborators and volunteers are doing what they can to build community and inspire young people in West Michigan to achieve their artistic potential through events like cardboard regattas, weekly after school programs and summer art camps.

But Ambrose might never have started had it not been for a lakeshore love connection. 

Check out my column in Home section of the June 22 edition of The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com to read the rest of the story. Or, better yet, listen to Adam tell the story himself on CraftSanity episode #131.

 


Read more about Ambrose screen printing and design services, workshops, after school programs and summer camps at ambrose.is and find out about upcoming Print Together Time events on Facebook. Follow @ambrosemakery on Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a comment about this episode below and feel free to send me your CraftSanity Podcast guest suggestions.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode #130: A conversation with ‘A Garden to Dye For’ author, Chris McLaughlin

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ZZ3AF9404AHello, hello! After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back recording podcast interviews with artists and crafters. On episode #130, I’ll introduce you to California garden writer and fiber enthusiast Chris McLaughlin.

A long-time gardener, Chris loves to extract color from her plants and recently wrote a book about it so others can swan dive into the wonderful world of natural dying, too.

ZZ36A2E95AIn her new book, “A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers,” ($17.95, 142 pages) Chris profiles 50 plants to grow and harvest to dye fabric, yarn and Easter eggs and create a palette of natural watercolor paints. The book also includes directions for making eco-print scarves, too. 

I just got serious about natural dyes last summer. So far, I’ve tried pokeberries, sumac, avocado, walnut, onion skins, rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) and goldenrod. Once I get around to planting some Japanese indigo in my yard, I’ll finally be be able to dye my fiber and fabrics blue. That will be fun!

So, pour yourself some tea, grab your latest project and settle in to listen to a fun chat with Chris. Then leave a comment below about your natural dyeing adventures. I’d love to hear about your experiments. You can find out more about the book here. And you can read the column I wrote about Chris on MLive.com.

Charity bear pattern pdf

IMG_1350If you’re looking for a charity sewing project, be sure to check out my column in today’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. Hospice of Michigan is looking for volunteers to sew bears and pillows out of the clothing of former hospice patients that serve as tangible memories for their loved ones.

I’ll add the link when my column is posted. Click below for the simple, bear pattern template I mentioned in my column.

Download bear pattern PDF

‘Knit the Alphabet’ Blog Tour Stop: Today Is Sponsored by The Letter H


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Hello, friends! Today I woke up at 6 a.m. to knit a giant letter “H.” Why? Well, I got inspired by a new craft book and really got into it. As a journalist, printmaker and lover of all things involving text, I have often thought it would be fun to knit letters. However, I’ve never had time to map out the patterns to do so. Turns out I don’t have to.

Now, thanks to Claire Garland and her new book “Knit the Alphabet: Quick and easy alphabet knitting patterns, knitters get to skip to the fun part and cast on. My schedule is nuts as usual, but I committed to writing about this book today because I’m a big fan of Claire’s work. In an effort to make good on that, I pledge to make knitting absolutely mandatory today. (I wish it was every day!) So, between advising my students, reading student work, conducting interviews and driving my kids around town, I will be working on my letter throughout the day. So check back for an update on how it turns out and more of my thoughts about the book.

I’ve only knitted the left leg of the “H” and I’ve already noticed that the pattern is much easier than I imagined. (Thank you, Claire!)

Okay, so check out my Instagram feed for progress updates and then head back here soon for my full review.

I’m so happy that today’s to-do list involves knitting text. Yes! I hope you get to do something fun today, too! : )

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Flower Power Wins $500 for the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation!

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This is the floral design I whipped up within the allotted 5 minute time limit at the Flower Power Challenge at the Home & Garden Show yesterday in Grand Rapids. It’s a bit wild, but it got the job done. Thanks to the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation fans in the audience, we won $500 from Fifth Third Bank for the foundation! Yes! High fives to all of you!

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And a special thanks to J Schwanke for hosting the event and inviting me to participate. He cooked up a fun event to benefit the local community and closed it out by giving away free tulips. It’s doesn’t get much better than that. Best use of flower power ever. : )

Let’s Get Loud Today at the Home & Garden Show and Raise Money for the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation

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Hello friends!

If you’re local and planning to be at the Home & Garden Show today in Grand Rapids, I can use your help! I was invited to participate in  J Schwanke’s Flower Power Challenge at 5 p.m. (Friday 3/7/14) during which four contestants representing four different local charities will have five minutes to make an floral arrangement on the Home Stage. The winner will be determined by crowd volume and it doesn’t really matter what our arrangements look like.

