Peek into the sewing room

Jars of ButtonsI am grateful today to be featured on the Etsy Alberta Street Team blog. Or rather, my sewing room is featured. I can’t recall offering a peek into my sewing room here on this blog. For shame! Of course, now you can just pop over to the team blog and snoop around. There are some fun post series on the team blog, which is open for any member to contribute to. I am pondering the one series “Hidden Talent”. Pretty sure that the average person hasn’t or doesn’t sew orange peels and bubblegum into dresses. It’s been several years since I did one of those art pieces, but I might just have to share that hidden talent (or rather hidden craziness).

Cat Eye-licious

Cat Eye PurseletteTa-da!! Introducing Miss Cat Eye. She’s the sassiest of sassy purselette gals. She knows what she likes and confidently declares that. The fashionista side of her personality is paired with a sharp cunning and sometimes tamed by a common sense, even she can’t deny. Miss Cat Eye enjoys grabbing a drink with friends and can often be caught crafting in public. Although not above shopping at the mall to catch a great deal, she is likely to deconstruct store-bought items to make them her own. Making brownies, watching roller derby, and wondering a used bookstore are typical leisure activities for her.

Welcome to the purselette club, Miss Cat Eye! Your sassy ways will be much needed this weekend!

Today is Wednesday, tomorrow is Thursday, which means the next day is MAKE IT!

Cute, small and blue

Baby pants 1Baby pants and yellow too. Here is a peek at what was sewn for little babelette boys. I first came across these while reading my fav blogger SouleMama. She had made some for her youngest little fella and it’s what pushed me to finally buy Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings. I feel like a real tease for not completely sharing these finished projects, but you’ll just have to have patience.

Cute, small and pink

Reversible sundressFlower sundressBesides the near constant sewing of purselettes, I managed to squeeze in some time to sew things for babelettes. Six items, four of these were custom orders. Some for boys, some for girls. Some patterns were taken from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings, while others were inspired by Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing For Baby, while others are of my own concoction. They are all destined to be gifted to others, so I can only offer a peek for now. Here are the ones intended for sweet little girls:

Chance of rain and cupcakes

I feel like I have been neglecting this here blog a bit, posts becoming farther apart; more time spent in front of the sewing machine than in front of the laptop. So I thought I would pop in and give a brief update on all the sewing progress and preparation for the Make It show. Remember when I said I wanted to spend a little more time experimenting and exploring some new sewing ideas? Well, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week. And it has been FUN!

cupcake purseRain cloud purseSay hello to the newest purselette gals! Miss “I won’t let the rain keep me down”. She enjoys long walks on spring evenings and splashing through puddles. You might even catch her indulging in an ice cream cone.

And next we have Miss “I see rainbows on a sugar high”. She’s a shopaholic who can’t resist anything with glitter and hearts. You’re likely to find her baking sweet treats at home, with a cake decorator in one hand and a glass of cream soda in the other.

In case you’re starting to get a bit worried, I have not gone completely crazy. There’s just something about sewing colourful buttons on bright pink and teal that starts to make you go a little loopy. Anyway, what do you think of the newest editions? Quite different from my stripey purses, but I love their playfulness!

After turning out quite a few more purselettes, I’ve had to buckle down and take a serious look into how exactly to display all of these at the market. I’ve been dreaming of a coat rack-type of display unit and wouldn’t you know it, one of my fellow Etsy team members recently had her husband make one for her. Hilda of Handmade Therapy was sweet enough to pass along a photo of it. It’s a fairly simple design, but I think it would be perfect. So, enlisting the help of my wonderful father, I will hopefully get something similar constructed this week. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Wishing you fresh spring showers and sweet cupcakes until then!

(About two hours after I wrote this post, little white snowflakes started to fall. 15 hours later and it is still falling. Not quite the spring rains I was hoping for, but I guess I should know better… thinking that I need to come up with a winter wonderland purselette)

Doilies, buttons, and corduroy, oh my!

Small Corduroy PurselettesOne of the things I have truly enjoyed about being able to focus a great deal more on my craft business, has been having the time to play and design. When I was working a full-time job and squeezing my crafting time into every possible hour in the evenings and weekends, I found that I did less playing and experimenting. If I had an hour or two in the evening, I preferred to use that time actually making something, rather than brainstorming ways to change the design, try new materials, and push things further. One of my university professors always said that a completed piece of art only comes into being after it has been pushed to exhaustion.

I still haven’t done quite as much experimenting and playing as I would like, but even being able to do some has got my creative juices flowing more freely. My small purselettes had started to become a bit too repetitive for my liking, and it was with great enthusiasm that I dove into exploring some new options. They are such a versatile product. Keeping the same basic shape and size, they are easy to be creative with, simply by changing the type of fabric used and tapping into the seemingly endless embellishment choices. Small changes, but satisfying none the less.

So here’s a sneak peak at some of the new purselettes that will be available at Market Collective sale next weekend. The colours seem so very autumny now that I’ve photographed them, but rest assured, there are some lovely springy ones waiting to be assembled.

