Saturday, November 17, 2012

What Gives?

Okay I have a serious question.  I am not doing this blog for income, you'll notice that I have no ads.  This is strictly for my own fun, accountability and networking.  But I do check out my traffic once in a while.  I've noticed something really strange lately.  While most of my posts show 17 hits, 25 hits, 3 hits, ect.  there is ONE post that has over 200 views.  And it is a post that I put out with no photos, it is just a punch list post called "Heart it, Don't Hoard it".  I even say in the post that it may be a long boring post with no photos.  And I believe I've received more comments on that post, online and off.   What gives?  Does the title hit home for a lot of folks?  Please comment.  I just find it really strange, the interest in that one post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The "ugly" Christmas sweater

I know its a little early but I want to talk about the reuse of Christmas sweaters.  I grab any that I see, especially ones that have a lot of detail.  I know that everyone calls them the ugly Christmas sweater but I think that they are adorable for kids.  No?

Here is one where I just removed the sleeves and used bias tape to finish them off (and keep from ravelling). Then I used a piece of elastic to tighten in the neck.   It was a big sweater, so it fits her more like a dress but I think it is pretty darn cute.

Notice the neck is cinched in a little with a piece of elastic under the collar.  Not even sewn, just weaved into the knitting and knotted off.

I have a whole box of these things, and would love ideas if you'd like to comment.  Now I have seen all the ideas in the world about reusing sweaters by felting.  And it is really neat and the items made are cute, but honestly useless.  Making little balls of felted wool for a centerpiece bowl is not what I have in mind.  And little stuffed felted animals are not what I am thinking of either.  Not a bad idea, just not what I have in mind.  My point in reusing these sweaters is to preserve the art (tacky or not).  And most of these are not real wool so felting is out anyway.

One other idea that I've had is removing the sleeves, sewing up the neckhole and having a office chair cover to bring a little Christmas spirit to the office.  This only works if the sweater is unadorned with hard objects.
I'll have to dig in the attic for a photo of that...maybe I'll post it later.  I'll get my box of sweaters out of the storage unit and start working on those soon (yes I am still working on that - but I have given notice that this is my last month of rental, so I am almost there).

Any other ideas that would preserve the art?

By the way, the sleeves of that sweater have lots of reuses.  I have some lined up for future posts:   mittens, leg warmers, winter dog walking coat (did I mention we just rescued a dog?), kids hats, attaching to a t shirt to winterize it.  Any other ideas for those?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Black Chandelier

Now for the new dining room chandelier.  It is not installed yet but I have it hanging from a plant hook so you can see the results.  I found this large chandelier on Craigslist, a little country for my taste with shiny brass and porcelain, but tons of potential.

It is obvious that I am new to blogging because I forgot to take a before photo.  Here it is with a coat of primer on it.  The cups and bulbous parts of the base are porcelain and the rest is brass.  This thing is heavy!

I decided to go with a flat black to give it a wrought iron look.  I may touch it up with just a touch of antique gold to make it work with the existing medallion. For now it is just black until I decide.

This is the existing ceiling medallion.

Here it is before adding all the bling.

After priming it, I painted it with a foam sponge....messy job.  Then I added the shades, recovered in some upholstery fabric that was previously curtains, and then some antique chandelier crystals I won on eBay.
Of course, you've got to get dirty sometimes.
Over those country porcelain pieces, I had planned to use stung crystal beads to cover it over but those things are expensive!  And it would have taken a ton of them to cover it.  For now it is all black.  I may go back later and add the beads but I think it may have made it a little too fancy for my home...I am not in a mansion here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fancy skirt

Ok, another cheaterpants post.  I swear I am pulling it together.....just not yet.  So this was a nice long skirt that just needed a little work to make it perfect for the daughter.   No before photo, this is the aftershot.

It had this nice ricrac detail, and the design of the print alone doesn't allow me to cut it off at the bottom.  

And it is has a cotton liner so I decided to use that as a little peekaboo.

So I added these little zigzags over an elastic string to draw it up.

Since I couldn't shorten it from the bottom, I removed the waistband, chopped it off from the top and reattached the waistband.

To preserve the existing buttonhole, zipper and also to allow for future growth, I did not cut the waistband down to size but chose to just stitch a pinch in (is that a technical term?).  This way I can always unstitch that later when she grows.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I've been doing some closet cleaning to switch out the seasonal clothes....turns out that most of the daughter's clothes can be worn with a shirt underneath and cross seasons.  So as I am getting myself pulled together on my project list, I'm just sharing some past items I've sewn.  Here was a fairly easy outfit, she calls it her clownsuit.

The bottom edge of the top is a rolled hem using the serger.

