Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easy-peasy heat pack

I'm back today with another simple project to share (can you tell I'm avoiding my big project?) that I made the other day.  My mom and I put together a little care package to send to my sister in Rhode Island, and I stuck in a rice-filled heat pack that I made from some leftover batik-like fabric.  Here is how my little project turned out:

I made the actual heat pack from some lining fabric, and created four rice-filled compartments.  I sewed up the pack completely (to prevent from rice spilling out all over the place) and I made a little slipcover that can be removed (in the name of cleanliness!)  and closes with a strip of Velcro.  I just love the leaf-like print on this fabric!  This project was so simple, quick and cheap...I may just have to make some more this week!

I'm planning on devoting some time today to re-building my project gallery (the blog tab formerly known as "Things I've Made".)  Through my technological prowess, I magically (and quite accidentally) deleted the entire tab yesterday.  So that's definitely on the agenda for today, along with the conclusion of what I like to call "Project Procrastination."  Now that I've successfully cut out all of the pieces for an adorable dress pattern-and let them sit on my ironing board for at least one week-it's time to tackle that project.  Wish me luck!  Happy weekend!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hello headbands

I have been working on some bigger projects, but I couldn't resist a quick headband-making session this morning.  I find myself wearing headbands more and more, and I love the comfort of an elastic one, versus the stiff kind that pinch behind the ears.  I used some trim I had left from this cardigan and these place mats, and just added a little elastic...easy as pie!  They're so comfy, I'm already wearing one!  Here is how they turned out:

When I made my last batch of headbands, I sewed them by hand. But today, in the interest of speed (and sturdiness) I sewed these babies on my machine.  They seem to hold up pretty well, and they took just moments to kind of project!  Between the headbands, the beautiful sunshine, and some great reality tv, it's been a great Friday.  I hope you all had great Fridays as well, and I wish a happy weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ruffled-up duvet

This was one project that I never really thought I would finish.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I bought the fabric and started this project almost two years ago.  Yikes!  Time flies when you're...procrastinating?  While keeping up with my spring cleaning initiative, this was the mother of all spring cleaning projects.  It's been eating up space in my sewing room, and it's been on my to-do list for an eternity.  If you don't believe me, take a peek at this post, in which I posted a teaser photo of my beloved yellow ruffles and implied that I would finish it soon.  (Maybe I wasn't right about the "soon" part, but better late than never!)  So without further ado, I present my labor of love: the ruffled-up duvet cover.

I was inspired by this duvet cover from Urban Outfitters and in a moment of ambitious insanity, I decided to copy it.  I hit up a major bedding sale, where I purchased a bunch of sets of sheets for around $20.   What a steal!  And two years later, I finally have my duvet, and I'm thrilled and relieved!  I'm also thrilled that I'm now (more or less) caught up on my started-and-then-abandoned projects.  So now it's time to start something new and exciting!  And in case you didn't notice from the first photo, this duvet cover is puggle-approved.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and I hope to be back with more soon!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring cleaning

Before I can really get started with some new projects, I need to deal with some of my abandoned projects.  I know that it will make me feel better to finally finish some of these up, and quite frankly, my sewing room is bursting at the seams.  I have an embarrassing number of unidentifiable projects in various stages of completion.  So in an effort to eradicate the disorder that has become my sewing room, I've decided to do a little spring cleaning.  I'm working my way through these bits and pieces by either finishing or scrapping the original projects, and I won't stop until I'm all caught up! (or at least until I can see the floor of my sewing room again.)

Up first was (an embarrassingly late) Valentine's Day present for Sean.  Considering how busy and stressful my February was, I chose an overly-ambitious project and I just finished it the other night...only five weeks late!  As upset as I was that it was so very late, I am thrilled with the way it turned out.  Here is the finished product:

In case you haven't met them before, these three good-looking guys are the front men for the classic Haunted Mansion at Disney World.  Since this has always been one of Sean's favorite attractions, I decided to do a little embroidery project featuring these hitchhiking ghosts. 


Aside from just biting off more than I could chew with this project (as usual), I had a few setbacks (which included flat out losing my first does that happen?!)  But overall, it turned out even better than I expected.  In an effort to make this needlepoint gift a tad more masculine, I bought a plain black wooden frame, and my dad matted it for me, giving it a rich blue border.  

It's so satisfying to finish projects!  I have a few more up my sleeve for the week, so I'll keep playing catch-up and hopefully be back with more to share soon!  Happy Wednesday!   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The "to infinity and beyond!" scarf

I know I said I was finally going to tackle some of my clothing patterns, but with the weather suddenly turning so nice, I was compelled to make a sunny, bright infinity scarf today.  I've been hanging onto a bunch of scraps in the blue-yellow-green color family (one of my favorite color families!) and just sewed a big loop!  Here is how it turned out:

I made it slightly over-sized (for comfort's sake) and I just pieced the scraps together, sewed the whole thing inside out, then turned it and closed up the loop...easy as pie!  After I finished up this little project, I headed out to Rickett's Glen State Park for a lovely hike with my sister.  We had perfect weather, and (possibly for the first time in history) didn't get lost while finding our way back to the car.  Big day!

