Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Big Hair

This pillow was an collaborative artistic project with my 4 year old son Kolya... His drawings are so much fun and I have had the idea to embroider some of them for a while. Kolya said this character had "big hair" like me. Now, I have consulted some very reliable sources and it has been confirmed that I do NOT have big hair. (Just had to make sure...)

If you want to make a similar project, I have used a natural linen as my background fabric and a patterned cotton for the back of the pillow. I picked up the down pillow form at IKEA, but most fabric stores carry a stock of pillow forms. You can even re-purpose a pillow that no longer works with your decor. I then took a photograph of Kolya's drawing (so that I could re-size it)... reversed the image... and printed it. I used tracing paper and traced over the drawing with a heat transfer pencil. I then ironed the design onto my linen. I pulled out a nice palette of embroidery thread and went to work. I used the chain stitch in 6 strands on the hair and the stem stitch for the rest of the design. I used just 2 strands of embroidery thread for the more intricate squiggles.

This pillow was a gift, but I'm going to whip up a few more for our house...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bazaar Bizarre Boston 2008

I'm going with the better late than never philosophy on this entry... Way back in the beginning of December I was a vendor at Bazaar Bizarre Boston and had an incredible experience. This was my first year participating in the event and their first year at a new venue... The Castle on Arlington Street in Boston. It was an unbelievable event...well organized and a really cool venue. Shoppers were literally lined up for blocks and the buzz was that many waited for up to 45 minutes in falling snow to see our wares. Thank you to those who waited and shopped and all of the sweet feedback I received. I always want to tell people how much it means to hear your feedback... inspiring me to keep working in my craft and develop new ideas. Thank you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

In Circles

The studio has been a flurry of activity with little time to post images of completed projects, but along the way I have snapped some shots for sharing later. These pillows were for Z's new couch in her cozy library. I am falling in love with more natural fibers including linen...perfect for applique and embroidery. The only hiccup in this project was the mysteriously disappearing circle template. I had to run out and pick up a new one because in my studio it has somehow become an indispensable tool. So, circle template #3 is tucked in safely next to my template collection and numbers 1 & 2 are playing a sneaky game of hide and seek somewhere in the house...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Belated Wishes

Wishing you and yours a belated, but none-the-less wonderful holiday season! There has been marshmallow and fudge making, present wrapping and unwrapping (much more fun!), celebrating, time with family and friends, cooking and EATING and finally napping...

The marshmallows were a huge hit and the three of us enjoyed some hot chocolate with bobbing clouds of melting goodness this afternoon. They are surprisingly easy to make...check out this clever DIY video and make your own!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advent Calendar...

So, in a last minute rush I put together an advent calendar for Kolya... I've actually been tossing around ideas in my head for the last couple of weeks, but hadn't come up with an idea that I really loved. I have a clipping in one of my idea books that I love, but that involved knitting 24 little mittens with numbers on them and I've never even once knit a regular sized mitten... so that idea is put on hold for a more ambitious year. I wanted to come up with something clever that fit with our aesthetic and this is what I came up with. I put together 24 tins and used heavy duty ceramic magnets to attach them to the fridge. These tins were actually snatched from my Simply June supplies, so they already had my label affixed... no problem... I picked up some printable magnet sheets at my local office supply store and printed out the numbers and cut them out by hand. This way I can easily take them off if I need to use the tins for another purpose. (It mostly just made me happy to print my own magnets...) So, now some of the tins hold stickers, pieces of candy, a note to look somewhere for a little gift that is too big for the tin and notes with special activities listed such as going to the library to pick up Christmas books for a special story time... I spread the activities throughout the month and this way we will be sure to do all those fun little holiday activities that sometimes get lost in the frenzy of the season...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bazaar Bizarre Boston

Come visit Simply June at Bazaar Bizarre this Sunday in Boston! Check out their new venue at
The Castle on Arlington Street... This is going to be a really fun, music and shopping!

If you don't live in the Boston area, make sure to check out our Etsy shop ... this week to get your Holiday Shopping done. We are taking all of these items and more to the show, so you don't want to miss out!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have a special day that we celebrate in the Simply June household on the day before Thanksgiving. Three years ago today, we first learned the name of our son Nikolai after months and months of the adoption process. His first Thanksgiving home, I wrote a special poem to share my thoughts with him and our families. I'm sure I've shared it here before, but I'll share it again because it is good to give thanks...

It was a year from today that we first heard your name
Saw your face
Heard your laugh
Allowed ourselves to dream...

In those days and weeks before we held you in our arms
Before we saw your face
Heard your laugh
Held you close and warm

We thanked God for His children
For the son he gave to us
Born half way around the world
Clearly meant for us

We thank God for you on this THANKSGIVING DAY
And we pray for the others that are still waiting today
That their forever families will soon hear their name,
See their face, hear their laugh and allow themselves to dream.

