September 29, 2010

Autumn Inspiration

I started out a while back to make a card with some earth-tone colors and a cute little owl.  Then I totally went down another road and decided to make it into a shadow box decoration.  I didn't take any picutres along the way, but I'll describe how I made it.

The background paper is a copper/rust metallic so it has a nice shine to it.  I started out with the leaf cluster stamp and stamped them like branches - one a little higher than the other.  Then I freehanded the tree trunk around them and cut the whole "tree" out.  I stamped another leaf cluster and cut it out close to the image (this is the cluster in front of the owl).

For the owl, I simply stamped him then cut out close to the image.  I used foam dimensionals to affix the owl and the top leaves to give some depth.

For the moon, stars, and swirls around the trunk, I used some of the Sizzix dies I have:
I stamped "Autumn" onto the circle off-centered for a little interest.  I used a sponge douber like this one to ink the edges of all the swirls, stars, and the moon to also give some dimension and "dirty" it up a little.

And here is the final project out of its frame:

While we were looking for a cabinet last weekend, we went to Goodwill and I bought both of these scarves for a grand total of $3!  I am a total scarf fiend - I have a ton of them.  In South Texas, any day that touches below 65 degrees warrants wearing one, otherwise I wouldn't get them all worn.  In my own little way, it feels like I'm doing my part to "will" the weather to get colder.  :)

September 27, 2010

Catching Up

Tiger Man was taking it really rough the other day!  I just had to share a pic of the funniest sleeping position I've ever seen him in.

I've been negligent to write about what I've been doing lately.  I've selfishly used my spare time to sew rather than post.  But, here's a quick run down of what's been going on.

The baby quilt is coming along - the top is put together now (unless I decide to do one more border).  It has a fun surprise border I want to share with you guys when it's finished.

I finally received all my upholstery supplies that I ordered a while back.  I now have a second upholstery project that I'm working on for a friend.  I'll document and take pictures as I go along so I can share with you if it turns out to be educational.  :)

My sweet husband has been taking specs to build my dream sewing cabinet.  We found an old, solid wood roll top desk that we wanted to convert into a sewing cabinet, but the resale shop failed to mark it as sold - what a dream crusher!  But, it gave us a direction and now we are free to work with the exact dimensions I want.  Check back for pictures as we go along and a pattern to be available soon!

A random side project that came along was to create a costume hat for my husband so he could dress like Mr. Sir (from Holes - if you haven't seen it, go rent it tonight!) for Homecoming Spirit Week at the school where he teaches.  We pulled off the costume pretty well.  I wish we would've thought earlier to get a rubber lizard to paint yellow spots on.  That would've definitely been the cherry on the top.  Here's a pic of the lovely hat we embellished.

I also have a fall paper project that I want to share with you guys - check back later this week to get some fall inspiration!

September 18, 2010

The Taming of the Periodicals

I sat down tonight to work on one of my periodic "housekeeping" tasks and thought you all may be interested in some tips I use to manage my magazine and pattern stash.  You may be like me and get several magazine subscriptions plus advertisements.  I do find a lot of inspiration and ideas from advertisements such as Pottery Barn and Talbot's. 

Tip 1:  Try to read through them as soon as I get them, the longer they sit the less interested you may be in them.  If I can't get to them right away, I put them by my chair in the living room and will try to go through at least 1 magazine (unless I have a stitching project going) every time I sit down to watch TV.  I just feel more productive if I'm not just sitting watching TV.

Tip 2:  Pull out anything you could use for future reference, below are a few ideas of what I think are "keepers".  I would love to tell you I file them right away (see Tip 4 below), but I just pile them in a sort-of Incoming box and usually when it starts to get full, I'll sit down for 20 minutes and sort it all out.  It's kinda like Christmas because I've usually already forgotten most of the stuff I put in there!  :)
  • Keep things that inspire you in whatever you're in to - sewing/crafting, home/outdoor decor, ect.
  • Inspiration for DIY projects (there are so many beautiful things but so darn expensive, for me at least - Pottery Barn and Talbot's)
  • Patterns you would seriously consider making.  You can't keep everything you like, it would just be too overwhelming!
Tip 3:  Find friends that have different subscriptions than you and set up a swapping circle.  One caveat, however, do be aware of copyright laws and if you plan to use any patterns other than for personal use, you need to buy a copy of the magazine for yourself.

