Friday, November 6, 2009

Wall Hanging

This project has been sitting in the back of my mind for several weeks now. I was inspired by one of my sewing blogs to search for this gorgeous Michael Miller fabric with the orange flower pods on it; it was my first online fabric purchase! Ah the power of peer pressure! Once I got the fabric in the mail I was pleased to notice that it looked really nice in my living room, so it sat on my couch for a few days before I eventually moved it into the craft room (spare room).

And it's been waiting for me ever since, until last week, when I finally took the time to pop into the fabric store with this project in mind. I found a handful of fun orange and blue and purple prints, all but two of which I used in the finished project. I played with the design a little on scrap paper over the course of this week, working out the proportions that I wanted and finally tonight, after turning in my big work project to my bosses empty desk (it was 4:57 and he had left the office at 4:55!!!!), I sat down and started cutting! and cutting! and ironing! and stitching! and ironing! and stitching! and before I knew it I was dragging A into the living room to look at my creation! It's only the top panel of what will be a quilted wall hanging, but I'm pleased as punch with how it is turning out!

It was much faster to whip up than I thought it would be. I'd say it took me about an hour and a half all in all. This was my first quilt-ish project that I've made that I feel has the proper angles and lines and I'm quite pleased. Tomorrow I will run back the fabric store to pick up some batting and a fabric for the back... or maybe I'll put together another front and stitch them together with top loops so I can reverse it to mix up the decor? eeeee, that sounds like a good idea! Wish me luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blogs I Follow

I realized this morning as I was blogging and posting some new things on my etsy, that all I ever seem to blog about anymore are new items in my shop and I wanted to take a minute to blog about something else! And what better to blog about than my favorite blogs! Because if you like to see what I make, maybe you'd also like to see what I read? Maybe?

Last year I blogged about Sew Mama Sew, a fantastic blog that has inspiring sewing ideas and pattern for free. Last year Sew Mama Sew did an amazing Handmade Holiday collection of gifts that you could make for the holidays. This month, they are doing a scrap busting month with ideas and patterns to convert all of your scrap fabric into beautiful things! Go check it out! I'm especially inspired by this and this and this...

Here are a few other crafty blogs that I read almost every day (when they post something new!)
Who posted a cute fabric box that she made the other day.
Who sells gorgeous purses on Etsy and has recently been experimenting with handstitching from Alabama Chanin's book.
Who is a quilter but posts all kinds of great sewing tips for non-quilters as well! Her recent blog features the newest edition of Stitch Magazine which I keep meaning to get my hands on... my friend D bought it for my friend N's birthday and I almost stole it from the birthday girl!

These are a few of my favorite sewing blogs, check them out and share some of your favorites!

Holiday Prep

The last few weeks have been pretty crazy for me between work and helping to organize the SECAC conference that my department was hosting and procrastinating in front of my beads... phew! I realized this week that I tend to make more jewelry when I am busy than when I have free time. Isn't that odd? When I am crazy busy I have to reward myself with 15-20 minutes of non-work every now and then, so I end up turning to my craft room as my getaway space. I can easily start and stop a jewelry project as my spare time dictates. I just keep all of my current project's materials in a velvet lined tray and drop it into a bureau drawer when I stop (to keep it away from kitties). With this method I posted 6-8 new things on my etsy website these last 2 weeks! Much more than my normal listing speed!

It also occurred to me that now is the time to start building up my shop for the holiday season. The more items you have the more likely you will have just the right thing for a buyer! So my goal is to keep making and posting regularly for the next few weeks. Hopefully I can keep up the momentum!

I've also started a facebook fan page. I'm not sure if I will keep it up yet. So far I've only been using it to promote new listings in the shop and thats kinda boring I think. I haven't decided if I really have a use for it yet!

Thought I'd post a few pics of new things in the shop just to spice up this post, hope you like!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Red and Brown Stitch Markers

I've been having a terrible time lately with my camera. It's definitely time for a new one. But last night I was so excited to post some of the new things I've made that I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled with the lighting and the magnifying until I squeezed out a handful of decent pictures for listing. I'm not happy with the lighting still but its better than it used to be.