Also keep an eye out on the Simply June Etsy shop as I will be updating it in spurts throughout the weekend... there are already some new goodies in there now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wellesley Marketplace 2008

If it's in my studio and I made it, I'm slapping a Simply June label on it for tomorrow's show! Sorry things have been so quiet on the Simply June blog, but these little hands have been sewing and have all but forgotten how to type.

Make sure to stop by and visit me at the Wellesley Marketplace from 9am - 4pm tomorrow. If you aren't in the area, tune in here next week for updates as I will start updating my Etsy shop for the holiday shopping season...

I have all kinds of exiting new products and designs including lap/baby quilts featuring the fabrics of designer Amy Butler, Embroidered Button Zipper Pouches featuring Japanese import fabrics and my own embroidered buttons, Oilcloth Totes...Zip Pouches...Bibs...Lunch Totes, a NEW tote bag design featuring a pairing of designer Amy Butler's home decor line and 100% natural linen fabric, new Original Simply June evening bags and more!

See you soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Holiday Bazaar - Sunday November 9th

Join Simply June for some early holiday shopping at The Goddard School in Wayland on Sunday November 9th from 11am-2pm.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What Planet is Kolya from?

So, I was dropping Kolya off at school today and was chatting with one of the Moms from his class. She has a younger son "L" who is a year younger than Kolya and they are buds. The Mom shared the best story with me as we headed back to our cars... "L" has been really interested in planets lately and has been asking lots of questions about different planets and who lives on them... Here is their conversation:

"L": Who lives on Venus? "L's" Mom: Nobody honey. People only live on Earth. "L": We live on Earth? "L's" Mom: Yep.

"L" goes off to play for a while... pondering the information as little kids do. A bit later he goes back to his Mom...

"L": What planet does Kolya live on?

Yeah, Kolya's Mama wonders that sometimes too...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shop Update

Leanne won! My favorite Project Runway contestant and fellow Etsian won! Check out this great article on Leanne Marshall on Etsy's Storque. Check out some her past and current collections as well on her website.

There is just never enough time in the Simply June studio, but I finally got a few new items up in the shop. Check them out when you get a chance...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Embroidery Class

I'm so excited to announce that I will be teaching an embroidery class on Sunday November 16th from 1-3:30 pm at Spark Crafts in Cambridge. Here is a class description & one of the projects we will be working on:

Basic Hand Embroidery

Learn a variety of basic embroidery stitches to complete the class project and more. We will be making embroidered buttons…perfect for updating your favorite old sweater or gifting to your favorite knitter. We will also adapt our buttons by making embroidered button rings…make one to match every outfit or to give as gifts. We will cover line stitches, chain stitches, satin stitches, couching stitches, French knots and more. We will also cover great embroidery reference books and design transfer methods.

Class Fee: $30
Supply Fee Options: $10 or $20 (to be paid to instructor the day of the class, cash or check only)
Basic Materials Fee: $10.00
In class use: Hoops, Scissors, Transfer Pens, Variety of Threads
Take Home: 10 ring bases, 10 button bases, Some thread, 1 needle
Take Home Kit: $20.00
In class use: The Kit (that you will take home)
Take Home Kit: Embroidery Scissors, Selection of Needle sizes, Embroidery Hoop, Fabric, Thread, 10 Ring Bases, 10 Button Bases, Transfer Pen

Offered: Sunday, November 16 from 1:00-3:30 (Karen)

So, if you live in the Boston area take a look and sign up! I'd love to see you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Transforming Your Experience of the World

You know those days when you leave the safety and comfort of your own home and head out to do something as simple as go grocery shopping and along the way you encounter aggressive drivers, unfriendly faces, people bored with their jobs, people caught up in their own challenges of the day?... How is it possible that I can go grocery shopping and possibly only talk to the checkout person to say "paper or plastic?" But, we all seem to have a million things going on and I have even found some people alarmed when I try to engage them in conversation at a store (granted I do live in New England). None the less, sometimes I am just as much at fault for this. However, there are those days or moments when I clear my head and live in the moment...take the opportunity to complement someone, connect with someone.

I remember one trip to the store when I was standing in front of the dairy case... looking for a certain item. A woman came up next to me and I made eye contact with her and just shared a friendly smile. I headed back to my cart to add my item to it and she hurried to catch up with me. She told me that she hoped I had a really nice day and that she wanted me to have something. She handed me a round pin with the American flag in the shape of an apple... I believe celebrating excellence in education. I took it and thanked her and wondered for a moment why on earth she had given me the pin when I realized it was because we had connected... no other reason. Giving a gift was her language...her way of telling me that and she gave me what she had. That moment was so rich that I still remember it all these years later.

