Craft Conspiring

Monday, December 29, 2014

HipHipHooray It's Christmas Vacation

It is snowing and will be snowing for the foreseeable future (well, through Tuesday), which gives me a fantastic and semi-legitimate excuse to stay homebound with a pair of scissors, paints, and embroidery thread.   Although I need supplies and therefore venturing into the world is probably a good next step, it is going to be difficult.  Relatively speaking.

This last week of breaking for the holiday was relaxing.  We ate too much, opened too many gifts, drove to visit family around Denver, cleaned ice off the windshield wipers, drove some more, and generally indulged.  And, I am so grateful for all of it.  The husband created the below while working out the kinks of his new GoPro.

Over the past several years I developed quite the dislike for the month of January.  As much as I tend to soap-box about life-difficulty solutions, those tricks and tips seem to go to the wayside in the long month of new beginnings.  I'll focus on some dear friends' birthdays this year and school, but I've also lined up a few crafts in addition to the pillows to occupy ze time.  

A collage of these for a bathroom?

Bedroom art?  Inspiration, here.

Gots any craft distractions to share?!  Please do.

Peace and love,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Envelope Pillows! New Listings!

I am pretty darn excited to offer another option for the pillow lovers out there: envelope pillow cases!  They're all the rage of the embroidered pillows with the option to stuff the suckers however you'd like!  Down-alternative, cotton, cotton balls, goose down, wishes, hopes, dreams -- the pillows are your oysters for proverbial (and literal) stuffing.

I used a simple envelope pillow case pattern that overlaps in the back for the insertion of the inserts of your choosing.  These new pillows fit 16x16 and 12x16 inserts, which make the pillows a little bit softer and squishier than the pre-stuffed versions.  I completely understand if you have not developed a preference between pillow inserts and pre-stuffed pillows, but I assure you, both are nice and offer differing appeals.  The cases, for example, can be changed based on the season, room, your mood, your in-laws' moods, etc.  They can be washed and ironed.  They're also $15 less expensive.  Win.  

These new listings also feature the blasted backdrop that fell off the roof of my car and left the husband saying things like, "Did you even have a vision for this?"  YES, I ALWAYS HAVE A VISION.  (Crickets.)  I was a sight wearing my down parka, gloves, a beanie, and a mask while spray-painting and sanding these huge pieces of wood in our garage.

I hope you enjoy!  Listings found HEREHERE, and HERE.

And lastly, I'll be working on a custom pillow for the next couple of weeks post-Christmas, but am excited for the reveal after the gift is given.  Please send feedback and custom orders my way in the meantime!  

With love, merriment and joy to you and yours,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Tale of Crafting Woes

Because life isn't perfect and I'm here to prove it.  

Please, enjoy. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

All Things Pillows.

Oh, Hey.  Hi.

Firstly, I am over the moon about the two reviews the shop received! (!!!! - extra exclams!)  The below came in yesterday, hallelujah!

And secondly, a NEW LISTING and PREVIEWS!  That's a fall tablecloth in the below pictures, which indicates how long this pillow has been in progress.  But alas! 'tis finished.


Became this!  Now on Etsy, here!  

This makes me happy because 1) it looks as though these moose are in a snow globe, and 2) it's so very soft.  Soft moose in a snow globe may be an ingredient to life's happiness.

I stuck to chevron, zig-zag loop, and closed buttonhole stitches for this guy.

And lastly, PREVIEWS!  I'm experimenting with new photography software and backdrops, but I think I'll end up just making a new backdrop out of wood…using a hammer…look out.  Pardon the photo quality in the meantime.

(Dog paws not included.)

My wishes to you for peace and holiday joy.  THANK YOU for stopping in.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Learning to Say No.

She sighed, said, "Hand me a piece of paper, I need your pen."  She stared at the chart she'd drawn in silence.  The tension in her posture and her quickening breath all added an energy of anxiety to the desks where we sat.

She wrote numbers below the Monday through Friday list she'd made on the page, sighed again, and then put her hand to her chest as if to pull the words from her Professor-experienced heart, "You should say no."

Torn, wearing dress pants and a sweater woven of my pride and anxiety, I walked into the school, smiled at the secretary I've come to know and appreciate, and cancelled my interview. I would not teach music to 6th through 8th graders in a charter school during the Spring of 2015. It is not my time.

If you knew how long it has taken me to get to the point of being able to say a heartfelt no, you may roll your eyes, laugh, or pat my back patronizingly.  Being a people pleaser, when previous difficult decisions rocked my insides, I looked for the answer in the following places: at the bottom of pint glasses, under the cocoon of covers in my bed, in books and Google image quotes, through sarcasm, in excessive exercise, and often, by stomaching stress.   But, just maybe, I'm turning a new leaf, adding another chapter...dare I say, it's growth.

