Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Had a tiny purple remnant from the Ernest fabric pile and made a tiny hiney skirt for a Louisiana State University loving little girl. Ernest will be proud, proud I tell ya since his home town is Baton Rouge.

(Yes, I agree the ribbon is too long but the little girl mama will trim it to desired length.)

My mom is right. It is easy, fast and fun to make clothing for those without hips and curves.

UPDATE: I asked Ernest for fabric content for care instructions and he told me it is silk dupioni! How many LSU skirts are silk?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Junque necklace in silver OR Shiny Stuff of the Week 11

Sister RikkiTikkiTavi lurves silver so my first attempt at the junque necklace is for her. All the "People Give Me Stuff" baubles, pieces and parts and shiny stuff came into play and should you find yourself bored, click on the link and see how many parts you can spy from previous postings.


Pearl grey satin ribbon ties at the back. Broken earrings, unpaired earrings, key, button, charms, beads and keychain dangles = FREE necklace.

Thanks, Amy Hanna, for the inspiration!

Take a look at my bathroom "Candle-lier" that I started 8 years ago - gonna start pilfering from it for shiny bits.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Schmatta, the documentary

Saw mention of it on Lindsay T Sews blog, found it on HBO and watched it last weekend. Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags documents the history of Manhattan's Garment District and the slow ebb of American-made apparel.
It was very interesting but I found a couple points to be contradictory. Immigrants and the bottom earners of society could find work in the thriving industry. One person noted jobs were done by mostly Jews and Italians and with each wave of immigration, the work force became more diverse. The industry needed controls to protect the safety and rights of workers and the unions answered that call. Over and over, the documentary subjects stated that their grandparents and parents worked in the "rag trade" just looking for a slice of the American dream but complained that the current economy does not allow them the middle class dream of earning enough money for a house, a car and tuition to a nice school for their children. That's the part that tripped me up. One generation comes to America with no education, finds employment at the entry level, seeks and achieves protection through a worker's union but the second and third generations expect to earn enough money to achieve middle to upper middle class levels and they wonder why their union jobs went overseas?
In the book Snobbery: The American Version, author Joseph Epstein explained that most immigrants strived to attain affluence for their future by the Three P's: becoming peddlers in the first generation, plumbers next followed by the third generation reaching the level of physicians. The garment industry workers did not look to the future to realize greater aspirations but instead are unhappy that their children will not be able to find work in their industry.
Agreed: It is sad that only 5% of apparel is manufactured in America and domestic manufacturers cannot compete with low labor rates overseas.
Contrast that with the testimony of one man stating that he is currently collecting $405 per week on unemployment with only 10 remaining weeks of benefits AND he said he didn't mind sharing that before being laid off, he made $3100 per week for 35 hours which brings the question: is an annual salary of $161,200 considered an average level for a skilled worker with no higher learning, diploma or license? There were many factors to led to the loss of American jobs. Unions, profit driven corporations and manufacturers seeking lower costs elsewhere but the ancestors of the garment workers need to look at themselves as well and ask why they relied on one industry to sustain them and their future generations.
Adapt and change are the learning words.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Venetian refashion

Liked these Venetian glass beads but rarely wore the strand because I didn't dig the garish gold accents and red thread knotting. Thinking I would wear it if more "metal neutral" so cut it up, added a few black Venetian glass beads and small bead spacers. It doesn't look that much different in these small pix but trust me, it's better.

Taa daa! New necklace for ~~FREE!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In a bind for twine

Ya know I have a ribbon fetish, right?

One day while picking up something at an electrical supply business, I spied a big roll of waxed twine. What the heck waxed twine has to do with electrical parts I dunno but I snatched it up in my greedy little hands and asked the counter guy "what's this used for?" He didn't know. Okay, how much? He didn't know the item number nor description so after a few minutes of tapping on his computer keys, he became exasperated enough to just shove it toward me and growl "take it". WooHoo, if it is FREE, it's for me!! I thanked him and bolted out of there before he changed his mind.

Waxed twine works for gift wrapping and all kinds of little household uses. Not good for macrame, it's too sticky.

Little did I know that there are fancy baker's twine out there in cool colors. Looka! 240 yards for $15.00 ~ that's .06 a yard!

