Friday, August 31, 2007

It's done! (Just in time too!)

I finished sewing up my new purse last night. Here are the specs-
  • 2 vintage quilt pieces found second hand that where originally destined for a wedding circle quilt.
  • Linen recycled from a thrifted skirt.
  • Kelly green broad cloth purchased at a 'going-out-of-business' sale for the interior.
  • Zippered pocket on the inside lined with a great yellow print that was received in a swap at some point.
  • Another interior pocket perfect for the cell phone.
  • Hidden magnetic clasp.
  • Lightly interfaced.
  • 1.5 inch gusset.
*Warning* The camera was not my best friend this morning and could not get a clear image to save my life.

The interior. This bag *could* be reversible but lacking a major chocolate disaster, the linen/patchwork side will remain the exterior.

Pleats and gathers! Hooray!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Week of accomplishments!

I have had some very busy days. I have finished up much of my home study course for my new job and now I continue to look through my flash cards I made to keep all the information fresh in my mind.

I finally finished that pattern I have been working on. Here's how I used those vintage quilt pieces I found a few weeks back. I paired it with some recycled linen. I still have to finish the outside by adding the gusset and make the handle. The interior is complete. I made it out of a solid kelly green fabric complete with a zippered pocket and a cell phone pocket. The gathers took more time than I originally thought.

I also did some last minute thrifting earlier this week. I found these goodies for a grand total of $.85. Look at that HUGE roll of bias tape. Score! I also stopped by the Goodwill this afternoon and was extremely lucky at finding linen skirts and dresses. My linen supply was at record lows so I am glad I am stocked back up.

I want to show off my latest necklace. I purchased this from Lindsey over at her shop a few weeks ago. I love it. My favorite part is the little crystal detail she added by the clasp. The bell has such a sweet ring to it too. Jeff affectionately calls this necklace the "wifey locater device." The bell could have been attached to the harness of a horse. It looks like a little one that would attach to the halter.

I also got to spend a great Tuesday evening with a couple of college friends making and canning applesauce. We harvested the apples from the trees, cut, peeled, cored, and cooked. Then continued on to can over 20 quarts. Not bad for a few hours on Tuesday.

AND, I am messing around with Photoshop. Which has completely frustrated me. With sewing it's not hard for me to make my imaged designs come to life. Working with Photoshop is another story. I did manage to make a new banner for the top of this blog, but it's still just 'eh'. I went to the library to see if they had Photoshop for Dummies but it was already checked out. Figures. However, all is not lost and could be getting expert help this weekend.

And then, I finally have all of my blogs hooked up to Google Reader. It's a pretty snazzy program. All I have to do it click that little orange icon in the address bar when I am on your site and it will take me to a screen that will give be options on where I want to save your RSS feed to. I choose Google then Google Reader (you also have the option to add it to your Google homepage) and Reader automatically lets me know when you all update your blogs! So instead of spending hours going through all my bookmarks to see if you all updated, I just log into Google Reader to see how many new updates there are since I last logged on. Such a time saver! And so easy to use!

I am done studying for today, so I am heading into the craft room to finish the purse and start packing crafting project for my stay in Chicago. Have a great holiday weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Preparing for travel

I was busy studying and sewing yesterday. Giving each side of my brain equal workouts. Since I will be leaving town for a few weeks, I needed to make some travel zippy pouches to store my goods during transport. I made the following pouch to store my embroidery materials.

You've seen this before but with the Sparrows fabric. This time I went with an Amy Butler print. I just found that white necklace at the thrift store. It is has 1'' white, oval glass (or maybe porcelain) beads. Once I restring it to a 16'' length, I plan to wear it with some of my work outfits as an alternative to pearls. The pouch is also sitting on an afghan found in an attic. I washed it, but it's still dingy. I would like to dye it a dark chocolate brown, but I never dyed anything before. I know some people use their washers, but does that stain the white enamel on the inside basin? It would be nice to redye my blacks black again too. Any words of wisdom on dyeing fabrics?

I also added a pocket to each side. Maybe I should have added a button and loop closure or something. I didn't have any zippers to use on the inside that matched the fabric so it stayed open.

I'd like to make a few more pouches to store my cosmetics. I looked briefly around my JoAnn's to find some sort of workable vinyl to line the inside, but couldn't find anything but the thick table cloth stuff. I want to make a pouch that will hold my full size shampoo and conditioner bottles and a smaller bag to replace the free Clinique bag I have been using for my makeup. Has anyone seen a more flexible, cloth-like vinyl out there?

