Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Because I have nothing better to do....

...yeah, right. It seems that the more I have to do the less I get done. I think the Amish have a saying that goes "The hurrier I go the behinder I get." I'd like to say "Any Amish here who can verify?" but if anyone answered that in the affirmative I'd have to then say "If you're Amish how come you're on a computer?" And then they'd probably say "It's rumspringa." And then I'd have to say "As long we're conversing electronically can you give me some quilting tips?"

My dining room table is covered in little piles of fabrics right now in yummy fall colors. I made the "mistake" of taking a few of my purses and sunglasses cases to my aerobics class a few weeks ago at the request of the teacher (who needed a gift). I underestimated the interest level--I was surrounded! I made a few sales and took a few orders, and people asked me to keep bringing things in as I make them. I've been busy busy sewing up some wristlets and some frame purses, and I feel that's all I've done this week (not far from the truth). Don't get me wrong -- extra money is always very nice, and I love the appreciation. It just gets a little tiring. I'd be in seventh heaven if I didn't have to work a day job and could just sew all day, but since my sewing time is nights and weekends it can be a bit tiring to go-go-go in the off hours.

Wow, I went off in a totally different direction really quick. I meant to say "I've been busy sewing, but as I drank my tea tonight I fooled around some more with the My Memories software." I decided to try and create a scrapbook page instead of random graphic doodads. I've never done one before, and most of my pictures are of my handbags or other crafty bits, so I had to dig to find a few photos that would go together. So here's my first official digital scrapbook page:

These were from my sister's wedding a couple years ago. All I had to do was choose the layout (there were a lot more than I thought, but I had selected my pictures and knew I needed one for three pics), and then pick a paper and a few embellishments. If this was a girly page I could have really gone to town with the cutesy, but for a boy I kept it simple. I love these photos of him - dancing when he thinks no one is watching to music only in his head before the reception started, then a few hours later with the shirt untucked and the tie and vest gone. Man I love this kid! I keep trying to convince him to go as Harry Potter for Halloween but he won't have any of it...doesn't he look like him but with lighter hair?

I'll be back in a flash with my next Cherry Vanilla quilt block - it's my favorite one so far!

If you're interested in a chance to win the software I used above, check out this post for details.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Memories Review and Giveaway!

Have I got a fun giveaway for you!! Last week the lovely folks at My Memories contacted me and asked if you and I would be interested in a fun little giveaway. I checked out their site and decided yes! I decided for you, by the way. Hope that's ok! My Memories Suite is fun, easy to use digital scrapbooking software. But here's the best part: it's NOT just for scrapbooking. Oh sure, they have a bunch of photo layouts to choose from so all you have to do is click away to add photos and text and backgrounds and embellishments (they have several free sets, and others for pretty reasonable prices, by the way). But you can open up a totally blank album and create just whatever you'd like: invitations, printables, gift tags, videos, and more! It's completely up to you and your imagination. I've been playing around with this for a few days to get the hang of it, and it's nice and easy (much easier than pootling around in PowerPoint like I've been doing).

If I ever get my act together and put my tutorials into printable pdf form, their photo layouts will make adding a nice, professional cover as easy as pie. Mmmm.....pie....I had some chocolate chip cake at lunch but pie sounds really good right pie....ahem....sorry....

See? Simple. This was a more basic layout, but they have some that are fancier, and some that are simpler than this. Then I decided to try and make up a simple invitation. I used a few of the elements that come with the software and came up with this:

I don't have any parties coming up, so I had to make a fake invitation. Recognize the movie?

Then I got excited for Christmas, so I decided to make a few gift tags. I had downloaded a scrap pack from a different site a bit ago, but never used it. I was curious if it would work seamlessly with this software and it sure did! So if you've got other digi-scrap elements you can use them with this software too.

