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Issue 9 is available to order online and in stores.
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Get the PDF (perfect for your printer, computer or iPad) of this special holiday edition for $5 by ordering here. This issue is free to subscribers. If you are a subscriber (or sign up to be one), email to get your download code.
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Issue 8 is available to order online.
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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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Remembering Kathreen

kathreen-ricketson-353-300x0I don’t usually listen to my old podcasts, but today I listened to episode 19 an interview I recorded in 2006 with Kathreen Ricketson, the creator, author and mother of two. Back then our kids were little and we talked about motherhood and crafting and the adventures she had before she become a mom. I still can’t believe she’s gone.

As many of you have heard by now, the craft world lost a major force last week when Kathreen, 41,  and her husband, Robert Shugg, 48, died while visiting a beach located south of Coral Bay. They were traveling around Australia and Kathreen was writing a book about their grand adventure. News reports are linking Kathreen’s death to possible contact with a deadly jellyfish. Robert is still missing. It’s  surreal to hear that their adventure ended this way. 

Kathreen and Robert are survived by their 13-year-old daughter, Otilija and 10-year-old son, Orlando. And the craft community is doing what it can to support the children during this time of unbelievable sadness. The details of how you can help can be found here.

Read more »

Hello Again.


I’m popping in to let you all know that I’m working on CraftSanity Issue 9 and will be headed to the printer soon. My sincere apologies for the delay. I LOVE working on the magazine and I’ve been twitching for months due to all the interruptions.

When I agreed to take on a job advising the student newspaper and teaching the accompanying journalism courses at the local community college last summer, I knew it would be a lot of work for very little pay. And I did it anyway. Why? I’m attracted to challenging situations and wanted to try to make a difference for the next generation of journalists. I think I helped a few.

What I didn’t know was that the job would simultaneously inspire and frustrate me, break my heart, consume most of my time and derail all my independent projects and business plans. Thankfully, I didn’t let it disrupt my family life.

I have a lot to offer in a college setting, but I have no desire to be a career adjunct – overworked and underpaid with no benefits or a standing invitation to graduation. (I didn’t have a ticket and was almost turned away when I went to watch my students graduate this year.) I wrote a proposal outlining the conditions under which I can continue to advise and time will tell what happens next. So my future as an educator is most uncertain. And I’m okay with that. If things are meant to be, they will work out. And I have a feeling there will always be challenging situations for me to dive into and try to make a difference. Those are endless, right?

I never plan to take time off blogging or podcasting or loom making or publishing. I just keep working. All the time. I finish one project and immediately begin the next. And most of the time my projects overlap leaving little time for public blog commentary. These days I document my joy most often on Instagram because it’s fast and easy and feeds my compulsion to take photos daily.


And now for a loom update… I have been overwhelmed with loom requests. Production slowed when my frame maker and I were both recruited for teaching jobs. I picked up more frames from him this week and will be restocking my shop as soon as I finish work on Issue 9. I’m very sorry that I have not been able to respond to every loom request.

This slowdown has inspired me to dust off a non-profit idea I’ve had for many years. I can no longer pound in every peg myself and I would love to spin CraftSanity Looms off into a self-sustaining community enterprise that employees developmentally disabled adults. I was inspired by a group of people I met while reporting a story for my newspaper column and I think the time has come to finally figure out how to write a grant, secure space and assemble a team. I don’t know the first thing any of this which makes it all the more exciting. Please contact me if you have any advice to share. I have a lot to learn. I will have time to discuss this further in about three weeks. :  )


My only regret about this latest blog hiatus is that I haven’t properly documented many great moments that I’ve shared with my family during the last several months.

*Abby’s first Girls on the Run 5K
*The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon
*Our family gardening project
*A collaborative quilt project that I’m working on with my sisters

But it’s all there on Instagram if you’re interested. Now I have to get back to work on CraftSanity Issue 9. There’s still room to advertise if any of you are interested. Ad rates can be found here.

Have a great day, folks!

A Love Story


Love. This print marks the beginning of what is shaping up to be a fantastic creative adventure. It all started when my 7-year-old daughter, Amelia, got hooked on printmaking at a free workshop in 2012. When I saw her happily making prints on an old book press, I knew it was time to finally surrender to the urge I’ve felt for many years to try to make my own.