Say hello…

Blueberry PurseletteTutti Fruitti PurselettePear PurseletteBubblegum Sass Label… to a new (old) friend. These lovely gals are what have been occupying most of my studio time these days. I first designed and sewed one of these several years ago when we were still living in B.C. Gave some away as gifts, donated others to fundraisers, but now I’m trying to get up the confidence to actually sell them. To strangers.
Oh my.

I’ve made a couple of small additions to the design which, to me, put the icing and cherry on top. Can you guess what it might be? If you were thinking “button and elastic loop closure”, then you are correct. For what Bubblegum Sass item would truly be complete without a button?! I actually ordered some magnetic snap closures, to try out, but the more I thought about it the more I leaned towards a button closure (given my obsession).

The other addition, of course, is honest-to-goodness company labels. Definitely something I have longed for even before I really had a business. They just seem to add a level of professionalism and utter completeness to each item.

The only thing I continue to debate about now is a name for these lovelies. Their working title is “Medium Striped Purselettes”, but much brainstorming has been going into all my product names lately. AND their colour names too. I’m keeping the “purselette” bit, but look for some revamping to come to the shop soon. Oh yes, these gals are listed in the shop. Many more are awaiting assembly, which I should probably get back to. There’s an upcoming sale I’ve got to get ready for. More on that another day.

PS – I ordered my labels from herjodren on Etsy. It came down to the fact that I could order a very small number of labels (which works well for me because I wanted a few variations… one label for this, one label for that, type of thing).

Santa’s workshop revealed

Christmas StockingNow that the gift-opening flurry is mostly complete (we have a couple of stragglers still in Europe that have presents waiting their return), I can share some of the things that got made up this year. The most important of course, was that our kitty Chloe was graced with a Christmas stocking. It’s not like she’s a new addition to our family, but for some reason we generally overlook her at Christmas. My mom, never fails, gives Chloe a Christmas gift. We, on the other hand, are rarely in our own home Christmas morning and thus, don’t get to open gifts with Chloe too often. This year I was determined to include her. I cheated a bit by purchasing a plain ready-made stocking from the craft store because the first chance I had to work on it was on the 24th. Cutting it close, but it did get nicely decorated, if I do say so myself. Just a bit of felt, some buttons, and embroidery thread. Voila!

Sugar Skull Coin PurseI had a very special request for these coin purses from my sis-in-law. I made her a coin purse out of that sugar skull fabric a few years ago and she has loved it into the ground. So I was happy to make up a replacement one for her. There’s still a bunch of that fabric kicking around which I fully intend to make into a sassy apron one day… one day. My sis-in-law also recently discovered that her Canon Powershot S90 fits perfectly into my coin purses. So a second one was sewn up for use as a camera cozy. That’s the same camera that I use, by the way (for those curious what my blog photos are taken with).

Crochet ScarfThere were two crochet projects undertaken for Christmas gifts this year. One is still in progress. Yes, I realize that Christmas has passed, but like I said, there are a couple of folks in Europe who won’t be back until the New Year, so that’s a whole extra week of crafting. That project is still under wraps, but I can share the second crochet item with you. It was a scarf for my mom. The pattern is just something out of my head. Not too complicated. Some single crochet, some treble crochet, and some scalloped edging that I winged. It’s nice and long. I was worried that I had made it too long by the time I was finishing it up, but I was told by a couple people that a scarf can never be too long. Especially, here in Canada. Anyway, it should keep her nice and warm. It’s made out of some Lionbrand Homespun yarn.

Hand-dyed prayer flagsHand-dyed prayer flagThe last bit of Christmas gift making were sets of hand-dyed prayer flags. I spent one Saturday dying fabrics in the basement (just with that cold water dye stuff). I used various bits of fabric that I had stashed in the sewing room, including some cotton that I had previous rusted. Those pieces ended up being some of my favourite out of the whole project. I have a stack left over too, which I can either make into a strand for us to hang or I could sew up some coin purses.

I feel like there’s a lot to catch you all up on. Big boxes of new yarn, the death of my herb garden, and book reviews. Oh, and I celebrated the big 3-0 yesterday. Must do more blogging.

Hoping that you had a lovely Christmas and are recovering from the sugar-overload!

I’m a sewing “machine”

Fabric design wallI took a break from the crochet craziness and sat myself down in front of the sewing machine for the first time in months. Along with the scarflettes, I’ve been anxious to make some other items to sell at the upcoming craft sale, including small fabric coin purses. Once I had all the fabric cut out, the first couple of hours of sewing were pretty frustrating. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that before with a particular craft, where the longer you spend away from it, the more challenging it is to get back into a good swing. Honestly, though, once I pushed through those first couple of hours, it was really liberating. I almost forgot how much I love sewing! For shame! I’ve spent so much of my crafty time this past year on crochet projects, which are lovely, but there’s just been something missing.