Also, I will be temporarily closing my Etsy Shop while I am away. It would be a fruitless effort on my part to try to get my husband to improve his wrapping and writing skills, so my shop will be closed from Sept 3rd (any orders placed on the 3rd will be shipped on the 4th) and reopening Wednesday, Oct 10th. Hopefully, I will have many more cute embroidered items to add.

In addition to finishing the zipper pouch, I finished up the muslin sewing pattern I made and cut out all the pieces. I would like to have that finished before I leave so I can take it with me. This all depends on how many times I have to rip it apart from sewing curves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I have had the opportunity for so many months to be completely creative with most of my thoughts, that it has been quite a switch these past two days as I read scientific metabolic processes in 8 hour stretches. So what's a girl to do?

Create a great lunch for increased brain power.

Grilled peanut butter and jelly (homemade strawberry) with bananas! Paired with a chilled glass of 1% milk. I just found 2 of those glasses at the thrift store. It's hard to make out the white tree design, but I was inspired by the image and had to get them.

At night, when I put my books away I have been working on a new pattern. I started using muslin instead of immediately cutting into my dwindling linen supply. It was a smart decision on my part because I am now on version 2.2. My original idea turned out bogus, but something better emerged (and is still emerging).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Vintage Fabrics

I have had the most wonderful fabrics cross my path lately. And in large quantities. In fact, I washed them all up this week and wondered what I was going to sew with all of it. I know some people have had great success with selling vintage fabrics on Etsy, so I thought I would give it a try.

In between baking batches of chocolate chip cookies, I loaded these 3 fabrics in my shop.

This is a heavyweight cotton. Very vibrant colors. I am keeping a small portion for myself, but don't see myself using the mass I acquired. 4 yards available.

I think I showed this one before. As I dug through a second box I discovered several more yards! The possibilities are endless with this one. 4 yards available.

And finally a gorgeous yellow striped sea sucker fabric. I am keeping three yards to use as backs to future baby blankets, but you really couldn't get a more cheerful yellow. 4 yards available.

And lastly, I have to share a recent thrifting find. Awhile ago, I saw these hand pieced semi-circles at a vintage quilting store. This past Friday I returned to see what inspiration I could find and was immediately hit with an idea on how to use them. So this is my current work in progress.

In fact, I am going to start right now on it!

Friday, August 17, 2007


You have no idea how irate I can be towards my printer sometimes. And it's not that I don't like my 4 in 1 Brother printer. It does all it's jobs great except when you run out of an ink.

It drives me bonkers that when I run out of the yellow ink that I can't continue to print with the black ink. The whole printer shuts down until I replace the ink I hardly ever use! And the printer chose to run out of yellow right when I tried printing off my online 20% off Borders coupon.

Jeff and I where all ready to enjoy an evening reading magazines we never buy when I unleashed the fury. I think it was a full 20 minute tantrum on my part. I kept referring to the printer company as "The Man" and how they were all snickering at me for falling under their cleverly designed scheme to make you purchase printer ink all the time. ARRGG!

Thankfully Jeff has the level head in our relationship and since he is also the smarty pants took the 20 minutes I was ranting on about "The Man" to find a way to "Stick it to the Man!"

This is what he found out about my Brother printer. (I don't know if this trick can be used with other brands of printers.) The machine is smart. It checks ink levels using a laser light. So you have to be smarter than the machine and trick it to thinking the ink is full.

This is exhibit A: Empty Ink Cartridge that ruined my evening.

Exhibit B: Electrical Tape. You have to use electrical tape because of its density to fool the laser beam. All you need to do it place the tape over the clear portion on the cartridge. Make sure the tape is flush with the contour of the plastic.

Exhibit C: One printer ink cartridge decoy. My printer still thinks I have yellow ink! MMmmwahhahahahah!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Just Smitten!

I went on a new fabric buying splurge last week and came home with some new Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler fabrics. For the first time in weeks, I couldn't wait to do laundry. :)

I had been eying the new "Sparrows" fabric since I seen it online and loved it even more in person. I think the Orange and Yellow swap really opened my eyes to how gorgeous those colors can be. Needless to say, I bought a combination of 5 yards of various yellow and orange prints. I love looking at them!

I wanted to make a Thank You gift to the girl that gave me the heads up on my new job. She gave me the contact information that got my resume to the right place.

I came up with this nice sized cosmetic bag. It measured 15 inches by 10 inches and then I sewed the corners in to give it a roomy bottom. I loved, loved, loved how it came out. The linen I used matches perfectly with the neutral tones in the sparrow fabric. Perfectly.

