Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simplicity 1887: Simple Skirt Pattern Review

Spring, you saucy minx.  I will celebrate you whether or not you want to be celebrated!  It's absolutely POURING today and the temperature is about to drop 20 degrees, but I'm ignoring that and wearing my new skirt from Simplicity pattern 1887 all kinds of bare legged.  No more tights.  No more leggings.  It is flipping April and I will have SPRING.

The pattern:  I'm a little in love with everything about it including the sweet pocket details.  Nothing quite as awesome as looking like a lady but toting stuff around like a marsupial.

I'm not sure I will ever make this with the bow front.  That's a lot of bulk where I don't really need any more bulk.  On someone tiny, it would be very cute.  On me, it would be all kinds of BOW.  But the shorts, I've conquered (will post on that later) and I'm about to share with you my lovely skirt (view D)!

Good Lord, I need a haircut.  But the skirt wins. Did I mention the pockets?

I was nervous about the front pleating adding too much pouf.  But that yoke works wonders.  It has two rows of elastic in the back which makes it very comfortable for those "I want to be a professional but would much rather be at home in my yoga pants" kind of days.  I'm sure I will wear it tons because I really, really, love my yoga pants.

I used a very on sale fabric from Jo Anne's in order to test out the pattern and troubleshoot the fit, otherwise known as a Wearable Muslin.  I just really hate spending time on something I will never use and I know the purpose is to get the fit right....but if I find cute fabric (this is a quilting cotton) for the same price as muslin, that's how I'm going to roll.


My biggest suggestion is for the elastic casting which runs from about where the pockets are and around the back of the skirt.  I would recommend attaching the waistband/yoke to the bottom of the skirt at a 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of the recommended 5/8.  That way, there is a little extra room when you put in your elastic.  The first pair of shorts I made I had some struggles.  The second pair of shorts and this skirt, I gave myself a bit extra and was glad.  MUCH easier when you have a bit extra height in the yoke.

Can't wait to do it again with some of my designer cottons.  Simplicity 1887, you're a good one.  I think I shall keep you.  But something must be done about that hair!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kitchen Redo....In My Mind

My annual trek to the Metrolina Antique and Collectible show was a success!  Treasure abounds down there, and if you ever find yourself in the Charlotte area on the first weekend of April, it is definitely worth a gander.  While I'm not much for collectibles, the antiques and "old stuff" is out of control.  And my, oh my, did I fall in love.

Enter my new little cabinet for the kitchen.  I needed something to hold cookbooks and my overflow of serving dishes.  Made by Rick from Lincolnton, NC (he had no website or email address to give me, only that information but I do believe several vendors at the BlackLion stores carry his pieces), I snatched up this stunning little cabinet he made with his own two hands.  He takes wood from old houses and turns it into these great little pieces.  I loved the airy feeling and the old window pane on the top to let the light in.  Notice it's two beautiful turquoise sisters on either side.  I was tempted to not split up the family and take them all!

So, when I get the thing back home (it's currently living in my parent's garage until they come visit with a truck...under the threat of being stolen by my Mother every day for her sewing room), I'm excited to make it look a little snazzier.  The white is pretty, but it needs a little finishing love.  And we all KNOW my intense love for Valspar's National Trust for Historic Preservation line.  Those colors can be found throughout my home and you really can't go wrong with any of them.  It's all about trust with paint colors, and I trust Valspar's National Trust line!

I give you Fairmont Suite Clay Red, available at Lowes.  Drrrroooooool.

It's perfect.  And now, I have a slightly different direction for my entire kitchen scheme.  Before, I had a similar arrangement but wasn't feeling too bold with my color choices.  Now, I'm going GLOBAL!

That cabinet in the picture is just something close I found online.  I can't WAIT to get the real thing home and paint it up with that gorgeous Fairmont Suite Clay Red.  Looks fabulous with my Valspar Homestead Tea Room Yellow walls.  And I'll have to get working on some pillows for my sitting area.  I love the world map one!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Felt Blossom Spring Wreath with Moss Letter

I am hereby ushering in spring by updating my front door wreath.  Take THAT Mother Nature....time to get your act together.

