Archive for November, 2007
Alex and I were busy little bees today.
I finished a messenger bag that’s part of a special order for a friend of mine.
The bag is going to be a Christmas present for her 19-year-old sister. Making items for a specific person I’ve never met before makes me a little nervous.
If I make something for someone I know pretty well, I can pick out fabrics based on what I know she likes. If I’m making something for my Etsy shop, then I know someone will only purchase it if she likes it. But making something for a person I’ve never met before and know very little about can be tricky.
My friend helped me decide what fabrics to use, so I really hope she likes it.
I also made an apple green Luna Satchel for myself and started one for the Boutique, but it was too dark to take pictures. Maybe tomorrow.
Alex finally finished the bedside tables, and they look amazing. He painted them ivory, sanded the edges to age them and added new hardware.
The one on the left is his. It’s a little bit darker than mine because he put a layer of antiquing stain on it and then we decided we didn’t like it as much as the non-stained piece. So he sanded some of it off, but it’s still a bit darker. I love that the two pieces are just different enough to make them unique, but they are still obviously a pair. And even though they have a shabby chic look to them, his has a masculine vibe. I know that makes him happy.
Alex also included a secret message for me.
Do you see it? You have to look hard, because it’s very subtle.
Yesterday’s art show in St. Petersburg was a bust. We drove all the way to St. Pete only to find out that the website where I got the information was wrong — the art show wasn’t until today. I was really disappointed that we missed it by a day, but we ended up checking out the St. Pete Farmer’s Market and then heading home for a wonderful lunch at the Wine Exchange.
In the evening, I took a long walk and saw a manatee in the harbor about half a mile from our apartment. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! So….no art show, but I got to see a manatee. I’d say that’s a fair trade.
I got home early from work today and had enough time — and sunlight — to be able to take some pictures around the apartment. So here is a mini-tour of my home. Although I didn’t clean or set anything up before taking the photographs, I did conveniently manage to not aim my camera at parts of my home that I find particularly embarrassing. You don’t need to see the rows and rows of water bottles waiting to be taken out to the recycling bin, or the unmade bed, for example. Trust me.
But I will let you see a portion of my craft corner in the exact way I left it after sewing last night.
Sometimes I fold and organize and put stuff away. Sometimes I don’t.
It usually depends on when I plan to sew next. Why put everything away if you’re only going to take it all out again in 24 hours? Come on, crafters, you know what I’m talking about. The green surface in the above picture is a small bureau that my old landlord gave me. It was left in an apartment that I rented from him, and he let me repaint and keep it.
This is where I sit to play computer Scrabble, write blog posts, and any other fun computer stuff. Hell, I’m sitting here now. I love that framed print. I bought it when I lived alone, and a few months later, Alex and I moved in together. I’m glad he isn’t the type of guy who minds having feminine decor in the house, because I would have hated to get rid of it. (One of the many reasons I love him!)
Right now, the bedside tables that Alex is slowly refinishing are smack-dab in the middle of our living area. We don’t want to keep them outside overnight in case it rains, and we really don’t have any place to store them, since we live in a one-bedroom apartment. So here they are in the middle of the room, and, of course, Nola has decided to make them her new favorite resting place.
In the background of the above photo, you can see my poor dress form weighed down beneath two aprons (one hung like a super hero cape around her neck) and the black Fiona messenger bag. I know a lot of people name their dress forms, but I haven’t. I refer to her as a female, but I don’t call her by a proper name. Any suggestions?
The aqua blue ottoman Alex and I bought a few weeks ago has become a catch-all. It often holds a cell phone or a remote control or a glass of wine, but today, it holds Quinn.
The brown shag rug (from Target) was a house-warming gift from my mom when I moved to Tampa. Below, my chaise-side table holds my idea journal, pink cell phone and appliqued leaf coasters. We use the coasters every day. You probably can’t tell from the picture, but they’re a mess — mostly coffee stains.
I got the table years ago at Kmart. I typically don’t buy furniture from Kmart, but I loved the clean, curved lines and the light wood, and I got it for a great price. It was also the perfect size for the tiny apartment I was living in at the time, which didn’t have room for a full-size coffee table. It’s so versatile that it’s made the move with me to several apartments since then.
Alex and I are off to St. Petersburg tomorrow for an art show. I haven’t heard too much about it, so I don’t know what to expect, but hopefully I’ll come back with some good stories and tons of photos.
(Reminder — Fat Orange Cat: The Boutique is now open. Happy shopping!)
Sometimes the good and the bad go hand-in-hand.
Good: The weather has taken a dramatic turn. Here in Tampa, we celebrate summer about nine months out of the year. But it finally feels like autumn around here, and I love it. There’s a chill in the air. People are wearing sweaters. The stores are selling wool coats and scarves. That’s going a bit overboard, since it only gets that cold for about three weeks in January, but I still love it.
Bad: Along with the wonderful weather change came that fateful day last weekend when we turned back our clocks. Although I enjoyed gaining an extra hour of play time on Sunday, I really don’t like that it gets dark so early now. I get home at about 5:30 each day, and by 6, the sun has dipped too far beneath the horizon to make it possible to take decent photos.
