Miss Gioia

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I just participated in a really fun exchange with one of the people I met though the Bib Swap. We both have toddler girls, so we swapped an outfit for our little ones. I (umm. I mean Gioia) received this beautiful little sundress. The fabric looks very vintage. I tried desperately to get a decent shot of the dress this morning before preschool, but cooperation was not high on her agenda. In addition to the dress, we also got an adorable little blouse adorned with pleats and a little bow in front.

The dress and blouse are size three, but the dress is only just a little bit big on my super tall baby girl. Last week, Chris had three separate people exclaim "My she has grown so much!" I wonder what gave it away? Perhaps the dresses that no longer cover her little diapered bottom? Whoops.

So three cheers for beautiful sundresses and tops that come in the mail from lovely people so far away!! As soon as my swap partner receives and opens her package, I will share pictures of what I sent...


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bib Swap

When I get into a crafting rut, I tend to make bibs. Lots of bibs. They are simple, which in my world means "can be done while mindlessly watching television." But they also can be great canvases for creativity. Lately I used the bib pattern to test out some of the antique piping I bought at the Paris flea market. Pretty nice with a red monogram and checked lining.

I have been playing around with swap-bot lately, and I decided it was time for me to host a swap of my own. Would you like to join? The head on over to sign up before May 15. Once partners are assigned, you will have three weeks to work on your bib and put it in the mail (deadline is June 6). You can sew, knit or crochet - whatever works for you! I hope people have fun with this. See you at swap-bot.

Free bib resources

Sewing patterns:
Chickpea Sewing Studio Pattern
Nested bib pattern
I use version B from this site for most of my bibs. I added seam allowances to the pattern so I could use two fabrics, turn and top stitch.

Knitting patterns:
Simple baby bib
Cable-edged bib
Intarsia Bib pattern

Crochet patterns:
Coats and Clark pattern
Super cute US flag bib

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Monday, March 2, 2009

A Humble Dishcloth

I signed up for a simple dishcloth swap recently. Again, I dug into stash for this project. The yarn is 50% hemp/50% cotton, which makes it ideal for scrubbing dishes. The hemp knit fabric gets softer as you wash it. Some say that it wears very similar to linen.

I used the Ballband Dishcloth pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting. The pattern calls for two colors to show off the slipped stitches, but I think it looks lovely in monochrome ecru.

I am traveling to Europe this week for work. I hope to pick up some nice soap there to send along with this humble dishcloth to my swap partner in America.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gold - Poinsettia

And the final gift was Gold: an oil painting of a poinsettia flower. I think the shimmery gold tinge makes it look like a vintage hallmark card. A little painting for my swap buddy Louise.

This was a really fun swap. It was a lot of work though. After everything was done and mailed off, I almost felt lost. After spending the last six weeks working toward finishing everything, it was hard to not be doing anything - to not have a big project goal.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Frankincense - Advent Calendar

This advent calendar is my Frankincense gift for the Backtack swap. I used some heavy silk upholstery fabric that came from the Jim Thompson outlet in Bangkok. It was perfect for this project: stiff , non-wrinkly, and subtly shiny. I bought a couple of bags full of mother of pearl buttons from the fabric market in Beijing. They worked really well with the fabric.

The pockets' buttons correspond to the day: December 4 = 4 buttons, December 19 = 19 buttons, etc. Inside each pocket is a little Christmas trivia and a handful of Asian candy. Chris helped me cut the wood. Isn't he nice?

300 buttons sewn on by hand. Thank goodness for back episodes of Gossip Girl. I'm just sayin'.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Myrrh - Vintage Velvet

Louise's backtack packages have arrived! I can now tell you about my gifts. The first was Myrrh, a special gift for the recipient. For this one, I knit the Vintage Velvet pattern from Scarf Style. The pattern calls for 5 balls of Muench Touch Me, which had put me off from making it before now - very pricey. The chenille was difficult to work with, especially when a row or two had to be frogged. But it was well worth the effort (and the expense). The finished scarf looks very professional. One cannot even tell it was handknit. Not that looking handknit is bad, but.... I am not sure if any other yarn would yield the same results after felting, so any future versions will have to be made with the same yarn.

