Kathreen put this post together on her travels. I thought it was a wonderful thing to share. – Kate


Amy Palanjian has recently published a book with Chronicle books — called So Pretty Felt. She joins us here to chat about the book — just for fun I asked her what her five fave tools are and a bit about her working from home process — to keep with the theme this month of useful creative biz info — What are your fave tools?

What’s your crafting from home process?

I am primarily a quilter and a sewer and I do the vast majority of my stitching in the evenings after my 11 month old goes to bed. I’ve never gotten along too well with my sewing machine, so I can take my sewing with me wherever it’s convenient, though in all honesty I do most of it on the couch. In the past year I’ve made 6 baby quilts and one wedding quilt—I’ve gotten a lot faster over the years…it used to take me a whole year to do one quilt!

Professionally, I work as a writer, editor, and maker, so I’m often in my basement making things for work. Lately, there’s been an explosion of all things holiday (glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel, etc.) as I’ve been working on holiday craft projects.

What are your five favorite craft tools and products?

  1. Coats & Clark Button & Craft thread: This is the thread that I use for all of my hand stitching. I learned about it from the women ofAlabama Chanin, who are known for their hand stitching when I worked with them to make my wedding dress and I’ve never gone back. It’s thick, strong, and feels really great to work with. I always have white, cream, and gray thread on hand. 
  2. Gingher 4 inch scissors: These little fabric scissors are my go-to quilting snips. They are small, sharp, and ideal for keeping on the arm of my couch by my current quilting project.
  3. Steam-a-Seam Fusible Web: To make thin fabric stronger, for applique, or simply to fuse one fabric to another, I love this product. Recently, I had to make the rounds at all of my local craft stores to find it since a 4-H club had bought it out—I’m forever more buying twice as much as I need so I’ll always have it on hand!
  4. 100% Wool Felt: I love felt (shocking, I know!) and I like to have an assortment on hand. Finding high quality wool felt is becoming easier than it was just a few years ago, but Felt on the Fly and Purl Soho generally have good selections.. 
  5. Embroidery Floss: This is a basic supply that I find myself using more and more these days. It’s easy to stitch with because it’s so thick and it looks great on fabric, felt, and even paper. I like the color options from DMC.

Anything else you’d like to share about the book?

I had such a wonderful time working with the 12 women that are featured in the book and getting to know them and their creative processes were a real inspiration to me. I hope that translates into the book and that readers will feel the urge to create and find their own creative energy as well.

Apologies for being late with this — a storm affected my internet — the vagaries of online work!

Blog tour schedule:

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Have you been enjoying the series this month on Functional Creativity? Shelter and Clothe are the latest additions :: with a tutorial on giving new life to old clothes and the Handmakers factory fitting in really well to this month’s theme too! Also this week a new reviewer at Whipup reviewed Textured Stitches.

Next month we have a new theme and a new set of guest edited posts — very excited as there are lots of resources for starting up your creative business.

creative inspiration

Some crafty links :: Anne emailed in a cute tutorial for a knitted rose :: Check out this photographic granny duvet cover — uhm what do you think? :: Make a craft apron :: Yoghurt panna cotta — yum! :: Gotta make some boy suspenders :: A list of cool craft blogs :: Goat cheese and chive biscuits (uhm scones in the UK and Aus) :: Weave a living basket :: Cultivating creativity in kids.

With Google reader about to close up shop forever i have been looking at alternatives :: Feedly seems like the forerunner I’ve signed up and it is nice to use — you can import your google reader account very easily too) :: Pulse is another one.

What’s up with me ? …

As many of you probably know or have guessed — I am travelling with my family on a year long camping trip around Australia. It has its ups and downs. I have learned a few things :: Change is good. Homeschooling is hard. Kids are stubborn. Cooking over the fire is fantastic. Sunsets over the ocean are bliss. Country town libraries and laundromats are an amazing resource. Don’t trust your husband with the keys — but do trust him with driving. Homemade ice cream and cake is the best.

Don’t you just love that pic of the house above — creative inspiration for sure!


During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy! :: April is Functional Creativity.

DO get in touch if you are interested in writing a guest post for whipup this year! Send me a short email with your idea Kathreen {at} whipup.net



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by kath_red on 18/04/2013

in my life, Newsletter

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi

When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change. Jeanette Winterson

There’s still time to change the road you’re on. Led Zeppelin


You would think that taking a year away from your ordinary life would be change enough. Or perhaps this oasis is merely a catalyst for more change. Taking a year away seemed like such a huge step, to pack up and live on the road with minimal stuff and in a confined space is like the wind of freedom blowing through your life. A chance to step out of the ordinary and the chaos of comfort to contemplate the bigger picture — to look at where you are going and what you want to achieve.

This perspective has been life changing is many small ways for us — it has taken a couple of months to relax enough to even get to this stage of contemplation, to be able to let go of the worries and pull of our regular life — and we are still not fully there yet. We still worry and wonder. But now we have begun to make plans, to visualise a life of difference, to see beyond what is in front of our nose and to seek new horizons. I am not even talking about anything major — we won’t be living in an ashram, and we won’t be building a treehouse in the woods, but a list is beginning to emerge — priorities and importances.

Some big changes are in the wind, but it is the smaller changes I am most excited about. A commitment to live more fully in the now, to create small everyday adventures, and listen to our hearts.

What changes would you / could you want to make — small or big, realistic or dreamy — or are you completely happy where you are right now?


During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy! :: April is Functional Creativity.

DO get in touch if you are interested in writing a guest post for whipup this year! Send me a short email with your idea Kathreen {at} whipup.net



Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter via email


During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Mary Jo for the month of April :: The theme for this month is functional creativity.

Mary Jo :: Five Green Acres


I’ve begun to realize that my wardrobe has a serious pocket deficit. The skirts are to blame, the skirts that I wear most days — many I’ve made myself or resized from existing ones. When I consider all the requests I get during the day to ‘hold this’ or see the need to wipe a nose or find a marble in the middle of the hallway that should be picked up on my way downstairs, it boggles my mind that I’ve been able to live in this state of functional undress for so long. This lack of proper pockets is degrading the quality of my mothering! I said aloud to no one in particular. Well. A clever girl can fix that in a jiffy, if only she sets her mind to it and quits her whining. Let’s explore some options.

Mending is another indispensable tool of functional clothing, but one that often gets overlooked as drudgery. The pile of forsaken clothes waiting for attention on the floor of my studio are testament to that — when pitted against flashy new yardage and a shoestring budget of time, it’s no surprise that a whole season might pass before I take the time to sew on a new button or patch a hole. But a patch can be a design element of its own, arriving to the garment out of necessity but often bringing its own magical synergy.

I’ve come across this many times in my own making — maybe I’ve cut out and sewn nearly a whole garment before realizing the unfortunate placement of a stain. Placing a patch over the offending mark, or splicing in different fabric altogether adds a design element that I couldn’t have foreseen in even the greatest of design epiphanies. In utilitarian garments like work clothes, the accumulation of patches appear like merit badges or, like the accumulated multi-color splatters on the handle of a paintbrush, a record of what’s been done.  Check out the You Are Awesome patch here and a great sweater repair tute here. Do you have a favorite patched piece in your own wardrobe?

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