Alex has been trying for a week to refinish these bedside tables that we found on the side of the road several months ago.
He’s only able to work on them for about 45 minutes each evening before the sun goes down. Because the wood is so dark, he has to do four coats of paint. There’s only enough daylight to do one coat of paint per evening. (Look at my man, hard at work, hand all blurry because he’s painting so fast!)
The plan is to paint them white and then brush on an antiquing stain. Because there are two tables, we each picked out our own drawer pulls for the table that will be on our side of the bed. Alex picked brushed dark silver knobs, and I spent an hour at Anthropologie picking out three beautiful aqua blue knobs.
I can’t wait to see what the tables look like when they’re done.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on two private orders, one of which needs to be completed and shipped by November 16. It includes a messenger bag that’s turning out beautifully.
Reminder — Fat Orange Cat: The Boutique is now open. Happy shopping!
With the holidays coming, and with so many people trying to make their own gifts this year, I thought it might be cool to post a tutorial on making your own envelopes with self-adhesive seals.
You will need:
- Double stick fusible web & an iron
- Card stock
- Double-sided tape (if you’re not immediately sealing the envelope, I recommend using tape that has a removable protective strip on one side)
- Envelope (to use as a template)
1. Carefully pull apart the glued seams of an envelope so that it is one flat piece.
2. Lay the envelope down on a piece of card stock and use a pencil to trace around it. Part of the fun of this project is selecting what style of card stock you want to use. Choosing one that has a cool pattern on both sides means your recipient will get a little unexpected treat when they open your envelope. Make sure to draw your pencil line on the side of the card stock that will end up being the inside of the envelope.
3. Cut out the envelope along the line. When you’re done, erase any visible pencil lines.
4. Using a ruler to help you get a straight line, fold all the flaps inward.
5. Cut strips of double-stick fusible web. The strips need to properly fit the edges of the flaps that you want to permanently seal (probably every flap except the top one).
After you’ve cut a strip of fusible web, peel one side of the liner off, throw it away, and stick the piece of web (sticky side down) onto the appropriate location of your envelope. Fusible web doesn’t permanently adhere until you iron it, so reposition as necessary.
Note: You can use glue for this part, but I highly recommend using fusible web instead. It’s much less sloppy and you won’t end up with sticky thumb marks all over your finished piece.
6. Once the fusible web is positioned correctly, remove the second layer of liner, throw it away, and fold the flaps over.
7. Cover the envelope with a piece of thin fabric to protect the card stock from the iron. Iron the envelope for 10-15 seconds to permanently set the fusible web into place.
Note: To avoid ironing creases into the envelope, do not press or push the iron into the envelope. Instead, just let it sit on top of it. The weight of the iron and the heat will be enough to adhere the fusible web.
8. Cut a piece of double-sided tape slightly shorter than the length of the envelope’s top flap.
9. Adhere the sticky side of the tape to the envelope’s top flap. If you’re not immediately sealing it, do not remove the protective strip on the second side.
Voila! You’ve got yourself a very sturdy homemade envelope.
If you don’t feel like going through all those steps, here’s another suggestion for creating a unique envelope with a personal touch. Take an existing envelope and use decorative card stock to dress it up. Here’s one that I made for a friend of mine. I wanted the envelope to match the card, so I used fusible web to create a coordinating design on the plain brown envelope.
Consider trying fusible web. I think you’ll really enjoy it. It’s much less messy than glue and very easy to work with. Have fun!
(Reminder — Fat Orange Cat: The Boutique is now open. Happy shopping!)
What. An. Exhausting. Week.
On top of having set the goal of opening my Boutique by November 1, I also had an insane week at work. Our member newsletter (which I’m completely in charge of) went out this week, and our annual meeting (which I helped plan and implement) was today. This week was good/fun hectic, but hectic nonetheless. So, as you can imagine, I am thrilled that it’s Friday. And for the first time in months, the weather is breathtakingly gorgeous!
Air conditioning off, windows wide open! The kitties are loving the fresh air.
Opening the Boutique (on time!) was an exhilarating feeling. Thank you to everyone who has given me such positive and encouraging feedback.
And speaking of the Boutique…I’ve updated it. Yes, already. Are you wondering when I sleep? Yeah, me too.
If you look at the right-hand side of this page, you’ll see two badges under the heading “Handmade stuff rocks!” The first is for the Handmade Pledge. If you’re willing to vow that you will buy handmade gifts this year — or make the gifts yourself — click over to www.buyhandmade.org and take the pledge. Support handmade!
The second badge is for ”Handmade Holidays” at Sew, Mama, Sew!, an awesome site that is featuring an entire month’s worth of resources and ideas for sewing your own holiday gifts. Each day is a different theme — yesterday was aprons, today is pincushions, etc. I’m very excited and proud to say that my owl coaster tutorial will be featured in their November 12 “For the Table” post!
My brain has been working overtime all week, and it hasn’t yet slowed down. Alex and I are heading over to our friends’ house for dinner tonight. Some good conversation and a glass of wine should help mellow me out a little.