And finally, I decided to do a full-page graphic more in the style of scrapbooking. I bought one of the sets that My Memories offers to do this one. I love it lots (I heard the song on the radio the other day and thought this might be cute):


I'm adding this one to my Printables page (that I just added at the top--since I do printables now, lol). I've got ideas overflowing for new blog headers for the holidays, and who knows what else. Place cards for Thanksgiving? Cute little print calendars for next year? Who knows! I love options :)

My Memories wants to give one of you their delightful software to have some fun with. To enter - all you have to do is check out their software kits or layouts and let me know one that you like in the comments. That's it! Sorry to make you go somewhere else and come back - you know I normally don't - but dems was da guidelines I was given. This giveaway is open worldwide. Please leave me some way to contact you if you're a no-reply blogger or your email isn't linked to your profile. I'll leave this one open until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 9th, 2011 and announce the winner the next dayish. Good luck!

And if you simply can't wait for the giveaway to end and want to score this software immediately, you can use coupon code STMMMS45056 to receive $10 off the software and get $10 to spend at the My Memories digital store. Sweet!

I'm off to have some more fun with this :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Clever Thoughts - a Printable

I'd like to take a moment to protest the ending of the weekend. It's not because for about 48 hours straight all you could find on TV was news on Hurricane Irene. It's not because for 24 hours straight it poured like you wouldn't believe. It's because I freakin' hate Mondays.

This week I have something a little different to share. I made my first printable! This is a far, far cry from sewing, I know. But Friday night I found myself on the couch, with zero energy, and my laptop close by. I've been puttering about trying to learn a bit more about blog design and playing around with graphics and images. A line from the book I'm reading kept popping into my head, and because I found it so amusing I decided to make a graphic of it. As I was twisting my brain for what exactly to do a back-to-school commercial came on, and inspiration struck. I thought this would be a sweet little message for school-age kids, but might also amuse the grown-ups, or it could be a little something for a teacher to add to a bulletin board. Anyway, here it is:

For anyone interested, the book is "The Man From Beijing" by Henning Mankell, a Swedish author who is VERY good at keeping you from figuring anything out until he wants you to.  The font is called 'Pastel' and I downloaded it from And I made that notebook paper background in PowerPoint. It was tedious because I'm anal particular about certain things, and those lines being evenly spaced was one of them. Now that you know how I did it you can make your own, haha. Or you can print mine. Just click on the photo above, and it takes you to a new screen. Right click the image, save it to your desktop (or wherever you'd like) and then open the file to print. OR if that doesn't work you can get the pdf here.

That's all I've got, folks. I've been stitching away all weekend, but I haven't stopped to take any photos. My knitted armadillo just needs a body and then I can share that with you, too (hopefully this weekend). And my Sherbet Pips quilt sandwich has been waiting patiently for me to stitch it all together. I think Congress needs to stop worrying about the economy and start focusing on mandating three-day weekends for everyone because I clearly have too much to do.

I'm linking up here this week:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Breaking Out

I had this quilt block finished almost instantly, but I kept forgetting to take pictures of it. This particular block is called "Breaking Out" and is made up almost entirely of flying geese units. The method used this week had me completely clueless as to how it was going to work out, but lo and behold it did! And it was pretty nifty. I like when I don't see where something is going until I'm finished with it.

I had a bit of an off-day when I was piecing this (at least that's my excuse). I don't know what I was thinking with seam allowances, and then I hacked off way too much on a few so that I had to remake them as there was no way I could smoosh them in to fit. I'm about a quarter inch short in each direction - any more and I'd unpick and resew or start over. I do like this block and its construction was pretty simple. I like how the red checks around the center are a bit pinwheelish. That and the red polka dots makes the red floral look a little lost and washed out, though. I never realized before that there was so much to consider with color value and placement and the different effects of light and dark.

In other news on the homefront - y'know what else is red and white? Me. The white is my pale skin. The red is the poison ivy I somehow have without even coming into contact with nature. It's in such odd places - in my left eyebrow, on my left nostril, on the back of my left ear, my stomach, my upper right arm, and a few other places. It's definitely poison ivy (my parents just had it massively a few weeks ago from doing yard work so diagnosis was easy), but I have no idea where it came from. Thankfully it's not too itchy. But it is quite the mystery.

