Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm sure I'm the last to know....

but I just have to share this stuff with you. Has everyone else already made fabric covered tacks? I found a tutorial here (which by the way is a great site). So quick, easy and cute! But, very addicting! I love how different fabric seems to look when you focus on a small area like this.

Then, I found this in the clearance isle at Wal-mart. I didn't even know this was available! I've been using rice to fill fabric balls, toys, etc. but always wished I had something washable. Here it is! A little pricey, the bag was clearanced at 2.50, but I think it will last a long time ( the bag is about 1/4 the size of a normal poly-fill bag).

And finally, I am currently in the middle of making this. Angry Chicken thought she was the last one to try it, but no, I'll take over the rear.
Update! The bread is done and its delicious! This was my very first attempt at making bread by myself and it turned out pretty good. Next time I will decrease the salt in the recipe a little bit and maybe experiment with a little whole wheat flour. The bread reminds me a lot of sourdough bread - very crusty on the outside and really chewy on the inside. It takes a little planning to get this recipe done (very little actual hands-on time though) but its all worth it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Too cute for a title

My friend Rachel came over last night for a little crafty fun. See what we made!!

I can't take credit for any of it really. She picked out the fabric, the design and the handles, I just helped with a little sewing and ironing. This was the first time either of us had tried the plastic handles. They were a little bit trickier than I had anticipated, but they turned out really good. I always save the handles for last because I don't really enjoy making them, so this is probably a good alternative for me.

Thanks Rach for a fun night!

Have you all signed up for Vallen's swap? She is doing an ATC swap but with a twist - it must be wall mountable in some way. I already have a ton of ideas for wall mounting, no clue about the ATC!! Oh well, should be really fun. You should all sign up, okay!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Thrifted Transformations

I bought this frame at a thrift store a while back for a quarter! Not real attractive, but I knew it had potential. I really like thrifting old picture frames. Their cheap of course, but a lot of times you can get really nice frames that are actually made of wood, unlike a lot of the frames you buy these days. A quick spray paint and they are as good as new (or better!).

As soon as my postcards arrived from The Black Apple I knew I would definitely be framing one of them. So, I dug out this frame and some high gloss oil paint. I debated spray paint, but its too cold outside. And I was looking for a nicer finish than acrylic would give me, and I knew latex would take a ton of coats, so oil it was. We had this on hand from some past unknown project. After a good coat of black I let it dry and added some silver acrylic. I know, I know you shouldn't put acrylic over oil, but it worked just fine. Here is the finished product.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Saggy Middles Unite!

In honor of one of Amanda's latest purse creations, I decided to make this! She had a little problem with a saggy middle, as she put it. So, I figured I would just embrace the saggy middle and run with it! This bag is huge - the bottom measures 21" and the top is 13". It is about 11" tall. The long strap is adjustable (thanks Lee!).

Here is a closeup of my fabric, which has been in the stash for years just waiting for its moment in the sun.

And here it is in all its slouchy saggy goodness. This bag fits a ton of stuff! In this picture it has all of my normal purse contents and could hold much more. With the long shoulder strap that can fit across me, I'm thinking this would be the perfect flea market/garage sale shopping purse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sweet Dreams!

I whipped this up yesterday for a good friend of mine that is in need of a little extra pampering. I gave it to her today, so now I can finally post about it. One side is a very snuggly suede type fabric in chocolate brown. The other side is a fun satiny fabric. I am currently working on a tutorial for these to share with you all. I know I've said that before, but this time I mean it!! I screwed a lot of stuff up on this the first time around, so to prevent any further seem ripping, I thought I would document it. The jar next to the pillow is full of lavender. I sprinkled just a little bit in between the layers. Hopefully it brings sweet relaxing dreams!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Postal Love

I've been getting a ton of love from my postal worker lately!! Haven't you just been loving all the giveaways out here lately? MaryAnn is still going strong with hers, better check it out! I won some really cool metallic paper from her, and some awesome cards and gift tags from Amy. Thanks Ladies! Then I received a Christmas in Progress package from Teresa. Have you checked out her adorable birds? I didn't win her giveaway, but I got one anyway! Thanks Teresa - you're the best! I think Sydney and I are going to have to make some of these (I'll cut them out, she'll color...I don't think we are ready for glitter yet. But soon!). She loves to watch the birds out our patio door. They are really starting to migrate back up here already...don't they know its still cold! When we go for walks outside she stops as soon as she hears birds and starts "beeping" back at them. Normal birds tweet, Sydney beeps! Pretty cute stuff.
Sorry, I got distracted for a second there... I also received my order from The Black Apple. I gave in last week and ordered Cold Toes Warm Heart in the postcard pack. I love that picture and figured the postcards were the most economical choice.
Hopefully will get some actual crafting done today. See you soon!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Did a little thriftin...

My mom and aunt were in town this weekend. We did a little thrift store shopping, hit a few quilt stores and fabric stores and had a great time. Thanks ladies! Come back and do it again soon, okay! Here are my thrift store finds. Some pretty funky vintage ties that I'm not sure what I will do with yet. The red tie is Oleg Cassini.
There is about 2 yards of this fabric...