The prize is a $500 check from Fifth Third Bank for our charity.

Kim Carson, Radio Personality and Host of Faith Hope and Love Songs will be arranging for the Wildlife Refuge Center LTD, Rick Vuyst of Flowerland and WOOD Radio Fame will be arranging for The Van Andel Purple Charity and Dan Harland – WZZM 13 Grand Rapids Sportscaster will be arranging for C-Snip.

I’m competing on behalf of The Wes Leonard Heart Foundation, the same charity that my daughters and their school mates are weaving potholders for with our Potholder LOVE campaign. The foundation, started by the parents of the 16-year-old Fennville basketball star who died of sudden cardiac arrest  March 3, 2011, is dedicated to getting automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) into schools without them. So far they’ve placed these life-saving devices in 102 schools. My daughters’ school is one of them. And now I’m working with my daughters and their friends to pay it forward.

So, if you’re in town, please cheer for the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation when I step back from my floral arrangement. I’ll do my best to make it pretty.

Thank you for your support for this important cause!

P.S. I heard that I get to pass out free flowers while I’m there.

 

I challenged my sisters to a Craft Smackdown. Who Will Win? You Decide.

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Hello! I’d like you to meet my sisters. That’s Jacquie in the middle. She’s the middle sister. Julie, my youngest sister is on the far right. And that’s me sporting the apron on the far left. We met up recently in the Meijer craft department to check the selection after a store representative reached out and invited me to have a look at their beefed up offerings. I declined the free gift card offer because I’m a journalist and I wanted to write honestly about the Meijer craft department without my MLive column readers wondering if I was influenced by freebies. Meanwhile, my sisters who are not journalists, each accepted one to buy supplies to accept my craft off challenge.

The rules were simple: See what you can make using no more than $50 worth of products from Meijer’s craft department and let the public decide the winner. The two losing sisters have to buy lunch for the winning sister at El Charro, our favorite Mexican restaurant in our hometown of Fraser, Michigan. Our entries are anonymous, so vote for the one that speaks to you and I’ll reveal who made what after the votes have been tallied.

Here are the three project entries in random order:

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Project 1: DIY Dinner party Decorations

This table setting includes handmade placemats and cloth napkins with burlap napkin rings, painted “Enjoy” letters that serve as hotplates and seating cards made of scrapbook paper backed with Meijer shopping bag paper and held in place by clothespins covered with washi tape. Additional accents are a Bon Appetit  banner, decorated mason jar candle holder and a styrofoam wreath wrapped with burlap and accented with fabric flowers and a bow.

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Project 2: Vintage Cabinet Makeover

A vintage metal cabinet was made over when decoupaged with teal polkadot scrapbook paper. The cabinet legs were wrapped with black and white K & Co. Smash Tape. And two mini clipboards were wrapped in more washi tape, then flower accents were added. The clipboards were hung on the front of the cabinet with magnetic hooks. Project Life cards from the Kraft Edition set were placed on the clipboards. Project life sets contain many cards, so statements can be swapped out according to one’s mood.

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Project 3: Knitted Mohawk Hats and Felt Bunting

Party like a rock star every day with these knitted mohawk hats created using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA chunky yarn for the hat base and Red Heart Boutique Swerve yarn for the variegated mohawks. Create a fast and easy party backdrop by cutting triangles out of a 25-pack of felt and sew them together sandwiched between quarter inch bias tape. (Note: The bias tape was in the designer’s stash and not purchased at Meijer.)

CAST YOUR VOTE & ENTER TO WIN: Vote for project 1, 2 or 3 in the comments below and help decide who’s going to win this Ackerman sister show own. Just for voting you will be entered into a random drawing for a $50 Meijer gift card.

UPDATE: Congrats to Karen Mackechnie who was selected to win the Meijer gift card! Her comment “I like #2 the best” was picked at random. Congrats, Karen!

And even if you don’t win the giveaway, the folks at Meijer passed along a discount code that we can all use throughout March which just so happens to be national craft month. Here’s the code:

Use the mPerks digital coupon code “c4tb8d” to receive 20% off your craft purchase (valid 3/1-4/1).

To find our more about the Meijer craft department, check out my MLive column here.

