Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Yard Wonders, Jewelry Roll

Several months ago, I bought the much touted "One Yard Wonders" book. A really good concept-all of the projects use one yard of fabric, or less. It's actually a very nice book, clearly written instructions, beautiful photos. A few nights ago, while watching Dancing with the Stars (Kate Gosselin, what were you thinking? I definitely need to give up reality TV), I decided to try my hand at the Jewelry Roll. I have no idea why I made this project, my sister actually gave a really nice travel jewelry case for Christmas. Perhaps I can use it for my bigger necklaces? That and what they say about idle hands... It was actually very easy and didn't take me much longer than an hour to complete, including cutting. Not to mention, did not even come close to using a yard of fabric. I think it also might look nice with different fabrics, sort of a patchworky look. Could be a good use of scraps. I didn't add the ring strip, since I never wear rings. And I think that I'll shorten the tying ribbons. This fabric is from Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party collection. Isn't it pretty? Would make a nice present, no?
I'm off for a little over a week, to visit some of my favorite friends and family, in two different locations (and by the time it's all said and done, by way of 4 different flights). Luckily, this will include visiting the three most gorgeous, charming, intelligent and adorable children that have ever set foot on this earth. And no, I am not the least bit biased. Unless I come up with something to make on the road (well, you never know), I won't be posting for a while. And just maybe, I'll make you sit through my vacation slides when I get back. There is, after all, a winery tour and an Easter golf cart parade in the plans. Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part V-Revisited

Just about the last thing I should be doing right now is working on crafts. I have about a million things to do before I leave for my big trip but, the multichain necklace (the original tutorial is found here) has been weighing on my mind. Especially since I made a special trip to get just the right beads and everything. Much better, don't you think? (It really just took a few minutes, I promise!!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Second Multi-Tasker Tote

My friend, S, (who I will leave a little anonymous since I didn't ask if I could write about her) was super enthusiastic about my first multi-tasker tote. She really loved it and told me that it would be perfect for travel. Now, she has recently become quite the road warrior, given that she's moved clear across the country to California, and can now share in my obsession of the search for the perfect bag. So I made a deal with her. If she bought the fabric, I'd make the bag. (Which was MUCH easier the second time.) It's surprisingly exciting to receive a big package of designer fabric that you didn't have to pay for. Even if you ultimately don't get to keep it. I've been frantically sewing over the past few days to finish said bag because I'm traveling to California on Thursday for a visit!! So the bag is finally finished, even with a few days to spare. I can't wait to deliver it in person. (If you happened to miss my post about my first multi-tasker tote, it's an Anna Maria Horner design.) I think I like it even more than the one that I made for myself, the fabrics go so well together. Hope she likes it!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part V

We've made it to the final necklace. Part V of the Spring Accessories series. Very fitting that this is the first offical day of spring! (And a glorious day it is-high temperature 75! Unheard of for March in Maryland.) Which also means that I really need to come up with some new content. Don't worry, I just might have a few ideas tucked away. This time, I've made a multi-chain necklace, inspired by the Velvet Chain Brocade Necklace, found on Craftzine. I didn't have velvet or brocade, so it's not exactly the same thing, but pretty close. I was at a bit of a loss when trying to find fabric to use. I didn't have anything neutral enough in my fabric stash of home dec fabrics so I ended up using a scrap of some old jeans. I didn't add the bow because I'm just not a "bow" person. But now looking at it, I think it may look a bit more finished if I used some sort of a flat wide bead instead of the fabric circles. I think this one may deserve a revisit. The concept was good, but I feel like my final product might be able to get a bit better. Perhaps another trip to Beadazzled is in store!
(I am also a little too excited that I finally figured out how to customize my header!! Pretty, no?)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part IV

In preparation for the upcoming Easter holiday, I thought I needed a little pearl action. Now, I'm not normally a pearl person, but I have been seeing these ribbon and pearl necklaces everywhere. So I thought I would give one a shot. I looked very briefly for tutorial but couldn't really find what I was looking for. Turns out, I didn't really need one. Just picked up some ribbon and glass "pearls" and strung them together. This one really was super easy. On a separate note, as a novice blogger, I really, really need to work on my photography. I know that they would come out better in natural day light. But I have that pesky day job that ties me up most days. But I'm going to try a few new things. Hope to see some improvements for both of our sakes!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part III

