Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Alt Design Summit recap

It came, it went, and I'm so glad I was there.
Of the few conferences I've considered going to over the years the Alt Design Summit is one that really got me jazzed. 3 days of hanging with design enthusiasts and blogging friends, sharing inspiration, swapping ideas? YES. And what? They wanted me to teach a class? I really couldn't refuse.

So I'm here to report that seriously, ALT is really great.
I'll definitely be back next year!

There was something for everybody....
panel discussions, keynote speakers, yummy food, fun dinners, gold and glitter, and plenty of time to be chatty.
If there was ever a spare moment you could pop into one of the lounges to snack and chat....like the Cottonelle toilette paper room. Have you ever seen such cute toilet paper containers?--designed by Jonathan Adler (who even puts their paper in containers?)
I loved reconnecting with old friends and putting faces with the new ones. My friend Lyndsey above is too cute (and works as a PR consultant for bloggers. If you need one, she's your gal!)

It was fun to see the fashions and hair styles. Geeky glasses, buns, and neons were in.
(photos from the Alt Flickr sets, by Justin Hackworth):
I got to sit down and chat with Anya, winner of last season's Project Runway. And oh my, she is absolutely adorable. Her voice is the sound of the siren, luring you in. You could listen to her talk all day. She's also really down to earth and was so sweet to hang out all day chatting with bloggers and taking photos.
Unfortunately I was a bad photographer that day and my battery ran out right as she and I were going to snap one. Duh. So here she is with Lyndsey again and Brittany of One Charming Party, another really fun gal.
But my favorite part of the conference had to be the speakers and classes. And now I'm kicking myself for missing the first day when Amy Butler, Grace from Design Sponge, and Pilar from Martha Stewart spoke (didn't want to leave Casey stranded for too long with the kids). Oh well, next year.
I was totally excited though to hear Ben Silberman, co-founder of Pinterest speak on Friday. My buns liked it too.
Ben told "his story" of how he got to where is he and how it took a lot of hard-work, leaping into the unknown, surrounding himself with people who have similar passions, and swallowing a bunch of "NOs" before someone finally said Yes.

He shared photos of what the early Pinterest mock-ups looked like and the years leading up to the its launch. And he shared motivating thoughts like...
"I want to be known for the things I make and not the things I say."
"Our mission (at Pinterest) is not to keep you online, it's to set you offline. Pinterest should inspire you to go out and do the things you love...."
It's very motivating to hear people's success stories. The room gave him a standing ovation at the end which was well deserved. We love Pinterest! Thank you Ben for creating it.
The next keynote speaker was Gretchen Rubin, author of NY Times best selling book, the Happiness Project. I haven't read the book but her presentation was about "designing your life" and touched on points from the book. Many of them are basics that we know but are always good to reminded of like...getting enough sleep, exercising (even just a little), spending time with our kids, breathing in the smells around us, taking time to enjoy the small things. She had many great personal stories to share and was such an enjoyable speaker.

Saturday morning began a slew of Design Camp classes taught by various bloggers. And there were many cool options to choose from....Thrift shopping at the best local spots, how-to photography, book binding, water-color painting, jewelry making, and of course...sewing! Rachel from Handmade Charlotte taught the morning class and I ran the afternoon one.

It was so much fun! I loved seeing all those sewing machines set-up together....and better yet a group of excited students, ready to tackle a project.
They had two hours to make a simple tote bag and stencil paint a pillow cover:
And pretty much everyone finished both projects--which was only possible thanks to our fabulous group of volunteers. It was so great to meet these ladies in person!
Left to right: Nikki from Salty Pineapple, Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest, Britteny, me, Delia from Delia Creates, Cheri from I am Momma Hear me Roar, Collette from Heaps of Laundry, Christie from a Lemon Squeezy Home, and Stacie from Jame.
What a group of ladies!
There were just as interesting in person as they are on their blogs.
And because only 1/2 of our students showed up for the class, everyone got great one on one time with the sewing experts. Thank you again ladies!
In the last 1/2 hour of class everyone stormed the painting table and busted out pillows.
The big reveal moment--always the best payoff of a stenciling project.
After the class some of us just weren't ready to part with each other. So we gabbed in the hotel lobby for two more hours, drinking hot chocolate. And I swear we only scratched the surface of getting to know each other. We need more blogger meet-ups.
And since we were in Utah, it was only timely that it finally snowed the last day I was there. Yay! I can handle small snow dosages.
Crunch crunch.
My two nieces smiled at the fallen snow too:
I stayed with my brother Mark and sister-in-law Sara who treated me to gourmet maple and bacon donuts one morning and the Pie for pizza at night. YUM.

And I came home with a box of Alt swag....
I didn't even realize there was a free ski lift ticket to Solitude in there (not that I could have used it in my pregnant state. But Casey would have loved it).
And a couple toilet paper containers came home as well Our bathroom looks real snazzy now.
Thank you ALT for such a wonderful weekend!
Hope to see you next year!

Friday, January 27, 2012

subscribing to MADE and other questions answered

Happy Friday everyone!
Hope your weekend is off to a good start. It's 72 and sunny here so I have nothing to complain about.

