Saturday, March 31, 2007

Happy Bunsen Burner Day!

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with bunsen burners, I just saw that today was Bunsen Burner Day, and it made me smile. (Mike did make a 6' tall bunsen burner that "burned" tissue paper fire for an event at work, but I can't seem to locate a picture.)

What this post is really about is the prep I've been doing this weekend for the Handmade Parade craft fair in May. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, being that I had basically nothing made, no online shop to sell stuff from, and other looming deadlines (breast cancer quilt, baby quilt). So, I've been busy busy today. I'm making a bunch of wrist bands, or as I like to call them, She-Ra bands. (You know, thinking about it, I don't think She-Ra actually did that, Mike informs me that I'm probably confusing her with Wonder Woman, but I've always called them She-Ra bands, so I'm sticking with it.)

I also made another book wallet, and added a pocket for cash. It needs a couple more alterations, and then I can make up a bunch of those as well.

I've set up an Etsy shop, which is currently empty, but will be putting some things in there to sell soon, so check back.

Thank you all so much for your nice comments! It's so encouraging that people are reading this at all, and that you like what I'm doing is really awesome! Thank you!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Handmade Parade

I've joined a craft fair! My first one! And it's going to be a lot of fun, there's some pretty great crafters going, check them out at the Handmade Parade site. I was invited by Missy at Crafty Carnival, the same person who is organizing the First Aid Kit Swap. After signing up for the swap, I was ecstatic to find out that she was local to the Sacramento area, and then beside myself when I read her post about the Handmade Parade fair. Other crafters in Sacramento, who knew? Then I came across the relatively newly formed Sacramento Craft Mafia and it's blog. I'm very much a beginner in this crafting-for-money gig, but with all these resources out there, and in my town no less, I suddenly feel like I'll be ok. A little out of my league, but ok.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I got Lei'd

Thank you My Little Mochi! I won her lei-away raffle, and look what I got!

And all the wonderful goodies inside...

In case you're wondering, the chocolate caramel macadamia bar in the back is just an empty bag. Yum! And look at all the wonderful things she made (minus the clay bunny, the poor dear's ears fell off, but check it out here)...

I've been in love with the crocheted bunny since this post.

And that's not all... here are the treasures I ordered from Etsy...

From carriebee (also check out her blog here) I got these lovely stitch markers, with a free set of envelopes.

From three dog party I got some fantastic sexy librarian bookplates that came with all kinds of fun extras including the typewriter stamped card shown with the lovely packaging from my other order from Sulu (check out her blog here).

These earrings are so gorgeous! I want to wear them all the time!

And last, but not least, I got the fabric for the cowboy baby linens and quilt. I got it from Fabric Attic, and I would buy from them again. They had an impressive selection (especially of cowboy prints), and I got my order in 2 weeks on the dot. And look how cute those little cowboys are...

**Sorry about the format of this post... still working out the bugs, I guess.

Pencils in a boring box, oh no...

Mike got me a set of lovely new colored pencils when I was feeling under the weather over St. Patrick's Day weekend, and they were the perfect excuse to make a pencil roll. I've been seeing these around, some in the form of needle rolls (check out this tutorial), but I don't knit or crochet enough (yet) to have a lot of needles to organize (speaking of organized, check out Julieree's crochet to go roll). So, I was more inspired by the pencil rolls. Especially Kathy's at Pink Chalk Studio. She's even teaching a class. So I decided to take the unofficial "online course" (aka, using her pics to make my own). This is what I came up with.

I added a top flap so the pencils wouldn't fall out. I love the fabric on the pocket, it looks all ready to color in. Ali and Devin picked out the colors for the stripes. I had no idea that my stash was big enough to come up with all those colors, but I guess I've now arrived as a crafter/quilter/seamstress.

Mike and I bounced some ideas off each other, I made a few improvements on my construction, and adopted a bit of a different design, and here's the result.

I've been itching to work with denim, and I thought that the soft, well worn recycled denim that I've been collecting would make a great, sturdy pencil roll. Despite my growing stash, I don't have plain flannel, so I used lime green flannel with butterflies from pj's I made for Ali for the lining of the pocket, and it made a kind of piped edge on the top of the pocket which I like. I love the way my over-compensation for a fear of having the ribbon too short turned into one of my favorite things about the rolls. The ribbon ties now looks like geisha belts to me. I'm not sure what geisha would wear denim, but you know what I mean.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mmm... cupcakes...

