Thursday, January 31, 2008

China, Jersualem and Me

No, it's not a new sitcom.

It's the amazing weather week we've had!

First there was the deadly & unusual snowfall in China.

Xian, China

Then it was a rare blizzard in the Middle East (8+ inches in Jersualem!)

Dome of the Rock

And now it's the not so unusual, but very pretty (and school slaying) snowfall in Oklahoma.

My backyard

Also my backyard

While I was enjoying my Snow Day at home today, I decided to take the plunge and join the Wardrobe Contest 2008 over at PR. Mainly because I really need some new clothes, and hey they might as well match and go together, right?

I haven't made a SWAP storyboard yet, but I'm pulling out fabrics & patterns as we speak (er, as I type & you read that is) so I'll post a pic as soon as I have an idea! I'm thinking a spring-ish wardrobe rather than more winter wear. After all, I have until April and by then I'll need warm weather wear!

In case you're not familiar with the Wardrobe Contest, you can view last year's entries here. Lots of pretties to look at there! Wish me luck. (No, really. Last 2 contests I entered, I didn't even get ONE garment finished! LOL. but the one before that I did finish! If that counts.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So sweet

it'll make your teeth hurt! Would you LOOK at this darling little bear:

It was crafted by Jennifer Stanfield of nimbleknot. She is amazing! She has an Etsy store & an eBay store too, but I think she's working on commissions right now so both are empty.

I've been fascinated by needlefelting for oh, at least 2 years. I first fell in love with these tiny wool cuties in this book:

But frankly, other than oohing and ahhing, I skimmed over the pretties because a) I don't read Japanese, and b) I thought needlefelting was jabbing an oddly shaped needle into a flat piece of fabric/felt. How in the world did THAT equal these little 3-dimensional animals??

But flickr has persuaded me that I must learn to do this. You know, in all that spare time I've got lying around. And google has provided a couple of tutes. Here's one with basic instruction for dolly shapes. Here's another (rather complicated) dolly head & body tutorial.

But THIS one is the where the lightbulb a-HA moment hit me.

A little more seraching revealed that Martha has a video too, a how-to for a sweet little chick. View it here. Even features one of my favorite flickr artists, Jenn Docherty!
I mean just look at these bunnies she made! I could eat them up!

And lest you think I spend all my time looking at other people's projects (shut up) and never get to my's a sneak peek of a few soon to be yummies for Lu:

although if I don't get my buns off the net I'll still be here next Sunday, wondering why none of my lovely projects are finished. laters!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Lu & I designed an amazing little jacket this morning. It's swathed in pink polkadots, roses, and lace. Oh, and zebra too. What's not to like??

Started out with this, the G-man's outgrown Old Navy denim jacket.

We gathered our chosen ammo...

And after a couple of hours at the sewing machine, a truly sweet and girly TDF jacket emerged!

I cropped the jacket right above the lower pockets, and cropped the sleeves at 3/4 length too. I added faux zebra fur at the yoke in front & back, tracing the lines of the jacket with tissue first for a pattern. I added vintage pink rickrack to lower yokes, just for a little more pink (can you ever really have too much pink?) I also covered the seams in front and back with French lace beading.

The pockets feature Venice lace, imported French rosebud trim and a shabby pink chiffon rose.

The 3/4 sleeves and bottom of the jacket are trimmed with a double ruffle of embroidered netting lace ruffle and a sweet pink & cream polkadot.

For a finishing touch, I covered the original buttons with 3 different silver & pearl buttons (from my bottomless button box). The originals have a hole in the center, and I glued the shank of the replacement buttons right down into the hole. Perfect! I can't wait for Lu to see it! She may never take this off!

Friday, January 18, 2008

For Heidi...

For one of my favorite bloggers, Everyday Cookies, who is learning to use Photoshop! Here are a couple of really easy to use digital frames. Both are .png files on a transparent background. Click on each preview below to take you to a full size image files Right click & save to your drive for use in your favorite photo editing program.

You can use these in a couple of different ways. They're black (and black goes with everything, dontcha know?!) so just adding them as a new layer on top of your existing photo is very nice. OR if you'd like them to be a custom color...load them as a custom mask.

This step differs by program, but in Paintshop Pro you go to Layers > Load Mask > Load Mask From Disk. Browse your computer for the frame and then voila! It's applied to your picture (actually deleting the frame image from your picture). Add a layer BEHIND your photo filled with whatever color you like, and the frame magically appears!

A mask actually "cuts holes" in your picture, so the layer underneath just peeks through. Easy peasy! I hope you enjoy these 2, and I have several other digital scrap goodies I'll try to share over the next few days.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hello, stranger

Returning to school has kicked my bum. :D So I haven't had time for sewing or crafties...but I DO have pretties to show you. First, some flea market treasures...

gorgeous vintage lace dressing gown

with rhinestone button closure!

Not to invoke the M word or anything, but Martha Stewart once showed us a funky old toolbox that she had refurbished for a crafts box. I've been on the lookout for one ever since! Bingo! Mine will be pink.

Some darling vintage buttons next...

And the postman has been dropping off some goodies nearly every day the past week! Some gorgeous pink leaf beads, candy color flowers, & sweet little brass bird charms from Epoch Beads on etsy.

