Friday, December 31, 2010

Making a Custom Wedding Gift for the Bride & Groom

Our friends, Jenna and Ryan, are getting married tomorrow on 01/01/11.  They picked a special date to get married, so I thought I'd make a special customized wedding gift for them!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Meet Mona Rae Cich- Crafter and Designer

Mona Rae Cich

Mona Rae Cich is a very intriguing women, a designer, crafter and artist of handmade quilts and handmade collectible dolls.  For 35 years she lived in Duluth, Minnesota with her husband Ken and children. Mona Rae was a daycare provider, and received a distinguished award on April 3, 1989 as “Daycare Provider of The Year” in the State of Minnesota.  Mona Rae said; “Senator Rudy Boschwitz flew to Duluth and all of the TV stations were there when he presented it to me. “ With the words he spoke, I wanted to cry. I told the press that I was receiving this award with great honor, but it was for all of the great daycare   providers who are protecting and teaching the children who are our future. “I really do not believe that one person should be  awarded, there are so many that could have received that award every year.”
From  there, came a 6 part series on the local TV station in Duluth. She recalls , “They followed me around for 5 days, it was a bit stressful,  as I had 10 children I was taking care of”. It was inspirational for her in helping other daycare providers get their business off the ground and promote “Professionalism in their business”.  In addition to these accomplishments, she was an advocate for the safety of all children called the “Rules for Home Day Care” and spoke in front of State Legislature on behalf of all daycare providers, as the “Rules” needed to be updated.
 Back in 1981, Mona Rae awoke from a dream that changed her entire career path.  Her Great Grandmother was standing at the foot of her bed wearing a “Babushka” (scarf) on her head and said; “Mona Rae pick up a needle and thread and you will find your hidden talent, you have not yet discovered.” Her Great Grandmother died when Mona Rae was eight years old, and she was a quilter. Mona Rae remembers as a child sitting on her lap for hugs while her Great Grandmother worked from her large floor quilting frame.  She said; “The dreams kept coming  back”.  I purchased a Lee Wards magazine and found a cross stitch quilt kit as I felt she was guiding me.”  In 1982, Mona Rae purchased a tax ID license and followed her dreams, and established her business called “Hidden Talents.”  
Oh, but  her story does not end there.  Mona Rae had her quilts for sale at a gallery in Minneapolis, an inconspicuous woman made contact with her and wanted to purchase  one of her quilts for a “Local” movie being made in Minnesota.  They met, and she looked at all of Mona Rae’s creations, she said; ” I am sorry, but I don’t see what we need”.  Mona Rae had a” used” quilt that caught the designer’s eye. Mona Rae said;  “That one is not for sale and but they could borrow it for the movie”. The set designer                    immediately  turned to Mona Rae and said;  “ You have two women standing  next to you”. “One is a short woman that has her hand on the quilt and telling me that this is her quilt.” That is when Mona Rae broke down crying because she knew at that point her mother saw that her quilt was done.  The other woman was described as wearing a “Babushka” on her head.  It verified to Mona Rae that she had guidance by her angels. It was at the moment that Mona Rae said; “ I made that quilt in memory of my mother,  she was able to touch the center before her death, it was made with her favorite colors. I finished the border that contained a point for every month of her life”.
The movie turned out to be “Grumpy Old Men 2”, and the Mona Rae’s mothers memory quilt was featured in a ”Nanno” second  during the church scene.  That quilt had the same colors of Ann Margaret’s dress in the movie and Mona Rae proudly displays her quilt under her sign in their booth.
In 2005, Mona Rae and Ken moved to Ramsey, Minnesota to be closer to their grandchildren.  She thanks her husband of 43 years   as “ Ken has let her follow her dreams”. The “Team” travel to 24 crafting events each year.  When asked “Where do you draw your inspiration from”?  Mona Rae replies, “I keep a journal of my customers, their stories and the support from my family”.
In addition to the handmade quilts, her collectable dolls are “Unique”.  All of her dolls are inspired from her dreams. She will see flashings of colors, a design, or object .  Mona Rae says; “There is a story behind every doll, and the story continues after someone buys it”.  When at home in her studio, she works 15-16 hour days, she surrounds herself  with 969 bolts of fabric. The colors are  comforting and bring excitement and passion to her work. She only uses “Top of the line” fabric called “Moda”.  Her dolls come to life as she creates them with her hand’s, she even admits talking to them. They have names like Chilly, Nicholi and Forest. In fact, Forest is in his 4th color design edition, and one of the most popular, she has created and sold a 1,000 of him.  Mona Rae’s biggest event is at Canterbury Park in Shakopee Minnesota, held in November and April of each year. They feature 500 artists and crafters from 30 states.
Here are some tips from Mona Rae on getting started:  Start by going out and doing a church craft show, and smaller shows. Climb the ladder, it teaches you how to find your price points, what sells, and what works. Surround yourself  with family and friends to help you along the way. Build a customer  base and you are building long lasting relationships.  Most important of all “ Don’t forget where you came from”. Facebook is a great social net working tool , create a website, start a blog, and continue to do shows. Mona Rae recently joined Etsy, and sold her first doll in a week.  For more on Mona Rae reach her at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Handmade Cotton Crotched Washcloths- Patty Sullivan

cotton washcloths
Patty Sullivan has been making crocheted blankets for many years. Recently, a friend showed her a crocheted washcloth. She said; "I have never heard of them before." Her friend replied; "Oh Patty, where have you been, they have been around for years." Of course I had to try it, so off the the craft store I went in search of "cotton" yarn. The colorful selections were outstanding. I had a sample to work from which made it easy. I thought, what a great Christmas gift idea, but I better make one and try it first. I would hate to give a gift that was a flop. Oh my gosh, I love them...they are absorbent, clean so well, and do not smell. Best of all, inexpensive, and can be used forever.  I use a "J" size crochet needle. Single crochet 25 stitches, add one to replace first stitch of the first row. Then a second row on single stitch. Third row through tenth row, use double crochet chain 3. Last 2 rows, single stitch to finish it off. I was able to make two dishcloths per skein. For my family members, guess what you are getting this year for Christmas. A special thanks to my friend for sharing this new, fun and easy idea. Please visit Patty's site @

26 single, use extra stitch to begin next row of single stitch
double stitch 10 rows

25 single, add one for your turn and do single stitch on second row