No really, after a much-needed, solving-our-worlds'-problems conversations with one of my very best friends, I realize I already have the answers, including the no's, and that the answers already exist in the world, it's just a matter of uncovering the layers of sludge that prevent me from hearing or seeing them from this very limited perspective of mine.  

In the slow and fast movement of time, varied experiences, beautiful mistakes, and some laughter directed solely at myself, I am here. 

Isn't that the truth for us all? 

On to pillows, classrooms of learning, tutoring, and the peace that comes from listening. 

I wish you the same. 

X, Jo

And also, this. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


Amidst writing my last final for the schooling and throwing the husband's 40th birthday party, I have sewn around 25 stitches, which is approximately an inch.  An inch closer to finishing another pillow does not a finished pillow make.

But! I have also been doing a great deal of late-night reading.  I am experiencing the type of anxiety where my foot is constantly bouncing, my hands are constantly moving, and my brain is two steps ahead of my actions.  Make that five to seven leaping, lunging, and jumping steps.  Reading helps.  I finished the entire textbook for this current course (not required), read two more Kurt Vonneguts (satire, be still my soul), and actually read three of the holiday catalogs that are jamming our mailbox of late.  Whoever writes all those words in those catalogs, I just want you to know I read them.  HEY, I READ THEM.

Oh, they don't read this blog?

When the husband deployed the first year our marriage back in 2009, I was fortunate enough to help (help is a very loose term here) an organization called Project Happiness with some categorizing and organizing of mailing lists and other administrative activities.  Although with the organization for a short time due to my work schedule, I thought it was spectacular.   You can learn more here, or here!  It's an additive philosophy of living, as opposed to the ever-prevelant negative, punitive, and guilt-ridden forces to which we often listen.  And it's beautiful.

Happy Monday, y'all.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


  1. I am procrastinating like my life depends on not doing what I'm supposed to be doing for school (i.e. writing two more papers due tomorrow).  If my life does depend on not beginning them, I will survive this plight.  With flying colors.
  2. Somewhere between the first seven years of the husband and my relationship and the last four months, I became domesticated.  Help?  I can't tell if this annoys me or makes me feel thrilled that I finally got the point.  I have a load of laundry in the washer, a casserole in the oven, groceries in the fridge, and I already vacuumed today.  (Help.)
  3. Health is something to give thanks for every day.  Not just because you're not sick, but breaths of gratitude should be given because you are mentally sound, physically able to exercise, and generally healthy.  The secret stresses of PTSD, chronic pain, and unexpected health scares provide quick, and often destabilizing perspective.  I'm trying to remember to celebrate those highs, pray through the lows.
  4. We have been waiting since we moved for bedroom furniture, which I got as a birthday gift back in June, and blessed-be, it comes today.  No more living out of Tupperware bins and nightstands made of cardboard boxes that make me spill the glass of water I bring to bed and never drink on a bi-nightly basis.  I don't learn.
  5. Are you still reading this?  
  6. Truckee update:  He's stopped drooling.  I don't know what was wrong with him for those 48 hours, but he seems back to his lackadaisical self.  
  7. Pillow update:  Another pillow is in the works.  I realize the more pillows I create, the higher the liklihood they will sell, and the greater the chance I'll have stock to do fun things like sell at craft fairs, and obviously, the more money I'll make; but I'm busy, man.  I'm getting back to last week's goal of a pillow per week.  I tried sewing on the airplane, but my stitches were caddywhompus and the lady next to me was fairly concerned about her lack of elbow room and the needle flying about.  I would've been too.  
  8. I may be going back to work-for-pay, which is different than school-work-and-volunteering-for-self-fulfillment.  I hope they coexist.
  9. Florida is a fairly glorious state.  We shopped and had girl-time, ate Cuban food, and played cars with the three year old until he needed orange juice and milk shake breaks.  While in Florida, I thought at least 20 times of how I really wanted to take pictures of the Spanish moss draped oak trees.  I didn't take a single one.
  10. And lastly, but most importantly, a reminder, which is mainly for me, to just breath.  I am highly-wired these past couple of weeks and feel like I am swirling down to the stress-filled despair portion of my mentality.  Life is good.  So good.  Shhh, tortured soul.
I will do my best not to post pointless lists in the future about anything and everything that will help me avoid doing school work.

(Until the next list I post.)

Thanks for being you, 

Monday, December 1, 2014


Hello, World.

I pose a question:  What happened to Thanksgiving?  I blinked and am now sitting amongst a pile of unhung Christmas decorations on my dining room table in Colorado.  Last thing I remember was trying to stretch my legs into unavailable airplane foot space while having a very vivid dream that my head was in a vice.  I think we were still on the ground in Florida at that point...

Although the Black Friday sale was a statistical success, I am new to this online world of marketing and realize now that Cyber Monday probably is even more applicable to this here business.  AND SO!

The Craft Conspiracy is thrilled to offer 10% off any of your purchases now through tomorrow, Tuesday, December 2nd!  Enter code CYBER10 at checkout for your savings!

Have a lovely start to the week!