Author: Susan

Mollie Mondays: Paper Pieced Needlebook

Welcome to Mollie Mondays! You can read up about this little project of mine on the original post HERE. Basically after years of reading Mollie Makes magazine and collecting the little free projects that come with each issue (because I never found the time to make them!), I was able to sit and make a bunch of them last year while bound to my couch for 6 weeks due to a severe ankle injury. I’m sharing the results here on Mondays!


This sweet little needlebook is the first Mollie Makes magazine freebie project I ever made. I’d just learned to English Paper Piece and this seemed like a good challenge with it’s tiny paper hexagons.

I do love me a needlebook, they’re charming and useful! In fact I use a needlebook almost everyday – I’ve got a selection of needles readily, visibly available, it doubles as a pin cushion, and I tuck extra embroidery thread in it’s fabric pages while I’m working on a project.

This hello beauty and her floral hexagons has been my buddy for about a year now, and going strong!

Til next Mollie Monday … stitch well.


Mollie Mondays: Fabric Flower

Here I am with the second edition of Mollie Mondays! You can read up about this little project of mine on the original post HERE. Basically after years of reading Mollie Makes magazine and collecting the little free projects that come with each issue (because I never found the time to make them!), I was able to sit and make a bunch of them last year while bound to my couch for 6 weeks due to a severe ankle injury. I’m sharing the results here on Mondays!


After teaching Kanzashi Flower making at FACTS (Fashion and Creative Arts School) in Blyth, Ontario last week, I’ve got flowers on the brain. This is the first little fabric flower brooch I ever made and it’s spawned a love for fabric flower making – there are so many possibilities from brooches to garment and hair decorations to bouquets and so on! Isn’t this one a charmer?!

Til next Mollie Monday … stitch well.

Mollie Mondays!

There’s this fantastic maker’s magazine out of the UK called Mollie Makes. I discovered it a few years ago and it’s become my monthly inspiration-indulgence-ritual: I go to Chapters where they hold a copy for me, pick it up, and then sit down with a coffee flip through adding a few/a lot of sticky tabs to things I’d like to try.


Mollie Makes magazine cleverly includes a little free project, usually designed by another maker. But I rarely have time to make these tantalizing wee projects. So, a collection of colourful envelopes sit in a wooden box on the corner of my work table, waiting for a “quiet” moment. And then last year I completely ruptured one of my achilles tendons in an unfortunate me vs the stairs incident (the stairs won that round) and was couch-bound for a solid 2 months. And it occurred to me I could make my Mollie Projects! So I sat on my couch busy healing and making little projects I’d never otherwise attempt. It was actually very therapeutic!

I now have a shelf adorned with an eclectic collection of Mollie Projects, which I thought I’d share here every Monday for a while – I’ll call it Mollie Mondays!

The first one I’ve got to show you is this sweet, bouquet-weilding Bear, designed by one of my favourites, Michelle Galletta and her Kiriki Press in Toronto. I’ve made a number of her little embroidered stuffy kits and I’ve loved them all. But it was extra special to get my Mollie Makes mag and see a Kiriki Bear project attached to it.


Til next Mollie Monday … stitch well.

A Villainous Stitchalong …

Umbridge_2I’ve been wanting to try cross stitch design software for a while, and this month I found the perfect reason: &Stitches’s Fictional Villains Stitchalong.

Using Ursa Software’s MacStitch program, I referenced a photo of my chosen fictional villain and freehanded her into the program. And I am super excited with the result – which is still in progress, but you’ll get the gist.

I knew I had to go with my favourite Harry Potter villain, the saccharine, pink-loving Professor Dolores Umbridge. Her most insidious student punishment at Hogwarts is the black quill, a horrifying thing that makes me shudder just to think about! So obviously I had to work that into the pattern as well …


Umbridge: “Not with your quill, you’re going to be using a rather special one of mine. Now I want you to write, I must not tell lies.

Harry: “How many times?

Umbridge: “Well, let’s just say, as long as it takes for the message to — sink in.

I loved the MacStitch program, even working in the most basic demo version, and am now the proud owner of it. So look out cross stitch world, I’m going to be pattern-happy for a while now I imagine!


A fun selection of floss for this pink extravaganza. I do so love working in a monochrome pallet and fits the bill nicely. I’m so excited to finish off with the “blood” stitched words, “I must not tell lies.”


