Been doing some more projects with the Slice Fabrique. You can read all about it here.
I will be back someday....
There was once a little dining Chair, a Parsons chair, actually. She had three sisters and was not in very bad shape. She just suffered from being born at the wrong time when furniture manufacturers thought it was a good idea to upholster the legs of the chair and in natural linen at that. So the family that had her to the dinner table every night finally cast she and her three sisters aside for chairs with real wooden legs.
Along came an upholsterer, who we shall call J, who for $20, was able to bring the entire family of Parson's Chairs home. They enjoyed their days with J- they were free to come and go as they pleased, they weren't expected to pick up after themselves and were basically left to their own devices. Everyone was happy.
But one day, the other three sisters got new dresses to wear to the ball. One got dressed in Jessica Jones's Orange Boardwalk, one in Candy Calliope and one in Candy Fireworks. They felt snazzy in their new clothes.
The three sisters went to Quilt Market in the Fall of 2008, but the last sister had to stay home. There wasn't room for her in the booth.
Then along came a queen, also known as Kay Whitt.
Kay wanted a special chair for her Quilt Market booth in October of 2010. J scouted around looking for the perfect chair- not too big, not too small- that could become a throne for a queen as deserving as Ms. Whitt. The little Chair hoped and hoped to be noticed and finally J thought perhaps she could work.
But J knew that that little square backed Chair could never be a throne, so she set to work creating a new back for the chair. J made a pattern on a piece of paper and then,
cut one-half inch MDF with a jig saw and voila, Chair had her new back.
J and Chair were very nervous about how this would work.
One layer of foam and it was close, but still nerve-wracking.
With the second layer of foam, J and Chair sighed big sighs of relief. They both became confident she could become a beautiful chair.
And both J and Chair knew when the rhinestone buttons went on the pink velvet, that she would be the most beautiful chair ever.
So Chair went to the ball and was possibly the most beautiful chair there.
And that made the Queen and Chair (and J) very happy. And Chair still writes her sisters about the great time she had at the ball.
PS. This is by far the sappiest post I've ever written. Blame it on reading too many children's stories. Anyway, enjoy Valentine's Day and know that my normal sarcastic self will be back soon!
Patty at ModKid Boutique thoughtfully gave me one of her Penny patterns since I told her I did not sew with knits. She being the knit sewer extraordinaire, she may have been a little horrified by my admission. But alas, she convinced me to try the Penny pattern and see what I thought.
Patty's tips for knit sewing include using ball point needles, ball point pins and prewashing the fabric (it does shrink more than other fabrics). She also has a book coming out on that very subject, so soon she'll make us all knit experts.
Excuse the graininess and the cheesy poise that Miss Olivia chose for the picture, but I sewed this dress up in about 30 to 40 minutes. It was that easy. I got the Carnival Bloom Knit from Above All Fabric and the pattern from ModKid Boutique.
And check out the new knit from Patty Young's Sanctuary collection that she showed at Fall Quilt Market.
This is the Aromatherapy knit in Ocean. Okay, so maybe knits are going to become a permanent part of my sewing repertoire.
I have a confession to make. I often feel like I'm not doing enough for my children and that they take a back seat to less important things like sleeping, eating, working, blah, blah, blah. Ever heard that before? But I occasionally absolve my guilt with material goods, and the guilt seems to be absolved more effectively with handmade goods.
So yesterday, I whipped up a pillowcase for Miss Olivia, who was thrilled. I love making pillowcases because they are 1) necessary, 2) fast, and 3) much appreciated. It beats the heck out of buying a new sheet set every time you want a change in look.
So the tutorial for the pillowcase is here. But I have another confession to make. When I did this tutorial, I sold fabric for a living and had no regard for yardage required. I went to the shelf and cut. But, now that I'm ordering my fabric online and have to live with the yardage I ordered, things are going to change. I only ordered a yard of each of the fabrics, which by my original cutting layout would not have worked. So I turned it, which on this print, worked out great. If it doesn't work for your print, the other solution would be to piece the pillowcase (back and front) cutting two pieces that are 29" wide and 22" tall. Man, I'm going to miss that unrestricted yardage.
About one year ago, Melanie from Sewing For Scarlett emailed me requesting some fabric for her service project in the Bronx. She told me she was working with her church to teach teenagers to sew and she needed fabric. I didn't know Melanie, but her project sounded useful and I always have some fabric around, so I sent her some. I think I even found some notions lying around as well.
