Alphabet Summer 2013: Looking Back

Maude keeps staring at me, almost as if she's saying, "Hey! Thanks a lot, woman. You made me and now I just sit here. At least have the decency to bust me open like a civilized piñata." STOP YELLING AT ME! I say, as I walk past her confused face every morning. 

Don't worry, Maude, even though this year's alphabet is done, there's still plenty of fun to be had. And, no, that doesn't mean I'm going to stuff the poor chicken with candy and beat her with a baseball bat.

I'm probably not going to do that.

Alphabet Summer 2013 was wonderful, and I'm so happy to look back on all of the sweet, sweet memories.

ALSO, I am proud to share that photographs of all 26 projects are hanging in the art space at my school here in San Francisco. For those of you who can't stop by, you can check out the photos below. Also, visit this page if you want to look back on each project.

And for everyone who followed along this summer, or if you have just started checking in, I'm so grateful for all of your support, both this summer and beyond. You haven't heard the last of me quite yet:) Promise.

And, in case you were interested, I was honored and super excited to contribute an article about making zigzags from triangles on the Bernina blog!  Here's a link to the article.

Now, what to make next...

Y is for Yoga

WHAT IS UP with those yoga mat bags? You know the ones I'm talking about. To quote my friend Molly, “A tube bag? Really?”

Seriously. It’s like a Tupperware shaped like a banana. Come on, people.

But, I know some of you, like me, DO carry an actual yoga mat around, and might be interested in some sort of satchel that would hold the mat, if necessary. It would certainly make my post-yoga bakery stop easier to manage if I didn’t have to hold a yoga mat AND a bag of pastries AND a coffee AND have to get my keys out.

I’ve had my eye on the “Everything Tote” from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing for months now. And when Alphabet Summer Fan Número Uno, one Ms. Libby Paglione, suggested that I make a yoga bag with the fabric I printed way back at the letter F, it was an official NO brainer.

1Maude-Yoga-Queen 2Everything-Tote

So the bag itself is made of the familiar "Maude the Yogi" fabric (lined with interfacing) on the outside.  On the inside I'm featuring none other than What My Friend Liz Chopped Off Of Her Curtains. Yep, leftover curtains! They're durable and thick enough that I didn't need to use interfacing. Score!3Making-of-the-Yoga-Bag-9-Sq 4Yoga-Mat-Bag-1 5Yoga-Bag-2-horizontal 6Bag-with-Maude 7Bag-with-Maude-2 8Bag-with-Maude-closeup 9Maude-in-Bag-Aerial 10Maude-in-Bag-Aerial-2I love this bag. If it is big enough to fit a chicken piñata, a yoga mat, two books and a set of Prismacolor markers, with room to spare, I'm thinking this bag (apart from actually being full of awesome things) is also figuratively full of potential. I'm imagining that a picnic blanket, a softball glove and ball, a few peanut butter jars of granola, a pint of ice cream, an Instax camera and even a Chihuahua might all fit inside.

Take THAT, tube bag.

It's getting real, everybody... This was the SECOND TO LAST letter! ¡La Penúltima! Gah!

V is for Vinyl

I saw the movie “In a World” this weekend. It was the very first time I had gone into the theater knowing absolutely nothing about the film I was going to see… I just trusted that my friend Liz knew what she was choosing. I was NOT disappointed. It was an awesomely funny movie, and I LOVED it. So basically I’m going to steal the idea for the intro to this post.

Imagine that deep, gravelly voice-over actor (or actress!) saying this next line, as if it was a movie promo:

“IN A WORLD where teachers and students were dropping like flies, going back to school left and right, anxious and stressing themselves out... ONE WOMAN braved the Sunday doldrums and fought in an epic battle between a roll of iron-on vinyl and her iron… AND WON…”

Do you ever want to feel powerful and invincible? I do, a lot of the time. I’d like to have the “folding the laundry” superpower, which means that you never have to fold laundry. I’d also like the "flying" superpower, so that I didn’t have to spend $800 to get across the country. But alas, we are normal people, and we need to settle for our regular awesomeness, which, if we remind ourselves often enough, is a superpower in and of itself.