So my front door wreath has been through three season now:  football, winter, and now SPRING!

When I purchased the supplies back in August for my Alabama Football Wreath, I was a little shocked at the price.  I think with the form, roll of burlap, my letter B, and some houndstoothy ribbon, the total project cost was about $40.  But now, this bad boy has been updated for the third time and I'm starting to feel that $40 for a year's worth of wreathy goodness might be worth it.  Even more so that I notice Pottery Barn is selling wreaths anywhere from $60 to $90.  AND, for the second time, I bought NO extra supplies to create the updated look.  I used all things I had laying around, just like I did for my Winter Wreath Update.

My favorite part?  These little no sew felt blossoms:

Here's how I made them.  You need felt and straight pins with a pretty head (these are quilting pins from JoAnn's that I have a TON of).  Don't worry, you can reclaim them when you update your wreath again.  I had a GIANT container, so I'm not going to be missing the handful I used.

For one blossom, you need 4 felt circles.  I made mine about 1.25" in diameter.  I did NOT measure, nor did I use a template as they do not have to be perfect.  No flower in nature is perfect and a little wonkiness here and there makes the petals interesting and creates some size difference and texture.

Once you have your four circles, you're going to fold them in half once, then in half again and pin them down onto your foam wreath.  Do this with all four circles to create one bigger circle and then stick a pin in the middle for the center.  Fluff and TAH DAH!

Here's a little graphic to help you:

For the burlap leaves, I just cut rough leaf shapes and folded them on one end and pinned them in place all the way around.  Easy peasy.

And my letter needed a little updating.  So using just some hot glue and a bag of moss I had laying around (available in the fake floral section of your local crafty goodness store), I covered my letter with moss!  NATUUUUURRRRRRRE!

There you have it...one full spring wreath update.  Go ahead...buy the foam form for $12 and a roll of burlap for $10.  You won't be sorry and it will update every season so your front door always looks happy and welcoming!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh So (Sew) Lilly: Fabric by the Yard Alternatives for Lilly Lovers

I'm increasingly more Southern.  The older I get, the less I like the cold.  I have started drinking tea...and not the hot kind in the pot.  And I want to be outside, day drinking in a cute and colorful shift dress every damn day.  Every day!  With the promise of more snow in Virginia, the spring weather seems so very far away and this makes me quite sad.  In order to beat down these ridiculous spring but still feels like winter blues, I wanted to do a little shopping.  I thought maybe it was time to finally own a Lilly dress to brighten up my day and get mentally ready for the impending spring.  Maybe even throw in a pair of scallop hem shorts!  Then I remembered...Lilly Pulitzer offers a very small range of sizes.  None of which my chubby self would ever hope to squeeze into.  Le sigh.

And so, I shall make my own Lilly inspired gear this weekend!  I thought I might be able to buy Lilly Pulitzer fabric by the yard.  But, after some research, I learned something very, very important:

Lilly Pulitzer fabric is not sold by the yard.  

And if you're buying it by the yard (via ebay or whatever truck you found in a back alley on Canal Street), you're buying copyright infringed merchandise.  And that is not cool.  I have a soft spot in my heart for artists who work diligently to create something and while imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, straight up stealing designs for your own profit is NOT okay.  And supporting those who are copyright infringing their little tails off is also not cool.

What's a gal to do?  How about amass a collection of retail available fabric by the yard that LOOKS like it could belong to the same person who shops and sports Lilly Pulitzer.  Inspired, not ripped off.

I waded through a lot of overly country, overly floral, overly juvenille, and overly obnoxious fabric swatches to present the following.  Of course, fabric is only half the battle and a lot will depend on the silhouette of anything I make (I am SO IN LOVE with all things Lisette right now and I have had some major luck with that line of patterns and the fit).  If you can't help but be drawn to cute, bright, pinky, girly, crittery goodness, I hope you'll find the following fabric options equally appealing and inspiring.

