Posted by in handmade

*hi everyone! today, we’re kicking off the holiday showcase as we meet charlotte wolf from charlotte’s sew natural. let’s join her as she discusses creativity and living the life of an artist!


Charlotte Wolfe
Owner of Charlotte’s Sew Natural
Newton, Kansas

Ever since I can remember, creativity was encouraged as a “good” thing. It was easy to imagine that I might grow up to be an artist! In college, I was lucky enough to discover the theatre and majored in costume design. A theatre design major offered what I hadn’t found in either a fashion design or art major – “collaboration” – wonderful, talented people to work with. The curtain going up provided an absolute deadline. There was always another project demanding creative attention with the next show. I found it very fun and satisfying.

When I started my own business, a retail fabric store which has since evolved into a “quilt shop” called Sew Natural, I benefited from that experience.

Today, 30 years later, I still consider myself an artist first and a reluctant business person second. I find that I do my best creative work under pressure. If I am having trouble getting started, I will list the problems that need to be solved. Usually heading the list, is the date by which the project must be completed!

Once I’m immersed in a project, I need to find more hours in a row to give it full attention to complete. However, most of my creative projects are built on a few snatches of time, often while multi-tasking. I work best, first thing in the morning, with a cup of strong coffee. I often push the envelope of my available time, gulping down yogurt as I dry my hair just minutes before I need to be at the store. I’ve found that the shower can wash away the creative juices, so I postpone that as long as possible!

Nothing like having to “go” to work! The structure of having to be somewhere else, is helpful in building the desire to get back into the studio to do creative work. No one works in a vacuum, and I am lucky to be exposed to many great ideas, and talented people, every day.

One recent example:

This past spring, Creative Grids Rulers challenged shop owners to make a 36” long quilt row using one of their rulers, then ran a contest on Facebook all summer, asking people to Like their favorite quilt “row” submissions. A Creative Grids Ruler had to be used in construction. The design had to be a certain height and length. It had to represent a season. And there was a deadline! Oh, one other thing, it couldn’t be too complicated, as the quilt rows were to be written as patterns and given away for free to participants in the Row By Row Experience, a new kind of quilt shop hop.

The Row By Row Experience had a seasonal theme. This included a series of trees looking different in each season. I started wondering what the small cardinal in the leaf-less winter tree saw looking out across the field of snow. One thing leading to another, I came up with the idea of the cardinal building himself a snowman friend. I found the perfect Creative Grids Ruler to cut 3 different size circles to create the snowman, and I was off and running! I worked early mornings on the design, and tweeked it in the evenings. With the deadline for photography looming, I finally had a chance to take an entire morning to stitch the row and sewed it into a table runner, in case one didn’t want to make an entire quilt.

My row was one of the top vote getters! My own design, but it owes much to others. The quilt industry is full of gifted, industrious, generous people. I am so inspired by and very lucky to be a part of this global community!

I’d love to hear from you via social media, or if you’re ever in the area stop by the store and say hi in person. – Charlotte

Charlotte’s Sew Natural elsewhere: web | newsletter | facebook


sweet little things

October 13, 2014

Posted by in baby & children

products clockwise: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

these are just a few sweet little things i’ve been loving lately- all babe related, of course! i just purchased these trousers for bear, and i can’t wait for them to arrive! so dapper. and this ovo high chair is on my dream list (you know the one, like ‘keep dreaming’). and though i try not to go overboard with the bear related things, this print got me. so sweet!

i’m also anxious for ez pudewa’s new venture, petit pippin to debut. she’s been teasing us over on instagram with all the cuteness!

what sweet things have you been swooning over lately?

Posted by in dinner ideas

plant based dinner ideas

hello, friday! it’s been a while since our last dinner ideas post, so i’m excited to share with you what’s been on our plates lately. this week, we picked up our last csa box for the year (sad!), but it was filled with fall goodness: butternut squash, kale, eggplant, potatoes, lettuce and onions!

monday: roasted pumpkin millet herb patties (sub a flax egg to make vegan)
tuesday: 10 spice vegetable soup
wednesday: guacamole toast with left over vegetable soup
thursday: eggplant and tomato curry with buttered millet
friday: spicy chickpea and bulgar soup

what was on your plate this week? any favorite recipes you’d like to share?

we follow a whole foods, plant based diet. the dinner ideas posts are a way for me to log our dinners, how we make eating this way easy, and hopefully inspire you to try some new things as well. they are always meat free, dairy free and often gluten free. you can follow the posts here, and i encourage you to share your favorite recipes with us as well!