While I didn't progress a whole lot today on my adventures in sewing with patterns, I have officially started laying out a project that I'm super excited about!  I'll let you all know how it goes!  I hope you all had wonderful Thursdays, and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fav fab finds

I just wanted to pop in and share a few of my favorite fabric finds...

I must have been feeling blue today!  I know I can't get them all, but it certainly will be hard to choose!  What do you all think?

Thrifty Tuesday

Today my sister and I made a trip to our local flea market.  I was tempted by so many different vintage fabrics, doilies, notions, and buttons; but somehow I managed to make it out without spending more than five dollars (it's a miracle!)  In the end, I settled on a gorgeous yellow lace runner and a mixed pack of vintage handkerchiefs.  


I can't wait to come up with some ways to use these in upcoming projects!  Although some of the hankies are so beautifully embroidered, I might not have the heart to cut them up.  I'm thinking of framing some of them along with some vintage needle cases to hang in my future sewing room.  I've also been attempting to think of projects all afternoon that would create a need for me to go and pick up some extra buttons and notions I found.  I'm sure I'll come up with something!

After much deliberation, I decided that I've held off for long enough, and I took a peek at some fabric online today.  I have built up a small collection of sewing patterns that I had every intention of using when I purchased them, but lost my nerve before I even started.  For some reason, sewing clothes from scratch intimidates the bajeezus out of me.  While I've taken on a few clothing projects, I've really stayed away from this challenge by sewing projects that don't require fit, or by modifying garments that came to me pre-assembled.  Now's the time to take on these patterns!  In order to do this, I just have to get some new fabric (yes, it's an excuse to go fabric shopping, but I'm going to seize the opportunity!)  I'll keep you all posted as I take on these new and exciting projects!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lace-pocket cardigan

Today was a great day!  I had a delicious lunch at a favorite downtown spot with my mom, and we've had quite a few bouts of beautiful sunshine.  Now we have a cozy fire crackling in the fireplace and I'm brainstorming some more sewing projects.

I'm steadily working through my reject clothing pile by making some small improvements to make me want to wear those things again.  Today, I used some of that gorgeous teal lace I picked up yesterday and dressed up a plain grey cardigan I've had for a few years.  Here is what I started with:

I do love long sweaters-and cardigans are a real wardrobe staple for me-but this was a little boring for my taste.  And in case you haven't already been tipped off to the fact that I don't like long sleeves (because I hem the sleeves of just about everything I wear) I also took up the sleeves on this little number.  Apart from the sleeves, all I did was stick some lace to the pockets and call it a day.  Here is how it turned out:

I re-used the original cuff by trimming some fabric from the middle of each sleeve and re-attaching the cuff a little higher up.  Super easy way to have a nicely finished (but shorter) sleeve!  Here is a close-up of one of the lace pockets:

I love that the scallop design of the lace almost creates a chevron design on the pockets.  And isn't the color just amazing??  It was a challenge, but I resisted the urge to just keep adding and adding (I thought about putting some more lace on the sleeves, collar, down the front, and just all over the place!)  but I think I made the right choice.  Simple is good!

I hope you all had wonderful Fridays, and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blue jean blues

Today I searched high and low for a new pair of jeans.  Actually, I only went to one store (but I did look really hard there!) and I came home empty-handed.  But while I was there I was struck with the idea to try to improve the fit of a pair of jeans that I've had in my closet forever and haven't really worn.  I picked these jeans up at a second-hand store last year sometime, and I've only worn them a few times.  They were a little too long for me, and I wasn't crazy about the way the flares fit.  Here they are before the transformation:

The photos were a challenge today, since I was working solo (except for Oliver, who's a trusty sidekick, but not such a whiz with a camera.)  I had a tough time trying to photograph my own legs.  My legless dress form didn't really didn't have a prayer for this pants-only photo shoot.  Anyway, here is the best "after" shot:

I didn't make any major changes, but I took in the flares so they're more of a boot cut/skinny jean now, and I shortened the legs a little.  I didn't sew the cuffs in place, but I like the cuffed look and it was rainy this afternoon, so I wore them that way today.  I hope I get some more use out of these jeans now!