And then I was off to the stitch races, watching heaps of bad shows on Netflix and stitching away! Pure contentment. I think I’ll have to watch Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while I finish her up this weekend, it’s be gruesomely satisfying to to have to tiny-stab her hundreds of time through her Aida cloth canvas!

Fallow Period, Brick & Mortar

Fallow: (Of farmland) ploughed and harrowed but left for a period without being sown in order to restore its fertility or to avoid surplus production. – Oxford Dictionary

SpoolLounge_OPENAfter an intense fall and winter of stitching, stitching, stitching products for my Pocket Alchemy lines of baby things and little felt matryoshka dolls, I set that work aside and shifted my focus abruptly and dramatically when an amazing opportunity presented itself.

I’ve been busy with my dear friend and fellow maker Laurena Green, developing and opening Spool Lounge, a proper brick and mortar sewing studio and shop in downtown Barrie, Ontario. We opened just four whirlwind-months ago in early March!

Our story is told beautifully on our Sunday Crush profile so I won’t repeat it on this blog. Suffice to say that a lot of stars aligned suddenly and we leapt off a cliff and landed with a lovely shop and a buzzing business.

Then a mere six weeks after opening Spool Lounge, I missed a step while going downstairs in the 3am-darkness to grab a diaper for my wee lad and ruptured my achilles tendon. Which necessitated a major slow-down and has been really, really good for me, though challenging – particularly the mothering on a dodgy leg bit! Three months later I find myself here, just able to take my first unassisted steps on my nearly healed but now weak and tight left foot. Small mercy – it wasn’t my driving or sewing foot, whew!

I couldn’t resist embroidering my initial emergency room splint since it was wrapped in flannel and I had four days of waiting around to see a surgeon, soft tissue not being as urgent to treat as broken bones. I was then cast in a “pointy cast” – much to my dancer-self’s amusement – and the tendon was left alone to heal back together over six weeks. No surgery! Amazing. Now I’m in a walking cast and am slowly stretching the tendon back to a 90-degree standing position. Lots of physio and pilates to stretch and strengthen my depleted left ankle and side.


I’ve been doing lots of hand embroidery (heavenly!), teaching classes at Spool Lounge, learning to be a merchant (Wholesale Accounts! Customers! Marketing!) and balancing mothering and achilles rehab (with grace and success all the time, obviously!).

My boys are enjoying being shop kids and have adjusted remarkably well. They are now stitching up a storm themselves in fact!

And so now, after a delicious and required fallow period on my “own” work, I’m turning my weather-eye back to my matryoshkas, going to photograph the ones I have done and finish up some of the bigger dolls that I started in the fall. My embroidery stitches are refined and I’m excited to get back to my little ladies, who I’ll be able to work on in my new studio space!

Craft Fair Goodness/Madness!

I was shocked to see that it’s been over 2 months since my last blog — the days have melted into weeks and here we are, snowflakes flying and craft fairs happening!

I’m going to be selling my work at the Christmas Made by Hand Craft Show in Hamilton on December 6th and 7th. It’s my first big fair, they expect about 3000 people over the 2 days! I am excited/nervous. And I have absolutely no idea how much product to make, not knowing the lay of the land at all. So I’ll either sell out (which would be amazing) or I’ll have product for my Etsy shop afterwards (which would be fine). Either way, I probably won’t want to sew another stitch for a long time by the time next week rolls around.

Faceless dollies (a bit creepy actually!) laid out for colour matching.
Faceless dollies (a bit creepy actually!) laid out for colour matching.

I’ll be carrying small and large matryoshka dolls, treasure maps, baby quilts, burp cloths, soother/toy straps, mitt clips and lavender sachets. Whew! I’m on the strange high most textile artists and makers will recognize: a heady mix of sleep deprivation, terror as the production schedule gets modified down to match the slipping days, and excitement at the possibility of sharing my work.

Lots of Dollies
A lot of little matryoshka ladies!

It was a year ago this month that I casually shared a photo of my latest project – these little dollies – on social media, and had an overwhelming response! I sold about 60 custom dolls last holiday season. So I got ahead of the ball this year and made a bunch already!

If you are in or near Hamilton, come to the Made by Hand Show on December 6th or 7th! I’m sure there will be many wonderful treasures. I’ll aim to share some of my new quilts and burp cloths before next weekend so you can see what I’m up to while the midnight oil burns … til then, cheers!