Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Care for some alphabet soup?

I have been loving these letters from Anthropologie for a while now. I was excited to see them in person a couple weeks ago during my trip to Minneapolis. However, I was slightly disappointed. (Only in the letters, otherwise, awesome store!)

In my head these were stuffed and soft and ready to play. In reality they are fabric covered mdf with a little quilt batting (not to mention they are $12 a pop). So, I think I will try to fashion my own version. I'm just trying to figure out what to fill them with. Should I do a couple layers of really thick quilt batting? Or the standard poly-fill? Or maybe rice so they have more of a bean bag feel? Just can't decide...what do you guys think?

I think I will start with just A, B, and C first, then maybe spell out Sydney's name (shoot, should have picked a shorter name for the kid!). Actually, I could just make a B and the kiddo would be happy. Its the only letter she can say, so everything is a B. At least then she would be right!!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Latest Project

Here is my latest project. Sorry my pictures are dark and kind of wonky looking. Not sure what happened!
This small tote bag is in really deep rich colors. The exterior is two toned, while the interior is lined in a very heavy dark green canvas which gives it lots of shape and support. I think this might just be put in my etsy shop someday. We'll see. I've got a lot of work to do before I get to that point. Lots of WIPs that I hope to show you soon!! Take care until then!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fabric Brainstorm

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! Our plans were canceled because of stormy weather, so we've had a very relaxing weekend. As is typical of my free time, I have been completely uninspired on new things to make.

I was however very excited to receive this in the mail...

It is part of Mary Ann's Fabric Challenge. I sent her a yard of this black and grey houndstooth. I've had it for years and love it, but could never think of anything to do with it. So, I shipped it off to Mary Ann and a very short time later received an amazing scarf. The picture does not do it justice. It is lined with a gorgeous dark red fabric with some very neat trim details. Also included were some really cool notecards. I never would have thought of just sewing some peices to paper, but it looks really neat. AND, some really cute fish kitty toys.

In return she has sent me this fabric...

So, I have been brainstorming trying to decide what to make out of it. I've got a couple ideas rolling around in my head, but nothing definite just yet. Any ideas out there? I'll keep working on it. I'm thinking something in "high fashion lumberjack" which of course is very chic around here!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Winning Bag

I finished the bag from my giveaway last week. It will be heading off for Ms. Queen today! Vallen - if you want to be surprised, don't read this post!

She asked for a navy and beige combo, but she got more of a navy and cream combo. The stash can only do so much I guess. The bag is reversible. One side is made of a blue woven fabric...would you call that tweed? Not sure. The vintage scarf was begging to join in.

The other side is a vintage floral pattern. I made the closure from a pin made out of vintage jewelry. The red loop goes around the pin to close. Then obviously the pin moves to the other side if you reverse the bag.

I had a lot of fun making this bag. Especially since I knew it was going to Vallen! It was a challenge to make the bag reversible - the inside has to look as good as the outside. No place to hide mistakes or imperfections. But I think it turned out good. I hope she likes it!

Before I forget - I wanted to thank you all for your kind comments on my craft room. It is one of my favorite places on earth, and I am glad I got to give you a peek into it. If you are ever in the neighborhood, come on over and play okay! Of course of all the days to post those pictures, I pick the day Heather Bailey shows off her studio! WOW - did you guys see that? Gorgeous, but how could you paint and glue and make a big mess in such a beautiful room? I think mine will do just fine!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Its Clean, I Think

So here are some more corners of my craft room. I never realized how visually noisy it is in here until I took these pictures! So, while it may look very cluttered and messy, it is actually clean! Do you see the floor? Yes! Do you see counter and table tops? Yes! Then its clean.

Here is my little sewing corner...

Which expands to the left to my husbands crafty area. Yes ladies...we share a craft room. The biggest compromise of my marriage. I insisted he organize and label his stuff, which he did. But it obviously doesn't look very tidy. Oh well, he does stay in this one little corner, so I guess I better not complain.

