Monday, December 9, 2013

Silly Creatures for sale!

We had a sale this past weekend and fortunately most of the kids creatures did sell.  However, we have some left that we would love to find good homes for.  The silly creatures are $15 and the ornaments are $5 each.  Message me if you would like to adopt!  100% of the money goes back to the kids!





ornaments $5 ea.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Silly Creatures

The kids are each creating a silly creature (or 2) to sell at an Art/Craft sale that we will be participating in Dec. 7 and 8.  They got attached to their little guys and some of them don't want to let them go but we know they'll go to good homes.  We are trying to raise money for more supplies and each creature will be selling for between $10 and $15 dollars. 

Bertha and "Silly Lilly"

Greenleaf and "Baby"

Jonathan and um....."henchman"

Beatriz and "Sophie"

Gabby and "Bernard" (said with a french accent)

Kiara and Billy (no relation to Lilly)

Beatriz and her owl that she did not name yet.  This girl works fast.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Latest and Greatest

For the past couple weeks the kids have been working very hard on creating tote bags for themselves or in most cases, their mothers.  Here are a couple pictures of finished projects:

Each project is building on the next and currently we are working on creating some stuffed monsters.  I see some information shifting around in their brains and once in a while I swear I can see a light bulb turn on.  I love when that happens.  Just yesterday one of the girls exclaimed, " I get it!  We sew everything inside out so that the seam is on the inside!"  Of course I have said this on numerous occasions but the meaning of it has finally sunk in.  The projects are going slower than I originally anticipated so I've had to adjust my expectations quite a bit.  That's fine.  I'm letting the kids direct where we go and what we do.  After the silly creatures comes the month of December and they want to make Christmas presents for their families.  After that, they voted to make pajama bottoms for themselves. 

For the pajama bottoms project we will need to buy fabric.  Most of the fabric that I have had donated is not suitable for garment construction.  I would love to be able to give each kid a $15 gift card to Joann Fabrics so they can experience picking out their own fabric and notions.  If you would like to donate to this, you can send a gift card to:
Escuela Vieau
Fashion Academy
823 S 4th St
Milwaukee, WI 53204

On a really AWESOME note, Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA) is sponsoring my after school program.  They have provided us with some needed scissors, pins, and money for snacks and drinks. They will be helping us out with other items as we go along.  I can't even say how amazing this is.  The scissors that we have been using were awful.  By the end of next week, I believe every kid will have a brand new pair of Fiskars sewing scissors.  SWEET!

Until next week!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I originally thought that we would have 2 weeks to make Halloween costumes for the younger students but it turned out we only had 1. That's  a total of 5 hours.  Yikes!   The group did remarkably well and we were able to complete about 6 costumes.  The morning of the Halloween parade we met by the K4-K5 classrooms and asked for students who didn't have costumes.  Then my kids helped the younger student into their costume and walked them back to class.  It was a fun day for everyone.

We had an angel, butterfly, leopard, fairy, owl, superhero and skunk.  The fairy was only half finished but still pretty.  Good job FA!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Week 1 (and 2)

Dear faithful friends, supporters, well wishers and other,
let me warn you, this is going to be a long one.  I apologize for not updating before, my only excuse, no excuse.  I suck and I'm sorry.  I'll do better.  

It's Week Two!!!!  Can you believe it?  Neither can I.  Honestly, when I first started talking about doing this, I couldn't even imagine being at this point.  So I bet your all wondering how things are going, right?  Let's start at the very beginning...

During the first week of school I went into the 6th, 7th and 8th grade classrooms and did a short presentation on the "Fashion Academy".  Did you notice the name change?  I needed something that would attract kids.  After School Stitch, which was the name I came up with for fund raising purposes, just wasn't cutting it.  One evening I started brain storming names and I was saying them out loud.  As soon as I said "Fashion Academy" my 11 year old jumped up and said "Oh yeah!  I'd go to that!"  And that is how we got the new name.

I guess the new name worked because I received 37 applications.  Yikes! Out of those 37 I was able to narrow it down based on talking to their teachers.  Even after that, I was only able to get it down to 18.  I really wish I could have taken all 18 but it would have meant splitting up the program and having some kids on Tuesday and some on Thursday.  So I required them to go through an interview process.  I sent them sheets of paper with their interview time and location and expected them to show up on time.  Without exception, they were all on time and in some cases, dressed up for their interview.  One boy wore a tie.  How could I not accept him?  The interviews were great and almost made it harder because now I had seen them face to face and knew how amazing they all were.  I got it down to 10 kids but it was stressful and heart wrenching. The Fashion Academy consists of 8 girls and 2 boys (Surprise!).  I even gave my own daughter the boot so I could fit another kid. Don't feel too bad for her, she's acting as my assistant and still gets to be involved in the class.