I loved it so much I wanted to make another, but only had a smidgen of the same linen left over. I had to get creative with the cutting so I would have enough. I made it up as I went. Because of that my front panel design was too close to the bottom and I couldn't sew the corners in without disrupting the design. So it stayed sewn as a normal zippy pouch. It's currently listed on my Etsy account. This is also rather large measuring at 12 inches by 8 inches. There is a design on both sides.

I also put to use the zipper sewing tip that Ginny posted on her blog a couple weeks back. It was so easy and the results are fabulous.

Using different linen this time, I plan on making myself a set of zipper pouches to travel with since I will be away for training several weeks at a time. I need to make a run to the fabric store to grab some vinyl lining in case my shampoo bottles leak. I am going to be putting in some hard core sewing time this week. There have been lots of ideas floating around my head. I finished up a few old projects last night making way for all my new ideas! In fact, I plan on staying up late tonight cutting new fabric till my eyes can't focus any more.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


I have never had someone give a review of my stuff before (except for my mom!) so imagine my complete surprise when Ginny from wrote a whole post on the grocery bags she just purchased from me. I went to bed with a smile on my face! I almost stayed up to continue more sewing, but I was so tired I couldn't focus on myself when flossing my teeth.

Even though I haven't been sewing as much as I need to, my idea book is overfloweth. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have off from work and I can spend some quality time with my new beau, Pfaff.

And before I end this, here is a peek at a few recent thrift store fabric finds.

The purple flower print is a linen dress, and I found a white embroidered linen vest. It's a very small amount but I have plans for it! The strawberry print looks like someone made a homemade table cloth. There is a large stain in the middle, but if it doesn't wash out there is still plenty more to play with.

This is is a juvenile print found in my MIL attic. It used to be curtains. But I couldn't resist when I saw little merri-legs dancing around the letter "H". So cute!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Stepping up in the World!

I don't know about where you live, but western MD felt like a sauna today. I normally don't complain about the heat, but when I stepped outside it was instant sweat and difficult to breath all that hot moist air. When I lived in Moscow for a winter, I took part in a traditional Bonya where I was wrapped head to toe in wet sheets because the sauna was so hot it could fry your hair. They gave us cold beers to drink and a bucket of water to throw on the stones. Never before in my life did I ever experience the sensation of every pore in my body opening up at once. They left you in to bake for about 10 minutes before they rushed you out and herded the group to a pool that had an icy surface. In you went. P.A.I.N.F.U.L! for the first 5 times. Afterwards my muscles felt like Jello and I took a 4 hour nap and woke up refreshed and invigorated! My skin looked amazing too. The whole treatment was so torturous that even the blackheads didn't want to stick around. :)

Moving on.... there was a big event in our household a few weekends ago. Jeff and I got a big kid bed! We graduated from a lifetime of metal frames and dry wall headboards to this beauty-

Now we need the side table to match, but they will have to wait. I don't think we will be buying new, so I need to thrift something that looks better than the Wal-mart clearance hallway table we have been using for years.

Here's a view at the other end. My mom found that print in the trash and gave it to me. I had it all throughout college and once I got my first job I spent the money and had it framed. It's huge! The frame matches the new bed perfectly and I think I'll get some new winter sheets to match the blues. The dresser was given to me by my grandmother. It was her first bedroom suit when she first got married in 1955. I really dislike the finish, so when we get a garage it will be refinished to match everything else. But I love the clean lines of it. I see it's inner beauty. It just needs a make-over.

I have been creating lately, but items on a smaller scale. I have got together with a fellow blogger for a personal swap, so I have been busy with that. I can't show any pictures because that would ruin the surprise.

Speaking of stepping up in the world, I will be taking a new job in a few weeks. Many of you probably don't know this, but when we moved to MD I didn't have a career job lined up. It's been 11 months (I still cringe!) but I was offered a great job yesterday. I was very picky about what I wanted and with the new area we moved into, it took more time that I could ever imagine. I can be thankful that during my unemployment we were provided for. We had a budget and made it work.

There will be some big changes being made in the next 2 months. New job, training out of state, a move to a new apartment within my sales territory, and all that contact information stuff. New phone (for work), new address, new vehicle registrations (since we will be hoping over the border to PA), and all that jazz.

I have already made plans to keep creative during my out of state training. I will be working on some embroidery projects. I need to get the fabric pre-cut before I travel, but otherwise it should be a nice project to take along for the ride.

Geeze, I don't blog for weeks and here I am yanking your ear off. It's bedtime anyways. If any of you have any good ideas for crafting projects that are airplane and suitcase friendly let me know! I would appreciate it!