She believed she could. So she did.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Being Crazy Isn't Enough"

Dr. Suess once said, "Being crazy isn't enough!" And he's right. When it comes to anything except a scarf or maybe a square, you have to count stitches and know where to put your hook. Do you see where I changed putting my hook between stitches to putting it under the stitches where it's supposed to go? Look carefully... It sorta just looks like ribbing or something fancy like that. When I first started this little hat from Posh Patterns, it looked like a pancake, but I kept going and luckily it turned out hat-ish... Now if Anna-Jane will just wear it. That's the real trick.

Here she is...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our Little Angel

Milly's school celebrates All Saints Day on November 1. She was our little angel. This was the 2nd angel costume I made. Mother and I thought we would be all crafty and smart and make the first one during the summer when we had the time. We really thought we would be ahead of the curve. But... she grew out of the first one by the time the event rolled around, so we were up sewing late into the night like always. I was even able to make a big mess by bumping into a can of red tempera paint on Mildred's art easel that splattered all over the wall. It really added to the Halloween effect of the night. My boo-boo on this one was the casing for the elastic. I sewed it on the outside instead of the inside. Oops...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Miracles Really Do Happen - Deep Ellum Flea!

I haven't been as excited about something as this in a long, long time. Cassie of Cassie Cakes has a booth with some of her gal pals at the Deep Ellum Flea. She invited me to join in the fun. Wow! Double Wow! It is held every 3rd Saturday of the month. Take a look at the beautiful table of wares. What a treat!

The new business cards came in just in time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clutch for Sandy the Dog Sitter

I had been saving that little butterfly for something. I had orginally envisioned it appliqued with some cool stitching on the bottom corner of just a plain tailored clutch. But it was super late and I got all crafty crazy and ended up with some kinda weird triangle thing. I didn't account for the seam allowance so some of the butterfly is clipped off. Hmmm.... As Mr. Bokies my 10th grade Geometry teacher used to say, "If you fail to plan, plan to fail." Of course, there's always a secret on the inside.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Owl - A Wise Old Teacher

This cooky little owl is the latest in the collection of modern clutches. He is all scrap-happy with his googley eyes and jaggety wings perched on a polka-dotty branch.


This old owl taught me a really simple fundamental of applique. Who knew?

See the branch in the top picture? Well for the longest time (probably a befuddled hour or two on a Sunday afternoon) that branch was facing the wrong direction. You see in applique everything is reversed. It is not "what you see is what you get." Oh no! Applique is opposite day! When you draw your design on the Wonder Under, make sure that the drawing is the reverse of what you want it to look like on your project. If not, it will be backwards. I scratched my head over this one for awhile. Hmmm...

On some pieces it doesn't matter if it is reversed. For example, none of these pieces needed to be reversed because all of the shapes are interchangeable. There's nothing that needs to go in a certain direction.

But on this branch when you draw it on the Wonder Under, iron it on the fabric, and then peal the top layer of Wonder Under off, things go wonky because it will be going the wrong direction when you lay it on the project.

"Tsk, Tsk..." says the Wise Old Owl.

Here's my little reminder to the Wise Old Owl to not be so darn judgy. Right?

Friday, October 14, 2011

A robin for Robin

Robin's 50th birthday was October 12. We celebrated the day Southern-style. Salad drenched in cucumber dressing (literally, to die for) crunchy fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, and melt in your mouth biscuits at Celebrations.

I'm happy with the way this turned out. I stayed up really really late to make it. It was around 11 p.m. and I thought, "Hey, I'm a big girl." I can do whatever I want. So what if I stay up a little late." Famous last words right? Ugggg, is all I can say. This big-40-year-old girl needs her zzzzz... I felt hung over the entire day after even after 2 Emergen-Cs and Diet Dr. Pepper (which is really a cure all for just about anything). Cracks me up! But it was fun to be in the zone and sew and create something special for Robin. I really like the proportions and the colors. I even got snazzy with the handle and scrappyfied it.

The inside has a thought that we could all use from time to time.

Ahhhhh... Breathe peace.... and know that staying up late and eating fried chicken and laughing and creating from time to time are what life's all about. Why get too tangled up in our to-do lists, schedules, planners, meetings, and what-not? All of the externalities of life eventually fade away. What matters is the inside--the happy heart.  Happy Birthday, Robin!