Enter, THIS project.

Last weekend I was in the bustling metropolis of Forest Grove, Oregon. Originally on a mission to find a florist for a hair decoration, sweet sewing serendipity lead me to the local quilt shop, where I discovered this awesome superhero fabric. And not just any superheroes, but the kind with boobs and female parts.


HELL-OOOO!? Just as I was looking to conjure my inner superhero! And I had been dying to use this new iron-on vinyl that I bought a few weeks ago… Picture it like I was running down the street tearing off my suit and tie to reveal my Supergirl leotard.

And, let's not overlook an important participant. Since Maude is kind of my hero... I used a little swatch of her fabric on the inside. I even cracked open a fresh spool of thread for the occasion!

Have a look:

2Vinyl-Wallet-Collage-First 3Thread-GIF 4Feet!-Collage 5Clasp-Collage 6Wonder-Woman-Final-shot 7Wallet-Standing 8Wallet-Inside-Shot 9Full-Wallet-Top-View 10Wallet-Full

Now, I’m not saying that the project was a disaster… I’m not saying that at all. But good LORD it was a testy opponent… at times acting like the classic villain, giving me skin abrasions and throwing stuff at me from out of nowhere. But I conquered this wallet. I beat it down with a pair of wire cutters (not kidding) and came out victorious! It is a full functioning wallet, taking on wallet shape and wallet form. It has a zipper, four credit card slots and a magnetic closure. Oh, SNAP. Literally. AND IT’S WATERPROOF BECAUSE I COATED IT WITH VINYL.


Bring it on, world.

You can find your own iron-on vinyl here on Just don't melt it with the iron.

Chicken Update: #6

Hot damn! Things sure are busy over here! Guess who went back to school  this week? THIS gal. But, lucky for you all, that means Maude is picking up some of the slack as I get my act together!  And last week, two of my Tuesday ladies, Faiza and Susannah, came to visit, which was IN-credible. More on that in the W post (hint: we went to a wedding) but here's a taste of our San Francisco tourism.

We went on a stroll through North Beach, the Italian neighborhood... and Maude, as per the usual, was underwhelmed. I mean, really, Maude? Who doesn't like North Beach?


¡P is for Piñata!


In order to get YO’ piñata on, it´s THIS simple:

Making-Pinata-1 Making-Pinata-2 Triple-Maude-Circles

Ahh, San Francisco. The only place where, in July, it’s faster to dry your piñata INSIDE (where the radiator is on, by the way) than it is to leave it outside.

My piñata inspiration comes from these lovely places: Oh Happy Day, and Instructables.

Maude! And, the great news is that we have located an actual living MINI MAUDE. Yes, so now the Maudes (Big and Mini) are commencing their “Summer Adventure Series” in which they travel far (and pretty nearby, actually) in order to pose for some awesome photos... Below you will see the first installment of “Maude Goes Gallivanting.”


Out for a wee bike ride in the Mission! 1 Safety-First2 Out-for-a-Ride-(2)

Oops! Just like everyone in the local coffee shops... Doh!3 Helmet-Head

And if you were wondering, yes, it was actually THAT hilarious.

Gahh! Where will she go next? Stay tuned for updates.

(BIG thanks to my girlfriends on this one, for many reasons, but mostly for putting up with "Maude" and her sassy demands.)

M is for Makeup

Two things.

1. I had two delicious yards of the “Maude the Yogi” fabric waiting for me in the mail when I got back from my Eastern-ly Journey. I didn't think that fabric could be funny, but man, that chicken sure does make me chuckle.

