October 31, 2010

Purple Flutter Sleeve Blouse

I am in mourning. I recently discovered that Simplicity has discontinued the Built by You series of patterns (all except one pants pattern, for now). You can still buy them at Built by Wendy's website and a few other places but they are no longer in the catalogs or in stores. I guess I'll just have to snatch up the last few patterns that I am missing on Ebay.

I bought this shirt pattern probably three years ago but never made anything from it so when I found this great lightweight spotted purple cotton I knew what pattern I wanted to use.

I normally don't wear purple but this blouse might convince me to put more of the color into my wardrobe. The shirt looks cute with shorts, too, and I really like the flowing sleeves.

October 30, 2010

Craft: Dangly Necklace

Even though I moved to a new apartment over 2 months ago I still have yet to move all of my craft supplies from the garage to upstairs. I couldn't even tell you where my jewelry supply case is anymore. It would have been useful with this project because instead of using my needle nose pliers I used tweezers and instead of using up my jump rings I had to buy new ones. Lame.

I saw these little colorful epoxy charms online and knew I had to have some although I wasn't sure what to do with them at first. A cute dangly necklace was the perfect application.

Supplies: oval jump rings, length of chain with clasp Epoxy charms from Gem Junkie (you can use whatever kind of charms you want), jewelry pliers or tweezers for those of you who can't find your jewelry tools...

Cost: $1.50 for oval jump rings, $1.50 for chain, $4 for charms

Time: 30 min or less!

Difficulty: Easy

Casualties: At first I bought a chain that was too short so I had to take it back to the store and exchange it.

First I arranged my charms in an order I liked.

Then I found the mid point on the chain and attached a charm to a chain link with a jump ring.

I attached the rest of the charms the same way, spacing them ever four chain links apart so that the charms don't rest right on top of one another.

A simple, colorful and cute necklace that's super easy to make!

October 29, 2010

New Toys

Meet my new camera. Yes, I know I have a DLSR but that camera is bulky and better fit for composed photos, not traveling and after my road trip this summer (which I still haven't posted any photos from, I know, sorry) I realized that I never used my DSLR once. Instead I used my five year old Kodak point and shoot. Luckily most shots I took were outside but inside or anywhere dark that old camera was a massive failure so I bought a new one. Hurray! I figured the red one would be easier to find at the bottom of my purse.

But that's not all, folks! I also bought this cool extendable hand held tripod-thing. There's not really a good word for it.

Anyway, it is basically an extendable metal stick that you hold on one and and put your camera on the other (it could also work for self defense). It is only 9 inches when compact but reaches to over 2 feet. You might have seen one of these before. It is a pretty nifty way to take pictures of yourself or you and someone else without using a normal tripod, asking someone to take your picture or even doing the classic Myspace pic/arm's length picture. See the difference.

before, with outstretched arm and after, with extendable hand held tripod

And lastly I got an attachment for my gorillapod (aka best photography accessory ever). The only thing I didn't like about the gorillapod was that it couldn't easily take vertical shots, only horizontal but with this cool ball head you can tilt the camera a full 90 degrees and even pan the camera around without having to readjust the tripod legs.

I bought a cheap-o normal tripod, too, because I lost the camera attachment on my old one, oops. I'm excited about so many new photographic opportunities!

October 28, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Well, not right now. After doing so much traveling this summer I thought I had my travel bug at bay but road weariness is apparently easy to recover from.

I went to the library for the first time with a friend and we got cool new library cards (yes, I am a nerd). My first books? Travel guides. I'm already planning for next year's vacations. I'm either thinking adventure and sun in St. Lucia or exploring nature's beauty in Yellowstone or Yosemite or both! Any advice?

Traveling is a great excuse for shopping right? Lately I want to buy a cool new carry on bag for planes. Something pretty but functional and Etsy has loads of cute vintage travel luggage.

If I get one small enough it could double as an everyday purse! Click on pictures for sources.

This has become a minor obsession but I haven't taken the plunge and bought one yet. Maybe after payday. I'm partial to the bright yellows and reds.

October 26, 2010

I Heart Cake

Yes, I know it is a little silly to write that on a cake but since it's no one's birthday I was out of ideas but it was good practice to write something on the cake.

I attended my fourth and last cake decorating class and I'm quite proud of my final project cake. I still can't make a rose out of icing but I can always practice and I still don't like the taste of the butter cream icing that the class uses. It is hard to imagine eating a bowl full of Crisco. Other than that the class was a lot of fun!

Now if I can only finish a shirt I am currently sewing and if I'm lucky I can get in a few extra episodes of Dexter before bed.

October 21, 2010

First Cake

I'm over my illness now but I was still sick the night I was supposed to go to my cake decorating class. But I was a good student and did my homework from the workbook and decorated this near disaster of a cake.

