Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A better sweater

Hello, friends!  I am back from my trip, and (finally) got back to some sewing today.  While time is still a little tight and patience is a little thin, I spent the afternoon doing a sweater improvement instead of starting an all-out sewing project from scratch.  And that big project I keep teasing you with is still in progress... (stay tuned!)

So today I started with a green, lightweight sweater that I got at Old Navy and have had for quite some time.  It desperately wanted a new, cuter lease on life.  Since my photographer wasn't available today, here it is on my lovely blue (and busty!) dress form.   

And here it is now...

All I did was shorten the sleeves and slap on some trim.  This is yet another lovely bit of trim that I picked up last winter, only to let it collect dust in the bottom of my notions basket.  I sewed the trim on by hand, which made for a tedious, but delightfully simple project.  Perfect for catching up on some reality tv!  I've got some other projects on my mind this week so I hope I can get to them soon, and I will keep you all posted!  Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nifty Gifties - Parts Two and Three

As promised, I finished my final two gift projects this afternoon.  First, I made some simple blue napkins to accompany the place mats I made yesterday.  Here is the finished product:

I used Martha's instructions from this book, and I love the way they turned out.  Such an easy way to get neat corners!

I think the simple design is the perfect contrast to the festive place mats, and together they make complete place settings!  Don't proper place settings just make you want to sit down to a proper meal?  I picked up some artichoke pesto downtown today to pair with the table settings, and that's a wrap for gift package #1!

For the my second gift, I bought two microfiber dish towels, and embellished them with a little trim.  Here is how they turned out:

I found the trim in the sale bin at the fabric store, and somehow left with almost seventy yards of various patterns.  Oops...hey, they were on sale!  To pair with these towels, I got a fancy lavender mint dish soap, and that completes gift package #2!

Meanwhile, Oliver took a personal day today.  

He's saying "Mommm, give me a belly rub!"  Actually, he's yawning.  But he loves when I put words in his mouth.  And yes, I got that thread sticker off of his paw (somebody has been running wild in my sewing room!)

I'm off on my trip tomorrow, so I will catch up with you all when I return!  Have a happy week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nifty Gifties - Part One

Hello friends!  I know I've been MIA for a few days, but it's only because I've been working on something big.  It's really big.  It's so big, in fact, that it's not actually finished yet.  But I had a more time-sensitive project that I had to squeeze in this afternoon.  Not to worry!  I will finish it soon, and you will hear all about it.

But for now, I wanted to share a little project I did this afternoon in preparation for a trip I'll be making this weekend.  I'll be doing a little audition tour, and I am staying with a few different friends in a few different cities.  Not wanting to show up empty-handed (but also not wanting to give up a ton of time to complicated, overly-ambitious projects) I've been working on a few little gift items to take with me.  So here is Nifty Gifty #1 (out of 3) and it is: a set of 4 place mats!

When I went to the fabric store earlier today, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do.  But once I found this beautiful batik cotton I decided to go with a simple design.  I just love the swirls of color...I couldn't stand to cover those up!  I used a plain grey cotton on the flip side, and just added a little gold and blue trim (you know, to make it fancy.) 

I'll be back tomorrow with Nifty Gifties #2 and #3, and then I'll be all ready for my trip!  Hope everyone had a happy Monday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The whole kit and kaboodle

Since I had a relatively free day on my hands, I spent the day practicing and sewing.  Today I worked on an Anna Maria Horner kit I received for Christmas. While I was a little scared to cut into the fabric that came with my kit (it's just so cute!) I dove right in, and was able to complete the project in a few hours.  The process was undoubtedly slowed down by two things: my little helper (see below) and  my valiant attempt to sew while also watching The Bachelor .

Despite my numerous distractions, the Ruthie Clutch was a success!

I used the kit as intended, with one small change.  While I had enough fabric to line the bag with the main exterior fabric, I realized that if I swapped out the lining for something else, I would have enough of this lovely print left for another project!  How exciting, right?!  So instead of lining the bag with the exterior fabric, I swapped it out for some light blue cotton I had laying around.  I think it's a nice contrast!

The bag is a cute shape, a practical size, and a smart design.  I can't wait to use this pattern again and again!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little black bag

Although I survived the audition yesterday, one thing quickly became evident to me: I didn't have the right bag.  In my haste to ready all of my essentials, I grabbed a black bag from the attic that was not only too small to hold all that I needed, but also had a broken zipper.  Why did I still choose to bring this bag with me, knowing it wasn't really going to work?  I just don't know.  Life is complicated.  But after walking around for the day with a tiny, bulging, unfastened bag, I returned home this morning with a new project in mind. 

And here's my new bag!  

I made a basic black tote, with flap pockets on the front and back for extra loose papers and things.  I slapped a big bow on the front flap (every tote needs a little flair!)  I lined it with some fabric that was passed down to me by one of my lovely sisters over the holidays, when she was cleaning out her own fabric closet.  I sewed a couple of inner pockets: three for pencils, and one each for my wallet and phone.  Here is the inside:

For the straps, I used some trim I had in my stash, and I double-folded the edges in, so that they would look a little neater.  Here is a close shot of the strap:

I'm thrilled with my new bag, and I was able to make it completely from supplies I had sitting around!  What a rush!

