Monday, September 14, 2009

The Premiere Podcast!

CLICK HERE to listen to Podcast 001. Right click on the link and save it to your hard drive.
Total length of this podcast: 39 minutes 

You can download the MP3 audio file (which can be played in iTunes or other multimedia players) and skip to whatever segment interests you -- check the minute marker for each segment.

This blog is an accompaniment to my podcast, Mirkwood Designs - Adventures in Creativity! You'll find show notes, information, and links to the projects discussed in the podcast. Initially, I hope to record a podcast twice monthly, the 15th and last day of each month. I may update the blog more frequently. And of course, like real life, this is subject to change!

The music used in both the introduction and closing is Simple Gifts, a traditional Shaker song composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett; it is performed by me on Appalachian dulcimer and guitar. The bumper music (between each segment) is Shall I 'Sue, composed by 17th-century composer and lutenist John Dowland. Again, that's me on the guitar.

In the Introduction of each podcast I'll chat a bit about my life, current projects, books, etc. --  whatever strikes my fancy. In my premier podcast I talk about who I am, my family, and my view of creativity.

THE FIBER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 7:06 ]
Each podcast I'll present a Fiber Arts segment. Today's topic is redwork.

Here are some good links about the needle art of redwork:

Common redwork stitching techniques (reverse if you're left-handed!):

Below is the first in a series of original free redwork patterns -- "Alice and the Pig Baby" from the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

CLICK HERE to go to The Projects page where you'll find the free downloadable redwork file
(Note:  You'll need the free application Adobe Reader to open the PDF file -- a link is on The Projects page.)

My sister Karen drafted a series of redwork patterns based on the charming Hummel figurines. She used green floss rather than the traditional red, and my sister Pat sewed Karen's "greenwork" squares into a queen-sized quilt. Please note that because of copyright restrictions, these Hummel patterns are NOT available. Karen made them as a tribute to our late mother, who loved the Hummel children and cross stitched innumerable Hummel wall hangings for her children and grandchildren. Following are two of Karen's Hummel "greenwork" pieces:

You can easily make your own redwork patterns by tracing pictures from coloring books, drawings, or even favorite photographs. Following is a photo (not a very good one) of my son's kitten Titus Andronicus, the sketch I made from the photo, and the resulting needlework. I used black floss and the stem stitch for this project. It took only a couple of hours from drafting the pattern to taking the final stitch, and I think it turned out well!

THE PAPER ARTS SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 14:25 ]
Each podcast I'll present a Paper Arts segment. Today's topic is making a basic envelope.

Basic Paper Crafting Supplies
Following are the most basic supplies you need if you do paper crafting:
  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • Pencil (I prefer mechanical pencils)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Folding tool (I prefer a bone folder, but even a butter knife will work.)
  • Scissors (Don't use your sewing scissors!)
  • Permanent marker (This is not really essential, but really handy.)
  • Paper glue (There are many brands available.)
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler (Do not use a ruler designed for quilters. I prefer a metal cork-backed ruler because it won't slip on your paper or work surface.)
Here is a photo of my most basic paper crafting supplies.
Here are a couple of envelopes I made using my simple template. You can easily make an envelope of any size following the instruction on the project file. Making envelopes is a great way to get children involved with paper crafting -- they make something really fun and functional!

CLICK HERE to go to the Projects Page where you'll find the free downloadable envelope template.
(Note: You'll need the free application Adobe Reader to open the PDF file -- a link is on The Projects page.)

If you're a fan of my Mirkwood Designs Templates (which have been available freely on the Web beginning in 1997), CLICK HERE to download more of them.

THE RECIPE SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 23:57 ]
Each podcast I'll present an original recipe. After all, we can't create on an empty stomach! Today's recipe is Hot Chocolate Surprise!

Here is a photo of the supplies and ingredients I used to make the hot chocolate.
And here is a picture of the finished product. I had to take a photo quickly before I drank it!

CLICK HERE to go to the Recipes Page where you'll find the free downloadable recipe.
(Note: You'll need the free application Adobe Reader to open the PDF file -- a link is on The Projects page.)

THE GRAB BAG SEGMENT [Podcast minute marker: 33:25]
Each podcast I'll present a segment called The Grab Bag that contains stuff that won't fit anywhere else. It could be a story, a poem, or even a song. This time it's a quote about creativity by 20th century American psychologist Abraham Maslow:
The key question isn't, "What fosters creativity?" But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not, “Why do people create?” But, “Why do people not create or innovate?” We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.

Thanks for listening, and until next time, remember:
Creativity isn't a race...
it's an adventure!


  1. I subscribe to several podcasts (mostly quilting) and found yours to be very entertaining and informative. Lots of info from needlework to papercrafting and more. Also, the info and extras posted on your blog are a great addition to the podcast. I also enjoyed the music at the beginning and ending, plus between segments, something you don't hear on all podcasts. I really look forward to future episodes.

    Pat in IL

  2. Thanks so much for podcasting! I really liked your first episode. It was well planned and executed. Your delivery was great and the content was interesting. Boy, don't I sound like Miss Critic! Anyway, I liked it a lot. You've given me the idea to draw my beloved little terrier for an embroidery project...after I finish a bunch of other projects. Keep up the good work!

  3. Congratulations, Ruthann. I just finished listening to your first podcast. I am so impressed. I really enjoyed it. Your organized way of presenting your material (and your voice) makes it so comfortable to listen to.

    I've been listening to quilting/crafting podcasts, since Annie Smith started, through iTunes. I have not stayed subscribed to some of them, but yours is definitely a keeper! I'm looking forward to your next one. BTW, I found out about you through Brye Lynn's podcast.

    I recognized your music as the same one that Jennifer Chiaverini used to use on her podcast. It's nice to hear it again!

    One more thing. Help! I can't find that link you mentioned where you list the names and links of the podcasts you talked about at the end your podcast.

  4. Oops, I just realized that you meant that list that is on the sidebar of this blog! Sorry.