Lilly prints tend to fall into six main categories (that I noticed....suggestions are welcome!)

-Critters (my personal fav)

So here they are...individually adorable.  Together it's like a HUGE EXPLOSION of Lilly-like goodness.  Most are available on fabric.com, but I'm sure you can find them elsewhere.  I have tried to include the name of the fabric, the name of the designer and/or the name of the manufacturer.  Generally, these are designer quilting cottons.  Those are always high quality and give you a nice drape for clothing.

Top Row, Left to Right:  Kaufman Surf N' Sand Tropicals Large Floral Tangerine; Amy Butler Love Tumble Roses Pink; Blend Fabrics, LLC Field Day Large Floral Green; Jennifer Paganelli Lucky Girl Marcella Green
Second Row, Left to Right:  Amy Butler Hapi Heart Bloom Rose; Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Joy Buttercups Spearmint; Moda Daydreams Wonder Jade; Michael Miller Delightful Summer Heather Raspberry
Third Row, Left to Right:  Amy Butler Love Bliss Bouquet Emerald; Heather Bailey Nicey Jane Lindy Leaf Pink; Nel Whatmore Memory Lane Agapanthus Teal; Alexander Henry Stachi Floral Yellow
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Amy Butler Lark Glamour Floral Couture Mandarin Orange; Moda Daydreams Wonder Pale Ink; Benartex Kanvas Sakura Metallic Blossoms Multi; Camelot Fabrics Paisley Please Tapestry White

Top Row, Left to Right:  Amy Butler Lark Dreamer Kasbah Midnight Blue; A.E. Nathan Ikat Lattice Tan; Michael Miller Sultana Jewel; Michael Miller Coco Cabana Palace Paisley Citron
Second Row, Left to Right:  Amy Butler Belle French Wallpaper Duck Egg; P & B Textiles Meridian Medallions Blue; Michael Miller Christmas Tonal Kaleidoscope Lawn Green; Riley Blake Star Spangled Stripes Fireworks Blue
Third Row, Left to Right:  Michael Miller Single Border Kasbah Yasmin Indigo; Richloom Carravagio Paisley Melon; Kaffe Fassett Dancing Paisley Water Blue; Jennifer Paganelli Circa Lauren Blue
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Blend Fabrics, LLC Clementine Blossom Blue; Michael Miller Sultana Teal; Premier Prints Feathers Slub Canal; Michael Miller Christmas Large Whimsy Doozie Lawn Green

Top Row, Left to Right:  Moda Hubba Hubba Hypnotic Hubba Blue; Michael Miller Cynthia Rowley Paintbox Wicker Citrus; Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Herringbone Lake; Michael Miller Waterfront Park Union Station Navy
Second Row, Left to Right:  Michael Miller Indigo Ikat Tika Night; Large Abstract Seagulls White Blue; Camelot Fabrics Mint to Be Ikat Navy; Premier Prints Sherpa Costal
Third Row, Left to Right:  Andover Pearl Bracelets Navy; Michael Miller Coco Cabana Moroccan Lattice Orange; Amy Butler Lark Glamour Chinese Lanterns Grass Green; Michael Miller Indigo Ikat Tika Indigo
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Michael Miller Midnite Gems Lauren Jewel; Kaufman Cheers Cocktail Glasses Caribbean; Dena Designs Kumari Garden Tarika Blue; Amy Butler Hapi Camel Blanket Blush

Top Row, Left to Right:  Timeless Treasures Sea Starfish Navy; Michael Miller the Littles Little Sailboats Coral; Premier Prints Anchor Candy Pink; Michael Miller Out to Sea Sea Flowers Navy
Second Row, Left to Right:  Michael Miller Shore Thing Madras Patch Seaside Multi; Michael Miller Out to Sea Sail Away Double Border Strip Bloom Pink; Andover High Tide Waves Light Blue; Newport Anchors White
Third Row, Left to Right:  Free Spirit Beach Bubbles Bay Turquoise; Michael Miller By the Sea Marine Aqua; Westminster/Rowan Salt Water Ocean Peonies Coral; Free Spirit Salt Water Bubble Shells Aqua
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Michael Miller By the Sea Nautical Netting Coral, Michael Miller Ahoy Matey Point of Sail Navy, Premier Prints Indoor/Outdoor Sea Friends Ocean; Michael Miller Ahoy Matey Rigging Navy