And now, something to amuse you (unless you're amused by my itchy blotchiness, in which case here's aNOTHer thing to amuse you). My dog Charlie is white. He likes to roll around in the grass, so eventually he turns tan/gray and then gets a bath and is sparkly again. What he's gotten good at recently is getting two baths in one day. He gets his usual, is all fluffy and adorable, and then goes outside. He lays on the porch looking so forlorn (he hates baths) and a few minutes later he's scratching to get in. In that brief window of time he not only manages to find the dirtiest patch of dirt and mud (it's been very rainy this August), but also rolls around in it, covering himself in dirt, grass, tree pieces, and whatever else sticks to him. The other day this was the result when he came in:

I don't have a picture of his back, but it's pure dirt. This is actually mild compared to what he did a Sunday or two ago. As soon as he heard the water running in the basement he tried to make himself inaccessible under the kitchen table - he's not very wily or good at hiding....

Somehow he doesn't get his chest dirty - just his back and his head. At Christmas he was running along the fence with the dogs next door and came back in looking like he had on black stockings his feet were so muddy. He ONLY does this after his bath. When he's in his normal state of being he doesn't go out and filth up. Only after he's been scrubbed clean. It's like revenge but he doesn't realize it just leads to another bath. He's lucky he's cute.

So that's that. Very exciting, I know. Are you ready for the hurricane if you're an Easterner? First an earthquake, now a hurricane. It's a big week for But I like rainy days - no better day to sew in my opinion. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some chit chat...

Hi, kids! I don't have anything crafty to show you today - I've got a knitted armadillo in the works (this was a special request - I'm good at knitting rectangles and squares, so this one is a bit of a challenge for me - thank heavens for patterns!). But I had such a good day I wanted to say hello and tell you a few things, just because they made me happy/amused:

First - I linked up my blog at Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom on her worldwide blog hop, and she asked if I'd be interested in an interview. Of course I said yes. What a great opportunity to talk some more! It's up there now - if you're interested in reading more of my blathering here's the link.

Second - I'm on Pinterest. I've been there for a bit and have the most lackluster boards ever - I'm pretty much using it instead of bookmarking links for projects, but I LOVE seeing what other people post. I try to guess who it is before I look at the name of the pinner - I like that people have such distinctive styles that you can tell who they are by a simple picture. If you want an invite let me know!

Third - I added a Flickr button on the left for you. If you use one of my tutorials or are inspired by something you see here I'd love it if you added a picture to the pool. Seeing what other people do gives me inspiration, so I'd especially love to see what my readers have been up to.

Fourth  - I'm sure you've heard of the earthquake that hit the east coast today. We actually felt it a bit here in Philly. At first I thought someone was walking heavy or the maintenance men were up to something and just thought "Really, dude? WTF?" Then, it happened again and my boss pretty much bellowed "WHY IS THE FLOOR SHAKING?" It wasn't scary or anything, and I got to experience my first earthquake. You would think we were at the center of it instead of hundreds of miles away - slow news night, I suppose. However, I've had enough of that. My brain can't wrap itself around what it must have felt like in Japan, at thousands and thousands times stronger - nope, one quake is enough for me.

And finally (because I can hear you thinking "Jeez she's rambler!") - for my brother's birthday he wanted all of us to just go out, get some eats, and play some quizzo. Fine by me! I like eating and I like trivia. Well, our team won! Useless knowledge isn't always useless. Then we did that fifty-fifty thing and one of the tickets we bought was pulled. My brother had to answer one question right to win the pot, he took a guess, and we won that too! If you're interested, Indiana Jones' first name is Henry. File that away for future use.

I don't have any pics for you but I like to include a little something in my posts - so this is for you :)

Back soon! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Boys Don't Use Mug Rugs, Silly

'Allo! I'm not sure what the deal is with weekends, but I'm pretty sure they have far fewer hours than any two day combo during the week. Anyway.... my big brother is going to get older this week. He told me exactly what he wanted (and I'm kind of surprised he hasn't asked me for it already) but I wanted to make a little something for him as well. He's got a few afghans I've made somewhere in his house, but that's about it. It's really hard to think of gifts for guys that aren't tools, or electronic...thingies, or clothes. Which is why I'm really glad Megan, The Crafty CPA, did my thinking for me. The second I saw these paint sample and tile coasters posted on her blog I knew exactly what I was going to make (and I knew even more when I stopped by his house last week for Grandma's sewing box and saw the glass rings on his end tables).