Oh wait, here's a roll of 3,360 yards of packing twine for $17.40!! Available in red/white or green/white.

I smell another obsession~~~

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Covering my hole(s)!

Eons ago, my good buddy Ernest gave me some fabulous high-end fabric used for men's custom suits and jackets and last year, I finally cut it for a winter skirt during Chrysanthemum's and my skirt sewing marathon. After sewing the side seams, I realized there were a few holes in the fabric. The holes didn't look like moth holes but rather clips from careless scissor handling. Foo-ey! I loved the fabric, what to do?

Well, I said it before, I'll say it again, necessity is mother fucker of invention so I snipped some leaf shaped tweed scraps, ironed them on with that WonderUnder fusible web, did fast and sloppy applique stitch around the leaf and embroidered a meandering vine.
I used the same tweed fabric and iron-on petal idea on this little girl skirt.

For the price of FREE, what's not to like about this skirt?

Skirt from scraps

Last May, Chrysanthemum and I did another skirt marathon with summer fabrics. She graciously left behind her fabric scraps and I found there was juuuuuust enough of the sheer paisley print for a shorter skirt for sister RikkiTikkiTavi. Happily, Ernest sent me a box of varied fabrics last month and this cool purple is perfect for an under layer.

Over the weekend, I ignored overdue tasks in the house and used every shortcut I could think of to sew this skirt.


  • Used RikkiTikkiTavi's favorite skirt as a pattern

  • Serged the sheer fabric side seams

  • Serged the purple underlay side seams and hem

  • Joined sheer and purple layers at the top with foldover elastic

  • Straight stitched the purple hem

  • DID NOT hem the sheer layer but left the raw and cool looking selvage edge.

Complete and really cute! Another FREE skirt!

Hope to have a photo of Rik in skirt soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rotary cutter and idle hands

Saw this tutorial by ThreadBanger several months ago for a cool fabric tube necklace made by cutting strips from the body of a t-shirt and dang it all if I didn't find a scrap on my cutting table sitting right by the rotary cutter.
After you cut the strips, tug on the fabric and it magically coils into a tube.

Click on the tutorial link above to see an embellished version.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strung and restrung

There is a stack of fabric waiting to be sewn into pillowcases.

Also, a stack of placemats that will be notebook organizers.

Endless piles of fabric for future skirts.

So what did I do last weekend?

Strung some new beads and tore apart other strands to restring for longer length or a different look.

Yay! A craft you can do while watching TV!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book review

For a state ranked so low in education levels, my left-handed bottom corner of Louisiana has a great public library system. My local branch recently offered a jewelry making class and for the price of ~~FREE~~ the bead choices were pretty good.
Anywho, the class reinvigorated my interest in crafting my very own baubles. The facilitator had new jewelry books on display and I rushed home to reserve as many as possible on the library online system but had no idea that all would be available in 2 days. WooHoo, a stack of books, full of ideas and inspiration!
(Checking out library copies is a great way to find books not available at your local bookstore and then, if you like it, order the book.)

Here are a few cool books you might want to check out:
  • Beadalicious by Sonya Nimri
25 projects with good instructions and nice explanation of bead choices.
  • Bejeweled: beautiful fashion jewelry to make and wear by Claire Aristides

Very detailed, fabulous photography and a nice touch, a variation of each featured project.

  • Beading with Pearls: beautiful jewelry, simple techniques by Jean Campbell
Simply inspiring.
  • Make it in minutes: memory jewelry by Liz Eaton
With any degree of imagination, you can adapt these rather pedestrian ideas to something less scrapbook-y and more artsy.

And my two favorites of the stack,
  • Stitched jewels by Marthe LeVan

Lots of ideas to tweak and personalize. LOVE the fabric covered button bracelet! Expect to see one on this site in the future.
  • Rejuvenated jewels: gorgeous designs with vintage jewelry and beads by Amy Hanna
Ho-ly Mother of Pearl, this is a dangerous book. Kinda like telling crack heads that there are "rocks" to be found in your neighbor's backyard. You'll want to step up your garage/estate sale activity once you see Amy's creations and stash AND beat up anyone else on the same mission. It's gonna get ugly, people. Any chick with even a smidge of girly girl will be enthralled with the treasure trove of jewelry and baubles parts.