I've been drooling over some lovely cupcakes out there in blogland for a while now. It started with Sally at Shim + Sons and her lovely photos of the dreamy cupcakes from Sprinkles (Ooo... there's one "coming soon" to San Francisco/Bay Area! I'll have to swing by there on a future Daiso trip). I absolutely love the water teddies Myra from My Little Mochi made (and I can't wait to receive her wonderful lei which I WON! Yay!). I'm not vegan, but the description of the "not squidgey" vegan cupcakes Gliddergoods got from Saint Cupcake on her recent trip to Portland (why, or why don't I live in Portland??) has me sold. The cupcakes in this fabric look pretty yummy too. Then the fairy cakes stacked with lovely homemade buttercream frosting at Unwind were calling my name, and finally today I came across the scent of water's chocolate overload cupcakes. Maybe to be washed down with Rich & Thick Hot Chocolate? Overload indeed.

Did you know there was an entire blog dedicated just to cupcakes? Tons of recipes with names like Chocolate Cupcakes with Chestnut-Fromage Blanc Frosting and Madeira Wine Glaze, Late Summer Peach, Blueberry, and Thyme Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Himalayan Goji Berry Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Chocolate Ganache and Himalayan Pink Salt and Green Tea Bubble Cream Filled Cupcakes with Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting. All with deliciously wonderful photos to match.

So with all these tasty temptations, I must bake. But which one to start with??

And speaking of tasty goodies, check out the Chocolate Box Quilt at Yarnstorm.

Monday, March 26, 2007

First Aid Kit Swap

Missy at Craft Carnival is organizing a First Aid Kit Swap that I've signed up for. How exciting! My first swap! Go check it out. It's half full (as of the time of this post), and you've got until April 4th to sign up. How cute is that graphic?


I need a weekend to recover from my weekend...

The gorgeous weather inspired me to clean, clean, clean! I unearthed our deck from under a thick layer of Stuff, and even found the will power to get rid of some stuff I've been reluctant to be rid of. And, like tons of other people, I made the trip(s) to the local garden store, and came home with lots of flowers and a new addition in preparation for lots of spring and summer BBQs.

Mike was busy as well. He hung our painting...

And helped Ali build Yosemite Valley (with John Muir looking on)!

I got a bit of crafting in too. I made myself a thread spool rack for an empty space in my sewing nook from this tutorial.

I have a lot more thread than I realized. And nearly every shade of purple.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yay Reprodepot!

I got my Reprodepot order! I've always been a little leery of buying fabric online. Colors can be so much different on a screen than in person, but I must say, the brand fabric (for this project) is exactly what it looked like online. I am one happy customer. The Amy Butler pattern has me itching to make the bag so I can go on a weekend trip, with my hair tied in a scarf, and big moviestar sunglasses. Usually the packing for our weekend trips consists of a bunch of clothes stuffed into a backpack or suitcase at the last minute, so this will lend a bit more class to our spontaneous adventures. And I just noticed that all buttons at Reprodepot are 25% off until the end of March! Hmm... but then it says 30% when you go to the button page. Ah well, they're cheaper, nonetheless and adorable. I just love these buttons.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Robin Hood Clock

After seeing this idea on Craftzine and following the link to Instructables, Mike and I were bitten with the clock-making bug. We scoured our favorite thrift store for hardbound kids books and clocks we could strip for parts, and came home with the book version of our favorite childhood movie, Robin Hood. Oo-de-lally.

Mike got out the power tools and sharp implements, and I manned the camera.

Mike first drilled a hole in the middle of the book where the clock hands would go. Poor Little John...

Then he cut out a square in the back of the book for the clock motor to sit into. After that we realized that the book was too thick for the clock parts we had, so he then had to cut a square in all of the pages of the book so that everything would sit flush. Boy did it feel wrong to cut up a book like that.

For stability we glued each page together with good ol' elmers, hot glued the clock motor in place, and "clamped" it down to dry.

We decided (mostly because we didn't have them) against putting the numbers on our new clock, so we put the hands on and that was it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm so lucky...

While I was passed out in the cottage on Saturday, look what my completely lovely boyfriend brought me....

And what I woke up to yesterday evening...

Not much merriment

Well, instead of wine and merriment this past weekend, I caught a stomach flu and spent most of the weekend in bed with Pepto-Bismol and yuckiness. I did manage to have a good time though. We didn't make it to Mercer Caverns, but I was feeling well enough on Sunday to go on a little hike to see the Natural Bridges, which was pretty impressive. Unfortunately the photos we got of it don't really do it justice.

But this is supposed to be a craft blog, right? So here are some pics of what I was working on last week.

This is the reversible skirt I made. It worked ok for the weekend, but I'm going to take it apart and make it into two skirts. The white skirt is twill, so it got too bunchy with the elastic, which at 1", is too wide. The twill has quite a bit of stretch, so I'm going to trim it down, put in a zipper and make it a more fitted skirt. The pink skirt is plain old cotton, so it will work fine as an elastic waist skirt, but just with thinner elastic, maybe 1/2".