Top Row, Left to Right:  Andover Zaza Zoo Zebras Purple; Tina Givens Dovecote Garden Room Carne Pink; Andover Zaza Zoo Giraffe Stripe Purple; Cloud 9 Fabrics Tsuru Making Tracks Indigo
Second Row, Left to Right:  Premier Prints Lobster Slub Coastal; Michael Miller Rouge et Noir Weiner Dot Ebony; Valori Wells Karavan Marrakech Peacock; Andover Zaza Zoo Monkeys Lime
Third Row, Left to Right:  Dear Stella Tigerlily Elephants Pink; Michael Miller Lagoon Mod Fish Blue; Andover Savanna Bop Rhinoceros Green; Alexander Henry Zahara Zebra Face Hot Pink
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Camelot Fabrics Imaginarium Tigers Turquoise; Michael Miller Little Elephants in Pink; Timeless Treasures Mini Flamingos Aqua; Anna Marie Horner Field Study Fine Feathered Denim Blue

Top Row, Left to Right:  Amanda Murphy by Blend Fabrics Topiary Gazebo Green; Riley Blake Pepe in Paris Buildings Grey; Tina Givens Riddles and Rhymes Castle Row Pink; Michael Miller Paris Prepsters Gay Paree Red
Second Row, Left to Right:  De Leon Design Group for Alexander Henry Black and White Smoke Stack City Black White Yellow; Westminster/Rowan Fabrics Misaki House and Garden Slavic Green; Michael Miller Midnite Gems Maison Jewel; Michael Miller Midnite Gems Nite
Third Row, Left to Right:  Blend Fabrics, LLC Home Grown Bike Ride Purple; Robert Kaufman Perfectly Perched Chairs Steel; Benartex The Big Apple City Street Multi; Michael Miller Paris Prepsters Gay Paree Green
Fourth Row, Left to Right:  Andover Fabrics Hot House Flowers Pearl Strands Green; Riley Blake Union Jack 24 Panel Orange; Michael Miller Jug or Not Retro Kryptonite; Tina Givens Riddles and Rhymes Elephant Flight Royal

I hope that inspires you other crafty preppies out there!  I'm excited to create some fabulous looks from these bright, fun, and high quality fabrics.

And Lilly, if you could just extend your sizes a bit, I would just buy right from you....in the meantime, my summer wardrobe make-a-thon awaits!  First order of business:  Simplicity 1887 shorts, maybe with a scallop hem!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Deck Planning, Summer Dreaming

This weekend, it was 60 degrees.  It was glorious.  Not once did I search, reach, wish for, or even think about a coat.  We spent time in charming Downtown Fredericksburg and for a few days, I forgot my winter worries.

Then today, it snowed.  Big ol' flakes.  It was slightly soul crushing.

So I did this instead.

The last two days, my husband has been planning to paint the deck and put up some privacy fencing.  Our deck is rather sad at the moment.  So I'm now decorating our future outdoor space, including a reclaimed old bike painted bright purple and transformed into a planter/outdoor wall art.  It might even call for a redo of my teacup herb garden!  If all goes as planned, sometime in the summer I'll be able to unveil my little townhouse's fancy schmany deck hideout.  Mother Nature, you're invited (but only if you get this winter crap under control).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DIY Photo Wall Displays using Instagram Prints

Sometimes, the bestest inspiration comes from good friends.  My buddy/blog model Christina, is awesome.  When you ask her what her hobby is, she says "Learning new things."  AMAZING, right?  How could you not want to be around that kind of energy and spirit?

