Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Infused with Creativity

I finally got around to trying a fusing plastic bags tutorial I saw online, and it's AMAZING!

After an extremely long and stressful day I decided to unwind with some sewing, but sadly the folks below me weren't having it (banging on the ceiling, etc) so I lay out two layers of canvas, cut up some (3-4) plastic bags and ironed them. It took a while to get the iron hot enough, and I accidentally touched the iron to some of the plastic at one point, which is now permanently adhered, but all in all it was super simple.

The fused plastic isn't what I expected. It feels more like a paper bag than plastic, and I can't tear it to save my life. My next project is going to be making grocery tote bags out of the pieces, assuming I don't have problems sewing it. It cuts easily enough. I think my favorite part is that when you hold it up to the light you can see all the pieces it was made out of.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Etsy Store Prep

It has been a struggle to make myself create things for the specific purpose of posting them on etsy and making myself some extra money. The designs that float around in my head are unique, time consuming, and rare and creating without inspiration is taxing.

Despite this I have decided to dedicate one day a week to working on new projects for etsy. I'm starting out the store with bags similar to those I have already made so that I can several put up at once.

Finished this one today, and I'm in the middle of two others.

On my birthday last week my father gave me a $100 gift certificate to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. To be honest I would have rather taken the $100 to buy food and pay down debt, but since it has already been designated I will aspire to turn that $100 into much more than its value with remnants.

There will be new bags and shirts up on my etsy account just as soon as I finish them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I have recently discovered that when I look for stencils or inspiration I seem to find the best images through istockphoto, so I went ahead and signed up for a free account. Their search options are very extensive with my favorite being the "color and copyspace" search option below any photo which allows you to specify one or more categories.

Every image I find inspiring I save to my lightbox and now I can go back and remember all the ideas I had while thumbing through these pages.

Here are some of my favorites. I seem to be particularly drawn to colorful retro vectors at the moment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting out there

I've been posting my creations and "how to's" on a site called Cut Out + Keep. I really like it because its a little more user friendly than crafster and there are a lot of really interesting projects across the spectrum with step by step instructions.

Here's one new project I finished. There are How To's on a couple of these on my Cut Out + Keep Site if anyone wants to try it. Baseball T from Obama turned into halter. I like this one a lot. :)

Also started on another tube top and made a skirt made from pants.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First Top: Tubetop

Earrings from Etsy: $ 2.50
Necklace from Mom: Free
Feeling sexy in a top you made from scratch: Priceless

Back and inside aren't as nice as the front, but I still love it. Made the pattern myself. I really need a dress form so I stop using myself and poking my sides with pins as I take things off.
Next project: Reclaimed tshirts like the one below from Craftster.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Bag.
Made the pattern myself. I'm not sure I can sell stuff like this on Etsy because the sewing isn't that professional. Maybe it wouldn't matter if I sold it for cheap. Hows $8 sound?
Next on the agenda - clothes!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Etsy Scavenging

I went to make an etsy account yesterday and ended up ordering some earrings. I was surprised at how affordable a lot of the jewelry was, and ended up finding three pairs of decent earrings for around $5 each. I felt like browsing agin tonight, and these are some of the pairs that peaked my interest.

I loved these "dragon eyes" earrings, but at $33 I have to pass.

These I would really like if the bottom moon part was removed. I seem to like simple, circular or tear drop earrings best.
$22 from Artemesia Designs.

Most of this seller's shop is thread spun earrings, and there are some really beautiful color combinations.
$10 on sale right now from Sincear Jewelry

Next on the agenda: my own etsy shop.
I also have a new best friend - spray fabric paint. It's currently on clearance at Michael's and JoAnne Fabrics, and makes bag designing and applique a lot easier. Maybe anna and I will finally make our matching short short club if you can just cut out a stencil and spray paint it to stick just like silk screen...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

headband to match my bag stripes.
Is that annoyingly cute and/or hipsterish?

Rainy Day Refashion

Tshirt Rehab

1. Take 1 giant nighty tee-shirt that you wish was smaller and cuter.
2. Cut v-neck, hem, sew.
3. Cut off sleeves and re-sew adding darts (if your boobs make it look awkward like mine did).
4. Cut off bottom band & fit to waist size. Hem both bottom of shirt and bottom band, and attach again adding gathering to make them fit.

and ta-dah! Cute fitted bubble bottom shirt. :)

Oh... and more envelopes, soon to be sent to Nippon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Work Release

Our annual fundraiser benefit is today.

