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Little Pots for Air Plants

What I’ve been working on!

I have been enjoying making small pots for plants.  I started making them for succulents, but recently switched to air plants — much easier to take to shows with me.

air plants in recycled wool pot Air Plants in Wool pots 3


Wool Dryer Balls

Here’s a pretty picture of the dryer balls that I make.
You can order them in my ETSY shop or make arrangements to pick them up.

Dryer Balls from repurposed wool


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The Making of a Mannequin – DIY Photo Shoot

Of all the things that I do as a fiber artist and  independent small business owner, the one that has frustrated me most over the years is taking photos of my work.

Mostly I struggle with lighting and the right props.  My studio has poor lighting in general and not much natural light which is best for photos.   I try to take the photos outside but that is easier with smaller objects than scarves.  Learn how to adjust the white balance in your camera settings.  This can improve your photos a lot!

This year I made a flat mannequin out of a cardboard box.  It works fairly well and I love that I recycled something to make it!


Recently I decided that I wanted to be able to change the color of the mannequin to white or black,  so I purchased some poster board and cut out the same thing but made the body longer, so  that I could use it for longer scarves.    For this shoot I poked a hole in the top of the mannequin so that I could hang it from a ceiling hook in front of a white wall.  I attached the poster board with binder clips, which you can see in the photo.

mannequin set up2

A little editting and here’s the money shot! Not too bad!

Red scarf
You can see some of the results of my lastest photo shoot soon in my Etsy Shop.



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5 Day Facebook Artist Challenge – Day 1

Flower Pins
Flower Pins

I was nominated to participate in the 5 day art challenge on Facebook, by my friend Luz of Cocomocha Studios

Around 2006 I first started reclaiming sweaters into functional accessories.  I have made many types of flowers over the years here are a few.




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Day 5 – Necessity is the mother of invention

So creation – invention not sure where today falls!  I originally thought that I would be posting about the arm knitting that I have been doing, but in trying to take some photos of what I have made, I opened up a can of worms–How to take photos of scarves.  Of all the things I make it seems that I struggle most with photos of scarves.

I have a vintage mannequin which I tried to use today, but it wasn’t very successful.

IMG_7964_1 IMG_7950_1

So after freezing my fingers off taking photos outside and inside I am trying something new.

I decided to try a flat cardboard model of a head and shoulders that I can use to drape a scarf.

It was interesting finding out what dimensions to use.  I used 9″ as the head length and then the rest of the dimensions from this site.


So far I think I will like it, need to figure out how to hang it outside when taking pictures.  Not what was planned for today, but hopefully this will solve a long standing problem for me.

recycled cardboard mannequin







So this is the last day of my 5 day challenge to create something every morning.  I’m glad it’s over, the first two days I thoroughly enjoyed the process, by the third day I started to struggle with focus and staying on track.  But the biggest problem (??) is that even though I only intended for this to take up the mornings it really took much more time than that.

But overall I am thrilled to have repaired my car key, designed a new wreath, and worked on a new scarf mannequin, 3 out of 5 is not too bad!  And one unexpected pleasure was the blogging…..

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Down the Rabbit Hole….

Day 4 of my self-imposed challenge to do something new/creative each morning.

Pinch Penny Change Purse

I recently lost another change purse, that makes two in  less than a year.  So I decided to work on another change purse for myself but with a different design.

Several years ago I purchased this purse frame at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, so it seemed the right time to give it a whirl.

Sew in Purse Frame

I did a little bit of research to see what purses made this way should look like and thought that Bag’n-telle has some good instructions.

So my plunge down the rabbit hole started with material selection.  My first thought was felt, of course, then I explored suiting, then leather and even briefly considered some of the linen or cotton fabric I recently scored at Zero Landfill Chicago.  

Change Purse

So to make a long story short…

— I didn’t consult the instructions that I found

— I didn’t measure very accurately

— I didn’t measure and line up the leather I appliqued on top of the felt.


So after partially sewing in the frame I could see that it wasn’t going to fit.

I don’t usually give up (I did rip out my sewing three times) but do feel like I am headfirst down the rabbit hole and no bottom in sight!  If I decide to keep  plunging down this rabbit hole, I’ll let you know tomorrow.