Here are two new sets of stitch markers. I really don't think the lighting does the colors justice but it will have to do. The red is far more jewel toned than it appears in the pictures. Whats a girl to do! Making stitch markers makes me miss knitting. I haven't seriously picked up my knitting needles since my move south. Partly this is because of a lack of time but mostly its because I just don't feel like knitting when its hot outside and it is always hot here. Or at least warm-ish. Sigh. Maybe I should take a project with me to Maine for Christmas, two weeks of knitting over the holidays might be in order!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Green Mod Earrings

I love the cute modern designs on these silver findings. So bubble-y and sweet :) At first I wanted to put them with some sort of candy color, but the green Jade adds an earthy tone to the earrings that I really like. In fact, I have one pair posted on Etsy, one pair that I made for myself, and one pair that I gifted to my friend Nikki! Is it bad when you are your own biggest customer? ;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Belated Birthday Earrings

I wanted to post these cute earrings that I made a few weeks ago but couldn't as they were a birthday surprise for my friend C! But I got a little thank you from her this week so I know she's gotten them in the mail and now I can post them! I've been having fun playing with alternative metals the last few times I've trekked to the craft store. Copper and bronze seem to be quite the IT fashion statement! I didn't want to distract from the gorgeous art deco inspired circular dangle that completes these earrings, so just some clear glass beads on this one, but they have great sparkle!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just a few things

With all the craziness thats been happening around me these last few weeks I've had very little time for crafting. Perhaps crafting is just what the doctor ordered though, to get my mind off of all the craziness, guess I should take that to mind this weekend! I finally got my sewing machine out for a test run in the new house to make a beautiful baby blanket for a friend who is expecting this October (but I forgot to take a picture!) and I whipped up a pair of flashy, sparkly dangling earrings for my friend Jen who will wear them as a bridesmaid in a wedding this fall. I can post those (seen above)! The bride likes them so much she commissioned a second pair! And I had a commission for a necklace that will be a birthday present for someone special (again no picture of that either!). Part of the problem with the pictures is that my camera isn't working so well. You might have noticed that my pictures have been less than par lately, strange pink stripes on the edges and whatnot. Another problem is that I haven't been able to find the right place for picture taking in the new house. The new house has a big old beautiful pecan tree in the back yard, so big it overshadows the house and gives wonderful relieving shade to the whole lot. Unfortunately for me, that means I get no bright sunlight to take pictures with. I'll have to think of a lighting alternative, multiple florescents or some such!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Real Kitchen

The move might have happened back in June but I'm still trying to make this house into a home and getting rid of unseemly brown boxes is only one part of the problem. Another part of the problem has been our kitchen, which until last week and for the last four years has been unfinished wood. Well, with the aid and especially the momentum of my mother, I now have a kitchen, a real kitchen. We primed and painted the cabinets and what a difference it makes, in the kitchen and in my mind! It's given me a renewed energy to work on other parts of the house. Thanks Mom!

Monday, July 27, 2009

And Moose and Lobster!

And of course the obligatory Maine Moose pictures! And a Lobster!

On of three baby moose that were being cared for at the Maine Wildlife Park. It's just a baby and it stands taller than Miss Emi!

And the real thing, this moose was so big and his antlers so heavy that his breathing made him rock back and forth as he slept.

Mmmm dinner....

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Just wanted to post a few pictures of my recent trip to Maine. Growing up in Maine you don't always appreciate the beauty of the surrounding landscape but now as a bit of an outsider I am awed by it. I spent my two weeks home visiting friends and family and seeing as much of the sea as I could. The weather wasn't as inspiring as I would have liked, it rained or threatened as much for 14 of the 18 days I was home. But luckily I managed to make it to the beach on the nice day!

Other than beaching I spent time with two of my college friends on Cape Cod where we visited a fabulous pick your own farm. I could not stop snapping pictures the whole time we were there with all the lush greenery springing from the earth!

