Friday, December 31, 2010

Clear that Clutter, Girl!

As I sat organizing my fabrics and notions this morning, I came to realize that I am the crazy bag lady of fabric collecting. I have more materials to work with than I really do need at this stage of the game... but you know what? Collecting makes me happy and I have just come to this realization. I like to go to the fabric store and score a good deal. I love to get those rad vintage buttons at the consignment shop. If it's cool and in my price range, it's mine!

This brings me to my current task at hand... Organizing it all. Sitting in my variations on yoga stances, I am finding myself getting creative juices flowing just from the sheer act of clearing my clutter. Given the time to myself ( yes, chores can sometimes be "me time"), I am given the opportunity to ponder creative direction and just meditate on my goals (past organizing that is). Today, if you asked me what I recommended for peace of mind? I'd say "Clean out a drawer".

OM is a weekly meet up that promotes living in the moment. Whether funny, sad, ridiculous, or banal, actively looking for and sharing these moments will promote balance in our lives. 

Teaching Myself to Embroider

So for Christmas me dear ol' Mum picked me up a starter embroidery kit from Sublime Stitching and I will be perfectly honest that it was ALL I did whilst snowed in on the day after Christmas. As you can see by my newest handi-worky (below), my mother was so enthralled she will be framing for her sun room and to me that is the highest form of flattery, especially for a beginner like myself. Hey, it's just another tool to add to my creative toolbox. Also, shout out to Sublime Stitching for awesome "How-to's" that were super easy to follow and also iron ons that were superb for starters!

I plan to bring my needleworking magic around the crafty house and see where it belongs because I certainly have to entertain it sometimes. Plus, I do love handsewing projects to do while watching Top Chef!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Gifted Handmade this Year!

So to follow up on my vow to give Handmade or make gifts for the people I love (ala my A Crafty Holiday post), I wanted to highlight the treats that made it under the tree from my fave artisans and from my very own creative loins.

Falling Leaves by Pretty Things By Meg (for future sister-in-law)
Custom Knitting Needles from Lai Grai (For knitting sister)

A pair of earrings each from Creative Stash (for the sisters)

A Homemade apron each by ME! (for my Mom and Manfriend's Mom) Yay!

A bag for my sister's knitting by ME (for her 21st birthday present; birthday happens to be Christmas Eve)

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I like to shop for myself as well. My one treat this season? The Amarillo Earrings from Pretty Things by Meg which I  LOVE by the by.

Some crafty things I partook in that were gifts for myself? Made with some of my favorite holiday fabrics? This Christmas Tree Skirt was one of my shining achievements of this holiday season because #1 I imagineered it myself and #2 I totally whipped it up on a Saturday.

Anyhoo, I really felt good about my gift giving this year. I did more handmade than ever and I plan to build on that. What did you give handmade this holiday?!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Can Someone Teach Me Macrame?!

Oh, how I would love to be able to knit a sweater (or even on single glove for that matter)... Imagine being able to knit, crochet or even macrame and entire fashion line? Crazy... but awesome. The latest trend I am pulling a little inspirational dreaminess from? Yeah, this isn't your Grandma's macrame... and if it is? Your Grandmas is WAY cool.

From Christian Dior

Matthew Williamson

Rag & Bone

Salvatore Ferragamo
Can someone offer to teach me how to macrame at length so that I may construct something magical to wear? Or if you don't know how to macrame? You can certainly pick me up some Christian Dior ;-)

PS. Happy 21st Birthday to my baby sister Lindsey! We are going to party tonight!

PPS. May you have a Merry Christmas Eve full of love and cookies!

Pictures via Style

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lindsey's Bag is Complete

I have been working on Lindsey's ( my baby sister) birthday present for a few months now. She is a beginner knitter but aboslutely loves to do it. I thought that I would support her craftiness with some new materials to work with. To see past posts about the transformation of this bag, check it. If you were at all wondering what Lindsey's new knitting bag turned out like.... without any further ado, I give you... a bag. This will make its debut this week (Friday actually) when little Lindsey claims she is turning 21 (I still claim its 11)...

