Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quilt Dad... You are Adorable

He is a dad and yes, he likes to quilt. Quilt Dad. You are adorable.

Somethin' I'm workin' On

We'll call this "purple-turquoise birdie", ok? Pretty obvious I know. The gorgeous fabric from Pink Chalk... all I can say is that I just dug out some stuff and started working. The end result is to be a clutch/ handbag but we shall see what comes to fruition here. No matter what though, I am having fun feeling it out.

One evening, tired of the project I have been currently working on, I just grabbed my cutting mat and blade  and plopped myself on the living room floor. I cut the quilting fabric all different square/ rectangular shapes and started pinning together the fabric on a stiff canvas backing. I kept working and working, (stopping only to watch my DVR'd Scream Queens 2 finale) until I made a whale out of the fabric. Point of information: I am in love with the whale... and am inspired by said whale. Must keeping working on this project.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DO IT YOURSELF... My Way of Feeling Good

Tara from posed a great question today, "Why do you DIY?"

I thought I would share a quick blurb about why I do it myself, when I can.

Doing it on your own is often very rewarding (and yes, sometimes frustrating). In my personal opinion? From making placemats to fixing a broken zipper, doing things for myself is a way to satisfy my daily yearning for originality, even in small ways. Working in my 9-5 job, I am rarely afforded the opportunity to express myself creatively. Creating after hours is my way of countering that creative time suck... More often than not, you can find me working on one of multiple projects that are in progress (due to a somewhat lack of direction on my part)... it's my way of releasing the day's stress, relaxing at home but also not losing my feeling of productivity in spare time. I really feel like I have an artistry for life even in my day to day!

Some of my favorite sites for finding new projects slash inspiration from other "Do it yourselfers"? I love the communities of  Burdastyle and Craftster, the daily giveasways at  I Love to Create, and believe it or not, I like to go to the fabric store on my lunch break... You are almost guaranteed to wait in a decent sized line there (due to lack of register staffing) so I take that time to ask other people what they are making or planning to do. You'd be surprised at how someone else's idea can spark a great one in you!

PS. Poor Michael Bolton on Dancing with the Stars... don't hate, I love me some Michael Bolton.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Girl Powah!

I know what you thought of... Spice Girls... I get it. And listen, I like the Spice Girls too, don't get me wrong (Wannabe, anyone? Bueller?)... but the girl power that I am talking about here is that of the every day gals that we see in real life. Yes, Victoria Beckham has made a name for herself and has a fashion line and all that jazz but I'm talking about your regular girl next door type that creates something from nothing but a dream (cheeze alert!)

I am totally an Etsy lover. I am totally an arts and crafts blogger slash follower of arts and crafts blogs. I am totally a supporter of the handmade movement. I am a lover of all things unique. Nothing makes me happier when us girls are the ones creating community and sharing our shared love of anything on the nets. The online crafting community, consisting of so many fabulous women such as myself, is so much bigger and better than I could have imagined. I am digging in and trying to get myself acclimated/ familiar with all the fabulous ladies online... but there are so many, that it's going to be hard to do anytime soon! I have really become fond of daily updates from women around the country, feeling almost as if I have all these online friends that are in the same boat. In reality, I don't HA but I have started making some connections here and there.


Where Women Create (with sister project of Where Women Cook) offer a an online community that encourages sharing, creation and connecting with like minded gals. Right this moment, I don't have quite the biz I would like going on so sooooomeday Where Women Create, someday. For right now, I am following crafting gals on Twitter and Facebook, adding special blogs to my ereader and really trying to immerse myself in and become part of this online crafting community. So far so good and with steady pace, I'll get there. For now though? All I can say is, brace yourself,  "Girl Powah!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New England: We Should Explore, Part Two

So as of right now, I have an ever growing list of things that I would like to do before moving out of New England. For my sanity's sake I should probably start actually doing things so the list will, in the very least, not get any bigger.

Right now, lists stand as:

1. Climb Mt. Monadnok
2. Holiday trip to Yankee Candle
3. Portland, ME weekend
4. Touring Newport RI
5. Great Barrington Farmer's Market
6. King Richard's Fair

I would like to add to the list some pretty awesome action items if I may say so myself:

The Topsfield Fair: I grew up in Central Mass so the nearest fair was the Big E, which I have only ever been too once... but it required us to drive an hour and a a half to Western Mass. Some of my best friends continue to visit and rave about the Topsfield fair in Topsfield, MA. This is the year I go, I am determined. I need me some farm animals, some family fun and a ferris wheel... Who am I kidding... I am going for the fried food, all of it. Mmmmmmmm....