This weekend was just so satisfying! I have five coin purses complete, 6 more in progress, and enough fabric cut out to start another five. AND I didn’t have to buy any supplies to make them up, which means I am either super resourceful or my sewing stash is getting a bit too big. Or it maybe my stash is JUST big enough to sustain all my crafty activities now. Ya, that must be it. Always looking to justify having such a stash of fabric and bits and pieces.

Coin purse with buttonsThese coin purses are a design I made up several years ago for a church craft sale I donated to. I have since made some for gifts and folks seems to enjoy them, so I thought it would be worth it to have some available for the craft sale. They are the perfect size to fit credit/debit cards. I have one in my tote bag to hold my lip gloss, mini hand cream, and bandages (Mrs. Always Prepared). I’ve added some small button embellishments to these newest ones and I’m loving that! Anyone who knows me, knows about my love affair with buttons. Previously, I added fabric yo-yos, which worked out well, but I thought I would try something new this time. Without consciously doing it, I’ve also made the coin purses in a such a rainbow of colours! It nicely mirrors the colours of the scarflettes. Feels like things are starting to come together!

Nancy and I (part 3)

Felt starfishI had all sorts of grand plans of crafting that I wanted to do while I recovered, but I started out with reading. I had stocked up on some new paperbacks (working my way through some Charlaine Harris books) and also pulled the entire Harry Potter series out to re-read. Sipping ginger ale and cranberry juice while reclining with a book became my new routine. Eventually I gained a bit more mental and physical energy and eased myself back into crafting. I started out simple with just some hand sewing. I’d been working on these starfish decorations in between other random projects for a while. It was very relaxing just sorting button and thread colors.

I then moved onto a fairly simple crochet project (“simple” because I didn’t have the patience and energy to worry about counting stitches or working row patterns). My friend at work is expecting her first baby towards the end of October and I was really keen to make her a baby blanket. I already had a bunch of granny squares made-up and it turned out to be the perfect number for a baby-sized blanket. Prior to my surgery, I had the forethought to organize the layout of the squares and number each one, so that when it came to assembling them, it wouldn’t take much mental power. I sat watching an assortment of borrowed dvds (the likes of “The Lakehouse”, “Calendar Girls”, “In Good Company”, “Waking Ned Devine”, etc) and attached granny square to granny square and row to row until I had completed a sweet little autumn baby blanket. More details on this particular project to follow.

Crochet nappy pantsWhen I finally started to feel like I had the energy to try out a new crochet pattern, I turned to Tina Barrett’s Natural Crochet for Babies & Toddlers. It was love at first sight with this book! For a super avid crafter, I don’t buy a ton of craft books, not because I don’t want to. Seriously, I would go crazy ordering craft books till every shelf in our house was filled and then some, if I could. Being on a tight budget though, I’m often inclined to spend my crafty funds on supplies rather than inspiration. However, Tina Barrett’s crochet book was just too lovely to pass up. I borrowed it from the library originally just to flip through and when I realized I wanted to make every single pattern in the book, I ordered it. The first project I attempted from that book was the nappy pants. So very adorable! Although I wasn’t able to make them out of fancy natural soya or cotton called for in the pattern, since I had to make do with my stash, I think they turned out pretty cute.

After finishing my first pair of nappy pants I started thinking about Christmas. I haven’t a clue why, but I just started thinking about what to make people for Christmas and that led to thinking about how last year I never got a chance to try making crochet snowflake ornaments for our tree. I mentioned this to my mom and on one of her post-surgery visits she brought all of her old snowflake patterns gathered from magazines from the 80s, white crochet thread and the smallest crochet hook I’d ever seen. Between all of her patterns and ones I tracked down online, I kept busy working up snowflakes. I actually got pretty frustrated trying to make them and I had a hard time reading the patterns, but before I decided that maybe snowflake making was too advanced for me, I tried a pattern posted on Attic 24. Although the Lucy’s pattern uses a DK weight yarn, and I used crochet thread, I loved the shape of the snowflake AND I was finally able to understand how these darn things worked up. So I simply added some more rounds and with my usual improvisation ended up with a nice little snowflake.

It was like a light bulb went on (or I guess in this case a glowing snowflake) and I eventually made these guys too.

Crochet snowflakeCrochet snowflakesCrochet snowflakes

From Christmas, my thoughts turned to Halloween. I know, that was sort of in the wrong order, but who can control one’s crafty thoughts? After my adventures in snowflake making, I started thinking about decorations for Halloween. What could I crochet for Halloween? I liked the idea of making something similar to the snowflakes, that I could starch and hang, but with a Halloween theme. I poked around briefly online, but didn’t find what I had in mind. So I figured I could make it up, after all I had just completed six snowflakes, how hard could it be? After some experimenting, it turned out to be a bit difficult, but not impossible and I managed to created these creepy little friends.

Crochet spidersCrochet spidersCrochet spider

Phew! Well, I managed to complete quite a bit during my weeks of recovery. Definitely didn’t waste the time off and all the lovely crafting kept my sanity!