Thursday, June 25, 2009

Outside of my comfort zone....

It's no secret that I am not very good at making jewelry. Not only do I fumble with techniques, I am also prone to gaudy or aesthetically-challenged designs.

But, I got my hair cut short recently, and I really want to jazz up my ears. So, I did some inspiration-searching on ArtFire, and I thought that MDavis Designs had some really cool earcuffs. These are my interpretations:
This one was the second one I made, and my fingers were tired of being pinched by the pliers by this point. I think it shows a little:
Sorry about the crummy photos, but it is REALLY DIFFICULT to take pictures of your own ears!!
I am really happy about my little break from the old sewing routine, and I am proud that I took a chance to make these myself. I'm certainly not going to "quit my day job," but I have been in a sewing funk since I had to leave my MIL's sewing paradise and I think this project is helping me get over it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

T-Shirt Re-Fashion

Several months ago I unearthed a completely awesome Sex Pistols t-shirt that was sized for the World's Heaviest Man. I couldn't allow a sizing issue to keep me from displaying my love for 70's punk, so I sized it down and flared out the sleeves. Unfortunately, the hem was a little too high for my modesty, so the t-shirt project sat idle while I searched for the perfect coordinating fabric. Last week, I found the fabric hanging out at my Mother-in-Law's. Hooray!

Now, I have a very cute (and ridiculously comfortable) t-shirt dress:

I didn't think to take "before" pics of the shirt, but trust me - IT WAS HUGE!!! Now it is a perfect fit and fun for a summer party!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

While on vacay...

I have had 4 wonderfully relaxing days of sewing and reading so far. I have sewn a t-skirt, a t-shirt dress, a toddler dress, and this sun dress (Forgive me, but hubby took the photos):

My mother-in-law and I took a trip to JoAnn's the other day, and I picked up 5 yards of this hibiscus shirt fabric for 60% off!! It is so wonderfully soft and light. I love it.

I have also been getting some reading done. But, I only packed 4 books, so now I am scavenging novels from my MIL to pass the time before we leave on Friday. Here's what I read:
The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman - decent read. A little predictable, but I liked the back and forth between past and present. Although, the garden/fountain descriptions got a little tiresome.
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink - short but disturbing. I mean, really disturbing. This novel is pretty morally shocking.
Sex and the Serial Killer by Jennifer Skully - trashy, but deliciously fun and mindless.
The Shack by William P. Young - not my cup of tea. Yet another in a long list of "Why didn't I read the back!?!?" books. I actually didn't even finish this one.
Ooh, and exciting happenings... I am in 2 virtual craft fairs!!
And I Heart Handmade's Summer show opens on Friday. I have a prize listed for their daily giveaways. Can you find the picture that is mine??
I hope everyone is having as relaxing a week as I am!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie..

Look who was hanging out on my patio yesterday (p.s. that's a dime): It's a teeny baby sparrow! He/she lounged around for about 15 minutes and then hopped off to his/her next social call.
And now, I'm off to the in-law's for the week. I may post, I may not. We'll see...
I hope everyone has a great week!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mine mine mine...

Another t-shirt turned messenger bag:

I was totally going to put this in my ArtFire shop, but a few things occurred to me. First, I have issues with selling licensed stuff. Second, I used to be a bit of a Batman freak. And, third, this would make a great carrier for my netbook! So, I'm keeping it for myself.
I think my inspired choice in lining fabric is reason enough for me to hold on to it, but my brilliance in fitting a zippered pocket into a pattern that doesn't call for one really convinced me that I should be selfish about this bag.
I think we all deserve to treat ourselves to some of our own hard work occassionally.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sewing Machine Meme

It's Sewing Machine Month at Sew, Mama, Sew! And, since this is a sewing blog, (and I have suffered through a fruitless "sewing machine information" search before), I figured I would participate in this meme. So, here we go....

What brand and model do you have?I have a Singer Slant-O-Matic 401 for general sewing, and a Riccar Lock RL-613 for serging.

How long have you had it?I have had this Singer for almost a year, and the serger for a few months. But, as you can see, they are both older machines that were handed down to me by my mother-in-law.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I sew anything I can think of. Apparel, quilts, handbags, home accessories, etc...
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I use the Singer several times a week, and the Serger once or twice a week. The Singer handles the brunt of my work, but the serger is subject to the most torture.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?I love, love, love my Singer. It has decorative stitch cams, dual needle capabilities, and rarely gives me attitude. My serger (Sergio), on the other hand, has a tendency to work my last nerve - as is evident here.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I would recommend both machines to beginners, but the Singer is fantastic for pros, too. You really can't ask for much more in a sewing machine than what my Singer offers, and it is a total workhorse. I think this machine will be around with the cockroaches after a nuclear explosion. The Riccar Serger that I have is very basic, and a great machine to learn on. If you can master the Riccar RL-613, then you can handle just about anything.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
#1 most important thing - Make sure the machine has a user-friendly manual! I refer to my Singer manual for everything from buttonholes to monogramming. If you can't read the manual, you will never understand the machine.

