Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Freebie tote bag makeover #2

  • Canvas bag with screen print advertisement
  • Upholstery sample remnant
  • Stencil
  • Embroidery

Stitched the chick and "Style is eternal". Backed sample with applique iron-on stuff, ironed on over the undesirable advertisement, zig-zagged around edges, handsewed strange pink yarn trim.

Kitty cat baby onesie

Another iron-on pattern by Dimensionals Crafts
Savvy Stitches kit, this one is called "Fun Things".

Check out the wrapped package with "old school" diaper pin.

Embroidered "tattoo" T-shirt

Embroidered this cute T-shirt for my good friend Eileen and she properly bragged on it. (Don'cha just lurve it when someone KNOWS how to compliment and brag well?)
The pattern is an iron-on number by Dimensional Divine Style. It kinda reminds me of a tattoo pattern. But this is the best kind - non-permanent!

  • Super easy iron-on application
  • One color floss - black
  • Mostly backstitching with a few French knots

Monday, August 27, 2007

Skitzo Leezra Sent A Friend Over the Edge

So, being an all things crafty girl all hyped up on sewing projects, I sent the grocery bag tote sewing instructions to my good buddy Mallys. Last week I received an envelope with 2 nice drawstring bags and 1 wine bottle bag and this nice note from her.


  1. SkitzoLeezra sends Mallys a really cute and sort-of easy looking pattern for a reusable grocery bag, based on those noxious plastic bags.

  2. Mallys reads the directions, which estimate about a yard of face fabric and a yard of lining per bag.

  3. Mallys decides to buy some cut-rate fabric to try it out - no need to spend tons of money if the pattern doesn't work.

  4. Mallys finds two complementary patterns on the $2/yard shelf at the Evil Empire. Mallys thinks the frogs are cute and the bright pink is festive.

  5. Mallys pre-washes and dries the fabric, and every time she walks past it, the froggies make her giggle. "How cute those frogs are, " Mallys says to herself several times a week, "Won't they make a cute bag?"

  6. Mallys makes bag #1 for her pal Suki, in which to place thank-you bowls for feeding the kitties while Mallys was on vacation. The sewing of the happy, bright frogs goes smoothly, and except for a little issue with the gusset, all is well. The bag is cute, and Mallys has used the lining fabric for the pocket on the outside of the bag so as to avoid the stripe-matching issue. The stripes are loud and attention getting, and the solid pink pocket is a funny contrast to the stripes.

  7. Mallys make bag #2 for Mom because, after all, there's a whole lot of pink frog material left, and because Mom is looking for ways to avoid the plastic bags. Mallys switches up face fabric/lining - the stripes as lining are also cute, but also are getting a little old. This has now been hours of staring at pink and purple frogs - during the washing and hanging, the ironing, the cutting, the sewing. The frogs are sort of like other people's well-behaved children: they're all right for awhile, and then you want them to go home.

  8. After two bags, Mallys is dismayed to see that there are, inexplicably yarrrrrrdddddssssss of this material left, and it's getting the tiniest bit tiresome: the frogs get happier and the pink gets brighter with every stitch. Mallys has never been happy nor bright. The material is challenging her self identity and gnawing at her already limited patience.

  9. Mallys buys a pattern for gift bags to help use up some of the fabric. She sews a wine bag. The frogs are working on her nerves. There is still too much material left.

  10. Mallys another wine bag. That frog is going to send her over the brink. There is more of the goddamned ugly fucking left, and Mallys - whose great grandmother used to tie her hair back with a worn out bras strap and whose grandmother won't throw away 10-year-old Swiss Miss instant cocoa because the fake marshmallows only taste a little musty - can't bring herself to throw away a swatch of material that is big enough to "make something with."

  11. Mallys sews a shorter version of the wine bag. She'd like to pack that short gift bag with the guts of this fucking frog who won't stop smiling at her, if only she could get the frog off the fucking fabric and make it real so that she could exact her craft vengeance on this frog who is driving her crazy. AND THERE'S STILL MORE FUCKING FABRIC LEFT.

  12. Everything is pink. Everywhere Mallys looks pink, pink, pink. Here a frog, there a frog, everywhere a mo-fo frog. Mallys is muttering in her sleep, dreaming of stripes of happy anthropomorphized frogs that won't leave her alone. There is still more fabric. Mallys sews a drawstring bag and finally, has sewn every last bit of fabric.

  13. Mallys is disgusted by the items she has sewn. Too much pink. Too bright a pink. Too much purple. Too many frogs. Frogs frogs fucking frogs.

  14. Mallys - embarrassed at the obnoxious choice - gives the "thank you" bowls and froggie bag to Suki. Suki assures her that the bag is hilarious, that the frogs are pink and funny and not - in fact - gunning for Mally's last shred of sanity.

  15. Mallys breathes in through her nose, out through her mouth, and employs logic to convince herself that the frogs do not have some sort of $2/yard vendetta against her, actively trying to make her crazy.

  16. But now Mallys sees that she has another bag to send her mother, two wine bags, one short gift bag, and one drawstring bag. She will send one wine bag to her mother. She can't unload a second bag on Suki - who claims to like frogs - because drinks wine out of a box and doesn't take wine to friends' houses. What the hell will she do with annoying froggie wine bags galore?

  17. Mallys knows there has to be someone to blame: who is responsible for the frogs? Who should pay the price for the frogs? Who owes it to Mallys to take the frogs off her hands? And then it dawns on Mallys.

  18. See item #1.

And that, Leezra, is why you will find in this envelope some really fucking bright, really fucking perky frogs on assorted bags that you may or may not have anything to stuff into.