A 2014 CraftSanity Mini Book Review Roundup

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Several fun books are coming my way and distracting me from the harsh Michigan winter. Above is a small selection of titles that I reviewed in my mlive.com a couple weeks back. Read more here. I will be reviewing another stack very soon, so let me know if there’s a title you think I should include. :  ) Stay warm, folks!

Lottie Da + True Colors = One Lovely Apron & a Fabric Giveaway!

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When the nice folks at FreeSpirit invited me to be participate in the True Colors blog tour, I wanted to freeze time and make a large quilt. Sadly, my crazy schedule didn’t allow time for a deadline sewing marathon. But it’s okay. My need for speed gave me the perfect opportunity to launch into one of my favorite fast sewing projects of all time. I made a new apron to wear around town. I haven’t made myself a new apron in far too and I happen to think aprons are fabulous accessories and wonderful for showcasing pretty fabrics.

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Before I walk you through my apron project I’d like to give you a little background info. True Colors is what the folks at FreeSpirit describe as “a new, designer-driven program featuring fresh, modern prints” created by designers Joel DewberryAnna Maria HornerHeather Bailey and Jenean Morrison

Each designer created five distinctive prints in four color ways that can be used alone or as mixer prints in quilting and other sewing projects. The True Colors collection offers more creative options for fabric lovers and even look pretty in a pile. (I’d rather not disclose how many pictures I took of the fabric before I cut into it. : )

 

IMG_6882FreeSpirit sent me Heather Bailey’s  True Colors fabric and sampling of her lovely Lottie Da collection and I got to work designing a new five-panel apron using 12 different prints. The great thing about this apron is that is showcases several prints at once and can be made out of a stack of fat quarters and one jelly roll, with plenty of fabric left over to make more aprons and happy scraps to do a English paper piecing project.

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 I’ve already whipped up a couple hexagon blooms. :)

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To make my apron, I started by drawing out my pattern template on freezer paper. Then I selected five complimentary prints from Heather’s Lottie Da collection for each panel and then paired each panel print with a contrasting blender fabric from her True Colors line. The True Colors fabrics served as  a chunky border trim at the bottom of  each panel. To speed things along, I cut the trim pieces from a True Colors jelly roll. 

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When it came to mixing and matching, it was great to have an expanded selection of fabric designed by Heather. The prints work well together and left me with many design options. I have big plans to sew more projects using this collection and I’m excited about all the color and print combinations. I think there might be some patchwork skirts and quilts for my daughters on the horizon.

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But let’s get back to the apron project. After pairing five Lottie Da prints with five True Colors mixers, I decided to add it two more Lottie Da prints. I used an olive print for the waistband and swapped in the gray colorway to create extra long ties that can be wrapped around and tied in a cute bow in front. Instead of hemming the bottom of the apron, I finished it off with solid gray bias tape. I had planned to sew on a polkadot pocket, but then decided to skip it. But I’m big on pockets and something tells me this apron will have at least one by the weekend. : )

IMG_7199I topstitched the apron with gray Coats & Clark Dual Duty thread, stitching on each side of the panel seams and along the ties. This added interest and stability to the apron design.

I’ve been a longtime fan of FreeSpirit fabrics and designers and was very pleased with the results I achieved working with these new fabric collections. High five, Heather! I have a very happy apron hanging up in my dining room thanks to you. :  )

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ENTER TO WIN! And because I want to share the wealth I’m inviting you, dear readers, to leave a comment about below and enter a random drawing to win some of Heather’s True Colors fabric. What do you want to make? Tell me all about it below. I’m especially interested in hearing about your favorite take a-long sewing project ideas. I’ll pick some fabric winners at random on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Good luck, everybody!!

And True Colors Fabric Giveaway Winners Are: 

1) Cara who posted: “The apron you made is gorgeous!! Loving the colors and this new line of fabric. I would make a quilt, table topper or some new spring pillows. The take along project I like or craft is knitting scarfs with Red Hearts Sashay yarn.”

2) Marti Taylor who posted: “My girls have been over the moon for rainbows recently so I would incorporate these with some solids and create a herringbone quilt. Thank you for the chance to win!”

3) Cat Baumgartner who posted: “True colors are such pretty fabrics! Your hexagons really show them off too! I would love to make a true colors quilt!!! Thanks for the opportunity at a giveaway! ~Cat”

CONGRATS LADIES!!! I will be shipping your prizes to you as soon as I have your mailing addresses.

Thanks to all who took the time to post comments!

