Three Missions: Accomplished  


Ahhh... it's a great feeling to have accomplished your goals. They may have been little, short-term goals, but it feels good none the less!

After finishing the eight butterfly dishcloths, I went to work on the four True Blood bookmarks that I mentioned I was commissioned for on etsy in my last blog. Once they were finished and sent off, I then went straight into the "Secret project." I actually SURPASSED that goal because I ended up deciding to double the amount I was planning on. Since I handed it over yesterday I can now reveal the secret!

FOUR DR. WHO THEMED DISHCLOTHS! Two Daleks, and two Tardis'! One of each made in a multi-green striped cotton yarn and the other two made with a natural cotton yarn, both of the Sugar 'n Cream brand.You can check more photos out here.

Like I said, at first I was only going to make one of each in the green yarn, but since I whipped them up pretty fast, I decided to make two more so that my good friend Michelle and her hubby could share them for their birthdays which were only a couple weeks apart. There was a [couple] Dr. Who marathons on BBC America whilst I was working on them, too, so it worked out sort of perfect, hehe.

The icing on the cake? The Birthday card! I printed out the Tardis on heavyweight photo paper and cut it out. On the inside, I put a photo manipulation I had made where Michelle's face was on the body of one of the Doctor's companions. I cut the doors open on the Tardis, glued the photo underneath, and WAH-LA! Michelle was traveling through space and time with the Doctor! hehehe. I glued it all to some cardboard and then put some blue paper on the back to give it some substance. I also made a little envelope type-thing to put the Tardis card in and attached it to the gift bag with the same blue ribbon I used to wrap up the dishcloths together.

So that's that. All deadline driven objectives finished. All I have left at the moment is that bag, which, like I said, I was taking my time with because a.) there was no deadline and b.) it's going to be tough and time-consuming. I'm going to get to work on it real soon, but after knitting for pretty much three weeks straight my poor, poor hands need a little rest. But hey, I'm not complaining - I LOVE IT!

Happy Holidays!!

A Post of a More Cheerful Nature  


Just a quick update on the situation:

The spray paint was continuing to give me problems even after going about it a different way and a serious brain-storming session with my artistic husband. I was ready to throw in the towel on my whole darn shop! No point in painfully painting those damn little tiles, only to be ruined by the damn sealer! Finally, I gave up on the spray paint and gave in to his suggestion of... CLEAR NAIL POLISH!

Oh my gosh - I'm a total believer! It's perfect! It's easy to apply, damn-near flawless, super glossy, and dries super duper fast! The only downside is, because it's a much smaller amount in a bottle, it's more expensive. But, at the rate I was going through spray paint just trying to get the desired results, it doesn't really make much of a difference! I'm going to put some on a raw piece and then submerge it in water, and just generally beat the crap out of it, to find out just how well it does seal and protect.

Anyway, the point is, I finished the bookmark! YAY!

[See more photos of it here]


Hear that? That was a HUGE sigh of relief...

In other news, I am just about to finish up number 7 of the dishcloths! I'm going to stop at 8, switch to another project [a hush-hush Christmas present], and then if Cindy needs more, get back to work on those. I've cut a couple projects from my to-do list, which I'm a little sad about, but I just felt like I was taking too much on. If I somehow, miraculously, finish everything with time to spare [which I won't], then we'll see... but I'm not holding my breath. I get light-headed very easily....

So all in all, I'm feeling MUCH better.

[Now if only people who bought things from my etsy actually PAID...]

ps - UPDATE! I listed the bookmark as a reserved listing on my etsy, and within the hour I've had someone contact me because they want FOUR of them! lol Many many MANY thanks to Angela for being so awesomely supportive, for without her request I would have never made such a cute bookmark, which seems to be so popular!

Knot Much Progress  


At this very moment I am extremely frustrated with a project, so I'm distracting myself by watching Graham Norton and moaning about it on the internet of course!

I'm not talking about the dishcloths, which yes I'm still working on [there was a fiasco of going to the store and buying the wrong SHADE of "ecru" which set me back a few days]. In between the knitting I've had Christmas shopping and custom orders from my etsy... which is what brings me to the aforementioned frustration...

A friend of mine asked me to make a special bookmark for someone. It seemed simple enough, I've cranked out many things like it. So I said, NO PROBS! I'll have it done in a day or two.... 5 days later I'm still working on it. I feel like such a miserable failure! I use a clear spray paint to seal the things I make on those little bamboo tiles: It's glossy, quick, flawless, and durable. Recently I've been having problems with the spray paint leaving little dimples on the surface. They've grown progressively worse from project to project, too. For this project it absolutely ruined it. I thought maybe it was because I was running low on the can, so I bought a brand new one and made a new decorated bamboo tile. I went out to spray it... BUBBLES! *headdesk*

I just don't know what to do. I've tried different things to try and single out the problem, but nothing's working! And now of course I'm not only wasting lots of materials, but I'm running out of time! Stupid Christmas! lol Seriously, though - I don't know if I should just say "sorry I tried but I don't think I'll be able to" or continue trying, apologize for taking so long, and running the risk of my friend getting it too late. There is absolutely NO reason why I shouldn't be able to do this, as I've done this particular method many many times, so I'm probably not going to just throw in the towel - I have to find a solution eventually anyway! [If anyone has any tips, please share!]

Ugh! It's a huge flaw of mine that I get really pissed off when I can't do/figure out something... especially when I know I've done it perfectly before.