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Posted by in handmade

silhouette cutting machine (1)

i’m just bopping in to share my latest love with you: the silhouette cameo cutting machine. i purchased it several months ago and didn’t start using it until last month. i cannot believe i waited so long! all of the sudden, i feel like i’m not sure how i lived without the ability to cut all.the.things.

though i had about a day’s long learning curve to get through, the machine and program that comes along with it, called silhouette studio, are really easy to use. i upgraded to the ‘designer edition‘ so that i could import files in from illustrator. it works like a charm! the cameo will cut sticker paper, vinyl, temporary tattoo paper, stencil material, cardstock, chipboard, magnet sheets and even fabric!

silhouette cutting machine (2)

one of my favorite features of the silhouette studio is the nesting feature. once you have several motifs in the document, you can simply select ‘nest’ and the program will place as many motifs as possible on the sheet in order to maximize your space and reduce waist. it’s like magic.

silhouette cutting machine (5)

silhouette cutting machine (3)

i got slightly carried away with the temporary tattoos. they’re just so fun! to make these, i printed the designs on temporary tattoo paper with my standard printer (along with a set of registration marks silhouette studio includes on the document), then ran it through the cameo. the cameo reads the registration marks and cuts everything out precisely. and, it actually works!

silhouette cutting machine (4)

silhouette cutting machine (6)

it has been incredibly helpful as i’ve prepared for a craft fair and upcoming trade show. i’ve made custom hang tags and sticker price tags which you might be able to see in the top photo. i also made a gold vinyl decal of my logo, which you can see in the above photo hanging on the cart. this thing is amazing!

do you have a silhouette? if so, what are you favorite ways to use it?

Posted by in handmade

handmade fashion - sewing patterns (1)

clockwise: pleated knit skirt // out and about dress // tiny pocket tee // scout tee // alder shirt dress

i’ve been on the hunt for some sweet and simple sewing patterns lately, and i’m so excited about what i’ve found! since we now have 4 knits and 2 voiles offered in each of my fabric collections (perfect for garment making), i’ve gotten the itch to learn how to sew apparel. since my mom is such an amazing seamstress, i usually outsource any apparel projects to her, but i think i’m ready to finally take the plunge and start sewing some myself. i can do it, right?!

i’m planning to start with a few tops from grainline studio and i’ll be sure to share the process with you as well. i’m also in search of a pattern for pair of high waisted – wide leg pants. do you know of any?

your turn! what are your favorite sewing patterns or companies for apparel?

handmade fashion - sewing patterns (2)


foxglove // the riding peplum | sewn by sew caroline // beautiful dreamer cardigan | sewn by sew caroline // the dreamer top


clay opera

October 6, 2014

Posted by in handmade


oh my, clay opera’s unique platters, bowls and spoon rests are so darling! i love how they are both playful and sophisticated at the same time. the glossy cream glaze gives them an elegance, while the cute motifs and darling eyelashes just make you want to squeeze them. i am especially fond of this bear spoon rest (of course). and, wouldn’t you love to serve a fresh batch of biscuits in a cute little pig bowl?!


october gift guide

October 3, 2014

Posted by in handmade

october gift guide | going home to roost

product links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5* | 6* | 7 | 8  | 9 | 10 | 11* | 12

a handmade gift guide for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays… or for no reason at all!

* get 15% off using code ROOSTER on non-sale item purchases, valid until 30th november. thanks, sara!

* sign up for the Happy Mail Society and get 1 free month. thanks, melissa!

*get 20% off using code 2liduvina0. thanks, ludmi!

fun facts for october:

>> first week of october is children’s book week
>> october 4th is world animal day
>> october 20th is spirit day
>> october 21st is apple day
>> october 23rd is mole day
>> october 27th is navy day


hi everyone! i’m pleased to welcome heidi ahmed to our space today. she’s a talented watercolor artist, illustrator and surface pattern designer. we recently got connected through my creativelive course, and i have been blown away by her work (see her pattern collection here!). today, she’s sharing with us some inspiration and a beautiful printable. thank you, heidi!


share something everyday download (3)

Hello! My name is Heidi Ahmed.  I am from Columbus, Ohio and specialize in watercolor illustration & design. I have recently branched my watercolors into surface pattern design after taking Bonnie’s CreativeLive class on Designing Surface Patterns From Scratch. This class was life-changing for me because it exemplified a career path that provided more purpose and opportunities for my art.  In my current work, I had noticed that painting images has its limits.  While I enjoyed the process, I did not find as much fulfillment as I was expecting.  Surface design allows my work to touch people’s lives in a more tangible way.  In addition to the nature of the work, I found myself drawn to the community because they were generous, talented, and encouraging.  

In essence, surface design gave strength to my weaknesses.

During the class, I was inspired not only by Bonnie’s sincerity but also her willingness to teach. I was completely blown away by how genuine she was. One of the concepts from her class which really stuck out to me was the idea to “share something everyday” (inspired by austin kleon). It was clear that Bonnie believed in this idea and demonstrated it in her own life and work.

I was drawn to this concept because it is something I have struggled with since the beginning of my career.  I was afraid to share my work not for fear of people’s critiques but for fear of theft.  Seeing Bonnie’s generosity and confidence, however, inspired me to have courage and share my work. We have to be willing to let our work go and “find its place in the world,” much like a student going to school.

As a reminder to myself of its importance, I wrote out the words “Share Something Everyday” in calligraphic hand and posted it on my wall. I was determined to put this concept into practice for myself! I felt the first step in doing so would be to do just that:  share it!  So I’m sharing it as a free download here.

share something everyday download (4)

to download: click here (or on the image above) to download the printable PDF. print on kraft paper and cut out along faint lines.

Lastly, I want to thank Bonnie for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I have grown not just professionally but also personally through her class.  If you are interested in taking her class, it is available on  If you have any thoughts you’d like to share… about sharing… please share them in the comments below!

Heidi Ahmed is an artist working in Columbus, Ohio. She specializes in watercolor illustration & design. You can see more of her work on Lost in Reverie and visit her shop here.

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