Thursday, February 28, 2008

From Trash to Treasure: Napkin Edition

Barb's purse challenge this month was to recycle some table linens. Here is that Vera napkin transformed into an accordion wallet. The pattern comes from Simple Gifts To Stitch, but it is heavily modified due to my lame measuring skills. Truly, I think these vintage fabrics are all very shifty. I do measure twice and cut once, but somehow things always end up being a bit wonky. The pattern calls for a magnet closure, but I came up too short on length so, I used a ribbon tie. I don't mind it though.

I have needed a new wallet to hold the dozens of discount teacher cards and other plastic that seems to multiply in my purse. In the interest of blogging "transparency" here is the one I am using right now. Yup, it's a red vinyl freebie from Build-A-Bear.

Actually, Simple Gifts To Stitch called for vinyl too. After making the beach tote using a foamy auto sunshade I have been too afraid to sew anything with vinyl. I am also *trying* to use what I have. I had some black twill fabric to use for the accordion part. Thankfully, the twill had some stretch to it and it worked really well.

Inside the wallet

In the end this was fairly simple to make, although, I do think there is one mistake in the directions, which had me confused for quite a while. I would recommend the pattern and I think I will make more of these to have on hand for birthday gifts.

Whew! That does it for my February projects!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring Takes Flight


Heidi sent me this beautiful potholder because it reminded her of my new bird canvas. This bit of cheer by mail did wonders for me after a long rainy weekend of feeling blah. Thanks so much Heidi!

I was especially encouraged Monday when no less than half my parents showed up for parent conferences! This year I have the "high" class and with such dedicated parents it's no wonder. Plus, out of the blue, I got translation services and didn't have to do all the translation myself. I do speak enough Spanish to get by, but just barely. I really have to work at it and concentrate very hard.

The upside for me out of the Crayon Box is that I am much more rested. So, I have a few things lined up for this week.
vera napkin
This napkin was one of the things I picked up at the last Sunday $1 sale at Jet Rag. I had been looking for some linens for Barb's Purse Challenge. The print of this is really happy and while I wish I had a full set, one is perfect for some sort of project. I am thinking of either the accordion fold wallet from Simple Gifts to Stitch or the No Cash wallet from Bend the Rules Sewing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Observance
Here in Hollywood we observe the Oscars with reverence and a sushi picnic from Sushi Dan.

The sushi was deelish! Yet, I have to say I really wasn't all that enthused by the show. I did enjoy all the red dresses and the usual beauties looked beautiful. But, Juno and Sweeny Todd were the only films nominated that I had seen, so I felt pretty indifferent about who won.

Did anyone else think three songs from Enchanted was a bit much? Here was a theater full of three thousand dolled up movie stars and one of the songs was about cleaning mildew. I wasn't too keen on that and not just because I don't like to clean! I guess they were hard up for original music this year.

My favorite part was the musical performance from Once. The song was beautiful and their speeches were so heartfelt.

Gotta say watching the Oscars on the West Coast is very nice. It really is a much better show at five o'clock than it ever was at half past bedtime!

How 'bout you? Did you watch?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sewing From Trash To Treasure

Remember those sweaters from last weekend?

Well, it turns out that the red one is cashmere. Not too shabby! 

Here is my first project from Simple Gifts To Stitch. I wanted to do something to fancy it up, so I used two buttons. I know, I live on the wild side.

I won't be doing that again. They don't line up as straight as I wanted. Still, for a first time with a project, I am happy.

Here is the grey side. This was a wool vest from that same pile and was pre-felted. I have never worked with felted sweaters before. They sure are thick! The two ply of this scarf barely fit under my presser foot and my stitches at the end are all wonky. Probably should have followed the directions and hand sewn the end. Luckily, the funny looking side is somewhat hidden by the top flap!

Button Scarf- Embroidered grey felted wool side
I am looking forward to making more of these. The fit is really cozy and I think in sporty fleece this scarf is pretty gender neutral. If you are on the northern corner of my Christmas list, look away now and forget you ever saw this!

This project is part of Finny & Donk's Sewing Adventure. You can see more Button Scarves here!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thrifting Fun

This weekend seemed to be ideal for thirfting. There were lots of new items still in their packaging. It seems that people have finally dropped off the stuff they got for Christmas, but don't want.  I was good. I don't *need* a brand new Williams & Sonoma Santa Pan. So, I left it behind. Still, it's nice to finally be learning the seasons of thrifting. 

After Saturday School I stopped at Good Will on the way home.

Canvas Print
I found this canvas print for $10. It think it probably came from someplace like Urban Outfitters. I guestimated that it probably cost between $18 and $30 new. I thought it was a bit pricey because it had several scuff marks on it. Still, I reasoned, $10 for an spring update wasn't too bad and took a chance that the scuff marks would come out.  I am so glad I did because Cliff really likes it too. I used a white artists eraser to remove the scuff marks and it worked well enough. By the way, my estimate was dead on. Here is a similarly styled print for $30.

Then yesterday, I went to Jet Rag's $1 Sunday sale. This vintage clothing store literally dumps piles of old clothes in their parking lot and everything is priced at $1. I have found some neat things there over the years and now it is my first stop to check for vintage prints that could be used for sewing projects. 

This Sunday, I found:

Wool sweaters for felting

Wool Sweaters for Felting

a house coat that will be made into a spring tote for one of my colleagues...

Flowered House Coat
and this *sweet* old baby dress.

Old Baby Dress
Lace Detail
It's pretty damaged but pretty just the same. I love this lace detail. Perhaps one day I will hang this on the wall.

I also found a Vera napkin that I forgot to photograph. I hope to use it for Barb's purse challenge.

