My mom found this Western pearl snap shirt at the thrift shop attached to the crisis center where she works. I bought it for a whopping $2, knowing that it could use some work.

Pretty hideous

The embroidery and applique look like they were done by the previous owner, and everything was coming undone.

Not looking so hot, see?

My first order of business was to remove all of the gross-ness so I could start from scratch. It took a good while (3 episodes of Downton Abbey, as a matter of fact), but I got it all taken off.

Already looking better.

The areas that had been covered by those oh-so-lovely white flower appliques are darker than the rest of the shirt, since over time the shirt faded to almost a charcoal grey rather than a crisp black. If the shirt didn’t have that great white piping detail, I would most definitely have re-dyed the shirt. C’est la vie, I suppose. The next step in this rehab process was to find something to replace (and, hence, cover) the areas that had previously been embellished. I sorted through my collection of Sublime Stitching patterns (my sister and I are licensed stitchers through that great Austin company!) and selected some from the artist series featuring, this time, Ryan Berkley. I chose the lady cat and the fantastic Mr. Fox to go on the shoulders of my soon-to-be-fabulous shirt.

Ms. Kitty, already transferred

Mr. Fox, awaiting transfer

Transferred and ready to stitch!

I transferred the designs using the transfer paper for dark fabrics and stylus that I purchased from Sublime stitching as well. They worked much better than when I’ve used store-bought dressmaker’s transfer paper. I highly recommend buying both if you’re much of a stitcher.

I’ve got a way to go before this shirt is fully rehabbed, but I wanted to let you see some of the preliminary progress. I’ll keep posting as I make more headway!



Neither Erin nor I have posted in quite a long time. Don’t fool yourself by thinking it’s because we don’t have time. It’s because both of us struggle with making time work for us.

Over the past few months, I have done quite a bit of crafting but I think I’m going to break my posts down by craft. That said, and as evidenced by the title of this post, knitting’s the jam–at least for today’s blog.

I decided in October that I needed to use up some of the yarn that has been languishing in my stash as either unfinished projects or projectless balls.  I found this partially completed, but totally wonky, scarf that I started who knows how long ago using a yummy lilac-toned Tabali yarn.

Yummy yummy delicious

I frogged the scarf (**for those of you not versed in knitting terminology, “frogging” means pulling out already knitted work. It gets its name because in order to pull out your knitting, you have to rip it, rip it. Get it?), and because I only had one skein of the yarn, I headed over to good ole’ Ravelry to look for a pattern that I could use that would be a quick and easy way to repurpose this yarn. I ended up choosing “Slouch Cap Redux” by Melissa “Missa” Mills. It only took me a couple of hours before I had a finished product. I look silly in hats because of my curls so I used my trusty styrofoam head and a sweet ex-student to model the hat.

Looks alright on my styrofoam head

Looks much better on Allison

I still have it, and I’ll certainly never wear it, so if you’re interested…

I also rediscovered an old FO (**finished object in knitting lingo) that I’d never bothered to block. It was knit with leftover Rowan kidsilk haze, a beautiful but rather frustrating yarn.

It comes in tons of gorgeous colors

Pinned to blocking mat

"All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up"

This scarf is also available for anyone who’s interested…

In October, I also got a commission from my close family friend, Kathryn, for a cowl.  Instead of stash busting, I made a little trip to one of my local Austin LYS’s (Little Yarn Store), Hill Country Weavers, to pick out her yarn. With the help of smart phone technology, Kathryn and I were able to pick out the yarn for her cowl via picture messaging.  She chose this fantastic variegated yarn, Cascade Yarns Eco Duo, a butter-soft alpaca-merino blend.

Seriously, you just want to rub it on your face. It's that soft.

After a few hours of plain ole’ stockinette stitch, my hank of Eco Duo transformed into Kathryn’s cowl. I don’t have a 100% finished photo of the cowl, but 90% will do…

I love the way the variegation created a subtle striped effect

While I was shopping for Kathryn’s yarn, another alpaca captured my attention. I didn’t have a particular pattern in mind, but I bought a hank of Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky anyway.  This particular yarn is bulkier than the Eco Duo and is 100% alpaca rather than a blend. I knew I could whip up a quick, scrumptious cowl out of it, so it seemed worth it at the time.

This yarn comes in a number of lovely, natural colors

It turns out that it was worth it. A friend purchased the final product for her mother for Christmas.