Some of you have emailed about subscribing to the new site, saying you can't get it to show up in your google reader etc. I think we worked out the kinks!

Here are answers and options...
* If you're still subscribing to the old site (dana-made-it.com) make sure you delete it from your RSS feeds, readers, etc. For the past week I've been posting on the old site just to say that a new post is up. But that's gonna come to an end.

* Add the new domain to your RSS feeds/readers. There are a few ways to do this.
- use: danamadeit.com/feed in Google Reader and it should show up.
- If you click the RSS button at the top of the blog I have Feedburner set up to give you many options (google, yahoo, etc). Just click on the button and it will lay out the choices out for you:

- subscribe via EMAIL! yay! Many of you asked for this in the past and I finally have it. Scroll down on the right-hand column, type your email address into the box and you'll receive a notification when a new post goes up:
* Subscribe via Facebook and Twitter. I have both accounts set-up to receive instant notifications every time I post. You can subscribe to them with the buttons up top or here:

* Some of you have asked, "why do I only get snippets of your posts in Google reader? I'd like to read the whole post there." Yes, I do have a shortened blog feed. And I know that's a bit frustrating when you're catching up on blogs. Sorry. I totally get it. However, I feel that it's only fair to my paying sponsors and other advertisers to have blog posts read directly on my site, since they (and you!) make it possible for me to keep sewing and blogging as often as I do. I love really love blogging and that's why I do it. But it's also nice to have funds on the side to replenish my fabric supply.

Hopefully that sums up all the questions about subscribing!
If you're still having problems with the feeds please let me know. I want you to enjoy coming here!

And on a final note (since I didn't get my Alt Design recap post ready for today as I had hoped. Next week. Definitely next week), how about some PR jibber jabber?

The All Stars season is growing on me. I really loved the theme of last night's episode: Design a look based on a gelato flavor. Fun!
But I didn't agree with the judges decision. I actually liked the Chocolate with Cayenne dress. The layers and colors were beautiful together. Yes, maybe a bit too poofy and "pregnant" (maybe that's why I liked it). Probably better as a girl's dress but overall it was fun. As was Kennley's Passion Fruit dress. That whimsy yellow bow was a cute touch.
- Michael's Grapefruit dress (below left) was beautiful in an old Hollywood way. But it just wasn't me.
- Mondo's Cantaloupe dress really looked like it....from the rind to the green to the colorful fruit. But I hated that belt! Anyone else think it looked tacky and so non-Mondo like?
- April deserved to go home for the Blueberry dress. SO short in the back and well, not that cute.
- But seriously, I can't believe the Kiwi dress (far right) wasn't in the bottom. That thing is hideous and messy. I love me a good polka dot but not when it looks like cheap decor from Party City.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

tackling fabric and false alarm

Last night at 9pm I thought my water had broken.
I know that sounds silly for someone on her 3rd child. But I've never gone into labor naturally before. So I'm (sheepishly) not sure what to expect.....other than, watery mess on the floor = broken water + time to go to the hospital.
So I shuffled the kids off to a friend's house and another friend took me to the hospital because, well, Casey was in Chicago.
I know. We have gambled too many times.
He's on his way home right now and we're both staying put from here on out.
After a few hours at the hospital.....false alarm.
Baby is good but very ready, very low, and things are in motion.
Just need to wait a bit longer.
Which was great news since I'd like Casey to be there for our child's birth. Plus yesterday I pulled everything out of the kid's closets to sort, clean, donate, toss out, etc. So our house is a disaster. Need to get that cleaned up.

And really I'm glad I have an extra day because I need to tackle a couple projects from this stack of fabrics (purchased at the LA fabric district last month). Is this not the cutest ruffle fabric you've seen? I'm picturing a tiny summer dress....(of course that one can wait)
I do need to make a few receiving blankets though. And my goal was to stockpile a baby projects to share with you in the weeks after birth. We'll see....

How about this metallic silver linen? Gorgeous. From my favorite spot Carmel Fabrics in the Fabric District.
I was 2 weeks early with Lucy; 3 weeks with Owen. Guess this one's following suit.
Off to sew!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TUTORIAL: hanging heart charms

To celebrate the 100th day of school, Lucy's class was asked to bring in 100 of something...100 marbles, 100 noodles, 100 whatever. So she and I cut out and decorated 100 handmade paper hearts.
And aside from how cute little hearts are, we were dazzled by the leftovers. I loved the strips of cut-out hearts....they looked like little lanterns or wind chimes. They were destined to become Valentines decor.
So we hung them.
and now they're charming our living room.
They'd also be pretty hung in front of a window or strung on a garland.
It's pretty self-explanatory. No tracing, just free-hand cutting.
Here's what you do....
Then let the kids go crazy and explore the space.
They totally loved the heart attack and then created a game....try to walk back and forth without touching any of the hearts. Pretty impossible but really fun to watch.
1 project; 2 outcomes.
Hearts for school:
Hearts for home:
I heart hotpink toenails:
and a little gif "dancing".
(sorry if the movement makes you sick. Maybe I should slow them down).
O7dR32 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif