Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Etsy Shop Review: Inspire Lovely

I have to show you the order I received this week from an Etsy shop called Inspire Lovely.  It was indeed a lovely package, starting with the address label, which starts out "To The Lovely Leslie Andersen"!  How sweet!

I was floored when I removed the packet from the envelope--look how Debee wrapped it! A big piece of fun polka dot tissue paper, a paper doily, and her card, all wrapped up with black and white baker's twine.  I've recently become aware of baker's twine as a crafting item, and I bought a big roll of red and white twine, but I haven't thought of a way to use it yet.  This is getting my mental wheels turning.

When I unwrapped everything, the wrapping was bigger than my order!  I will be able to use the tissue paper, doily, and twine again.

This is what I ordered:  three yards of black and white polka dot ribbon, and a small box of white sequins.  The wrappings were color-coordinated to my purchase! 

Inspire Lovely's shop announcement says it is:  "A place where you can find lovely and inspiring * paper * handmade crochet * packaging * art* items. I share exclusively designed items for you to enjoy. I hope you love my little creations as much as I loved making them :)" 

The price on the ribbon was great (that's what I went there for--the sequins were an impulse buy!)--it was just $1.75 for 3 yards.  I will be going back for more.  Thank you Debee, for sharing your lovely approach to life with us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mailing the "Hope" Hearts--UPDATED

UPDATE:  Amanda has received the hearts and she was very deeply touched by our gesture of support.  Read her post on Craftster to get her reaction and to read the many comments from other readers who have been moved by her story.

I am happy to give you another update on my project to send "hope" hearts to Amanda, who could use some support as she supports her husband through his cancer treatments (you can read more about this in my other posts HERE and HERE and HERE).

I have received hearts from two more lovely crafters.  First, from Diane, these two beautiful hearts made from a damaged antique quilt.  I love the worn look of the old quilt, and the modern letters stamping out the word "hope" is just great!  Thank you, Diane!

These two pretty hearts are from Shari.  The blue heart is made from several different fabrics; the leopard heart is hand-stitched around the edges.  Both feature hand-embroidery of the word "hope".  They are wonderful, thank you Shari!

Here are all the hearts together.  They look awesome!  I am going to pack them up tonight and mail them in the morning. They will be a great addition to the hearts she received in the Jar of Hearts swap on Craftster.  I know Amanda will be smiling from ear to ear when she opens the package, and it is my hope that this unexpected show of support will be something  she looks back on as a bright spot in the midst of a very dark time in her life.

A great big THANK YOU to everyone who sent hearts for Amanda--Susan, Kim, Diane and Shari.  You ladies ROCK!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Giveaway!

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed, and winners have been chosen!  Click HERE to see who won.

It's Christmas time again--I LOVE Christmas!!  I just made a whole bunch of these heart-shaped ornaments; there are several different colors and fabric combinations, and each one has a word in the center that is meaningful at Christmas.  They measure 3 1/2" in width.  They are puffy and light, and each one has a ribbon loop for hanging on a tree; it would also be cute to tie one onto a wrapped present as an "extra".

Since Christmas is all about giving, I want to give three of you a pair of  these heart ornaments! (Actually, I want to give ALL of you an ornament--but my resources are limited--so I can only commit to three!)

If you would like to be entered in the drawing to win a pair of hearts, just:

1.  Leave a comment below.  If you have a color or word preference (as seen in the pictures), mention it in case you are a winner.
2.  Wait patiently.  I will leave this open for one week, and choose three random winners next Saturday, December 3rd.  (Maybe you'll be lucky and only three people will comment...!)
3.  Check back here in a week to see if you are a winner.  The winners will need to contact me, so be sure to check back!
4.  I will mail the hearts to the winners sometime during the week of Dec. 5-10.

--This giveaway is open to ALL, even those who have previously won something from me!
--If you have had trouble leaving a comment before, try again, because I've changed some settings; you should be able to post a comment now.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

                          St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA:  my spiritual home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Show and Tell: New Bags

Most of the time when I am sewing purses to stock my booth at the local store called Country Treasures, I go about choosing fabrics somewhat haphazardly--I have a handful of designs that sell well, but I don't want to limit myself to just those, because then the booth looks boring; so I try to find new fabrics that I think will have broad appeal.  Sometimes they sell immediately (like the single Halloween purse I managed to make this year!) and sometimes they sit, and sit, for months before the right person comes along to claim them.  Sometimes that person is me!

