Friday, July 30, 2010

signing off


Several times over the summer I've heard bloggers mentioning that they were "taking a break from the internet", either intentionally or because they were headed on a remote vacation.

Well, no vacations for me, so I'm going for a week-long technology fast. No TV (exceptions: Project Runway, Mad Men, Work of Art), no internet (exceptions: once a day to work on Home Ec).

Our home desperately wants to be deep-cleaned, and there are stacks and stacks of projects that need work on. I thought tonight was a good time to start since we're having our third house show tonight. :)

I wish I could word this post a little more eloquently, but my brain is fried, Mark's listening to Kanye pretty loudly, and I've got to grab a shower before the bands show up.


xoxo see you in a week!

more on the quilts

Yesterday evening our power went out right as we were about to cook dinner, so we decided to go out instead, and of course we didn't think to call it in until after we got back. Result?

* first episode of the new Project Runway didn't record (and isn't playing again until Saturday? gah! Bravo how I miss thee!)

* I didn't have time to list those quilts on etsy

* I had no idea what to do!

So, I basted a quilt in the dark. Yep. It was around 8:30 when we got back so there was still a bit of twilight outside at first. But by the halfway point I was working mostly by feel with the occasional help from a flashlight. Hah! I would show you my handiwork but this one is a gift for a friend, and though I doubt she reads my blog, there's always a chance.

Anyway, I got the little guys up today...


[more images at the listing]


[more images on my flickr and at the listing here]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

happy rainy thursday

Though it seems every day is rainy lately, doesn't it? What a weird summer it's been!


Two quilts hanging on the line waiting to be photographed for the shop. Could they be any more opposite? Wow!
[If the pastel one looks familiar, it should; I posted it before and it's been hanging on my wall for several months...I've just decided it needs to go get some use!]
They'll be up later this evening.


I realized I hadn't shown any of the house since we started decorating it. This is one of my favorite spots, personally. I thought Mark was crazy when he bought those horns, and when he told me we should put a ratty old mirror over the mantle. But, hey, I think I made it work.


And a little outtake from the other day...we were taking pictures to use for our first screen printing design. :) I'll share's been a lonnnng process!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I thought I'd make a little introduction post for newer followers who might not know my story. :) [Check out Rachel and LA's sewing stories too!]

biopic3 bioouttake
[my first sewing machine! and the boy who is always by my side when I'm sewing...whether I want him to be or not]

My grandma sewed, and when she passed away I inherited her pristine 70’s
Pfaff sewing machine. I started teaching myself how to sew by tracing skirts and making new ones from $1 Wal-Mart fabric, staying up all night to have them done by school the next day. I learned how to insert a zipper by reading the instructions on the zipper package (this is a really good way to learn the wrong way to do things!).

I even tried, and failed multiple times, to learn how to sew by using patterns. All
through my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I thought
I just wasn’t cut out for sewing because I couldn’t master basic patterns. Sad
fact, but I remember crying about it, because in my heart I knew I was meant
to be a seamstress! I truly believe a class like this could have saved me a ton
of heartache, which is a big reason I’m so excited to be one of Home Ec's teachers!

quilt progress
[probably my favorite project of all time--even though it's still not finished!]

Sophomore year, I started working at Hancock Fabrics, where I asked a ton
of questions…to my coworkers, and especially my customers—anyone who
had something in their hands that I didn’t know about! You’d be surprised how
much usable knowledge you can get from the question “and what project are
you working on today?” I also bought a ton of fabric while I was there! Being
surrounded by interesting and inspiring materials is a great way to learn, just be
conscious of keeping your stash under control.

[that's a lot of fabric! these are just the quilting cottons...minus the ones hanging in the closet...and the tub of vintage sheets. oh and I believe there have been a few more bins since this was taken as well...]

I had worked in the fabric world for nearly three years when one morning, a
customer I’d been helping said, “You know, the alterations shop I go to has a
hiring sign out front.” My heart skipped, and I felt a change coming. Leave retail
to spend all day sewing? Yes please! I called them on my lunch break to confirm
they were looking for a seamstress, and went in the next day with a pile of my
best work to apply. I was hired on the spot.

Nixa Fall Craft Fair
[my first craft show was definitely not my best--I profited $5!--but it was awesome because my mom was there for me]

I spent the next eight months, full time, learning how to sew the right way. Of
course, there is no one way to sew anything. But, the best thing you can do is to
find your ‘seamstress instinct’…from then on, everything you do will be the right
way! Just maybe not the first time…in my experience.