And of course I spent a whole lot of time with my favorite niece and nephew! Here they are at Home Depot's Saturday Kids Clinic where they were making a Picnic Caddy. You can tell little Joey is really going to town with his tools! After we finished with the clinic we went into the store for a few things and every tool we passed Joey said, "I want that for my birthday next year." Power Drill, "I want that for my birthday next year." Table Saw, "I want that for my birthday next year." Etc. Very cute. And Emi did a great job of making her Picnic Caddy without getting anything on her lovely dress :)

It was a great visit and I miss the kiddos already!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sushi at Home

A and I have had a busy and tough last few weeks with his work schedule and the impending move, so last night I decided we needed a night together in the kitchen. There is something so comforting and home-y about cooking together. We love to go out for sushi, in fact our second date was to a sushi restaurant, so I thought I'd try to teach him to make sushi. It's something I've done at home once or twice but it's been a while and I love to do it! Here's a look at our feast! We made three types of rolls, one California roll, one roll with shrimp, crab, and cucumber, and one roll of A's own making with who knows what in it (I know it included some hot sauce so I steered clear of it!). We also made Summer Rolls similar to the ones that I learned to make from my friend Julia (Thanks Jules!) and Miso soup with rice noodles. It was far more food than we could eat, but look how fabulous!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Coconut Cake!

Yesterday was A's birthday! I asked him what kind of cake was his favorite and instead of the usual Chocolate or Vanilla or Carrot Cake, all cake's I've made before, I got Coconut Cake! Now let me preface by saying birthdays are a big deal in my family, probably because we all have a really big sweet tooth and will come up with any excuse to invite people over for cake and birthdays are a more natural excuse than say President's day cake or random Sunday cake. So I searched through recipes and cookbooks looking for an easy and delicious looking Coconut cake and decided on one by Paula Dean, Jaimie's Coconut Cake. It was pretty simple, your basic 1-2-3-4 Cake as she calls them but with coconut milk in the batter and then a sour cream and coconut filling and of course coconut sprinkled on top. Coconut inside and out! It came out beautifully, although my icing skills leave much to be desired... A loved it and that's what counts the most, that and the fact that the coconut sprinkled on top hides all sort of problem spots! I asked him later last evening the last time he had coconut cake and what it was like, just for comparison and what did he say? It was plain white cake and white frosting and coconut sprinkled on top! Much simpler than what I came up with, but I suspect not quite as exciting :)

Checkbook Cover

Here's a little glance at another project that I made from the Heather Ross Weekend Sewing book, the Checkbook Cover. This was a very easy pattern to follow, not so much of a pattern as a tutorial or instructions since it did not require a physical pattern as such. I was excited to use this black and white fabric scrap left over from my recent bag project and I thought it was fun to pair it with something bright like this teal floral print. I'm not using it as a checkbook cover however, I'm storing my coupons in it and keeping it in my purse, it makes a great little organizer!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gracie's Dress

I'm in love with this little dress that I made for my friend's daughter Gracie! It came out really really cute. I posted about it a few posts back. The pattern came out of Heather Ross' new book Weekend Sewing, which I am totally in love with! I've also made the CheckBook Cover from the book (which I am using as a coupon holder) and am just hems away from finishing the Kimono Dress for myself! Wait til you see the Dress! Love it! But one post at a time!

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Earrings!

After several cloudy days I finally had enough sun today to take some pictures of the new earrings that I made last week! Both pairs have metal links as their base and dangling glass bead accents. I liked the teal and brown ones so much I kept the first pair for myself and made a second pair to put on Etsy!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not Quite A Dress

I mentioned in my last post that I had purchased some adorable fabric that called out to me for a dress for a good friend's daughter who will be 1 this month. Here's the fabric, isn't it cute?! It's called "Sweet Tweets" by Janet Gossard for Fabric by Spectrix and I picked it up at Joann's. I was double-y inspired by Heather Ross' new book Weekend Sewing, which had the cutest little dress in it with smocking at the top (aptly named the Smocked Sundress) and an easy summer feel to it, perfect for a growing girl and for the weather here in the south.

