Dia de los Muertos Part I: sugar skulls

October 31, 2011, 11:28 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

The Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) has always fascinated me. It’s a colorful celebration and a festive way to remember loved ones who have passed. The elaborate offerings of food, sweets and flowers are beautiful, taking months of preparation. One of the centerpieces of such offerings are sugar skulls. I’ve seen these colorful creations and the various incarnations of the art adorning them, but never fully investigated their significance until now.

Do you eat them? How do you make them? If you are lucky enough to have a local celebration you can make and decorate your own skull, but if not, don’t worry, mexicansugarskull.com has you covered. Their site has everything you need to make your own sugar skulls. Ingredients, recipes, molds, how-tos and all manner of decorations and inspiration for your own Day of the Dead celebration can be found there.

“Sugar Skulls are a traditional folk art from Southern Mexico used to celebrate Day of the Dead. Mounds of colorful sugar skulls are sold by Indian vendors in open air village markets during the week preceding the holiday. Spirits of the dead are welcomed back to their homes with beautifully decorated altars made by their loved ones. Sugar skulls, marigolds, candles, incense and special foods adorn home altars.”


Continue for a sugar skull how-to video…

Continue reading...

The 12s on Quilt Festival: Terry Grant

October 31, 2011, 10:00 am  Posted by guestblogger

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Terry Grant

Between Mother and Child - featured in the 2011 special exhibit The Space Between

What Festival is this for you?
This is my first Festival. I went to Quilt Market several times when I had a shop, but was never able to stay for Festival.

Where will you be and when?
I plan to spend most of my time with the Twelves and our exhibit, but I am also excited to see an exhibit called “The Space Between” that I have a quilt in.

What are you most excited about this year?
Meeting most of the other Twelves for sure! I so wish we were all going to be there, but it is a long, long trip for some of them.

On a related note, just how excited are you to see all the quilts together?
Well, I had the honor of preparing the quilts for the Houston show, so I have seen them all, one at a time, but I am sure it will be a thrill to see them hanging together. I’ll probably cry!


The moon is made of green cheese – Chartreuse Colorplay

Is there one piece from that you’re really excited to see in person?
I think I am excited to see all of Helen’s quilts, especially. She used some very unusual materials. I am also very interested in Kristin’s water quilt that was designed to disintegrate.

What’s your one must-take item for Festival?
My camera, without a doubt.


The 12s on Quilt Festival: Kristin La Flamme

October 28, 2011, 12:03 pm  Posted by needlearts

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Kristin La Flamme 

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my second time coming to Festival. Last year was completely overwhelming, so I’m looking forward to being less discombobulated this time.

Fellow Twelve Deborah Boschert introduced me to Judy Coates Perez, whose blog I’ve enjoyed reading for years.

Where will you be and when?
I will be at the Twelve by Twelve exhibit Thursday the 3rd and Friday the 5th from 12 until 2, plus Friday from 2 until 4. We’ll end the day in our booth at 6:30 Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. I’ll probably also call our area Home Base and come and go throughout each day. I’ll be volunteering at the SAQA table as well on Thursday from 3 until 5 and on Friday from 12 until 2.

What are you most excited about this year?
I am most excited to meet all the Twelves I have not yet met in person. I’m a little sad that three of our four international members won’t be in attendance, but that still leaves four Twelves to meet for the first time, and four that I get to hang out with again and get to know better!

My favorite moments last year were the ones socializing in person with online friends. Finding out that most people are just as interesting and friendly in person as they appear on their blogs is wonderful.

Continue reading...

Cathy Gaubert on Quilt Market 2011

October 27, 2011, 18:07 pm  Posted by Lark


Cathy and her little helpers!

Getting packed and ready for Quilt Market? Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts author Cathy Gaubert is, too! We caught up with her just before she hit the road for Houston… and if you’re headed to Market, you should too! And be sure to check out the details for the Doll Quilt Contest over on Sew, Mama, Sew!

What Festival is this for you?
This is only my second Festival (and my first time at Market!). The first one i went to was right at 20 years ago (in a big van, filled with ladies and piled high with projects and loot from Festival)!

Continue reading...

Halloween Has Gone to the Dogs – Free Projects

October 26, 2011, 09:00 am  Posted by Lark

It’s an undeniable fact that the popularity of Halloween is growing, with estimates that Americans will spend a whopping $6.86 billion this year on decorations, costumes, and candy. Nowadays Halloween festivities are not just for kids, it seems that everyone and their dog is getting in on the fun. And speaking of dogs, Asheville is one of the most dog-friendly towns that I know of. We are not alone though, in many cities around the country people and their dogs are inseparable–where people go, so do their canine buddies. So while planning and making (and we know gentle crafter that you’ll make not buy from a store) your Halloween costume this year, don’t forget your faithful four-legged friend.

If you find yourself running short on time or inspiration, here are a couple of quickie dog costume ideas* created by super crafty Cathie Filian, that are sure to elicit smiles when greeting those little goblins at the door. An added bonus is since the base of the costumes is a doggie tee shirt, there’s hardly any sewing involved.

Hope you have a happy Howl-oween!

*dog costume excerpted from Bow Wow WOW! (Lark 2008)


Free Project: Medusa Wig

October 26, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Looking for a last minute costume idea? This Medusa wig from Joanne O’ Sullivan’s Halloween will be sure to frighten AND it is very simple to make. A trip to the craft and/or toy store should be all you need to get started (unless you happen to have several fake snakes lying around the house).







