March, 2011

Infinite Variety at the Park Avenue Armory

Monday, March 28th, 2011


Attention, New York crafters, waste no time! Scamper over to the spectacular quilt show, Infinite Variety!  It’s only up until Wednesday at the Park Avenue Armory, but it’s as free as the wind in the trees, and just as refreshing.






And don’t forget, this Saturday we have another Handmade Crafternoon at the NYPL with the wonderful Liesl Gibson of Oliver and S. Read all about it on Jessica Pigza’s NYPL blog. Have an inspiring week!



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How to Handmake Your Big Day

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I recently got an email from my friend Gabe Weisert introducing me to his friend, Eunice Moyle, co-founder of Hello!Lucky design and letterpress studio. She runs the San Francisco company with her sister, Sabrina.

Photo credit: Hello!Lucky

Hello!Lucky makes gorgeous things, from custom stationery to awesome cards by rad designers like personal favorite Julia Rothman! They have also written two books, 2008′s Handmade Hellos and their most recent book, Handmade Weddings: More Than 50 Crafts to Style and Personalize Your Big Day.

My brother, T. Andrew Madden, is getting married later this year, and I am honored to be in the wedding party. My own wedding was such a fun and crafty experience that I wanted to see what kind of tips these lovely Moyle sisters might have to offer a bride or a future sister-in-law who wants to add homespun elements to their special day.

I wish this book was out when I was in the pre-wedding prep phase! This book is the perfect guide for any bride who has champagne wishes and DIY dreams. Eunice and Sabrina wrote the book with Shana Faust, former Martha Stewart Weddings Deputy Style Editor. When I went to Shana’s crafts page, I realized that she was responsible for some of the projects I swooned over in the early part of 2008 when I was getting ready for my own hitching. And talk about swoonworthy! Eunice’s own wedding, which was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, is one of the prettiest and most joyful looking celebrations I’ve seen.

They have tons of great ideas for anyone getting ready for matrimonial bliss. And not only is this book creative and inspiring, it is also so organized! You cannot underestimate the importance of organization before the wedding bells ring.

The chapters highlight different wedding styles, from “Retro Homespun” to “Girly Romantic”. Each chapter has craft projects that fit that style, including a suggested invitation template. I love the fact that they break each project, telling you the level of difficulty, the approximate time it will take to complete, how far in advance of the wedding you might want to start, and budget.

They also tell you if the project will work best for an individual or a group to tackle. As the founder of Crafternoon, that little tidbit made me perk right up! My future sister-in-law Emmy Spahr is hoping to have several Crafternoons to complete some of her wedding projects, so that information is key. They even offer suggestions of how to divvy up the labor if you are going to be crafting with friends.

Their section, “How to Use This Book” offers general crafting tips. My favorite of these is, “Have fun! Crafting is a wonderful escape from the mundane and abstract goings-on of day-to-day life. There’s simply nothing like making a beautiful object from scratch and seeing the tangible results of your efforts. Savor the experience, and share it with friends!”

I cannot wait to share this book with my dear friend and future sister-in-law, Emmy. I know this book will inspire her on her journey to the joyful day of love that she and my brother will share this November. But when she’s done with the book, I might have to borrow it back. On second thought, maybe I’ll just buy my own copy. It’s full of so many clever ideas that any party planner, bride-to-be or otherwise, would be smart to have it on their own bookshelf!

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A Flock of Birds Landed at the NYPL

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Abby Glasenberg was our special guest yesterday at the NYPL. She talked about her soft sculpture and soft toy work and instructed attendees on how to make their own Artful Bird. We had a fantastic turnout and our guests made a gorgeous variety of feathered friends to take home with them.

Here are a few samples of Abby’s own inspiring work that she brought with her from Massachusetts.

She also brought her youngest child, Josephine, to share in the crafty fun.

Interweave generously donated a ton of gorgeous Robert Kaufman Fabric for our attendees to enjoy.

I was delighted that my friend Watchen, a fellow blogger, stopped by to get crafty.

We were thrilled to have tons of help setting up and cleaning up by our new volunteer Leigh Hurvitz.

Leigh is pictured center, wearing the fabulous dress, while my mom Pamela Madden and my wonderful co-host Jessica Pigza flank her in matching green. My mom always helps out, too! (Jessica is sporting an awesome sweater that many attendees asked about. She blogged about it a while back, so here is the sweater’s story in detail.)

Here are a few more birds noteworthy birds.

The last two birds were mounted on old catalogue cards from the New York Public Library.

I don’t want to brag, but all of these photos were taken by me (except the one I’m in, which was taken by my Momma).  I love my new camera, a present from my Mom and Dad. It’s the perfect way to document a joyfully creative day.

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Handmade Crafternoon for the Birds

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

This weekend Jessica Pigza and I are excited to welcome Abby Glassenberg, author of The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew , to Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library.

Abby will chat with us about all things feathered, and she will teach us how to make a beautiful bird! Abby makes such lovely things, and we are excited that she’s trekking down from Massachusetts to share some bird-based skills with us. Her soft sculptures are so charming, and we can’t wait to get some tips from her.

(Image above from the incredible NYPL Digital Gallery)

Jessica will pull an inspiring selection of books from the library’s collection for us to investigate, and there will be free supplies available. Of course, you are welcome to bring your own needle and thread, especially if you already carry your sewing kit wherever you go. If you do, you’re prepared for anything, aren’t you?

So please join us Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 2-4pm. The event is free, as always, and space is on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 1:45.

New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street and 5th Avenue: Margaret Liebman Berger Forum

You’ll be able to purchase copies of The Artful Bird and copies of Crafternoon at the Library Shop, and both Abby and I will be happy to sign them. So join us for some crafty good times, and as they say in Portlandia, we’ll put a bird on it!

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