Now, I just have to get crafting to use up some of this fabric stash!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Flickr Inspiration Folder

I decided tonight that I need to get rid of my magazines. They are taking up some precious space and I don't look at them as much as I used to. With magazine resources online, Flickr and amazing blogs to read for inspiration, I don't feel the need to save most of my magazines anymore. 

Still parting is tough.

So, I tore out my favorite pictures from two of my favorite issues of Better Homes and Gardens and scanned them. I created a set of inspirational pictures on Flickr.

I hadn't read these two magazines in years, but I had saved them because I consulted them heavily when we first moved into the apartment. As I flipped through, I found that some of my tastes have changed. And, to my surprise, I had achieved the feel of the pages I really admired.

Here is one of the inspiration pages that I cut out tonight.

vintage pillows
And here are some pillows I made after we moved here.
 Dish towel pillows
Clearly the inspiration sunk in!
I loved the look of this shelf.
Without being the exact same thing, I think I did manage to capture the feeling here.
I'm thinking the online Flickr inspiration file might actually be a manageable system. We shall see.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of Valentines love and cuteness going on in the Crayon Box. Head on over to see the sweetest love letters.

Right now, I am recovering from a blur of sugar and spice and everything nice. Actually, the blur was Jungle Green running around after a cupcake, cookies and a whole conversation's worth of hearts!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This One Touched My Heart

Hanging Hearts Swap Valentine

Carmenn was my partner for the Sweet Goodness Swaps Hanging Hearts Swap and I am so touched by what she sent. 

She writes in part:

If you are reading this letter it means you have received your gift-hopefully in one piece and intact- it travelled halfway around the world!

I hope you like it. 

The red fabric with white motifs are called Shweshwe which is traditional African wax coated fabric (but normally it is navy and white.)

The others are gingham scraps.... 

Then just for you, the little heart with the read and white blocks with other colours contains a little block which says, "I love my teacher!" -I used it for school projects and I thought it quite fitting. I hope you do too. 

Regards, from deepest Africa.


Thanks so much Carmenn! It arrived safe and I love it! Gingham is my favorite! I love the sentiment and care that went into it! 

XX OO from deep in the heart of LA

Loveliness is in the Air

Valentines Swap Goodies

Swap Valentine Cards

Collage Valentine

Seasonal Shelf: Valentines Day

More from Sara's Valentines Swap. Click around for a better view of some considerable talent!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Target Bargains: This Ones For Stacy

I posted earlier this year about happening upon the what can only be described as the second coming of Santa. Unknowingly, I wondered into the 90% off Christmas clearance bonanza at the Santa Monica and LaBrea Target. All of the local Targets had shipped their Christmas leftovers to our Target for one last hurrah. And, cheer I did. 

Well, today I have discovered, via the wonderful world of blogging, that Target has a secret sales formula. The blog Wise Bread has posted on the perimeter sales at Target. It includes how to read the secret price tags and their markdown schedule! Jackpot! 

For years Stacy, my dear former colleague and most loyal blog reader, was my shopping guru. Hopefully with this info I have paid her back for all the sales tips she has given me in the past!
Go forth Target fans and prosper! 

I left my camera at school, so no pictures today. For some of the great swap Valentines go here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Swap Happy

Swap Valentines Waiting for Shipment

Well, my grant writing isn't completely done, but I am lifting my blogging-crafting ban because things are on hold until Monday. 

This year I  joined a swap organized by Sarah and I am so glad I did. Instead of swapping with one person, this swap combined the creative talents of 15 people! Yesterday I received a wonderful packet of 14 assorted handmade Valentines. I have enjoyed studying each unique Valentine trying to learn new creative techniques. 

I had planned to make my own Valentines this year, sort of along the lines of my Christmas cards. Alas, since my life is just too hectic right now, it is not going to happen.  

I now have some lovely Valentines to send out, if I can part with them. I can tend to hoard cards that I really like. I'm pretty sure it's genetic, right mom?

 Anyway, here was my contribution to the swap. 

Red Work Valentines
I started making one design and got bored after three, so I switched it up. I have always loved red work. It's the perfect match of vintage images and my favorite color. Two of the patterns here came free from various websites in a google search of "red work Valentines." For the rest, I got inventive and traced the shapes of vintage Valentines culled from a Flickr search. 

I have an idea to make some more and create a garland out of them. I am thinking about creating some fake ones by tracing the designs on paper and hanging that. From the top of my curtains, marker would show up just as well. Just a thought...

Tomorrow, I will share the Valentines I received.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When Life Cancels Out Crafting

This week I have been very busy in the Crayon Box
Report cards are due this week. Check. 
Feedback due to Donors Choose. Check. 
Open Court Unit assessments are due this week. Almost done. 

My first big grant due this, that one is keeping me up at night nail biting and stressing. 

So, I have had to bribe myself, no crafting until the grant is done.  Ouch.

Today I have an appointment after school and of course voting! Also, with any luck the writers strike might be coming to an end! So, I am going to drive by the picket lines this morning to get a snapshot of Cliff walking the line. I know that's dorky, but I don't care. I am his biggest fan after all.

Tomorrow my former principal is in town California and I plan to go to Disney Land to catch up with her. I look forward to our visit and can't wait to hear about some of my former students and the other school I love so much.

Thursday my Lenten Bible study group begins. 

Friday, maybe Friday will be quiet. 

Saturday I have Saturday school until noon and then I will submit my grant and be done with it. 

By Sunday I hope to be enjoy some crafting. Ever since I cut myself off, I have been flooded with ideas! 

One last note. I love this picture of me because I have "Suzy's Zoo" legs. I cropped out all of the background with the hopes of using this picture in some sort of collage. When I picked up my film at Target I got one 4x6 of my head and torso and another of my torso and legs. The clerk said, "I didn't know which half you wanted." That just cracked me up.