So much to knit, so little time...  


Well, as usual, present inspiration has struck me at the very last minute. Either that, or I have a brilliant idea in October and think there is plenty of time and then come the end of November all I can say is "shit."

I'm still working on the butterfly dishcloths. Apparently a full dozen were requested, not the half a dozen I thought I heard. Hmmm... If I work diligently and uninterrupted, then I can crank out one a day. But, of course, life doesn't flow so easily so after all this time I only have 5 done. And of course I have the mammoth project of the bag looming on my shoulders... at least I bought the yarn for it. I don't have a definitive due date for that either, which is both a blessing and a curse. I told him that it would take me a while, but I still feel bad.

I also have a few other projects/gifts that I'm HOPING to get finished by Christmas [obviously I can't tell you here - cheeky!], but that could just be me being my usual, foolishly optimistic self. Oh well - a late Christmas gift is better than no gift at all, right? If I'm not finished, then I'll simply just give each recipient a wrapped box with a mysterious sliver of yarn in it and a finely decorated piece of paper with "I.O.U" written on it.  ;)

Oh, and if you don't hear from me much between now and after Christmas, it's because my hands have been crippled by all the knitting.

I apologize in advance for the length  


Since getting back from the cruise I've been a busy little beaver... Well, kinda.

The thing is, as soon as we got back on land the horrible sinus headaches I had all trip finally manifested into a cold. I'm grateful that it waited until the vacation was over, but it a.) made ending the vacation that much tougher and b.) slowed me down when I had things to do!

I mentioned in a previous blog that I was making scrub caps for a friend. I got three of the five [including the Halloween one - remember?] finished before we left, so I had the last two to finish when we got back. I felt bad enough for not finishing them all, so I didn't want to leave it too long. However, sewing is something that I personally feel you need to be in tip-top shape for, otherwise you make a load of stupid mistakes and could potentially ruin the project... which is ALMOST what happened. Since I had all the pieces cut out already and all I had to do was assemble, each hat should have only taken an hour or two - instead, one hat took me like four hours because I kept making stupid stupid mistakes because I still felt poorly. I wasn't able to use my iPod, either, since I forgot to charge it. I really don't work well without music [I'm calling it a fact now]. Anyway, in the end, as always, it all turned out ok. My poor hubby had to suffer a couple temper-tantrums, but he should be used to it by now ;)

The other project that was waiting for me when we got home was one of my "signature" Twilight bracelets. First, a little back story:

Yes, this time last year I was obsessed with the Twilight books [before the movie came out, I'd like to mention]. Of course, it reflected in my crafts. I made a few pieces of Twilight inspired jewelry to wear to the midnight screening of the movie and they were a huge hit [the best thing about that night, because the movie sure wasn't, haha]. Lots of people [ok, they were teenage girls] commented on them and asked me where I got them, and were very impressed that I made them. Unfortunately, this was before I had started my etsy, so I missed a golden opportunity to pimp myself out. When I finally got around to opening my etsy shop, however, the two twilight bracelets were the first thing to be listed! The stretchy "book cover" bracelet sold within a couple hours! So I made another - and that one sold. Then came a Twilight convention - I made my friend one to wear to it, and I made a different version of it for myself, on top of a bunch of other Twilight inspired jewelry. The second my friend and I arrived at the Twilight convention we were swarmed by a bunch of older women who wanted to know about my jewelry! I passed out a lot of business cards that day, but I didn't see any immediate boost in sales.

Then came Twilight convention #2, haha! We wore the same jewelry and this time, it wasn't other Twilight fans who noticed and complimented - it was the Twilight STARS! Well, just one. The hottest one - Kellan Lutz [aka: Emmett Cullen]! We went to take a photo of him and he said he liked our jewelry and asked us where we got it - When we told him that I made it, he said "That's cool!" *blush* It was unexpected and awesome. I also gave out quite a few business cards that time. If I'd have known, I would have taken a lot more. We ended up leaving about 10 on a table next to the "photo" line and within minutes they were all gone! But, once again, I didn't see an immediate boost in sales. So fat lot of good that did, eh?

Eventually the listings expired and I've just not bothered to renew them because, well, I'm about ten different kinds of OVER Twilight! I still appreciate the books and how I felt about them when I read them, but... the movie is just so LAME! I LOVE some of the actors [and HATE Kristen Stewart ], and I LOVE making fun of the movie [and Kristen Stewart] with my close friends who feel the same way - hence why we all trailed all the way up to Atlanta for the convention, but it's gotten WAY out of control. The marketing is overkill to the extreme and, well, I'm just over it! Sure, I'm still going to New Moon [HELLO! One of my favourite actors/characters tries to KILL my LEAST favourite actor/character! That's worth $8 right there!] at midnight, but make no mistake, I will not enjoy waiting in that line with those teeny-boppers. I've moved on to bigger and badder things - True Blood! I've even been toying with the idea of bringing one of the books from the Sookie Stackhouse series to read whilst waiting for New Moon [and perhaps a bookmark that says "Real vampires don't sparkle?"].

Anyway! I've gotten WAY off track here! The whole point of this babble-fest was the Twilight bracelet! My good friend Michelle asked me to make one for a younger family member's birthday. I started on it before we went on vacation and finished it as soon as I was able when we got back. It was sort of nice to make it again, since it's where all of this started, but I really really REALLY don't want to be known as the girl who makes Twilight jewelry and nothing else. It's not where my heart is, and frankly, I'm not sure I want that kind of attention [aka: dealing with the demographic]. I'll still make it if someone asks for it, of course.