I apologize to all three of my readers, for posting another necklace. What can I say? I'm on a jewelry stint. To be honest, until I started this blog, I couldn't remember the last time I had made any jewelry. But I'm enjoying making it. It comes together pretty quickly, which is important to me, I tend to lose interest in things that don't get made within one sitting. I have at least two more necklaces in the works. I promise to have a little more diversity, eventually. I thank you in advance for your patience as I get all of these necklaces out of my system! This necklace was inspired by this lace and bead necklace tutorial found on Clever Nesting. I had the beads on hand and bought an 1/8 yard of the turquoise tulle netting for only $0.25! Now that's a deal. This could be one of the more imperfect things I've made lately (so much so that I considered not posting it), but it grew on me overnight. I love it's 80s vibe. I found some more random beads that I don't wear and am considering making another.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part II

It was a dark and stormy night. Perfect for a little crafting. I've been seeing lots of scarf tutorials around and wanted to try one, but couldn't find any jersey that I liked at the fabric store. Just the other day, I came upon this ruffle scarf, found at Vermillion Rules. Not only does she use an old t-shirt (why didn't I think of that before??) but she also doesn't bother with an elastic bobbin thread. I actually had everything I needed to try this, at home. Believe me, that never happens! I forgot to take a before pic, but I made this out of a soy sauce stained red t-shirt that had a fun navy fish print, that I pulled out of the bag of clothes I've been collecting for donations. It had always been a favorite and I'm happy to give it new life! This was one of the quickest projects I've made in a long time. Seriously, I think it took about 20 minutes. Now, this scarf is not as long as some that you are seeing the stores right now, but honestly, I'm fine with that. Sometimes those really long scarves get in my way while I'm working and I end up having to take them on and off all day. (If you do want a longer scarf, I'd recommend using a men's large or even xl shirt.) I think this one will stay out of my way!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Accessories, Part I

We had a couple of glorious spring-like days earlier this week, signaling that Spring is definitely on it's way. While I await more warm days, I decided to make this new spring bead necklace, made from a tutorial found on Martha Stewart. (Say what you will about Martha (and her people), she has great ideas.) It's made from some dark orange flocked "silk" dupioni fabric (yes, it's poly) that I've had in my fabric stash for a while. What ever possessed me to buy dark orange flocked "silk" dupioni fabric in the first place, I don't know. But it did lend itself well to this necklace. This was a pretty easy project, the hardest part, figuring out how big to make the fabric tube. Once that's finished, it's just feeding in beads and tying them off. I also didn't finish it off as explained in the tutorial, which was basically extending the "tube" and just tying it when wearing. That seemed bulky, so I just added a simple hook & ring clasp. I can't wait to wear this with one of the many black knit dressses I live in during the summer. Spring has given me hope that Summer will come! (Yes, this past winter has made me very dramatic.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oilcloth Link Bracelet

As I'm known to do from time to time, I've taken this theme and ran with it. Another "Leather Link" project. This time, a bracelet made of oilcloth. I ADORE oilcloth, the durability, the bright, cheery prints...but it is a bit dicey to sew. So I was excited to think of a no sew use. I only needed about 7 links this time, so it went together really quickly. It's so lightweight, I hardly know I'm wearing it. I used a magnetic closure, since it can difficult to put a bracelet on yourself. Perhaps this will open a whole new world to me of making jewelry out of other non-fray items. What about Tyvek? Or Capri Sun packages? Oh, the possibilities!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Leather Chain Necklace

While shopping at Ikea, I never miss visiting the "as is" area. The Textiles Bin is a can't miss. I almost always find a single dishtowel, pillowcase or some slightly stained fabric yardage that I can easily turn into something else. Always at a ridiculously low price. Last weekend I didn't find any fabric-like items, but I did find a 17" x 37" length of black pebble leather. The price wasn't marked but I took it up to the front and I bargined with the manager and managed to get it for $5! (He started out at $8.) Boy, do I love a good bargin. But what does one do with a 17" x 37" length of black pebble leather? The first thing I thought of was making a clutch, which I still might do with the remains. My fear of needleholes kept me from jumping into that idea feet first. I just started researching leather tutorials and came across this Leather Chain Necklace, via Cucumbersome. I have to tell you, I didn't exactly enjoy the journey on this one. I ended up needing about 30 "figure-8" cut outs to reach my desired length. Cutting these out was not the most challenging and interesting activity. And was rather time consuming. But I did manage to crank these out Thursday evening while watching Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice. But I am rather pleased with the outcome. Not bad for $5. I really do think I'll get a lot of wear out of it. And I have about 3/4 of the leather left, just waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. I will now be in search of some brightly colored leather, wouldn't that make a fun bracelet? I also may try this with some oilcloth scraps I have around.