First problem: My cake wasn't done in the center. My teacher suggested a tip to keep the cake from growing a huge "dome" in the oven that you have to slice off to make a smooth top. You bake the cake a little longer at a lower temperature. I discovered that trick failed on me when I cut the top of my cake off and revealed a spongy squishy mess. Oh well, I could still decorate it, right? Even if I can't eat it?

Cupcake on a cake, cheesy, right, I know but it was good practice. I even had a bead border. Second Problem: It must have been the humidity but my cake frosting never fully "set" or became firm enough to smooth it out well which is why it looks lumpy. It was good for a first try and I got to use a few different icing tips.

I asked Peanut what grade she would give me. She meowed and said "B-." Ok, not really. What she probably said was "Leave me alone. Can't you see I'm trying to nap??"

Next class lesson is little flowers, shells, and leaves on cupcakes.

October 12, 2010

Sick Day

I am sick. Possibly with the flu. Not sure. At first I though I just had a major allergy battle going on but then as the sore throat set in I new I had a bigger problem on my hands.

I only left the comfort of my apartment once this weekend and that was to buy medicine. I haven't been sick like this in ages. Really putting a halt to this productive groove I've been in.

Worst of all I have a cake decorating class this afternoon and I still need to make two batches of frosting, eek!

On a better note here's a cute little handbag I made based on this pattern from BurdaStyle.

I loved the cute retro car pattern on this fabric but I faced a couple setbacks. Even though I've been living in my new apartment for two months I still haven't moved in everything from out of the garage. This includes my printer. So instead of printing out this pattern I used my quilt grid cutting board and visually measured and copied the pattern from the PDF to a big sheet of paper. Luckily it was only one piece to copy. But then my fabric was about an inch too short so my bag is slightly shorter than the original bag.

Some how I went from four different yet identical spools of red thread to zero. Where did all my thread go? So I couldn't finish the project for a couple days until I bought more red thread. Oops.

Here's to hoping I'll be less sick tomorrow.

October 8, 2010

Striped Tulip Skirt

It seems like everyone loves this Cynthia Rowley tulip skirt pattern (as a side note, yes, I do sew other things besides Cynthia Rowley patterns).

I used this pattern before but to my dismay it turned into a big fat mess. I made the mistake of trying to use a wool (it was a thin wool, I swear) and trying to line it. Too bulky. Another time I used a fabric that was way too slippery for me to work with. I know better now than to go against the fabric recommendations.

This go around I used a cool striped Denyse Schmidt fabric I got at Stitch Lab here in Austin. I took my time with this one and I am quite proud of the result. I had to fix parts of the bias binding on the edges, though. The bias wasn't sewn on the fabric as best as it should have been and frayed fabric edges were peeping out. But that was an easy fix.

The necklace is a pottery piece that I bought from fellow Austinite, Gem Junkie, and I strung it on a silver chain. Easy peasy and less than $6!

All in all this one is a winner, even if it did take me three times to do it right. It is also quite a popular pattern. I've seen several versions of it around the web.

Peanut didn't really want to be in the pictures. She just wanted to watch. Silly kitty.

October 7, 2010

Purple Floral Top

Say hello to the most expensive shirt ever made - well, that I've ever made. Let's all take a moment and bow down to the lovely beauty and quality that is Liberty of London. Is there such thing as fabric porn? If you've ever had a chance to see some LL fabrics in person you know how cute the prints are and how the fabric is so well made you can hardly tell the right side from the wrong side. If you shop at Target you may already be familiar with their designs

Unfortunately you may also know how darn expensive those fabrics are. But like a chocolate bar after a long diet I cannot resist! So if I am going to spend $36 a yard on a fabric (eek, I can't even believe I typed that) whatever pattern I use better turn out perfect!

fabric close up

Since I am financially challenged I decided to made a shirt and not a dress or something else equally as yardage hogging. I picked this simple Cynthia Rowley design (oh, Cynthia, how I love thee).

For some reason I cut a size 10 out of the pieces instead of a size 12. I don't know why. I must have cut the pattern out when I first bought it. The shirt ended up slightly smaller than I wanted but it still looks good.

frumpy bleh original longer sleeves, ugh

I originally made the top with the three quarter-length sleeves (option B on the pattern cover) but I thought the sleeves looked either too long or not long enough and the arm holes were a tiny bit too small. I took off the sleeves, cut new shorter ones with extra fabric and made the arm holes bigger.


This was a versatile and quick pattern. Sewing time was less than two hours and without too much detail on the shirt the fabric pattern really shines. I will definitely use this one again in the future, although I'll upgrade the pattern back to a 12. I'd rather have the shirt a little looser.