Monday, December 31, 2007

Patch Happy

Ta-da: My newest bag. It's on the large side, but I just let the fabric speak to me and this was the result!

Rake head, candle stick, wooden poles, old buttons, and a cellar door

I had the chance to spend a day in thrift, antique, and artisan shops in Columbia, Missouri. In a happy coincidence, Lisa Bartlet, the proprietor of Spare Parts Gallery turned out to be a fellow Etsian whom I had hearted. It was fun to meet someone passionate about art, upcycling, and Etsy. I urge anyone who drives I-70 to head to downtown Columbia and check out that store, as well as Poppy, where my friend bought some independently hand-crafted glasses.

Now, to boast about my purchases! Here is a rake head I picked up for a few bucks. I've hung my jewels from it, and plan to get others for my belts, headbands, and such.

These assorted wooden objects will become platforms for some quilted/stuffed decor items I'm inspired to make.
Buttons, buttons, vintage, wooden, bead, and glass. I thought it would be hard to part with them, but I've already adorned a newly made bag with one.

Hat rack, shabby chic variety. This was a steal and I'll use it to photograph purses and display them at craft shows. Isn't it adorable?

I also bought a beautifully weathered cellar door which I plan to transform into a headboard. No picture yet, as my friend with a truck (bless her) will be delivering it later in the week.

All in all, it was a blast to spend the day scouring shops well worth the time. The best part (aside from the laughs with my companions) was that I stayed within my slim cash budget, even including two indulgent meals, and purchases not catalogued here. Yay for me!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Three Day Quilt

Here modeling Dad's new race t-shirt quilt is our son. The quilt is five shirts across, by 8 shirts tall, with 3" of fabric framing each 12" square. Overall measurements are approximately 90 inches tall, 78 inches wide.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

T-Shirt Quilt

A few summers ago, I made myself a t-shirt quilt from 30 race tees, the fabric from a queen-size sheet set (matching Ralph Lauren set from Goodwill!), some interfacing, and batting. It took me over a month of time during my infant's naps.

My husband has wanted his own t-shirt quilt ever since, and I agreed to make him one for Christmas. It's amazing how much faster the project is going this time around. When I made mine, I hadn't sewn since my Molly Ringwald/Pretty in Pink-inspired high school days, and the process went slowly as I painstakingly figured out how to piece a quilt. Mr. GrayEyedScorpio's quilt will definitely be finished by Christmas, and I've only just begun. Stay tuned for pictures, but beware: t-shirt quilts are not attractive unless you were the one to earn each shirt and the accompanying memories.

I just ordered this great newsboy cap from TepperWear's Etsy shop. I'm hoping it will work with my favorite coat (blue corduroy Esprit, three years old) and scarf (new, from After going to see the holiday lights at the zoo last night, I knew a hat like this was a necessity, and I can't wait to wear it. TepperWear, by the way, has a fantastic selection of caps at reasonable prices with low shipping rates.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Custom Project

PLenox (of Lenox Knits at commissioned a bag from this cape. Since she's my sister-in-law (we're married to twins, how cool, eh?) she was able to be patient while I persisted with holiday inventory.
I've handled the fabric a good many times, trying to figure out how to mastermind the transformation, but walked away again and again. The problems had to do with the existing shape of the fabric and the odd sizing, since a cape features more fabric in the front panel than the rear panel, minus the v-neck. The other trick was to figure out how to work with the boxy pattern. It met the trim diagonally/crooked so I couldn't use the bottom of the cape as the top of the purse.
Tonight, I figured it out, though not without some unforeseen tassel issues and seam-ripping. I made it as large as the fabric allowed (17" across and 20" tall) with a couple of pockets inside and a magnet closure. I'm pleased with the bag, and I sure hope she likes it! I even named it.

Next project: a t-shirt quilt for my husband. Once that's done, I'm on to making art-quilt wall hangings and some scoodies, which I learned about from a Thread Heads video on YouTube, via the ThreadBanger website ( Please check it out--you'll be amazed at, and grateful for, the DIY power they wield!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Iced In, Thrifting, & a Promotion

That bird is not blurry; it's encased in ice!

These are some snapshots of my yard a few days after last week-end's ice storm. .

