Sunday, May 20, 2012

Business Casual Wristlet

Last night I signed up for the Sewing Texture class with Vanessa Christenson on Craftsy.  I really like the twisting technique she used for making decorative flowers on projects.  It made me think about these old work clothes of John's I kept for my sewing stash.  Great silk ties and pants and shirts that are too worn out for the office but have plenty of usable material left in them for me to pilfer.  So, this afternoon I got cracking on one of the wallets I designed and decorated it with a twisted flower from the class.  I added a wrist strap to take it from a clutch to a wristlet.  All the materials (minus the two zippers, though I can harvest those from pants easily enough in the future) are upcycled from the menswear.

The exterior was a pair of charcoal colored, polyester pants.  Nice sheen and silky feel.  The interior was one of John's favorite shirts before its collar became frayed.  You should have seen his face when he saw me cutting it.  Ha!  The tie was this great brown with blues and oranges.  I took it apart and cut it down to 2.5 inches in width.

Here is the finished product:

I think it came out pretty well.  So much so that I will be transferring my moola to it after I post this.  I have plenty of shirts, pants and ties, so should be able to make a nice crop of these Business Casual wallets, wristlets and clutches.  Yay!

If you want to read a little more about this clutch, check out the project I posted to Cratfsy for the class.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

bookin' it up

I decided to play with a bit of bookmaking tonight.  Our Preservation Department at work held a bookmaking event for National Book Preservation Week a few weeks back.  It was fun and easy enough that I decided it was something I could duplicate.  

I whipped out the nice paper that John's old roomie Brian left behind (he was a zinester) and my too-tiny paper cutter.
Once I cut up my paper, I got out the rest of my supplies.  
  • embroidery floss (matched to cover paper) and a needle large enough to accommodate at least 3 strands
  • big ol' upholstery needle and teeny tiny hole punch
  • pair of scissors
  • my block printing kit with the "gina makes" stamps I carved over the winter holidays

Those who know me know I have hand problems (carpal tunnel and joint issues, good times).  So, I used the small hole punch to start my holes in the spine of the book by punching them in half circles.  Then I pushed the holes through the rest of the way with the upholstery needle.  

Starting from the bottom, I pushed the threaded needle through the first hole from the inside to out.  I held in place a 3-4 inch tail for binding off later with my thumb 

I wove the thread back and forth until I got to the top hole, ending like this--->

Then, I worked my way down to the starting two holes, with the tail in the first hole and the needle in the second.  
Time to tie off.  Pulling the knot close to the tale/first hole, I double knotted it.  
Lastly, I cut the threads about close to the knot, but not too close (about 1/8 inch).
 Tah-Dah!!  It's a little notebook.
 Next, I inked up the the block printing roller and stamped the covers.  

I think the block stamps I carved came out really well.  I used the softer blocks that linoleum, again due to these sad hands of mine.  I like the sort of woodgrain striping they ended up having.  The gnome is my official "gina makes" mascot.  I will be able to use this stamp for tags, bags, and just about anything that that will take ink or paint of some sort.  
Of course, the gnome stamp came out a little large.  I decided I also needed something a bit smaller to fit items like toys and kids clothing.  Thought a bug was a cute touch.

Here we have them-- the fruits of this evening's labors. I think they came out well for the first attempts.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The other week I found these great little eco-friendly, vegetable matter decorative pots on super sale. I love craft store coupons. Finally got around to creating cute cactus pin cushion last night, complete with one of those dried flowers on top.
Tonight I made another one. It is a hen and chicks succulent. So fun. I love these little plants and had to try my hand at it. I didn't sketch it out or make templates as I should have done. Just sorta went with it. 
One side is a little fuller than the other, but I think he came out nicely considering there was no forethought in the design. Think I will whip stitch the tips with purple for that extra touch. One of the things I love about the hen and chicks is the color combo.   
Here is a group photo. The pots are nice and heavy since I filled them with sand. They should work great around the sewing machines. I need to design a similar stable base for my gnome mascot. He is great now (machine washable, etc.), but could use some sort of junk in his trunk to help stand up to the cats.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wow, this is a first for me. Blogging. Yeah. Ok. 

I am trying to get the creativity flowing this summer. I spent the last two years studying Turkish for my job.  Hem ilginç hem de çok zor, arkadaşlar. I felt bad about doing anything besides studying in my free time, so all those projects I wanted to start were pushed to the side. Projects like kickstarting this blog! 

Sure there's Facebook, BurdaStyle, Etsy and the like (all of which I am doing). But I really want a spot to vent my creativity. Maybe share a few projects and patterns. Somewhere to expound on the woes of trying to sew with four cats in the house. I hope someone out there gets a kick out of my goofy thoughts on the crafting process. If anything, giggle at Ajax mugging for the camera when I'm trying to take pics of finished products.