And this old scarf (same problem as old them, just can't figure out what to do with them!). The scarf is Oscar de la Renta. Who knew, high fashion for a buck!

Total cost: $9. Now, what to do with it all...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Circles & Stripes and Everything Nice

My latest tote bag. I love this one so much I made two so I can keep one and hopefully sell one! I got the circle patterned fabric on our trip to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago. I was crazy about it, but I tried to stay under control and only got 1/2 yard of it. Luckily its 60" wide fabric, so 1/2 yard goes a long way. The lining is some sort of satiny polyester that I got at my trim "variety store" (which, sob, no longer has my trim!! They shipped it to another store!! That's all I can say about it right now, I'm still in mourning.) I got 4 different patterns of stripes all in the same color scheme and about 1 yard of each one for $1. Can't beat that! I love finding fabric that is a little different than you might find in your local JoAnns (especially when its cheap!!) I've gotten some other fabric at that store that came from an old tie manufacturer. Its pretty cool stuff, just haven't found the right thing to do with it yet.
The stiff dark washed denim is my favorite old standby. Instead of actual interfacing I used some weird fleecey stuff I had in the stash. It gives the bag really good shape and makes the inside feel nice and cushy. I am really happy with how this one turned out. Don't you love it when that have an idea, make a plan, and it works! Its rare, so I'm going to enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

All Sorts of Pretties

I've been working on (and even finishing!) all sorts of pretty stuff.

Vintage Earrings turned magnets, soon to be found here.

Spring flower bag for my friend Stacy. Between the two of us, we had this whipped up in one short afternoon! Thanks Stacy - it was lots of fun. Hope you enjoy the bag!

Up next? I'm thinking something with these...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fabric Intervention

I had big plans for the weekend. I was ready to create. Friday afternoon I made a visit across the hall from my craft room to check out the fabric stash in my laundry room to find a little inspiration. What I found was a disaster area. Obviously it had been this way for a while, but I've been seeing so many great organized fabric stashes around here. You know the ones, folded beautifully and organized by color. I just couldn't stand it any longer. I took a couple quick before shots and got started. Here are the befores...

The main cabinet where all the fabric was supposed to fit. I love this cabinet. Its huge and weighs a ton and was a great bargain. It is a custom made piece from the cabinet shop my dad works for. (Not custom made for me though! Hence the bargain, it was made wrong somehow. Looks pretty good to me though!) Anyway, at some point I got sick of trying to shove everything in here and new piles started popping up here...

and a little more here...

So, as you can see, it was taking over. Time to organize.

I spend Friday night, a little of Saturday and most of yesterday afternoon working on it. Folding and smoothing and stacking. Here is my after...

I decided it was better to have small more organized stacks, so I sorted by type and color in each stack so when I remove material I know exactly where it should go when I am done. Because I decided to have more stacks with less in them, I had to expand a little. My DH put up a couple additional shelves in the left portion of the cabinet, and I cleared off another shelf in the laundry room for some larger heavier pieces of fabric that just didn't fit.

There it is. Finished! Ready to create!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Apron Prototype

I finally finished the apron/tote bag for Sydney. This is a prototype for some I would love to make for my Etsy shop. I have some kinks to work out first though. Sorry for the dark photos, I think I stood in front of the window when I took these!
The main idea is that the top of the apron folds down into a pocket on the back to make a tote bag. So I had to think of some way to have a loop on the front that didn't look dumb. I originally saw this idea on a vintage apron I got at an estate auction. That one has a clown on the front and the handle loop was his smile, but I'm not too big on clowns. So I figured the daisy was a good alternative. I used heat and bond on the flower then blanket stitched around it all. Added a couple pockets and a ton of bias tape (homemade of course:) and it was done! I'm thinking a boy version with a dinosaur or frog would be really fun too. I won't point out my flaws, I am sure you can zoom in and find them for yourself! But, like I said this was my first go at it. I found some things that worked well, and some things that need some improvement. Overall though I think I am pretty happy with my results.
So, one more thing I get to check off my list. No big plans for the weekend, so hopefully I can get a couple purses cranked out for the shop. I'm thinking something like this and this that I made for myself last month. We'll see though, maybe I will get a new shot of inspiration when I visit the stash!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Have you been saving your scraps?

I found a great way to clean out the scrap box yesterday! I saw these on Stardust Shoes and had to check out the pattern. Since I am all about trying new things lately, I thought I would give it a go. I have to say I was a little nervous, JoJo said she had trouble matching up the points on the end. So, I took my time, copied the pattern exactly (make sure you copy the circles at each point and only sew up to that point) and it didn't go too bad. The hardest part was sewing up the opening where the balls were turned and stuffed (as you can see on the pink one if you zoom in. This was my first attempt, it got better don't worry). I stuffed mine with 1/2 rice and 1/2 poly-fill. This gave them a nice bean bag feel, but still cushy. (So, when someone gets nailed in the head, it will smart for just a bit!) My mind is racing now with lots of ideas for these. I just used up some scraps for these since Sydney will be playing with them, but I think I need a pretty one that might double as a pin cushion. Hey, another thought, maybe I need one of these as a stress ball next to my sewing machine! :) I think these will soon be popping up dressed in recycled sweaters as well...oh my gosh, wouldn't they be really fun Christmas ornaments! Okay, I've gotta stop, smoke is starting to come out my ears. Let me hear your ideas and be sure to let me know if you try your hand at these!