Working at the alterations shop gave me the confidence I needed to follow my
sewing dreams. I participated in three craft shows, started a blog, and an etsy
shop. When I met Elsie, Rachel, and LA, and was given side-jobs to do for RVA,
I started to realize I might be able to make it on my own. I gave my notice in
May, and I am now a freelance, self-employed seamstress! It took six years
to go from unreachable aspiration to workable dream, and I am so happy I stuck
with it.

[a few colorful tabletop necessities]

I'd love to pass on what I've learned to others, so if you think I sound qualified for the job you might want to sign up for Home Ec. We're all really looking forward to it! I think the most anticipated lesson of mine is "How to Read a Commercial Pattern"....which, as you might guess from my confession earlier, terrifies me just a bit! But fear is good. It inspires growth. :)

[And pssst, a little secret? I'm actually super excited to learn what Rachel and LA are teaching, too! I especially can't wait to make LA's tool roll-up and Rachel's leather/canvas purse.]


You can sign up for the class in the upper right sidebar of my blog, go here and here for more information, and email LA at with any questions.

tuesday treasury: "suspender"

This one all started with that first skirt. Faux suspenders that tie around the neck like a halter strap? Adorable. I want to make seven of those skirts and wear them every day of the week. Didn't think I could find anything to top it but...that yellow romper? That orange bathing suit? To die for.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

just one of those days

You know those days, you feel great, everything is going right...and then bam, something happens?

I think, I'm hungry, need to go to the store. It starts pouring down rain.
Okay, give mom a call and catch up.
It starts to let up, get in my car to go...this is like, a two minute drive mind about 15 seconds too late to make it across the train tracks. Ends up being about a 10 minute long train, really! They're never that long during the work day! I was literally yards from the store.
Doing self-checkout (my fav) and a few of my items don't ring up on sale, I reluctantly be a pain...a very
polite get them to override, making an already too long trip MUCH longer.
My receipt doesn't print. Have to be a pain again.
Get outside, aaaaand it starts pouring down rain again.

But! All in all I'm a happy girl. I've got good food sitting in front of me. The train gave me inspiration for a quilt I can someday hopefully make. I have two quilts solidly planned to the finish line that I'm really excited about--one for the shop and one for a dear friend. Home Ec is getting closer and closer to starting, and we have some seriously awesome students! I've been trying to keep up with everyone through my Google Reader.

Work of Art tomorrow...Mad Men on Sunday...just rented The Runaways and Shutter Island (this one we saw in theaters). When I was looking for images for this post, I came across Jacob Whibley, seriously love. In an interview he says that he's been collecting old papers and office ephemera for years...that's kinda hot right? His work reminds me of a modern-day Kandinsky. And I'm feeling super inspired for our soon-to-come printmaking adventures. is good!

HOME EC [part 2 previews!]

Last week Rachel, Leigh-Ann and I announced the details of HOME EC, our Online Sewing Class for Beginners. We shared full details plus previews of the 1st half of our projects... today we're excited to show you the 2nd half with insights into what each project will teach! Visit here for full class details and registration info.

Project Previews - Part 2


Removable Pillow Case with Piping
Take your pillows to the next level with piping that makes them pop!  You'll learn how to create a removable pillow case and add piping to add depth and create a more finished shape. Introducing: removable cushion case, piping.


Ruffled Duvet Cover
A duvet can be a quick and affordable way to update the look of your bedroom...and it can be a lot more affordable if you make it yourself! We'll give you a few different options for fabric, dimensions, and construction so you can decide what works best for you. Introducing: buttonholes, fabric care, ruffles.


Fabric Cubby/Tray
Those square shelving units and fabric cubbies are really popular, but sometimes it's really hard to find cute ones, especially in the right size. We'll show you how to make your own! And, if you don't have a shelving unit, you'll also be able to use the techniques to make neat little fabric trays, perfect for office desk organization or craft show displays. Introducing: constructing a cube, working with heavy interfacing.

Padded Laptop Case
There's no reason your laptop should be in a boring black sleeve... let's create a case that makes you smile each time you use it (while still being protective)! Sized to your computer, this padded case is built to last, beautify and protect. Introducing: Working with Foam.



Full Apron
Make an Anthropologie inspired apron sure to flatter any shape.  This simple pattern allows your fabric selection to stand out with a chic bow detail at one shoulder. Give them as gifts this Christmas! Introducing pleated pockets.


