Friday, April 26, 2013

A Bag Fit for The Queen

So I get a phone call a couple days ago from my favorite aunt. She has a special request. But first things first: a little family history.  Favorite aunt is the undisputed matriarch of our clan.  She's the best cook, has the meanest "Quit being a shithead" glare, and will give it to you straight no matter what. She is affectionately and rightly so referred to as "The Queen," and she reigns supremely.

Well Queenie was recently ordered by her Doc to regularly take her blood pressure.  So she goes out and buys a handy dandy electronic cuff.  Queenie also travels quite a bit to spend time with family.  She decides she's going to need a handy dandy little bag in which to transport the new cuff.  Who better to fashion such a bag?  Why Princess Trina of course!

This evening, after I finish the required day's work, I kick it into high gear to produce a bag fit for The Queen. As luck would have it, my Mom and Grammom are on Skype while they putter around my Mom's kitchen: 1400 miles away.  We get a conference call going, and they help me pick out fabric for the bag and offer suggestions along the way.  It was great fun having their input, chatting, and catching up.

I pulled out all the stops for Queenie.  Only my best fabric from the beloved high-end section of my stash would be suitable for the Queen's bag.  I just got in some new zippers, so I hauled those out, too. A simple pouch would just not due.  This bag is fully lined and finished superbly.  I even added an extra zippered pocket onto the exterior in which she can keep her little blood pressure record notebook. 

The Queen's new bag will be shipped off to the north-woods of Maine tomorrow morning.  But first I took some pictures to share with you all.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

DIY $5 Furniture Fab-u-less

My friend, Becky, is the  

Mr. Sexy Pants and I moved into a much larger place this winter. Now I get to have a rad "shop" in the basement with tons of space. However, when one moves into a new place with a lot of new space, one can't always afford to outfit said new space in fancy pretty new stuff. So what does one do? Go to Wally World and buy some plastic shelving units and bins to make due! They work great! But they ain't that pretty.  :(

Enter: awesome friend, Becky.

$5 Dresser - Before
I've been saying since we moved that I can't wait until Yard Sale Season. I can start looking for some cool old dressers to paint up and use in my shop to cheer things up a bit.  It's dreary down there with the concrete walls and no windows.  Today Becky texted me and said she found a dresser at a yard sale for 5 BUCKS!!  YEOW!  So Sexy Pants and I go pick it up this afternoon, and I sucker him into stopping at Home Depot on the way home.  *bats lashes*

Half a fortune later...we return home loaded down with all the fun stuff to re-do the dresser...and 10 more for that matter.

I dig out the ol' Navy Standard Issue Coveralls that practically stand up on their own...and go to town.  I knew they would come in handy again one day! The one and only uniform I kept. :)  And of course - I don all the necessary PPE like a squared away sailor does...HA!

Playing with Power Tools
I don't have much experience with power tools.  You can imagine my delight when I plugged in the electric sander.  I whizzed over that dresser like a bonafide Ty Pennington Wanna-be.  Sexy Pants had to stop me at 8 p.m. so I didn't T-off the neighbors.  

So Day 1 of my first DIY Furniture Upscale project was a success.  I'm almost done with the sanding (only 2 drawers left when SP hauled me back inside - meanie).  

Stay tuned for progress updates.  :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quick Trip

 A quick trip to Maine has me tired out.  It's always exhausting when I venture to the Northeast to visit the family. This trip was particularly special, because it was for a surprise 80th birthday party for my great-uncle. The party was a great success, and Nonnie was actually very surprised (or so he says). Family and friends showered him with fun gifts, certificates to his favorite restaurants, and the good ol' standby: scratch tickets.  He was thrilled. He wasn't quite as thrilled about the crown I brought for him to wear.

Scrappy Bowl #2
During my visit I had the pleasure of getting together with my grandmother and a few of her friends during their weekly craft group. They asked me to bring along a project or two, so I showed them how to do the zipper pouch from one of the free Craftsy tutorials. Then I showed them how to do the Scrappy Bowl that I raved about in my last post. They loved it equally as much as I do, and they were excited to use the method to make all kinds of fun things. This bowl was more shallow than the last. I guess it's all in how you mold it as you go along. I used a jelly roll this time since I had just picked one up at my favorite place to fabric-bargain-shop, and my scrap bin was 1500 miles away. Mardens is a surplus and salvage chain (only in Maine, I think). They have a rather large fabric section in Calais, and their prices make you feel like a thief in the night when you walk out the door.  It's incredible. I always load up when I visit. Even with the cost of shipping it all home, it's still an enormous savings. So if you're ever in Maine, Mardens is a gem for any fabric lover. 