I'm relieved that my to-do list is done. I get a sort of pride out of knowing that the benefit will look classy because of me. I did the invitations, the posters, the name cards, the programs, the display signs. We used to have a board member in advertising who would do our promotional materials, but she is leaving, and I can understand why. I do seem to get some sort of pleasure and pride out of taking on an insane amount of stressful work and coming through on all of it. Actually that is a very good description of one of the few reasons I love this job. When it is busy I delight in the fact that I am one of the few people that can juggle as much as I do, and be successful at it. I thrive in a stressful, fast-paced, deadine-oriented environment, which I am getting I get from my father.

Yet again I am re-evaluating my position and considering staying in the position if I don't get into grad school or move somewhere. Mairin told me the other day that she was asked to apply for a full-time writing instructor position at Roosevelt University, which means she has an excellent chance of being chosen. It would be a huge pay increase, and probably be what she actually wants to do. That means in 4 months I would theoretically have the opportunity to become the Executive Director if I wanted it.

Despite the frustrations and stress load recently I have felt like I at least understand better how to juggle things at work, and how to give back to myself at home. Sewing, like so many other hobbies I have attempted to take up, has at least been relieving some of the stress in a more healthy and productive way than zoning out for hours in front of tv. My most recent finished product: reversible shoulder bag.

Bags and purses are so easy because you can use almost any material and there's no fitting required, but how many more bags can I make? I may have to start taking orders or venturing out into actual clothing, which I am sort of hesitant to attempt.
Sigh. Off to the fancy, hopefully successful fundraiser.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yesterday at work I was rather bored and decided to take on this project of envelope-making. It's a whole new way to send creative letters like pretty stationary, only cheaper! I adapted a stencil I found online and sorted through the various Vanity Fair & SPIN magazines lying around the YO.

Back of the envelopes. Its great to have something intricate to do with your hands while watching TV or a movie. It keeps me awake and I ended up adding more and more collage to the later ones. Fronts & Flaps

Insides. That's Clint Eastwood on the left if you were wondering.

Something about the precision of cutting with an X-acto knife, using pre-made materials and combining them in a clean, orderly way is very satisfying. Maybe I'm an OCD artist. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009



My cousin is pregnant! Her baby shower is in a month and ta-dah, I have a new opportunity for a project.
I'm a little sick of crochet and I never use anything I make because I'm not a big knit-wearer besides scarves. That being said, since this project isn't for me, and I have some baby thread, I could get started on a baby blanket. I also now have the option of sewing on a backing of some sort to make it softer. This may, of course, backfire because my aunt is a quilter by trade and I would expect her to follow the same route for Ally's gift. Hmm.

Aother option would a teddy bear. I could even do it out of brown suede because I have so much.

I've been thinking of another expectant mother from work I'd like to make a gift for who is not quite as far along. She is a HUGE Bob Marley fan, so I was thinking of making a brown bear and felting some dreads so it would be little bob teddy. :) I found a tutorial on making felt dreadlocks that I am sure I could sew into the head of a small teddy bear.

Any ideas on ways to make it more marley-esque? I suppose I could crochet him a little hat, or maybe make the bear itself out of red, green and yellow. Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Personal Exporting

I've been thinking recently about why tasks like blogging, tweeting, and updating facebook are so satisfying. Lauren and I were talking once about how satisfying it is to mail an envelope, or send a fax. Maybe I am just a task-oriented person, but putting something out there is like a neat little accomplishment and an end in itself.

Whatever the reason, it's my new love, along with finding new projects to do that are cheap, free, or recycled to take up what time I do have that isn't filled by social engagements.

Another to add to the list of possibilities for this coming weekend...
Much simpler than crocheting plastic bags into a grocery bag - fusing them together to form an even stronger, water proof fabric that can then be made into a grocery bag!
DIY via Etsy Lab (now defunct) - "Long Overdue Fusing Bag Tutorial"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ideas for next week's days off

1. Bake pies in small jars. Extra bonus of less recycling to take out. :)

2. Go to Salvation army, buy some heavy fabric clothes to use for new sewing projects and make stencils to add patterns.

3. Make some new envelopes (since I'm out) to send overseas/in states to friends. I think Dan & Richard still owe me letters but who says I can't send more with my free time. Besides, what else am i going to do with all the stupid magazines I get from Rachel Ray, LLBean, Victorias Secret etc?

New Project

Finally got my new sewing machine and got right to work.
This is Bag #2 - braided strap, magnetic closure, fully lined w/ two pockets, one zippered. Brown suede came from a couch cover I wasn't using. I need to find some new projects to use up the rest of it.