Monday, February 27, 2012

Crochet Along

I found this great pattern on Pinterest and I decided to give a it a whirl.  They were not joking when they named it "The Wooleater"  I am very behind since I just started this about a week ago but it is coming along nicely.  I've decided instead of sticking to gradation of colors I am going to do contrasts to make each row pop.

Here is my progress from the past two weeks.  My wrist starts to hurt when I try to do more than a row at a time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Short & Sweet tip - Machine Embroidery

This is a little tip if you are working on an embroidery sewing machine for a small project.  Sometimes it is just too small to hoop it so you need to get inventive.  I was working on a small coin purse kit I got from Mollie Makes Magazine (which I adore!)  It came with two small pieces of vintage fabric that were just big enough to fit the coin purse pattern with very little left over.

The back fabric was a little too stark and plain for me.  The example was to take a scrap from the flower fabric to hand stitch onto it so you could have a rose on it.  The scrap was so small I could get nothing out of it.  I decided that I would embroider a Monogram on my machine.  Obviously it was too small to hoop the fabric so I used a cut away stabilizer (the tear away stabilizer is not the best option because it can tear it self away if not hooped all the way around with a fabric).

After hooping the stabilizer I used the temporary spray adhesive on both the fabric and the stabilizer to ensure that they are secure.  When you spray just one side it can sometimes move around once the stitching starts which is exactly what you don't want.  Make sure to get some thing that says it is temporary and that will wash out.  The importance to that is so that you can
A. Get your fabric of
B. Not gunk up the needle on your
C. So that it will wash out and doesn't add bulk or stiffness where you may not want it.

After everything is hooped, sprayed and set into place you can go about with your embroidery.

For this particular coin purse it was suggested to line the vintage fabrics.  I used a typical fusible interfacing instead of trying to deal with a second interior lining fabric since it was such a small piece.  After my embroidery I clipped out all the excess stabilizer to keep as close to the monogram as possible.  if you look closely you can see the contrasting hatch marks inside the "E". 

Very simple coin purse and easy solution to fabric being too small to hoop for machine embroidery.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clean House

A few weeks ago I spent the entire weekend cleaning up my stashes and my upstairs craft room which is also our guest room.  They were all disasters.  Above is my stash after the clean up which I am also sharing with my shoe storage because I have just as many shoes as I do fat quarters.

I decided to try and organize my fabric by themes.  So we shall see how that works out. In my head I do all my projects by themes so hopefully this will help keep it all together for me, otherwise I need to work up a new system which I am not keen on.

This is the guest bedroom/craft room.  Total anarchy!  I have this bad habit of stacking things on the bed and piling up stacks of magazines that I don't have time to flip through.  when I am in a hurry I am also terrible about putting things back once I pulled them out and leaving it there for days (or weeks).  I know that when I lose a cat in this mess then it is high time to clean it all up. One of the hard lessons I am still working on as an adult owning our own home is that there is no one else there to clean up after you and we certainly need to get that lesson learned before we add some human babies in our lives rather then furbabies that can fend for themselves mostly.

Once everything is clean and organized it does feel fantastic! Sure there are still some small piles on the bed but these are different.  These are things on the bed because I can not have a guest here till the prints are hung or things that need to be moved to the basement studio because they never belonged in this room in the first place.  Keeping them on the bed is like a visual to do list instead of piled up catch all.

In addition to cleaning up I found the perfect solution of what to do with all my mini buttons I've been collecting and the fact that I have several inspiration cork boards with no pushpins. I simply bent the pin out and use them just like normal push pins.  It makes for a double inspiration!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

TiLT - Fashion inspring me

I feel slightly obligated to post something more "fashion" oriented considering this is amidst New York Fashion Week and right before the Oscars. Let me tell you what you won't find here, trends. I don't really follow them the way the masses typically does.  I do fashion to the beat of my own drummer and go for inspiring and original rather then that new hot color or shape to wear.  Sure I follow the trends but I pick and choose what I like and what I think is really appropriate for me.  Doesn't mean it is appropriate for you, just me unless otherwise stated.  Having said that let's move on with my Things I Love Thursday for fashion inspirations!

 1. Pastels and Peekaboo maxi skirts.
 I love mint I always have and there is something about pastels that just screams for spring to start.  I could never personally pull off the Pink but I think with a contrast of Electric blue or black I could rock it.  That peekaboo maxi skirt I am in love with. It's not a leg baring slit, it's not a skort, simply a combination of long and short hems that give a little show as you walk or sit cross legged looking over all sophisticated when matched with the right fluid fabric.

 2. Sheer Oversized Sleeves
 If you know me and my design work you know I love an over sized sleeve. This one of course instantly struck me as amazing.  It makes me wish I had endless yardage of silk organza to play with.

3. Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012
 Firstly, yes! true Haute Couture not the pret a porter that most people assume is Haute Couture.  You can read my rant here.
Moving on, the attention to all the details, the elegant draping, this has got it all.  There wasn't a single piece in the collection I wasn't floored by. I am also reminded by a quote from Valentino "I have never made a dress where the hem shows the ankle as you walk that is disgusting". If you haven't done so already you should take a closer look at each individual piece here.

4. Making Lace
Although I am not so keen on this design it has sparked a wonderful DIY lace idea in my head.  I want to use satin stitch and free form sew some of my own patterns to an OOAK (one of a kind) lace for applique on my own pieces in the collection I am forming around Neurons. 

5. Sketch applique mixed with heavy beading
I am in love with this contrast.  The very sketch like light embroidery and applique matched with super heavy beading in coordinating colors.  It looks light and airy but the feel is weighted.  It reminds me of the Japanese squiggle coloring books turned adult

6. Striking Ombre
Yes Ombre has been around the block more then a few times but what struck me about these pieces is how potent the color is and stark.  Not to mention the careful selection of which part to dye.  Both of these pieces would of been just find on their own plain because there is enough detail going on with them to make them unique.  Adding in the ombre was a gamble, it could of been viewed as overworked and trend following but the above two pieces hit the perfect pitch in my book.  The first shows how ombre doesn't have to be just from one side to the other.  The bow was the basis for the garment and letting it bleed out organically into the rest of the jacket is poetic.  The dress/skirt on the right is a prim example of how you don't have to let the ombre take over the entire garment.  It is super saturated and then quickly disperses to the stark white of the rest of the garment.  This is just another example of how editing embellishments to any garment is key.

All the photos in this post were taken from various sources which I unfortunately didn't keep a great track of when I plopped them into Pinterest and Evernote (sorry)
Style Bubble, Park and Cube, Givenchy Facebook,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Father's Shirt

Randomly my dad gave me this shirt the other day when I was visiting him. They don't live far just on the other side of town. I think he misses me a lot so I should try to visit them more, but that is besides the point of this post.  Dad gave me a shirt because he knew I had another shirt with the same blue pinstripes so he was trying to be thoughtful by giving me his.  It was a mans large of Old navy, I was swimming in it of course. I thought I would make the best out of it and turn it to a tunic shirt.

Here are some terrible pictures of me wearing the end result.  I am showing these first so we can end with the better looking photos because it really turned out nicely.

I struggled for a long time with the front of this shirt.  It needed some sort of shape and the darts every which way I did them were unsatisfactory.  Finally I folded in some pintuck seaming and I was smitten with the faux bib (for lack of a better word since my brain isn't functioning today).  I also rolled up the sleeves and stay stitched them down.

For the back I brought it into a box pleat in the middle so that it created an interesting drape and brought the shoulders and back up a fit so the front was more fit.
Amazing that I was able to do all this with a few selective stitches and not cut a single piece of fabric out of the shirt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tabio Socks

 I finally got my brown paper package from the UK. 
My Tabio socks!

I like their postage it's very graphic and simple.

 2 pairs of toe socks
2 pairs of half socks
1 pair of ruffled ankle footie sock

 I love the way these look but it takes a little bit to get used to feeling of each toe being separated.  It also weirds me out a little to see my feet and for a split second think they are my hands.

 The half sock as an accessory over other socks is an idea to spice it up.

The half sock alone works well to protect heels in new pumps without giving you the weird toe bulk.  They are also handy to wear for sandals to protect your heel or make it a little more of snug fit. I like to wear them with flip flops when I am working in the cold basement to give my feet a little warmth but allowing my toes to be free.

Lastly the ruffled ankle footie is fun to wear alone as a house sock or with some flat ballet slipper type shoes.  It was a good sock to wear with my ankle boots because it protected the sole of my foot while allowing my tops to still breath in the boot and showing off the ruffles on top for a pop of color.

Overall I am very satisfied with my Tabio order.  Yes the socks are more expensive but the quality of them is far superior to any other socks I've looked at or tried.  I also live in a no shoes indoor household so it's nice to still see something pretty and fashionable on your feet when when you are relaxing.  I was surprised thinking the sock might even be too big for me since they are mostly one size fits all.  Instead they were a great fit and with the material they allow for a lot of stretch for larger feet as well.  I would say if you are willing to drop some serious money the shipping is nothing. These socks were well worth it to me and I look forward to making future orders of their other lines.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tie Dye gone Alright!