On Christmas Eve Amelia received a little blue press as a present from my father. It was made of scrap wood and pieces of the old cupbards from my parents’ kitchen and Amelia loved it and told my father on the spot. I think I loved it just as much.

On Christmas Day, Amelia drew this “Love” design on a piece of paper and asked me to carve her drawing into a block. I was happy, too – ecstatic, actually.

We started making prints as soon as the carving was done and I think we both knew immediately that this is just the beginning of something wonderful. Amelia has made many practice prints with her little blue press, and now we’re going to send a little bit of love out into the world and see what happens next.

Today, Amelia, her big sister, Abby, and I will be demonstrating some basic printmaking techniques on WZZM Channel 13′s “Take Five” morning show.

*** Magazine Update: There will be printmaking in the forthcoming spring issue of CraftSanity Magazine!

Stars Over The Thornapple Quilt Show

The Stars Over The Thornapple Quilt Show is going on this weekend at the Barry County Expo Center near Hastings, Michigan. The show opened Saturday and will be open Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The show is bigger than it was two years ago and features a fun variety of quilts and vendor booths. Thornapple River Rippers Quilt Guild members (from left) Rebecca Lydy, Kathy Dunn, Caroline Moffit and Vickie Ward, joined forces to piece the lovely raffle quilt behind them. You can read a column I wrote about another one of their guild members here.

Here’s a preview of some of the other quilts on display at the show:

Beverly Jones pieced this quilt by hand using 3/4″ hexagons. “It took several years… my “forever” quilt.” It was quilted by Agnes Oberth.


Detail of an appliquéd bird quilt by the late Carrie Honeman.

Detail of an appliquéd bird quilt by the late Carrie Honeman.

This memorial quilt was appliquéd by Carrie Honeman, pieced by Laraine Facca and quilted by Bonnie Rhoby. The pattern was designed by Elizabeth Root.

This memorial quilt was appliquéd by Carrie Honeman, pieced by Laraine Facca and quilted by Bonnie Rhoby. The pattern was designed by Elizabeth Root.

Beverly Jones paper pieced this quilt using Civil War reproduction fabrics.

Beverly Jones paper pieced this quilt using Civil War reproduction fabrics.

In addition to checking out the quilts, I chatted with many interesting vendors at the show and spent some quality time talking to Mike Lydy and his daughter, Brandi Melkild, about the handmade quilting accessories that Mike makes in his wood shop. 

I bought a nice big, quilter's ironing board from Hastings Wood Worker Mike Lydy.

I bought a nice big, quilter’s ironing board from Hastings Wood Worker Mike Lydy. After I make some more quilts, I’ll have to put in an order for one of his quilt ladders.

I also stumbled upon a very sweet quilt story that I’m writing up for next Sunday’s column. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, go check out the show if you live close enough to pop over.

Scribble Drawings Forever


Back in elementary school a wonderful teacher showed my class how to make scribbles into art. I can’t remember if the original demo involved a black marker or crayon, but what I do remember is watching that black line loop-d-loop all over the page and feeling so empowered as a little girl with with a box of crayons.

I was small but I could scribble.


Three decades later, the scribble drawing remains my all-time favorite thing to draw and color. You can read my column about how my kids have inspired me to keep on scribbling here.

Now I hope you’re inspired to get out your crayons and make a scribble drawing of your own. Scribble drawings forever!

Practice Miles

I chased my shadow on the wall of the basement for about two hours today. That’s how long it took me to complete a 13.25-mile training run on the treadmill. That’s a long time to be running toward a wall, but that’s the way I train best. My longest treadmill training run milage record is 22 miles completed in 2007 while training for the  full Grand Rapids Marathon. I admit that training run was pretty ridiculous, but this busy mama is not afraid to get creative with race prep. Often, I don’t have time to drive to group training runs and find running on the treadmill a safer option than a long solo run.

IMG_4674Today’s goal was to run farther than the 13.1 distance I’ll need to complete at next month’s Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, Mich. My legs are sore, but I’m feeling confident that my body will be ready for the race. I’m building my endurance by completing a minimum of three runs per week: one long, one medium and one shorter run that can be completed in an hour or less.