I have three other commissions lined up within the immediate future, as well. I got a custom order request on etsy for three matching, painted sunflower bracelets, so that's what I'm working on right now. Next, I'll be knitting a half-dozen [I think] butterfly dishcloths for a very good friend. I made her two for her birthday and I guess she liked them because she wants more! Heh. I used an non-bleached cotton yarn that my Nanny gave me from England, but I don't have enough left to do six, so I'll have to see if JoAnn's has anything similar. The last project is something I've just recently gotten myself into - a knitted J.R. "Bob" Dobbs tote bag. This fabulous creature known as Logan is a big fan of the icon and all he stands for, so when I happened to mention in passing that I have a pattern for the graphic, he was VERY excited and damn-near begged for something, heh.

So there you have it! Busy busy busy! When I have a lot of things I have to do, I tend to shut down and generally avoid working in any way possible [say, BLOGGING] until the last possible minute. I'm trying desperately not to do that, but I'm not sure how successful. Of course, the only thing that I gave myself an absolute deadline for is the etsy commission, but it's not like I want to take too long to do the others - just because I'D feel bad.

Once again I'll end this kicking myself in the pants, telling myself to stop gabbing, and get to work!

Well, THAT was a disappointment!  


Soooooooooooooooooo..... remember all that effort I made in to getting the dress ready in time for the cruise? You know, since I MADE the dress FOR the cruise?!

Well, as you know I finished it. I didn't know when I should wear it, but as it turned out we were booked for the most formal, nautical-themed restaurant on our last night - Triton's [as in, King Triton from"The Little Mermaid" hehe]

However, on our second night they did a formal portrait session before dinner where you could dress up and get professional portraits taken - the characters were even dressed in their best tuxes and gowns! I decided to take the opportunity to get some photos in my dress so I ran up to the room, threw it on, tried to make my hair look decent, and ran back down to join the ques! I didn't bring my purse or put on my gloves because I figured I'd just wear them to dinner and not have to fuss with them for photos. After Greg and I took photos together, I couldn't resist getting a photo with Goofy in his tux! I even got a little snog from Goofy, though he ended up awkwardly smashing my nose in, haha. Anyway, dinner that night was at one of the more casual restaurants so I ended up changing BACK into one of my more appropriate outfits.

On the last night I was all set to wear my Sailor Dress - I did my make-up all purdy, spent ages trying to get my hair to behave, had my pantyhose and special bra on [haha], got in my dress, asked my hubby to do up my zipper, and....

.... snap.

The zipper split.

Part of me wanted to laugh. Part of me wanted to cry. But, most of me just wanted to kick the CRAP out of my dress! And, well, that's exactly what I did. I couldn't help it! All that build-up! All that WORK! All to be FOILED at the VERY LAST FREAKING SECOND by my arch-nemesis, WAL-MART! I HATE you Wal-Mart! I hate you hate you HATE YOU!

After standing in disbelief for a second, then another couple seconds kicking the dress around the room, I had MINUTES to put another outfit together. I ended up wearing my white dress with the jacket I made for the dress [with the collar folded down so the stripes showed], the matching purse I made, and the new sailor-themed flip-flops I got on the trip [my old ones broke whilst on the island - the one place I DIDN'T get my 40% cast-member discount... I'm starting to think I'm a little too unlucky to just be quirky and amusing]. I was obviously disappointed in the outfit, since I was supposed to be wearing something MUCH more fabulous. Especially since it was the fanciest restaurant and there I was wearing flip-flops! Not that it was against the rules or anything, but still! I was SUPPOSED to be wearing my fabulous and favourite retro silver pumps! *sigh* Oh well, everything happens for a reason, right? I guess it ended up being lucky I had those ultra-adorable navy sailor Disney Cruise Line flip-flops that matched the jacket and purse so perfectly so it actually was a cute outfit [though, I still think it wasn't very flattering....]. Oh, and did I mention that the stripes of lining fabric turned the arm-pit of my white dress PINK?! Again, thank you Wal-mart. [You get what you paid for: the cheap fabric is actually white linen with red stripes painted or dyed or whatever on it, so it rubs off!]

Basically what I'm saying is this: NEVER depend on Wal-Mart. I used the cheap, black zipper because I HAD it, instead of investing in a better quality one, and I paid the price in the end. Curses! Oh, I'm also saying that the post of all the detailed photos and stuff about my dress is going to have to wait a little longer because now I have to go back and put a new zipper in! CURSES!

A Sneak Preview  


Well we set sail tomorrow, so I had a little dress rehearsal with my Sailor Dress! Complete with the matching purse I made, the vintage gloves I bought online, and my most favourite pair of shoes EVER.

There will be photos taken on the cruise, I'm sure, but until then...


The Secret Project: REVEALED!  


Here it is!

I painted my husband's tattoo onto a leather wallet! Like I said, it's for our anniversary - Our THIRD anniversary - and the traditional gift for a third anniversary is leather.

It came to me in a flash of genius - my husband, Greg, desperately needed a new wallet! So I trotted on down to ROSS and got a Fossil wallet for about half the price! I read up on how to paint leather and what I found is that all you have to do is prepare the surface by wiping down with alcohol [to strip it of the oil, so the paint will adhere better instead of slip right off], and then paint on with regular acrylics! There's nothing you can do to seal it, though, so obviously over time - especially something that will receive so much wear and friction - it will crack and wear. That's the idea - the natural progression of leather. You COULD coat it in some wax made especially for leather to give it back it's sheen and add a LITTLE protection against water and such, but I have no idea where to get such a thing - or how much it will cost. We can do that someday, if he decides he wants to.