In short, I am making you pay for the mental anguish those frigging frogs have caused me. Now you get to share at the fabric that's so frigging bright I think it has done irreversible damage to my rods and cones. Or, you can do what I've done, and you can pass the bags on - for some "good reason" of course - to someone who you think deserves the happy, loud frogs.

And the wine bag pattern is actually kind of cute in something other than frogs, dressed up with come ribbon, some buttons. I have now sewn waayyyyyy too many wine bags out of leftover fabric, and have purchased new (remnants). Somehow, I pixilated enough to send them to Mom, who starts doing craft shows in mid-September through early December (she paints), and who thinks she might be able to sell some wine bags at those shows. 39 bags later (with another 17 cut out and fabric for 2 more left to sew), I think that, perhaps, I should wait and see if the wine bags actually sell before I buy any more fabric and sew any more stitches. After all, a wine bag is always a handy item to have sitting around for those last-minute hostess gifts, but let's be real: how on earth is Mallys going to get 39 invites anywhere that call for a wine bag rather than a plastic cup and frothy head of beer?

The boyfriend has taken to calling me "The Wine Bag". I tell him that the joke will be on him when I make my fortune from crafts fashioned out of remnants and leave him high and dry, wishing he had a stylish gift bag in which to carry his hostess gift . . .



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dolores Umbridge inspired cat brooch

Sis and I saw "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" last weekend. The Dolores Umbridge character is Hogwart's new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and is evil packaged in a saccharine pink cloud complete with touches of feline fake sweetness. Dolores sported a cat brooch with each of her oh-so-gag-from-the-pinkness ensembles. My inner crafter was distracted by the feline pin. So, as soon as I got home, I crafted up this tribute to Dolores' accoutrement. AND, Sis WEARS it! Yay!
(Blurry photo due to glossy plastic "gem".)

Super cheap organization

This is my favorite craft and sewing organizer. Flat cardboard boxes from canned drink cases.
I tote a stack of them from work when the Coca~Cola machine is refilled and use them for everything.

  • Projects in progress can be tossed together and stashed away.
  • Or sit the box on your lap while you watch television. Trim paper and let the scraps fall. Toss the whole thing when finished.
  • If you stagger them in a Rubbermaid type storage box, you can keep your materials neat and separate.
  • These boxes are great for painting small craft projects!
  • Decoupage paper images are sorted by genre.
  • A favorite for kitty lounging.
  • Great transport for food.

Yeah, yeah, I know that the boxes aren't acid free but storage is not long term nor do I care. As my friend Chrysanthemum would say,

"If it is free, it's for me!"

First skirt ever!


Drawstring waist skirt included my first buttonhole. Hey everybody, look at my buttonhole! (That didn't sound right.) Anywho, found that, on my machine, buttonholes look better on the bobbin side.

The pattern was one of those easy/quick types with an elastic waist and much longer hem. With a favorite skirt, I determined the desired length. As a substitute to the elastic, 2 buttonholes were employed to accept a grosgrain ribbon tie. Although it was a bit large, I wore it the next day and was thrilled, thrilled I tell ya to receive compliments from perfect strangers. (The excess fabric was gathered by the drawstring ribbon in the back resulting in a voluminous skirt silhouette.)
Because the fabric appeals to me, I attempted a size alteration. Otherwise, I would have just chalked it up to a learning exercise. The original size allowed for a 30 pound weight gain. The new alteration requires a Spanx super cincher undergarment.
Note to self: Try on garment before stitching!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Gift wrap station

~or~ Don't Hate Me Because I'm Anal (retentive)

A boyfriend from way back had a terrific grandmother with a gift wrap ROOM! Wall mounted gift wrap roll holders, open shelving along each wall with a large flat area for wrapping. I was inspired and aspired to have an area like that one day. Here is my homage to her.

A few more pix from my studio, specifically the closet that is the gift wrap station. Gift bags on left, sorted by size (of course) and tied to closet rod with random pieces of ribbon. S-hooks would be better, I just keep forgetting to get those while at the hardware store.

Ribbon, tags, tissue, tape, etc. on right. The unpainted wood hutch purchased from Lowe's. Tissue paper is sorted by color. The Coca-Cola six pack holder is great storage for those small scraps of paper. (Yes, I'm a hoarder! But an organized hoarder!) Gift stash below.

Gift wrap is stowed in metal box next to wrapping table.

Monogrammed eyeglass case

I am so proud of me!! Sewing is a new passion and this little case makes me wish that I could stay home all day long and make more for everyone I like. But, instead I post photos while I am supposed to be working . . . .

Cross stitched the monogram.
Ironed on vintage ribbon with that magic no-sew tape.
Employed a decorative scallop stitch (my sewing machine's ONLY decorative stitch) to attach pink floral flannel lining.
Folded in half, lengthwise, with right sides together.
Sewed the two remaining
Hand sewed old metal snaps to inside.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Skitzo Leezra Studio

My decorating aesthetic is all about re-purposing things for other than their original or intended use.

Plus, I like shiny things!

And a craft room or studio should be in a color that makes you happy.

These photos were taken before I added more touches, like ribbon tubes covering the black electric cord of wall mounted light fixtures and large glass jars of buttons and yet more ribbon accumulation.

Walls: Laura Ashley Apple Green
Shelving units: Lowe's
Metal table: custom
Aluminum chair: vintage
(need 10 more for the dining room!)

Fabric storage box:
shipping crate + casters + paint + galvanized aluminum panels

Wall mounted wire display:
IKEA Diginet curtain wire

Wire baskets: restaurant supplier

Ribbon storage:
Lowe's, 20' galvanized aluminum gutters, cut into four 5' sections

(Yes, I AM a ribbon whore! AND anal retentive.)