 I  bought 7 Singer sewing machines (I tested them out first and compared it to Brother's low end machine and it won. I'm as surprised as you are.) from the Viking Gallery at Joann Fabrics.  The good thing about buying from Joann is that they will service your machine right there in the store and they matched the Brother price. BOOM! I had gone to the local Sewing shops here in town but none of them were willing to give me a deal or were really receptive to working with me at all.  HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO HEARTS?  Also, the sales lady at Joanns, Ginger, volunteered to come to the first class and teach the kids how to use the machines.  I was overjoyed. On Sept. 24 we had our first class. It was a little bit bumpy but it worked.  We had 5 sewing machines set up and 2 kids on each.  Ginger and I walked around the hallway (we are in a hallway.) and were able to divide our time up between everyone quite well.  In any case, they all came back for the next class, so it must have went better than I thought.  BUT GUESS WHAT?  I forgot to take pictures. (side note: Ginger was so excited about the class that she has volunteered to come back again.HUZZAH!)

The second class came and my resolve to take more pictures vanished.  We started our first project, which was a pillow case, and everyone was working so amazingly and I was flitting (like a delicate little butterfly) from table to table helping where needed. Taking pictures flew completely out of my head.  

BUT yesterday!  YESTERDAY!  I got smart.  I gave my daughter the camera and made her the camera girl for the day.  She took some amazing pictures.  About 100 in all.  And here for your viewing pleasure are some of them. With commentary.

This is how our class is set up. We have 6 tables set up along one side of the 3rd floor hallway.  To be fair, the hallway is very nice.  It's in a newly remodeled part of the school and it's fairly wide with good climate control. Sometimes.  We don't have enough outlets but we are making it work.  I have 2 kids and one sewing machine per table.  The last table is off to the side and used for ironing and demonstrating.  In these pictures you see the kids hard at work on their pillow cases.

Not only are they learning the basics of sewing but they are also learning patience. A valuable lesson for all of us.  I keep saying "Slow it down.  Take your time and do it right."  After they rip enough seams, they'll learn.  7 out of the 10 finished their pillow cases by the end of class yesterday and they were able to start thinking about designs for Halloween costumes.

Does anyone recognize fabric that you've donated?  Let me know.  It would be fun to find out what your original intention for that fabric was.  Speaking of donating.....( get used to it) we are still accepting fabric donations, Joann Fabric gift cards or Walmart gift cards.  Our first fund raiser will not be until Christmas so please, if you like what you see and you want to help keep it going, you can make a donation (sorry, we do not have non-profit status so it would just have to be out the goodness of your heart) to the program through me or send it directly to Vieau School, 823 South 4th Street , Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204.

We have some more people to thank! Thank you Pam Penn. Pam is a weaver and an active member of WHI and a Board Member at ABK Weaving Center!  Thank you Megan Westra. Megan is the Children's Pastor at Transformation City Church here in MKE. Thank you Jane Moore.  Jane is a fiber artist and educator who works primarily in felt.  I'm really hopeful that Jane will be able to come teach my kids a felting class later in the year. Lastly, but not least, thank you Judy Kabriel.  Judy is a Board Member at ABK Weaving Center and also sells her art  at the Racine Artists Gallery.

Thanks everyone, I'll talk to you again soon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013



As of now I have enough money to purchase 7 sewing machines.  Some of the kids will just have to share until we have the rest of the money.  I made a little over $100 at our rummage sale and I'll be manning a craft station at the Bayshore Chalk Fest in a couple weeks which will bring in another $150.  That will be $250 towards purchasing a storage cabinet for the sewing machines and sewing kits. So in spite of not making all the money I need, I still feel like I'm in a good spot to get things rolling.

  • My husbands uncle, who is a retired upholsterer, donated a bunch of large rolls of upholstery fabric. Thank you so much Uncle Mike Annen! About half of what I got out of his old workshop will go to the after school program and the other half (not suitable for beginner sewing projects) will go to Milwaukee Youth Theatre for sets and costuming.  
  •  An employee from WDS (Wisconsin Drapery Supply) contacted me and they donated tons (TONS!) of trims, tassels, beading, as well as yards and yards of drapery fabric. Thank you Peppy Wisialowski for thinking of me and my program!
  • My Aunt, Bonnie Ruecker, sent me a serger. Yes, a real honest to goodness serger. I haven't used it yet because there just hasn't been time but I'm planning on sitting down this August and figuring it all out. Thank you Aunt Bonnie!  
  • A complete stranger named Mary Prince contacted me and said "I have a dress form you can have, and maybe some fabric and other misc. stuff as well". I went to her house last week and came home with a car full of goodies. Mary Prince, you are a jewel! Thank you!
  • Mary Stott. Mary is on the Board of Directors at ABK Weaving Center and was so wonderful as to take over the newsletter for me this year.  
  • Jan Falk. Jan is an amazing felt artist. She is currently exhibiting some work at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum in Cedarburg. Hopefully, she will also have a piece in this years Warped Milwaukee
  • Dawn Hordyk. Dawn has a heart for children. She exudes enthusiasm and encouragement. In a world full of Debbie Downers we need more Dawns. 
  • Dave and Lori McDonald. Dave and Lori are the owners of Brilliance Solutions in Milwaukee and are active members of TCC. REPRESENT!
  • My Aunt and Uncle, Monty and Carolyn Hall. They are probably biking through some dangerous urban area or bear-infested forest right now. Thank you for your encouragement.  

donated fabric

more donated fabric
donated dress form keeping my dress form company for now.

donated trims.

even more donated fabric, patterns and other misc.