I used my snow day to prepare and save listings for my Etsy store, and to run errands. Once we had electricity and clear roads, I took our change jar in to CoinStar and "earned" $44! A visit to the consignment shop yielded a bag of trade-in clothing for my son, and I found four awesome sheets and 9 yards of amazing orange fabric at a thrift store. It was a great day.

Via the awesome new tool on Etsy called "Pounce," I've discovered my all-time favorite Etsy store! Check it out at or under the name Can't Afford 'Em Buttons. Their work is humorous, political, responsible, and left-leaning; I adore it! Check out the photos of two tee shirts from their Etsy shop:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hoot 'n Holler Happy Dance

Dottles was kind enough to feature me in their blog today!

Scattered Thoughts

I haven't made the time to create anything new in more than a week. Between grading papers and attending holiday functions with my family, I'd have to sacrifice a lot of sleep to work on my crafts, and with all the viruses floating around at work, I know I need to sleep each night.

Fortunately, I have inventory galore from craft show prep, and can list one or two items a day for a while. Key fobs and pendants (like those pictured above) are now on my Etsy page,

I have a snow day (ice day, actually) today and am all caught up on grading, so if Booper naps this afternoon, I'll begin work on a custom purse order. My sister-in-law gave me a beautiful cape made of a woven suiting material that she wants transformed into a bag. I've been rolling ideas around in my brain for more than a month now and feel ready to begin. I am enthusiastic about it, though I generally dislike custom work. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, for I'm flattered by requests, but the constraints of an assignment take the fun out of the process--just like with reading. I love to read and will often finish a book in days, but if it's assigned reading I approach each page with reluctance.

Also, with a custom order, there is fear about "messing up". When I make my one-offs, I'm just playing around with fabric and seeing what happens, but when I'm working on something specific, there's pressure.

On an unrelated note, I recently discovered that seat belts are expensive. I had planned to integrate seat belts from wrecked cars into my designs as straps, handles, and embellishment, but a trip to a salvage yard demolished that plan. To cut one seat belt from a wrecked car was going to run me $30 or more. No thanks, I'll stick with my suppliers of nylon and cotton webbing. Seriously--$30!?

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I recently felt the need to pare down my favorites to one page. When I realized people may use the list to buy presents for me, it became important to narrow the list to only those things I truly desire, not merely admire. Although most have already sold (for me?!), I'd like to show them off here as well.

The first is by MindyKuen ( and the pendant expresses my exact perspective. My life is in my own hands, each day is what I make of it.

The wristband is so perfectly simple. I love the soft-looking ribbon and dainty wooden plaque. Very basic, elemental, and positive. Check it out at

The third sold fast, but it was on the front page, so what did I expect? As a tree-lover and leaf collector, I adore this bag. (PS, I also find corduroy irresistable.) It's by hippiestrips, and her shop is here:

Lastly, this necklace has been on my favorites list for months. I can't believe it hasn't sold! It's just beautiful. The colors, the textures, the components and shape--love 'em all! Find the shop on this link:

My Craft Fair Effort

There's my booth--the result of all the budgeting, scavenging, carpentry and re-furbishing I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I'm very happy with how it turned out (except for my banner, which ended up too big to use). It took me two full hours to load into the building and set up, but only 45 minutes to break down and load my car. The fair was big and busy, and most attendees carried shopping bags filled with holiday decorations and gifts. I offered items from $5 to $50: pendants, key fobs, headbands, aprons, and bags.

Many people stopped and admired my table, complimenting a variety of items. Some shoppers returned to look at my merchandise several times, but I made only four sales. It was a long, but educational day. My aprons were priced at more than double what other sellers were asking, but the fabrics used were quite different, as were the features (mine are reversible, with thick, decorators fabric). Several shoppers observed that my booth and my products didn't look like anyone else's, which I took as a great compliment, though it didn't yield sales.

I've decided that "typical" craft fairs are not my niche. Farmers' Markets that allow non-food items, or certain types of festivals may be more worth spending a whole weekend day away from my family. I'll be researching venues before devoting this much effort again. Fortunately, two of my good friends shared the neighboring booth, and that made the day more fun.