It’s not an ideal training plan, but that’s about all the running I have time to do and that’s just fine with me. I’m not looking to run my guts out at the race, I just want to enjoy the run and celebrate the fact that woman have come along way in the 40 years since Title IX opened the sports world to women. I’m going to run this race because I can.

What are you training for? Are any of you doing the Fifth Third River Bank Run. I haven’t signed up yet, but I’m thinking about doing the 25K. It’s a great race complete with outstanding crowd support.

Ok, I better get back to work on the magazine. There’s still a lot of fun work to wrap up.

Today’s print, this week’s agenda


It’s spring break week at the college where I teach, so I’m kicking my magazine work into overdrive between phone calls and emails from students who are still reporting stories during break. (FYI: There’s no such thing as spring break for diehard journalists in training.)

CraftSanity Issue 9 is shaping up to be a fun one! Let me know if you would have a last-minute spring project idea to contribute as I may be able to squeeze in another project. And if you would like to like to advertise, there’s still time for that, too. The rates are posted here.

I plan to cover printmaking in the next issue because it has become my latest obsession. Today I made some prints of a block I finished carving yesterday. The detail shot is posted above. I’m thinking it would be nice to buy or make a heavy duty press at some point, but I haven’t sorted all that out yet. What I do know is that I really enjoy the mystery and magic of printmaking and so I will continue carving and printing and printing some more. The process is slow without a press, but still very enjoyable.

There’s a lot of work to get through this week, but it’s all really fun and for that reality I’m truly grateful.

CraftSanity Printmaking Workshops at the Fraser Public Library


Hello! While I’ve been away from the blog I’ve become completely addicted to printmaking. LOVE IT!

After many  years of wishing I had time to get into it, my youngest daughter, Amelia, inspired me to jump in and now we’re both hooked. We printed daily during Christmas break and like to bust out the ink and rollers as often as we can. That’s why I’m really excited to start sharing what we’ve learned from our experiments.


In fact, I’m popping in to let you folks know that I’m headed back home to Fraser, Mich. to teach FREE printmaking workshops for kids and adults on March 23. The workshop for kids age 5 and up will be at 1:30 p.m. followed by the adult class at 3 p.m. Attendees will be taught the basics of printmaking and get a chance to design and make a print to take home. (Please note, that this is a kid-friendly event and no dangerous carving tools will be used.)

You can call the library to sign up: (586) 293-2055.  I hope to see some of you there! And if you’re a printmaker yourself, feel free to bring some prints to show the group and we’ll do a little “show & tell.”



DIY Valentine’s Day Bling


Hello! I have a quick project inspired by my little sister, Julie, to share with you. We had a rare opportunity to craft together recently and she showed me and my girls how to make these fun and super-sized pendants, pins and rings using glass stones, nail polish and jewelry findings. (Julie made all the pieces above.) Fun times like these make me wish we didn’t have 2.5 hours of drive time between us.

Read on to make your own bling. These make great gifts for kids to make for their moms, teachers and friends.


  • Glass stones measuring 1 1/2” in diameter
  • Clear nail polish and several other colors of your choice. (Polishes with a “krackle” effect work especially well for this project.)
  • E6000 adhesive glue
  • Adjustable ring, pendant and or pin backs

Step 1:
Cover the flat side of the stone with a base coat of clear nail polish. (All your painting will be on the flat side of the stone.) Let dry.

Step 2: If you want to create a random effect, apply a coat of “krackle” polish to the flat side of the  stone and watch it appear to crack as it dries. Then apply a coat of regular polish in a contrasting color to create an interesting two tone effect. Or, for a more more festive V-Day theme, paint a heart motif in the middle of the flat side of the stone. Let dry. Then apply a background color.

Step 3: Apply one more coat of clear nail polish to seal your design.

Step 4: Glue the painted side of your stone to the ring base, pendant or pin back and set aside to dry overnight.

Step 5: Sport your handmade bling around town and then get together with friends to make more.

Thanks for sharing this fun craft idea, Julie!

Dear readers, what Valentine’s Day crafts are you making this year? Please share ideas in the comments below.