Not needing another UFO, I used a magnetic snap to create an envelope top (so the change won’t fall out).  Not so bad.  I hope all the handmade things I lose find someone to love them!

change purse with magnetic snap



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Day 3: How to make Felt Buttons from #recycledsweaters

Day three of my creative challenge started off a little bit differently with almost two feet of snow to shovel, so I didn’t get to my creative project right away….and almost forgot to do it!

Maggie Joyce Recycled Optical Lens Button

I have an idea for a neckwarmer that I think needs a button.  I immediately thought about using some of these fabulous buttons made from recycled optical lenses and I do think they might work beautifully, but somehow I got to thinking about felt buttons.

Since I have lots of little pieces of felt laying around, I started imagining a thickly felted wool button, with different colored layers that show at the edges.


Felt Button Recycled Wool 3

But instead I made a stack of offset circles of felt without button holes.

So this isn’t really a brand new creation for me, because I have made buttons like this before and used them to make wearable pins.  But I had never thought about using them as actual buttons…so that’s the creative challenge for today!

Felt Button Recycled Wool 2



I think the next time, I might try to add button holes and also try a stack of circles all the same size or adding the blanket stitch on the edges.


Can’t wait to show you the completed project!


Felted wool button from recycled sweaters



Here’s how I make a felt button or pin.

Cut three or four pieces of wool into squares bigger than the finished size desired.  I usually start with 4″ squares.  Because I am using scraps I cannot always get them that big, so I will also try with 3″ and 2″ squares.

I stack them in the order I want them and sew them together, down the middle with a sturdy stitch.

Felt them in a washing machine.

Trim them up into circles.

Hand or machine sew them depending on how tightly I would like them to stay together.

Add a button in the center if desired and a pinback.  Or you can sew them directly to your project.

Here are some examples of pins I have made in the past.

Thanks for stopping by!

wool button recycled sweater

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Day 2: Creative Keys – Not what you think!

Broken Car KeyDay 2 of my creative challenge to myself. For five days I will indulge in a new creative endeavor each morning.

So 6 months ago, I almost lost my car key because it had a crack in the plastic top (where you put the key ring.) It flew off my key chain and sat on the street in front of my car for 2.5 hours. Thankfully a friend helped me find it that night and I resolved to fix my key.

The first time I repaired my key I used a piece of lightly felted Turquoise wool to cover the key. That repair lasted almost six months, but eventually the felt wore a little thin at the top. So I have been carrying my key around without a key ring for several months, just waiting to lose it again!

Day 2 Key Collage

So today’s repair is with leather. I bought an old leather coat a while back and have a small pile of scraps from another project.

  1. Make a pattern: I traced the key on a folded piece of leather, which turned out to be too small. So used that piece to make a larger piece.
  2. Cut out a small opening in the middle of the new cover to slip in the key.
  3. Whip stitch all around the key top including sewing in a split ring.

I did have to sew it twice as the first time I used a running stitch which looked horrible. Whip stitch — much better.

diy leather key chain strap or wristlet

Since I finished that rather quickly I decided to replace the strap for my key ring also.   So after carefully measuring the width of the hardware, I cut a piece of leather twice as wide, folded it in half and machine sewed.  The leather I chose was a little stretched out and was difficult to sew without ripples which you can see in the photos…

DIY Leather Key Fob and Key cover



Not the most creative of projects but I got a chance to work with leather and learn some new skills —  Not to mention peace of mind!

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Resolutions or Revolution?

pine0001It’s January 29th not New Year’s eve, but after a month of frustration I have a new resolution.

I resolve to make one upcycled object for the next 5 days. I have seen many of you take on projects like this for one month or even a year, but that seems way too big for me!

Why am I doing this? As a working fiber artist there is a delicate balance between making the things I want, versus making the things I might sell. It’s a constant struggle to balance these two desires.   I have so many ideas that I struggle to hold onto until I have time to spend on them. So for the next five days I plan on spending the morning working on something that I have wanted to do for a long time for whatever reason!

Day 1.
A long time ago, my aunt showed me how to make a wreath with pinecones.  So this new wreath design is based on that idea.
Simple, but I like it.

Red Pinecone Wreath


If you would like to make one, take a look at my upcoming workshops.


Wreath pattern


I haven’t written up instructions for my new design yet, but I do have two other designs available as a downloadable PDF.