Japanese Sashiko Mending

I am learning this method of mending because I am tired of throwing out all my favorite flannel and denim work shirts. Oddly I wear out the elbows just when a shirt is becoming a favorite. In the 70s I did embroider on jean jackets. I find this easier on the fingers and more fun.


Sashiko is a hand-sewing technique that originated in ancient Japan. In Japanese, its name means “little stabs”—a reference to the plain running stitch. This type of mending or embroidery goes from the basic running stitch to more decorative stitches.

I ordered these two books from Amazon. Actually I ordered more books but settled on these two. Mending Matters talks about the Slow Fashion Movement and the opportunity to repair and reuse our favorite garments. Neither of these books are specifically Sashiko mending books but I am learning what I need to get started.

The Geometry of Hand-Sewing is another nice book. It has beautiful stitch illustrations and a vast array of stitches to ponder. What really sold me on this book are the two templates in the back with little holes to use as a pattern. I am sold on anything with a template.

You may not need any books. But I love books and love to read about whatever new thing I am going to do.

I bought the Sashiko needles and thread. I would say both are a must. The needles are nice and sharp and nice and long. The idea behind this mending is to be able to have 6 stitches on your needle before you pull the needles through. It is not happening for me because I am using a cotton, linen, canvas fabric for the patch. The thread is nice and strong and a tightly twisted heavy-weight cotton thread. You can use embroidery thread but I would not. Embroidery thread is multi strand and a soft thread. Since I want my mending to last I am using the right thread. I ordered both of these from Amazon also.

sashiko mending

I also got a fine point disappearing ink pen to draw my lines. I found that overnight some of the lines disappeared. Not sure if it is the pen or my choice of fabric. I was hesitant to draw harder and will try that next time. I am in a trial and error mode.

I started by cutting away the frayed fabric. I then cut a piece of fabric and put it behind the hole and stitched it in place.


I then drew some lines with the pen and did kind of an alternate running a stitch. You can really do what you want.


And here is the finished patch. Lots of things I like about this. I like the white thread on the soft blue and the addition of some vertical crosses. I do like it that my stitching is a bit irregular. As many of you may know I design fabric through Spoonflower. The best part is that I have a drawer full of swatches of my designs.

Next project will be a favorite gray and cream buffalo check shirt. And I get to use a black bear piece of my fabric.

If this inspires you or if you do this leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you make.

Mid Century Modern, a pictorial

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If you have never been to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the building is art in its self. My photo would have been better if there was not a ladder in the middle, but they were setting for a wedding. What a spectacular venue that would be.


We managed to catch the end of the “Design in Midcentury America” exhibit. It was a birthday overnighter for me. We stayed at The Plaza, a vintage hotel. I picked it because it was near both the art museum and the 3rd Ward. Unfortunately it did not have an elevator and had steep, old, terrasso steps. It has suites with kitchens and a great breakfast.


I truly enjoy Midcentury Modern, pretty much everything. Our condo has small scale rooms and this furniture really works here. I have some vintage chairs that I love.


These shapes and those colors….


I’ve always loved the El Producto cigar ads.

This is just a tiny selection of more than 200 whimsical graphics, surface design, furniture, toys etc. If you ever get a chance to see it you should.

Many ways to say I love you!

I know. Who wants to think Valentine’s Day when, like me, all the Christmas decorations are not put away. But it is just around the corner. These heart fonts are a great shortcut to a professional quickie invitation, kid’s valentines, lunch box notes, flyers etc. Endless choices.


Keep it simple in the new year. Here are 4 different heart fonts. $9 each for a limited time. Soooooo many uses for all those last minute things. The top 2 are my designs and the bottom 2 are Justine Childs.

You can see them here http://www.outside-the-line.com/fonts If you want to use these fonts to print things you want to sell contact Rae (using the Ask Rae link above) she would be delighted to chat with you.

Art Therapy #20

Hey we are back! This is where Rae and Nancy send each other postcards. We were weekly, but we are a bit, ok a lot more random right now. Nancy, of the traveling shoes, has landed and I was delighted to get a card from her. Hopefully we will get back to weekly postcards. So satisfying to get art and the written word in the mail.


An excerpt from the book that Nancy is writing.


These 2 images are from Nancy’s Naked People 2019 calendar. These 2 are among my favorites.


I have Christmas in my head. Christmas or Winter fabric. Also I need to do a series of NOLA (New Orleans) fabric because it is in my head begging to get out.

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This is a current entry in Minted’s sympathy card challenge. I like it because it is not the usual flowery sympathy card. Maybe it is too different.

I feel a need to change my style… or really expand my style. Over the Winter I am going to spend time with watercolors, colored pencils and Procreate on my seriously underused iPad. Plan to put a movie or music on and draw. I am also taking Jenna Kutcher’s Instagram Class with is packed with good info.