***

If you want to go behind the scenes and find out more about True Colors, watch this fun video featuring the designers talking about the fabric line. I’d also like to invite you to check out the rest of the blog tour and see what my extremely talented fellow bloggers are making with True Colors fabrics. Click the links below and have a great day!

1/20 Sew4Home
1/21 Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22 I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23 The Sewing Loft
1/24 Ellison Lane
1/27 Dairy of A Quilter
1/28 Material Obsession
1/29 Craftsanity
1/30 Stitched in Color
1/31 Craft Buds
2/3 Jaybird Quilts
2/4 Melissa Peda

 

True Colors. Pretty Fabric. Fun Blog Tour.


Hello Folks!

I’m popping in to tell you about a blog tour that I’m participating in that involves chances for you to win lovely fabric. Yes, you’re going to want to keep reading.

In an effort to promote the True Colors line of mixer fabric prints, the folks at FreeSpirit are looking to spread some fabric love in the blogosphere.

They recruited some bloggers, sent us boxes of delicious fabric and gave us some extra goodies to give away. (Check back Jan. 29 to enter to win.)

I didn’t eat the fabric, of course, but my box contained a visual feast of Heather Bailey’s True Colors fabric and sampling of her lovely Lottie Da collection (below), which has a great vintage-inspired feel.

(Jacquie and Julie, my dear sisters, you really need to check this stuff out! Come over and sew with me!!)  

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So what is True Colors all about? Well, the folks at FreeSpirit describe it as “a new, designer-driven program featuring fresh, modern prints” created by designers Joel Dewberry, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey and Jenean Morrison. Each designer created five distinctive prints in four color ways that can be used alone or as mixer prints in quilting and other sewing projects. The True Colors collection offers more creative options for fabric lovers and even look pretty in a pile.

I’ll be whipping up something fun using Heather’s True Colors prints mixed with her Lottie Da collection to post on my assigned day later this month. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the tour (links below). The party starts Monday, folks! Don’t miss out!

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1/20 Sew4Home
1/21 Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22 I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23 The Sewing Loft
1/24 Ellison Lane
1/27 Dairy of A Quilter
1/28 Material Obsession
1/29 Craftsanity
1/30 Stitched in Color
1/31 Craft Buds
2/3 Jaybird Quilts
2/4 Melissa Peda

 

Frozen Bubble Magic

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Hello Again!

Last weekend everything here in West Michigan was frozen and now – when I’m finally posting this frozen bubble blurb – there’s a massive thaw underway. Boo! As a lifelong Michigan resident, I should have known better than to hold back an activity that requires freezing temps. The only reason I sat on this is because I didn’t want to scoop myself. I wrote my newspaper column on this topic and it was published today. You can read it here.

I was inspired to try this after seeing Kelly’s stunning frozen bubble photography and you should really try it too. It’s magical to watch a bubble land and freeze and last longer that they ever do on a hot summer day.

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Last Sunday I traveled to a far off place without leaving my front porch photographing bubbles freezing, caving in and flaking away. It’s really beautiful to watch. I wish I would have heard about this back when I was a kid. It would have been so fun to do this on snow days with my sisters.

So stock up on bubbles next time you’re at the store and get your camera ready for the next deep freeze. Then show everyone your photos and inspire others to try this all ages, wonderment-inducing activity.

And because it’s not cold enough to freeze bubbles here in West Michigan today, I’m going to share links to the nerdy videos I shot on my front porch. I didn’t have time to set it all to music, but I hope you’ll enjoy the visuals. If you decide to try it, stop back and let me know how it went in the comments. :  )

Potholder LOVE: A fundraiser to help the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation get more AEDs in schools

 Potholder LOVE

Potholder LOVE

Hello! Welcome to the kickoff of the CraftSanity fundraiser to benefit the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation. Last spring I interviewed a Fennville girl for my newspaper column who was selling paintings to help a local charity raise money to get automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) into schools without them.

After we talked, I learned that my daughters’ school didn’t have an AED. While it’s unusual for kids to have heart attacks, it happens. It happened to Wes Leonard, a 16-year-old star athlete. Minutes have sinking the game winning shot on March 3, 2011, he collapsed during the post game celebration and died of sudden cardiac arrest. His story made national news and served as a wake up call to everyone who was thinking that something like this would never happen to one of our kids. The tragedy got people thinking, “What if?” and inspired his family to do a really beautiful thing in his memory: get AEDs in schools to save other kids.