Last month, she sent me pictures of some of the girls and their projects.
Melanie told me she got involved through her church (LDS Church) and was assigned to work with the female teenage youth. Most of these girls are from single-parent low-income households and Melanie observed how they lacked the opportunities she had as a child, including sewing, baking and cooking with her mother. Her goal was to introduce them to sewing and give them enough basic skills so that they could continue on their own if they wanted. She is the wife of a graduate student on a tight budget, so she asked some online fabric companies to donate fabrics. Sew Mama Sew, Fat Quarter Shop and jcaroline creative! did, Melanie put together the projects and look at what the girls created!
Melanie emailed, "You made a difference in several girls' lives in the Bronx." Well, I think she did most of the hard work, but I'm so glad to see the results.
Which has gotten me to thinking about what I could do in my community along the same lines. Sewing or any kind of crafting could be a great outlet for children that don't have those opportunities at home. I think their sense of accomplishment would be a great esteem-builder as well. So, I'm putting it out there and I expect you to keep me honest-- my goal is to do something in the next year that shares what I know about sewing and crafting with people who would enjoy it and wouldn't otherwise be exposed. Do you want to join me? If you do, email me and let me know what you are doing. I'll keep you posted on what project I come up with.
Lately, I've been filling my time with business and parenting and not enough time sewing and creating. So this Saturday, I devoted my afternoon to sewing and made this:
I used Patty Young's Kyoko Pattern and Michelle Engel Bencsko's Shade Garden fabric. Four hours from start to finish, which I consider a good afternoon project. On the fabric, I used Snail Trail on Light Blue for the bodice and skirt, Teal Fiddleheads for the skirt, and Violets on Green for the bias trim and obo sash.
Above right is our family drawn in chalk. I'm the huge person in blue and Henry is the tiny little thing next to me. I'm not sure why I'm the biggest in the family-- I guess it's my large presence!
I hadn't sewn up one of Patty's patterns yet and I loved it. Easy to follow and I love the shape of this top. (It can also be sewn as a dress and with long sleeves.) It is very loose fitting, so if the child falls between sizes, I would go with the smaller one. I also lined and interfaced the bodice. (I've told you- I was raised by a woman who interfacing everything!) The pattern did not tell me to interface it and you shouldn't do it-- I turned the bodice into a light coat. I lined it since the bodice fabric is fairly light in color. But if you use a darker fabric, I don't think a lining is necessary.
I am going to make up some matching pants, but that will have to wait for another Saturday. By the way, the Flax and Olive Oasis Canvas look great with these fabrics. And yes, I know I need to drop the hem on last year's jeans. They are right now somewhere between jeans and capris.
And because a child's project always gives me an excuse for more pictures of the girl:
So, if you've taken a break from creativity, I highly recommend getting back into it. It sounds a little odd, but I think I need to "schedule" creative time so I make sure to get some in every week or so.
Olivia is at day camp this week (for the whole month actually). They swim Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and I have already discovered the problem with camp/school/day care and kids... keeping track of their stuff.
So I picked up this $5 towel at Target and appliqued her name on it and added bias stripes as ties (approximately 30" long). I just made two ties and stitched them at the half-way point on the towel.
And then you can roll it up and tie it into this little number.
Here are my instructions for doing appliques. Working on the terry towel can be a little more challenging than working on regular fabric, but after beating my machine into submission, it worked. :-)
Remember these toes from about 100 years ago? Well, after a couple of requests I finally sat down and wrote a tutorial for them.
If you use the tutorial, please post your bag on my flickr site jcaroline creative tutorials. I love to see your results! (And if you spot something wrong in the tutorial, email me, please.)
Caley at FaveCrafts.com asked me to do a project for them and with Valentine's Day coming up, I thought... hey, how about a Valentine's project? I'm pretty clever that way. The funny thing is I don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day (there is no way a husband or significant other can live up to the huge expectations of that day, so I have always let them off the hook). But, now that a certain little person is around, I can see Valentine's Day being fun again. What's not to like about candy (especially conversation hearts) and paper hearts and maybe even cupcakes?
So I came up with this crazy idea of a fabric Valentine and it exploded from there. Those are the double-sided fabric envelopes up there. What's in those envelopes? Well, let's take a look...
This one contains a sweet little note tied around a felt and fabric heart. Aaaahhhh....