After I decided about painting the wallet, then I had to decide WHAT to paint on the wallet. At first I thought maybe another Japanese mask, like the bracelet I painted him that he almost broke and was afraid to wear again. I decided against that because I had already done it, so I decided on the tattoo he got a few months ago to honor his mother. It's a Dia De Los Muertos Sugar Skull, especially fitting since that holiday is the day after our anniversary!

There wasn't much to it at all: I took a sneaky photo of Greg's tattoo, fixed it up in Photoshop, traced it on to the wallet using graphite paper [which didn't work very well - only really helped with the general shapes of some things], went over the pencil with black paint, and then dove in! At first I was going to paint it just like his tattoo, but Greg wasn't really happy with the way the tattoo artist did the colour transitions... as in, not at all, haha. And since he's always telling me how he likes my style of painting, I decided to paint it like how I normally would, with my signature colouring.

I started late late Saturday evening [whilst watching my beloved Brit-coms] and finished four or five Sunday afternoon. Personally, I LIKE the way it came out and I was really excited to give it to him! I asked him when he wanted his anniversary gift, since I didn't have anything tangible to give him on his birthday [I was getting him a ticket for a balloon ride at Downtown Disney], and he didn't have anything tangible to give me on our anniversary [he gave me THE CRUISE! haha]. Thankfully he said his birthday, hehe, so I didn't have to stand the suspense too long!

He seems to have really liked it! I know he's afraid to actually use it, because his wallets take such major beatings and it WILL eventually wear/break off, but I'm ok with that! I wouldn't have bothered if I didn't want it to be of use! Ultimately, he'll still have the wallet and I suppose I can always just paint it again. :)

I took tons of photos along the way, so here's the FLICKR album link - Check it out and let me know what you think!

Oh, ps - I FINISHED MY SAILOR DRESS! Jacket, belt, and everything! :D I'll take tons of photos, of course! I don't know if I'll have time to blog about it before we set sail, but I'll try!

Sometimes life needs LOL Cats  


LOL. Ahh... I feel better already!

This afternoon I was feeling majorly accomplished... six hours later - not so much.

I finished three of the five caps, including the Halloween one, so I decided to call it and just give my friend the three now and the other two when I get back from vacation. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not finishing them in time. I was just REALLY starting to panic that I was running out of time to do the things that HAD to be done by Saturday.  If I finish my dress early [HA!] and I have the time, I'll totally work on them, but... it's unlikely. I did, however, finish my "secret project!" I spent a couple hours on it last night and finished it late this afternoon. I'm quite pleased with it, but only time will tell if it was truly a success. I'll probably post a blog about it when I get back from the cruise...

...As for the dress - slow, but steady. The dress itself is now all finished up and hanging, ready to be hemmed. I'm not entirely thrilled with it, I have to say. It doesn't look as polished as I would like in the back, but hey, that will be covered up by the jacket anyway haha. The jacket... *sigh* Well, I started it. I found the directions a little overwhelming, since I'm a.) doing this for the first time and b.) changing it up by lining it. So, not only do I have to read the directions to figure out what I'm supposed to do, but then I have to adjust on my own. *Grumble* It seems simple enough in my head, but then the directions just intimidate me and I lose all steam. I'll probably just end up winging it, really. I THINK I can handle it, but the time crunch STILL has me worried.

The belt has been the catalyst for my hissy-fit tonight. It's super long and skinny and I spent all damn night trying to turn it right-side out. My fingers are sore, I'm super frustrated, and all in all it just feels like a HUGE failure. And it's just a belt! UGH! Right now I'm too pissy to deal with it, but I REALLY hope I don't have to re-do it all together - I'm just not sure I have time.

God, I hope the jacket goes well. I NEED the jacket to go well. And fast. And well...

Blogging to Avoid Panicking  


Yea, I am DEFINITELY panicking!

It's almost exactly a week until we sail out and my dress isn't finished! I still have to take in the lining, patch up the seams I ripped to take in the sides, let it hang over night, hem it, and make the belt... and that's just the dress! I haven't even started on the jacket! I'm worried I won't have time to make it lined... or even make it at all! At first I said that was the beauty of this pattern, but if you know me at all you know that I NEVER go sleeveless. But it's more than that - I would feel defeated and like I didn't actually accomplish my goal. If it means I have to stay up late sewing on October 31st, then so be it! Haha

1 week certainly sounds like long enough to do what I have to do... except, I have two other projects that have to be finished first! My friend Kelly asked me to make her 5 more scrub caps - which I'm thrilled to do! It's just bad timing, heh. I would have said I'll have them done when I get back from vacation, but she gave me some Halloween fabric to make one with so obviously she would want to wear that one a.s.a.p! The last time I made her scrub caps, I made my own pattern to use over and over again, so yesterday I spent the day cutting and gathering all of my pieces so now I can just sit down and sew. I also finished one yesterday - not the Halloween one, because I had to wait for my hubby to pop to Wal-Mart and get me some black bias tape. It took me a bit because I had to get back into the swing of it, so hopefully from now on it will go faster and smoother. My plan is to get as many done as I can by the end of Saturday [the Halloween one will be the first to get done today] because I need to devote Sunday to a secret project!