Tip 4:  Purchase some type of file organization system at your local office supply store and make categories to store all your tear-outs and purchased patterns.  Right now, I have a hanging folder basket.  I may need to move to a file cabinet before long, my little basket is getting heavy!  Just to get you started, these are the categories I created.
  • Gardening - Southern Living always has really great tips here, I just wish reading them would instantly give me a green thumb.  But, alas we can't all be like my Aunt Teresa - quilter AND gardener extraordinaire.  :)
  • Indoor Decor - ideas for wall art, holiday decorations, furniture, etc.
  • Outdoor Decor - this is mostly my honey-do stack!  :)  Honey, wouldn't it be great if we had an outdoor deck with a stone fireplace?  As he laughs because there are at least 3 cold (cold being a very relative term) nights in South Texas a year.  :) 
  • Paper Project Ideas
  • Apparel - this mostly comprises of all the Talbot's clothes I would love to make for myself if I could ever gather the skill set.
  • Needlework - for me, this is embroidery, wool work, crochet, and knitting patterns
  • Quilt Patterns - I really need to subdivide this guy!
  • Small Projects - this one is subdivided into
    • pincushions
    • stuffed animals
    • bags/purses/lunch boxes
    • mini quilts and table runners
    • decorative pillows
  • Baby Projects
How do you manage your magazine and pattern clutter?  Do you have any tips to share?

September 14, 2010

ADD Strikes Again!

So I've let the ADD creep in a bit lately and worked on a couple other projects in the middle of my baby quilt planning.  I have settled on a design for my sister's quilt, now it's a matter of doing the math and putting it all together.  Here is a picture of our cat (formerly my sister's cat), Dublin, putting in his two cents. 

I really have to say he really doesn't have much of an eye for fabric placement.  His idea of helping was to throw the pieces in the air and bite at them while he deposited as much hair as possible on the rest of the fabric.  Don't worry sister, I'll wash it before I send it to you.  :)

I also took a quick stab at some fabric dying.  I only had time to mix up one color and just barely got started playing around when I had to quit, so I'll post more about that later when I've had a chance to do a little more experimentation.  Here is the kitchen before the experiment started.  I really like the colors, I'm anxious to get another chunk of time to make another mess!

I also finally purchased all of the materials (tack strips, ply grip, bonded decron, etc.) I have been lacking to work on a reupholstry project I started, well, we won't talk about how long ago it was started - cough, cough.  I think I'll be motivated to work on it again when my supplies get here.  This is a picture of the before.


Quite a beauty, huh?  The after picture in my head is quite lovely - we'll see if we can get there.  When I was in high school, I used to watch the Furniture Guys after school every day - they cracked me up!  I actually tried to find some old episodes online the other day, but no luck.  Maybe some of that soaked in and this project won't be too difficult. 

September 8, 2010

Baby Quilt in Progress

As part of my process pledge, I'll share the "process" (haha!) I follow when not following the pattern goes bad.  This happens all the time to me, but I like the challenge to figure out some creative way to save the day.

I bought this kit to make a quilt for my sister.  (Side note: Connecting Threads is a great place to get very reasonably priced fabric.  I do always pre-wash my fabric from them before I sew - just to avoid any surprises.)  The pattern had a clever way to make the flying geese, but it involved cutting almost 200 little squares and I just couldn't get motivated - I'm always anxious to just get started sewing.  So, I decided to use the Square in a Square technique.  Here are a few blocks in progress.

I knew it would use more fabric, but I thought I would be close - surely they sent a little extra, right?  False.  Now I have 78 of the 144 geese needed, and no more of the light background fabric. 

On to Plan B from here.  I'm currently thinking about doing a bigger block in the middle maybe with some applique (one of the little birds from the fabric perhaps) and using the geese as a border.  I plan to start laying out the pieces I have tonight and see what ideas come to me.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.

September 6, 2010

My First Etsy Product!

I am so excited to say, that today I posted my first product for sale on Etsy (you can see my shop with its 1 item here).  With my mother-in-law's encouragement, my first item for sale is inspired by a gift I made for her!

It is a custom order project where I will make a Dresden plate block out of old neck ties.  You can see her finished block above made from her father's ties.  I'm pleased with the way it turned out and hoping others will like it too and want to buy one.

I used a Dresden plate pattern I found in the Moda Bake Shop (oh, how I love that blog!!) - you can see it here.  I only used the machine to piece the plate then I hand-appliqued the plate to a wool background.

I glued small dowel rods to the top and bottom of the block to help it hang nice and straight.  I also put 3 small loops made out of ribbon for hangers.  Here's a picture of the glue drying on the bottom dowel and the loops sewn into the top, but before I glued the dowel onto the top.

My mother-in-law is actually going to get it framed and make a special place for it on her wall. I couldn't be more happy that she is so pleased with it!  :)