And my favorite-- a fabric, felt and ribbon banner comes out of the other envelope to display as the receiver wishes. I think the possibilities for this are endless- you could make the pennants out of paper and glue them to ribbon. You could use the pennants in different colors for a birthday card or other occasions. You could embellish them ad nauseum with trims, ribbons, buttons, bows, beads, embroidery-- anything. And you can do it all with Heat n Bond Ultra Hold, an iron and scissors. No sewing needed.
This weekend we did a little Christmas decorating. We do own some glass Christmas ornaments (lovely ones, actually that my mother-in-law paints for us every year). But with a two-year-old in the house, those aren't going out this year. (Not that we put up a tree anyway, but that is for another post.) So Olivia came home with the wreath on the right from Mother's Day Out where they had used her fingerprints to make the little berries. Sweet, huh?
So I decided to do a project that my friend suggested last year that I had never done-- making paper tree ornaments. I was way more interested in doing this than a certain two-year-old, but she did participate in some gluing and cutting (they can't resist scissors, can they). Grab any kind of construction or craft paper, trace around some Christmas cookie cutters, add buttons, ribbon, whatever you've got lying around and voila!-- child friendly Christmas ornaments. Unless they pick the buttons off and swallow them. Okay, so leave off the buttons if you've got a swallower.
I've been referring to this as the "awesome desk", so I'll just stick with that term. This was the poor little Goodwill find before:
I liked it's shape, but it had lots of missing veneer. And I know the desk was made before 1961 and traveled from Mesa Arizona, because there were several letters behind the drawers to Kay from the Spring of 1961. No money, no savings bonds... just letters.
So I filled, sanded and primed it. Then I decoupaged on some of Jessica Jones's Fireworks fabric on the top, Parade on the front and in the drawers.
But the pieces de resistance are the Fabric Button Knobs out of Boardwalk fabric.
I'm sure someone has thought of this before, but the only thing I found on the web was covering a wooden knob with fabric. And then you've got these raw edges and a big gluey mess. So yet another use for those crazy You Cover Buttons.
And why this frenzy of furniture re-doing, booth building and other such nonsense? Because I decided approximately four weeks before the biggest fabric trade show (for the retail fabric trade anyway) of the year to participate. And why did you wait so long, you ask? Historically, we have not had any products that we wholesaled and it is a wholesale show. Michael Miller Fabrics will be distributing her two new collections to retail stores just like they did Modern Flora.
But I also have very mixed feelings about Quilt Market. It has a reputation of being a bit.... okay, I'll just say it... stodgy. And until about 18 months ago, that reputation was well deserved. But thanks to the likes of Free Spirit, Michael Miller, Alexander Henry and designers such as Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Sandi Henderson, on and on by the dozens, it is getting to be much more stylish, modern, aesthetically pleasing and .... again, I'll just say it.... more friendly. So, many Quilt Market attendees may not be ready for Jessica Jones's awesomeness, but they are going to see it in its full regalia anyway! (And those of you that are ready-- I anticipate much awesomeness.) Thus the booth. Thus all the work. Thus you are going to be seeing a lot of progress pictures for the next two weeks.
Well, if you are a reader of Anna Maria Horner's blog, you know that she asked me to recover a couch for her to show in her booth for Quilt Market (the semi-annual fabric trade show). Well, I can't resist a good furniture re-do and I'm always game to help a fabric designer achieve fame and fortune, as I hope they will take me along for the ride.
Here it is as of tonight:
The keys to this little beauty? Beautiful fabric (thank you Anna Maria), a new foam seat cushion and a little labor. The fabric is Ivory Shadow from her Drawing Room collection. Anna Maria suggested the rust piping and even cut it for me. I couldn't see it in my head, but I trust the trained artist more than myself. And lo and behold, the rust piping is gorgeous.
And I love how the solid cushion and back show off the gorgeous large print. I was able to run the fabric sideways (I think professionals call that "railroading" the fabric) so that I didn't have to seam it on those big expanses. I'm pretty proud of this one and can't wait to see it in all its glory in Anna Maria's Quilt Market booth.
In the meantime, I decided last week to have a booth at Quilt Market (it is a full three weeks away), so now I'll focus on Amusement Park projects. I've got four upholstered dining chairs just begging to be recovered in each of the four prints! I'll be showing all THREE of Jessica Jones fabrics and some new ribbons. More on the ribbons in a week or so...