Hey bag, you are full of things to knit with. I have collected a multitude of yarn as well as some customized knitting needles... throw in an issue of Knitting magazine and we are on our way here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Large Bills, Please

Today I woke up and manfriend was like "do you want me to make you coffee or give you money for coffee?" to which I promptly replied, silly like, that I would take his money any day. Well, I rushed to get ready (as per my usual on most days) fully expecting to have a pot of coffee my surprise when I came downstairs getting ready to leave, manfriend handed me a $20 bill (for coffee!!) and a foreign looking coin. He said happily, "It's a dollar coin!" Now, I had never seen a dollar coin (I know, weird) so I was like, "What am I supposed to use this for?" to which he replied, " A soda!". I gave him a kiss and was on my way. Odd little exchange, I know, but we are a little odd.

As I sat here at work, hours later, I caught myself daydreaming about the guy I have been with for just about 2 years. DAYDREAMING! We have been out of the giddy, new relationship period for a loooooooong time but here I am thinking about giving him a hug as soon as I get home. Now before you go thinking that I am the type of girl who needs coffee money to make me happy, that is by NO means the reason that I am daydreaming about him. He just does little things for me, without a complaint (well sometimes with a complaint).

For instance? Today, he is working from home to brave the post office to mail our family gifts, something I had absolutely NO desire to do. For that I am grateful. This is one of the MANY reasons I love him and should show him I appreciate him more. I might just use some of that twenty and get him a hot chocolate on my way home and treat him to some Celine Dion holiday tunes! ;-)

(here is one for you to enjoy! Happy Friday and Happy Holidays!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An Ode to Create! Sewing Studio

So I just finished my last session of my first real sewing class since half a semester in Home Ec circa 1997... and I have nothing but great things to say about my Wednesday night's sewing at the local Create! Sewing Studio in Acton, MA.

My previous experiences sewing were always what was right for me in that moment, not always what was right for the project in the long run. Couple that urge to take shortcuts with some impatience and you had some shoddy sewing skills at times. The first step in getting better is admitting you have a problem... Enter classes (and a little positive reinforcement) at Create! with owner Rebecca and instructor Darlene and I am on my way to taking my time and following directions more carefully. The two of them combined have so much experience, it makes my head spin! Being with them and my classmate, Sarah (darling), I got feedback and just good ol' fashioned "Sewing Circle" time. I can honestly say that I have definitely built on the skills that I had prior and with a dash of Rebecca and Darlene's tips and tricks (and how to use a Ham!), I am on my way to getting better and really, that is all that I can ask for.

Sarah (my classmate) and Darlene working on a reversable Holiday themed apron. ADORABLE!

I just loved the atmosphere, trading tips and getting recommendations.

Owner and Founder Rebecca (left) and Instructor Darlene (right)
I will surely be going back in the Spring to sink my teeth into some more in depth projects (with scarier aspects that I may not have dared attempt on my own) but in the meantime, I will be keeping up with the team at Create! and their students on Facebook, their bloggie and on Twitter. They teach many classes for kids and it's just so cool to see some shining, young faces rocking their own creations! All hope is not lost for the future of our crafty nation!

Unforunately, manfriend was at the helm here and I obviously look short buuuuuuuuuuut I did make this skirt!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Growing My Family

This past Thanksgiving, Manfriend and I packed up our carry ons and headed to the airport. This was to be my first trip to Colorado. I was also meeting manfriend's Grandpa for the first time and spending a lot of one on one time with his mom, aunt, sharing a hotel room with his sister and so on and so forth... eeeeek... but you know what? Any fears I had about it being akward or something along those lines... was just plain ridiculous. I needed to look at this sort of thing like this... I am growing my family. Family is awesome (most of the time) and we should cherish those we have had and cherish those we are with and call the ones we are far from and write letters and send texts and think nice thoughts and spend all the time we can with those we love. This was no different. So what we were just lounging about and watching tv, we were spending quality time together. There may or may not have been some napping involved as well. Napping is considered quality time as long as you are all doing it at the same time ;)

Some highlights?

