Sunday, February 27, 2011

Playing catch up

If you do a lot of creative projects, you know how easy it is to get distracted. And I've got little, unfinished tasks piling up.

So, today was all about finding the time to wrap those up, which worked out perfectly because my little one took a 3 1/2 hour nap!

If you remember from a few posts back, I wasn't happy with the finishing on my topiaries. I imagined another approach to the base that might work out better. And, guess what? It did!


Check out the yarn-wrapped sphere. It really fits my style (and hobbies!).


I also utilized my old book from yesterday and mixed in a few felt pieces to change the look of the top. I love, love, love the way it turned out.


Also on the list for the day... scarves!! The fabric that I ordered earlier in the week finally came in so I was ready to sew. I thought I'd like the look of a wider scarf and cut all of my fabric accordingly. However, I didn't like the one that I made up - it was too heavy. So, I trimmed down each and every piece! How did I ever survive before my rotary cutter? Do you have one? Don't you love it?

Two more things to share with you today...

My friend and I are planning a monthly creative workshop, open to the community. We've been planning it for a couple of months now. We are providing all of the materials, instruction and inspiration, and refreshments. There will be a nominal fee to cover our expenses, but the product that you leave with will be worth it!

Fun with your girlfriends... Learning a new skill... Leaving with something you can be proud of...

Interested in attending? The first event will be March 27 from 2-4 p.m. Please let me know!

Lastly, just something personal that I'm really excited about. I've told you that we're building a house, right? Literally 85% of my supplies and fabric are in storage. I'm anxiously awaiting unpacking!!

Anyway, here's the first glimpse of my sewing room!


And here's the other side, which will be a play-space for my little ones.


The challenge will be finding the finishing touches to make our spaces blend together. But I'm up for the challenge!

See you next week... with an update on the rug. I promise.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Second Life

It's been one of those crazy weeks. The kind where you get to the weekend and wonder what happened to the last five days.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me what I was going to write about this weekend. I just stared at her blankly. It was already Friday and I had no real plan.

I did have a general idea about something that I'd like to tackle, just for kicks - in between to lunch dates, birthday parties and essential errands.

I stopped my mother from throwing out a clementine box earlier in the week. It had such a cool shape!! I'm not a hoarder, but, surely, there was something that this little gem could be used for.

Recently, I've seen some really beautiful creations made with old book pages. I've always loved old books - however, I don't usually destroy them. I visited the Old Book Sale this week and picked up a few that were on their last legs to have on hand in case of creative inspiration.

Sooo... clementine box in need of a makeover. Old books begging to be given new life. Why not give it a try?

Here are all of the supplies that I needed:


I simply ripped the pages (ouch!) into strips, coated the back of each piece with Mod Podge, and covered the entire surface of the crate.




My little boy joined in the fun. I gave him a shoebox, his own supply of Mod Podge, and away he went!


Here's the end result. It is something that I'll use in my sewing room for years to come.


I added a little something to the inside of the crate in case I ever wanted to use it as a frame for something special - sort of like a shadowbox.


You can do the same project with fabric. I can imagine a collection of these in coordinating fabrics, used in a kid's room, an office space, or even a kitchen. You could embellish with buttons or tie ribbons on each of the four posts. Your options are limitless!

Now, go enjoy some fresh fruit, repurpose your crate, and send some pictures my way. I'll post them here for everyone to enjoy!

Tomorrow's post will be all about completing my unfinished projects, a revision to a past tutorial, and an exciting announcement about a fun opportunity for you in March.

Be sure to come back!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the scarf goes to...

An unbiased party at KC and Associates has confirmed the random selection of a winner for last week's scarf!

The paper scrap, please...


Emmilee, I had so much fun writing your name that I added in an extra "l"!! Please let me know if you prefer gold or silver and I'll have your scarf ready on Monday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dreamin' about ruffles...

I love them. On everything. Don't you?

I stumbled across these beautiful ruffled scarves online at The Pleated Poppy and fell in love all over again.

Unfortunately, everybody else loves her scarves, too, and I've been unable to score one yet! It must be nice to make something that everyone wants...

So, I did a little digging and found a great tutorial about how to sew my own. I used a tissue t-shirt material, very light and summery.

Here's lovely Meggie modeling it for you.


Isn't it sweet?

After struggling through this one, I'm inspired to work up some more. I've already ordered some more fabric! I plan to alter the pattern a bit, but otherwise, I am super excited about how it turned out.

I'd love to make one for you! Please add your comments about the creative projects you are working on (or projects that you'd love to tackle if you had the time!). I'll pick someone at random to receive a scarf! Spread the word!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Takin' Care of Business

So, today's post is completely practical. Completely practical.