On an unrelated note, I stopped in the craft store this afternoon and I could not leave without picking up some trim.  They were priced at three yards for a dollar!  Three yards!  For one dollar!  Here's a peek at what I got: 

I'm particularly fond of the teal scalloped lace.  I can't wait to make something with these!  I'll be sure to let you all know when I do!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tunic: take two

Today, I woke up with an inexorable urge to go shopping.  I'm not sure if it was the sunshine, the fact that I'm finally done with this round of auditions, or if it is just one of those days; but whatever the reason, I couldn't shake the urge.  So I ordered this pair of loafers in kelly green (at $15 I just couldn't not order them!) but since they won't be here for a few days, I ventured into my box of castoff clothing and picked something to re-vamp.  So I started with this fixer-upper:

I bought this button-down tunic at Target a few years ago because I loved the print.  To be honest, I'm not even sure I tried it on in the store.  If I would have, I probably would have known that it was a super awkward length for me, and that I was never really going to wear it.  So to solve this problem, I chopped off the bottom, added a little bit of ruffle trim (how can you go wrong with ruffles?) and turned the navy belt into a removable bow pin.  Here is how it turned out:

This project was super easy and it really hit the spot today.  I had been keeping an eye out for a project to use this ruffle trim on, and I love the way it looks with the print on the shirt.  I'd call this re-fashion a success!

I hope you all are also getting a bit of the sunshine we're getting in Pennsylvania today, it's beautiful!  Today finally feels like spring.  I'm going to go enjoy it in my new top!  Thanks for stopping by and happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Big-boy bag

Today was a wonderful day off.  I finally got around to cleaning my car, cooked a nice dinner, and I did a whole lot of nothing.  It was great!  I did knock one thing off of my "to-do" list, though, by creating a new "Things I've Made" tab with quick links to all of the projects I've blogged about so far.  Check it out if you get a chance!

For some reason, I've had bags on the brain a lot lately.  Even though I haven't been doing a ton of sewing, I keep getting ideas for new bags, searching out patterns online for new bags, wanting to buy new's never-ending!  In an effort to keep up with this, I decided to share with you all today a bag that I made for Sean this year.  Since he was graduating and moving on to big-boy things, I decided he needed a new big-boy messenger bag.  I found this great tutorial, and gave it just a few tweaks.  Here is how it turned out: (photos courtesy of Sean)

I used heavy duty black canvas for the outside of the bag, with faux leather trim for the strap and to embellish the body of the bag.  For the insides, I used some light blue canvas to line the flap, and I used some hounds-tooth printed cotton for the lining and inner pockets.

Aside from fabric weights, I didn't really make any changes to the inside of the bag pattern, because I love the way it was laid out.  There is a perfectly sized laptop pocket, while still leaving plenty of room for other papers and books.  There are also some pockets for writing utensils, phone, wallet, and even a key fob!  While I was nervous to work with the "leather" trim, I'm glad I took the risk.  I think it gives the bag just the right amount spice on the outside.  I couldn't very well send Sean to work with a boring old messenger bag, could I?  Although I did try to keep the fabric choices professional, so that Sean wouldn't be the butt of any bag-related water cooler jokes.

I hope everybody had a lovely Tuesday, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A proper gentleman

I returned home today from my last (I almost can't believe it's true!) audition trip.  After a few stressful days in "the Big Apple" I came home to find the best little surprise: 

In addition to my favorite little buddy being safe and sound at home, he now has a new wardrobe staple!  Because every proper gentleman needs a proper bow-tie, it seemed only fitting that Oliver has one.  Actually, I saw one of these on Esty some time ago, and knew it was just one of those things I needed to have.  Luckily (for me) I pinned it on Pinterest, Sean saw it a few weeks ago, and he ordered this little argyle number as a Valentine's Day/Oliver's Birthday present for the two of us.  We couldn't be happier!  My next project will be to copy this with some more prints...oh the possibilities!  He really does look dashing, doesn't he? 

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and a fabulous Monday!... (that's a real thing, right?)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Old brown shoe

I spent today at home, practicing and taking a bit of a mental health day.  It was another dreary day here in Pennsylvania (complete with a variety of wintry mixtures falling outside) which was the perfect excuse to stay in all day.  It gave me a chance to do a good-old-fashioned Mod Podge project this afternoon, and to work on a pair of my favorite old brown shoes.  My project was inspired by this post, which I loved (and tucked away in the back of my mind) the instant I saw it a few weeks ago.  These were my shoes this morning:

They weren't terribly expensive, but they've quickly become one of my favorite pairs.  For some reason (even after they'd started to look a little more crummy than cute) I just can't stop wearing them.  You can imagine my devastation when a snowstorm in Cleveland almost destroyed them a few weeks back (salt works wonders on fake brown leather...and not in a good way!)  So I tried to give them a little more life, and here they are now:

You may recognize the fabric from this project...I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of that yardage!  I didn't do a perfect job of cutting the fabric away from the shoes, but it's certainly an improvement anyway (and no one will see them that close up, right?) I just glued the fabric on to the sections I wanted to cover, sealed it with Mod Podge, and swapped the laces for some brown ribbon.  I can't wait to wear them out on the town tomorrow!  (And by "out on the town" I, of course, mean "rehearsal.")  Happy Leap Day, everybody!