I ran into Home Depot after work one night - girls in office get-ups must be very rare there, because people kept asking if I needed help (they never ask this when I'm there in jeans and a tee--not that I go to the Depot often, mind you). Some of the employees kept trying to explain the differences and the benefits of one tile over another, and were really kind of bugging me, but I didn't want to tell them it was for a craft and get the "you have three heads" look again. So I grabbed the manly colors, breezed through the paint section and grabbed some coordinating paint chips, and checked out. My total cost (including the adhesive felt for the bottoms so as not to scratch the table) was about $3.00 (as I already had the Mod Podge). Can't beat that!

Here's all of the colors I made (there's a blue, a green, a brown, and a black--I know you know your colors, but I take such bad photos it's not always obvious):


I followed Megan's tutorial pretty much to the letter (minus the acrylic spary at the end), and I LOVE the way they turned out. His living room is made of greens and blues and darker colors and sharp angles, so these are going to look perfect. The only thing I did differently was to cut the paint samples smaller than the tiles all around so I wouldn't have to deal with the beveled edges some of them had (thing I learned too late: there are two types of tiles--beveled or non-beveled).

I used one of those sponge on a stick things to apply the Mod Podge. This gave them a bit of a brush stroke look, which makes the paint chips seem painted themselves, a nifty unplanned side effect. The one question I kept getting was "Why did you leave the words on?" Uggghhhhh and you could tell they were paint samples, sillies!

I super love this idea. I remembered something like this from Girl Scouts - we were given a white tile, old Christmas cards, and glitter and glue and told to make Christmas ornaments. I was at the end of the choose-your-image line, so mine was an ugly orange snowman graphic. But wouldn't these make a neat Christmas gift? You've probably got old cards laying around, and the white tiles were fifteen cents (!!!) apiece. For a couple bucks and mostly drying time you can knock out a few hostess gifts, or teacher gifts. I need to go add this to my to-do list....

I had a great idea to wrap them in brown paper and twine (this seemed a very guyish idea), but I couldn't find the twine. I had bought a roll of yellow duct tape (for absolutely no good reason) a few weeks ago so I decided to improvise. I unrolled a loooooooong piece of tape, and folded the long edges in towards the center, kind of like making bias tape. I folded it in half again (of course this way didn't stick) and then tied a bow around the package:

I think that's my favorite part. Here's one final action shot for you:

I didn't have anything manlier than this other than a wine cooler or a "Guess what? Chicken butt!" coffee mug, so you'll just have to imagine. But it looks kind of stinkin' cute on there, doesn't it?

It's past my bedtime, so I'll see you soon, my loves!

I'm linking up here this week (even though Megan already did to most of them--people should know when an idea is good enough to be admittedly stolen):

Skip to My Lou *** Sumo's Sweet Stuff *** Pinkapotamus *** Ask Anna *** Sew Can Do *** Craftomaniac *** Homemaker on a Dime *** C.R.A.F.T. *** Running With  Glitter *** Sarahndipities *** Sugar Bee Crafts *** All Thingz Related *** Creative Itch Boutique *** Funky Polkadot Giraffe *** My Girlish Whims *** Sew Much Ado *** Blue Cricket Design *** Cherished Bliss *** Free Pretty Things for You *** Tea Rose Home *** Homework *** Somewhat Simple *** Fireflies and Jellybeans *** Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom *** Today's Creative Blog *** Happy Hour Projects *** Creation Corner *** Momma's Kinda Crafty *** The Shabby Nest *** While He Was Napping *** Tatertots and Jello *** Be Different Act Normal *** To Sew With Love

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crafty Clearout Winner

I got up super early just to post this, y'know. No, I didn't. I got up super early to go shopping and wanted to do this before I forgot :)  Super early being 9:00 on a Saturday (hey--I don't have kids--I'll take my small luxuries). ANYway--we had 100 entries even for this one. I plugged a few numbers into the old random number generator and it spit this out at me:

That would be April from Our Crazy Life who said "Love the fabrics! Hope I win!" Glad to help you out there, April, and I hope you have lots of fun creating some goodies. I'm off to email you now for your details. For those of you who didn't get lucky this time, fear not. I like giveaways. I like sharing my fabric. And I like you. So stay tuned - you never know when I'll say "Here!!!! Take it!!!"