That's it for now.  Come visit me at the Chalk Fest on the 17th. I'll be there from 10 to 5.  Not sure what I'm doing yet but it will be something with pleather. If you haven't donated yet, you have 4 days to donate through indiegogo.  After that, you can still donate through the school.  I'll put more information up about that later.  I'll talk to you in a couple weeks!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Update #5: Course Curriculum, Print Your Own Flyer, and 2 New Perks!


I finished my syllabus/curriculum.  It's ambitious.  Probably too ambitious but I think that's ok.  From my experience with these kids, I've come to think that too little is expected of them.  I want them to strive to live up to my expectations rather than me living down to theirs.  They are capable of more.  I believe that.  That being said, I'm going to be very flexible with my teaching.  If I find that they just aren't "getting" something, than we'll spend an extra week or two on it and if they are racing ahead, well, I have a lot of smaller projects up my sleeve.  If you would like to see the syllabus I came up with, click here.

What's Next?

I'm going to get out to the different sewing machine repair places this week and see if they can do anything for me machine wise.  Unless the money comes in, I'll be looking at getting used machines.  Not ideal but better than nothing.

On an awesome note, my husband's Uncle used to run a upholstery shop.  He's retired now and he said I can go in and take what I want from the fabric that is left over.  I don't know what's left that is usable but I'm anxious to find out.  That will be this upcoming weekend.

We are having a neighborhood rummage sale on July 13th and I've decided to put whatever I make from that towards this program.  I keep looking around the house thinking "do I really need that?"  HA!  It's remarkable how much stuff we really don't need at all.

Wednesday I will be having some small posters printed up to put up around town, basically anywhere there are people who might be remotely interested in helping this program out. The poster will be the size of a sheet of paper with tabs you can tear off that will have the web address of the indiegogo campaign. If you know of a place where I definitely need to put one, please send me a message.

More Bribery

So while cleaning out the basement I found some more bribes, not like the first one worked but hey, maybe that's because $100 is just more than what people want to give?  How about a $25 bribe?

For a $25 donation you can receive one of the following:

Leaving Mississippi purse

My Sister and I purse
When you donate, leave a note which one you want and your address.  I'll get it in the mail early next week. 

How You Can Help

If you haven't donated, donate.  Please.  I know that money is tight but even $10 would help out a lot. The other thing is that I only have about 30 days left in my campaign and I really, REALLY, need your help to get the word out. Share my blog links on your facebook page and in all your groups. Email it to your great Aunt Mimi the quilter, who complains loudly over the behavior of young people these days.  Or any other person who loves fiber or art or kids, or all three. 

Lastly, remember that poster I'm having printed up this week?  Here is a link so that YOU can print it out at home and take it to your yarn/fabric shop, local coffee house, book club meeting, church, wherever.  I'd very much appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Update and Bribe

Donation Update

I do have one donor to recognize from almost 2 weeks ago. My mother-in-law, Lois Baker.  I have to say that no one could ask for a better mom-in-law.  She is an amazing mom, grandma and friend.  I value her advice and encouragement more than she can possibly know.  In short, I say that my MIL could beat up your MIL!

This month I was contacted by a local Arts Organization about sponsoring my after school class.  Very exciting but nothing is concrete yet. Which means, I still need your help.

Donations have, sadly, come to a standstill but I'm hoping that I can maybe spark some more interest from some of you.  I have a bin of unsold items from my etsy store.  One of my absolute favorite items that never sold is this baby quilt.

Special Bonus Perk

Is there a new baby in your life?  The next person to donate $100 will also get this lovely handmade baby quilt.  Make sure to leave a note with the address of where you would like me to send the quilt.  Or if there are two of you who are interested in the quilt for a friend and you each want to give $50, that would work as well. Click here to make a donation of any amount.

33.5" x 40"
100% cotton
Hand and machine stitched. Machine washable.

Studio Update

School has been out for almost 2 weeks now but I have not been idle.  I should have my curriculum for the school year complete by the end of this week and I am busy turning my basement into a work space.  Our basement is not pretty.  It can't be pretty.  Nothing in the world could make it pretty.  BUT I know from experience that when I start working on long involved projects, our house becomes a disaster area.  So I am moving my whole operation into the basement. Within the next couple weeks I need to start making samples of all the projects I will be completing with the students. In a 900 sq. ft. house, that could get ugly.  Besides which, the basement will be nice and cool when we get to those  90 degree days of August.