I can't go in to detail yet about my secret project, obviously, because it's a secret! It's a secret from my hubby, and whilst he knows about A secret, that's all he knows. I COULD work on it when he's home sleeping, but I've done that before and it's a little nerve-wracking - it's distracting to work in fear that at any minute he can wake up early and sneak up on me, haha. So instead I'll be working on the project on Sunday, when he works at the mall in the early to late afternoon. I HOPE I can get it all done on Sunday, but that might be a bit ambitious... we'll see!

So, Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to my dress. Wednesday is my husband's birthday, so we'll be out all day for that. I COULD work at night after my husband goes to work, if I needed to. Thursday and Friday I'm not certain about, but same as Wednesday I could work at night. Saturday is Halloween/ Our Anniversary so we've got plans all day for that, and then of course Sunday more we set off on our vacation!

See why I'm nervous? I only have a few days at the MOST to finish all that needs to be done on my dress PLUS the other two projects! YIKES! I should probably get off my bum and get to work!

ps - Thankfully, I don't have to work music-less anymore! I sold my PSP and raised money other ways and was able to go buy myself a new iPod!!! It's a GORGEOUS teeny-tiny little pink iPod nano, 16GB! It is seriously like a credit card, and it takes VIDEO, too! While it clashes a little with my pink-of-a-different-shade earphones, I am BEYOND happy! :D I've named her Cecilia, after the Patron Saint of Music.



Another successful Halloween!

I realize that Halloween is still over a week away, but for me it's come and gone. See, I got married on Halloween, so now the holiday for us is one of romance. I'm not complaining - I LOVE IT! Halloween is my favourite holiday, and I love how extra special it is now. Besides, I'm a little to old to dress up and trick or treat [unfortunately]! So I might as well spend the evening celebrating with my sweetie and enjoying some sweets! ;D

So anyway, the main Halloween event for me is Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney's Magic Kingdom. Every year I get tickets for my birthday and I just love it to pieces! This year marked the fourth year I've gone and the third time I've really dressed up. Last year of course was all about my Marie Antoinette dress that I made from a pattern - it was quite the undertaking! This year was amazingly simple.

I thought about my costume for quite a long time. I wanted to be a Viking, but I thought that [besides being expensive] walking around Florida in Viking gear would be suicidal - SO hot! So the idea of being Sookie Stackhouse from HBO's True Blood [even though it's the BOOKS I love the most] in her Merlotte's waitressing uniform seemed perfect. Shorts and a t-shirt - cool and comfortable! At first, I was going to buy the t-shirt from the HBO Shop website... for, what, $25 or something? Maybe more. I ended up making my own shirt for $5. That's how much I paid for a white v-neck t-shirt from Wal-Mart. I made my own iron-on transfer and used the paper I already had to $5 and less than an hour later there you go! HA! lol I mean sure, it's not EXACTLY the same, but close enough!

Next was the apron, which I previously blogged about. The HBO shop was charging around $20. Mine was $2. This time, MY apron was closer to the "real" thing because the shop put the Merlotte's Bar logo on it, when in the show it is just a plain green apron.

All that was left was the black shorts, which I already had, the black sneakers, which I already had, and to buy a blonde wig - because it would take a miracle to get my dyed black hair BACK to my original blonde hair without MAJOR damage... and, well, I just didn't want to! Hah. At first I was worried that I would be super hot in a wig...

Turns out, that night was in the SIXTIES! Oh yea, sure, that may be warm to you, but did I mention that here in Florida it was in the low NINETIES a mere four days before? That's a sharp difference - and I froze my TOOSHIE off! I took a thin black cardigan with a 3/4 length sleeve, thank GOD, but my poor legs were turning purple by the end of the night. There was a fierce wind blowing down Main Street while we were waiting for the parade to start and it took me HOURS to recover. I mean, I simply adore cold weather and I would rather be cold than hot so I wasn't complaining - it was my husband who was worried about my purple legs, haha. However, one of the best things about cold weather is bundling up for it. When I got home that night I put long pants on, a sweater over my night shirt, thick socks, and even broke out the space heater. I was STILL frozen to the core! It ended up making me sick and I had to go to sleep wrapped around my trusty hot water bottle. Ha! So awesome! ;P

Anyway, follow this link to photos from the evening.

Oh! I forgot to mention! My dear hubby, in usual "man" fashion, left his costume to the ABSOLUTE last minute - as in, he drove off to work the morning of the party still with no costume. So I spent that afternoon making his costume. He was going as Alcide, a character from the True Blood books. He's a werewolf that has the hots for Sookie, but it's complicated so it never really goes anywhere. Anyway, I sewed brown fur the the cuffs and collar of a button up black shirt. I also came up with, what I thought was, an ingenuis idea to sew fur to his flip flops [because I couldn't sew it to his only pair of black slacks]. His slacks covered his foot to the fur, so it really did look like he had fur covered feet and wasn't wearing shoes! I was quite tickled - and it was a big hit. [By the way, he made his nose a long long time ago and I couldn't talk him out of it. It was really cute, though :)]

The Good, the Bad, and the...., Well...  


All I had to do was sew in the zipper. And I did! And, then I was done! I was literally finished my dress this afternoon...

... Then I tried it on...