Well, this leads me to this amazing excerpt from NPR that I heard Sunday night at church. The clip was from the NPR show Storycorps: Recording America... all stories recorded in a traveling sound studio visiting towns and cities throughout the country. This particular story was titled "A Victim Treats His Mugger Right"... told by Julio Diaz of New York City and his account of being mugged and the amazing story that unfolded. It is really worth the listen and really drives home the point that we can transform our own experience of the world.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blankets Cost Money

I'm looking forward to a girls night out tonight to celebrate my friend Karen's birthday! We are meeting up at our ritual hangout to eat good food and celebrate our friendships. The lap quilt is a birthday present for Karen. I love making these and combining a palette of colors. These colors speak her name and are from at least a couple of Amy Butler's lines. The quilt is machine sewn and the bias tape is half-machine and half-hand sewn. I learned a new bias tape trick recently that has really made the task much easier. Have I mentioned how much I love to hand sew? I could really sit for hours and sew on bindings... very methodical... very meditative...

On the subject of quilts... I recently had a conversation with my son Kolya about some quilts that I am making for some upcoming shows. This comes following many conversations where I am trying to teach Kolya that we can't always buy new things when we get tired of the old ones. Things cost money and we should spend our money wisely.

Kolya: What's that?

Mama: This is a lap quilt that I am making.

Kolya: Oh!... a blanket!

Mama: Yep, that's right.

Kolya: Who is it for?

Mama: I'm going to sell it... hopefully someone will love it and buy it.

Kolya: Are they cold?

Mama: (chuckle) Maybe.

Kolya: Don't they already have a blanket?

Mama: Probably, but they might want another one.

Kolya: Oh, but that's not a good idea if they already have a blanket... blankets cost money!

Yeah, I guess I got my point across...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

We have been making a few changes around the Simply June household lately. In an effort to get more organized and to tighten our financial belts, we have been coming up with a weekly menu and creating a grocery list based on it. We have seriously cut about $50 off of our weekly grocery bill as a result! Of course from half of you, I'm sure there is a resounding chorus of "Duh!", but we are a little slow to pick up on things around here sometimes. Maybe it is the creative spirit that we have tried to cultivate in our household, but we usually would just "wing it" while grocery shopping (or food shopping to those native to MA - still makes me giggle for some reason). Anyway, we would just sort of wander into the store and follow our cravings. Yeah, bad idea. So, now I add a cookbook to my weekly list at the local library and sit down at the end of the week to flip through the pages and see what strikes my fancy. I have found that choosing recipes from the same author helps in my quest to save money as they are partial to specific ingredients that show up in many of their recipes. How many times have you purchased a package of fresh thyme or a carton of buttermilk only to find them lingering in the back of your fridge a month later because you only needed a Tbsp. or 1/4 cup of their contents? I have also found that we are eating healthier. I know exactly what we are going to be making each night, so I'm not poking around in the kitchen...nibbling on things until I give in and come up with a plan.

So, what is this weeks cookbook you are wondering? "The Food You Crave...Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life" by Ellie Krieger. So far we have had the Stuffed Turkey Burgers (p. 218) with Garlic "Fries" (p. 265) and Macaroni and Four Cheeses (p. 168). The picture above is of the mac and cheese which is made with two packages of pureed winter squash in addition to the four cheeses. Now the author says "This creamy, crumb-topped macaroni-and-cheese gets its bright orange color and a big nutritional boost from pureed winter squash. Don't tell an no one will ever know. They'll just thank you for making their favorite cheesy comfort meal." So, I whipped up this recipe while the boys were playing astronaut in the living room and served it up without a word. Kolya later looked down at his plate and claimed to have a tummy ache. While Jason was clearly mentally going through this weeks grocery list to discover the mystery ingredient. Yeah, not fooling anyone here. The dish did however get a vote of approval. Yum.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Custom Inspiration

I love having to the opportunity to do custom work when it fits into my schedule. I was given the pitcher from Anthropologie as inspiration for the color palette for one of my embroidered yo-yo dish towels. I love poring over my fabric collection to find the right colors or fabrics for a certain project. It is also nice to have the challenge to work within the constrains of the fabrics I already have. So, here they are... the finished "inspired" dish towels.

I have so many projects on my plate right now. Keep an eye out for an Etsy update soon... I promise and I'm getting ready for three upcoming shows and a few other surprises for the Bostons folks...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On Waking Up...

One of my favorite parts of parenting is the amazing conversations you get to have with your child...

On a recent morning while Jason and I were still sound asleep in bed...

Kolya: (whisper) Papa...good morning... Papa...wake up... Papa... Papa

Jason: (groggy) Good morning Kolya... (groan)... (mumble)... (stretch)

Kolya: Papa...get up... lets play

Papa: Give me a minute Kolya... its hard to wake up.