If you haven't heard of Spoonflower by now, let me be the 800th person to talk about it. Spoonflower allows you to print as little as an 8" x 8" swatch and up to five yards of fabric with your designs. They are currently in Beta, meaning you have to have an invitation to print, but watch their blog, as they say they are close to opening it up to everyone.
The design idea came from Wordle, which How About Orange got me addicted to a few weeks ago. It takes words from your web page, you pick a font and a color scheme and it goes to town. I will admit, I used their result as a template and redid it in Illustrator. My first reason being I couldn't figure out how to save a high-resolution version of it. And redoing it let me change some words, leave some out, rearrange some, change fonts and colors at will.
It reminds me of those junior high craft projects where you cut out "cool" words from magazines and arranged them in a collage for your friends. This to me is an excellent use of Spoonflower, since you truly can create a one-of-a-kind gift. And Miss Orange commented that my Wordle would make a great pillow and the rest is history.
I just finished up this little cute-y just in time for a birthday party tomorrow. I used Michael Miller's Merryville fabric and quilted it with Blue Play Dot as the backing. It is bound with Red Pindot Bias Trim. Then we (I had my employee, Maribel, bind it for me- hers looks so much better than mine) just used 14 inch long strips of bias trim to use as ties.
I am not an expert quilter, but I didn't think this came out too badly. I just started in the center of the mat and carefully quilted around the design on the road. And yes, in some places the fabric is a little gunched up, but I figure that is just part of it. A couple of machine washings and no one will notice, right?
UPDATE 8/1/2008: I wrote up a general tutorial here.
Well, I don't have an update on the affectionately named "pee chairs". No fabric here yet. But my pneumatic staple gun arrived, so I am armed and ready!
In the meantime, we are running the ad shown on the left in the May issue of Martha Stewart Living in the Marketplace Section featuring Michael Miller's Dick and Jane fabric. It hits newsstands April 20, I believe. Shawn at Michael Miller put together what I think is the cutest ad I've ever seen! So buy the magazine and then buy hundreds of yards of fabric. You can even skip buying the magazine, if you prefer.
So to follow up last week's sewing frenzy, I decided to make a crib set out of Dick and Jane fabric this week. I made the quilt yesterday and Maribel is sewing up a bumper and sheet as we speak. I'll shoot pics of it this weekend and hopefully, display it Monday. We've become a little baby bedding factory.
I'll put together how-tos on the pieces also. The pieces are pretty easy to put together- I think they are do-able for a beginning sewer. Besides, is the baby going to criticize your work?
Okay, so I decided to sew on Friday instead of clean up my office. But I think you'll be pleased with the results. I finally finished the hobo bag that a certain How About Orange person had been bugging me to finish. She had sent me pictures of the hobo bags from Target, so I improved on those with some Modern Flora fabric and some interfacing. I had finished one bag, but realized that my pattern was pretty poor. So, I cleaned up the pattern and made another one. I especially like my piece de resistance, the little knot I added on the strap. Oh, you'd like to see that a little closer? Well, then..
And I've already written up the tutorial here.
I have another furniture re-do in the works that I think is coming along quite well. Hopefully, I'll have that to share on Wednesday or Thursday.
I warned you that I bought some other items on my Goodwill shopping spree. These nightstands were $5 a piece and were not in too bad of shape. They were spray painted black, and though I appreciate the former owner's design aesthetic, black is not an easy color to cover. So I painted several coats of primer and paint. Then I decoupaged Michael Miller's Orchid Feeling Groovy fabric on the drawer fronts and top, replaced the hardware to get these demure little numbers:
Oh, you want to see inside the drawers?
How about that little bit of Keylime Clown Stripe goodness?
I'm working on a tutorial as we speak. But I didn't want you to miss a minute of admiration.
(A little encouragement through your comments does wonders- the tutorial is here!)
My mother made these pillows at least two weeks ago and I had never taken a picture! So here they are, on my den floor. I had visions of buying foam and making cushions from scratch. Then we were at Ikea and these 28" x 28" pillows were less than $10 a piece, so I ditched my grandiose plans quickly. I do have a tutorial on pillows and on cording, so go for it. I have found I like them very much, as they give me a place to lay down while Olivia plays. Thank you, Mother.
So I shot some pictures of her, which satisfied her need to be photographed and then I could shoot the pillows. And normally, I do keep her clothed, but she had been outside playing in a puddle.