And this is the sweater I stained, now turned into a cardigan. Mike thinks the ribbon should go all the way around the neckline, and I tend to agree with him. My original thought was that it would end more square at the top, but it ended up curving into the neckline, so I'm going to continue the ribbon all the way around. I'm also thinking of adding some kind of single closure to the part that meets in the front. Maybe a simple hook and eye, maybe a frog closure.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I know, I'm a day early, but we're in full celebration-mode at work. My boss goes all out and throws a party, and we're the little leprechauns that make everything happen. We've got everything from a Irish flag made out of crepe paper (his insistence) to little pots of gold(fish crackers) to every kind of sugary goodness you can think of. I'm looking forward to my boss's tassies, which he makes with pecans and walnuts. Yum!

After work we're heading to Murphys for the weekend to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with drinking, eating and general merriment! Mike and I and some friends have rented a cottage within stumbling distance of downtown, so that we can all enjoy the yummy wineries. I'm sure I'll come home with a couple of bottles of Zucca wine, my favorite not only because it's tasty, but because it's under the ground in what looks like a cellar, the people who work there are lovely, and they have chocolate and cheese fondu to munch while you taste. Then we're going to go exploring Mercer Caverns on Sunday. I'm so excited!

So of course, yesterday I decided to make myself a skirt to match a green shirt that I'm planning on wearing on Saturday. I went to get some fabric and couldn't decided between two, so I got them both and made a reversible skirt. I drafted up a simple pattern, but I overcompensated for my constant "this is too small" frustration, and it's too big. Not too too big, I'll still wear it, but after this weekend I'll probably tear is apart and change it a bit. The elastic I used is too wide, so it looks a little wonky. And one of the layers is stretchy twill, so when I tear it apart I think I'll turn it into a more fitted skirt and put in a zipper.

While I was waiting for the fabric to wash and dry, I worked on a sweater I ruined by spilling something down the front of it. I cut it down the middle and turned it into a cardigan, wrapping the raw edges in ribbon. I had to make it a bit of a v-neck to cut the stain out, and I think I'll put a single button, hook & eye or frog closure at the bust.

Sorry that I don't have pics of either of these, but I'll post them soon. I didn't finish these projects until after midnight last night, so I wasn't much in the mood to take pics of them.

I hope everyone enjoys their corned beef and cabbage, and has a green beer! Or two!

Oh, and check out the hilarious travels of Mimi, the Hello Kitty sewing machine on Happy Zombie! Starting in China, she's gone to London, Amsterdam, Paris and Sydney. It's not every day that you read about a sewing machine craving Easy Mac after spending some time in an Amsterdam cafe. I can't wait to see what Monica and Mimi create together!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The fabric is ordered!

I'm so excited! I went to several fabric stores yesterday and today, and nothing compared to what I found online for the cowboy quilt. So, I calculated all the yardage (cross my fingers that I did it correctly), and send off my orders. I ordered from two places, Fabric Attic, which has a main site and a site just for cowboy fabric, and Reprodepot. Fabric Attic is where I got the bulk of the fabric. You can't really beat their prices, but I have heard nothing about them, so I'm hoping everything goes smoothly. Reprodepot is fantastic. I've been drooling over their stuff for a while now. I just got one fabric for the cowboy project, but to make the shipping worth while (I couldn't see spending $9 on S&H on $5 of fabric), I added a couple extra things to my order (twist my arm, right?). One was the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag, which I'm so excited about! I first saw it here, and then saw a very cool fabric choice here. I'm torn between using some really fun big print, or something tweedy and British-looking. Reprodepot has some really lovely choices.

And because it feels odd to have a post without a picture, here's a pic of Devin at his first t-ball game yesterday. Too cute...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Window View

Mike and I have left a blank space on our bedroom wall (amazing in our place, being that every available wall space – even in the bathroom – is taken up with paintings, drawings and photographs), just waiting for us to fill it with something special. After much hemming and hawing, we finally decided on a project to fill the space: a window painting. At my last apartment Mike pulled three old windows out of the dumpster with the idea of doing something fabulously artistic with them. They’ve followed us around, spent time on our balcony behind the BBQ, gathering dust and spiders, waiting for the right combination of time and inspiration. Last night Mike got the inspiration, and we made the time. So after about a year of indecisiveness and half an hour of work, we have a lovely window painting for our bedroom!