And today I got a shipment of decorating/craft books! The front book in this pile is BEAUTIFUL! I can't recommend it enough. I was enthralled from start to finish.

(Crafty kitty helped with the photos. )

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The $5 Makeover

Tomorrow, it's back to school for me. Sigh. Today, instead of surfing all your pretty blogs, I re-did a favorite old chair of mine. And just in case you might have a similar chair tucked away because it's not quite fabulous's a brief tute on how easy you can complete a chair makeover in an afternoon!

Here's the before picture. Keep in mind, this little chair has already suffered through one of my makeovers, but I'm frankly sick of the cheery yellow.

and here's the seat removed; see it has a stain and needed to be recovered anyway!

Usually these types of padded seat cushions have a thin wood base and are attached to the chair with screws. Just flip the chair over & unscrew it...the padded top will pull right off.

I removed the old home-dec fabric & lay it over my newly chosen fabric to cut out the right size piece (no pattern needed! yay!)

Next, I ironed on a slightly smaller piece of Pellon fusible batting to my fabric, because I chose a quilting cotton this time, not a home-dec fabric. This will give it a little body. Keep in mind I didn't remove any of the original foam or anything, I'm just covering right over the top of it.

(Now's the time all you upholstery purists should stop reading and skip to the bottom for the after picture. ) I lay the Pellon fused fabric over the padded seat and position it so the pattern is pretty & centered. Flip the padded top over & pull from opposite sides to get it even, taut & smooth. I used pins to hold for gluing. Uh, yup. I said the G word. Now, I also use a staple gun, but I'm telling you a glue gun works really well for this project!

I pull the corners over first before gluing the sides, so I can get a nice , smooth corner.

Then glue (or staple) the sides down. Remember, work from opposite sides and everything will stay nice and smooth. Here's the bottom after gluing all the sides.

Since this will never be seen, I'm leaving it the way it is. You could cover with a nice piece of felt or something if you wanted a finished seat bottom though. Here's the pretty seat all finished:

A can of Krylon in a new yummy aqua shade completes this pretty chair makeover!

a different angle of the seat

Parting shot...a fabulous vintage cushion I picked up while at the flea market this weekend):

Friday, January 04, 2008


I normally forgoe the traditional setting of goals & resolutions for the new year. However.

I'm floundering a bit here, in my personal life. Partly because there's so much to do and so much to see, and so much I haven't even begun to plan to want to do yet! The world, my world, is spinning faster and faster every year and I think goals might help me focus. So.

Ah hem. Here are my New Year's Resolutions for 2008. (2008? Where the blazes did 2007 go??)

1. Rediscover painting. I used to love to paint! And I'm not talking about oils & landscapes. I'm talking about good old fashioned acrylics and some fun little wood pieces. Before I sewed, I handcrafted little vintage-esque toys, usually painted wood. I let this craft go because not so many people were interested in vintage back then. Ho ho, times change!

2. Spend less time on the net. Sorry chickies. I spend WAY too much time surfing your blogs (and recently Flickr accounts) and I can't do above painting, OR sewing if I'm on the net all the time. But I lub you all. (And notice I didn't state a time frame. hee.)

3. Take back my style. For some reason, a few years ago I gradually let go of picking things for my home & life that I love. Mainly because I love kitschy, retro and shabby, chipped things and several years ago I was just another weirdo haunting flea markets and backyard sales for other people's trashy rejects. Then Shabby Chic became all the rage and all that stuff went WAAYY out of my price range. So I let that go too and sort of adopted a nondescript, blander version of my style. I want my kitsch, dammit. A-flea-marketing-I'll-go!!

4. Embrace my inner craft geek. I've also lost my glue-gun at the ready-side. After I joined the world of "working adults", being crafty was kind of an embarrassment. And with my busy life & schedule I shrugged off a pastime that truly gives me joy AND a creative release. I've seen more adorable projects this Christmas break, many in tune with things I used to make in the good old days! Who knew there were so many frou frou girly crafters just like me out there?! I want to join the fun again!

5. Sew for Lu & I ...for love. Too often I sew for a "reason". Like a custom order for a client...or an event Lu or I have coming. I want to sew just for the heck of it, because its fun and enjoyable, without deadlines.

I could go on and on (um, really want to beef up my photography skills. And you know, vacuum more often to make my ma proud. Those kinds of things.) But I think these 5 suffice. AND these 5 are at the heart of my personal struggles dealing with which direction I should take creatively.

In other news...I just signed up for Flickr & installed my little badge thingie over there on the right. I've been searching for my buddies out there in blogland, so if you have a flickr make me a contact & I'll do the same! (For whatever reason, I just now "get" Flickr. And I'm seriously addicted.)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year, New Look

Um, I spent way too much time on this.

And now I'm gonna go have a bologna sandwich. Happy 1st day of 2008!!

UPDATE: I forget some of the world uses IE. Phooey. New blogfantastico isn't pretty nor fantastic in IE. If you got to see it in Firefox, le sigh. Working on it now, but I'm getting tired so it may be tomorrow before I figure it out. CSS makes my head hurt.

UPDATE Pt 2: It's fixed! Yay!, what are your thoughts on playlists? I don't always like to have them pop up unexpectedly on blogs, but I do like seeing & hearing what others are listening to. I've found a lot of great music through other people's blogs!