Saturday, January 19, 2013


Goodness, it has been cold in Cleveland this week.  With the wind chill in the teens and the blustery wind rattling the windows, all I feel like doing these days is nesting.  Nothing beats the chill like a cozy spot to call home.  What this really means is a whole lot of baking and decorating, and a fair amount of spontaneous craft projects.  One such random project was inspired by this tutorial and a bathroom with open shelving.  I took a couple cheap glass containers (each about $1 at Wal-Mart) and treated them to my heart's content (and my family's discontent, as the lovely scents of spray paint and vinegar wafted through the house.)  Here are some before and after shots:

It was seemingly impossible to get an "after" shot without my camera-clad self reflected in the shot, although I suppose that's to be expected, when using a spray-on product called "looking glass."  At any rate, this project was quick, easy, and left me with a burning desire to use up the rest of my can of "looking glass" paint on random household objects.  I held off for now, but I'm sure this project will have a reprise sometime soon.

In other news, our (read: Ollie's) new futon arrived yesterday, and my roommate and I dragged it up the barely-lit-and-also-disintegrating staircase to our third-floor apartment.  With only one legitimate near-catastrophe, and considerably tired forearms, we got it up into the apartment and set it all up.  Needless to say, we were pretty proud of ourselves.  Now that our living room is finally furnished, let the pillow-making commence!  My return to Cleveland has been pretty chilly, but it sure is great to be back in the land of productivity (and cannoli.)  Happy Saturday!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Moving ahead

As intended, I sewed my recent embroidery project into a little clutch.  I used some navy corduroy for the back, and some pretty white cotton for the lining.  So now all that's left are some final decisions: pom-pom zipper pull? Strap?  For now, my little clutch is just that, and I love it.

My plan for now is to avoid these last earth-shattering clutch-related decisions and forge ahead with more projects!  There's nothing like the creative boost that comes with New Year's resolutions and a little (but actually quite long) break from school. 

The rest of my day was spent getting a little work done, sipping coffee, and making pattern pieces for my next project, (drumroll, please...) a dress from the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.  I got this book for my birthday last August and have since been lusting after the projects within and plucking up the courage to try one.  Since the book is designed to be used with handmade patterns, I have been gradually working up the courage to tackle this seemingly insurmountable task.  I can't say why pattern-making frightened me so, but I came up with one excuse after another to avoid it.  So in light of the recent New-Year momentum, I jumped right in last night, and began drafting the pattern pieces for my dress.  (I had a little help...see below.)  Today I finished them up, cut them out, and went ahead and cut out my fabric pieces.  I'm ready to start sewing tomorrow!  This project will also mark my first invisible zipper, and my first fully-lined dress.  Can't wait to get started!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year!

Have you ever had a crafting emergency?  In the Carey household, they're not so unusual and come in many varieties (everything from "I-can't-believe-we're-out-of-glitter" to "I-just-can't-believe-I-spilled-all-of-that-paint!")  This most recent emergency involved a brand new needlepoint book and an incoming snowstorm.  Despite the impending snowy disaster, my mom and I packed ourselves into my little car and made our way to a local craft haven to load up on a few projects to keep busy with while snowed in.  (You might be wondering why we weren't heading out for actual emergency supplies-like food.  But I can assure you, we had plenty of coffee and Christmas cookies leftover...what else could we need?)  Since we were in quite a hurry, we were faced with such snap decisions as "Michael's or Ben Franklin Crafts?" and "Will navy Aida cloth work, since they don't carry black?" and "Oh my goodness, they don't have any crewel yarn, what are we to do?!"  Suffice it to say, I had to make quite a few compromises, and spent a few minutes running between the aisles muttering to myself while tossing a strange assortment of craft goodies into my basket.  Admittedly, I felt a little like MacGyver.  I ended up going ahead with my intended project, and just made a few tweaks based on the supplies I was able to find.

I made a piece for a clutch from Anna Maria Horner's new book; she calls this project the "star-crossed clutch."  While she uses many more colors, black Aida cloth, and crewel yarn, I decided to keep with a mostly blue color scheme (partially due to the fact that I didn't want it to be too busy with the blue background, which was all that was available to me.)  Since we couldn't find any crewel wool, I picked up some standard embroidery floss and just made do.  The finished product isn't quite as filled-in as the original (since the embroidery floss was much thinner than wool) but I like it just the same.  I went ahead and added the gold stitching that is called for in the original pattern, and it really brought the design to's definitely my favorite part!

As embroidery projects go, this one was pretty darn speedy.  Considering I started it the day after Christmas and am finished just about one week into the new year, it's definitely a new personal needlepoint record.  Considering my track record, it's a miracle I finished it before next Christmas!  All that's left for this project is to sew it up into a little clutch, and take it out on the town!  Happy New Year!