It fit like a glove everywhere but the very top of the back, aka: the bust area. You see, I am what is called an "inbetweenie." Meaning, I don't fit in "regular" sizes, and I don't meet the "plus size" requirements, either. Regular clothes fit everywhere but my big ol' belly. So, when I have to go the next size up, it takes me into the plus size department - where, apparently, girls with my waist line are supposed to have massive hips/butt/boobs. This pattern is apparently no exception. I mean, I get it - most larger girls are large all over... it makes sense but... it's not me.

The beauty of making your own clothes is that they are made to fit you. However, I don't have a sewing mannequin - All I have is me, myself, and I. So, to check my progress I have to try it on myself, pins and all, and check it out in the mirror. Unfortunately, with this pattern that wasn't even possible... there wasn't any way to tell if it fit properly without sewing the zipper in. Did I mention it was fully lined? That made it a little difficult to figure out how to make the necessary adjustments.

I thought today was going to be a prime example of why to just walk away when things start to go sour and you feel yourself getting aggrivated. You tend to just make things worse when you get like that, and everything just escalates into a giant ball of emotions: Sad because you messed up; Angry that you messed up; Irritated because no one knows how to help; Frustrated you can't figure it out yourself; PISSED that you basically just wasted an afternoon; and, most of all - IRATE that you have to undo all the work you did that took up all afternoon... See? It's a mess. But, I got lucky - even though I told myself to walk away and come back tomorrow, I didn't. I couldn't! I'd be thinking of it all friggin' night!

So I stubbornly pressed on... After a few tries, I finally got it [four hours after first starting work on the zipper]! Well, I KINDA got it. My persistence finally pays off! Now I can rest my weary fingers/back/eyes for the evening, get some sleep, and come back tomorrow ready to proceed. Next session will be trying to figure out how to take in the lining when there is boning IN the side seam... hmmmm...

A Quickie  


For Halloween I'm being Sookie Stackhouse, as she appears in her Merlotte's waitress uniform. I already had the black shorts, I made the t-shirt a few days ago [I bought a $5 t-shirt from Wal-Mart and used iron-on transfer paper I already had to put on the Merlotte's logo], and even made a name-tag [My husband lent me his work badge and all we did was print out label maker labels and stick 'em on]! All that was left was her green apron and, of course, the signature blond locks.

The hair is turning out to be the biggest road block, actually, because wigs are made SO cheaply! I guess you get what you paid for, because I got a blonde wig from Wal-mart for $6, and it was HORRIBLE! We returned it, so the hunt continues on that front.

As for the apron - I got a yard of the only dark green fabric Wal-Mart had for $1.97 plus tax, and a little over two hours after I started, it was finished. The fabric is SO not ideal: it's shiny, slippery, flimsy, and SUPER thin - it was a pain in my butt to sew, too! My sewing machine, affectionately known as "Betsy," hated that fabric - it was so slippery that she couldn't push it along herself because it just flew all over the place. So I had to pull it taught and help feed it through, which of course made the fabric pucker. *Sigh* Oh well. It's not like I'm actually going to use it AS an apron - I'm just going to be wearing it out and about one night in Florida, so the thin-ness might actually be a plus... And you just can't argue with the price!

All I did was cut two rectangles in the sizes I wanted out the folded fabric - one for the base of the apron, and the other for the pockets. The two pieces for the pockets were sewn together, turned right side out, then sandwiched in between the two layers of the apron, sewing the two sides and bottom together [leaving the top edge raw]. After turning all that right side out, I did a little stitch close to one side to make two separate pockets, and prevent flopping of the pouch. The rest of the fabric was cut into four really long 2" wide strips: 2 were sewn together at the ends, then sewn together lengthwise. Then [after painfully turning it right side out], I folded it over the top edge of the apron and over itself so it ended up being long, skinny, and thick tie straps. That's it! I took notes and pictures of the process, just in case I wanted to make it again... which is good, because it looks like I'm already going to have to make one for someone else ;)

Good News and Very Bad News  


Well, today I made some great progress on my dress. I finished the entire bodice! Got the white straps all finished up, put in the boning, and attached the side and back pieces - fully lined! Woo! It was a great and efficient day!


My iPod died! *cries*

Every time I sew, I listen to my iPod with my big, pink, fabulous headphones on. I really do think I function better with music on. But now... I'm screwed! I dropped my poor little iPod on the tile floor, and then things went bad fast. Now, all I get is the dreaded sad Mac face! Well, the sad iPod face anyway. It's heartbreaking! It's stupid to get so worked up over a possession, I know, but I can't help it! I use it so much, it's going to be so different and difficult to work without it. Prices of new AND old iPods are REDICULOUSLY high, so it looks like I'm going to have to get used to it.

Anyway, back to the dress I guess. Like I said, the bodice is done. The next step is to make up the skirt [which, by the way, isn't in the directions - they just assume it's so easy they needn't bother with telling you how... *gulp*] and attach it to the bodice. After that, it's just a matter of adding the zipper *double gulp* and then hemming the skirt!

It's very exciting, but I am a little nervous about the hurdles ahead. Not to mention, not only are the directions on the skirt very scarce to start with, but I'm also straying from the pattern on the skirt by lining it. So, I'm pretty much on my own with that whole thing. And then I have the zipper to look forward to... Oy. Oh, and it's a little scary that I won't REALLY know if the top fits properly or not until the zipper is in... As of right now, it's looking like it fits fine, so hopefully it will, because I have a hunch it would be a pain in the butt to modify it afterward, heh.