This is me following along on a very simple DIY I saw on Pintrest of something a mother did with her kids.  Well I don't have kids and why should they have all the fun?  This is a super simple and elegant way to do a tie dye affect.  I chose to stay with some basic colors to keep it classy and not kiddie and for sure far way from that ComFest feeling.

Tools are simple, rubbing alcohol, plastic or foam cup, rubber band, article or fabric you want to play on and sharpies!  It would of been nice If I had the dropper like they did but I'll pick on up next time.  I guess I could use a straw.

So you want to put the cup under whatever section you want to color and tie or put the rubber band tightly around the top.  Wherever the rubber band is secured that will end the saturation of the rubbing alcohol when you drop it on.  After it was secured I just drew a star burst in the colors I wanted when satisfied I dropped/poured the rubbing alcohol on it and watched the magic spread.  The nice thing about the cup on the bottom is that it catches the excess liquid and if you want you can turn it over and reuse it.  But be warned!  Just like a fire can be used to stop another oncoming fire the saturation of rubbing alcohol from one point to another can cancel each other out instead of flowing into each other.  When this happens you can get some strange circles or spread marking that you might or might not like.

I had a lot of fun with this but you also need to remember not to try and add colors once you started he saturation. It can kill your sharpie markers.  So it will take some playing and planning out if you want perfection.  The blue bled really well while my two different black pens barely budged at all.  I'm not sure if it was because they were old or the pigments with black are really ridged.

I hung it up while it dried in between circles and since then I've added to the left side under the arm.  it dries fairly quickly since it's rubbing alcohol but it doesn't hurt to have a fan or heater going while you are doing this to speed up the process if you are as impatient as I am.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Antique to Summer Classic

I got this lace table runner a while ago at an antique store and thought I could cut it and use it for mini runners on my two side tables in the living room to protect cat claws ans spills.  The I saw a little label on the inside with the date and captions that all the lace was handmade.  I couldn't bear to cut into it so I left it folded quietly in my stack of fabrics.

I took it out last weekend determined to get some precious time in on my sewing machine. I laid it over my mannequin in a few different variations which ultimately gave me some ideas for other designs I'd like on on using my own tatted lace.

I settled on this simple drape of a peasant blouse with a deep drape in the back.  The fun thing is from this rectangle I only needed to sew four parts to keep this shape.  A connecting seam in the front, one tuck stitch under each arm to make arm holes and the fourth was in the back to keep it together a little more so it wouldn't slide off my shoulders.

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear this out over a vibrant tank dress or with some skinny jeans and tall wedges.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

TILT- Useful Tools

This Thursday I want to dedicate it to some useful tools for me on the internet that are also keeping me sane.  They are inspiration boards, organizational tools and editing.  I should also call this my shameless promotion TILT except that I'm not endorsed by any of them.  These are my top 3 things I use almost daily.

1. Evernote - I can never gush too much about how useful this has been for me.  I keep all my important documents such as my CCAD classroom handouts and knitting/sewing patterns on here.  It can store word docs, pdfs, jpgs, some video, links, etc. It doesn't need admin rights to download it to a computer and best thing is that isn't limited to your computer either.  I put this on my Kindle fire, Droid X-2 so I can always have access to it.  On my phone I can easily take pictures of things and port them directly into my Evernote for later.  It's free but I opt to use the paid version so I have more space and can use functions like text searching through out all my notes.  Even things like receipts and written notes that you took a picture of can be searched with the paid version.  Paying isn't even that bad it's only $5 a month out of pocket and it auto pays off of my Paypal.

 You can see this sampling of my Evernote above.  I like the style with the thumbnails and descriptions and being able to organize my notebooks however I like.  When Delicious failed on me during their transition off of yahoo I felt panicked that I would lose all my links.  Evernote was like the shining beacon of light that I needed to fill the gap.  It does so much more for me then Delicious ever did.

2. Pinterest - This has been my back up for inspiration if I don't see something I want in my Evernote inspriation files.  It has also allowed me to add new things to my Evernote files.  I feel like it is blog reading on Crack.  I see the most interesting pictures of a tutorial or something and then I click further to get to the real meat and bones blog or website that it originated from.  It can be however another rabbit hole to fall into and a big time suck.

I love using it so much that I have 14 different boards.  It's also a good way  to keep inspiration at your fingertips since you can also access this anywhere and on anything that has internet access. 

3. Delicious -Even though it quite on me before and made me angry, once they fixed it all up I'm happy to be back on it.  As much as I love my Evernote it doesn't keep a slick profile of links the way that Delicious now does.  It also allows me to put my links into different "stacks" of categories make it much more simple for me to do my weekly or monthly blog catch ups in certain areas.

For me it's like the pinterest of blogs and links of things I already had.  For whatever reason I never got into using any of those blog readers out there and I just like to keep my links here on Delicious.