Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Summer Purse

I love a relatively quick project that you can observe at the end of the day and smile.

Recently I watched a couple of awesome Craftsy classes: Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara and Sewing Texture with Vanessa Christenson.  I was able to take some techniques from each class and merge them into my very own one-of-a-kind purse.  Sometimes you just gotta "wing it": no pattern.  It actually took me more than one setting.  I took my time and worked on it throughout a few sessions, because I really wanted it to turn out alright.  As I continue further down this path of creativity, I'm coming to appreciate the virtue of patience (of which I still possess very little).  I'm getting better at it, though.  Things really turn out nicer when I take my time, plan properly, and don't skip steps.  All the muslins and practice scraps that instructors suggest really do make a difference.  Nothing ticks me off more than spending a whole bunch of time and expensive resources and ending up with a jacked-up final result.  Ugh.  I was not blessed with patience.  But very slowly...I am learning.

The bag is still jacked-up at the end of the day.  The twisty-textured flowers drive me CRAZY!  That not-so-little space betwixt the green and white flowers keeps me awake at night.  

The inside is fun: Hot Pink (because this is Me we're talking about), and lots of pockets and slots (because I'm a little OCD about organization).  A purse without pockets is like a machine without a needle: utterly useless and frightfully frustrating.  Hmmm...I think I just composed a little poem right there.  I should write that down.

Brett Bara suggests using some different hardware for your bags in her class.  I don't dig the hardware so much.  The magnetic snap is the only thing I incorporated (and I love it - have used them before).  The interfacing she suggests is awesome (have used it for other things).  Pellon pretty much rocks for their wide selection and reasonable pricing.  I've taken to collecting entire bolts when they are 50% off.  It makes such an enormous difference to many a project.  It's the unsung hero of sorts.

The duck cloth (exterior) was the only thing I bought for the bag.  It was on clearance for 6 bucks-a-yard at Hancock.  I thought it was kind of fun - even more-so because it was CHEAP!   Everything else I had kicking around the shop.  So erm...I guess I bought it at some point...but I don't think it counts if it's been more than a month.  Ya, let's go with that. 

So the moral of this story is: I highly recommend the two aforementioned classes.  Find them easily by clicking the links above or here:

Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara
Sewing Texture with Vanessa Christenson (This is currently 50% off!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Big Reveal

It's finally time for the unveiling!!

Yesterday I finished turning a $5 Yard-Sale find into something FABULOUS!  It was hard to let it sit to dry overnight in the garage after applying the varnish.  It felt a little bit like waiting to hear hooves on the roof at Christmas.  Upon returning home from a late lunch this afternoon with Mr. Sexy Pants, I gleefully added the final finishing touch to my newly re-finished dresser: the knobs.  They are perfect (in my opinion).

I suckered Sexy Pants into helping me haul it downstairs to the shop, and I immediately went to work filling it with odds, ends, and fabric.  I even dedicated an entire drawer (top left) to my Fat Quarter Bundles from Sew Lux, because they are so perfectly matched.  I hate to split them up, because I'm hopeless at coordinating.  Chrissy and Linda from Sew Lux do a fantastic job at that for me (and anyone else who cares to patronize their wonderful online shop.)  Find them here.

I can hardly contain my excitement and satisfaction with the final result!  I also did this stand that I use next to my desk.  It's from IKEA and was already raw, so very easy to do.  Although, painting all those slats was a real pain in the you-know-what.

I've got two more pieces queued up in the garage that I found on Craig's List.  I have to keep going with this stuff if I am ever to have a pretty shop!  Sexy Pants says I can't bring anything else home until those are finished, though.  I tried to explain to him that I have to seize the opportunity when i find a bargain!  He says that I should be less of a successful bargain-hunter until the pieces I have are finished.  Party pooper!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Abundance of Appliqué

Stitcher's Garden Block #3
Today was productive in an abnormal way.  I actually finished my Stitcher's Garden BOM early (after hitting my Cap Quota for the day).  For the past 2 months I've been scrambling to get my block done the night before class.  But alas!  This month I am way ahead of schedule.  I'm trying out a new system of organization for my non-work-related projects.  Clearly it's working out well.  Although, I'm not gonna lie to you; the "new system" is just a somewhat organized pile of half finished crap that sits screaming at me from a corner of the shop.  "Get it together, Peterson!"

Ya stitch at a time.