Goal to see every local sports team: Being in New England we have a multitude of great sports teams. We have the awesome, ultimate football team the New England Patriots, we have the Glorious Red Sox for baseball fans (which is basically everyone), the Boston Celtics are our town's basketball team, then there is hockey gold in the form our Boston Bruins, aaaand Major League Soccah team the Revolution. Now I have been to a pre-season Pats game and soooo many Red Sox games but I really do want to experience it with my manfriend. He's my boo and sharing is caring.

Vermont Foliage: I read some where that of the top spots for Fall Foliage 3 out of 5 are in Vermont. Obvi, I want to see what awesomeness that these foliage judges are raving about. I get good foliage in Mass but if I can see great, why not?! Track VT foliage here:

Vermont Fall Foliage
Hot Air Ballon Ride: Now this may be a stretch as manfriend has told me many times that being that high in the air, makes him a little nervous (or a lot nervous). I still reaaaaaaaaaally want to take a hot air ballon ride in New England to see the landscapes and really take in some genuine splendor. To me, it seems so romantic and also very Chipmunk Adventure. "Oh don't you know that I'm off to seeeee the woooorld..."

Boston Duck Tour: I know, I know... I have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and still have not gone on a duck tour? This half bus/half boat takes its riders around Boston and local attractions as a means to show tourists the great city of Boston... suffice to say, I should probably do this before leaving... or else I may live to regret it.

So the list stand like this right now folks with nothing crossed of as yet:

1. Climb Mt. Monadnok
2. Holiday trip to Yankee Candle
3. Portland, ME weekend
4. Touring Newport RI
5. Great Barrington Farmer's Market
6. King Richard's Fair
7. Topsfield Fair
8. New England Sports Games
9.Vermont Foliage
10. Chipmunks Adventure Stylie Hot Air Ballon Ride
11. Duck Tour

I gotta get us into high gear here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am so there...

They just had The Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis Minnesota (in coordination with Where Women Create) and of course I was tied to my desk and could not attend.... but your bet your babied or bibbies or bobbies or whatever, that I will be there next year. My jealousy over Twitter peeps who were there was almost too much to handle!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Louise Gray's Spring 2011 Collection Makes Me Want to Sew All My Remnants Together...

I cannot help but be crazily inspird by Louise Gray's Spring 2011 collection which was just shown in London this past week. I am pretty sure you would have to be some kind of crazy to sport this on the streets of your town buuuuuuuut that being said, I do want to take all of my fabric remnants and sew them together to #1 Not waste precious remnants of awesome material and #2 create some rad designs and perhaps something I can add random buttons too. I will of course update if any of the below imaged inspire something real (from me) to come to fruition:

Coming Up with a Logo...

So I am working with a friend to design a header for my blog and to also help her build her portfolio... nothing like lifting eachother up! So here is a question that I pose to you... If I were to include a tank (like a military tank) in my logo but were to have then obviously not for war but for fun girly things (let's say hearts and martinis shooting out of one- buttons and stars out of another- kittens and rainbows out of another) would you consider those tanks offensive? (see below, very preliminary sketch) The tanks would not be your regular camo colored jobbies... we would def be more creative with it.

One can never be too careful these days, especially with the sensitivity to war and what our country has faced. I would like to be clever in design but also would like to have people drawn to it rather than offended by it.

Will you weigh in? Good idea or not so hot idea....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why to Love the Online Crafting Community

Man, as I become more immersed in all that is the Online Crafting/ Creative Community, I am amazed at how absolutely awesome it is... and I will tell you one reason why... it's all very personal.

When shopping in the same Joann's fabrics that everyone else is, I assure you it loses its allure quickly plus I just get the feeling my fabric has been "shopped" and that I am forced to use what everyone else is using. Knocks your feeling of "one of a kind" down a couple notches, ain't no lie.Obviously I searched around for some ecclectic and original stores in my area but they really are few and far between oooooor a drive and a half to get to.

I have found an online fabric distributor that is absolutely adorable and it's fun to shop the colorful and interesting site. Pink Chalk Fabrics has a GREAT assortment of fabrics and patterns and when it's all said and done, the woman who runs the joint, signs your order and thanks you personally. I mean, no one writes me a thank you note when I shop ANYWHERE unless its handmade or in the crafting community... oooor your rare Ebay seller. I love that personal touch that really makes you feel like you are dealing with human beings and not computers!
Check out the snippets of my weekly newsletter (adorable), some of the interesting and not your run of the mill fabrics and some of the pattern offerings that make this site my go-to.

