This weekend I’m selling my crafty wares at a HUGE holiday show in Salem (Oregon). It’s at the fairgrounds and there is so much good stuff. 250 vendors that all had to jury into the show, which means everything is handmade and wonderful. I can’t wait to do some shopping there myself.

I’ll have baby crinkle toys, bean bags, I spy bags, blankets, quilts, dolly diapers (so cute), American Girl dolls (custom and rehabbed), and clothes for 18″ dolls. Phew I’ve been busy. If you’d like to come see me here is a coupon for $1 off admission. Or feel free to bring a can of food for the local food bank. I hope to see some of you there.


Oh my goodness my blog is dying one of those slow blog deaths, oops. I still want to put some projects on here though, for myself to remember. It’s actually what I use my blog for the most, to check out when or how I did an archived project. Remeber the wedding quilt I made my friends? Well they had a baby and I made her a quilt!


My friend Rachel made a quilt similar and walked me through the top. The back was so fun because I found this awesome panel when I was in Japan this summer. I love how it turned out. Of course I waited until the last minute to finish the quilt so these pictures are from before I put the binding on (which I knew would happen after the sun went down!).

Bennet wanted to jump in (haha) the picture. And oh hey we added a whole new section to the yard. Maybe I’ll share that soon… 🙂

  • lauren - absolutely gorgeous! you are so talented and your friends are very lucky! 🙂
    *October 12, 2016 – 6:01 amReplyCancel

  • Julie - Beautiful! I’m so lucky to have a daughter that inspires me!November 15, 2016 – 7:29 pmReplyCancel

I haven’t done a garden update since fall of 2014, I owe a lot of that neglect to our awesome trailer. Last year we just wanted to go, go, go! This year I came at the yard with a big deficit since I didn’t do enough weeding, and no mulching. This ment so much of my garden was being taken over by weeds! I also knew I needed to move a few bigger plants last year and didn’t do it. This year I have to or things are going to get too crazy and crowded. I managed to snap some photos of my front yard last night as the first rain in days blew in and started sprinkling. After a few weeks worth of work it is looking much better.

garden early april-18 copy

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I love that my Princess Irene tulips are finally taking a foothold in my garden. I love them.

I’m addicted to making plant markers! I have had no success with the many, MANY other kinds I’ve tried. Our combination of rain, rain, rain, plus sun in the summer makes any kind of marker just fade away. I knew imprinting into metal was the only way. I ordered this inexpensive set of metal punches, along with block steel (important, it makes it work so much easier), and used a sledge hammer (the little jewelry hammer I got did nothing). You have to use cheap or silver plated flatware. Let me know if you want more info on them and I’ll throw up a tutorial. If I have multiple plants of the same variety I have been doing one in the common name and one in the scientific name, as I’m trying to learn more of those.

Tuesday has moved her fairy garden to the front right when you walk in. She has more plans for it.

Right in front of the porch I moved a neighbor’s hydrangea. Last year this place was a riot of color as I grew flowers for a friend’s wedding, but the rest of the year bare, bare, bare. I’m going to move two more hydrangeas from the back and got a few other plants to tuck in there. Plus I think I’m goign to grow sunchokes, as Bj wants to cook with them, and they would complement the sunflowers I always grow here. Maybe in a pot…. they do scare me a little (they spread).

I’ve added some early spring color in the form of perennials to the my front garden; while it is a riot of color later in the summer right now it’s quite plain. I’m especially taken with the checkered lily, they look pixelated! These, along with a few other new things I’m working on getting into the backyard, are from an awesome nursery called Wild Ginger. It’s very out of the way, but oh so worth the drive if you’re anywhere in the valley! The woman there walked me through the hoop houses and helped me with some problem areas I have in the backyard (like my shady swamp by the play area).

The area to the left of my porch is waiting for a special delivery, a bareroot apricot tree! I am so excited about the tiny little dwarf I ordered. It’s actually on micro dwarf rootstock so it should stay really tiny, be protected in that area, get lots of sun and give me lots of apricots, which I LOVE. Yum, yum, yum. Also spring blooms right in front of my picture window, yes please!

