Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I am the curator of an extensive private textile collection

Organizing the "Hoard"

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post, and so much has happened during that time. I was hyper-focused on finishing up my degree, and it is with a great sigh of relief that I can say that in the Fall of last year I completed it. I now have the diploma for the wall, so it must be official. I did that while I was also working a full time job (about five months of which, I was covering both my work and the work of a coworker who moved to another position. In the mean time that meant that my personal business suffered. Well everything outside of those two things suffered really, I wasn't able to prepare and list a lot for the store to the extent it could have been. What I was still able to do during that time was shop for the store, AND BOY DID I SHOP

 Tote bag made from vintage bed sheet 
scraps and a duck iron on.

I'm only now just starting to find my footing and focus again, so, as the heading of this blog implies, I had been steadily amassing a very extensive collection of fabrics over that time, so much so that it is now overwhelming my life. 

Some of the "Hoard" that's listed for sale
I have always collected fabrics, vintage sheets being the primary focus of my (yes I'll say it) ADDICTION, but because I could not prepare them for projects or for sales, it all just piled up. My mind is starting to turn to thoughts about moving in a little over a year, and the idea of taking it all with me is daunting. 

A vintage sheet that's been quarter fat bundled 
and listed for sale

Well then, so what does a self proclaimed fabric whore do when it all becomes this overwhelming?? She starts to purge, and this has become a purge on a grand scale. So far in two weeks, I have managed to empty two plastic tubs of fabric, which feels AMAZING! 

 A baby quilt put together with vintage
scraps I couldn't stand to let go of. 

I have sorted, ironed, cut down, created new projects, donated, and given away pounds of scrap, and I'm not even close to done yet, but every night I go home and work some more. The room feels a little lighter and so do I. Not to mention it all looks so amazing when it is this organized, neat and in plain view. It just looks damn good! I'm even beginning to find new motivation to start sewing whole heartily again.

 Some coasters created from vintage
upholstery fabric remnants

I still have a long way to go, but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was this hoard. I've made the start, and that's something to be proud of. Stay tuned, this "finisher" is underway. I hope to post more on the progress as it goes along.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How you doin'? Sew Sew!!

I have really missed my sewing machine. It's my sanity and my therapy, so not being able to use it for those reasons can be problematic, especially considering the insane stress of my day job. On top of that I've been doing an almost full time course load toward my degree (which thank god I only have a year left to do!!) Of course that hasn't meant that I have stopped buying fabric wherever I find it. The two pieces above were from a thrift store trip in March of this year. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to actually spend a day working on some fun projects for my graduating student assistants at work.

I choose to use a pattern from who has been retiring a bunch. I've gotten over 40 patterns for $10.00, during two of her $5.00 Friday sales. The PDF's and instructions are fabulous and easy to follow. 

I think the pink purse is my favorite of the two, even though I used vintage fabric for both. That one just seemed to feel more 1950's to me with that awesome gold thread running through it. I can see it with a simple dress or something fancier. I would even put a broach or two on it. 

At any rate, I have 13 more days of freedom before my summer classes start, so my sewing machine and I will be, hopefully, spending some more quality time together. I have a big craft show in December, and I feel very behind with items to sell there. 

Should I make more of these do you think? I swore I would never play with all the darts ever again, but now I'm debating it. Any thoughts??

Sunday, February 10, 2013

No More Wasting Time

I learned a very important thing this past Friday. I lost a friend and co-worker. She was very sweet. She and I would talk on our lunch hours about all of the projects we were working on,and it seems that every time we met I would remind her of the skirt and jacket she had cut out but was still on her table to be sewn. I learned a lot from her and was better for having known her. I'll miss her alot. Life is precious, time is precious, don't waste it. I promise friend that I will do everything I set my mind to accomplish. This post is in honor of you, because I'm not wasting time with un-finished projects.

The photo above is just a cross section of the fabric that greets me as soon as I step foot into my basment studio, and it's my goal to use it all, eventually. I made a "goal" on New Years to not buy anymore, but of course I didn't stick to it very well. In my defense however it's been primiarily for the projects that I do need to work on. Like this laptop messenger bag below.


This is for a co-worker who wanted a bag to carry her computer in. I made the pattern up as I went along, adding my own signature touches to it. I had exactly one yard of the floral fabric to work with, and I swore to use every last scrap of it. Once the bag was done, I made the key lanyard, and then the envelope pouch. I have a few more things to finish up, like the strap, and then it's all hers. I love specifically how the lanyard can link to keys or the envelope pouch. My computer is the same size and I think I'll be making my Dr. Who #10 bag in this style.