My checkbook case is falling apart. It should be. It's, maybe, 10 years old. And plastic.

I need a new one, but I H.A.T.E. going to the bank. And I can't seem to remember to ask my husband to pick a new one up for me.

What's that?! I had a thought.

Make one.

Why not? A friend of mine gifted a hefty supply of oilcloth and laminated cotton to me last weekend. Perfect materials for meeting my needs!

Do you know oilcloth? It sounds disgusting, right? But, aside from making apparel, it can do just about anything you might dream up! Home decor, upholstery, practical projects (like mine)... anything, really.

Here's what I did. Keep in mind, I try to do things in as few steps as possible to keep it simple!


Cut one piece of oilcloth 13.75" x 6.875". *Optional* - cut 2 strips of a coordinating fabric 2.5" x 7.875" to add a buffer for carbon copy checks. I added these to mine, but this isn't necessary if you do not carry carbon checks.


Turn the short ends under approximately .25" and hem with a basic straight stitch to finish the edge. Another cool thing about oilcloth is that your creases can serve as sewing guides without having to pin your seams! And, one more exciting feature -- it doesn't fray! So easy to work with.


I basted my strips into place. *Lesson Learned!* Your strip should have enough "give" to accommodate your checks. I made mine a bit too short and had to revise accordingly.


Fold the long edges under .25" and hold in place with tape. I used scotch tape, but anything will do. It is a temporary solution to holding the edges in place while you sew. You'll want to minimize your pin holes with oilcloth.


Then, fold the short edges toward the inside of your cover approximately 2.75" to make your pockets. Hold in place with tape.


Sew a seam along the outer edge of the cover to hold your pockets in place. You will want to sew your seam as close to the edge as possible to allow room for your checkbook to slide in.


And you're done! This project took me a total of 30 minutes (and I'm really slow). If I'm lucky, this will last me another 10 years. But this project was so simple, I may make up more options to switch out on a whim...



And for you! I will send the oilcloth supplies needed to make your own checkbook cover to the first 3 people who comment on this post! That will save you the time needed to cut out your pieces!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Love, peace, and happiness until the next post!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cr*fty Sunday

My friend, Jill, hosted nearly a dozen of us girls today for a wreath-making party. As an attempt to purge some of her fabric overload (which she appropriately blames on me), she invited us all to bring a grapevine wreath, a pair of scissors, and a snack. She shared her textile stash as we decorated our wreaths in simple fabric ties.


There were mountains of fabrics to pick through.



Techniques varied.




Even our youngest talents enjoyed the process.




No two people designed the same wreath. There were a lot of cherry blossom themes and spring inspired designs. All were beautiful!


Mine looked a bit like a second grader put it together. But that's okay. It's going in my boys' playroom. I attempted tying flowers, which started to shape up very nicely. I may work on it some more, but, then again, it's pretty whimsical like it is.


Oh, and remember my mention of Manhattans? Vile. Vile. Vile. I couldn't fake toleration. I have great respect for the chicas who finished their drinks. I opted for plain ol' water. 

See ya next weekend! 



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Borrowing!

Do you ever get lost in cyberspace? It's a hard thing to do, right? Last weekend, I was navigating my way through the MILLIONS of awesome creative sites on the Web and I came across this project.

Of course, I lost my way and can't seem to find the exact site that I was visiting. Which means that I can't properly credit the amazing talent that shared her ideas with the world. So, in an effort to be fair, please know that I did not come up with this super exciting plan on my own. But, I am tweaking it to put my personal spin on it.

You should, too!

Felt topiaries! Not only are they simple to make, they look chic. What a great way to dress up a mantel or sofa table! I don't think it looks campy or cr*fty.

Here's what you need:

  • 1/2 yard of felt (I'm using two colors, so you'd need 1/4 yd of each)
  • 12" dowel rod (sold in a pack of 6 for $.99)
  • (2) 3" styrofoam balls
  • Small pot for the base
  • Decorative moss
  • 1 yard of ribbon



  1. Cut approximately 80 3" circles from the felt - an equal number of each color.
  2. Fold the circles in half, then in half again.
  3. Secure to the styrofoam ball with straight pins.
  4. Fill in around the ball until you have a fullness that looks nice to you.
  5. Take one dowel and insert through the entire width of your second ball. There is no magic method for this that I could figure out. I started a hole with a pencil and worked the dowel through. Try to keep your hole as straight as you can make it.
  6. Insert the other end of the dowel into your felted ball. Push it to the depth that you like for the height of your topiary.
  7. Secure the bottom styrofoam ball to your pot with a bead of hot glue.
  8. Cover the exposed styrofoam ball with decorative moss and tie a pretty ribbon on the dowel.
  9. You're done! Isn't it pretty?

