Sunday, March 27, 2011

Modish's Inaugural Workshop

We had a great time today at our first creative workshop! The dangerous winds, rain, and hail weren't enough to keep this amazing group of women from joining together for a time of fun, fellowship, food, and creativity.


Jenn's die cut machine was a huge hit!



Stephanie's cupcakes from her business, Hello There Cupcake, were a welcome delight for us all!
{and made my humble cupcakes look, well, humble}
{baking is not my forte}



Each attendee had very unique ideas about how to decorate their wreath.



I can't adequately describe how much fun we had - laughing and getting to know each other - it was such a great time. We are working on a date and a new project for next month's workshop.
Don't you want to join us?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DIY Fail :: Guest Blogger Megan

Surprise! It's me on a late Wednesday night.

How's your week so far? Mine has been great! A very productive week for my real job.

So... one of my dearests, Megan of Maison, filled me in on a weekend DIY today. Hilarious. So funny, in fact, that I begged her to allow me to share.

So, without further ado, meet terribly fashionable, astoundingly beautiful, always hilarious Megan.

{a message of hope}

I do not sew. You should know this right up front. However, until this past weekend, I was oddly unaware of this fact. Don’t get me wrong, I love to craft. Glue guns, beads, stamps, I love it all. And I’ve made some great DIY projects in my day, if I do say so myself. Funky popsicle stick Christmas ornaments? I got that. Friendship bracelets made from embroidery thread? Coming right up. Sewing…well, as it turns out, that’s a touchy subject. I thought my pillows with crooked seams were adorable, quirky, homespun if you will. And the fact that pillows are the only things I can sew is a choice. Duh: I’m specializing. None of that means I can’t sew very well, ok?


My mother is a seamstress and a very talented one at that. She made tons of clothes for us growing up, costumes for plays, even my sister’s wedding gown.  Her grandmother taught her to sew when she was a little girl and so my mom minored in fashion design in college to strengthen her skills (along with a double major in French and Russian…decisive she is not). It makes perfect sense why these same subjects interest me. I’m very close to my mom and sewing was always something I wanted to learn, especially after my interest peaked in fashion (Reader’s note: Wanted is the operative word here. Notice how there’s no sentence like “I learned to sew.”).


After making a basic pillow in my 8th grade home-ec class I thought I was good to go. I even made 2 more pillows in high school (note how the word learn is still absent).  Well, I got news for ya friends: 3 pillows a fashion designer does not make. My husband bought me a sewing machine for Christmas last year (upon my request) and it has lived in harmony with the dust bunnies in my guest room since its removal from the box. This past weekend I decided enough was enough: I was going to make a leather handbag (hey now, try to control your laughter).


It’ll be easy, I thought. I’ll pick a very simple design (note: I said design not pattern), I’ll buy pleather since I’ve never actually worked with leather before (or ANYTHING other than cotton), I’ll line it with canvas for strength, then with a cute little giraffe silk fabric to be the lining, I’ll stud the bottom just like Alexander Wang, it’ll be just great!


You see where this is going.


Now, to my credit, I did in fact end that day with a handbag made out of pleather. Was it lined with canvas for strength? No. Was it then lined with silk giraffe fabric? Kinda. Is the bottom lined with gold studs? I don’t think so. Is it great? Uh, no. But wait, here’s the kicker: IS IT SEWN AT ALL, IN ANY WAY?


Nope.


About half-way through this project (and after some choice words and a lot of puckered pleather) I realized there were a few holes in my plan of attack. I wanted to finish the project, but was starting to realize that I was out of my league. Enter Guerilla Super Glue.  If you don’t know about this stuff, go to the hardware store now and pick some up. Believe me, you’ll use it. It will bond any 2 materials together including, that’s right, fabric. That pleather bag is ENTIRELY constructed with super glue. And what a bag it is. I gotta tell ya folks, it’s ugly as sin, but you know what? On Sunday night, when all was said and done, I had before me a pleather handbag.  

{mission: accomplished}

The best way to learn and improve is to fail along the way.

Do you have a DIY Fail to share? I have more than a few! Send me your stories to rachelhgarza(at)gmail(dot)com. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Modish Workshop is next weekend!