As Winter progress I hope you are all snuggled in. Christmas is almost here.

Christmas is coming....

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Yes, Christmas is coming, always faster than we want. I love it when I get a photo card in the mail. Here is a card that I designed for this very, new site called Pippa. This is a site that I am keeping my eye on. Good design for a very reasonable price. And this card is now 50% off. You can visit here.

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Another item hot off the press is Nancy Vala’s calendar for 2019. Interesting and tasteful naked people. You can check it out here. She has some nice Christmas cards too.

21 days until the BIG day…

6 ways to make December easier...


Thanksgiving is gone. Time to dive into Christmas. I just put together the neighborhood Songs of the Season event flyer. I used the Yuletide Doodles and the Christmas Doodles font to add some easy artwork. Use some fun fonts and Bob’s your Uncle.

We need all the shortcuts we can get anytime, but especially during the holidays.


And here is a big time saver for you. For a limited time these 6 fonts are only $9 each. Priced for your holiday budget. You can see them here http://www.outside-the-line.com/fonts If you want to use these fonts to print things you want to sell contact Rae (using the Ask Rae link above) she would be delighted to chat with you. Only 29 shopping days to Christmas.

Door County, a pictorial


For those of you who do not know Door County, WI is the upper peninsula of Wisconsin. It is surrounded by Lake Michigan. I don’t know why we do not go more often. It was just 3.5 hrs. from Madison to Fish Creek. We have had flooding and water in our basement since the end of August and decided we needed to escape. The trees were a bit past prime for leaf viewing but still beautiful. It was crisp, cool and sunny with the smell of Fall in the air.


Door County is all about the cherries. Door County Cherry Stuffed French Toast is America’s favorite according to Good Morning America. Find it at the White Gull Inn. This was actually 2+ breakfasts for me. The best pie is at Sweetie Pie’s. We could see Sweetie Pie’s from our room. Very close, very good and very bad.

The Hardy Gallery

We have tried to get to the Hardy Gallery more than once and never can get there when they are open. Anyone can add to the graffiti on the building. Fun.


Endless galleries… endless art. More than you can possibly see.


This is the first time either of us had been in a lighthouse. It is on Cana Island. We had to ride in a cart pulled by a small tractor to get there. John climbed the 96 stairs to the top.

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Sister Golden in Fish Creek is one of my favorites. I usually get jewelry there. And I like their logo.

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Another favorite is the Blacksmith Clothing Co. in Egg Harbor. I picked up a couple things for Fall.

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We visited the Cookery Wine Bar one afternoon to hear the No Name Ykulele Band play. I gave John a ykulele several years ago. Fun afternoon thing to do.


This photo kind of says it all. This tree is in Ellison Bay Bluff County Park.

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And this curvy road on your way to Gills Rock.


And all the amazing sunsets. If you are looking for an easy, relaxing trip, try Door County.

brownies, ribs and decorating...

Barbeque Ribs dish towel by Rae Kaiser https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/7884844-exceptional-barbecue-ribs-dish-towel-by-outside_the_line
Brownie dish towel by Rae Kaiser https://www.spoonflower.com/designs/7846256-really-good-brownies-dish-towel-by-outside_the_line

Thought I might start a weekly 'behind the scenes' post. So here goes..

Just got the proofs back on these towels! Two dish towels in a series of how many? Not sure yet. I did these as a birthday present for my friend Erica. It helps me to think of someone when I create something new. I do like these a lot. Both of the recipes are tried and true and are family favorites.

These would make adorable themed shower, house warming or birthday gifts. And it is never too early to start on your Christmas list. You could include the grill dish towel with grill tools for the hard to buy for grillmaster. The brownie towel could be part of a basket of nice sugars, baking chocolate, vanilla, measuring cups and spoons. You can find these towels on Spoonflower. Remember, Spoonflower is a print on demand fabric site. So you are buying the printed towels and will still need to hem them.

fondue party at www.outside-the-line.com

After a recent fondue party and seeing this photo I was horrified at all that orange. I use color when designing but I think living with it exhausts me. And I don't even like orange.


A start and already a big improvement. NO. MORE. ORANGE. Plus that black wall use to be green.


It is time for the blue to go too. I have loved these Eames chairs. I bought them 9 years ago at Atomic and they are like new. I plan to use 4 black, mismatched mid-century chairs. I already have 2. It anyone is interested I will probably tackle selling them next week. Craigslist or Facebook Market. First come, first serve if you are in the Madison area and want first dibs.

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And if you sign up for my newsletter that comes out monthly ish you can pick a free font. How good is that? You must be on a computer to do this. See upper right on this page.