To the right of my sewing area is my new cutting table, which I am loving! If you could turn around you would see me computer desk and a closet. These areas were not ready for public viewing at time of publication. He,he, he! All that stuff had to go somewhere right!! Anyway, time to get it messy again!
One last thing to share...I received these in the mail yesterday! They are from Amy Elise Designs...have you guys seen her stuff? Too cute! These were a bargain grab bag from her Etsy shop. A great deal I just couldn't pass up. I love all her work and could never decide which designs I liked the best, so a miscellaneous grab bag was perfect. Amy is also part of our Christmas In Progess gang. Thanks so much Amy, I love them!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I'm finally back! Had a fabulous weekend with girlfriends in Minneapolis. Spent too much, ate too much, laughed too much - a great trip all around! I've spent the last day and a half trying to make room for some new stuff and organize some old stuff, starting with my craft room. Seems like I spend more time cleaning this room than crafting in it! Yesterday I cleaned out the closet, then started on the rest to make room for my new chair. Since we swapped out the bed for the table, we needed to new spot for relaxing. I love my chair! I got the matching footrest too, but no room for that just yet! More cleaning first :) So, you might see some more dust flying around here before you see more crafting! Be back soon...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And the Winner Is...

First thing this morning Sydney and I put the names of all my faithful blog readers into a bowl (or rather a vintage glass pitcher from my Grandma V.) for the drawing.

And the winnder is...

Vallen! My dear friend the Queen was under the weather yesterday. Hope this makes her feel better! She requested navy and beige. My mind is already going through the stash. I know I have some cool stuff in there that will be perfect!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. We'll do this again soon, so better luck next time!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hope your hearts are warm and your stomachs full of chocolate today! That is the whole point right, chocolate! No big plans for me and my Valentines today. Its pretty insane to try and go out today so I think we will stay in and have a special meal at home instead. I'm thinking shrimp scampi with some sort of pasta side dish and of course chocolate something or other for dessert.

Its kind of fun with a little one around to look back at pictures from last year. Here is Sydney giving her Daddy a big smooch. Check out the death grip of love!! I sent this picture out last year as part of our V-day cards.

And here is my current trim girl. She loves it when I go to the trim store and bring home more pretties to wear around the house. How can I resist?

Now a little WIP...sorry, not much getting completed around here. My sister requested a new bag for our trip to Minneapolis this weekend. (I'm sure by now you wish I would just go and get it over with so you don't have to keep hearing about it! Soon, soon). She is rather particular, or specific (PICKY) when it comes to these types of things. She knows what she wants, which is good, but getting there can be difficult. And, since she is a much far superior sewer than me, can you imagine that this can be a bit annoying? Hehehe, just kidding, I love ya Beck. Even though you probably aren't reading this...I hope it makes your ears ring or something. ANYWAY...she wanted a bag with lots of pockets and compartments for the oodles of crap she lugs around, but of course the bag could not be mishapen on the outside. So I dug out some heavy red canvas, and my thickest interfacing - no iron on stuff here, this stuff is thick! I rather dislike making pockets. They seem time consuming and fussy and I really don't think people use them that much. I had seen this idea a few weeks back and decided to try a variation for the bag. I took some old jeans I had gotten from my neice (probably girls size 6? Obviously you need a pretty small size for this. LOL ...the butt of my jeans alone could full up several purses!!!). I cut them apart and sewed them to the lining and ta-da! Tons of pockets for all sorts of stuff. Plus it really adds to stability of the bag. Hopefully I will find some time to get some handles on it.

So, you've made it all the way down here? You have endured kid pictures, half done craft projects, and all sorts of miscellaneous rambling? Well then, I think you deserve a prize! Leave me a comment with the color or color combo you are currently crazy about and tomorrow I'll draw names. The winner will receive my next purse creation, yet to be discovered! Thanks for reading my little ol' blog. I love you guys!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Just Tryin' to Keep Warm

Hey there! Hope you had a great weekend. It's been a little chilly around here to say the least, so I decided to try out a project to keep out the cold. My husband has one of these that he raves about during hunting season.

It is an Avery Neck Gaiter. Here is how its used.