Well, yesterday was my last day of classes for the spring semester and as I finished up class around 1:30, I had all afternoon to play with my sewing machine and get this little project started. I was especially excited to learn how to make smocking, I can think of many opportunities where it would be helpful to have a little extra give or to avoid structuring a garment (not that I have any experience with structuring, but this seems like a great way to avoid anything too difficult for a while!). So I wound my bobbin with elastic cord and off I went! It was incredibly easy to make the smocking and I think it looks pretty good. In fact I was thinking that this pattern and shape would make a really cute maternity top, when else would a woman be able to wear bubblegum sweet birdies without looking silly? Alas, I don't know anyone in that state at the moment, but maybe I'll pick up a little more yardage anyways for future present making :)

New Metal Links

I picked up these cute new metal links the other day and love the possibilities! I made a fun and eclectic necklace for my friend Diane's birthday this past weekend but alas I forgot to take a pic! Here are two sets of earrings that I made with similar links, the Raspberry Drops which have a great dangle to them, and the Blue Circles that are just gorgeous pale blue colors.

On another note I've been working on a dress for little girl I know who is turning 1 this month! I wasn't planning on making a little girl's dress but I saw the fabric in Joann's the other day and couldn't help but buy a yard and then I picked up Heather Ross' new Weekend Sewing book and low and behold there was the perfect pattern! I'll post pics of the dress next time when it's a little further along!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit

This month several of my pieces of jewelry are on display in the Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit! I think it is such an honor to exhibit with the talented artists in my department when my role in the department is as an Art History Professor. Here you can see several pairs of earrings and two necklaces on display in one of the cabinets. I was excited to be able to share this with my mother as well who was visiting this past weekend from the far north (Maine)!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bridesmaid Commission

A few months ago, one of my best friend's (C.D.) initiated a conversation between myself and her sister (K.D.), who will be married this coming fall. K.D. had admired a pair of earrings that I had made for C.D. a few years back as a Christmas present and as luck would have it, the earrings perfectly match the dark raspberry pink of her bridesmaids dresses. So... she commissioned six pairs of the earrings for her bridal party! It was a wonderful commission for me but unfortunately I've had one illness after another this spring and didn't have a chance to complete them as quickly as I would have liked. Typically I like to complete commissions within days or weeks depending on the complexity, but this one was initiated shortly after Christmas of this year and I've only just finished them! Good thing the wedding isn't until September!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh Jamaica

One last look at my trip to Jamaica. Here's a little video I took on the trip so you can see the beauty of Jamaica with the music and calming sound of the sea in the background...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jamaica, No Problem

I've got a lot of work to do tonight, but I felt the need to share a few pics with all of you who have been hounding me about the trip. For those not in the know, the BF and I spent last week in Jamaica. We had THE most amazing trip. No worries, no problems, at least once we arrived :) Here's a quick glimpse, I'll post more later!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Black and White for me!

Those of you who know me have probably figured out that I like to wear mostly black and white (it's just so darned easy and looks good with my skin tone!), so you won't be surprised to learn that I had been hoarding a piece of black and white fabric for over a year now with the intention of making myself a great new bag.

Unfortunately I couldn't figure out what kind of bag I wanted to make with the fabulous swirling dyed fabric and so it sat, sadly in one of my bags of stashed fabric and waited, until yesterday! Yesterday, while I was out spending all my money at Target, I saw this bag and instantly fell in love! I love the print, of course, anything geometric with grey and/or orange will catch my eye lately, but it was the handles that blew me away. I love how they have the slightest curve and are doubled up at the top for extra stability for gripping or shoulder riding. So I studied the purse for a few minutes and thought the inevitable "I can do that!" And voila!

My version does not have the structured three panel look that the original had, nor did the handles come out quite the same. I made some alterations so that I could make it double sided with another gorgeous black and white print that I picked up at Joann's (a brocaded fabric at that, so it add some stability to the bag from its thickness). But I kept the shape of the handles and doubled over the hands (although mine are doubled over throughout, not just at the top, necessitated by the double sided bag). I adore it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mardi Gras in Mobile

I've been spending a lot of my time this week celebrating Mardi Gras! Mobile, AL was the first city to do a big Mardi Gras (not New Orleans!) Mobile's version of Mardi Gras is much more family friendly than the hoopla slightly west of here in NOLA, but still a very big deal. There are parades every night for the two weeks leading up to the big day (and sometimes two!) and of course there is plenty of drinking and king cake and moon pies and revelry! Thought I would take this blog to show some pics of the parade for all of you and maybe convince some of you to come celebrate with me next year!