Have a great weekend! See you tomorrow!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Virginia Star Quilt Block

Top o' the mornin' to you! I'm going to make this a brief post but I wanted to show you my latest quilt block for the Sewn QAL (the button is in my side-bar if you're interested in playing catch-up and sewing along). It's called Virginia Star, and features flying geese blocks. These were incredibly easy to make, and even pretty fun (some people I know fail to see how sewing bits of fabric together can be fun, but I trust a large bunch of you know just what I mean :)  I was having a bit of a self-imposed sewing frenzy and for some reason mentally pressured myself to "Get it done, and do it now!" I have no idea why. I have a long to-do list (I wrote it down and it's worse than I thought, but most of it is WANT to do instead of HAVE to do, which is infinitely better than the reverse), but nothing too pressing. I wasn't exactly accurate with my 1/4 inch seams and am about 1/4 inch short on the final block. Hopefully this won't be too big of a problem in the end. I wasn't thrilled with my fabric choices, either - I thought they were fine when I laid everything out, but sewn together they don't thrill me. I'm glad my pinwheel block had a lot of white space, because this one has a lot of red space:

They'll probably end up next to each other ultimately. I really do love that center fabric, but it is just SO red compared to the checks. Oh well. They can't all be winners. And my points ended up pretty nice:

I can't wait to have more blocks done so I can lay them out and get a better idea of what the finished quilt will look like.

Before I say 'Later taters!' I just wanted to remind you of a couple things:

The Crafty Clearout Giveaway ends tonight! If you haven't tossed your name in do it now!

Have you voted yet? I've got a blurb in green just under my header and the voting button is at the top of my sidebar - I'd appreciate it muchly if you could toss a vote my way!!

Have a fantastic Friday! I'll be back tomorrowish with the giveaway winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grandma's Ghost

My maternal grandmother's name was Rita. Isn't that just so pretty? I love that name. She died when I was 16 years old. And as often happens, I didn't realize all that her existence encompassed until she was gone. I knew she sewed, but I didn't know she went to school for it and was a bit of a wizard at  it--the clothes and gowns she made were unbelievable! I knew she crocheted, but I didn't know that she made those old-fashioned lacy tablecloths that you just don't see anymore and that take tons of hours to make. Every time I am faced with a sewing conundrum that leads me to Google (and usually a fair bit of time finding exactly what I want) I think "This would be so much quicker if I could just ask Grandma." A lesson learned too late...

My brother lives in the house that used to be my grandma's. When my uncle was over there the other day helping my brother and Dad with some major yard work he went to check the attic for something and called my mom right away. "There's her big old sewing box up there and a bunch of patterns. Did you know all that was up there?" Needless to say, we shot over there immediately. The patterns were pretty much a no-go--they became squirrel fodder long ago (grandma had squirrels in her attic once - I loved this, but apparently homeowners don't find such things amusing). All I salvaged were a few muslins she had saved in plastic bags. But the sewing box? Into the car and home right away to explore. Is there any better way to spend a raining-cats-and-dogs Sunday?

Looks like the squirrels had a go at this too...
The nephew told me "I would like to have a box like this to store things in." I don't know what he wants to store in it but he had second thoughts when he saw that the wood was in pretty bad shape on the top and didn't even hold the screws on one side.

 It's one of those huge boxes that pulls apart and has a bunch of different levels. There are removable legs too in case you wanted to stand it up next to a sewing table or chair.

 I like looking at these and wondering what they were for. What was she making that was purple? Why the red anchor? Were they just great deals or did she have a project in mind?

 This I can relate to - if ever I am featured on 'Hoarders' it will be because I've been buried under my own zipper collection. If you look to the right just under that yellow zipper you can see a black thread--she had salvaged the zipper from something and left a few hanging threads. My mom said that whenever Grandma was tossing something she removed everything she could still use.

 One of the hallmarks of a dressmaker - endless hooks and eyes.

I love the old-fashioned packaging on these needles. I need a ballpoint needle and I'm wondering if I should just use hers or leave it as she left it....