In all its slouchy, alpaca glory

A shot of the cowl flat that demonstrates the pretty eyelet detail

As Austin’s “winter” approached, another friend solicited handknits from me, so I started to work on a traditional watchcap.  It worked up relatively quickly with the Cascade 220 that I used, and I think it turned out quite nicely.  I don’t have a photo of it on its recipient, so you get a pic of me in it instead…

As I mentioned earlier, hats don't really suit me but you get the idea

Last but not least, I finished a long-standing project just in time to bring it to its recipient.  I started this sweater before my best friend’s baby was born and didn’t finish it until she was about three months old. Turns out, that was pretty much perfect timing. It’s a frilly little pink baby sweater, and baby Faith wears it well.

Sweet sweater for a sweet baby

As per usual, I have a zillion UFOs (UnFinished Objects) on needles. Back to work!

It’s been a long while since I posted anything due to my recent move from Los Angeles back to Austin. It’s been hectic and, needless to say, I haven’t done any crafting. I thought I’d post some of the projects I finished and/or started before I left L.A. and some that I did a long time ago that I ran across as I was unpacking here in Austin.
First of all, I was so excited after my Urban Craft Center quilted pillow class with Alissa that I decided to make yet another pillow. I decided to play with some great Alexander Henry prints that my sister and I have, and this was the final result:

I thought the pillow came out nicely although I think I did my straight-line quilting too close together. It took me forever! I listed it on my Etsy site, so if you’re interested click the link here to check it out.
After I caught “quilting fever” I decided to try my hand at a patchwork crib quilt. I used the bag o’ quilting squares that I blogged about in my first post and started piecing the top. I tried to establish a color theme for each vertical strip of patchwork while also trying to make sure that the strips themselves harmonized. I repeated various patterns throughout that had multiple colors in them to add a little continuity to the look. I still need to piece about four more strips, make my batting “sandwich”, and do the actual quilting. Et voilá–I’ll have my first real quilt. Here’s a peek:

All the strips laid out on the floor

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

In L.A., I also worked on a little sweater for my best friend’s little newborn daughter, Faith. I was hoping to have it finished before I left but I ran out of yarn just before I got to the sleeves, and I apparently developed a bit of arthritis in my left index finger (ouch!). Here are a couple of photos of the sweater so far and one of the tiny little person I’m knitting it for:

Faith's cardi 1

Faith's cardi 2

Little Faith with her proud parents, Joelle and Lloyd

The pillow, quilt, and baby sweater are all projects I started in California, but I found some long-lost finished projects during my move here in Texas that I’d like to share.
I found this little tea towel.

First embroidery project ever!

As you can tell from the caption, this was the first project I did as a newbie embroiderer (is that even a word??). Considering I’d never done much more than some very basic cross stitch as a little kid, I think it turned out rather well. I did the whole thing in split stitch and freehanded the “paz” (“peace” in español for those of you who don’t speak Spanish). It’s pretty basic embroidery but sometimes simple is better. The pattern is from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching “Stitch-It Kit” If you’re at all hip and cool, you’ll check out her stuff. The Sublime Stitching catchphrase is “This ain’t your gramma’s embroidery” and it’s so true. My sister and I are licensed to sell items we make using Jenny’s patterns, so check our Etsy store soon for new, embroidered items.
The other long-lost project I found as I was unpacking also uses a Sublime Stitching pattern. This particular pattern is from Jenny’s Bon Voyage set. So chic! The stitching on this hankie is still pretty basic but I did branch out and do some backstitching and satin stitching as well. I made it for my grandmother several years ago and completely forgot to send it to her. Guess who’s making a trip to the post office tomorrow?

Lovely lady traveler. I love her little cloche!

I could probably go on and on about other projects I’ve done and handmade gems I’ve found lately but I’ll leave some for another day.
On a personal note, my sister and her husband get back today from a two week vacation in Madrid, Spain’s capital city. My sister and I both lived there at separate times, and it holds a particularly dear place in both our hearts. I’m sure she’ll have some (Spanish!) handmade delights of her own to share soon. I know she’s bringing me back a mantón de Manila, and I’m SO excited to see what it looks like. Here’s an example photo of what a mantón looks like.

Mantón de Manila silk shawl

Welcome back to Estados Unidos, Erin!

