March 30, 2010


I've been having a rough week. Nothing specific (well, except for issues with my health insurance but that's way too long of a story for here), just in general. So I've been down and mopey and felt the need to make something to help get me out of this little slump.

(Sorry for the poor image quality. I left my camera in my friend's glove box and only have my old point and shoot. This is also the first time I ever stitched on a scrapbook page. I've always been to lazy to unpack the sewing machine before but this time it was already out.)

Whenever I go on a little jog around my normal route along the lake downtown I always look forward to the halfway point. You cross a pedestrian bridge under the highway and on the other side are benches and free water from coolers lined up for runners. I'll get myself a nice cold cup of water while listening to iTunes and look over back at the bridge. On the side of the bridge scribbled in black spray paint are the words "the only magic I still believe in is love."

Apparently someone marked this phrase in a few other places across town but this is the only one I've ever seen. I can't help but smile when I read it. It's like a little special secret that someone has let you in on.

Every time I go for a jog I always make sure to look for it but this last time I didn't see it. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right spot. Maybe they painted over it. I'm not sure but I looked and looked from my normal standing spot but couldn't find it.

That is kind of how I have felt lately. Excited and hopeful then let down and disappointed. I'm not trying to sound like something terrible has happened lately, I'm just in a funk right now. Everyone's had one but I'll get over it. I just really hope I was mistaken and they didn't paint over those words. It is little things like that that make me love this city!

Oh well, I'm off to go play dominoes with the boyfriend, goodnight!

March 25, 2010

Sewing: Double Puff Shoulder Shirt

You all are about to witness my foray into pattern making. After a lot of trial and error and learning Adobe Illustrator on the fly I present you with this - my first (albeit simple) shirt pattern from scratch. It is basically a t-shirt (that's the simple part) made, in this case, with brown striped 50/50 poly/cotton jersey with a v-neck of brown rib and "double" sleeves. The bottom layer is a normal cap sleeve and the top is a gathered decorative part with a perpendicular stripe. Now everyone say "oooh" and "ahhhh."

I know not everyone reading this is a sewer BUT if you are and you've got some scrap fabric lying around please try out my pattern. I made it in 5 sizes from 33" bust to 41". Measure your favorite t-shirts to find a good size, knit fitting is a little different than woven fabric. If these are too small or too big you can use the slash and spread method on make them your size.

This blog is my guinea pig I suppose. There is definitely a big learning curve with making a pattern and I can use all the help I can get. I'm looking for tips, criticism, advice with wording. If something is confusing let me know. If my measurements are totally wrong please let me know. I've gone over these documents a dozen times and all this stuff just bleeds together in my mind. I bet there are a zillion typos, too... Illustrator doesn't have spell check, ugh!

So, even if you'd like to just look at it you can download the pattern pieces and also the instructions. One important note: when you print the pieces make sure your printer page scaling is not making the pieces smaller to fit in the printable area. It is intended for lines to stretch off the printable area and the dotted lines are used to match up the pieces. Then you tape all the pieces together and then cut out your size.

Once you cut out the pieces and your fabric it is pretty simple. I used a serger but you could also use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

Stitch the shoulders together. Then gather the top layer sleeve piece between the little dots. Layer that over the bottom layer sleeve piece and pin in place.

Stitch the sleeve layers to the sleeve space in the bodice.

Sew up the whole sides of the shirt.

Hem the shoulders.

Hem the bottom.

Fold the collar piece and pin in place. Rib fabric is extra stretchy so you'll stretch it a bit to fit in the neck opening. Just make sure it is evenly spaced or else it could bunch up in little places.

And voila! I purposely didn't finish the raw edge of the gathered sleeve area because I like the look. Knits don't unravel like wovens so you don't really have to worry about that. You could always serge the edge or fold and hem it under.

Phew, that took forever! The whole process, not just the sewing, of course. And I've already got more planned in my head and on paper. Happy sewing!

March 22, 2010

Hmm... what could this be?

fun new projects coming soon to the blog!

March 21, 2010

Craft: Hanging photo garland

I'm constantly trying to find ways to use those extra left over craft supplies. You know, when all you need is a handful but they only sell bags of 50? What's up with that? So after I found my handy ball of twine while cleaning my shelves (I love the word twine. Don't know why. It's just fun to say - twwwiiinnneee) I grabbed some of my mini clothes pins and some cool old photos my mom took when she was in Europe in the 70s (everything seemed a lot cooler back then, right?) and strung them up over my bedroom window and voila!

I've always liked simple craft ideas best. Nice and clean and symmetrical and un-fussy. Uncluttered, just the way I like it and lord knows I need things to be as uncluttered as possible!

