Thursday, March 27, 2008

Now in the shop!

Five Barcelona Bags are now on sale in my etsy shop. Whew, I'm glad to have these done. Next item of business: make myself a new dress!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shop preview

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend. I spent time a lot of quality time with my sewing machine this weekend.

These beauties and a few more will be available in my etsy shop on Thursday at 9 am est.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Book review Friday - The Knitting Circle

I've had the idea to do a weekly book review on this blog for a while. Between the amount of fiction I read and the craft books I've accumulated, I think I have enough material to last for quite a while. Plus, I'm hoping by revisiting some of the craft books I have, I'll get a little more motivated to actually make something from them instead of just drooling over them. Hey, maybe you will too!

So without further ado, today's book review is the novel, "The Knitting Circle" by Ann Hood. I picked this book up right before my trip to Puerto Rico. I had just finished my second knitting class earlier in the week and had knitting on the brain. However, you do not have to know anything about knitting to enjoy this novel. The story is about a woman who has recently lost her daughter and is struggling through the grief. Knitting helps her heal. We meet several people in this book and learn about how knitting has helped each of them get through troubled times. At times the book can be a bit melodramatic. Everyone who knits has some sort of troubled history in this book, and this is obviously not true in real life. But, overall I really enjoyed this read. I looked forward to moments when I could pick it up again to find out what happened next. It was a quick and easy read that tugged at my heartstrings (yes, I cried a few times). What I enjoyed most about the book was the author's love and appreciation of the craft of knitting. I think a crafter of any medium will appreciate this.

Verdict: Put this book at the top of your spring/summer reading list.

What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eye candy

Is it just me, or do you get giddy too looking at all that yummy yarn? It's a gloomy day here in DC, but these colors remind me spring is right around the corner.

In celebration of spring, I'll be listing a few Barcelona bags on etsy in the next week or so. I'm really excited about them! I'll announce the shop opening once I have a better idea of when they'll be ready.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fabric stash storage

Up until a few months ago I stored all of my fabric in large plastic bins. There were two main problems with this method: 1) I couldn't remember what fabric I had since I couldn't see it and 2) I sewed less from my stash because it was too daunting a task sometimes to even think about digging through multiple bins to find the fabric I had (that is, if I even remembered it). So, I came up with a solution.

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

We dedicated one of the bookcases in our hallway into fabric storage. Since this is the main hallway in our apartment, I wanted to cover it to keep it presentable when guests come over (there is a reason I'm only showing you that first's the only one that is neatly folded!) and also to keep out dust and cat hair. I bought about five feet of velcro and applied it all around the front of the bookcase and onto some fabric that I measured out to the size of the bookcase. It's worked out great! I now know what fabrics I have and I've been sewing from my stash a lot more than I used to.

I know when I have too much fabric when the curtain starts to bulge (and that's pretty often)!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday with Juliet

Katie and I met today for some coffee and knitting. What a great way to spend a windy Sunday afternoon! I'm working on the Juliet. This pattern is the reason I wanted to learn to knit. Thank goodness it is easy enough for a beginner like me.

Can you guess what this pile of fabrics will be? Here's a hint.

Tomorrow they announce the winners of the Amy Butler Sew Inspired Bag contest. I can't wait to see who won!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

New (old) book

"Sewing is an art and, as such, demands the discipline of an art. Bring to it desire, enthusiasm, and imagination, and it will give you in return a satisfaction that is unique: the joy of creating something that is truly yours." - Singer Sewing Book, 1972

I couldn't have said it better myself. I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wrap shirt inspiration

I'm taking a little break from sewing this week, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to getting behind the foot pedal again. I'm just allowing a little time for all my inspiration to build up and burst out in a explosion of sewing productivity. Well, one can hope anyway.

I was inspired by this top from the February Anthropologie catalog as soon as I saw it.
With a little tweaking, I think I might be able to pull this off using McCalls 5323.

Searching the Anthropologie website, I came across another great wrap shirt.
Oh, the inspiration is definitely building up! Thankfully the weekend is almost here!

Edited: Oops! I just uploaded the pics again. I hope they show up this time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Painted Briefcase Tutorial

I have to admit, I first set out to find a vintage suitcase to fill with dress up materials for my niece. But, alas, a cute vintage suitcase was not be found. I knew the hard briefcase I found at Goodwill had some potential though. So after a quick brainstorming with my sister, the arts and craft case was born.

Here are the materials you need for this project:

Hard vinyl briefcase or suitcase
Acrylic craft paint
Pretty scrapbook paper
Decoupage medium
Waterbase Satin Varnish (found near the craft paints)
Paint Brush

1. First, thoroughly clean the outside and inside of the case with some soap and water or cleaning spray. You don't know where it's been!

2. Prime the case for painting. I used two coats on each side. Make sure you cover every inch (the handles, bottom, etc) and allow to dry between coats.

3. Paint the case. I used my tried and true paint: Acrylic craft paint...the kind that's less than a dollar a bottle. I have a large plastic bin filled with these paints in a myriad of colors. Do most crafters have these paints on hand or is it just me? It might be easier to just spray paint the case. Personally I love painting with a brush. If you use spray paint, let me know how well it works out. Make sure you cover every inch of the case, including the handles and the locks. I used two coats of paint. Let dry in between each coat.

4. Now it's time to get creative. Pick out some coordinating paper. Cut strips of paper to size for the trim and for the locks. Use decoupage medium to glue down the paper. Slather the medium onto the bottom of the paper, place it where you want it, then brush more decoupage medium on top of the paper to ensure it's not going anywhere anytime soon (or ever, for that matter. Use this method to decorate the front and back of the case as you wish: the recipient's name, polka dots, flowers, cars, butterflies, the possibilities are endless. Let the decoupage medium dry.

5. Next, apply the satin varnish. This seals the paint and gives it a pretty satin finish. I used two coats of varnish. This also comes in a spray which would probably be easier to apply. Let dry between coats.

6. Fill the case with goodies that the gift recipient will enjoy.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment. Also, if you use this tutorial, please let me know! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Catching Up

Wow! Thank you so much for all of your comments on my last two posts. You all are too kind. Each of your responses made me smile. I'll post information about how I painted the suitcase later today. For those of you who inquired about selling the Barcelona bag or making a pattern, watch this space.

Last Thursday Peter and I left for a long weekend in Puerto Rico. It was less than thirty degrees here when we left, so the eighty degree weather in Puerto Rico was a very welcome change.

I can't say I was ready to come home. I did miss my sewing machine, though. If only I could bring my sewing machine with me on vacation.