 Mumsy wasn't sure where the Necchi sewing machine ended up....I believe her old Singer is the one in our spare room. I'm going to have to pull that out and show it to you one day--it's the kind that is built into the desk and folds down into it. It's wicked old-fashioned looking. Anyway---these are throat plates and bobbins and machine feet for it. Most of them I couldn't even identify--she had 4 hemmers though, each one different (and I only know that because it had 'hemmer' stamped onto it).

She had an unbelievable amount of buttons. Which I pretty much expected she would. Who doesn't love buttons? I have a ton and I rarely use them. Hers are all of the 'useful' variety--mine are more novelty buttons.

 Check out the prices on those labels. One day someone is going to go through my sewing box and find all my labels that I keep forgetting to put on things. And her corner-poker-outer stick looks much better than the one I use which frequently does NOT poke the corner out.

 Good old-fashioned shears, pinkers, and seam nips. And a snap setter. I love that she had this. I don't know why but it seems more like a luxury instead of a necessity, like she treated herself to something to make inserting snaps a bit easier (because those little tools they give you are no fun to use).

 I love this old box that used to hold embroidery threads. Packaging certainly was different then, eh?

 These electric scissors prompted the nephew to ask "Did they even HAVE electricity back then?"

After I took everything out I used a hand-vac to get rid of any dust and debris. I wiped it all down, and then put everything back. I don't know if I could ever bring myself to use any of this. I know they're just things, and I have most of what she had--the fancy scissors, and all the zips, and the rulers and the little gadgets. I feel like I'd be disturbing something that shouldn't be disturbed. And yet...wouldn't there be a fabulous connection between past and present? How great would it be if I could cut fabric using her shears, and have her knowledge and wisdom travel through my fingertips and result in a perfect project? But then again...this is me we're talking about. I would probably just sit there, turning her shears over in my hands and thinking "These were Grandma's. She used these decades ago. And now I'm holding them." Then my mind would be blown and I'd get nothing done...

What about you? Do you have any similar (or even not-so-similar) "hand me downs?"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can You Spare a Click?

Hello dearies! I've got some fun news to share today. KYW is our local radio station here in Philadelphia - traffic on the twos, mountains and shore weather, happenings around town, sports, and all that other good stuff (especially school closings, right kids?). They decided to run a little competition called CBS Philly's Most Valuable Blogger. And guess what little old blog is on the list? Yes!!! Meeeeeeee!!!!! The 'list' is divided into six separate categories (I'm in 'Lifestyle,' to be exact), each with numerous blogs to choose from. See? Fun stuff!! 
Normally I'm a watch-from-the-sidelines kind of girl--I don't like being the center of attention, and I feel like a doofus when I try to self-promote. But I'm putting all shame aside and asking you to do me a favor. Could you give me a minute of your time each day (or as many days as you can manage) and vote for my blog?  I've got a button in my sidebar that will take you directly to my page. All you have to do is stop by here, click my button, and then click the red voting button - easy peasy, and I'd much appreciate it. The contest runs from today (August 16th) through September 9th; you can enter one vote per category per day. There are some other fun blogs listed that I've been exploring that you might find interesting, too.

Thanks so much! And don't forget about the Crafty Clearout giveaway!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Purse Frames Aplenty

I ordered myself a new purse frame kit a few weeks ago. It was a little pricey, but I really wanted to try something new but still pretty simple. I think I will only be making one of this particular style. The lining was a bit fiddly and difficult. After I had finished with that part I was surprised to find my shoulders up around my ears and that I had been holding my breath a bit. It wasn't an impossible thing; it was just an entirely different way of making the purse bottom than I've ever come across before. The outside was business as usual, and even gluing it into the frame was simple. But that lining...oy. Maybe I wasn't in the right...frame of mind (see what I did there?! Purse frame? Frame of mind? Get it? Get it? Hello?).

Here she is:

I swapped out the fabrics in the kit for some in my stash. I really dig the shape of the frame, and it has a nice slim line to it:

It has a divided interior to keep your goodies separate:

I really like the way these fabrics work together, but I'm not totally fond of the purse itself. I forgot when I ordered this that I don't like dividers in bags (not in theory - just personally). It does fit my phone and the other essentials, so it'll be good to grab and go when I don't need my whole handbag.