Heart fest aside, she wanted to do a project.  She had seen a pin around Christmas time that used cardboard and clothes pins to make a sort of wreath that you can clip your holiday cards to.  Always improving upon the ideas of others, Christina discovered Printstagram or the Social Print Studio and ordered a pack of prints from her amazing Instagram photo feed.  She really has an eye for photography, so when she showed me her collection of prints, I was quite amazed.  It has inspired me to try harder to take interesting Instagrams and not just pictures of Sheldon (even though he is the CUTEST lil puggle on the planet).

So off we went!  Her project (on the left) was so successful and awesome, I tried my own version featuring food pictures for my kitchen (on the right).  Same method, but totally different looks!

We gathered the following:

-Prints of your Instagram Photos or any photos.  I really love how the Prinstagram ones turned out...they're printed on nice thick paper with a lovely, artsy finish.  I'm a fan.  Also, once I was inspired by Christina's project, I decided to do one for my kitchen with all food Instagrams.  Apparently all my worth pictures are of things I eat.  Nom.

-Something round.  Christina found a really cool frame at the Lobby O' Hobby that worked perfectly.  I found a metal sunflower trivet from World Market that I decided to use.  Also keep in mind that the smaller the circle, the fewer photos.  I would estimate you need about an 1/2 an inch per photo.  Mine was much smaller so I wasn't able to use all of my prints (but will happily rotate them in and out as I am inspired!).  Christina's perfectly fit 24.  Other options:  plates, chargers, picture frames, trays, cookie sheets, etc.

-Clothespins.  Ours are from World Market, 24 for $3.  They're bamboo so they have a much nicer, more polished look that traditional clothes pins.  Target has packs of 50 traditional ones for $1.50 that are also cute, but I would recommend covering them via this amazing tutorial if you go that route.

-Hot glue if you're dealing with a wooden frame.  Crafter's Pick Glue if you're using something that is non porous like ceramic or metal.

So yeah, this isn't hard.  But it is awesome.  Figure out how many pins you want to use and place them on North, South, East, and West.

Sectioning it off makes it easier to evenly distribute the clips.  Also pay special attention to where the clips are lined up in relation to the frame.  On Christina's, we lined up the little metal bit to match with the outside edge.

Once we placed them all, we hot glued those suckers.


As for arranging her photos, we found it best to orient them around the frame so the photo is always right side up.  Also, tilting them in a few different directions looked the best.

So great right?  We talked about adding something to the center like a quote done with the citra solv method, or maybe a mirror.  She decided to leave it for now and think about options later.

So, on to mine!  Same idea, same method, different base:

I lined up the clips to the design right behind the petals and glued a pin where the petals met.  As the pins would just peel off with hot glue, I had to use the Crafter's Pick which needed to be weighted while it dried/adhered.  It took about 15 minutes for each pin to really "set" into the glue.  I let it dry overnight before trying to move/attach photos to it.  I was quite pleased with this product and will certainly use it again.

All together:

And with my food photos:

It was pointed out to me that even though they are photos of food, each one holds a special memory.  I'm really pleased with my result and LOVE that it hangs in my kitchen.

I'd love to see your version if you try one!  Post a link in the comments and happy InstaCrafting!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year, New Wreath

This weekend, Christmas left the Berney's.  And in its place, a new wreath appeared!  It was just too sad to have a blank door.

Remember my football season wreath?  Under all that crimson fluff was a foam base wrapped simply in burlap.  So I pulled the red out, painted the B black, and attached some dried leaves (that I found in the woods behind my house) to the left side with floral pins and wire.  The elephant is a vintage brooch I had in my stash and fits nicely with the houndstooth ribbon (a gift from one of my lovely inlaws).

Festive for the winter months!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Twelve Crafts of Christmas Series: DIY Furry Fox Scarf

White Elephant/Dixie Swap/Dirty Santa MAGIC.  That's what this next project is.  I LOVE to bring something kooky and handmade to a Dixie Swap Gift Exchange and this year, I made a delightful Furry Fox Scarf.

You'll need some sewing skills for this one, but no pattern!  As these were gifts, I got enough fabric to make FOUR scarves.  One measures 12" by 72".  If you only want to make one, use a strip of 54" x 12" fabric.  It will be a little shorter, but same idea.

