December 29, 2008

Christmas has been a whirlwind! I still need to get my tree decorating pictures off of my camera and up on the blog-- although at this point most may not care. My posting has really been lacking...I'm such a slacker. But hubby has off until January 5th for the holidays (!!!) so spending time with him is first priority. We don't usually get a stretch of time like this together. I hope those who do read will understand.

Christmas and family were very good to us this year-- I'll have to take photos of my favorite gifts and post them! Despite economic crises and the loss of my job back in October, we were able to give more than we anticipated, too. Which is great because we love to give! One of my favorite things about the season is seeing the excited looks on our family members' faces as they tear open the wrapping to a gift chosen especially for them. I hate to sound so cliche, but it's so true. I really do enjoy giving more than getting (although getting is also very fun!).

I wanted to give more handmade gifts this year than I actually ended up giving but there's always next year. I wasn't prepared for the amount of planning and preparation that would go into hand-making most, if not all, gifts so next year I will have to plan much more in advance. The holidays have been treating us great here and I hope they've been treating you well, too!

Have a safe and Happy New Year and see you all in 2009!!!!

December 18, 2008

Wow, I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. The days have just been flying by! I've been keeping myself busy with Christmas-related things and trying my very best to do what I can to secure myself some schooling. I've only had job interviews with one company and, if I had to choose, it's not really where I'd want to end up. That's why I'm really hoping unemployment pulls through with paying for the certificate program I'd like to attend. Who do I have to sweet talk?

On a more festive note, hubby and I got our Christmas tree just short of a week ago. I have photos that I'll be posting later of us decorating it. I love our tree! It's got a woodland theme. With red and white lights. It's such a comfy, cozy tree.

Right now though, I must tackle some more Christmas-ness! A cat plushie for Maple (since she loves chasing cats) and some truffle-y goodness for friends. See you soon!

December 11, 2008


How is it that it's December 11th, exactly two weeks to Christmas day, and it's raining outside? It should be snowing. Come on, winter! Isn't New Jersey north enough for you to give us a little snow? It doesn't seem right to be listening to Frank Sinatra and The Carpenters crooning Christmas tunes and look out the window to see this....

On a completely unrelated note, but still on my mind, since I've been unemployed for about two months now, I've noticed (for the most part) that one mail woman always delivers my mail. Today, I went to run a letter out to the mailbox right as the mail truck was pulling up to my mailbox. It was a different postal worker. It got me thinking about how, during the holidays, a lot of people give their postman or woman a gift. First, how do you determine what to give them? Is it poor etiquette not to give them a gift? I've never been told about this so haven't done it. And, how do I even know that my regular post woman will get the gift. What if the guy comes on the day I leave it for her? Hmm...

December 5, 2008

Freak Allergy Attacks and a Solution

My family and friends can attest to the first part of that title. I will have these amazingly involved freak allergy attacks and, usually, when I'm without tissues or access to tissues. This has happened on numerous occasions and, maybe I'm a freak, but I find it terribly embarrassing. I'm always hoping, "Please let me get to tissues, napkins, paper towels, burlap cloth...I don't care...before my nose starts running all over my face like a 2-year old." (You probably didn't need those graphic details but I feel like it proves my point all the more.) So, any logical person would ask why I don't just keep tissues in my purse. At to that I say, maybe I really am a freak.

I hate carrying loose tissues in my purse because they get all threadbare from rubbing against the sides of my bag or whatever else happens to be in my bag. And I hate, hate, hate those travel packs of tissues. There are about 10 tissues in a pack which I could go through in 5 minutes of my allergy attack. And after sealing the pack about two times, the adhesive wears off and then I'm stuck with threadbare tissues again. Yeah, I know, the problems I have! :)

Enter The Solution.

I made this little guy the other night. I didn't plan on making him look like a face but, alas, he does and it's actually pretty cute. The tissues are encased in a fabric pouch and they can't escape because of the construction. The two flaps overlap and it's a pretty tight fit so there's no chance of the tissues peeking their way out (I pulled them out in the photo above to make him look extra silly). And...the fabric and buttons match the tote bag I posted about earlier. Bonus!!

I was really happy with how it turned out so I made a few more to try to sell on Etsy as stocking stuffers.

They're more pretty than silly this time around. I love how the one with lace turned out! The other two are pretty plain but I like the button embellishments with the black (a fabric covered button I made with the same fabric I used to make the one with lace and another with a pearlized, flowery button).

Yay for pretty solutions!

December 3, 2008

My first sale!!!

I am super psyched!!! I've made my first ever sale on Etsy today. I made another set of 4 snowflake embroidered gift bags and that $5 is going to be framed and hung in my sewing room. The snowflakes are much simpler than my previously embroidered snowflakes but still pretty cute.

It's not really a big deal when you look at the big picture but I'm just so thrilled that someone actually wanted to spend money on something I made. I'm busting and just had to share!

November 26, 2008

Another update of sorts

I've pulled out everything that I've done since my sewing classes with Becky and took photos. This post will be sort of a virtual progress report. As a side note, I need to set up an area in my sewing room that is suitable for taking photos. Dresses hanging from a closed closet door seem like they could be so much more visually appealing somehow (especially from someone who majored in photography...doh!).