But this got me off on a bit of a frame purse kick. I whipped a few up in a more classic style out of some fabrics my sister gave me for my birthday. Sorry for all the photos - it finally stopped raining after dinner and I got a little camera happy. They all look crooked because that's how I take pictures, but I assure you they're all perfectly straight and line up properly.

This fabric came from Joann's. I'm not sure what it's called as I always hack off the selvages and toss them....

And the inside is a bright cheery pink. 

Here's a nifty side view for you. These look like they don't hold much but they definitely do.

This next one reminds me of summer afternoons. Don't ask me why. It was one of those fleeting thoughts that leave you with a feeling or a memory of something, but no explanation of what or why specifically. 

I went back and forth between this frame or a silver one. I still can't decide. I should probably just make another one.

I went and stocked up on some happy yellow polka dot fabric. It is one of my favorite fabrics for the inside of a bag - it's like an explosion of sunshine.

Finally we have what I think is my favorite. There's something so fluid and fresh about it; the entire thing reminds me of a spring rain. 
This fabric and the pink one above came from two fat quarters so I have no info on them.

On the inside is a happy apple-green floral print. This frame is slightly larger and makes the purse much larger, even though the bottom of the purse is the same size. It actually holds more too. I'm not sure how changing the frame size changes that fact, but it's a mystery I'm content to leave unsolved.

I dig how they all look together. Like they're all huddled around each other at some purse party, gossiping and drinking wine.

These three look like they're all in line for the bathroom, bwahahahahaha. Cuz they're at the purse party, drinking wine....and then...the bathroom... Did I just blow your mind with the lengths to which my cheesy humor will go?

My plan is to have these posted in my long-neglected shop this week. It's really pitiful how awful I am at adding things to it, but I've had so many custom orders I haven't had much time. I'm hoping to rectify that in time for the holidays with some affordable, cute little things that would be good for gifts. Maybe if I actually write that here I'll do better at holding myself to it.

OH! And before I say ta-ta - have you entered my crafty clear-out giveaway? Here's the link--there's some yummy fabric and bag handles up for grabs.

Linking up here this week:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crafty Clearout Giveaway

Hello my little chickens! I feel like I haven't written anything in a looooong time. But I have been busy. I've got a wee small amount of custom orders that can wait a bit, so I've been sewing and cutting and organizing my fabric (which got a little out of hand again). But that works out for you because that means a giveaway! I have greatly scaled back on the amount of fabric I've been buying (unless I know specifically which project it is for), but I still have a few shelves full. I organized everything by project-in-mind, but I am still overwhelmed by it all. So I decided to give YOU a chance to win some of it. A lot of this stuff is left over from custom orders where I waaaay overshot what I needed, and some things are a bit scrappier. Some of it I have because it's pretty but I never used it. It's all realllly nice stuff though, and I'd love for you to give it a new home.

If you start at the top the first four patterns are smaller cuts of Amy Butler, perfect for zippy pouches or patchwork projects. The next two are a deliciously soft, lightweight cotton - perfect for a summer top (there's maybe a yard of each--I don't know the names). The brown with ivory and pink is from the Amy Butler Midwest Modern collection (1 yd.) and the pink and lime and white is from her Daisy Chain collection (1 yd.). The very bottom is an Alexander Henry print (1/2 yard).

In addition to this stack, I've got some bag handles to throw into the mix (I always overbuy and can never use it all). You'll receive a pair of black bamboo handles (one of my favorites - they make any bag look instantly posh), some black and silver beaded handles, and a pair of clear acrylic handles. Here's the whole lot:

I'm hoping you'll want to help a girl out and throw your name into the mix to win this bundle. It's all good quality stuff - I just have more than I can use.

This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (easy-peasy). I'll leave this open until Friday, August 19th, 2011 at 11:59 pm EDT. The only thing I ask is that you pretty-please leave me some way to contact you - either leave me your email address or make sure it is attached to your profile somehow.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sew-In Purse Frame Tutorial

Sooooooo...the little zippy purse I keep my lunch money in (what am I? seven?) has gotten pretty cruddy. If it didn’t have teriyaki sauce and salad dressing dotting the surface it would be pretty dingy looking anyway. I picked up a few sew-in purse frames at Joann’s the other day and figured I’d make myself a new one. Then I thought you might want to learn to make one too, so here’s a tutorial.