A Really Good Bead Store, The Importance of Finding Good Supplies

I have my eye on a necklace tutorial and have two jewelry projects that I just need to add some finishing touches to, so I headed to a big box craft store after work yesterday. To say that I was disappointed by the jewelry findings selection is an understatement. I could not believe that they didn't have one thing that I was looking for. I actually left empty handed. I really didn't think that Baltimore had any good bead stores, but after some very quick research, came across Beadazzled, located at 501 N Charles St. It's a lovely store, good sized for a bead store, fully stocked and in a charming neighborhood (this is, after all, charm city). The staff was friendly and helpful and they had EVERYTHING I was looking for.
I'm sure that I'm not telling you something you don't know, but to truly be successful in craft making, I highly recommend that you don't just take what you can find in a big box store. If you find what you want there, then by all means, use your 40% off coupon and call it a day. But if you don't find what you want, don't settle. Chances are you'll feel like your final product is just ok, if you feel that the fabric (for example) that you purchased for it is just ok. I cannot encourage you enough to visit independent sellers of jewelry supplies, fabrics and any other things crafty. Both in person and on line. The people that own and run these stores are real experts in their field and are often incredibly helpful and usually very kind. Some of my favorite fabric websites are:
Hope you are finding a little creative time this weekend!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Renaissance

You know that sewing is making a come back when you can buy this at Urban Outfitters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Present for Grandma's Birthday

When I made the difficult decison to move from the midwest to the east coast, the one thing that gave me much comfort was that I finally would get to live close to my grandma. She lives nearby in D.C. My family has always been rather far flung across the country and I guess the world for that matter, so getting to know her so well since I have become an adult has been a wonderful and unexpected gift. Her 85th birthday is coming up in early April, so I knew a special present was in order. It's important to note that no one supports my creative endeavors like Grandma does. And she would honestly be offended if I were to give her a store bought gift. I gave a lot of thought as to what I should make for her, eliminating recent gifts (totes, embroidered dish towels, fabric baskets) and finally came upon this pillow tutorial, found via the Sew, Mama Sew blog. It was honestly a pretty quick project. Mostly finished during a marathon night of Olympic viewing. The most difficult part was deciding if I wanted to add embroidery, if I did add embroidery-what would it be and what color thread to use. I finally decided to embroider the friuts of the spirit (Liz-thanks for the idea) in a fuschia thread. I really like the way it turned out and hope to incorporate applique into more projects in the future.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010 Tote

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware that we have received record snow fall out here on the east coast this past winter. The incredibly harrowing part happened in early February when I was quite literally snowed in for THREE WHOLE DAYS. All of my out of town friends kept asking me, what I did to keep my sanity. Enter, this project-I luckily had a fresh stack of fabric and a brand new pattern that I was just waiting to have time to put together. The Multitasker Tote by Anna Maria Horner. I am desperately awaiting spring so that I may start carrying her around. (And yes, I'm going to work on my photography skills, I apologize for the sort of dark picture...)

From Blog Fan to Blogger

I have enjoyed reading blogs for YEARS. I mostly read them for craft ideas and design inspiration. And if you need a 3 minute break from work, you check out the latest entry on a favorite blog. I am in constant awe of people’s creativity, love reading about new ideas and often try them out. A good friend of mine, who keeps up about 6 blogs of her own (yes, she is as amazing as she sounds), has been encouraging me to start a blog about the crafty side of my life. I was somewhat hesitant to start a blog, as I couldn’t figure out what my focus would be. A revelation finally came to me. This blog will mostly be about my attempt at various sewing, jewelry making, crafting tutorials that I am inspired by across the web. With that, I introduce you to “Tutorial Trials.” Enjoy!