Friday, June 26, 2009

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Tea Party!

Oh my! Vanessa Valencia over at is certainly mad...but in a good way! Energetic and creative, she's having her second annual Mad Tea Party all day Saturday, June 27th (2009).
What is a Mad Tea Party, you ask? I wish I could tell you, but this will be my first. It is something of a blog-fest where anyone can visit her blog and meet other bloggers and creative types. And it has heavy overtones of Alice In Wonderland. That's gotta be fun!

Sewing Tip: Resuscitate a favorite pattern!

Yikes! Talk about a well-loved purse. This is my prototype for my design for the "Belt It Out" pattern. I loved this purse to death - literally :). When I decided to make a replacement, I wanted to do something different. So, I made my own fabric. It's easier than it sounds. And here was the result for my winter purse (see my summer purse at bottom).
To make your own horizontal striped fabric (with 3 stripes):
1. Take the height of the outer piece, add 2" and divide by 3 (ex: 7+2 = 9/3=3).
2. Take the width and add an inch (ex: 10+1 = 11).
3. Now cut 3 strips of fabric 3" high by 11" wide.
4. Arrange them the way you like and sew together on the long edges.
5. Press and topstitch on either side of the seam line (see the photo above).
6. Now cut the original dimension (7" by 10") out of your new piece of fabric (center the pattern piece so the stripes are evenly distributed).
I also decided to do away with the belt and belt loops since there was plenty of action goin' on. I liked it so much that I made my summer purse the same way only with 4 stripes (add another inch to the original width for additional seam allowance and divide by 4).

Or, of course you can do it any way you want -that's the beauty! This general idea will work on many different kinds of patterns. Just remember to consider seam allowances and, for purses, any bottom dimensions (for the bottom of the purse - add 1/2 of that dimension to the bottom stripe height). Have fun and Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll farm if I want to...

Yes, that's right, it tis me birthday! And what a great one it's been so far. Among the ways I celebrated was to go visit my friend, Trudy, at her farm in Chapel Hill, NC ( I was hoping to score some fresh veggies, but I was too late for the last batch and too early for the next one. Ah, well, I had fun snapping a few shots and catching up with her in between her chores. Meet Molly, the miniature donkey. She just came by to see what I was going to feed her. Sadly, I disappointed her. Her best friend Patches, the miniature horse (both of them rescued), is out of sight of the camera, but not out of Molly's sight. They stick pretty close.

I love the guinea hens. I need to steal a few to clean up the ticks and fleas on our trail. Is that not a knock-out set of feathers on her? And they're good 'watch dogs', too! Then there is Tuilly who just showed up one day at the farm and never left. She knows a good thing when she finds it. One of the chickens is taking her job of getting insects very seriously.
I love her coloring as well and am trying to figure out how to capture her and the guinea hens in felt.

And, last, is the red clover (definitely click this one for to enlarge). Too pretty to qualify as a weed. What a fun birthday field trip. It's great to have friends to share a birthday with and doubly fun when they live on such an entertaining spread!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just another Schitzo Monday

It's working! My new anti-Spinning-Top-Syndrome is going very well so far. Yesterday was a "Schitzo" Monday where I devoted the morning and part of the afternoon to designing a new purse.
My sister is my 'inspiration', though I've made a couple of these before (see bottom photos). She needed a small purse that she could wear around her neck when she's at work to carry her cell phone. I made her a "Pendant Pocket Purse" from a pattern designed by DJ Bennet. My sister has since been encouraging me to make more of my own design.
Yesterday, I started my design process with brainstorming. I go through several of my idea-folders and pick out ideas that I might incorporate. But before I get too far, anyone out there have ideas of what you would want in this type of purse? Would you use a small purse around your neck (like a medicine bag/amulet) or on your shoulder to carry just one or two things like a cell phone and a lipstick? What would you want to carry in it? (I'm trying to get a idea of size.) And any other wanna-haves that you can think of? I'd love to hear what you're thinking so I can make something useful as well as fun and hopefully artsy.
These I made a couple of years ago. The purse is in two parts: the outer sleeve (with the print) and the inner pocket (black). The outer sleeve slides up the cord to reveal the opening of the pocket. Put a few things in the pocket and slide the outer sleeve back down to keep it all secure and out of sight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Right, Left, Schitzo or Chinese?

I don't like writing self-indulgent posts, but I have a confession to make. I suffer from STS (Spinning Top Syndrome). You might be familiar with my symptoms. I set off to be creative and... Oops!, I've got an email to open.... Now I need to go check the calendar downstairs but Wait!, I should put a load of laundry in first, and Drat! I need to put laundry detergent on the shopping list.... Hey!, look at that article in the paper - better read that.... Oh gosh!, I've got to get out there and walk the dog while it's cool. Eesh, time for a shower.... Wow!, lunch already?
So, yesterday, I listed allllll the things I want to, or have to, do. I lumped like wanna-dos and hafta-dos together, organized them into a schedule and, the result? Right-brain Day, Left-Brain Day, Schitzo Day, and Chinese Menu Day. (I love it when a plan comes together!)Right-Brain Day is all about designing, experimenting and learning new techniques. Left-Brain Day, while not completely left, is when I sew or complete other projects that I've already designed, post new creations, blog, and do "back-studio" (my version of back office). Schitzo-Day, of course, is a morning of Right and an afternoon of Left (or visa versa). And Chinese Menu Day is where I get to pick one from Right and one from Left get the idea. And, since I am also Ding Addicted, e-mail has been relegated to strict times of the day and NO MORE! Otherwise, everytime my email dings, I will to rush over to see who loves me, for pete's sake.
I'm pleased to report that the new plan is working very well (it's been a day and a half :) ).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To Boldly...Knit? You bet!

Colleen Davis is not your ordinary knitter. She's the mom of a friend of a friend of mine :) and lives in San Diego. Wow, I wish I lived nearer to her to get, via instruction or osmosis, just a thimble of her creativity with knitting needles and yarn. The great news is, Colleen just launched and it is packed with patterns, workshop info and at-home instruction dvds and cds. I know it’s only June, but I've got my eye on “Introduction to Freeform Knitting” for the top of my Christmas list :). What a way to use up my stash of yarn - woohoo!

If you’re a knitter, a wanna-be knitter, or you know a knitter, Get Thee to Colleen’s shop! for some real eye candy. And be sure to click on all the category links to see all the photos of her very neat pieces.

She also has an Etsy shop, (Photos above are from Colleen's website with her permission.)