Friday, March 31, 2006

funny stencils

Babies drool a lot. A lot of times, my nephew, Art, just wears a bib all day to stay dry. While babysitting a couple weeks ago I noticed that the large silkscreen on his t-shirt kept him dry in the face of baby spit-up and drool. So, I bought him a plain onesie and stenciled a bib on it. My sister had some fun ideas for other stencils, like a big fat 70's tie. We might also make one with a stencil of really big 70's collar. Imagine the possibilities!

Then I remembered Underalls. I am going to buy some underwear at Target and stencil the Underalls symbol/shape on the butt. I'm funny.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When we were living in Japan, I was absolutely starved for English reading materials. became one of my somewhat dangerous friends. It gave me so much pleasure and yet emptied my pockets at the same time. Anyway, I ordered this book but never got around to making anything inside until this last spring break. The book is pretty good. It spells how to make different handbags and how to alter them to what you really want. There are also basic patterns included, but the book is so clear, they're not really necessary. My clutch is lined and made out of recycled 69 cent cloth napkins and pom-poms from the thrift store. The only thing new included is the velcro enclosure.

Here's another thrift store find. I bought a cheapy a-line black skirt, shortened it, and added some patch work. Oh so easy, and I just zig-zagged the patches on instead of giving them a finished edge.

Monday, March 27, 2006

photo of dead plant, or newly sewn skirt???

so, you all may remember back to the posting about how i got a sewing machine and snaked some of my ma's old sewing books so i could teach myself how to sew.... anyhoos, my first creation is complete! the denim fabric is a little stiff, so hopefully after a few washes it'll settle down a bit. i was a total hack-job about the zipper, but i seem to have faked my way through that one for now...
ta dah!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

crafty idea for april

Here is just one of the ideas I am thinking about for the April Craft Conspiracy meeting. My talented aunt Deb makes these fabulous mobiles out of pop cans. She made this one for me, it's supposed to be Fish Lake (where the family cabin is located). All of those delicate pieces are made out of aluminium cans cut up, ironed flat and painted. Isn't that cool? So, start saving your pop cans if you want to make one on April 6th. My other aunt is going to be available to show us how to make a Japanese stab binding book. Another option is button mosaics - mosaics with all of those cool buttons you seamstresses have stockpiled. I might have materials for all three and let you choose when you get here. Any strong preferences?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Somehow, Somewhere, Someone Is Throwing Out Bee Board, Whatever The Heck It Is, And When I Find It, I'm Gonna Take It, Oh YES.

In the last year I've taken a rather amateur stab at making furniture out of recycled materials. So far this has consisted mainly of just refinishing old furniture I've found in alleys, but I'm going to start doing some stuff from scratch. Next on my list is a coffee table using bowling pins I picked up at Ax Man last summer.

After that...what do you think of this table? It's made of bee board. Where the heck do you get bee board?

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Link, via Treehugger.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

art puns and more

Here is my latest creation. I made this mosaic for my nephew Art. My sister loves puns so I call this masterpiece, Framed Art. Depsite Julie's advice that the current trend in mosaic-ing is to go groutless, I do plan to grout this piece.

I also finally made these house numbers that I've been talking about forever. I'm going to do the grouting all at once because of the mess. I might even wait until I make some more stuff and just have a grout party! You're all invited!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

where emily creates

Here are some pictures of my craft space. I doubt that it is inspirational. This is the bar area. Note that the shelves are mostly lined with plates and other ceramic odds and ends for mosaic-ing. However, I did save some space for booze and drinking related accessories. Those odd shaped white things are ceramic mushrooms I bought at IKEA last summer with the intention of mosaicing them with all of my mom's old ashtrays from before she quit smoking.

This is where I actually work on my projects. It is conveniently located right under a heat duct so it is rather toasty for a basement workspace. I like to mosaic at the drafting table so I don't have to hunch over so much.

craft nook inspiration

My friend, Maureen, gave me this great book for my birthday, Where Women Create. It has profiles of artists and their workspaces. It's nice to see everything from super oragnized to chaos in the book. All of the artists do totally different types of work. It is inspiring to see what workspaces inspire others. However, none of the artists featured in the book had any kind of "lounge" area for crafty friends to sit and sip wine in a fashion similar to Anna's Sky Lounge. Now I want to check out the this other book by the same author, Organizing Your Craft Space. The perfect addition to my craft library!

