Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Amy Butler Inspired Barcelona Bag

If you've been reading my blog for a while, it will come as no surprise to you that I am a huge fan of Amy Butler. I'm constantly inspired by her fabrics and patterns, and so when Craft magazine announced their Amy Butler Inspired Bag contest, I had to jump on the opportunity to let Amy inspire me yet again (but really, when am I not inspired by her?). Browsing her site, I was drawn to this picture of her Barcelona skirt:

I was really drawn to the lines of the skirt and how it shows off three of her fabrics. I thought the design would translate really well into a bag. So I designed a bag using her Barcelona skirt as my inspiration. I call it my Barcelona Bag. I used fabrics from her Nigella and Lotus lines.

Amy's bags are not only beautiful, they're functional too. I wanted a larger tote with many pockets to easily find all the things I carry around every day. Both sides have "hidden" pockets. One side has three smaller pockets:

The other side has one larger pocket for magazines or sketchbooks:

I made sure the inside was super roomy and added a zipper pocket and two slip pockets.

Can I just say I love this bag?

Many thanks to my sister Kathy for taking these pictures. I had a lot of fun on this photo shoot.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Every briefcase should be pink with polka dots

My niece, Elissa, had her fifth birthday party this weekend. Not one to show up empty handed, I brought her this briefcase.

Oh don't look so concerned! Of course I beautified it before actually giving it to her. Whatever life this briefcase had in the past (I think Wall Street, no?), it was destined for a pink polka dotted future. I primed, painted and decoupaged it.

I made sure every inch was covered and pretty.

Then I filled it with all kinds of craft goodies.

Including this special notebook.

Not bad for an old briefcase, eh?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Slow going but getting there

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to spend the morning with awesome Katie learning how to knit. How much fun we had! It soon came out that we both had craft/sewing blogs to which the response was a big "No wonder you two are picking up knitting so quickly!". Well, I think Katie is picking it up a lot more quickly than I. While she has since completed this masterpiece, all I have to show is this:

Maybe, just maybe I'll have a finished, albeit wonky, dishcloth to show by the next class.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Hello friends. Well, I've gone and done it. I've cut off my hair. I almost had a panic attack as the scissors met my hair but I feel good about it now. I needed a change. I think the hair might just be the beginning.

See that messy desk in the background? It's been seeing a lot of action but unfortunately I have nothing to show for it yet. I've been busy designing a new bag pattern but I'm still working out a few kinks. I'll have something sewing related to show soon though. In the meantime, I have some non-sewing related projects in the works that I'll share this week. I told you the hair was just the beginning, didn't I?

Happy President's Day!

P.S. The necklace I'm wearing in this picture is one of my most favorite necklaces ever. I bought it from Sheny Designs at the Crafty Bastards Fair in DC this past fall but she also has an etsy shop here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You make my day

Lara from Thornberry recently gave me a "You Make My Day" award. I'm so honored.

I'm supposed to pass the award on to another 10 people whose blog brings me happiness and inspiration and makes me feel happy about blogland. Well, everyone who stops by here and leaves a comment brings me happiness and makes me feel happy about blogland. But in the spirit of passing on the torch, here are some people who make my day:

Sugar City
Oh Fransson

It was hard to narrow this down to ten as there are so many other blogs I'm constantly inspired by!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Up to my neck

It's been a little quiet lately because I've been up to my neck with non-crafty stuff. It's all good though. I apparently thrive when I'm super busy. I don't really like having a lot of time on my hands. Can anyone else relate?

Speaking of being up to my neck, here is my finished Simplicity 4111 top with a raised neckline. I wanted to make this top since last summer but just got around to it. All of the reviews I read warned about an extremely low neckline. I decided to raise the neckline so that I could wear it by itself without flashing my goods to the outside world.

I'm happy with the neckline but I'm not sure how I feel about the shirt overall. I think it just needs to grow on me. Anyways, here is how I raised the neckline:

First, tape your bodice pattern to some paper. Measure the amount you want to raise and mark a dot. Then draw a straight line down to the original point. Here I've raised it about an inch.

Next, draw a curve from the dot you just made to the side neckline using a french curve (like the one pictured) or do it freestyle.

Make sure you transfer all markings from the original bodice neckline to the new neckline. Once that's done, it's time to adjust the neckline facing. If your bodice pattern doesn't have a facing piece, then you can skip the next step. Remember to use your new bodice pattern piece for the lining if applicable.

Put tracing paper over your new bodice pattern. Measure the width of the original neckline facing pattern piece. Here, the amount I raised the neckline happens to be the same amount as the width of the facing pattern piece. On your new curve, measure and mark that amount along the entire neckline (represented by the dotted line in the picture above). Connect the dots and you have your new facing piece. Prepare your garment following the directions with your new pattern pieces.

There might be a more professional way of doing this, but this is the method I used which worked for me. I hope this helps at least one of you out there.