I'm thinking my next project will be this adorable clutch.  As a Christmas gift this year, I received a kit with all of the supplies I will need to make the project from start to finish.  It should be a breeze...I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Little time = little projects

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!  As I am heading out of town for my first in a long, long string of auditions, I have been a little short on time for projects.  I'll be gone for the next day or two, but when I return, I'm tackling some of those big projects!  For now, I'm steadily working through my scraps with another little project that I have been meaning to try for quite some time now.  I'm a pony tail kind of girl, and I firmly believe that one is never too old to wear hair baubles.  So, without further ado, I give you: 

Fabric-covered button hair-ties!
They were so quick and easy, I see a lot more of these in my future.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Projects of Past, Present and Future

Since I didn't have much time to devote to actual sewing today, I decided to do a different kind of post:  I'm going to share a project I've already completed, a project that is still in progress, and a project I hope to make soon.

Project of the Past:
This apron was one of my fist "real" projects (which means I completed it by myself, and the end result actually looked like an apron.)  I completed it in 2009. 

When I first showed an interest in fabric (and quickly thereafter discovered JoAnn Fabrics) I found this fruit-printed cotton and just had to have it.  Around the same time (divine intervention?) I found this wonderful book, and it was a match made in heaven.  The apron pattern came straight from the book, and was a complete success.

Project of the Present:
This project is one that I have been working on for what feels like an eternity.  In fact, I'm not going to reveal exactly what it is, because when I eventually do finish it (read: if I ever finish it) I  want the big reveal to be a surprise!  So this is all you're getting:

Some of you may recognize this as "that wad of fabric" that you've seen in my last couple of apartments.  I will finish it eventually!

Project of the Future:
I came across this tutorial this afternoon when I was perusing the web today, and I just love the shape of it!  And I have some adorable fabrics upstairs that are screaming to be used for this project.  I'll keep y'all posted!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ooh la lavender

While I'm still trying to work through my scrap pile, and I was also in the mood for another mini project, I decided to spend the afternoon making some sachets for my sister.  In an effort to combat the dreary Pennsylvania winter day we had today, I chose some cheerful scraps from my stash and set to work.  Overall, it was my favorite kind of project: cute, easy and fast!

I filled them with dried lavender, and doubled up on the fabric (so none of the lavender flowers would get wild and start poking out!)  I added some embellishments to each one just to make them a little more interesting (although I didn't intend to put those rosettes on the hounds-tooth sachet, but I had a little whoopsie with the green trim and I had to put on a little something extra.  I'm okay with it!)

I really do love the scent of lavender.

I'm gearing up to tackle some of my larger half-done projects (although to say that some of them are half completed is quite optimistic) so I'll keep you all posted!  Happy Friday the 13th!

Late night sewing

After finishing my work for the day and (finally) organizing my fabric a little bit, I couldn't keep myself from making a little something.  I wasn't up for starting a major project (or continuing one that desperately needs to be picked up) so I whipped up a much-needed case for my iPad.  I have a shell and a screen cover to protect from scratches, but nothing with padding to protect it from bumps and bruises...until now, that is!

I picked this stripey fabric up at our local craft store around Thanksgiving, with no specific plans for it (shocking, I know!)  For the lining and the buttons on the front I used some red and white polka-dotted fabric I had left from a Christmas project I did this year.  I used some Velcro pieces I had in my stash to secure the front (and the buttons are just for fun!)  

I used some flat batting between the layers, and after my first-ever attempt at quilting, I'd say the project was a success.  I used one of my all-time favorite color combos, the cover seems to be pretty practical, and it actually fits!

And now it is much past my bedtime.  I hope all are well and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Trusty Sidekick


Since I'm not much closer to reining in my fabric stores, I've decided to introduce my pal, Ollie today.  Oliver likes watching tv, short walks on the beach, and eating.  He's a good eater.  In fact, he's such a good eater that he ate about sixteen ounces of salami last week and had to spend some time in the doggie hospital.  We're glad he's back home and back to his usual self!  Hopefully I'll be back soon with some more project posts, but for now I'm back to organizing and hoping for some sunshine!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, Old Projects

Hello, world!  I'm taking the beaten path this year, and using the new year as an opportunity to cross some things off of my to-do list that seem like they might have made that list their permanent home.  For one, since I discovered the world of craft blogging within the last couple of years, I have been suffering from some serious blog envy.  Last year (for New Year's) I resolved to start my own blog.  Lo and behold, that task sat on my to-do list for an entire year.  So, with this new year, I decided to take the plunge, and here I am!  I plan to use this blog to keep track of my projects, to share things that I find, and (hopefully) to join in the online sewing community.  So without further ado...

Along with the creation of this blog, I am making an attempt to work through my ridiculous fabric stash.  I have an embarrassingly large number of projects that I seem to have started and abandoned, and a plethora fabrics that I seem to have purchased with no project in mind.  How did I let it get so out of control, you may ask?  I love fabric!  And sometimes my stomach is bigger than my eyes, so to speak.  

While I am still attempting to corral my fabric stash into some usable state, I've decided to share a knitting project that I just finished this afternoon.  I started this infinity scarf a few months ago and ditched it shortly thereafter (I usually don't have the patience to finish knitting projects...) and picked it up the other day with a few new ideas about the design.  For the sake of interest, I switched up the plain garter stitch with a few thick stripes in the stockinette stitch, as well as switching the color from pink to grey.  As a bow-lover, I couldn't help myself from knitting up a few and using them to connect the two ends.