The black fabric is a linen with embroidery on it.  It was a piece that I had left over from another project.  I used a rolled hem on the apron too.

The back is pieces of elastic inside thin channels sewn into the strip of fabric.  Those straps are from a belt that I picked up at the thriftstore.  Once I realized that I could use those for dress straps, I grabbed as many as I could.  I still see them  a lot but have forced myself to stop buying until I use up my stash.

The pants just have a rolled edge hem from the serger.  Actually, except for that elasticized back and attaching the straps and a topstitch on the front, I believe I used the serger exclusively

So yes this was a cheaterpants post, but she likes it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pants-leg Princess

Okay, I admit that this isn't the best picture but I am really pushing to post daily in the middle of  trying to get organized at home.  More on that in a minute.

This little top was made from the pants leg of a pair of large ladies capri jeans!  YES! This is the decorative bottom part....sleeves and a ruffle added.  So I have the other leg left over guessed it, a miniskirt!  She just wasn't wearing it that day.  Maybe I can show the entire outfit in another post.

So, back to my organizing situation.  When I said in the last post that I was a fabric hoarder, I wasn't exaggerating.  I have bins and bins and since I buy at thrift stores, I HAVE to buy it when I see that perfect piece or it will be gone tomorrow.  And I see fabric storage solutions on blogs, like file cabinets to hang fat quarters, cubbies, etc.  but my pieces are often items of clothing so nice folded squares aren't usually possible.  My other issue is, I want to be able to SEE it all.  I want to be able to view the stack, because I have so much that I forget what I have.  Pathetic, I know.  So here is my little secret that I am ashamed of.....bearing it all here.  I even pay for a storage unit full of bins of fabric.  OMG!

In my defense, I justified it that it was only temporary while I got my rooms organized and worked through some of the stash still at home.  Nice theory, not reality...I've had it for three months now.  It is just as I feared, out of sight, out of mind.  And I have NOT worked through my stash, I just keep buying more.  Also, in my defense, I do have a few pieces of furniture in there too, that I planned to bring home one piece at a time as I had time to repaint them. You know,  in between working full time, raising two kids, and all the sewing I plan to do.  Oh yeah, and I forgot the hubby.....and sleeping.

Regardless of my best intentions, it is crazy for me to pay good money to store items that I bought at the thrift store.  It defeats the purpose.  So my goal now is to get organized enough at home, to bring it all back....and then hide it.  I know, HIDE IT.  So before, I could store it in the attic, or under the bed, but I really wanted it IN my tiny sewing room so I could SEE it, think about it, plan new projects with it.  And then I'd come down to sew, sit staring at all my options for a while, get totally overwhelmed, and then sew nothing.  So I moved it to the storage unit so I could focus on the items I had left at home, get them done, and bring home one box at a time to do more.  But I keep running back to the storage unit because "I am going to work on that project next" and then that pile sits on my sewing room table and then I think of another one that need....I am slowly bringing it all back home anyway. And stacking it in the way, and accomplishing nothing.

So, I am organizing tonight, bringing it all back home by the end of the month, hiding it, and will TRULY work on one project at a time.  The rest will be in the attic until I can deal with it, one project at a time.  Out of sight, out of mind, but free.  I am posting a few pieces that I have immediate plans for....just a tease.  And a little accountability ploy for me.

This is a stretchy velour type with embroidery. Ii think this picture is showing the wrong side of the fabric.  I plan to make myself and my daughter matching capes with red trim.  This is my neighborhood chapter American Sewing Guild project for November.

This is a curtain panel that I plan to make into a shower curtain for my small downstairs bathroom.  I was waiting to repaint that room.  I think I'll go ahead and make it, maybe that will motivate the paint to put itself on the walls.

These gorgeous babies are nice long tab top curtain panels.  Notice the $20 price for 4 long panels, who can beat that?  And I might have paid less, if it was a 50% off day, who knows.  Anyway, I don't want tab top, so these will be transformed somehow, properly lined and made into curtains for the bedroom redo.

 This is my fabric choice for my second try on those kitchen cabinet curtains I previously posted about.  It is a gauzy but not sheer decorator weight fabric that I will make into the lower cabinet curtains and add a contract trim to the existing'll see.

This is my choice for the shower curtain in my master bath.  It is two curtain panels that I previous unstitched all the seams from for some project that I never completed....who knows.   They will be used somehow with a skirt turned topper (surprise) and these white on cream striped panels. 

This is a leather type fabric that I am covering a dresser top with and attaching with nailhead trim.

And this is the fabric I will use to make a couple of casserole covers that I mentioned in punch list post.

So there were a few teases.....I'd better get busy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Heart it, don't Hoard it.