2. Do you know about the Tumblr “Your LL Bean Boyfriend?” I find it quite magnificent, and not just because of the bearded preppy men. My point for bringing it up is this: When asked if the dress she was wearing to an awards ceremony was in fact actually from LL Bean, Liz Price (the mastermind behind the blog) answered, “I’m big on themes.”

I, too, am big on themes. So, while this makeup case may have several commonalities to other things you have already seen this summer (here, here and even here), think of it as an overarching theme (like “Good and Evil” in To Kill a Mockingbird, or “Dependence on Men” in A Streetcar Named Desire.)

The case features some familiar fabric, but it also debuts a new treasure. In looking for a plastic material for the lining of this little guy, I stumbled upon some... ZEBRA PRINT... wait for it... VINYL. Yep, that's right. Zebra print vinyl. Which, of course, not only makes it water/makeup resistant on the inside, but also freaking fabulous.

Enjoy the pics.


Hey you! This is post #13! Halfway point! Which is to say that Alphabet Summer made it over the hump! Which is your favorite hump video between these two: Camel v. Unicorn ?

F is for Fabric

“Hey, nice bag!” says kind stranger.

“Thanks!” says proud owner.

“Where did you buy it?”

“Oh, I made it...” proud maker says, blushing.

“Oh, no way! I really like the fabric! Where did you get it?”

Here's where I've always wanted to say,“Oh, yeah, I made this fabric." Well, wish granted!! I have, literally, CREATED MY OWN FABRIC! The exciting story about how this came to be is as follows.

So. When I was at Purl Soho (which is just straight up ridiculous, by the way, have  you been to that place?) back in February, I found this book which inspired the emotions on the right:


If you’re unfamiliar with Heather Ross, you are (like I was only a few months ago) living in a world of boring fabric designs.

Not only are her prints rich in color, but they incorporate original drawings and artwork that evoke happy nostalgia. I am particularly drawn to how she combines hand-drawn art and Photoshop... and ever since I discovered this book, I have been DYING to dive into this challenge:


And challenge it was: Several really ambitious artistic endeavors all wrapped into one.

First: Decide to draw the chicken.

Choosing my subject was actually a piece ‘o cake. Meet Maude.


I found this card in probably 2005 at 16 Hands when it was on Main Street in Ann Arbor. (Note: I have since tried to get more of them, but it doesn't seem they are making them anymore!) And, since Maude has made her way with me to all of my various homes, front and center on my wall, and she ALWAYS manages to make me chuckle... I decided it was time to pay homage to her and her foam yoga mat.

What is it about her that is so captivating? I mean, she not only asks us a good question around life and work ethic, but she also exudes personality. Something about the way her little plastic chicken legs angle in towards each other, or how one eyeball is just a tiny bit larger, or the fact that somehow her little plastic hip juts out to one side ever so slightly... Sass and angst all wrapped up into one plastic chicken.

Maude, you are my hero.

Second: Draw the chicken.

Wow. I guess I hadn’t drawn in a while. She’s not only complex in her emotions, but Maude is difficult to duplicate. Truly a rare bird.

Third: Photoshop the chicken.

So here’s where my fabulous Photoshop training came into use! I got down and dirty with the polygons, the command T function, the marquee tool, and I got up close and personal with Maude, pixel by pixel.

After some deliberation, I decided on a chevron pattern and tried to stick to the original color palette as much as possible, in order to honor the original card.

Here are some thrilling screen shots of the process:


Fourth: Print the chicken.

Do you know about Spoonflower? WOW. I have known about them for a little while now; I follow them on Instagram, and my friend Susannah has printed fabric with them before. But now, I truly am a believer. Essentially, you upload a JPEG file and they PRINT FABRIC WITH YOUR DESIGN ON IT. That’s it! So simple.

Here's the process (Captured in a mere three photos!)

Spoon1 Spoon2 Spoon3

And now... I await my yard of "Maude the Yogi" fabric! So exciting! What should I make with it? Leave me a comment below if you have an idea!