The scarf took about three weeks to finish, which kind of put me behind schedule with the other two items. But I was pleased with the end result and think I will make more for future gifts.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Backtack Received!

I am a lucky lady. My Backtack partner sent such lovely gifts! I am astounded at her creativity. The stuffed monkey above was her interpretation of Frankincense. In addition to being absolutely adorable in her pink and red tunic, little Miss Monkey jingles as Baby G totes her around the house (the sensory aspect).

Gold was an address book and a calendar, both with custom embroidered covers. The designs wrap around the front and back of each book.

I must admit, the address book is my most favorite item of all. If I *had* to pick a favorite, that is. The little houses with the pink roofs just kill me.

And for Myrrh, this lovely felt flower wreath, which now graces the top of our medicine chest. We did not have a wreath for Christmas. If I had chosen one, it would have been exactly like this.

But that wasn't all. She also included a set of custom beaded buttons, which are inspiring me to get sewing again. Perhaps I can make Miss G a holiday dress with these before we leave for our Christmas holiday. Maybe?

Thank you so very much Louise! I hope you like your items half as much as I like mine!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Backtack is Done and Posted

I am a week behind the deadline for getting my Backtack items in the mail. The whole family caught a nasty cold this week, which slowed me down quite a bit. But I am officially finished and the packages are in capable hands of Federal Express. Louise should get her packages on Tuesday, UK time. Hopefully she will forgive me for being a bit late.

Besides the sickness, I was a little late because hand sewing 300 buttons took longer than I thought. For what you ask? Well, you will just have to wait a bit... Once the packages are delivered safely, I'll show and tell. But Louise gets first peek.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sneaky Peaky

Myrrh is done.
Gold is nearly done.
This weekend is for Frankincense.

My backtack is on track.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008


The yarn for one of my three Backtack projects has arrived. I ordered the yarn only after I found out my partner's color preferences (hi Louise!) Which was a bit of a risk because the finished projects - this one included - have to be in the mail at the end of November. Not much time, especially if the package got lost on its way to Taiwan. But it arrived! So now I have to just cast on and get knitting.

What is Backtack, you say? Well, it is a swap. The idea is that you make three items for a known recipient along these themes:
Gold - Something sparkly
Frankincense - Something with a sensory aspect (e.g., smell, taste)
Myrrh - Something special for the recipient
This yarn will become my myrrh. Something special. For Louise.

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Monday, June 16, 2008


My doll quilt from the Lemonade Stand Swap arrived while we were in Beijing last week. I came back home to a mailbox stuffed full of goodies. This sweet little quilt has a snuggly, vintage feel. Such fun fabrics.

It was wonderful, just wonderful, to receive this little gem at the end of such a fun swap process. In addition, my lovely swap partner sent some other goodies, including this great doll she found on Etsy. Gioia approves.

Thanks so much S. I love it. You did a great job!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good Things Just Keep Coming

Zylo's ornament arrived today. Mailbox love.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ornaments in the Mail

About two weeks ago, I finished and mailed six ornaments for a flickr group swap. It was hard to let those kids go, but I was happy I did. My own mailbox was bursting this week with ornaments from my fellow swappers. The cameo ornament came from Tracie. The artwork on this piece is really lovely. If you have some time, pop over and see her other work as well.

Julia sent this sweet little sunflower shadowbox.

And Michele's mitten is cute as can be. The embroidered flower is delicate and charming. Love it.

Such a fun week. Thank you guys for sending such neat ornaments. They are all so different, yet still are perfect additions to our tree. I am so excited to see what arrives in my mailbox this week!

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Ornament Swap

One of my flickr groups organized an ornament swap for the holiday. I made six tree faeries for the swap based on this great tutorial . For this little project, I was able to use supplies from my doll-making stash, including some lovely hand-dyed wool felt from Australia. All six were mailed out to the recipients today.

Unfortunately, I did not make an extra ornament for myself. Maybe one of these days I will make another. Hah. Probably not. But in exchange for these girls, I will get six different ornaments back from my lovely swap group. So excited.

Before they left, we got to enjoy all six hanging on our own tree for a bit. A win-win for all.

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