It’s been far too long since my last update, but I’ve had some important work to do for my family and the college students I advise. It would take me a long time to recap the events of the last couple months, so I’m just going to skip ahead and tell you that I’m working on a new issue of CraftSanity Magazine. It will include projects, recipes and stories I love. There is still room in the issue, so let me know if you have a inspiring story or project to share. I’m still doing interviews. : )


Speaking of interviews, I miss producing the podcast and it sounds like some of you miss hearing new episodes. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this topic. I’d like to get it going again, but want to make sure there’s still an audience for it. If that ship has sailed, I’ll get to work building a new ship.



We’ve been enjoying some beautiful winter days here in West Michigan. I don’t enjoy driving on snowy roads, but I love photographing the West Michigan landscapes dusted with white.

I’ve missed this space and it’s good to be back. I have many projects to show you because I never stopped crafting during my unplanned blogging break. Making stuff is like breathing for me. I have to do it. Included in this post are photos of some of the random embroidery and twilling projects that I’ve been sneaking in when I can. I’d stitch all day long if I could.

If you want learn more about what I’ve been up to, you can check out my Instagram photos. I post photos there almost daily because it’s quick and easy to fit into my life.

Okay, I have a difficult column to write, miles to run and stuff to organize so I better get to it. Enjoy the day and leave me a comment below about what you’ve been up to. We have some serious catching up to do.

CraftSanity Magazine Holiday Edition PDF

Hello! I’m popping in to let you know that I made a special Holiday Edition of the CraftSanity Magazine just for you. It’s available as a instant download on the left sidebar of this page for just $5. This mini, ad-free issue features crochet, knitting, ornament-making and baking, too. The age of the contributors ranges from 7 to 85, and you gotta love that!

Collaborators and featured designers include:

Liz Gutman & Jen King

Alessandra Hayden

Abby & Amelia Haywood

Alice Minthorn

Maria Stout

And me, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood!

This special issue is available as a PDF only and free to subscribers. If you are a subscriber and have not received your free PDF, email me and I’ll get it to you.

If you want to subscribe and get your copy free, check out the subscription info here.

Happy last-minute holiday crafting folks!

P.S. A special thanks to my mom, Christy Ackerman, for her deadline proofing and my bro, Andrew Sarcona, for making the cover look pretty. You both are awesome. : )

Here is a look at some of the projects

CraftSanity Magazine Fall 2012 edition now available in stores and PDF download

CraftSanity Magazine is now available in stores across West Michigan (and a few other lucky places) and you can also order the PDF by clicking the links on the left side of the page.

* Country Needleworks, 584 Chicago Dr. Jenison, MI, (616) 457 9410.

* A Grand Skein, 2431 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, 551-1322

* Minty Keen, (a vintage and handmade shop) 125 Ottawa NW Suite 170, in Grand Rapids, (616) 551-1613

* Schuler Books & Music
40 Fountain St NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan (616) 459-7750
- 3165 Alpine Avenue Northwest, Walker – (616) 647-0999
- 2660 28th Street Southeast, Kentwood -(616) 942-2561

* Threadbender Yarn Shop, 2767 44th Street SW, Wyoming, MI, (616) 531-6641

* Sister’s Fabrics, 218 E State St., Hastings, MI, 269-945-9673

On the Lakeshore:

* Reader’s World, 194 S. River Ave., Holland, MI, (616) 396-8548

Outside Michigan:

* Starstruck Cat Studio, 3130 Meridan Parke Drive, Suite H,
Greenwood, Ind., (317) 889-9665

Stock CraftSanity: If you’re interested in stocking CraftSanity Magazine in your shop, contact me and I’ll hook you up. : )

Come visit me at SASS Fest today in Grand Rapids

Join me in Grand Rapids today as SASS Fest where I will be joining other creative types. I will be demoing how to make T-shirt bangle bracelets and selling some looms.

Here’s my column about the event, which will be held at 106 Gallery, 106 S. Division Ave.