To make FOUR scarves, gather:

-2 yards of orange fabric.  I used a gorgeous home dec twill in a 54" width.  I would recommend a non stretch fabric with a little weight...also any design/pattern looks awesome: damask, dots, plaid, etc.  Just make it a foxy color.
-2 yards fluffy faux fur of your choice also in 54" width fabric (or close to it).  I went with a more expensive one because it was just TOO SOFT to pass up.  Remember that a scarf often covers delicate skin, so something that will not irritate is a must.
-Remnant of black cotton for the foxy feet
-Black embroidery thread
-Black buttons or beads for eyes

First, split your patterned fabric into four strips in equal widths.  You will have four 13.5" wide strips.  One at a time, fold your strip in half long ways and cut out a fox shape on the fold.  I would recommend the widest part of the fox (when folded) be 5.5" wide....when you unfold, that means thewidest part of the fox will be 11" wide.   Unfolded, he looks like this.  From left to right:  Head, Body, Tail.  Set aside your scraps as you will need them for the ears and legs.

Take your fancy fox shape and lay it on top of the wrong side of your fur.  Pin it down so it stays secure and cut your fur to the same shape.  Set aside.

Using your scrap pieces, cut a large piece of furry to cover the lower section of the tail.  I liked a slightly rounded shape on the top side.  Stitch along the curved edge.  The side and bottom will be stitched down later:

Appendage time!  First, cut the ears.  Cut two pieces of damask and two pieces of fur in this shape and set aside.

Now it's time to cut the legs.  Using your damask scraps only, you will need four strips of fabric about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide with one end slightly rounded.  Cut four strips of black remnant about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide with one end slightly rounded.  Cut four more strips of black remnant about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide with one en.  When finished, you should have three pieces of fabric for each foot that look like this:

YAY!  Everything is cut!  Now it's time for some sewing.

First, the feet because they're the most annoying.  I find that if I knock out the annoying parts first, I have more steam at the end of a project when everything starts coming together.

Take the small black strip of fabric and place on top of the damask strip so they match.  Then, flip the rounded edge of the short black strip toward the back of the damask strip so round edges are facing away from one another.  Pin to keep in place and straight stitch across.

Look weird?  It's okay.  Those black strips will now get flipped back in the right direction and you'll have a LOVELY seam where orange meets black.  With right sides together, stitch the multicolored leg piece to the black solid leg pieces leaving the tops open.  This picture shows one side of a stitched leg on the left and the other side of the stitched leg on the right.

Flip right side out and set aside.  Do the other three legs the exact same way.

Ear time!  Right sides together, stitch damask to fur leaving the straight side open.  Flip right side out and reveal the most adorable furry ears you ever did see.

The non gratifying portion of this project is over!  Cheer!  Grab a drink!  Throw a 5 second dance party!

Time to attach the ears.  Using only the damask piece of main body fabric, place your ears on the head, furry side up with the point facing the tail and the open end facing the nose.  Do a straight stitch across the bottom edge to keep in place.

Flip the ears back toward the nose and pin in place.  Stitch the ears down near the fold using a straight stitch.

Time for legs.  Pin your legs down onto the TOP of the damask like I've shown you here.  Line up the raw edges as the legs will get sewn in when you attach your furry.  You should pin them solid black side up so when you flip them out, the damask/black side is facing the top of the fox.

Right sides together, lay the damask body over the furry body and pin the bejesus out of it.

Now around the outer edge through all the layers leaving a three inch gap on one side of the main body for turning.  Turn right side out and feel very accomplished!

Now it's time for the face.  Using your beads or buttons, attach those puppies to the face.  Then using several straight stitches, make a nose.  AH!  He's so handsome!

Finally, stitch up the opening on his side by hand and then gift him to someone who is awesome.  I can't wait to make a few more!

A special thanks to my lovely model!  She wears him well!

Next up on the Twelve Crafts of Christmas....Glass Etching with the Stars!