By the way, I HATED working with the decorative grass that I purchased. It made a terrible mess. I have another idea for that step of the project and enough supplies to make two more topiaries. I'll share my idea in a future post (if it works out!).

There is no update on the rug this week. I made another run to locate some additional jeans. Someone must have shared the secret about my awesome finds at Goodwill because when I went today, there was very little to pick from. I did find this crazy pair with a tiger running up the leg. That will make a nice addition!

"Cr*fty Sunday" is taking place tomorrow at a friend's house. Tomorrow's post will be all about the project that we'll be tackling. I believe that Manhattans are involved in the festivities... genius!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blue Jean Baby...

Okay, folks... when you start a project with virtually no direction... relying totally on your own inspiration and limited working knowledge, you're bound to learn some valuable lessons.

This jean rug is kicking my tail.

Lesson #1: It might take more than 6 pairs of jeans to create an 8' x 10' area rug. I knew I would need more jeans, but I had no idea how much usable fabric that I'd get out of this purchase. Another trip to the thrift store is in my near future.


Lesson #2: When you're doing patchwork of inconsistent sizes, your seam allowances will make a difference in the overall assembly. So, if this is your first run around the block, keep your pattern easy. Right now, I'm sewing pieces together and filling in the gaps with more jeans - generously donated by my mother so that I can maintain my pace.

Lesson #3: Accidents are bound to happen! They already have. But, ya know, that might work to my favor on a project like this. This is a piece all about personality (more on that in a minute). I discovered that I'd stitched some of the pieces incorrectly and I fought every twitch in my body driving me to rip seams. I'm a vicious ripper.

Lesson #4: It's easy to get distracted when you're cutting up crazy pants like this. I find myself wondering, "Who would buy a size 40 jean with dragons embroidered on the butt?" "How did this stain happen?" "Do I really want to know?" Hmmm... probably not... in the meantime, these little details (or rather large in some cases) are infusing my rug with loads of personality.


So, dear friends, this project mushes on for another week or two. But, I think it's going to turn out great. Well worth the extra attention. I'll take a brief time out to prepare another scrappy gift tutorial for next weekend.

Until then, I wish for you a week full of peace and happiness and productivity and inspiration.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ever Bloomin'

Did you miss me this week? I've been looking forward to having the time to post this weekend.

Remember my tiny bouquet? Well, I decided to make a brooch. Inspired by one of my dearests, I wanted to make something that was a multi-tasker (of course!). This is a pin that can be worn any number of ways!

Here's how I did it.

My first thought was to make the leaves from an abstract scrap of fabric, but when I started digging through my stash, I came across something with a leaf pattern that was begging to be used.

So I cut out two of the leaves for my project, as well as a circle from one of the adjoining patterns that served as the anchor for the bouquet.



I then took a minute to glue a bead to the inside of each flower - both cute and functional. The beads helped to hide the basting stitch that I used to gather the flowers in a ruffle.


I pinched each of my leaves together at the base to create a pleated effect and hot glued into place on the circle that I cut for the back. Don't you love a hot glue gun? Is there anything it can't do?! Well, I know of one thing. A friend of mine in college thought it would be a good idea to use one for waxing purposes. I am cringing right now thinking about it. Poor, sweet girl.

But, I digress...

There is no magic method to putting this piece together. Just play around with your pieces until you like the effect. Then glue into place!


I piled on the flowers and added a pin to the back. You can pick up a pack of these from your local cr*ft store. Did you think I was going to type "the word"?


I mentioned being inspired by my friend, Megan, who recently blogged about using a brooch to dress up a headband. What a great idea! Unfortunately, I can't wear headbands. The plight of a big head. So I decided to add the brooch to a flexible barrette. 


And, ta-da! A little happy that is simple to make, beautiful, and practical. Kellie is modeling it here. I just love it. I've already made another for a friend of mine. And, it only gets better as it gets older. The unfinished edges will start to ravel and give it a whole new feel.

Want this one? Post a link to a project that you would like to tackle if you had the time. I'll select someone (who posts) to send it to this week.

I will be posting an update on the jean rug tomorrow. Sooo... much... cutting... it better be worth it in the end!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What's in a name?

I'm not sure, but I've decided I don't like this name for my blog.

Can you help me with some ideas? ANY idea is welcome.

Thank you!
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