Monday, October 3, 2011

6 Days of Sewing Challenge

I'm challenging myself to 6 days of sewing. A sew-along with myself. Six clutches in six days. Tonight I made the gathered strips for the scrappy flower clutches. I'm going to work assembly line style and see how it goes.
Step 1: Make the scrappy flowers, cut all pieces
Step 2: Gather the front panels and stitch on the bands.
Step 3: Install the zippers
Step 4: Applique the lining quotes
Step 5: Sew around and finish
Step 6: Marvel at the greatness.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Little Birdie...

It's important to work on conquering your fears... whether it be afraid of the dark, spiders, the boogey man or even applique... This simple tutorial helped me conquer that fear. Now I am mighty over of the applique! Applique Queen Goddess High Priestess! Her Royal Majesty Applique! I read lots of tutorials before coming across this one. It's really simple. And don't be afraid to boss your machine around a little. It is not the boss of you. Move that fabric where it needs to go! You are not a push-over! :-)

The quote is borrowed from one our teacher's email signature. Sometimes we need a reminder to sit still, take the time to hear the birds chirp and sing, smell the flowers, and breathe peace.

I used a little blue bead for the bird's eye on the other two that I made. I think it gives it a little more personality.

The next step in the evolution of this clutch is to think about the birdie's legs. Probably some simple stitches in brown embroidery thread would do it. But hand sewing is so 18th century (heh!). This is when I really need an intern.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Introducing... The Scrappy Flower Gathered Clutch!

Is this the cutest thing ever or what? The scrappy flower gathered clutch. I adapted a flower tutorial from Sew Serendipity and tweaked the gathered clutch pattern from Noodlehead. I love the results! So cute and girlie! In the flower tutorial, the creator Kay Whitt uses a fancy dancy gathering foot on her machine. I called Richland Sewing Center and they cost $59 bucks--sorry not this month. I found it is just as do-able to gather the old-fashioned way. I just ran two basting stitching down the entire length of the pressed over fabric and then gathered while watching Parenthood. Kinda therapeutic. The strips gather up nicely to about half the length of the original strip.

The original pattern for the gathered clutch uses a 14 inch strip for the front and that gathers down to about 9 inches. I used an 18 inch strip. I like the puffier-ness of it. I also reduced the width of the front band that hides the gathering stitches by an inch. I like the proportions of the way it turned out.

My only dilemma with the piece is how to attach the flower to the clutch. Right now it is fastened on with a big ole safety pin. Probably the best way to do it is to hand sew it on, but I have no patience for that. I'm part of the microwave generation, you know. I thought about using fabric glue. Is that too tacky. It's very frowned up on Project Runway. A crafty friend suggested velcro, but I'm afraid it would pull off. What to do, what to do, what to do???

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vintage Gym Locker Storage Bins

Rescued from a school during a gym renovation. Forgot they were up in the attic. Added them to the studio.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peace Out!

Remember the Cosby Show episode where Denise convinced Theo that she could make the same expensive yellow satin designer shirt he saw in a store window with the same pinache for mere pennies and in no time at all? That episode reminds me of this purse.

I will affectionately call it the Wendy Bag; although, I hold no affection for it at all. When I look at it, all I see is that mustard-yellow-jacked-up-one-sleeve-longer-than-the-other shirt that Theo wore on his date.

I was inspired by this adorable bag that Wendy's co-worker carries. Eighteen dollars at Trader's Village.

I just love all of the stitching and embroidery. The cute colors. The cool peace signs and the hip distressed look of it all. Like Denise from the Cosby Show, I took one look, snapped my fingers and thought what a breeze. I can make that “No Problem!” Ha!
I used a pattern from Sew-Fisto-Cats. That should have been my first sign of trouble. The irony of the name adds to the disaster of the Wendy bag.  
As with most things, I began with high hopes. I'm satisfied with the applique on the front and the ruffles of knit on the side. It's when I got to step 26 or something "putting the outside bag in the inside bag and flip" that things got wonky. I won't even horrify you with the details of the way-too-short-to-be-cool-at-all-strap. And originally, I think I bought the fabric for some curtains and it probably should have stayed that way. :-) Nonetheless, creativity is a process. We are always in the process of becoming whatever it is we are going to be and that certainly fits this bag.