I love this block!!  It is by far my favorite.  I love doing appliqué, too.  It's sort of inspiring to see that you can take any shape you want, stick it on top of another piece of fabric, and stitch it down.  No fooling with tricky seams.  Just outline that sucker in a cool decorative stitch, and you're golden.  I am seeing a lot of appliqué in my future.  I don't know what it is about Fusible Web, but that stuff just makes me feel good.

You don't have to tell me that the colors in these blocks are a little crazy and don't even come CLOSE to going together.  However, I have this fascination with scraps.  I hate to waste anything, so I'm just pulling random pieces out of my scrap bin and sticking them onto that white on white damask background.  The background is the only thing I've bought for the quilt so far.  My plan is to not buy anything else except the batting and backing (not counting accessories - which will be discussed below).  If I'm feeling really adventurous, I might piece my backing as well.  I recently acquired this rockin Circle Attachment, and I'm thinking... *holds hands up for the feature presentation* Appliqué...Circles.  BAM!  We'll see how it all plays out.

I am really growing to love this little quilt shop near my new pad.  The ladies are incredibly helpful and knowledgable.  The classes are great fun.  If you're from the area, check out Quintessential Quilts.  They have a small-ish shop here in Madison.  Their big store is in Reedsburg, although I have yet to make it up there.  It's on my short-list for the summer.

See over here on the left?  Perfect curves!  All thanks to my new handy-dandy Circle Attachment.  I think I'm actually about to drown in Viking Feet and attachments.  They've got a Foot for everything.  I wonder what people did before there were such phenomena as Circle Attachments and Rolled Hem Feet?  I bet they could sew circles (freehand) around us Spoiled Newbs with all of our high-tech gear.  Jeez.  And I bet they walked uphill both ways in a blizzard to get to the quilt shop.  heh.

Stitcher's Garden Block #1
Since I have yet to post about this wonderful Stitcher's Garden BOM, I'll share what I know about it (which isn't a lot).  It seems that the quilt was designed with the beginner quilter in mind.  Each block is meant to teach a new technique.  Consequently, one may end up buying a lot of extra bells and whistles (like Circle Attachments) for one's machine that are not NECESSARILY essential.  However, it is amazing to see what pretty music these bells & whistles produce.  I've passed on a couple bells so far and achieved the same result.  Some things just can't be resisted, though: particularly when I see plenty of ways to utilize them in my stitching future.

Did I mention how much I hate Snowballs?  Yeah...mine did NOT turn out so well.  I think I ripped one apart at first.  Then after the 2nd, 3rd, etc. didn't turn out right, I just said, "Screw it."  My Mama always said *with a Maine accent*, "Ain't nothin homemade s'posed to be perfect."  Well maybe she didn't say it quite like that.  That's how I hear it in my head, though - with a "wicked" thrown in there somewhere. :)  Ayuh.

Stitcher's Garden Block #2 just ignore the un-evenness that is the snowballs.  *Does the Jedi mind trick*  "You want to look away from the snowballs." 

The one and only potential problem with this Stitcher's Garden wonderment is that it's 15 months long.  Yeowza!  I can hardly keep my attention focused from one hour to the next.  Fifteen months may prove to be my greatest project challenge to date.

The prospect of utilizing more scraps may well be what keeps me in the game.  Otherwise I'll end up with an abundance of flowery pillows.  

I'm imaging Mr. Sexy Pants' excitement about the pillows.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dresser Revamp Progress

I am long overdue to post an update on the furniture revamp project.  It was very satisfying and exciting when I started painting last week.  I absolutely L-O-V-E the color.  I'll's a tad bold, but I think it's perfect for my shop.  It needs some livening up down there.

I found a couple really helpful videos on YouTube about how to go about this kind of project.  I saw people using different methods: some producing better results than others.

Paint It mean Blue
I ended up applying three coats of paint, even though I probably would have been alright with two.  I really want this to turn out well, so I thought a third coat wouldn't hurt.

I'm not gonna lie to you:  I had the AC/DC cranked in the garage for the painting process.  A little motivation tunage is always helpful.  

In all seriousness though, this color just makes me happy.

I'm glad I started out with an easy piece for my first project.  I was able to do almost all of the sanding with the electric sander.  There was only one small area I had to do by hand.

Now that the painting is done, it's time for distressing. BUT I'M WICKED SCARED!  Ha!  It looks so nice all painted up in bright blue.  I don't want to ruin it.  But was only $5, so I'm going to give it a go.  I hope to get back to it (and maybe finish) this week. I'm stoked to see what the new knobs are going to look like on it when it's complete. :)