This is the project that I was working on while taking classes with my friend. Apparently, pajama pants are the simplest thing to start off with. When I started the project, I bought white cotton muslin and used navy thread because I wanted to be able to see where I was making mistakes. This was solely for the purpose of strengthening my basic techniques. Obviously, they weren't constructed to be pretty pajama pants. Ha! They turned out fairly well though for my first article of clothing and I still wear them.

My next project for class was going to be this apron but that fell right at the beginning of this past summer. Needless to say, we both were very busy and lessons kind of just fell off of the radar. I decided I didn't want conflicting schedules to keep me from learning and progressing so I decided I was going to try making it on my own...without instruction. I'm actually very pleased with how it turned out. I love the print, the bow detail, and the flirty ruffle at the bottom. I still don't wear it when cooking because the idea of getting it stained saddens me. But I guess that's what aprons are for right? I just need to suck it up!

Since my apron had turned out so well, I thought I would try a dress next. I had this fabric for years (I used to use it as a colored backdrop when I was in college) and it had a nice, lightweight summer feel to it. Unfortunately, I finished the dress at the end of the summer and it didn't seem appropriate to wear going into Fall. I also don't think it's the right shape for my body type, but that's another thing. I love the pressed flower buttons! (Anyone fit into a size 4 and want a dress for when summer rolls around?)

The jacket came next. Ooooh! Zippers! This was an adventure. The most complicated article of clothing I've constructed yet. Some of the seams are off and despite meticulous pressing and pinning, some of the cut edges still seem to poke themselves out. In addition to the zipper, it was also my first attempt at using grommets. Tricky buggers! You can't see all of the flaws in the photos and, even in person, you really have to look to see them but knowing that they're there bother me. I wanted to liven up the jacket so I made some fabric covered buttons for the pocket but it's looking very sparse. I think I'm going to make a bunch more so it's more like a contemplated cluster of buttons rather than the random placement it has now.

In the spirit of Christmas and wanting to do handmade gifts this year, I tried my hand at embroidery. I'd say they're pretty exceptional for embroidering for the first time ever. You can't really see all of the intricacies of the snowflakes but weaved throughout the white embroidery thread are a few silver strands. Very festive! I made them into drawstring bags with the intent of using them to house handmade truffles for some girl friends. I'm really, really pleased with how these came out!

And my most recent finished reversible tote bag! With a removeable sash that you can also use as a headscarf, tie belt, or scarf. I'm IN LOVE with these prints!!!! They're all from the Joel Dewberry Aviation line. I'm loving the chocolate brown and orange combo. Very harvesty! The timeframe may be a little late but oh well. I'm working on planning ahead the next time around. I already have ideas flowing for my Spring bag. The pattern for this bag is an Amy Butler creation. I've really been digging her fabric designs and patterns lately. They're all super cute! As a side note, she offers some patterns for free on her website: Definitely worth checking out!

So, this post has pretty much brought me up-to-date with where I am creatively and technically. I'm not sure what I'm going to be making next, but I've got tons of ideas and I'm itching to get started on my next project. I've listed a ton of crafting/sewing books on my Christmas list. Assuming that I end up getting a good number of them (which I don't really like to assume because that's sort of greedy), I should have plenty more to post in the coming months.

On a final note, I've been working strictly with patterns created by others with the exception of my drawstring gift bags. I'm hoping that I can get to the point where I'm looking at other designers/seamstresses/crafters more for inspiration to form my own creations. I'd like to eventually get away from using pre-made patterns in which I'm only making fabric choices. Obviously, to do this, I'm going to need to immerse myself in technique, technique, technique. It may take a while but, for now, all is well and good!

November 25, 2008

It's time for an update

After spending some time going through and carefully choosing a template, as close to something I would like, and making sure the text matches the overall look I'm going for...I noticed that you can upload your own template to Blogger. Oh, brother! So, I'll be off tomorrow designing a template for my updated blog so I can have it look just so!

I had originally intended for this blog to be a tracker of some sorts with my sewing progress. At the time it was created, I was taking a basic sewing class. You know, the general 4-week (as in 1 class per week for 4 weeks) class. The kind where you think you're going to learn something but you really don't because the student-teacher ratio is too high and the obnoxious know-it-all sucks up all of the teacher's time. (Do I sound bitter? I'm not. Really!) I had ventured out to get to know some of the girls in my church, as I've never really had good girl friends and actually met a woman through a friend (who has now become a fast friend) that sews for a living. Because of her kind and giving heart, she offered to give me personal sewing lessons...for free! Who does that? Well, she does and I'm so thankful for that because, had she not been so giving of her time, I wouldn't be where I am now. Not to say that I'm off in my sewing room making couture gowns or anything, but my craft has definitely grown and continues to long after our lessons ended.

It's been some time since I've posted and even longer since it's been sewing/craft related. It's now much too late in the evening to pull out everything I've made since my lessons with Becky and start photographing to post, but I certainly plan on doing it tomorrow. And I have plans to post much more often. Even weekly, perhaps! *gasp* The creative juices are flowing and I've got lots of ideas.