Crazy Food Scarves

Too bad they are all sold out! Check out these bomb pop and french fry scarves (and don't miss the crocheted tatertots all the way at the bottom), as well as the peas and carrots and green salad scarves. I think my favorite has to be the buttered toast! Link via PopCultureJunkMail.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Adorable Amy Butler Fabric & Fat Quarters on Sale

One more than one occassion, I have been accused of being a first-rate fabric hoarder. Am I ashamed? No. For those of you who would suggest that I "have a serious fabric-buying problem" or that I "can't possibly EVER use all that fabric," you must try understand the true nature of my perceived neurosis. I am not engaged in an aimless mission to fill every spare inch of the Sky Lounge with wacky textiles. On the contrary, my collection is the result of years of diligently combing through fabric stashes at quilt stores, thrift stores, estate sales, and, of course, Harris Fabric Warehouse, seeking the perfect treasures for projects yet to be imagined. And I can realize those projects only with a decent fabric stash to exploit...right? And I do so love the fabric. I love to touch it, drape it, and dream of what I will someday make with it. I also love to fold it into tidy little piles and fill every cupboard, shelf, drawer, and box in the Sky Lounge. But let me reiterate: This is not because I'm a pack rat. It's because I find great thrill in the hunt. OK? OK.

I'm turning a corner. For years I've been unable to convince myself to buy fabric online. As mentioned above, one of the best parts of buying fabric is touching it. It brings me joy to stroll down the claustrophobia-inducing aisles of Harris Fabric Warehouse, feeling up everything that strikes my fancy and filling my cart with tapestries, prints, tafetta, and the occassional hot pink corduroy. But alas, it is becoming increasingly difficult these days to make the trek to Brooklyn Park, or for that matter, to any other fabric shop. Ergo, I have turned to The Internets.

The Internets have not let me down. Indeed, The Internets may be a boon to my fabric hoarding enterprise. Take these beautiful Amy Butler prints ON SALE at That shop is full of beautiful finds, and if you're quilting, they do all the work of color-matching for you. (Check out the Free Spirit collection, Swoon!)

I'm not buying anything at the fat quarter shop just yet (indeed, the student's salary does not allow such luxuries), but I find that perusing the shop does satisfy the need for a fabric fix.

Dress Form Anyone?

I've been scouring the thrifty stores trying to find a dress form, but I think there are a few thousand other people searching for the exact same item. I'd been oh so tempted to march myself and my 40% coupon right on over to Joann's, until I ran across duct tape dress form tutorials. What a wonderful temporary solution until a previously used dress form just happens to fall into my greedy little hands.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

April Showers

With spring just around the corner I'm already starting to think about my garden. Last year I had so much fun with it, but seriously, it was high maintenance. One day without a drink and there was some serious wiltage. This year I'm looking into making more of a rain garden. My knowledge about this is super limited, but I know the basic theory is using native plants in strategic areas so that your entire area needs less water. I'm signed up to take a two-part class in March. The best part of the class is they're offering $75 gift certificates to participants, for buying the plants they tell you all about. They've also got people there to help you do the planning for your specific yard. I'm so excited, but would be even more excited if someone would come with me to the classes. Any takers? ...It's FREE...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cutey-Cute Skirts

Oh, MAN, am I adoring these skirts over at at Whip Up:

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Thanks for pointing me in that direction, Jules!

Fave sites? I've been finding more inspiration in the designy than the crafty lately. I've been loving design*sponge and Inhabitat (owing to my inexplicable current fascination with/fixation on pre-fab).

Today I spent some quality time with my laptop and really enjoyed/spent way too much time on the whipup site as well as the readymade blog. Any other new favorites out there?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My first quilt!

Thanks to help and inspiration from Anna, I've been working on my first quilt for the last couple of months. I started the actual process of quilting over President's day and I'm close to being finished. I still need to figure out how to bind the edges. It's definitely a work in progress and a learning experience! Any advice or suggestions for what to change on the next one is welcome!

Here's the full size version (sorry for the nasty flash, but I haven't been home in daylight hours in forever)

And here is a close up of the fabric and stitches. Note the fancy stitches (and my poor execution -- I really need some lessons on sewing straight and keeping an even tension, but I figure the best thing for now is repetition).