It fits over your head then tightens with a bungee cord to keep the wind out. Obviously this isn't the cutest look going. More of a "my car stalled on the highway and I am trying to change my tire without my ears falling off" look. I've been thinking about "borrowing" the idea and making my own non-camo version. So I tried it out this weekend using a felted wool sweater with fleece lining. Here is my result. It's missing the bungee cord, but you get the idea.
It was really easy to do and probably took me about 2 hours. Will be much quicker next time I'm sure. I think I will be adjusting my Christmas in Progress list and might whip up a couple more of these for my February goal. The neck warmer pictured will have to be for a guy. It turned out pretty big and practically covers my whole head. The woman's version will be a bit shorter. I think I might try to knit something similar as well and make it a little more attractive.
If you also live in a frozen tundra and would like to try and preserve whatever frozen bits you have left on your face, I would be happy to share some more detailed instructions on these, just let me know. Or better yet, just wing it and make up your own variation and let me know how it goes!!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Soldering the Night Away...

Last evening I completed my second piece of soldered jewelry (my brooch partner Beth received my first ever. Obviously an apology needs to go out to Beth for being forced into the role of a soldered jewelry guinea pig! She may have gotten the short end of the swap stick). As I have mentioned before, this has taken me a lot of practice, and I still have a long way to go. But I am really enjoying it. I have been creating the tiniest of collage art on the inside, then sandwiching it between tiny panes of glass (my microscope slides cut in half!). I hook the two together with copper tape and solder it up! By the way, "solder it up" has become a favorite new phrase in our house. As in, "Hey, check this picture out, I think I could solder me up one of those".
Anyway, here's what I came up with.
I hung the pendant on a very simple hemp cord. It is about 14" in length. I really like the door on the back, reminds me to keep the door to my heart open to those I love.
I thought I had completed this the night before last. The previous version had an excerpt from the 1968 ver. of the Websters dictionary on it....Create: to cause to come into existence, make , originate. But I broke the glass on the back while soldering it and had to start over. I think stuff like this happens for a reason (but it still makes me really mad!). So the door was opened, and a new back created.
In closing, I just want to say a very special thank you to all of you that have passed on such wonderful comments about my purses. It really means a lot to me that you take the time to comment, and that you like what I make!! It definitely motivates me to make more, and maybe someday, just maybe, start my own Etsy shop. Still not sure on that one yet, but I'm thinking about it!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Little Bit of Everything...

A little blogger love to start with...

Vallen and I agreed to both try to cross stitch. I have in mind some sort of red work picture for my daughter's room. Vallen sent me a pattern, of course along with some other lovely items!! Don't you love the necklaces she makes out of leftover wool pieces. So clever! Hopefully I will be able to get it back from the kiddo so I can put it to good use. Thank you my dear!!

I also received my brooch from my Swap Partner Beth (who just opened an Etsy Shop - Congrats Beth!). She sent me the coolest crocheted brooch. It is beautifully crafted and has so many layers! I swear it weighs 2 lbs! She included some adorable hair pins and some sweet Valentine treats. Thanks Beth - I Love it! I think I will have to make a special purse to put it on.
Next, a little WIP...
Does this remind you of anything from yesterday's post? Are you getting sick of Anthropologie knock offs? He, he!! Hope not :)
The purse is made from a cotton canvas fabric with some very fine trim sewn on. I got that huge spool of trim at the thrift store for a couple bucks. The interior lining is going to be out of the very loud floral print. It is a shiny satin fabric, but I added an iron-on interface to it to stiffen up the bag and to make sure the lining doesn't show through. So the inside won't be too slinky. I haven't decided on the handles yet. I have grommets on the brain, but I don't want it to make the bag too casual. Any suggestions? I am getting excited about this one...I think it might just be my favorite yet! Hey Becki - I'll definitely be bringing this on my trip to Mnpls. Keep an eye out for me okay!! :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Purse Inspiration

As promised, here is a little Spring motivation for you! Actually this may be more fit for Summer, but you get the idea...something warmer than the present state of frozen we seem to be in.

Anthropologie is a great source of inspiration for me. Teresa posted about this bag a few days ago, which is adorable!

And I am in love with all of these...

But this made me feel like the hot summer sun was shining in my window, so I decided to try this one first...

Here's my creation. What do ya think?