The uncomfortable "couple" photo where we pretend to like eachother

The "let's act crazy for the camera" photo

Photo op with the dog photo

Pretend I am a professional photographer photos

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stop and Smell the Eternity

Yesterday I "to the last drop" ran out of my signature scent, Burberry Brit. My mother always gets us a perfume for Christmas and it's about this time of year that I am running on fumes. So begrudgingly I dug around to see what I had for other scents that have been collected over the years. To my surprise, I found a small purse sized bottle of CK Eternity (which is my mother's signature scent). No lie, I can smell it anywhere and immediately thoughts of my super special mama waft into my head. I literally stopped to smell the Eternity and for just that brief moment in the bathroom this morning, I thought about something other than rushing out to work.

Me and mi madre ala shiny facedness

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Creative Odyssey: *Crafty Goals for 2011

Jessica over at Epheriell Designs has enlisted the help of fellow bloggers to throw a totally tubular blog hopping event entitled "A Creative Odyssey" (so fantastical, right?)... Obviously, I had to get in on that biz because I am ever yearning to develop into the creative genious that I have always dreamed of being. (Yes, that was a tad dramatic.)

I decided to jot down my goals as they came to me so will present them in the order in which they were received.

*First of all my crafting skillz checklist: As you can see, there are multiple things I want to learn this year. Above all else? I want to expand my creative toolbox. It is important to explore other ways of creating so in the very least you can appreciate others for being good at something that you may not be able to master. I want to really try to learn as much as possible to then really get a hold on what I LOVE to do more than anything else. And also? Don't knock it 'til you've tried it, am I right? So... I am going to try it!

*Encourage others to grow creatively. I have heard a couple of my friends express to me that they feel like they need a creative outlet, they see my blog or the things I make and feel like they should try to find something they love... and you know what? I am all for it. I think it's important for us crafty folk to ensure that our community grows and flourishes and this includes encouraging those closest to us. Sometimes (and I know this from experience)it's tough to be ourselves and shout from the rooftops that we are creative, hear us roar! Everyone can use encouragement at one time or another so one of my goals is to give words of encouragement freely this year, even when I am feeling like a curmudgeon.

*Be giving. Don't let anyone tell you that volunteering or doing good deeds has nothing to do with creativity. After a day of volunteering with Big Sister or with some of my other faves, I just feel like a million bucks! When I feel like a million bucks, I am motivated to do other great and awesome things which may include crafting things with my hands... Any way you slice it, giving of oneself is good for the soul... and in turn that cannot be bad for your creative soul.

* Support local and handmade artistry. After doing the blog hop with Anglea of The Artist's House (ala A Crafty Holiday), I am totally more aware of the love and creative energy that is put into every handmade item. The handmade community is HUGE and deserves to be explored! Whether from Etsy or at a local craft fair, I have made a pledge to support those who are cut from the same cloth as myself. Practice what you preach and I am preaching handmade more than ever this year.

*Stay true to myself. If I feel pressure of any sort, I might rush or force myself to cut corners where they creatively shouldn't be cut. I need to be true to myself and as chintzy as that sounds, I stand by it. I will work on my craft for as long as it takes me and always do what feels right. While constructive comments are great sometimes, I vow to go with my gut and forge ahead into the crafty beyond.

*Somehow work Celine Dion into a craft project. I love Celine Dion and somehow, I will figure this out. ;-)

Check out my partner in blogging crime today, Spokes 'N' Daggers for a different perspective on A Creative Odyssey. I can't wait to check it out! Also, be sure to swing by Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming and Jane at Life at Number 8 for their posts tomorrow! Yay!

Let the creative juices flow, people. 