The area around my vine maple I took everything out of. I had been scared to divid my lady’s mantle and as a result it got woody and took over. I divided it, shared some with friends, and put a little back in the bed, along with a few other plants. I may add some poppys for a splash of later summer color, we’ll see.

My dogwood is blooming now and it makes me so happy. It is such a beautiful flowering tree. I really, really wish I had room in my yard for a lilac, I see them around town and love the deep purple plum color so much, and the smell! But the dogwood has such a pretty shape and stays so small, I’m glad I went with it.

The girls came in with me and helped me start some seeds. Tuesday had some parlsey from Burgerville she reallly wanted to start. I love that they give seeds as the prize. She did spinach a couple years ago and they turned out great. I also started a few flowers and some herbs. I’m contemplating a light and heat mat set up (this and this). I don’t know where we would set it up though! I do like the idea of starting plants for myself, and everyone I know.

How does your garden grow this year?

  • mary m - Wow you have gotten a lot done! I’m impressed.

    This year I will try to grow something and not kill it. That’s my goal. And also keep it away from Dexter, who knows to wait for tomatoes to turn red before he pulls the whole plant out to get at them. Sigh. Gotta love labs.

    oh and that checkered lily is beautifulApril 4, 2016 – 3:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Your tulips and dogwood tree are amazingly beautiful! I planted tulips for the first time last fall, and was incredibly pleased with how they turned out. I think this fall I will experiment with more unusual colors. Thanks for the inspiration!April 7, 2016 – 2:06 pmReplyCancel

  • R Robicheaux - All of your adorable updates on your sweet family are missed! I hope you will return to blogging soon! Best wishes!August 4, 2016 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

I remembered that my favorite thing to do is just post photos about the projects I’ve been working and writing a few words about them. So here is what I’ve been working on. A little Etsy shop with clothes for American Girl Dolls (or other 18″ dolls like Our Generation from Target). In conjunction (and because I’ve been having way too much fun with my doll collection) I made an instagram account for said sewing and adventures, you can find it here.

58-358-4first batch-2hair things-2second batch-7second batch-10second batch-15wrist and hair-5second batch-20

It turns out it is really, REALLY fun to sew this small (if somewhat a bit tricky at times). Also super fun to pose the dolls (and very hard to get them to look like they are moving!). Is this a profitable business venture? Let’s just say 18 inch dolls and shoes are not free, no matter how many clothes you can sew them. My seven year old remains very attached to Tootsie and is saving up for another baby doll, so for now I’m the only one playing with them much. Though Tuesday and I do enjoy planning outfits to make for her friends. And she loves making miniture versions of things like Cold Stone Creamery (yes we made that one).

So check out my store if you or a smaller person in your life needs some trendy new clothes for a loved doll. And I’d love to see pictures on instagram!

P.S. This blog just turned 11, how crazy is that?

  • Dawn - I can’t believe how cute these clothes are!! And the felt accessories that can be bracelets or hair decorations — love them!March 22, 2016 – 10:00 pmReplyCancel

Yes, I drank the koolaid! I love this project, it’s quick, easy, customizable, and USEFUL!

rope bowl from 1/4" piping BIG SIZE

A BIG bowl I made from 1/4″ piping.

I’ve made these small and large, with and without handles, colorful thread, and more subtle.

I have found this post by Amanda to be a great resource (and some eye candy! Look at all those beautiful vessels!). She links to this Creative Bug class, but I don’t have a subscription there so I used a free online tutorial. Here is a video of a popular vessel maker, Gemma Patford, in action if you want to see more than pictures.

Comparing materials and costs for rope bowls.