His parents and friends started a foundation a month after he died and have raised funds to install 102 AEDs and certified about 900 people in CPR to date. After learning that my kids’ school did not have funds allocated to purchase an AED, I added the school to the AED waiting list last spring and was very grateful to meet Maria Flores from the Wes Leonard Heart Team when she came to our school and delivered an AED. 

The Wes Leonard Foundation gives AEDs to schools with no strings attached. They just require that there are CPR certified people onsite. They don’t require payment for the device, however, it didn’t seem right to take the device that costs the foundation $1,320 and not pay it back so they can buy another AED for a school without one. I attempted to do a small scale fundraiser within the school community, but it lacked momentum and generated less than $100. So my daughters, Abby, 9, and Amelia, 8, and I decided to take this effort to a larger craft community and I wrote a column about it in today’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press.

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The girls and some of their school mates have been weaving up a storm to create lovely potholders out of recycled t-shirts. Moms are cutting the t-shirts into loopers and the kids are weaving them into beautiful potholders that measure about 7″ square. We’re selling them for $10 each in the hopes of raising $1,320 for the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation by Feb. 14.

The kids are weaving with recycled t-shirts and CraftSanity is covering the shipping costs, so all $10 generated by the sale of each potholder will go to the purchase of another AED for a school without one. 

Here’s how you can help:

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To buy a potholder, send a $10 check made out to the Wes Leonard Heart Foundation to Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, CraftSanity, P.O. Box 888192, Grand Rapids, MI 49588. I will send you a potholder and forward your check to the foundation. Please DO NOT send cash or write checks to me.

I will be posting more potholder photos in the coming days and the kids continue to weave. To reserve a particular potholder, please leave a comment below that includes your first and last name and the number potholder you want to buy. Potholders will be reserved for up to two weeks and then shipped after payment arrives. If you don’t specify a particular potholder, one will be sent to you at random. (Don’t worry, they’re all super cute.)

Donate your old colorful t-shirts: We’re going through a lot of t-shirts for this project, so get in touch if you have some to donate.

Thanks in advance for supporting this project. It’s so great to see elementary students crafting for a cause. Thank you for helping to empower them to make a difference in their community one potholder at a time.

Questions? Email me.

All the best, my friends. Let’s continue to craft positive change in 2014.


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CraftSanity’s Arm Knitting Video Tutorial

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Hello! Things have been pretty quiet here on the CraftSanity blog while I’ve been off teaching journalism at the local community college. I’ve been swamped, but I have not stopped crafting or writing my weekly art and craft column for The Grand Rapids Press or MLive.com. Today’s column is about arm knitting and my husband, Jeff, and I made you a video tutorial to go with it.

Turns out I LOVE arm knitting! It’s fast and fun and a great way to whip up some last minute holiday gifts. As the holiday stress takes hold, everyone starts to look really good in handmade scarves including your bald Uncle Joe who already owns four scarves. Just go with it. Arm knitting is a hot trend and an arm knit scarf is technically different from a needle knit scarf, so you’re doing Joe a favor by helping him keep up with the latest handmade fashion trends and for that I’m sure he LOVES you dearly. 

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There are some nice instructional videos out there, but I thought it would be helpful to create one that shows you how this arm knitting business will look when you cast on. To accomplish this, I had Jeff shoot the video over my shoulder to give the perspective of what it will look like when you try it at home. Hopefully, you will find this video helpful and inspiring.

Here’s the start of my MLive.com column so you know what I’m talking about…

Unusual things are happening in the wonderful world of knitting.

It seems a growing number of people are engaging in super-sized knitting using their arms in place of needles. And, in a more bizarre twist on using one’s body to knit, a feminist performance artist named Casey Jenkins just went viral when a video of her knitting a scarf in an art gallery from a ball of yarn she stashed in her nether region made its way to the web.

I respect the originality of Jenkins’ bold 28-day, public “vaginal knitting” experiment, but her technique is obviously very impractical for last-minute holiday gift-making and could result in an embarrassing trip to the ER or indecent exposure charges if executed poorly at a local yarn shop by non-performance artists.

So in the interest of keeping all of us regular knitters healthy and out of jail this holiday season, I recommend using a fancy yarn bowl if wool containment is a must. And if you still need to kick out some last-minute gifts it’s time to roll up your sleeves because I do believe the arm knitters are on to something fabulous.

You can read the rest of the column on MLive.com. Meanwhile, I have to go write next week’s. Feel free to post links to your arm knitting projects in the comments below. Happy knitting!

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