I'm really excited about helping my friend, Jennifer, launch a series of creative workshops for her new business, Modish - Macon's Creative Collective.

We'll be hosting a great group of women next Sunday afternoon for a yarn wreath session. It promises to be fun and rewarding!

Here's a (second) wreath that I made up this weekend for my boys' playroom.


I'm still on a kick with my old book pages. I want to incorporate them in everything! In this case, it's a smart move because I'll be sharing a creative space with my little ones when we move into our new house. So, I've added a kite made from a page here on my wreath. I hope that it will compliment the art that I created with my fabric and canvases last weekend.

Want to make your own? Join us on Sunday! There is still room. Visit ModishMacon.com for details and to register for the event.

Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Tree

I love my mother.


In addition to being the best person I know, she's just sooo talented! She can paint. She can sew. She can knit. She can write. She can garden. She can cut grass (a talent in its own right!).

Look, here's one of her paintings.


And this past week, she...


made me...


THIS!!


I am so blessed to be her daughter. I hope to be just like her when I grow up.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finding Inspiration

I'm counting the days until I can unpack my boxes and really dig into the creative projects on my "To Do" list. Right now, I'm holding my own with a limited supply of fabric and materials (and space!). I absolutely cannot bring one more additional scrap into the space we're living in.

Well... maybe one more thing... or three...

Ballard Designs, oh, how you taunt me. Your catalogs are filled with furniture, fabric, and pretties that I want, want, want! And you know I can't shop right now.

Seriously... do you get this catalog? I find every page of each issue so inspirational.

This week was no exception. I turned the page and came across this.


I'm dreaming daily of my future sewing room and thought that a similar project would be perfect for my space, with a personal spin.

I gathered my supplies.

3 - 12" x 12" art canvases
My old book (purchased for projects like this)
X-Acto knife
Ruler
Scrap fabric
Mod Podge
Any ol' craft brush I could find in my son's art supplies
Glue gun


You can see that Ballard's artwork is fashioned out of newsprint. I planned to utilize fabric layered over book pages. And, rather than fashion images, I wanted to depict dress-making icons. I found some images that I was able to convert into silhouettes. I used Adobe Illustrator to create my templates.




I estimated that I'd need 8 pages to cover each canvas. I used the ruler and X-Acto knife to remove a total of 24 pages from my old book. I wanted the pages to have straight edges, rather than torn.

I applied a thin coat of Mod Podge to the back of each page and applied in alternate directions until the canvas was covered.

**Lesson Learned** Because the pages are layering on top of each other, it is important to apply the Mod Podge in a thin coat. The thicker the coat, the longer it takes to dry. You can see from the photo below, my pages wrinkled in the spots where the Mod Podge was too thick.


I used my templates to cut out the shapes and affixed the fabric to the canvas with Mod Podge.

By the way, I apologize for the quality of these photos. I was working on this late last night so natural light was absent!



And, just because I can't leave well enough alone, I fashioned small rosettes out of fabric and paper to embellish the dress. There are many wonderful tutorials online for creating these flowers out of fabric spirals and a glue gun. Here's one example.




I love the way this first canvas turned out. It will really make an impact once all three canvases are complete and hung together. I'll be sure to post photos when I complete the dress form and scissors.

As a trio, the Ballard art would have cost more than $200. I'll have less than $20 invested in all three of my pieces. What a steal!!


Thanks for stopping by this weekend! I'm always excited to read your comments and hear about what you are working on (or what you wish you had time to create!). I hope that I inspire you as much as you inspire me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Rug

Well, I have gone as far as I can with my blue jean rug and I love it. I threw my initial plan out of the window and just started stitching pieces together. I became too caught up and intimidated by the process and had to simplify or be defeated.


I stitched with wrong sides together so my seams appear on the topside of the rug. I have it divided in 5 pieces and I plan to wash it tonight so that the edges will fray. It would be too large to machine wash if it was completely stitched together at this point.

As I was cutting up my crazy collection of jeans (10 pairs), I discovered a few pairs that had equally interesting fabric for the front pocket lining. I'm going to cut that fabric into appliques - probably my sons' initials. I'll document that for you when I get to that point this week.