I’ve found clothesline to be the most popular material for making these online, but it is not the only choice. If you want a higher cotton content I would suggest trying some other materials. Here is a breakdown for you of things I’ve tried:

rope bowl from clothesline

Clothesline, 100′ ranges in price from $5.49 on Ribbon Jar and up. My local hardware store had it for $6.79. These are all reinforced cotton, they are usually about 60% poly and 40% cotton. To me it feels like cotton, and I like the stiffness (the clothesline on Ribbon Jar actually is 100% cotton). It’s 3/16″ which is right in the sweet spot for thickness on these bowls. This is going to run you about 17 cents a yard.

rope bowl from 1/4" piping

Cotton piping, 1/4″ natural $4.49 on Ribbon Jar. This is a 33 yard bundle. I like that it has natural specks on it. The cotton material is held together with stitching wrapped around it. This blends really well after you sew the bowl together. It is a poly/cotton blend (83% cotton 17% poly). It also has a bit of a thick and thin look to it. This is going to be about 14 cents a yard.

rope bowl from 100% American made cotton braid

You want something American made? We finally found it and I bundled it up for my mom’s shop. Cotton solid braid $21 on Ribbon Jar. It is SUPER sturdy, the most sturdy of any product and the finished look is so nice. A very consistent product. This is going to be about 64 cents a yard.

rope bowls from organic cotton and spindle cord

Another option is to buy cord by the yard. These materials are not bundled specifically for making bowls, but work great.

Organic cotton cord is $1.85 a yard at the Ribbon Jar. Very beautiful, and expensive, as organic things tend to be. It also comes in a toast color. What a beautiful gift it would be to make a basket out of this for a new baby. I love doing treasure baskets for little ones who like to touch, explore (and eat!) everything!

Spindle cord is something I use a lot for bags, but is esspecially fun for bowls because of it’s vibrant color! Sprindle card is 75 cents a yard at The Ribbon Jar. I used this amazing green color for the bowl above (that’s a five yard bowl).

I hope all of this was helpful. I haven’t had my mom order very many things at the Ribbon Jar since she bought the business from me, but I really had trouble finding what I was looking for with these bowls. I love that she was willing to try these new materials, thanks so much mom! And thanks for the free samples!

  • Cotton Solid Braid… | Ribbon Jar - […] out the details at Life in Color Photo, Amber has the […]March 9, 2016 – 1:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie - I love these baskets so much! They are addicting once you get started making them. I love the 1/4″ cotton piping for it’s organic nature and the Spindle Cord for the color! Thanks for helping me get this product in store!March 9, 2016 – 1:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Thanks so much for this post, and for speaking at the CMQG meeting in February! These are so fun to make!!March 14, 2016 – 2:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Patricia Newhouse - Thank you for all your diligent research. This helps a lot!December 25, 2016 – 9:23 amReplyCancel

  • Rita P - I have made many purses using this technique. It is so relaxing! I have a “ton” of macrame cord and use it also. I made round chair pads and oval placemats using the macrame cord and they have lasted over 30 years. Works great for round or oval rugs too! Happy wrapping!!!April 13, 2017 – 12:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Toni Burr - I love making these bowls for family and friends. Unfortunately my sewing machine does not. What kind of a machine do you have that you make these with?April 25, 2017 – 4:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Ginny Baker - I have been making these bowls, urns, and much more for over two years now and love doing it. I do sell many things at The Wishing Spring Gallery in Bella Vista , Arkansas I did sell very well at the huge Arkansas Craft Show in Bella Vista, Arkansas, too
    I was worn out but the money was worth it. I am busy sewing now to get ready for this fall. I make everything from bowls to an adorable witch. I would love to buy this cord by the big roller, I am just not sure which one is the best. It is almost impossible to get good cord down here in Arkansas for some reason. Some is so floppy you simply cannot use it. I do not have a website, wish I did. I may go for that soon, just not sure how to go about it. Working on it.

    Ginny Baker 1201 Harber Oaks Loop Grove Ok. 74344May 9, 2017 – 7:13 amReplyCancel

  • Wilma Link - I like your breakdown of the various ropes. I’ve made a few using the 3/16″ type. I was a beginner when I did it but it came out really nice and I was very sturdy.May 14, 2017 – 1:16 pmReplyCancel