Mild Distraction  


Last night, around 9:30/10 o'clock, I got the urge to craft. Obviously, my first thought was to work on my dress, but it WAS late and I really feel like I need to be in tip-top mental shape to grasp those directions. I wouldn't want to get into something complicated so late at night, making tired mistakes and messing up the whole thing.

Then I had a thought - What purse was I going to wear with my dress?! I took a look at my collection and, would you believe it, I didn't have ANYTHING that matched! So, obviously I had to make something.

I could have made a classic slouchy bag with the fabric I had left from the dress, but I didn't really think that matched the more polished retro style I was going for. Then I found this in my closet. It had a nice shape with a retro flair, but was kind of ugly and didn't match at all... but that would be an easy fix!

So, I began deconstructing it. I took off the lacy bit, and then lifted a corner of the red to see what was underneath. Turns out it was a plastic frame covered in a flimsy soft cardboard and then the red vinyl glued to that. The cardboard didn't come off cleanly at all. I had to scrape and scrape, so I decided that wasn't going to work.

In the end, I just glued my dress fabric over the red stuff. Then I added my own strip down the middle, made of the lining fabric I'm using on the dress. The strap I ended up twisting some satin rope stuff I had and then weaving it around the holders. I glued a bit of white binding tape around the ends in an effort to strengthen the hold.

THIS is the finished product! I kept the original lining, by the way.

I like it. I mean, it's not stellar craftsmanship or anything since I had to glue the whole thing lol, but it will do! I'm keeping an eye out for some little red anchor buttons, or something of the sort, but if I find some for the dress, I might put one on the purse. ;)

Bodice, Take Two  


Today I had my second go at the bodice for the dress. It went only slightly smoother than the first time, haha.

When I did the lining the first time, I found there were a lot of visible navy stitches on the stripes which weren't easily fixable. So this time, I decided to use two colours of thread: navy on the top, and white in the bottom bobbin. That way, there are white stitches on the stripes, and the navy is on the navy! It worked out really well [and it helped me rip seams easily, too lol].

Ultimately, the end product is a slight improvement over the first take. I'm mildly satisfied, but out of extra fabric, so I'll be pressing on! Next step is adding the white neck straps to the bodice! I'm rather excited, as it will then give a pretty good idea of how it will look as a completely finished product.

Oh, and I get to make the buttons soon! Woo! Is it sad that I'm as excited about that as I am? haha.

ps - The best thing about this pattern? If I run out of time, I don't HAVE to make the jacket ;P



Did I mention I'm a perfectionist? Big time.

I started actually sewing on Tuesday and so far it's gone miserably!

Everything was going fine - I sewed the lining on the two, what I'm calling, "breast pieces," and then did the gathering part, pinned them to the bodice front.... and then I ran into trouble. I guess I just hit a mental block - I couldn't grasp the concept of sewing up the spike of the bodice and back down again, without accidentally getting the other side caught up in the stitches. That left me with a weird gathering effect instead of the desired one. It looks ok, I guess, but it's not right. I don't know, it's hard to explain. I should have taken pictures during the process... it might have helped me figure out what happened. I should have walked away, and come back later - refreshed ready to take a new look at the situation.

Instead, I was stubborn and decided to keep going.

So, I sewed the lining on to the now whole bodice piece, essentially repeating what I was supposed to do the first time... except this time, I just... DID it. It just worked, and I have no idea why lol

Now I'm left with a completed bodice piece, ready to keep going - sew on the neck straps, etc etc... but I'm not happy with the piece I have. At this point, I COULD just start over. It only took a couple hours to go through those three or four steps, and that's with the brain fart and such. It would probably go a lot smoother the second time, lol.

It just SUCKS that I have to start over, obviously, but I've pretty much decided that I'd rather do that and have a chance at making a better one, rather than just pressing on and the dress not be as gorgeous to me because of that imperfection. I just hope I have enough fabric left over!

The good news, though, is that I absolutely LOVE the combination of the navy fabric and striped lining. The effect on the inside of the bodice is just awesome, I think, and is really going to make the dress special.

And now... I'm going to watch tonight's episode of Project Runway - just to cement my crappy self-confidence! lol

And so, it begins  

Posted in

Yesterday I started work on the Sailor Dress. I cut out the paper pieces of the pattern, pinned them to the fabric, and cut out the pieces. Yea, the insanely boring stuff. However, with it brought a new lesson in the world of sewing: Vacuum the floor before laying out five yards of Navy cotton across it.

Did I mention that we have six cats? One of them happens to be a white persian with long, cottony fur that seems gets spread across the carpet like a cheap spider web decoration. Anyway, obviously five yards is too much to lay across my workspace [aka: the kitchen table], so I had to lay it across the carpet. So, my brand new virgin fabric soon turned into this.

But, hey, I guess that's why lint rollers where invented, right?

The other thing I HATE about pinning and cutting on the carpet floor is accidently pinning the fabric to the carpet, or snipping off little chunks when I cut the pattern out. That is why I desperately want the pink ribbon self-healing cutting mat [which happens to be on sale right now at JoAnn's]!

I also decided to make this project about twice as hard for myself by lining the ENTIRE thing. The pattern includes lining the top of the dress, but I want to line the skirt AND the jacket. So, I had to send Greg off to [*gasp*] Wal-Mart for another few yards of this deliciously blinding stripped fabric.