I mean, this is just one of many sites in the crafting community that caters to us crafty peeps and also keeps it real. Can ya dig? Anyone have any recommendations on their fave fabric place or online crafting extravaganza?

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Most Recent Labour of Love...

So in order to spend time with manfriend, which is sadly usually in front of the television, I had to have a project that I could work on now and again that wasn't upstairs in my sewing studio slash our bedroom slash "Amanda's area"... yes we have space but not that much space.

Enter a little simple bag that just happened. I don't know why I do things sometimes and often because I have no plan, these things aren't fruits of my labor that can be harvested for nourishment. Well, one evening, I took an Old Navy tank top that I got on clearance for $1.50 that was 2 sizes too large (I thought it would be comfy to sleep in but in actuality my boobs hung out while I slept... wasn't worth wearing!) and I just started tearing it into pieces thinking that it would be cool to reconstruct it... and I was right. (see gray material)

Add my remnants of what was once in it's clearance rack glory to some leftovers of fabric I picked up in the clearance bin at Joann's (red and white floral pattern) with a dash of canvas backing I have had hanging around and voila, I had a project. I sewed all of the jersey cotton to the canvas by hand and I was really pleased at how forgiving the tee ended up being but how I loved what came of it, especially, I mean because I actually did the majority of it by hand (except for sewing the base and zipper with my machine).

It obvi took me a little longer than I would have liked if I were mass producing anything but it really was a testiment to keeping with something (something manfriend is constantly encouraging me to do) and finishing and not hating it.

I used the actual pocket from the tee for the front of the project, also "ruffled" the side by placing pins and positioning the fabric so that I could sew the design into place. Took finagling but Mama Likes! I LOVE buttons so obvi I had to add some in the mix. It's hard to see but the silver button is actually a really cool lion head, very "simba"lic

Using some of the thinner strips on the back, the "ruffles" were easy to contruct but a little more time consuming than I would have like... but with practice comes efficiency... so here's to practice!

Inside, I stitched a layer of the tee on the inner lining as well, careful not to stitch in the way of the zipper

Opinions would be cool if there were any!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Handmade Movement

Recently, due to my urge to make things with my hands (with some success but more learning experiences), I have been exploring the wide world of handmade and original products ranging from art to clothing to bags and everything in between, a love affair that started with Etsy but has evolved into the exploration of all the is creative and awesome on the nets and real life. Some of my faves are cool and original but also have great personalities that keep me interested in not just their products but their comings and goings as well ( I do not stalk in real life just on blogs).

I didn't realize that there was such a vast movement on the internet, a handmade community of crafters and artists that not only contribute by making items but also by vowing to buy handmade if at all possible, especially when gifting. I have totally signed up for "A Crafty Holiday"a blogging chain letter of sorts for the holiday season, where bloggers highlight handmade and encourage others to do the same. Real people with real passion creating unique items to be loved in a real way.

Check out The Artist's House aka Angela Flicker: "My desire is to really make a difference outside of me, to challenge all our readers, family, and friends to think about the way they buy this holiday season.  I want to encourage, rather inspire, everyone to buy “crafty” and handmade, and to help people realize that by buying from artists they are buying from real people."

I'd also like to push eco friendly fare if at all possible but I know that is probably harder to come by. Staaaaht small, Manders. I took a pledge to buy handmade and you can too, click here.

Some flavie blogs of note: Gussy Sews,The Artist's House, Sew Mama Sew and Candied Fabrics
Estyshoplove? My Girl Thursday and Printmaker Jenn

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh to be a kid again...

Do you remember the days where the biggest thing that you had to worry about was whether or not your parent's would get a copy of The Little Mermaid before it went back in the vault? Or what would happen if your mom ever found out you "lost" the itchy wool winter hat she sent you to school wearing? Or if Jaws The Movie was made with real people? (actually strike that, as that did cause me some legitimate worry as a child)... anyhoos, what I am trying to say is that being a kid was waaaaaay less stressful than being an adult.

Being a child held such amazement and dreamy eyedness, that I really wish that I could go back and motivate myself to really go for the gold, so to speak. To take the dreams I had and to not let them get squashed down by years of maturing and societal persuasions. To be totally true to what I wanted to be (then a fashion designer).

