Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mosaic Barn Window

A few years ago, I spied this window on Pinterest. The link was just a picture in someone's flicker pool, but I knew I wanted to make it. Well, it sat there on my Pinterest board for a long time. About a year ago, I started it. The window was one I picked out of the trash a very looooong time ago, before I even had kids. It came out of a carriage house (so I was told) in an historic town near us. I am not sure how old it is.

The process itself wasn't hard, just tedious. I will admit I had (and still have) no idea what I am doing when it comes to this. I just went with it. I used Weldbond glue to glue all the stuff to the window. The square tiles are Van Gogh tiles I bought off of Ebay. I also used craft store glass stones, and some odds and ends from significant places. This particular pane has a piece of a decorative knob I saved from our old house.

This pane has a metal oak leaf I got from a scrap yard in Colorado when I was in college. What in the world was I doing at a scrap yard???

I also used beach glass and pottery shards I found on Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California back in the days of yore. I figured I might as well put to use those nifty little pieces I had been keeping.

You can see from these two pictures the difference the light makes. I have debated whether to hang it on my wall, or in a window. I am leaning toward the window, because wouldn't it be cheery to see in the mornings? If so, it will hang right under my giant spoon. It's like a double dose of happiness.

The only trouble I had with this project (besides it taking me forever) was grouting. I think that I probably broke a few rules and grouting a surface with multiple levels was tricky. By the third pane I got the hang of it. Phew! I am so glad it is finally finished and I can hang this puppy up. My house is getting funkier and funkier with all the art I have up. I'm gonna have to ask Santa for more wall space this year...ha, ha!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Super Tote: School Edition

Last October I made my first version of the Super Tote by Anna Graham (check her shop out over at Noodlehead). The Whale Super Tote has seen some major action over the last 8 months and has performed so beautifully that I decided to make myself a new version to use as my school bag since I'm going back after a long hiatus.

I had a really nice, heavy weight canvas in my stash as well as a single yard of the writing print. As soon as I started to cut everything out I knew that piping needed to be involved...and then that evolved into needing 4 colors of piping. My sister is addicted to Ric Rac and I just can't quit piping. We are suckers for adding extra detail and flair.

Anyway, what you can't see in the picture is that the canvas is subtly quilted (I used Soft & favorite!) to give even more detail along with the pops of color that match the colors on the lining fabric. I realize that the colors are slightly reminiscent of the 80s and make me think of waterfall bangs and stacked socks but what the heck, I'm a child of that era so it works!

Some projects are just fun to sew and this is definitely one of them. It's one of those patterns with clear instructions and well marked pattern pieces that ends with consistent results.  I absolutely LOVE this bag and can't wait to use it. It also definitely got me out of my sewing funk so hopefully more finished projects will be coming soon!

This is the front of the bag and has a pocket

This is the back of the bag...the pink piping is vintage!

This is the inside...there's a small pocket and elastic for my Bento or water bottle. 

Front pocket

The recessed zipper is definitely one of my favorite features of this bag.

The pictures make the bag look's really not. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thrift Store Find! Vintage Sheath Dress

 A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this dress at the thrift store. I fell in love with it upon first sight, but I was sure it would either not fit, or be more than I wanted to spend. My experience with thrift store vintage is that it is easy to find splendiferous 80's and 90's stuff, replete with shoulder pads and synthetic lace and plastic pearls at overpriced 'vintage prices'. I for one hold to the school of thought that the 80's should not be relived, and the 90's aren't much better. :) I am not good at dating fabric yet, but I am guessing 60's? 50's? Any guesses? The background is hard to see from the pictures, but it is silver velvet and the flowers are sort of satiny. The dress is handmade with a handpicked zipper and full lining. I tried it on, and it was too big. But! Too big is a much easier fix than too small. I mean, you can only squeeze so much into a dress before you start to look like an overstuffed sausage. And the best part....drum roll cost me $3.50!! Now to decide whether I want to keep it long or cut it off at the knees. What do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Closet Flashback: Playing With Clay

I've been in a serious creative funk. It's the kind that comes from having a string of botched projects like when you put the finishing touches on a new dress and then the zipper breaks before you can even wear it. Then the seam ripper makes a big hole while trying to take it out to put in a new one...then the needle snaps....then the thread gets snarled and breaks.... 

But I digress.

To reboot my brain I decided to look around my house for inspiration in successful projects that I've made over the years and loved working on. That's when I found this little vase that I made back in high school (no...I'm not doing the math on when that was). Pottery was my favorite class and I REALLY enjoyed working on this project. It's a little lopsided but I loved (and still do!) the drippy glaze and how the colors all came together. 

At it's widest part it's probably only about 4" in diameter.

Much like a dress, I like to put effort into the inside and OUT

I used a light application of white glaze for the base then thickly applied streaks of alternating color that faded into blue. 