The envelope pouches below, I made for my sister's birthday in February. You might remember that I made a diamond patterned scrappy scarf out of the same fabrics, and since she loved that so much, I used the remainder of the fabric for these. I really enjoy making these up, and I plan to make a bunch for my craft booth. I found the pattern on Michelle's Patterns. Her patterns are realitively inexpensive and easy to make.

The little guys fit inside the larger pouch.

Another Michelle's pattern is the little owl coin purse that I'm totally addicted to making. They are amazing scrap busters and at Christmas time, I made my student assistants one a piece. They liked them. I have been slowly assembly lining them for sale at my craft booth too. I find it funny how they look mad while they go together. They each end up with their own little personality.

In another effort to use up what I've got in the studio, I have been making fabric covered button magnets. I buy the cover buttons at garage and estate sales, and had a big box. My fridge would be covered right now, but the goal is to have as many "smalls" for sale as possible when I get to craft booth season.  

Tired yet? I am too, but that's o.k.! Almost done. I had a lot of catching up to do. So hang in there. I promise, I'm almost done. :)

I'm having lots of fun with these key fob lanyards. They take only minutes to put together, and I haven't even nicked my stash of ribbon.

So that's just a tiny cross section of the work coming out of my studio. I'm determined to get my business up and running again, as full time as possible. I haven't even gotten to the thrifty stuff I have to list, but that's a blog for tomorrow on The Thrift Gift.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Recipe worth waiting on, Om nom nom!

I'm not going to lie, I'm severely addicted to Pinterest. It's like a quick one stop shop for everything. Lately I just keep pinning recipes. I've tried a few now, and this one I actually thought to document throughout the process. Not sure why, but maybe it's because the inclination to start cooking, baking and spending any time in my kitchen at all took about 36 years to finally kick in. How`s that for a delayed domesticity huh?

Anyway, my blogs usually aren't about food, but since it's something I "made" I feel as if it meets the criteria for this blog. After all it's just crafting with a different medium right?

TA DA! Cornbread waffles with Chicken Taco Chili

The crockpot has been taking up residence in the apartment for some time now. We had met briefly, but this was the first time we actually decided to date.

The recipe is pretty simple. I mean look at it! It's just ingredients and time. No major work, unless you count actually opening the cans and dumping it into the crockpot.

It begins!
  • Stir every once in a while.....check!
  • Keep busy while kitchen smells of amazing goodness.....check!

Add five hours to the mix and it's all cooked down.

Here's a little note the recipe doesn't tell you, you actually have to take the chicken breasts out of the crockpot once they are tender and easily start to break apart. The chicken gets shredded down and put back in. It instantly thickens up the chili.

I used a Paula Dean`s Cornbread waffle recipe to make up a few of those on my trusty waffle maker and there you have it! Chicken Taco Chili. It's not super spicy like you would expect a chili to be, but I still added the cheddar cheese and sour cream. Come on, it would be a crying shame not to.

Another added note. One waffle and 3/4 cups worth of chili is enough to make you super full. This really did make what they consider eight servings, but in my household it's more like 16. We ended up feezing two and eating some throughout the week.

Can't you just imagine this bad boy for dinner once the fall weather comes round? At least this time I won't have to wait five hours! ;)

Reclaimed Craftiness

Oh poor neglected blog of mine. Has it really been a month and a half almost since I last posted on you? That damn Pinterest, it's lured me away with the thrill of eventual fun things to do, make, bake, cook and visit. What's a girl to do when a bright shiny new site like that comes along? It completely turned my head, but fear not little blog I'm back. I promise that I will attempt to complete more, post more, and just all around not ignore you.

Set of 16 floral reclaimed fabric napkins

For now I'm sharing the pictures of the craftiest things I've done this week so far. They are napkin sets made out of some of my reclaimed vintage bed linens. They are 16"x16" and are perfect for the random garden party or shower. It's the fastest way I could think to creatively start thinning out my stash. What do you think little blog? Does it pass for creative craftiness? We'll if not I promise to do better by you! Cross my heart!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hand Portrait Commission

I love Hands, and I love to do hand portraits. Every now and again through my Etsy store I get an inquiry to do a commission piece for people of their families hands. This was a commission I received last year. I finished it in September while riding a bus to D.C., took pictures when I returned, and then my back went out again for the second time. Hello Vicodin haze!! I just found the pictures tonight while cleaning out some files on my computer. I really wanted to share the finished project with you.

The lovely lady who ordered this had a pretty big family. There were six total. She sent me the tracing for each hand by email. I realized pretty quickly that all six hands wouldn't fit in the hoop individually so I asked if I could take some artistic license. I decided to make all the hands intersect, as if they were growing from each other. It worked out amazingly, one starts and stops within the other. 