Our collective taste is pretty simple when it comes to art and painting: glob it on, and see what happens. And that’s just what we did. Mike mixed some acrylic paints with water (and probably some kind of medium), and we literally poured it onto the window and swirled it around. I’m a big fan of big chunks of paint, so we added some of those too. Being that the paint was quite watery and wouldn't stay still, we really didn't have too much control of what it did. We had swirls and drips worked into the paint that slowly faded together overnight, creating more of a muted aura. We're both pretty pleased.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Craft vs. Muir

Not much crafting going on, at least not much tangible crafting. I've been planning and scheming with my sister, Jessica, about the cowboy baby quilt. I got the ok on the cowboy material and pattern, and I picked up some patterns for the rest at Hancock's today (yay $0.99 patterns!). Now I just have to find out whether she wants a flat bed skirt, or a gathered one. I'm leaning towards flat, but I got the pattern with the gatherd skirt for the fitted crib sheet. I also got these patterns, because how can you pass up cheap patterns? The first one is my, hopefully not vain, attempt to wear an Asian-style wrap shirt. Every single one I've ever tried on doesn't look right, but I'm in love with the style, and I'm hoping that if I make it I can fit it to my odd shape. The second one is a starter pattern for my goal of making a fitted jacket.

So why hasn't much crafting been going on? You mean besides the general laziness that always follows the daylight savings switch this time of year? Well, we've been deeply entrenched in the world of John Muir. Ali's project is taking us to many fun places, this weekend being Yosemite National Park. I grew up around Yosemite, so have been to the Valley many times, but have never been to Hetch Hetchy. John Muir's last cause was trying to save the Hetch Hetchy Valley from being turned into a resevoir, a cause that he lost. Nonetheless, it was breathtaking.

We then went into Yosemite Valley for a bit of a quick tour.

And my grandmother, who is a docent at the Mariposa Museum and History Center, gave us a John Muir-themed tour.

And you know what, now that I look through our pictures, I see that we did get some crafting done. Reminds me a bit of what glittergoods has been up to. But a lot more rebellious.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Yeeeee Haw

A coworker of my sister wants to commission me to make a cowboy themed denim and bandana quilt and crib bumper for her baby boy due in August. I have been wanting to incorporate denim into a quilted project, so I’m really excited about this. I have a bunch of old jeans saved up, but since it’s going to be for a baby, I’ll probably go to a thrift store and get some denim shirts so that it won’t be too heavy, and so that I can back it in something soft and snuggly, like minky. While looking up bandana fabrics online, I came across this adorable fabric, and I’m going to see if she’ll like it. I’m thinking of doing a simple pattern with a blue and red bandana fabric, an iron brand fabric, and that cowboy fabric. I also like this rope fabric (which also comes in red), which I could use in a border or for the binding. Sometimes I have a hard time visualizing how the fabrics and pieces will work together in a quilt, so I put together pictures in Word of the designs.

In this quilt, I tried to make the colors more random, but after spending several frustrating hours trying to make the colors work (random with none of the same colors next to each other), I decided this pattern was fine.

If she doesn’t care for the cowboy fabric, I was also thinking of doing a simple quilt with squares.

Well, I’m off for the weekend. We’re on a John Muir fact-finding mission to Yosemite for Ali’s school project. A couple weeks ago we went to Muir Woods and saw the big trees. We’re also going to squeeze in some family time with my parents and grandma.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I love freezer paper

I’m way behind and running to catch up with the bandwagon on this one. I first saw freezer paper stencils at Angry Chicken Her directions are short and sweet, with a great tip about putting another piece of freezer paper on the inside to keep the paint from marking the back of a t-shirt and to keeping the fabric straight. (There’s a much more detailed tutorial here.) Mike, the kids and I did a test run, and it is super fun and easy!

I did a cursive “S” swan, the one that I used to draw all the time when I was first learning to write in cursive.

Ali loves her pets (she only has one, but is hopeful), and now she shows it.

This was the first appearance of Devin’s “Christmas Tree and Balloon” design, which is now his signature motif.

Mike, of course, did something obscure and science-y. If anyone can tell me what that is, I’ll send you a fabulous prize. Here’s a hint... it’s upside down. (Hope I didn’t give it away.)

We used acrylic paint instead of fabric paint and I forgot to heat set, but after a couple washings, the paint has faded a tad, but still looks good. Next time I’ll try heat setting the acrylic and see if that holds the paint a bit more, but if that doesn’t work I’ll go out and buy some fabric paints.

Ever since my first stenciling attempt, I look at my wardrobe in an entirely different way. Hmmm... I say to myself... that t-shirt is kind of plain, it could use a raccoon Mario, or how about a drunk elephant? These Sakura blossoms would look great on my pants… Nothing is safe! I have a bunch of fabric set aside to make skirts, and now I want to decorate them with octopuses and chickens. And since you can’t have enough t-shirts, I know a girl and a boy who would just love monkey and transformer adorned tees.

Angry Chicken even stenciled her quilt! This quilt goes right along with my non-traditional quilt craving.

If that’s not enough inspiration for you, check out the other 642 pictures at the Flickr pool.