I like it when I get a special order for a purse (even if the order is unusual, like the solid black bag and  solid brown bag I've shown you before) because I know it will will go straight to its new home and will make someone happy.

I know the holidays are approaching, because I recently got an order for this bag:

Red and green and holly--this purse's owner will bring the holiday spirit with her everywhere she goes! 

This customer also ordered a bag as a gift for her daughter, a school teacher.  This is the front:

 and this is the back.  I love the graphics on these bright fabrics.  The cursive writing fabric, near the bottom on the front, and at the top of the back pocket, was an unexpected gift from my awesome friend Susan (aka, The Sloppy Sewer).  It works so perfectly with the theme of this bag.  Thanks, Susan!!

I love the fun print on the home dec fabric I used for the lining.  Yes, that's a pocket on the inside, too.

Debbie, I hope you and your daughter love your new bags!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Plushies Wreath

This year on Craftster I've made and swapped a lot of plushies; they were starting to take over my house, so I've been looking for ways to put them to use.  I've already told you about using some of them in toy drops for The Toy Society, but a lot of my plushies have button eyes or other parts that might not be child-safe, so I can't use them all that way.  I'm not sure where this new idea came from, but last week as I was thinking about decorating the house for Christmas, I suddenly knew what to do:  put them on a Christmas wreath!  One stop at Walmart was all it took to get the supplies I needed for my project, and here it is, in all it's glory:

I LOVE my new wreath!

By the way--the green plushie on the center left and the red plushie on the center right are Hungry Monsters--the very ones chosen by Natasha at Serenity You as one of her top-ten handmade Christmas gifts this year!

You can make a wreath like this too!  Here's what I used:
--a large artificial wreath
--sparkly red ribbon, and lots of it (I started with a 15 foot roll, and ended up using almost twice that much)
--green string (in the picture the string is red--oops!)
--small sparkly red ornaments
--handmade plushies

It's simple, really.  Start by wrapping the wreath with the ribbon.  Ribbon with wire in it works great, because you can shape it as you wish, but it isn't necessary for wrapping the wreath.

When you return to your starting point, tie the ribbon in a knot.

  I made a separate bow, by looping ribbon in a big circle, then gathering it together at the center and tying it in place with the ribbon trailing from the knot on my wreath.  I used wired ribbon for the bow so it would hold its shape well.

I TIED the plushies and ornaments to the wreath, so I could move things around if I wanted to (which would be much harder if I had used glue!)  I sewed the string through the back of each plushie using a big curved needle.

You will want to play with the placement of the stuffies and ornaments to get everything looking good; that's what took the most time.

I'm hanging this wreath on the inside of the front door, where I can enjoy it!  I have a more traditional wreath for the outside of the door, so visitors will think we're normal.

I have a few plushies I haven't used for anything yet...this is what I think I'll do next:


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Scrappy Fabric Bracelet Tutorial

We are starting a new swap at Craftster next week--the Fabric Jewelry Swap.  This little tutorial will show you how I make a scrappy fabric bracelet.  This is a great way to wear a favorite phrase!  You could also make a bracelet like this using just a single piece of your favorite fabric for the front.

1.  Decide on a color and gather some scrap fabrics.  Iron them, and start sewing them together!  Sew them in pairs, like this, and cut them at a wonky angle:

2.  Start sewing the cut-up pairs together.

3.  Straighten the edges so you can sew on more sewn-together pairs.

4.  Keep sewing, trimming edges, and sewing on some more.  For a 7" bracelet, you only need a section that measures 7 1/2" x 1 1/2", so keep your scraps small, and try to have a lot of "intersections" of fabric, concentrated in the center of the pieced scrap fabric.

This is a 1" wide ruler; I'm using it to get an idea of where to cut my bracelet fabric.

5.  When your pieced-fabric is big enough, cut out a section measuring 7 1/2" x 1 1/2" (that is for a 7" wrist; make yours bigger or smaller depending on your wrist measurement.)