Take a look at the picture I took at The Life is Good fest this past weekend. The little boy in the center just stuck to me. Most grown boys (or as they sometimes like to be called, men) would never be caught dead with a heart painted on his face... but this sweet, innocent and abso-fabulously adorable young boy obviously wanted a heart on his face because he was feelin' the love... and he didn't care who knew about it. This kid, if you had witnessed him as I did, was loving his life. This, I imagined, was the biggest parachute he had ever experienced.... more than likely, these were the prettiest girls he'd ever parachuted with (see face painted girl to the left and pink lady crawling behind)... this was his day.

At what age did I transition into totally boring? When did I start worrying more about what people thought about me and what I did than about what I really wanted to be doing?  Where did I put my denture cup?

Me thinks that I gots to try to grasp at what is left of my dreamyeyedness and mold it to fit my life now. I gotta parachute with the cute boys and paint hearts on my face...  I mean, isn't that the life?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life is Good Festival Really Did Spread the Good Vibes

This past weekend, I volunteered at the Life is Good festival and let me tell you, it was quite the enjoyable experience. Life is Good is all about spreading the good vibes and let me tell you, that even on 3 hours of sleep, I had such a good time "working" for the VGP (Very Good Person) Hospitality tent.

I didn't party or anything on Saturday night, I just had one of those nights where you lay down to go to sleep and your brain is moving a mile a minute, then you bob and weave in and out of sleep, then the last time you look at the clock its 3am. VOILA! Instant tired on the day you are volunteering at a festival geared towards raising money for a foundation for kids in threatening situations. Our goal was to stay chipper and encouraging ALL day long. I thought I would be hard pressed to keep my good attitude up all day. No so.

I was actually the first volunteer there for my station, the VGP tent where fundraisers were given Chipotle, drinks, closer viewing areas to the stage and other sort of VGP perks. It was raining and I am going to be honest with myself that I was a smidgen crankay! As soon as things got rolling I couldn't have been cranky if I tried. EVERYONE was so happy and fun loving. We really were ambassadors of high-fives and kind words and it really felt great. The founders were just hanging out, thanking us for our hard work... so accessible. The whole day was a great one and so what I was physically tired... I didn't really notice until I was on the shuttle back to parking (that's when it hit me!)

I really hope that they have another festival next year because I will be the first in line to volunteer and I already told manfriend he was going with me next time. It was awesome and so were the people!

If you ever get the chance to volunteer for a good cause, just do it. You'll always feel soooooo much better about a gift you can give just through action... and that's the truth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Always Wished I Was European...

I often wished I was some exotic import from England or Sweden, adding to the allure of my extremely dazzling personality... Unfortunately for me, HA, I grew up in North Central Massachusetts, have a non-regional dialect and freckles. Whoa is me.

Obviously, I like to do things that are out of the ordinary if at all possible, including but not limited to my art/crafting. Enter Ottobre, a women's sewing mag out of Finland. I happened upon it due to my Pink Chalk Fabrics email subscription and I am terribly excited to have received my first issue! Getting to work straight away on wraps (seen here on my issue's cover) for me and my kin.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We Are Not Promised Tomorrow

Just got off the phone with my Mom. It's my Dad's birthday and he has modestly and simply requested a funfetti cake for his birthday dinner and that is all. We had a conversation about my grandparent's health and some of my mother's patients (she's an RN) and we had a good discussion about putting things in perspective, the ol' "life is short" schtick or rather none of us are promised tomorrow.

I just recently visited NC where my parents, sisters, grandparents, Aunt, Cousin and my cousin's new baby live. This visit made me really miss being close to my family because every day that goes by we miss what happens every day you know?

We shared a great lunch at a cool railroad car type restaurant, walked around a cute town, vintage clothes shopped, visited the baby, went to Olive Garden... it was one of those good timey feeling weekends (despite the airline travel ugh).

We enjoyed eachother's company, laughed and even had the time to get a little irritated but really, we aren't promised tomorrow so we should spend time with the people we love as much as possible. This is something I need to be reminded of often.

PS. I thinks me wants to live in NC... even though when my parents moved there I promised them I would never follow... but man...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So Our List is Ever Growing... King Richard's Faire What?!

So in the ever growing effort to do things in the northeast or what is now turning into being this part of the country we have been adding things to our list...

Newest entry? Ye Old King Richard's Faire... which I have never been too... but everyone else has...well except manfriend... so let's add 'er to the list. While it seems like quite the silly thing to want to do, I just kinda want to do it. What is a wasted trip anyways? If you're with someone you have fun with then it's about the Journey as well... Don't Stop Believin', right?

Obvi Adorable, Right?