The brand on the frame package is “Everything Mary” and the little change purse size measures 2 ½ inches across the top and 3 ¼ inches across the bottom with a slight curve. I used scraps of fabric (you need exterior and lining) and fusible fleece (sew-in will work but I like fusible best). In addition to basic sewing stuff you’re going to need some strong thread to sew the purse to the frame. I gave Perle Cotton size 5 a whirl and it worked well.

Draw the Pattern
Let’s be adventurous and sketch out a pattern for ourselves. Even if your frame is a different size these instructions will work as long as the frame is a sew-in frame). Lay the frame down on a sheet of paper and trace around the outside edge (skip the clasp part and just connect the lines when you’re done tracing). Now, around the outside of this, draw a line a ¼ inch away (this is our seam allowance throughout). Make a marking at the top of the little side hinge (it’s about ¼ inch up from the bottom of the frame and is what the pink dots are in the picture below). This part is what we will be sewing into the frame so it needs to be precise.
Everything from the hinge on down is up to you. I went for a basic trapezoid shape (a square won’t leave you much finger-wiggling room) but I think a circle would be really cute too. If you want to make the version I'm making click here for the template. Make sure your scaling option is set to 'none.'

Once your pattern is set cut out 2 for the exterior, 2 for the lining, and 2 of fleece. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the exterior fabric. If you’re using sew-in you might want to baste it, or just be generous with the pins when sewing it together. See those pink dots on the pattern? You’re going to want to transfer those to your fabric or mark with a I haven't done yet in the photo below.

Sewing the Purse
Take your exterior pieces, right sides together, and sew from one marking, around the bottom, stopping at the other mark. DO NOT sew across the top yet.

Now we'll create a flat bottom for the purse. Poke out one of the corners of the bag and flatten to create a triangle. Make sure your side seam and bottom seam are lined up. Draw a line that is one inch across. Sew across that line, and trim the excess. Repeat for the other corner.

Just a note: that IS a different fabric in this shot. I forgot to take a photo of this step so I did it while making a different bag. Just wanted to let you know you're not seeing things :)

Sew the lining the same way as your exterior, but leave about a 2 inch gap in the bottom for turning. Press the side seams open as best you can (it helps with the next step).

Put your lining inside the exterior – right sides should be facing each other. Match up the side seams as best you can. Sew around the entire top. Go around one flap, across the side seam, and then do the other flap and side seam.

This isn’t a very large piece to sew, and so the sides can get a little fiddly where it makes that bit of a y hinge. If you’re not feeling like doing this with the machine you can hand sew either the entire thing or just where the side seams are. I’ve done both methods and the end result is the same – it’s just whatever method feels more comfortable to you. Once you have that situated, pull the bag through the gap you left in the lining.

Push the lining down inside the purse. Make sure the corners are all poked out and the top is nice and neat, and give it a nice press. Now, take your frame and make sure it fits well around the top of the purse. If not, make whatever adjustments you need to. If it's too big/small it's going to be frustrating to sew in--ask me how I know.

Sew in the Frame
Once I know my frame will fit I like to sew the gap in the lining shut either by hand or by machine. It’s easier when you don’t have the added weight of the frame getting in the way.

Now, you just thread your needle with the sturdiest stuff you have that will still fit through your fabric, and sew. To start I bury the knot, and then come up through the lining.  Now go down through the first hole in the frame coming out on the outside. Then you just go up and down all the way around the edge, pulling it snug. It will look like you’ve skipped some stitches on the outside but when you get to the other end you simply stitch yourself back to the beginning, filling in the gaps.

I sew this with my needle at an angle so that I can do a better job of concealing the stitches under the frame. Once you're back at the beginning and all stitched make a knot and try to bury it. If that's not happening try to hide it under the frame (confession: this is the only part I cursed at, and it was a mild oath at that :) Give it one more light press and you’re done! Cute and quick, and really not that pricey for a sweet little coin purse!

Here's the other one I made - I really love this one. I am such a sucker for anything cherry. And hey - don't ask me how I can take the exACT same template, do the exACT same thing with it, and have one end up a half inch taller than the other. It's a secret that I'm not willing to share right now.

If you have any questions let me know! Happy sewing!

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