6.  This shows the back of the bracelet fabric, and a piece of iron-on interfacing.  Cut the interfacing slightly smaller than your bracelet fabric, and iron it on the back.

7.  I use a light box to copy a phrase onto white fabric (using a phrase I printed onto paper at the computer).

8.  The edges of the "phrase" fabric will be left raw, so I just cut it out carefully, leaving a little less than 1/4" all around.  Find the center of the bracelet fabric and center the phrase fabric there; pin it in place.

9.  Sew the phrase fabric using the sewing machine.

10.  Using coordinating embroidery thread, hand-stitch around the phrase on top of the machine-sewn lines.  Pull out some of the  loose threads around the edges to make a fringe. (Don't worry, the machine sewing and embroidery will keep the phrase in place--I've worn mine a lot and it is still very secure.)

11.  To make a closure loop, tape a hair-tie in the middle and cut it in half.

12.  Choose a piece of fabric for the backing.  Iron it and cut it a little bigger than the front.  Place the bracelet front, face down, on top of the backing.  Pin the elastic loop, centered, at one end.  Sew all the way around the perimeter, using a 1/4" seam.  Leave an opening (about 2" or less) towards the end of one side.  When you come to the elastic loop, sew back and forth over it several times to make it secure.

13.  Trim the backing even with the front fabric in the seams, and trim the corners.  Turn the bracelet right-side-out, through the opening.  A pair of hemostats will be your best friend at this point!!

14.  Iron the bracelet flat (avoiding the elastic loop--you don't want it to melt!), then top-stitch all the way around, 1/8" from the edge.

15.  Sew on a button, and you are done!

Wear and enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Hope" Hearts Reminder

Two weeks ago I told you about my wish to send hope, in the form of hearts, to AmandaBL on Craftster (you can read that post HERE).  I would like to mail them to her shortly after Thanksgiving, so this is a little ~PUSH~ to anyone who was thinking of making a heart for her, but you just haven't gotten around to it yet--it's time! Let me know if you will be sending soon so I can set a firm date to mail them.  It wouldn't take too long to whip up a heart with the word "hope" on it, I bet you could do it in an hour!

Let me show you what I have so far:  these first two hearts are from susanab at Craftster.  The "hope" heart is puffy, with the letters stamped on.  The bright heart is flat and quilted, and is made in her signature "shabby" style, with loose threads and exposed edges.  Awesome!

This pretty yellow heart is from kimchery, also from Craftster.  It is made of felt, and the word is embroidered.  She made the little blue flower button from clay--wow! Beautiful!

These two are from me; I showed them in a previous post (that's why they look familiar!)  Both are puffy, and the word was handwritten with the aid of a lightbox.

I know at least one more package of hearts is on it's way to me for Amanda, and I do hope a few more of you will be inspired this weekend to grab some fabric and make a heart.  I'll send you my address if you will email me (click on my name at the right to find the link to my email); then I will post a picture of all the hearts before I send them.  You don't have to know Amanda to participate; you just have to be a person who wants to lift the spirits of a fellow-crafter who is going through a difficult time.  Thanks in advance!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Zipper SCORE!

We have a shiny-new Goodwill store here in Williamsburg, Virginia; I have only been in it once before.  Today I decided to run in and give everything a quick once-over, and look what I found--a big bag of zippers!

The price tag says $10.25, which seemed a little steep to me, but the zippers all look to be in perfect condition (old, but perfect!) and I guessed there were about 40 in the bag, bringing the price per zipper to... (...umm...where's my calculator?) about 25 cents each.  That's a bargain!  I use a lot of zippers in small pouches and bags, and I can use lots of different sizes, so I decided to go for it.

At the counter, the cashier told me "It's half off today"!  What?? SCORE!!  With tax they were only $5.39!  And now that I have the package open, I can see that they are all good zippers, lots of colors and sizes, and best of all, there are 64 of them.  Cost per zipper:  8 1/2 cents!
I think I will have to drop in to Goodwill more often.  They have a ton of traffic in and out of there; who knows what treasures I've missed already?

Have you ever found something really great at a thrift store?  Tell me, please!