Today, I picked up the last few little bits of bobs that I needed [navy thread, boning, and buttons] so I am all ready to go! I'm kind of disappointed that my $20 aim budget flew out of the window when I decided to line the whole thing. If I hadn't of decided to do that, I totally would have been fine, but as it stands its about a $30 dress. That includes the extra yard of two of the navy fabric that I ended up not needing... oh well.

And now, I sew!

Ahoy! New Project ahead!  

Posted in

Today I'm going to start work on my "Sailor Dress." I call it that because I'm going to make it with nautical colours [navy, white, and red] and I will be wearing it on the Disney cruise we hope to take for our anniversary! [Disney cast members get special deals on "space-available" tickets for the cruises - that means that we have to wait until closer to the sail date to see what kind of rooms they have left.]

I will be using this pattern [the one on the right]:


It's going to look like the navy picture, with navy cotton fabric, white cotton trim, and red and white striped lining! I'm going to get red anchor buttons and maybe even an anchor patch!

So, here I go! I'm off to cut the paper pattern pieces, pin, and cut out the fabric!

Etsy: Slowly, but Surely...  


I swear, I'm not going to use this blog to really pump my etsy shop. I mean, sure, I'm going to mention it once or twice because my crafting is always evolving and that might mean that I might start selling different things, but it's really not the focus of my writing here.

What I AM going to talk about now, though, is the the evolution of my etsy to what it is today. I thought over what I was going to sell for a really long time. At first, I wanted to sell my knitted shawls. I even thought of a marketing campaign [it was a pretty good one, too, in my opinion]! But then I started to think more realistically... These things take me quite a few hours to knit and take two whole skeins of yarn, so what would I have to sell them for? Was anyone really going to pay like $30 for something they could probably knit themselves? And was I willing to devote so much time to knitting? The LAST thing I want to do is end up hating knitting. I LOVE to knit. It's my salvation. Nothing slows me down and takes my mind off the world like counting "knit one, purl two..."

So I came to the same conclusion that, like, 98% of etsy did: Jewelry is the cheapest, easiest, fastest solution. So I went to Michaels... and got overwhelmed. There are soooo many different beads and supplies, etc etc, that my brain just went into idea overload and I didn't know where to start. I decided just to use what I already had to start, so, I started...

Jewelry-making, to me, is easy. It is so easy that it doesn't feel special. And when you search through etsy, it ISN'T special. I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to bring something different to the table, to make me stand out. One thing I hate is being just like everyone else. So one day, I decided to play around with an idea and the materials I already had. That's how most of my crafts start [unless I'm crafting for a specific purpose, like a birthday gift or Halloween costume], and sure enough, I ended up painting my first set of pendants and bracelets.

I was excited to list them on etsy. I was proud of them, and was eager to see the response. People seemed to really like them. That didn't necessarily mean they would sell, since half the battle of etsy is actually getting people to SEE your store, but I was proud they were there. I thought they showed the world that yes, I do have more talent than just sticking beads together. And, after a little search around etsy, they were fairly unique. There were hand-painted wearable items, sure, but nothing just like mine.

So as it stands now, that is what my etsy is about. I had planned to paint my butt off for weeks straight so I could show at a Craft Fair this Fall, but I didn't get accepted because they already had too many jewelry vendors [fyi: I went there today and yes, dear Lord, there were a LOT of jewelry vendors selling swarovski bracelets and sterling silver charms... but NOTHING like my tuff]. I was hoping that a craft fair would really get the ball rolling for me, but it wasn't in the cards yet. My painted pieces are definitely the "best sellers," but with 15 sales total, it's not really saying much. I've had many different kinds of people tell me they love them and how unique they are. Even the store manager at a tattoo parlour thought I should showcase at a Tattoo Convention! lol But I kind of stalled after getting declined from the first craft fair, so not much has happened since [save for a few custom orders].

Can I see myself painting these little tiles forever? No. Because I don't want to do any one thing forever. I'll end up hating it! THAT'S why I love etsy. Because I can make whatever I want, list it, and see what happens. The down-side is the limited audience. My reputation is slowly building, but it's not any where close to bringing in the big dough yet.

In conclusion I'd just like to say that this is my dream... Making a living off of doing something I love, which is to create. The thought of putting something out there that is uniquely me and having someone else say "Wow! I love that" and paying to have it for themselves is just... AWESOME! So it's worth the effort and wait. Ultimately, I can't help but feel like I'm heading in the right direction.



So here it is, this is the FLICKR that has all PAST projects as of today:

You may think, by looking at my photos, that I'm sort of random in the crafts that I do. Well, that's true.

I knit, sew, draw, work in Photoshop, paint, bake and decorate cakes, etc etc. I'm always experimenting and trying to learn new crafts. I've dabbled in resin and candle making, and would really love to learn to crochet so I can make stuffies! hehe

I have too many photos to be contained in one FLICKR! [Can I just say home lame it is that they only let you have 200 photos?] So, I've created another FLICKR account to put photos of upcoming projects I'll be featuring in the blog:

"This is the beginning..."  


Everyone knows I'm a crafty person, and whilst I have been sharing my creations on Myspace and Facebook for years, I wanted a place to not only share photos but also stories about the pieces I create. Why? Because... I said so!

Unfortunately, this revelation has come late in the game, but better late than never! I'll create a Flickr account and put all the photos I have of my old stuff in there and then update it with the new stuff here!

Who's excited?!


...If a blog posts and no one is around to read it, is it still a blog?