I think Denise gave up designing and sewing and became a missionary to Africa. Hmmm... food for thought....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Modern Clutch

My favorite clutch so far.
It has a pocket on the inside and a secret message.
It's made from yummy pieces of Moda Chrysalis layer cake which came with 42 cuts of 10x10 fabric. De--lish!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"The Smart Ones Just Figure It Out Anyway"

The costume design and construction teacher at my school remarked to me that she usually doesn't get to zippers in her classes because the novice sewists "aren't there yet," and "the smart ones just figure it out anyway." So proud to announce that after a gazillion rocky zipper installations and WAY too many hours of seam ripping, I can sew a zipper. Much to my chagrin, it doesn't take making false promises to a higher power of being good, giving up sugar, doing sit-ups, winning the lottery, or anything remotely like that. Just like the teacher said. It just takes a little common sense.... Hmmmm. Voila! Zippering! I am the mighty zipper warrior - or something like that. Maybe I've just caught on to whatever one else can do easily, with their eyes closed. Here's some lessons that I learned.
1. My zipper was too short, so I covered the ends with fabric. I learned this from Flossie Teacakes: From in Between the Stitches. She has a great tutorial on her blog. Basically, you just cut fabric 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Fold it in half and then fold in the ends to the press line. Then stitch that on the end of your zipper. It's tons easier if you get a zipper that's longer than what you need because then you just attach it and cut off the excess. However, the covered zipper does look nice in the end.
2. Make your zipper sandwich. First pretty fabric side up. Zipper upside down with the head on the left. Then the lining fabric pretty side down. Right sides of both fabrics are touching with the zipper in between.
3. Here's the magic part... before creating the zipper sandwich, unzip the zipper about 1/2 way down. Put a pin in your zipper sandwich vertically denoting where the zipper head is. Then pin the rest of the sandwich horizontally while carefully feeling for the zipper teeth and getting as close to those teeth as you can. The picture shows the horizontal pins and the vertical pin reminding me where the zipper head is.
4. Now for the moment of truth... start swewing down the zipper to the vertical pin that marks the zipper head. Stop sewing when you get to that pin. Take your zipper sandwich out of the machine. Zip the zipper all the way up. Begin at your original sewing line and continue to the end. Voila! I love it! A perfectly installed zipper with just the right amount of space between the fabric and the coils.
5. Repeat the same steps on the other side of the zipper. Hum "We Are the Champions!" to yourself as you continue because you can rock a zipper! Exciting!
This picture shows the zipper sandwich. The khaki fabric is pretty side up. The zipper is upside down and open half way down. The lining is pretty side down.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Burlap Covered Bulletin Board

I love the look and texture of burlap. There's just something simple and chic about it. It whispers that fall is in the air with visions of scrappy scarecrow suits to sacks full of feed at the farmer's market. Today I covered a regular old bulletin board that I got for $9.99 at TJ Max with a beautiful creamy burlap. I just covered the edges with tape and then used spray adhesive on the cork to adhere the fabric. 
Using just a plain crochet chain stitch, I created a ribbon for around the edges. Took about 15 minutes to complete and looks super cute.  
Now I need to display something on it...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Handmade Gifts

What's the quote? Idle hands make for the devil's workshop? Or something like that. Anyway, it's been a busy week of handmade gifts. Donna Dee's birthday, Nonna's birthday, Jessica's birthday, and something for my Momma any day of the week. She is my dearie. Of course, there's something for Wendy too.
Secret messages are appliqued on the inside of these.
"You Are My Sunshine"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Gathered Clutch

Cowboy Pre-Season Football was a great excuse to steal away for a couple of hours to make The Gathered Clutch from Noodlehead. It sewed up very easy and is probably the most fun clutch that I've made so far. Zippers are still not my bff, but we are getting the hang of each other the more that we work together.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Scrappy Clutch

I found this tutorial for a Scrappy Clutch on a blog called From an Igloo. The first one that I made was a complete disaster. I had never put in a zipper before and let's just say new words were invented in the installation of that zipper so I re-dubbed it the Crappy Clutch. Not one to be outdone by a Scrappy Clutch, I tried again and here's what I came up with. I think it turned out pretty cute. I gave it to my mom. So thanks From an Igloo for a great tutorial.