I am a fabric hoarder.  There I said it.  I'm done with that now.  I own it and I doubt I can stop that beast, but I want to have as much output as input from now on.  I can't just keep storing fabric piles.

So I've been struggling a little lately.  Not that I don't have ideas, I just am a poor planner...take that back, I overplan.  I focus on the idea more than the preparing to launch the idea.  I have boxes and boxes of "ideas" that I picked up, but when it comes time to do it, I still need to pick out the pattern, or gather the supplies.

So I will revert back to my trusty list....and by publishing this one, I can't loose it. :)  This will be the most boring post ever - no photos.  But I do invite comments if you can throw me ideas or pattern sources for any of these.

A big part of starting this blog was to put some action to my common complaints.  One of those has been, "I have collected so much beautiful fabric and love to sew, so why do I have ANYTHING ugly in my house?  There is NO excuse."  Besides my home decor goals, even the most basic everyday items should be beautiful.

So I started creating a list of practical  items to sew room by room.  And the web is a great source to find FREE patterns for everyday type items.  And lots of these items could be embroidered with my embroidery machine as a labelling system.  I HAVE NO EXCUSE!

I've been seeing other bloggers publish their punch lists, so here it goes:


Fridge bulletin boards - done but need to repair with strong magnets, the darn hotglue idea is not working
crockpot carriers
casserole carriers
hand towel hangers
plastic bag holder
garbage can covers
microwave scarf
fridge scarf - done
fridge shelf liners - done
cloth grocery store bags - started, need to finish adding bottoms and straps
storage bag for handmixer and parts
storage bag for cookie cutters by holiday
storage bag for cooker press and parts
storage bag for food processor parts
lunch bags
hot pads
storage bag for garbage bags
storage bags for other misc. parts, lids, corn cob holders, steak knives, etc.

Dining room

Cloth napkins ( I have a ton of these...just need to start using - thrift stores always have a ton of these and most are obviously unused, probably bought for decor only)
Seasonal table cloths (finally now that the kids are older and won't pull the entire meal onto the floor)
Storage bag to hold extra cloth napkins
Storage bag to hold dirty napkins for washday
Storage bag to hold extra table cloths
Shoe basket liner
Chandelier shades - started but still two short, need to find that fabric to finish those
Recover chairs


Extra roll holders
toilet lid scarves
over door pockets to hold kids underwear, pyjamas
trim out nice towels
cabinet curtains - where needed
shower curtains  redo -  started, need to finish
storage bags for makeup
cloth storage baskets for medicine types, "cuts" "tummy" "aches" "flu"
laundry hamper liners and covers
gym toiletry bag
recover existing travel bags for jewelry and toiletries
cloth storage bags or baskets for cleaning products
hanging case for keeping CDs off counter
curling iron cover from hot pad
storage bag for hair tools
cloth storage baskets for products by type "hair" "skin" "perfume"

Scrapbook room

recover existing rolling carriers
travel storage bags for various tools by type "pens" "stamp ink", "embossers"
carrying bag for cutter
cloth cover for ugly albums

Sewing room

recover existing rolling carriers
travel storage bags for various tools by type "mini iron" "rulers" "scissors"
carrying bag for embroidery machine parts
storage bags with a photo slot for unfinished projects


closet door curtains
bed ruffles
new bedspreads
fabric headboards
Seasonal clothing storage bags "sweaters" "shorts"
Sheet storage bags "full" "twin" "king"
Cloth toy pickup baskets


vinyl lean to for bikes
grill cover from vinyl table cloth

Office at work

chair cover
cloth bulletin boards
gym bag
storage bags for items  "utensils" "coffee" "oatmeal"

OKAY, that should keep me busy for a while.  I'll repost in one month to show progress, even if the blog posts haven't caught up with the progress - boy am I optimistic.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From bumper to bangin' blouse

Yep, you are looking at a baby bumper.  In a past life.  This blouse was made several years ago and is still around because the design made it so roomy.  It was made using a pattern from MODKID, and the skirt portion was once a baby bumper.  I snatch up good embroidery and appliqué anywhere I see it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bling on the machine!

At the Chantilly Sewing Expo there was a vendor that had painted her sewing machine and mentioned that she will be releasing a DVD to show how to do it.  It was so pretty and I think is an awesome idea... but only for someone that would be keeping their machine.  (and someone who can actually paint)  As a baby lock user, I have the option of trading up so I would be afraid that would disqualify the machine immediately.  What I've done below isn't even close to what she did to her's but I am really happy with it.  

Here is my attempt at some non-permanent bling....vinyl! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dollarstore night lights

Easy dollarstore night lights.  I just hot-glued a mixture of large and small clear flat stones to the simple glass vases and popped in an electric tea light.  TA DA!  The kids love them!