Do you have a dream machine?I'm thinking about getting an embroidery machine. My Singer has embroidery capabilities, but I rely on it for all of my daily sewing, and I don't want to stress it out. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sunny Day....Sweepin' the Clouds Away...

It's a rainy day, so I'm making another bag today, and cutting fabric is boring. So, in the spirit of procrastination, I thought I would put up some pics of a couple of sunhats I made last week(that only require cutting 3 pieces!).

Pretty fun, huh?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tote Expedition

A group that I belong to on ArtFire is having a Fat Quarter swap this month which involves making an item from a fat quarter and swapping it with someone else. For those out of "the know," a fat quarter is a piece of fabric appx. 18" x 22." Generally, these fabric sections are used in quilting, and since I don't really quilt (I mean, there was that one time, but quilting and I didn't really hit it off..) I just cut a fat quarter from some fabric I already had. Next, I had to figure out what to make, and I found this great tutorial over at SewMamaSew for a fat quarter handbag.

The instructions are super easy, and I anticipated spending 45 minutes or so putting it all together. Little did I know that my arrogance would lead to a mistake that required extensive tantrum throwing. Basically, I stitched the outer and lining fabrics together the wrong way at first. No big, just use a seam ripper, right. Yeah, well....I didn't realize my mistake until I had stitched and backstitched. Let me put this in layman's terms: having to seam rip after backstitching is like dropping an anvil on your toe. It's THAT painful and traumatic.

But, I fixed that issue with as few expletives as I could, and here is the end result:
Mmhmm, looks good...until I realized that I ATTACHED ONE OF THE HANDLES BACKWARDS!! GRAH!
So much torment for such a simple bag. Such is my method, though. My mistakes teach me to be more careful the next time. And, I still think it turned out okay..

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goodwill Hunting

I am totally OBSESSED with recycling old t-shirts in to messenger bags these days, but I decided that I was uninspired by the shirts laying around my house. So, I made a trip to my nearest Goodwill store in order to hunt for some new and exciting tees. Obviously my short-term memory loss is becoming a problem because it wasn't until I looked at the clothing tags that I remembered I was boycotting Goodwill due to their crazy high prices. $5 for a t-shirt??? at GOODWILL??? They get these things for FREE!! I know that the profits they make go towards the charity, the cost of running the store, employee wages, etc.. But still. I can get cheaper tees on clearance at Target. *sigh*

But, I bought a few anyway under the "Well, I'm already here.." mentality, and here is an example of what I got. (sidenote: If I ever met a man wearing this orange and yellow monstrosity I would force him to give me his mother/wife/significant other's phone number so that I could ream them out about letting him leave the house with that on. Good grief.)

And, through the magic and convenience of digital photos, here is what I made from the shirts:

I just love those orange fish. I don't even care about the rest of the graphic. The fish sold me.
Wouldn't this bag be perfect for a picnic at the park, or a trip to the museum??
One thing that I didn't anticipate with the crazy orange shirt was all of the fray!! The navy tee had to be de-lint-ified about 110 times throughout the sewing process. I guess that was my punishment for keeping it from some fashion-tragic man.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Catching Up...

Okay, since I had the giveaway up all last week, I haven't updated on my projects. I got quite a bit done last week. Most of the stuff I finished I listed in my ArtFire shop.

I love this dress for the contrast between the embroidered linen and the tye-dye.
And, isn't the Pretty Pretty Princess a sweet little dress model?

Then, I surprised myself by doing an AMAZING job on this recycled t-shirt messenger bag (the strap is hidden in these photos, but I swear it is awesome too).
Since I didn't put any pockets in, I am marketing it as a beach bag. It's really really sturdy, though, so it could be used for just about anything - Carrying bricks, mixing concrete.....just kidding. Once I get my zipper shipment in, I'm going to make one for myself out of some old concert shirts that I wore in highschool and use it for my library/book fair trips.
Also, I went rice pillow crazy. I'm selling these as "soothers." ArtFire didn't have a category for them, so that threw me for a loop. I don't really feel like they're "Bath and Beauty" related, but whatever.

I also made these mini ones thinking that they would be good for freezing and placing on your eyes while soaking in the tub. Doesn't that sound good right now??
I have alot more projects in mind, and I should be busily sewing away right now, but I have to prep some recipes for a couple of parties I'm attending this month. Maybe I'll post the food if it turns out tasty!

We have a winner.

Congratulations, Dawn!