Kolya: Papa, its easy! Let me show you... (lies down in the bed)... (makes LOUD snoring noises)...ZZZZZ...Choooo....ZZZZZ....Choooo... (sits straight up with a big smile)... See! Its easy!

Mama: Chuckling... half asleep...

Monday, September 22, 2008

stART on the Street

stART on the Street was a huge success yesterday! We had a beautiful weather and a very friendly and fun crowd. I took a quick stroll around all of the tents, but they seemed to go on for miles so I didn't have much time to visit with the other amazing artists. It was fun to see the variety of work though and so many customers were amazed at both the size and quality of the show. The stART on the Street team really has their act together. I wish I had photos to share, but I forgot my camera and Zandra's battery was dead. If nothing else, I had wanted photo evidence that we put up our tent correctly this time! We spent our last show casually hanging in the back literally holding the posts down! Jason made us these incredible weights for our tent and Pete replaced the crucial missing screw and we are back in business.

So, now I am home recovering from the excitement, the unloading, loading, driving etc. It always takes me a few days to recover from a show and thankfully I have some time off before my next one in November. In the meantime I will be sewing, sewing, sewing, visiting "Oprah",`son. I'm so sad to see them close.

I'll hopefully be sending out an e-mail later this week with a big UPDATE to the Simply June Etsy shop. It has been all but picked clean during these last two shows and I have lots of great new designs to share with you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Renegade: Chicago

Oh, to be in Chicago this weekend... If you are lucky enough to be in that part of the world this weekend, check out Renegade Craft Fair. The list of vendors is awesome and I've already spied some of my favorites from Etsy... Coo-Koo-Ri-Koo, The Small Object & Art School Dropout.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


was in one word...Amazing. Lexie Barnes and her amazing team + endless volunteers put on the most amazing show/party. I felt truly honored to be among the amazing talent at that show. Word of TWIST 2.0 is already in the air...due out this Spring!

So, to tell it best...let me show you some pictures. The event was held at the beautiful Center for the Arts in Northampton and showcased in the stunning ballroom and galleries. I was in one of the two art galleries. The paintings were an amazing backdrop for all of our creations. Check out the artist... Suzanna Schlemm... her work really captivated me... in particular check out the untitled piece from 2008 featuring a woman in a green blouse...who in my opinion is carrying a decadent chocolate cake for one...

So, here are a few photos from the event...
Our gallery
The incredible ballroom ceiling...check out the disco ball that added a bit of funk to the show
Vendors set up in the main ballroom
Whistling Sparrow Designs... you have to check out Libby's work... recycled funky t-shirts made into skirts and brooches... + the most amazing dresses from vintage curtains, doilies and other vintage fabrics. Her aesthetic is impeccable and you are sure to find the most unique pieces in her shop.
Simply June table...


Donnabelle Designs... incredible one-of-a-kind jewelry with a funky spirit to match its designer... & Robbie Heidinger...check out her beautiful organic pottery...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Stop by and visit Simply June at TWIST!

September 5th & 6th, 2008
Northampton Center for the Arts
17 New South Street . Northampton . MA

Friday, September 5th (5 - 9pm)
Saturday, September 6th (10am - 8pm)

Twist is a fresh kind of fair, showcasing original handmade goods and art from over 50 of the regions most talented crafters and artists. Two days of browsing and buying starts Friday evening, with DJ beats and adult beverages. Admission $3.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Three Little Toadstools All in a Row...

I couldn't resist making a couple of mushroom button sets right away... they make me silly happy for some reason. I need to go scour my closet for something to add some to... so if you see me walking around town with random buttons affixed to my garments...just smile and wave...there really is no therapy for this type of thing... pssst.... check them out in the shop...

The mini apron is a gift for a little "Miss C" who is celebrating her 4th birthday today! Kolya is invited to her birthday on Saturday, so I whipped up this little apron for the birthday girl... I love being the Mama to a little boy, but once in a while it is fun to make something girly... I want to go to the book shop and pick up a little children's cookbook to pair with it. When I was little, I had a Jello cookbook and my favorite "recipe" was one where you cooled your Jello in a clear glass and then stuck a straw into it a few times... then add some cream to the top of the glass and beautiful white pillars would appear in your Jello! So cool! I know you are off to try it now...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Little Red Riding Hood & The Itty Bitty Embroidered Mushroom...

I did some updating in the shop today... including a couple of cute Little Red Riding Hood Zippered Pouches. They each measure 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" and are lined witha cute coordinating red polka dot cotton. The main fabric is a linen blend imported from Japan. I embroidered itty bitty red and white mushroom buttons as pulls and now I'm sure these are going to show up on button cards in the near future...

Also pop into the shop for a new Matryoshka doll zippered pouch and two new applique tanks in some new sizes in case you have had your eye on those...