The 12s on Quilt Festival: Brenda Gael Smith

October 25, 2011, 12:17 pm  Posted by needlearts

Quilt Festival 2011 is nearly upon us! Join us as we talk with some of the authors of Twelve by Twelve about their upcoming trip…

Today’s guest: Brenda Gael Smith

Lorikeet Circus – from the Lorikeet Colorplay Challenge

What Festival is this for you?
This will be my very first International Quilt Festival. Gulp.  I’m starting to think I should have done some proper training for the event.  Perhaps fellow Twelve Nikki, who recently completed her first half marathon, had the right idea!

Where will you be and when?
After 24+ hours in transit from Australia, I hope to make it to the tail end of preview night on Wednesday 2 November.  Then I will be at Festival every day, mostly at the Twelve by Twelve exhibit (look out for the roster on the Twelve by Twelve blog) but also a stint on the SAQA Booth from 3-5pm on Saturday.

What are you most excited about this year?
After collaborating online in the Twelve by Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge for over four years, I am most excited to be joining so many of the Twelves in person.  I’ve met Diane before a couple of times but this will be my first meeting the other American Twelves.  It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

• Pohutakawa Toanga (Pohutukawa Treasure) – my contribution to the Textured Treasures exhibition

On a related note, just how excited are you to see all the quilts together?
Seeing the Theme series quilts for the first time, when the exhibit toured to Australia and New Zealand in 2010, was an extremely moving experience.  I thought my heart would burst.  To be able to share all the quilts from the book along with the new Colorplay series, a total of 288 quilts, with so many people at Festival is a great thrill and honour. I extend a huge thank you to Del Thomas for her kind sponsorship of the Twelve by Twelve exhibit through the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection.

Is there one piece that you’re really excited to see in person?
I want to see everything! I am looking forward to studying each and every quilt from the Colorplay series and renewing my acquaintance with the Theme series.  It is wonderful to be able to view the quilts online but real life presents a whole new dimension in color, texture and detail. I’m also keen to see the exhibits of my Australian compatriots – Destination Texas by Sue Dennis and Textured Treasures presented by Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship for Quilting Teachers Award Winner Lisa Walton.

What’s your one must-take item for Festival?
For me, the most important items in my hand luggage will be my camera and iPad combo. That, plus wifi, will set me up for recording and blogging about my first Festival; the people and the quilts.

Read more about Brenda at http://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/blog/. And be sure to enter the giveaway happening over on the Twelve by Twelve blog! http://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/blog/2011/10/17/twelve-by-twelve-book-giveaway/


Martha Sielman on Quilt Festival 2011

October 25, 2011, 11:57 am  Posted by Lark

Getting revved up for Quilt Market/Festival 2011? We are too! We took some time to chat with Martha Sielman about her upcoming travels to the show.

What Festival is this for you? I think that it’s my 6th Festival.

Where will you be and when?
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 8:00 AM:
I am giving a lecture on “40 Masters of Art Quilting.”  NOTE: This is class #551. It will be held in one of the lecture rooms upstairs and it has an $8 fee. You can pay at the door or sign-up ahead of time through Quilts, Inc.
Friday, November 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM: I am giving a FREE gallery walk through “Masters 2″ – several of the artists will be there to talk about their work.  I am expecting: Alice Beasley, Carolyn Crump, Jane Dunnewold, Mi Sik Kim, Linda MacDonald, Paula Nadelstern, Reiko Naganuma, Nelda Warkentin, and Laura Wasilowski.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 10:30 AM: I am giving another FREE gallery walk through “Masters 2″ – again several of the artists will be there to talk about their work.
And you can usually find me at the SAQA booth in the Special Exhibits area, in front of the “Masters 2″ exhibit.  I’d be happy to autograph books and answer questions about the book and the artwork.

Continue reading...

Cake Ladies Giveaway!

October 25, 2011, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

We’ve been excited all month about the publication of our new book Cake Ladies. It’s not just all the sweet frosting that has fueled our enthusiasm (but it certainly helps). This delightful visit with 17 Southern women and their personal experiences in cake through family and community as well as their most cherished recipes is resonating with audiences across the country. Read more about the book in my earlier post here.

To put a final cap on our month-long celebration of the book, we’re offering up a special giveaway to one lucky winner. We have one autographed copy of the book and a limited-edition, hand screen-printed white bib apron featuring the Cake Ladies logo from the cover of the book.

How can you enter for a chance to win this sweet set of goodies? It’s easy: Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 2. Any comment will do, but you could tell us what your favorite cake is.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Tuesday, November 8. Click here for the official rules.




Halloween how-to: FAKE BLOOD

October 24, 2011, 17:56 pm  Posted by Lark

fake blood title imageWhat is Halloween without some blood to splatter around? Not fun, that’s what! Well, actually it would still be fun, just not as gory. But where do you get blood? Well, you could raid the local hospital or blood banks, but we don’t recommend that. And real blood can get gross and smelly anyway. Fake blood is where it’s at! Now, you could just go out and buy it at one of the many Halloween stores that pop up this time of year, they even have gallon jugs of the stuff. But it’s more fun to make your own!

Let’s make some fake blood! Mwahahahahahahahaha!!!

Continue reading...