It's a large tote bag (or Beach Bucket as Anthro. refers to it!) made of some sort of burlap I found in my stash with cotton interior panel and lined in a heavy cotton canvas. And of course, tons of hardware! Grommets, rectangle buckles, adjustable buckle, and a couple of that stuff! The handle is extra long with an adjustable strap so it can be worn over the shoulder or across. [On a side note, I only needed a little help from my husband on the adjustable handle this time! I did have to get a bra out of the laundry to figure it out though :)]

Think Spring!

Valentine's In Progress

There is so much amazing Valentine inspiration out there ... too much maybe! I can't make up my mind on anything. When I do get a decent idea, I have to remind myself that I already have a ton of paper, etc. and don't need to buy more stuff to make these! So, instead, I sacrificed some invitations to a nonexistent party (yes, Amanda, they are from Gopher!) and made these. I am not the talented card maker that many of you are, but they get the point across!

You may have heard Amanda and I joke back and forth about "Gopher". It is a very strange store in MN that has supplied my paper habit for several years now. I am planning a trip there in conjunction with a trip to Minneapolis in a couple weeks. I think Gopher will get a post all its own after that!

I have also made a couple of these sour cream container valentines. Have you seen these? So easy and very cute I think!

And of course, my favorite valentine of all! Here's hoping Cupids arrows are pointing your way!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Mini Craft Room Makeover

Hello All! Hope you had a productive weekend! We played a little furniture musical chairs around here this weekend. The end result was that this...

Became this...

Not as cozy looking of course, but much more functional. Please excuse the garbage bags under the blocks. We seriously dug them out of the snow to use them so I didn't want to ruin the carpet. To the left of this picture is a long desk-height counter, which is great but seems to fill up fast! I finally decided enough was enough when I spent 4 days painting on the floor and soldering on the counter, while I tried to sew and cut fabric in the middle of all the mess. It just wasn't working. We had planned on getting a large sewing table from JoAnn's, but decided this table from the family room was a better way to go. It's much more fun first of all! Plus it was pretty much a junk collector in the other room, and it saved us a little $! I hope to find a comfy chair to add to the room, maybe during a future Ikea trip, or some lovely thrift store find I can recover. We'll see what happens. Some day I hope to clean the rest of the room so I can show it to you, but that hasn't happened yet!
I've got a ton of springy inspiration to show you this week! See you soon!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Tried Something New Today!

I made my own lip balm! I've been searching through the gagillion recipes out there, but then decided to just make it up (Of course! This is how I make everything!). So I've been assembling the ingredients: beeswax, almond oil, vitamin E & some essential oils. I decided my first batch would be a combination of orange oil and peppermint. I must say it turned out pretty good! The smell when you open it is great, but its not too much. I think I might use a little bit more essential oils next time so the scent lingers just a bit after you put it on. I used my new watchmaker tins from Lee Valley that I got yesterday. These are reason enough to try this out! They are just too cute.

So, for all you naysayers out this going to save me hundreds of dollars every year on lip balm? Probably not, but I was able to get all my supplies with gift cards I had received for Christmas. (Most of the items are from our GNC store in the mall...probably overpriced compared to other resources, but I had a gift card for the mall that I would have never used otherwise.) And the quality you ask? It goes on very smooth, and lasts longer than most, plus smells great! And, I am in control of all the ingredients, so when my daughter eats it, which will inevitably happen despite my best efforts, I know it won't kill her!

Hope you all have some fabulous plans for the weekend. I hope to rearrange things in my craft room to try and get a little more usable space. Made a quick trip to the library last night, so I hope to fit these things into the schedule as well!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Instant Gratification Day

Like most of you, I sometimes just need a quick project. Something I can do in an hour and call it done. So here is my I.G. for Thursday.

A very cute little girl will be receiving this very soon. It would have taken less than an hour, but I forgot to zigzag the edge of the applique before I sewed the whole bag together so I had to take it apart. I HATE taking things apart. I would rather start from scratch than try to find my seam ripper. Anyway, I think I still came in right under an hour.

More happiness for the day...the Fedex man came to our house this morning!! Woohoo!!
So, obviously I have a disaster to clean up, but lots of new stuff to play with!