After staring at the vase for quite a while I decided that I had enough creative energy to attack the broken zipper again. Hopefully, by the end of the day I'll have a mended dress and the willpower to actually start a new project!  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Little Artist

When I had a girl, I had this ridiculous fear that she would not be interested in being crafty. Ha!!! This one got a double triple dose of the creative genes. I took the kids to their art show this week and we found out that Katie's painting was chosen for the district art show!! She was thrilled, I was cool!!! I know I am biased and all, but didn't she do a lovely job? I find it fascinating to look at kids' artwork. Especially at this young age, they are all at such different levels. Some kids painted a few blobs on the page and called it a day. Others put in more detail and had a grasp on perspective. I can't wait for this one to come home! It's going on the wall. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This and That

I have about a million projects going on right now, and I am trying to finish some of them. Such a novel idea. One of the bigger projects I have going on is my stairs. They were covered with some hideous orange/gold shag carpet that was so old it shredded when I tore it off. The crumbly mess you see is the remains of the carpet padding. I have big pinterest-inspired plans for the stairs, and I imagine this one will take me a while.

Another project I have been working on for a long time is this mosaic window. A while back I something similar on Pinterest (evil Pinterest!) and I knew I had to make it. I have never done mosaic before so I am basically winging it and have probably violated every rule there is. I just started grouting and I have to's a royal pain. I need to get over it and finish this baby so I can hang it up!

And one more (finished!) project: a journal for the Etsy shop! This one is a barn swallow and I really had fun beading the edge. It is tedious and fairly time consuming but as we all know, I enjoy a project like that now and then!

I have been working on a few more design ideas for journals. What ideas could you see stitched onto a journal?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Getting To Know You: The Liebster Award

The lovely Jill from The Wizard of Odds and Ends has nominated us for the Liebster Award. From what I understand, this is a way to get to know and support other small-time bloggers. So for fun, here is a bit of an 'interview' so you can get to know a little more about our blog. Thanks, Jill!

1. What is your favorite pattern to work from? If you don't use patterns, have you ever made a project multiple times? Depending on the project, I am comfortable using a pattern or making my own. I tend to use commercial patterns for clothing, and make my own for other things. Slowly I am gaining confidence in heavily modifying pre-made patterns. And yes, I have made the same pattern multiple times. One kids' pajama pattern I have I must have made at least 20 sets over the course of a few years. I traced off all the sizes, and the patterns are all in shreds.

2. Who taught you your craft(s)? Our mom is pretty much a sewing ninja if there is such a thing. She made her own parka, sewed a backpack for her backpacking trip across Europe, and many fun things for us kids. Both our grandmothers were also crafty so there's really no escaping it!

3. What do you consider your biggest crafting accomplishment? Hmmm...well, as for technical feats I did sew my own wedding dress, and an 1880's ballgown in high school. Creatively, I love being able to plan a project around a specific supply or idea, and the ability to change the pattern to suit my vision.

4. How did you get into blogging? Rachel and I started blogging after she started sewing again. She was living oh, so far away in the grand ol' state of New Jersey, which seemed so far away at the time. We wanted to share our projects with each other, and it has come in particularly handy since she has up and moved to Texas.

5. Have you ever made a mistake but manage to salvage the project and make it a success? Oh, yes! I once had an art teacher who would not allow the use of erasers AT ALL for most of the semester. She wanted us to learn from our mistakes and be able to turn them into something interesting. It drove me nuts at first but it turned out to be very helpful and I still use those skills today to make it work! :)

6. Where do you find the most inspiration for the things you make? This is a tough one. Everywhere, I guess. I love all things vintage, funky, bohemian...oh, listen to me, trying to sound like I know what my style is. Ha! I think I just know what I like, and between my brain and pinterest, there is never a shortage of ideas!

7. Do you have an Etsy shop? If so, please post the link. :) Yes! We just hung out our virtual shingle at

8. What is one craft that you would love to learn? One? Seriously?! :) I would love to learn crochet, printmaking, knitting (proficiently), and someday I would love to try glassblowing.

9. Depending on your main hobby, what is your least favorite type of fabric/yarn/paint to work with? Chiffon is a nightmare. It's so slippery and shifty.

10. What is the longest amount of time you've spent in a craft store or browsing craft supplies online? Ha!!! I usually have 3 kids with me who are soooo over going to the fabric store, so I don't stay long. I have gone on a few benders where I have spent a good chunk of time dreaming of sewing up all those beautiful fabrics.

11.  What sort of project are you currently working on? Right now I have a dress I'm making from a 70's pattern with some fabric that is eerily similar to chiffon. I am also finishing up a mosaic project that has taken me...a long, long time. I may or may not have a *few* more projects going as well. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Little Bling! Decorating Girls Shoes

Our mom has this uncanny ability to find free stuff. She finds stuff in people's trash, at yard sales, and who knows where else. I think these shoes came via a yard sale. They are nothing fancy, but brand new and the perfect blank canvas. My girl has wanted to decorate her own shoes for a while, but plain shoes are few and far between. This was the perfect opportunity to let her loose with the gems. Incidentally, I have pretty good luck at the thrift store and found a huge bag of these for 3 bucks!!!

We each did a pair, using LockTight craft glue for the gems. She took a more free spirited approach and covered up the excess glue with glitter. She is keeping one pair for herself and we are putting the other pair in our OCC shoeboxes!