This past Sunday, I redeemed my Groupon to the Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica and took a quilted pillow class. I’ve been wanting to learn to quilt for some time now and after buying that 30 lb. bag of quilting squares the desire seemed a little more urgent–and exciting! The amazing Alissa of Handmade by Alissa taught the class. It was nice and small–there were only three of us taking the class–and the best part was that we all finished our pillows during the class! I have to say, it’s so satisfying to be able to take home a finished project, especially when it’s a craft that you’ve never tried before. Talk about confidence-boosting!
The pillow-top itself is constructed using the log cabin method but with less precise (read: fussy) piecing. We used what’s referred to as “improvisational piecing”, and you can take a look at this link to see what improv piecing is all about. This piecing technique definitely made for a speedier finish to the top. I think we spent around 2 hours of the 4 hour class piecing, but I’m sure when I do this again it will take even less time. Once we finished piecing our tops, we made fabric sandwiches for the top and back, did a little pin-basting, and started quilting. As a true beginner, I chose to do straight-line quilting, which is exactly what it sounds like. Alissa also demonstrated free motion quilting, which produces a much more organic, whimsical look. Another of my classmates tried that method, and it came out wonderfully. The pillow back wasn’t pieced like the top, and the pillow sleeve construction was a nice envelope. I love that we didn’t have to mess with zippers! Enjoy looking at the fruits of my labors! I had a great time making this piece, and I am anxious to make many more quilted projects in the future.

I’ve spent the last two months here in Los Angeles staying with my sister, my best friend, and house/petsitting. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to do some great craft hunting, and I thought I’d share some of my finds.
A few weeks ago, I was delighted to find out that the community where I’m housesitting, Village Green, was having a community-wide yard sale. We’re talking hundreds of condos here, so there was a ton of loot! After walking around browsing for an hour or so, I’d almost reached the last of the tables when I spied a giant bag of fabric. Holy schmoley was I excited!! To top it all off, she only charged about $3. I grabbed up that bag of 4×4 quilt squares along with two freezer bags full of vintage thread, a big jar of vintage buttons, and a bundle of vintage linens. My total: $8.50. You can’t beat that deal! Here are some of my favorite items:

This past Saturday, my sister and I went to the Renegade Craft Fair here in LA. We spent all day there, which was wonderful, except we both got some pretty heinous sunburns on our shoulders. Ouch! It was all worth it however. I’d like to share with you some of the beautiful handmade items I purchased.
I got a great vintage map necklace of Nicaragua from the Weekend Store

I purchased some lovely earrings (with a French twist) from Rag Trader

One of my favorite finds are these hamsa earrings from Saintes Maries jewelry

I am completely IN LOVE with Leighelena‘s jewelry. I especially love that they’re from Austin. I got two cuffs to supplement my already growing Leighelena collection (I have two of their pendants-a blue anchor and white dove).

Silver metallic cuff with enameled copper disc

Tan leather cuff with sterling silver fastening

The next day, Erin and I went to the Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax & Melrose. We spent several hours there and found some more cool crafty, vintage items. I’ll let Erin tell you what she got. Perhaps my favorite find was this needlework portrait. She’s a little dirty, but I think I’ll be able to clean her up.

Sassy, isn't she?

I also got a couple of great vintage pieces. The first is a sweet tablecloth:

I personally love this next find: a liquor salesman’s marketing handkerchief. In the 20s & 30s, according to the woman we bought this from, liquor salesman would hand out these handkerchiefs to bartenders as a way of promoting their product and passing on drink recipes. This particular handkerchief shows you how to make a “gin rickey.”

Is this fabulous or what?

I hope you enjoy looking at my exciting finds. Anybody have good suggestions for where to find great stuff like this in LA or Austin or anywhere else for that matter?

First of all, we’d like to introduce ourselves. Artes domésticas Miztontli is a joint venture by sisters Regan Boxwell and Erin Vaden.

Circa 1984

Here we are just this summer

The store name, Artes Domésticas Miztontli, reflects a fusion of both our academic and crafty interests. Regan is a PhD student in Hispanic Literature, and Erin is a PhD student in Art History (Pre-Colombian/Aztec focus). “Artes domésticas” is Spanish for “domestic arts” and corresponds to our love for Spanish language and a variety of arts and crafts. “Miztontli” is the Nahuatl (sometimes called Aztecan) word for “cat,” and this term demonstrates both an interest in Aztec culture and our life-long love of furry felines.

This is Tezcatlipoca, Aztec deity, depicted as a jaguar--his animal counterpart

As a team, we work in any variety of crafts, including (but not limited to): embroidery, appliqué, sewing, knitting, and crocheting.

We’ve recently opened an Etsy shop. You can find us at artesdomesticas.etsy.com

With this blog, we’re hoping to showcase our talents and interests, and to share our expertise with others. Hope you enjoy!
Regan & Erin

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