Rachel Roy's Tote for Paksitan

Rachel Roy developed this tote to help raise funds for the 10 million children affected by the recent floods in Pakistan. For each tote sold, Rachel Roy will donate $20 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF'S disaster relief and recovery efforts for the victims of the Pakistan floods. Take a gander and support a good cause.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Christmas Tree is a Girl, so I made it a Skirt!

So this past weekend manfriend and I went on the daunting task of #1 getting him a new tie at Macy's for his Holiday party and #2 picking up our very first Christmas Tree together. Well Macy's was a breeze compared to finding a fake, green Christmas tree of the 6- 7 feet variety. They were all sold out everywhere!

We would have gone the real tree route but we have a pretty curious cat that has been known to climb into the real Christmas tree, proceed to knock said tree over and with it spilling real pine needles EVERYWHERE. You can see why we had some reservations about the real tree (ie we still don't trust her from years past).

I had my heart set on a Christmas tree this past weekend. The more places that we went and didn't find one, the more downtrodden that I got. Then manfriend was like, do you just want to get a white one? I had not eeven given that a thought because I was almost POSITIVE that he wouldn't want a non-traditional tree. Wellp, I was wrong and to home we went with a white tree, red and white lights and a renewed "in the air there is the feeling of Christmas" hop in my step.

Now we had some very specific ornaments that we picked out on our trip to CO over Thanksgiving. So we obviously had those in mind whilst thinking of our decorating goodness. See ornaments below:

Anyhoo, We decorated our Christmas tree and all was good with the world... until I decided that a skirt must be made for our wonderous Christmas tree, using some of the totally awesome Alexander Henry fabric I purchased from the lovely Pink Chalk Fabrics.

So I gatehered up some of my goods: Some paper off the roll (to make my pattern with) pinking shears, fabric, pins. interfacing and obvi my sewing machine with white thread in the machine and the bobbin.

I basically took a 30 x 30 piece of paper and folded it in half 3 times. Once I was there, I cut a circular shape at the corner where the center hole should be (I guesstimated the size and a little large at that). I then trimmed a triangular design on the other end so that each pattern piece would match.

I cut 4 pieces (or 2 of each on fabric folded over)of each type of four fabrics (8 pieces on top and 8 pieces on the bottom) and 8 pieces of the interfacing for between the top and bottom of the skirt pieces using my pinking shears (so that there was the least amount of fraying possible).


Top, Bottom and interfacing. 3 levels of the skirt

Kitten decided my makeshift pattern was also a nice nap spot. She is an angel! Ok so back to the project. I matched pieces up in the design that I wanted and simply sewed them together to create a pretty quick and easy tree skirt.

The finished product?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gotta Love It +

Never Underestimate The Power Of A Woman With A Sewing Machine, originally uploaded by Rosie Geissler.

Ummm can you stand how awesome this is? Yeah, neither can I. I absolutely ADORE this. I mean it. ADORE.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Petal and Pink, Yes Please

Hey Hey Hey, so I exciting news of the week is that I won a pair of earrings from that ab fab Petal and Pink, can you believe it? ... I have won things before (Indigo Girls tickets... the closer I am to fiihiiiiine, yeah) but I must say that when Erin let me know I had won her Icicle Earrings, I had been having a crap day. Mayhaps the stars aligned so that my day was made to be 100 times better with just one tweet. See my soon to be lovelies below:

Erin wrote a super little blurb about mi little ol' bloggie so I thought I would write a little bit about Petal and Pink because #1 Her jewelry is snazzy and pretty and pretty snazzy #2 I am returning the bloggin' love and #3 Upon giving her my address we realized that we are not very far away from eachother... Totally small world, am I right?

Anyhoo, I wanted you to check out her Etsy shop because her jewelry is romantical and feminine... I wanted you to check out her blog because among other things she has "Outfit of the Day" posts which are adorbs! If you are addicted to Twitter like me? You can Follow her @PetalandPink.

In closing, I love me some crafty goodness. I love me some local crafty goodness. The only thing I think I would change about Ms.Erin of Petal and Pink? Is her dislike of cats. My kitten is an angel I tell you, an angel.