Enjoy book shopping!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hot stuff!

My Internet buddy Shelli of Needle in a Haystack requested testers to try out her new hot pad tutorial posted over at the You Can Make This website. As Shelli stated, most of the hot pads in our kitchens are worn and we don't usually think to buy new ones for ourselves. It is a great project to use your scrap fabric!

If ya already have batting, then all you need is Insul~Bright/Brite insulation. Just looked at the product website and learned you can use it for cooling insulation as well. Note, if you purchase 1/4 yard of batting and Insul-Bright, you will have enough material to make TWO pads.

The 6 layer stack shifted a lot while sewing so will stabilize with lots of pins for my next attempt. After trimming to straighten the shifted layers, my pad was 8" square, still a very generous size and larger than the tired hot pads in my kitchen.

Shelli's instructions had loop made of cut piece of bias tape but I did my own little loop trick. Shelli said she considered the same thing but it couldn't figure out how to explain it. I tried to write my own explanation just now and understand why Shelli just cut the short piece of tape plus her loop looks neat and tidy.
Take a look at my photos if ya wanna try my loop trick. Otherwise, stick to the instructions on the tutorial OR skip the loop entirely if you don't hang hot pads from a hook.

The fabric store lady told me that she was planning to make some hot pads for family Christmas gifts and will use Christmas fabric. Nooooooooooo, I wanted to tell her not to but kept my big trap shut for once. Hot pads are not seasonal and should not look acceptable for only one month out of the year. They should not be on display anyway.

Skitzo Leezra's elegant style quiz:
  • Seasonal finger tip towels in fine linen for your powder room? Yes
  • Seasonal hot pads? No
  • Seasonal tea towels for your kitchen? Only if you swear to use them only for the appropriate season.
  • Gifting any of the above to someone less persnickety than me? No, otherwise, you'll visit their house next summer, see their faded Christmas tea towel on the kitchen counter and you'll feel a little sad inside. You've been warned.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hoarder? Or Not?

I notice that I announce character flaws about myself like calling myself a "control freak" or "anal retentive" or "hoarder" then wonder if I do it to beat others to the punch although I don't really see anything wrong with the first two attributes but dang(!) watching that "Hoarders" series on A&E ~deep breath~~ it gives me the monkey nerves to begin immediately begin clearing stuff to reassure myself that I am NOT a hoarder because those folks are nuts.

NOT my house

Sometimes I think I am sliding into crazy lady territory, accepting all the loot from People Give Me Stuff bounties, stockpiling supplies for future projects and fastidiously ironing vintage trims and ribbon . . . sounds a little obsessive already, right? But the fact is, I enjoy rooting through the stuff, separating the wheat from the chaffe. It may look like a mess for time but while I am greedy with ribbons and notions, I am generous with the things I won't use or don't need. Last night I packed up 3 bags of things for other crafters/sewing chicks with stuff they (hopefully) want. If I thought for a second they were hoarders, the stuff would go to charity thrift stores.

Just because my stuff is organized and labelled doesn't mean it isn't hoarding

I hate waste, I hate when good stuff goes into the trash when it could go to Goodwill so that attitude could be my downhill slide to hoarding but no way do I want to bring it MY house. Someone once said that waste is a lack of creativity and guess that is why I am drawn to alternate use items and art made from found objects. Look at my blog for stuff made with neckties, wine corks, and repurposed things. Yikes, maybe I do have a touch of the hoard.

However, that's why you would want to know me if we were in prison together. I would be that person that knows where to get stuff. My brain stores inventory lists and not just my own, other people's too. My sis mentions that she would like to try a floor steamer? Brother has one. Mom needs to make a "fascinator" for 20's costume party? The supplies are in my craft stash. Friend needs a batch of high school class rings for a Grease skit? Got a dozen or so. Someone needs to borrow a few cake stands for a wedding reception? I know 4 people to ask.

Recently I asked an ice breaker question at a meeting: If you could cast yourself for a television show, which would it be? The answers were very interesting, everything from "Golden Girls" to reality shows to "The Real Housewives of Atlanta".

My revealing answer? "Sanford and Son".

1) I KNOW there is a treasure somewhere in Fred's piles

2) I would like to help Fred organize that mess