Leather and Canvas Purse
The purse that actually looks like you bought it at a boutique.  Learn how to add rich details to your creations by using leather and hardware like the pros. Introducing sewing with leather, box purse base, sewing with hardware details.


Mod Table Runner (Double Sided)
Dress up your tea party with a table runner than calls all eyes onto your pretty table display! Similar to quilting, this tablerunner is made by joining materials to create visual interest and seamed in a way that flattens your piece and shows a level of craftsmanship that impresses all your guests! (Note: The above tablerunner fabric is more traditional than mod. You'll see a mod table runner in the class, promise!)
Introducing: Secure Seaming, Straight Lines that Show.


Drafting a Simple Pattern
One of the fastest ways to learn how clothing is constructed is to tear it apart. If not literally, then visually (we'll cover both options). Using a basic piece of clothing from your closet, we'll recreate it "quick and dirty" style. These make great projects for late at night when the fabric stores and mall are closed and you really want to wear something new the next day! Introducing: what types of clothing are easily drafted, working backwards, simple construction.


Hanging Shoe Organizer
Shoe organizers are not a new invention but cute ones just might be! These hanging shoe organizers are a stylish way to display and store 12 pairs of shoes (or more) and use vertical space to your advantage. Introducing: Tabs, Rows of Dimensional Pockets and a Secret Tip. 


Messenger Bag
This grey & yellow corduroy messenger bag feels like the 'safe purse' for girls who don't love handbags (also great for students). Built to last with looks that impress, you'll love carrying your books and belongings in your handmade messenger bag that's sure to make you proud of your new sewing & construction skills! Introducing: Working with directional texture, hardware connectors, adding decorative personality.


Reading a Commercial Pattern
They're tempting, they're intimidating. You're pretty sure they're written in a different language. Commercial patterns open up a whole new world of clothing (and accessories/craft) construction that would otherwise be impossible for "civilians" (read: not trained fashion & pattern designers) such as us. From selecting a pattern, to learning how to read the "step by step", we hope to give you the confidence and knowledge you need to conquer these wonderful little mysteries. Introducing: determining your size, skill level, understanding fabric & notions, using your pattern "correctly", dealing with the mishaps.


Flying Geese Quilt
The cherry on top of this crafty class!  Use your new confidence to create a beautiful, large quilt for yourself or a loved one.  Introducing patchwork quilting.


How to Invent & Adapt Projects
Different from any of our past online classes, in Home Ec, we are allowing you to take the projects we teach in this class and reproduce them for Commercial Use if you choose (but not to reteach). This means that if you own a business, taking Home Ec can expand your range of products and potential! We hope that you will find ways to personalize the projects to make them your own, and in this Tips post, Leigh-Ann will give recommendations for adapting a few of the projects into your own style and brand (also beneficial for gift making!). Even better, learn how to think like an inventor... how to use the skills you've learned in Home Ec to invent and design completely new projects exclusive to YOU!
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If you would like to register for Home Ec Online Sewing Class, please review the full class info & course outline here, along with project previews part 1, value, registration info and testimonials. Class officially begins August 10th.


Questions? Please e-mail Leigh-Ann ( with "Home Ec" in the subject line.

I've been reading about everyone's enthusiasm for the class so far, and you all have me in a daze...I can't believe I get to work with such awesome people (teachers and students!) and be a part of something so fun and challenging. Totally can't wait to get started. xoxo

tuesday treasury: "queen anne's lace"

Queen Anne's Lace grows all up and down the side of the gravel road where I grew up, for the longest time I thought it was my little secret. xoxo

Monday, July 19, 2010

a little catch-all

I've spent a lot of time cutting, cutting....


cutting my vintage sheet stash down (the lid won't close, something must go!).

Used said cuttings....


to make a pincushion.

My two favorite finds of the weekend....


gen-u-ine (I guess?) Pucci silk skirt found in between the wool plaid minis and denim maxis. Not really my style clothing-wise so I'd like to use it for fabric...if only I can think of a better use;


and an only-barely-used paint by numbers kit. The Eiffel Tower as you can see, using the box as a reference (which I obviously did not do...), was marked wrong. Plus the included paint was weak to say the least. Started the clown with some better acrylics. A very relaxing $2.


Mark and I are getting our very own screen printing set-up tomorrow (yaaayyy!) so I've been practicing my tracing. I can draw, but it makes my head hurt. I was much too serious about it as a child.

And lastly I have to show off the cutest baby I have ever had the pleasure of knowing...


Mark's nephew. We got to babysit him on Saturday and it was the best day ever :) as is any day we get to hang out with him. xoxo