: twine, scissors, mini clothes pins, photos, window with curtain rod or wall with thumb tacks

: free! because I already had everything

: 10 min or less

: Super Easy

: none, hurray!

Tie a loop around one end of your twine (or yarn or string, etc) and string it up around one end of the curtain rod. Stretch the twine across to the other side of the rod and tie another loop.

If your twine is stretchy like mine, make the length of yours hang higher than you might want it in the end because with the weight of the photos will stretch the twine down.

Hang photos on the twine with mini clothes pins. I personally love the way old photos look with their faded colors and cool edges.

Ugh, back to work tomorrow. That means no more sewing and crafting and sleeping in. Boo!

March 18, 2010

What is going on here?

It began with a serger. And then a new sewing machine and then several viewings of Pulp Fiction on cable and endless pinning and cutting later I have a giant mess that was once my apartment. If Justin's friend wasn't spending the night yesterday I might never have picked up all the pattern pieces and fabric scraps up off the ground in my living room. You couldn't find the floor if you tried.

It seems as if all my spare time has been devoted to exploring this new medium that is stretch fabrics. I just can't get enough of it. Yes, I've had a few mishaps and some successes. I made my first t-shirt from scratch with a rib collar and everything! But I also made a too tight dress with some very unhelpful super stretchy jersey, too stretchy to work with properly. But that's ok!

I'm testing things out for a few new projects and if you're lucky (read: if I'm lucky to ever finish anything) I'll share some of it with you. For now I'll just share the mess. I even bought a batch of new goodies with my stash of Joann's coupons, including - ta-da! a French Curve. Already came in handy... not to mention a variety of fabrics, yay!

Wow, and who would have thought - Pulp Fiction is on TV again right now as I type. I think this year for Halloween I want Justin and I to be Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace.

That's all for now! Back to sewing...

March 13, 2010

Shopping spree

Sunday I woke up excited to go ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors. Then I opened the curtains to reveal the dismal abyss that is a cloudy day in Austin, TX. So naturally, I changed my plans and went to Ikea instead.

Well, first I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to look for one of those hanging fruit baskets but alas, they had none in the store. Then in the back of my mind I thought maybe Ikea would have one. Turns out they didn't but I did walk out with a bunch of other fun goodies to help organize my dining room/craft room.

Button jars! Four for $3!

I am loving these hanging bar basket things. I bought three bars, a bag of hanging hooks for all my scissors, a big basket for paints and a smaller basket for glitter. Now I am realizing that I should have bought more hanging baskets and I want to find some kind of basket or jar for pens and markers. Hmm... looks like I'm already due for another Ikea trip.

And yes, those are embroidered portraits of myself and my boyfriend 'cause I'm nerdy like that...

March 9, 2010

Super cute pin cushion

After a few delays (sorry Rachel) I got my brand spankin' new pin cushion in the mail from my pin cushion swap partner Rachel all the way from Kansas. Isn't it adorable? Now I feel a bit inadequate because I don't think mine was nearly as cute.

This should really come in handy now that I've lost my old tomato pin cushion (and who knows how many pins with it). You know the kind. I bet your grandmother had one.

Thanks Rachel! I can't wait to use it!

March 8, 2010

Fave Oscar Dresses

I watched all three and a half hours of the Oscars last night. In total I probably watched more hours of the awards than I have of the movies nominated. I should have seen more movies last year but I was lazy. Last year I even watched the nominated animated short films when they played at the Alamo Drafthouse and I wanted to do it again this year but never got around to it. Maybe I'll get off my lazy butt and watch some movies soon. I did go to school for it, after all.

But the fashion side of me wants to talk about the dresses. So on that note here are my favorites of the evening, and really, there are not many that I loved. One trend I did like were prints! You rarely see them on the red carpet but I love a simple silhouette with a great colorful print. As for my favorites of the "pale and sparkly" trend, Cameron Diaz's dress takes the cake.

maggie gyllenhaal

cameron diaz

rachel mcadams

As for least favorites, this year I didn't really enjoy many of the dresses but I'm sure I'm thinking the same thing as everyone else with this:

zoe saldana

And as much as some other people loved it, the ruffles on this dress made me envision a fuchsia Little Mermaid.

vera farmiga

What were your favorites?

March 4, 2010

Four Sewing Machines

I now own four, count 'em, four sewing machines. Yep, that's right, I bought a new sewing machine and ironically or not it is the same one that my boyfriend's mother and sister both have. It's a great little machine and I am appreciating all the little details like the thread cutter and the self threading needle, the quietness and, oh yeah, the not jamming up every twenty minutes part. Here she is, quite a lovely one, isn't she? And she was on major sale!