The colors were inspired by a floral rug the family purchased to go in their newly remodeled living room.
When the embroidery was done I cased it in a large hoop which I painted teal.

Side view detail 

Close up of hand, hand stitched embroidery

Back of hoop with teal fabric covering the stitching

QR Code Quilt Update

Oy! I certainly took on a project when I decided to make a mini quilt of this blogs QR code. I didn't really think at the time I was taking on a "postage stamp" quilt. The pieces when they are finally sewn together end up being the size of a postage stamp. I've made it so far to row seven. There are about 23 more rows to go. 

You can see from the chart how precise I am about making sure there's no square out of place. I've had a few not line up perfectly, but I think it will still work when I attempt to scan it, when it's completed. When that day comes I'm breaking out the champagne (and I don't drink)!

Wow! It really pops off my green dining room table! 

So many more rows to go! I better go cut some more squares. ;)

Just keep sewing....Just keep sewing...Just keep sewing...

These lightweight scarves are so much fun to make and they go together so fast. I finished this one up this weekend. What I mostly enjoy is that I've been able to use up remnants of fabric that I've had in the studio forever. I am in love with this one and how amazing it came out. The purple just makes it pop! Isn't it pretty?

Since I've been doing so much cleaning in the studio I now have a few boxes of cut down diamonds of fabric. I'm all about reducing, reusing, and recycling so I've cut down some vintage linens and I can't wait to get started on the next one. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scarves from the Remains

I'm really starting to get to the point where I can begin working on unfinished projects again. It's been a while since I've communed with the sewing studio as much as I have the last two weekends. I even managed to get items listed on my store too.

We'll this weekend I decided to work on some scrappy scarves that I had cut out. This one is my favorite so far. It's identical to the one I made for my niece for Christmas last year. The center floral diamonds are cut from a vintage linen curtain. It was in great shape, but had a hole in it, so it was never going to work as a curtain again. The yellow floral fabric was something I picked up along the way at Craftbits. I had a good few yards of that. I think they were amazing the way the colors play off of each other. I hope to get it listed in the store this week.

This little scrappy scarf below, in the pink and blue is a birthday present for a student worker. We realized last week that we had forgotten her birthday. I was really tired, having worked on other projects, but having no money to go buy something for her, I figured it was best to whip something together. I decided to use the colors below because she dyed the ends of her hair in pink and blue. I thought they might play off of each other. My diamonds didn't line up perfectly this time round, but I've learned a few tricks with the template so that's not happening on the next few I have started putting together. I hope she likes it!

I think overall it's pretty cute and feminine. Not my particular style, but it will really work for her. She has this denim jacket with doilies sewn to it, that will pull the whole look together.

Well, I just wanted to share some of my finished crafty projects. I'm off to work on some spray painting now. What crafty things did you get up to this weekend?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Back in the Sewing Saddle Again! And Loving it!

This weekend turned out to be an amazing one for me when it came to communing with my studio again. I've been so long away from it on a full time basis that I took every opportunity to stick with it while the muse struck. In all I managed to get four pieces of clothing made, two more strips on my QR code quilt, and a number of other projects prepped and ready to go. The most amazing part however is that I can now see my sewing table, which is organized and clean. That right there was worth all the effort.

My main goal this weekend was to finish up as many cut out projects as I could. I bought a vintage wrap dress pattern recently, and cut it out almost immediately, however it sat cut out for almost three weeks.

(Vintage Simplicity Jiffy pattern 8125)

It's been needling at me to be finished, so come heck or high water (which there was some threat of with all the rain) I was going to get it done, and I did!

Here it is!!

My first wrap dress is done! I'm pleasantly surprised at how it came out. I amended the pattern a little bit as I went along, and I'm not thrilled at the placement of the inner ties that hold this all closed, but that can be changed on the next dress. This one is made from a beautiful vintage sheet, and it's lined with a light tan colored fabric. I'm dying to see how it will look on an actual human being so if you are a misses size 8-10 , I'm in need of a model, so just let me know. The dress form is only a size 6.

 Full length wrap dress.

It ties just under the bust line so it has a bit of an empire line to it.

Blouse (size 18 misses)

My other unfinished projects, what I affectionately call "the blouses" are now finished as well. There are only two shown here in a state of semi completion. They are all from vintage linens as well. My favorite is a little blue/green one not pictured , but I really love the pink and green one too. I have to take a photo of them finished on the form, but the sweat shop was very busy, and the sewing took precedence over the picture taking (I will, I promise).

Finished blouse (size 18 misses)