Here is a schedule of events at SASS Fest workshops:

• 12:15 to 1 p.m.: Menstrual health workshop with Joelle: including a mini pocket zine

• 1 to 1:45 p.m.: DIY lifestyle discussion: Sprout Anarchist Collective
• 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.: Make your own T-shirt bangle bracelets with Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood of

• 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.: How to make a zine with Marlee Grace

• 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.: How to book a house show: Ben Davey and friends

• 3:15 to 4 p.m.: Body image and self love with the Bandit Zine

• 4 to 4:45 p.m.: Sarah Sciba: print making

• 4:45 to 5:30 p.m.: Radical parenting discussion group — child care provided

• 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.: Engaged, involved and attending : a conversation about the state of the arts with Jenn Schaub

• 6:15 to 7 p.m.: Writing and journaling with Big Mama Schlomo

• 6:15 to 7 p.m.: DIY photo developing with John Hanson

CraftSanity Magazine Issue 8 Preorder Preview Sale

The CraftSanity Magazine Issue 8 Preorder Sale is on! Preorder your copy by Wednesday (11/14/12) and save a dollar off the cover price!

You can also sign up for a CraftSanity Magazine subscription and have the next 4 issues automatically mailed to your home.

Here’s a preview of the fun projects, stories and recipes featured in this issue:

Crochet wrist warmers by Lisa Gutierrez from

A stylin’ fall hat by Alessandra Hayden of Just Be Happy Crochet.

Lost Highway Knitted Shawl by Ann Weaver of Weaverknits

Pom-pom & Tassel Garland by Cydney Colvig

Plaster casting ornament tutorial by Cara O’Brien of O’Brien Objects

A stuffed turkey pincushion tutorial inspired by Grand Rapids crafter Julie Lewis

Woven bangle bracelet tutorial by Abby Haywood, 8, a CraftSanity Vice President of Fun

A quilt story, Q&A and project from Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison, authors of “Sunday Morning Quilts”

The CraftSanity Kids beginning spinning adventure with Margaret Jager, president of the Woodland Weaver & Spinners Guild

Delicious chocolate compost bark recipe by Lucy Baker, author of “Edible DIY: Simple, Giftable Recipes to Savor & Share”

Art & and embroidery design by Rebecca Green

Fall flowers crochet cowl by Edie Eckman author of the new book “Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs”

As you can see there’s a lot in this issue including a fun story and embroidery pattern from Aneela Hoey, a great gingerbread recipe and  new Q&A with Yvette Van Boven about her book “Home Made Winter,” my daughter Amelia’s Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancake recipe for kids and my veggie chili recipe. There’s also a guide by Cydney Colvig on how to copy a favorite garment. We cloned my favorite dress for this issue.

Whew! I think I covered it all. You can preorder your copy of Issue 8 here. As I mentioned above… if you order by Wednesday (Nov. 14) you save a dollar off the cover price. The $6 PDF edition will be available for instant download on Friday (Nov. 16). I will be posting a list of shops that will be stocking the new issue as soon as I get those delivered.

** I will be selling weaving looms and copies of Issue 8 and all the back issues at Sass Fest, from noon – 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at 106 Gallery, 106 S. Division Ave., in Grand Rapids. Stop by if you can. I’m expecting this to be a really fun event. (Read my column about the event here.)

Happy crafting and thanks so much for your support!

- Jennifer

Handmade Stories: My Great Grandma’s Knitting

I’m taking a quick break from wrapping up work on CraftSanity Magazine Issue 8 and prepping for tomorrow night’s free craft event at Schuler Books to share a handmade story project I launched today in my newspaper column. I’m collecting handmade stories and started by sharing a story I wrote for Issue 4 of my magazine. It’s about meeting my great grandmother for the first time in 1979 on her farm in Washington state. (That’s me, front and center, in the photo above holding great grandma’s hand. My little sister, Jacquie, is next to me and my mom and grandma are behind me to the left.) If you missed the story in today’s print edition of The Grand Rapids Press, please visit to read the excerpt.

You can download the slipper pattern I wrote about here. Pattern information is on Ravelry, too.

My column explains what I’m up to, so check it out for more info. In a nutshell, I’m essentially asking people to tell me the stories and traditions behind the patterns and projects they make. My plan is to interview and feature the people who send in the best projects and stories. Projects and stories can be emailed to me or sent via regular mail (I enjoy crafty correspondence!) to Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, P.O. Box 888192, Grand Rapids, MI 49588.

I’m going to get my work done while I wait to hear your stories. :  ) Have a lovely day!