I've already used her (I really need to stop referring to it as a female) to make a muslin for a skirt. I just need to cut out some of the middle part of the pattern and make the back pieces wider and then I can make the real skirt!

Then there's this. The serger I got two years ago passed down from my cousin who probably got it for her birthday in '93 and only used it once (hence why it looks brand new). I'm still getting the hang of it but at least I'm using it finally and I can even thread it all by my self!

This was my grandmother's (I think) and out of sentimentality and because it is so cool looking I can't get rid of it. I don't have any place to display it either so it just sits in my closet. Did I mention it weighs more than me? Picking it up off the ground should be considered an Olympic event.

I'm pretty sure it's from the 40s. It's electric and yes it still works! Well, the motor runs but the wheels and inside parts need a huge helping of grease to make it really work. I found this out when I tried using it in high school to sew skirts before I bought a new machine, extremely frustrating and a massive fail.

And this is the machine I bought in high school. Good ole' Sears and it's cheap cheap sewing machine. $99 bucks I believe and a grand total of about 5 stitches. No bells or whistles to speak of. I don't need it anymore and I'd like to sell it but, ooops, I might have accidentally thrown out my serger foot pedal plug by mistake and Justin had to shave some plastic off of the plug that went to this little blue baby and make it fit in the serger! Not that I'd get much for this anyway.

Oh well, little machine. You were good to me - except when you jammed up and I screamed obscenities at you, I'm only partially sorry for that.

What kind of sewing machine do you have? Do you like it? What was your first machine?

March 3, 2010

Craft room/dining room?

I decided on a whim the other night to reorganize my craft/sewing supplies and try to arrange them in the bookshelves in my dining room. I usually end up in there or in the living room in front of the tube while crafting and Justin suggested I turn my dining room into a craft room.

I didn't like the idea at first but then I just went for it - ripping out stacks of books, year books, magazines and atlases and trying to squeeze them somewhere in my closet while also trying to fit as much crafty stuff on those shelves as possible.

I still have some books (mostly novels) on there but the CDs, DVDs and most books are in my closet making the wood shelf they sit upon perilously low in the center...

Things of note on the shelves:
  • Half a yard stick that broke a long time ago and the other half has since disappeared.
  • Ugly shoe boxes housing all my tiny fragrance bottles for my candles (I keep the candles tucked in an old vintage dresser thing so my whole apartment doesn't smell like a mix of fruit and flowers)
  • Two sewing machines
  • Shot glass collection from my travels
  • Good Eats Cook Book. My favorite cooking show ever!
  • Giant bag of wax chips for above mentioned candles.
  • Cute sewing bin holding all my patterns gifted by the lovely Vanessa.
  • And yes, those are my bronzed baby shoes and they are awesome (if dusty on the inside)
I'd like to get more stuff out of my closet and into the dining room but now I don't like the messy look of the clear containers and old used shoe boxes that most of my things reside in but I still want everything to look neat but visible.

I also want to paint those bookshelves again. After being moved around so much the edges are looking a little dirty and chipped and the first paint job wasn't that great anyway. Any color suggestions or just stick to red?

Here's a few pretty pics mostly from some craft room/sewing room groups on Flickr. Click on images for sources.

I love the idea of putting little things like buttons and embellishments in vintage jars or those little spice jars.

I could really use some of these racks to hang things off of. I'm already using one as a pot rack in my kitchen.

Having a pegboard like this would be awesome but I don't think I have enough wall space.

This is sort of the thing I'd really like for my computer. A little closet or cabinet that you can just close the doors on when you've finished. My dining room is too small for anything to have doors that swing open. I also love the wallpaper in the very background. Maybe I could do the same but in my bookshelves (even though you'd hardly ever see it).

I love these shallow shelves for things like paint and glitter... so colorful! And they don't take up too much space either. I need some sort of hanging rack for ribbon and tape, too.

I've also got an idea to use one of those hanging fruit baskets to hang from the ceiling to hold my yarn.

Here's a few more craft rooms just for kicks.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a giant table to layout all the fabric and pattern pieces. I'd also love this person's fabric collection and how clean everything is.

The oilcloth desk and the trimming on the shelves are so cute!

Pretty pretty colors and lots of counter space.

Anyone have some good ideas for crafty organizing? Especially for paper crafting supplies and good wall/ceiling storage. Know of some pretty boxes or bins? Anyone want to share their cool craft/sewing rooms/desks/spaces/closets?