Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Weekend

I managed to finish up a few wristlet zipper pouches tonight. Sadly, I hadn't sewn a stitch in weeks.
This is our boy, eagerly waiting to cheer for his dad on the last leg of an Olympic-distance tri. When the moment came, our little guy whooped his best imitation of a whistle, which I found adorable, and Dad found encouraging.
Our CSA (community sharing agriculture) shares are changing again, which highlights how quickly time goes by. This is the last of our summer squash, along with some delicious fresh tomatoes ready to be tossed with tortellini.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Craft Show Banner

I've been needing a shop sign to hang at craft shows, and I made one in my own way. It began with a plain white curtain panel from Goodwill and a fresh bottle of spray paint. Everything else was already in my possession: logo and business card design by Jelene, various paints and brushes, and gumption. See the sidebar and my page banner for a glimpse of the design I was working from.First, I sprayed blue paint onto the curtain, matching the background on my Etsy banner and business cards. For a stencil, I used a large yogurt container with the bottom cut out, as pictured.
The first step is finished!
Can you see the faint, pencil outlines of lettering? This took a long time because I laser-printed my design onto a transparency sheet, then traced it onto butcher paper via an old-fashioned overhead projector so that it would be the perfect size. I cut the pieces out, and then traced them onto the curtain. Now I have the stencils for any future needs.
I worked with the lightest colors of paint first. It was easiest, considering the mixing I was doing to create the purple and gray.
Here's a closer look at the big, buggy gray eye. (I love my cartoony scorpion sewist!)
I saved painting the lettering for last.
The finished banner! Well, almost. I've gone back and re-painted the thimble and done some more touching-up. It measures about five feet tall by three and a half feet wide.

One problem I didn't take into account is how it looks with light behind it: every paint stroke is visible, and it's distracting and unattractive. I may need to sew a heavy lining to the back.

My original plan was to applique the entire thing. The fabrics were all picked out, and in retrospect, I should have stuck with sewing. It would have required miles of thread, but it also would have matched my merchandise and looked good in any light. I thought painting would be quicker, but I'm not so sure that it ended up that way. This took two weeks of hard-fought spare time in between paint-drying time.
Just for fun, here's a Sunday Shadow Shot. (Hi, HeyHarriet!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A New Approach

As someone who sews primarily for relaxation and a creative outlet, I typically make one item at a time, following a piece through from conception to completion. Recently, for the sake of efficiency, I've been trying the assembly line approach.
Here are a few pictures of the 25 wristlet zipper pouches I've been working on. I cut all the fabric pieces one night, attached zippers over the course of another few nights, pressed and stitched the straps, and now I'm on the final step. I divided the 25 pouches into three sub-groups according to thread color (black, cream, and orange). Other than that, it's been quite repetitive.

The verdict? This process works, and is especially easy to do while holding conversation with a toddler, but working in bulk can erase some of the fun (although it will be exciting to see such quantity reach completion at once).
Next, I'm going to "assembly line" purses, but only ten at a time. That number might be more psychologically manageable while still helping me to increase inventory for craft shows.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Garage Sale Bliss

In my area, garage sales pop up any day of the week, with many occurring on Fridays as well as Saturdays. With freedom (except for a giant to-do list) for the day, my son and I hit the road and found treasure.The first, most thrilling purchase of the day was this fantastic, free-standing slat board display. We found it in a sale chock full of items from a now-closed gift shop. I stuck three shelves on for the photo, but it came with a box of twenty or thirty shelves. This was perfect timing, as I have a (hopefully large) craft show next month.

My son found a whiffle ball and bat set, and a few other small toys. Then, the tough decision: a brand new Lazy Boy recliner with upholstery in colors that compliment our home. I deliberated, since I've never been fond of the way recliners look, and tend to favor muted, solid colors. But I have fond memories of curling up to read in my grandpa's recliner, embraced by his scent. It was a great deal, and I'm still a little surprised every time I see it here beside the window. I also found some upholstery swatches that will be fun to sew with (see below), a set of casters, and an antique blackboard/slate that will come in handy as signage.All in all, a great haul for just 5 stops, though we did spend more than usual!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

For Keeps?

A tale of two late nights...
Last night I was up about three hours too late. At first I was simply choosing fabrics to go with my assortment of 7" zippers. Before I knew it, I'd cut all of the pieces for 24 wristlet zipper pouches, ironed the fabric. I quit for the night (morning), knowing I needed to get some sleep before embarking on construction of the bags.

Tonight, I fell asleep on the couch while reading and waiting to hang my laundry. I heard the washing machine stop and reluctantly went downstairs to do the chore instead of collapsing into bed.Three hours later, here I am, cruising around the web and uploading pictures of the bag I decided to make myself while I was downstairs. (I'll just cut the fabric...I'll just pin the pieces...I'll just add the pockets...I might as well finish...Why not take some pictures before I start using it...)

The truth is that I very rarely make anything for myself. I use my screw-ups, but in some Puritanical-work-ethic way, it feels vain or wasteful to make something for myself. I always plan to, and now I have. Here's my "Me Bag."Now I really must go to sleep. Mama's gonna be crabby. And these photos pretty much stink.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tutorials are Addictive!

Online tutorials are awesome! I learn so much from them, and am so grateful for all the bloggers who share their wealth of knowledge.

Here are a few I've enjoyed:Screenprinting for pennies, by CraftgrrlViteen's zipper pouch tutorial.
A fun box-bag tute by Dragon[knit]fly.
How to make a scoodie, by ThreadBangers.

All pictures and logos above are the property of the links that follow them. Sew Mama Sew and YouTube are great sources for tutorials if you're on the hunt.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Granola Totes

I'm really pleased with the new bags I made this weekend: the tree-hugger colors, the shape, structure, straps, and roominess add up to fun and function. The Granola Girl Tote will be very handy for whomever chooses to buy one.
On another self-congratulatory note, I'm also pleased with the ongoing improvements with my photography skills. The Etsy Wiki on photography has helped heaps, though I continue to find plenty of faults to work on.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Treat from Etsy

Vinyl Vineyard makes great decals! This one caught my eye months ago.
I hearted it, and kept re-visiting her shop to look at all of her products. (I'm a slow decision-maker.)
The shop offers myriad options.
I finally settled on what first caught my eye, and here it is.This new address plaque for my home measures 15" tall by four feet wide. Vinyl Vineyard made the decal (and matching mailbox decals), and I applied it to a board I painted, then hung it. It was very easy to do, thanks to the clear and detailed instructions provided.

The best part? My husband noticed it immediately, and truly likes how it looks. He likes the way the font adds a touch of Frank Lloyd Wright to our otherwise ordinary home.

Thanks, Vinyl Vineyard!