My Favorite Kind of Mail
Upon returning home to Mr. Sexy Pants, Miss Keef, and the world's best cheese...I was excited to find a package that had arrived during my absence. My first shipment from did not disappoint! I found a box full of carefully and beautifully wrapped Moda Fat Quarters to delight me. I was fortunate enough to meet Chrissy, co-owner of SewLuxFabric at Sew South Retreat in February. She and her mom run a fabulous online store full of high quality fabrics. They have a great free Loyalty Program with which you can earn credit towards more fabric  They also have a wicked cool Moda Fat Quarter Club where you get a coordinating bundle every month. It's a great way to build a stash with beautiful matching fabrics (especially for someone like me who is coordination-challenged). I can't wait to see what these lovely Fats turn into.

More to come soon on a couple new projects. Until next something wonderful :) 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Scrappy Bowl

My Sample Swap Loot
Recently while I was at Sew South Retreat in Charlotte, NC, I participated in a "Sample Swap." The attendees who so desired were invited to bring four of the same handmade gifts.  Participants split up into groups of five.  We then proceeded to give our gifts to the other four group members, and in turn we received four unique gifts.  It was great fun, and really interesting to see the different things everyone brought.  I happened to be toting a few extra samples and was fortunate enough to find another friend who had brought extras as well, so I ended up with 5 awesome gifts.  Score!!

The moral of this story actually has nothing to do with the Samples I received, even though they were all awesome.

My retreat sewing neighbor, who can be found at, brought these wicked awesome bowls that amazed everyone.  After begging for directions on how produce such a fabulous thing, I was excited to learn that this particular project makes excellent use of very small strips of scrap fabric!  Woohoo!  The prospect of making something cool out of scraps is music to any sewist's ears.  I literally have drawers full of scraps from my sewing day job which I find hard to utilize based on the theme of the fabrics.  Many of them are character or novelty related: not your typical quilting fare.  The great thing about these awesome bowls of scraps is that you really can't even tell what is on the fabric in question.  Observe:
Scrappy Bowl

Tah-Dah!!! very first scrappy bowl.  I finally managed to find the time to make one this evening.  I've been frothing for nearly two weeks, but busy as a bee.  Can you tell that there is comic book fabric in there?  I bet you can't!  Ha!

Basket of Scrap Strips

I was able to grab a fist full of scraps out of a drawer, cut them into 3/4" wide (roughly) strips, and go to town!  It was fun putting it together while watching House of Cards and sipping on a glass of fine wine.  I have resolved that there are plenty more scrappy bowls in my future.

Note to my family: Beware!  You will be receiving these as gifts.  So put on a happy face.  :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Love Knitting Bucket Bag

I made this Bucket Bag for my knitter friend, Linda, a few weeks ago.  I took the FREE Craftsy Class on Bag-Making Basics.  It was really fun, and taught me a few techniques that I had previously tried to figure out on my own a few times and failed at miserably!  The tutorial with Kristen Link explained the process wonderfully, and made the project very quick and easy.  You can view my project write up on my Craftsy Page

I fished out some scraps from my stash and managed to find a few coordinating pieces that were big enough.  I was worried that the lining would look terrible, because it doesn't match at all.  I tried it anyway, and was actually pleased with the outcome.  It adds a little bit of vintage to the bag.  The lining fabric is also very silky.  I think a ball of yarn will roll around easily in there while trying to pull out the strand during a project.  There are also channels and pockets sewn into the exterior bottom piece to make places for knitting needles and patterns.  It's a great little bag!  I'll likely make more in the future...maybe for me?  I love to knit as well!  I seem to give away most of the fun stuff I make, though. :)  I so enjoy making gifts for the people who are special to me.  I love to see their faces when they receive them.  Usually they're like..."Er...Gee...another homemade gift...Thanks Neene."    heh heh

The fusible fleece was a bit of a challenge to work with for my first time.  It's very thick, so it's important to get the cutting done properly to avoid sewing extra bulk into the seams.  Also, it didn't fuse very well for me.  Next time I'll iron longer. 

I think the embroidery pattern I used is from, but I may be wrong about that.  I've had it for a while.  I've been wanting to use it on something.  When I saw this bucket bag I knew it was perfect. 

Overall I was happy with the result, and my friend actually loved it...or pretended very convincingly.  :)