My initial plan was to make an 8' x 10' rug, but along the way, I decided to go with whatever dimensions I wound up with. I stopped when the jeans ran out. The rug is very large and it's going to make an impression in the room at the size it is now, which is somewhere in the 7' x 9' area.

I've got a little trimming to do around the edges to clean it up.


I received a message not long ago from someone asking me how I was going to finish it - what I would back it with, etc. All along, I was anticipating having to purchase some sort of duck cloth or canvas to finish the back of the rug - and to create the binding.

But then I had an epiphany...

I have yards and yards of the ugliest fabric (bad online purchase decision) that would actually be PERFECT for this rug. Everything about it is right - the weight, the print, everything. I even have a photo of it that I wanted to share with you... but it's on my computer... in storage.

I'm not much help today, am I?

So, now all I have to do is wait until we move to finish this project. I'll admit, I'm disappointed about having to wait, but we're unable to use the rug until then anyway. I may purchase some fusible fleece for an interior layer, but I haven't really investigated that option yet.


If you would like a step-by-step tutorial for making a really cool jean rug (it's actually a picnic blanket, but the same principles apply), I ran across this one over the weekend. Had I found it before, it may have saved me from myself.

I'll be back in black next weekend. I have some more exciting projects planned to tackle this week that I think you'll find inspirational.

As always, thanks for reading and returning. You mean a lot to me... yes, you do, and I know who you are. Google Analytics is my best friend.

Have a fantastic week!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It is Fun to Have Fun...

...but you have to know how.

So, it was Dr. Suess Week at my son's school. Apparently, this is a celebration recognized nation-wide. I had no idea... until I was faced with "Dress As Your Favorite Dr. Suess Character" Day.

We have a huge library of Dr. Suess books, but Dylan's absolute favorite is The Cat in the Hat. So, it was easy to decide what to do.

I found many hat tutorials online, like this one and this one, but I determined pretty quickly that this is a project all about personal preferences. Do you prefer wider stripes or thinner ones? A floppy brim or one with body? A taller hat or a shorter one?

I wanted a tall hat with wide stripes and a substantial brim.

To make a hat like mine, you will need:

2 - 12"-13" large circles cut out of white felt
1 - 6 1/2" circle cut out of red felt for the top of the hat
3 - 4" x 22" strips of red felt
2 - 4" x 22" strips of white felt 

I started by measuring my son's head. Nothing is worse than a hat that is too big or too small. It measured 21". I determined the length of the stripes based on the circumference of my son's head, then I added an inch for my seam allowance.

Locate something around your house that you can trace for your circle pieces. I found a mixing bowl for the small circle and head hole and a Christmas cookie platter for the large. Gotta use whatever you can find! Get creative, friends!

**Optional Step** If you are pressed for time, it's not really necessary to cut two pieces for your brim. I wanted to give my brim a lot of body so I planned to stitch the two brim pieces together.

Stitch the two large circles together around the outer edge (1/2" seam) and clip the seam allowance all away around the circle. This makes it easier to get a smooth look around the edge of the brim. Turn the brim right-side out.

**Optional step** I'm obsessed with finishing so I stitched another seam around the border of the brim once I turned it around. This is not going to affect the fit of your hat if you decide not to do it.

Stitch your felt strips together (1/2" seam), beginning and ending with red. 

Fold the assembled stripes, right sides together, and sew along the striped edge.

Pin the top of the hat in place and stitch around the circumference with a 1/2" seam allowance. I'm such a slacker when it comes to pinning my pieces in place, but it's really essential in this step. It makes it so much easier to stitch together. So... pin, pin, pin with lots of pins.

Turn right side out and pin the brim in place - top side of the brim against the right side of the hat. Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

And that's it! I was so pleased with how simple this project was and how great it turned out. I was hoping to create something that both of my boys can enjoy for years to come.

Dylan's pretty proud of it, too.

Send me pics of the costumes you've made for yourself or your kids? I'll post them here to inspire others! rachelhgarza{at}gmail{dot}com.

See you tomorrow!












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