P.S. I did not enlarge the pattern the way it instructed. I used it as is. The finished ball is about the size of a tennis ball.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sewing 099

I am, because of my own stubbornness and stupidity, mostly a self-taught sewer. I have received a couple very valuable lessons from my mom and my Grandma V in the past couple years, but prior to that I tried hard to rebel against the very specific method of sewing. Sewing in the begining was simply a means to an end for me. I knew what I wanted to create, and unfortunately there was no other way to do it other than sew. By now, I have grown up a little and accepted sewing for what it is. Not just a medium to create with, but an art form in itself. An art form that has been perfected over more years than any of us even know about. And so, when I finally break down and take the time to really learn it, it sometimes amazes me!

Last night I made bias tape. For the first time. Obviously I have heard of it before, and possibly used it (I can't really recall), but I've never made it before. Its pretty incredible stuff! I always thought it would just be a waste of want me to chop my fabric up at an angle?? There wouldn't be anthing left! Turns out, its worth it! I am currently working on an apron for Sydney that converts into a little tote bag. I'm hoping after I have perfected it a little to sell a couple and of course share the pattern with all of you guys. But, it might be a while! Anyway, bias tape is a God send on aprons! Makes them so much easier. I know what you are all thinking - Duh!, right? I guess some lessons just take this very stubborn girl a little longer than others!

In light of this epiphany, that the basics of sewing are the basics for a reason, I have decided I need to make a change. I need to slow things down. I need to enjoy the moments of sewing, not just the moments of completion. I need to learn how to do things the right way (button holes!! aahh) and take pride in each step of the process. I'm sure this will slow me down a little and you might have to bear with me through a couple more WIP posts, but I think in the long run it will teach me some valuable sewing skills, and a little lesson in patience.
Edit: I had to come back and tell you guys to check out this link. Words to live by don't you think!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Great Fabric Challenge

I just finished up my project for Mary Ann's Great Fabric Challenge.

Mary Ann - If you want to be surprised, don't read this post!

I know I've told you all about this before, but just in case you missed it here are the details. I sent Mary Ann one yard of fabric from my stash (as did 10 other people!). She made me an amazing scarf and really cool notecards and sent it back to me, along with one yard of fabric from her stash. I was to make something out of it and send it back. Isn't that a great idea! What a fun way to use up your fabric and get a new perspective on something (especially in my case) you've been staring at for years not knowing what to do with it.
This is the fabric MaryAnn sent me. Challenging, right?

So, I decided to punish myself and take the challenge one step further and really push myself. For this project I: 1. Used a pattern (I even followed it, down to the smallest detail. This is extremely rare for me.) 2. Sewed in a circle, which for some reason is very hard for me. It requires lots of pinning, which I am not a fan of, and 3. Sewed in a zipper! (semi-successfully). Without further ado, here is the finished product.

I would say this bag is made purely for function. It turned out cuter than I expected, but not exactly runway fashion or anything. It does however hold a ton of stuff! In order to take this picture, I had to shove it full of 12 skeins of yarn! I also made her a small zippered pouch pictured here (thats where the zipper came in).

Here is a picture of the deflated bag and the pile o' yarn that came out of it!

So, if any of you are planning a camping trip, are making one of these, or plan to run away from home and must take all your fabric with you...this is the bag for you! The pattern (Butterick #3562 Bag F) is relatively easy.

Hope you enjoy it MaryAnn!

On a side note, you should all go visit Amy. She is doing a giveaway every day this week! She has awesome stuff over there, hurry and leave a comment so you can win!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! My sister and I had a little photo shoot session with my purses to get ready for this! Here are a few that didn't get used. Thanks a million Becky - you did a great job!

I've been thinking of all the things I would like to accomplish this week (well, besides reducing the mountain of laundry I can see out of the corner of my eye. Hang on, let me shut the door....okay, better!) I figured the best way to hold myself accountable and get off my duff would be to share my list with all of here goes!

  1. Complete 2 more purses to list in my shop

  2. Work on kid's apron pattern/ideas

  3. Finish Mary Ann's fabric challenge project (this should be easy, just need a quick trip to the fabric store)

  4. Organize my fabric so it all fits in one place (this may be an ongoing project!!)

  5. Decide on my March Christmas in Progress goal and get working on it!

Guess I better get busy!! Have a great day!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Just another tote bag

Here is another purse that I hope to sell some day soon. Hope you guys aren't getting sick of these yet! This one is made from a really dark wash denim with green cotton accents. The interior fabric is a really cute golf print. I don't golf, but it is still fun and reminds me of Spring! Happy Friday!