Thursday, August 30, 2012

Finished DIY Projects

DIY 1: Coral Bracelets

I used some discounted seed beads from my stash (I seem to have a stash for everything) to make this happen. Definitely not a master of jewelry making, so I will not bore with a tutorial. I did want to list some supplies, though, just in case anyone was curious!

I am fortunate enough to have a gaggle of seed beads always at the ready so I thought I just might try my hand at a little bracelet making. Glad that I did. I now have two bracelets in a lovely shade of coral to pair with my piteously under worn teal, open-toed shoes.

DIY 2: Make-up Organization

(1) Choose a plate or ceramic piece, (2) Have painter's tape handy (for fancy patterns or just to use so that the bottom is paint free), (3) Choose a happy color that makes your heart sing.

I love this thrift store find! I wonder how many times I can use this one can of spray paint? At least I have a soft place in my heart for canary yellow. It is especially nice in the winter, where gray Michigan skies contrast with it beautifully.

This project was the perfect solution for a bathroom that was quickly becoming too cluttered. I added the reversible fabric cushion as an after thought so that the bottom would not get scratched up. The only thing I would do differently is to spray paint more evenly. Oh, and add a daiquiri, but perhaps the paint coat would be way more lumpy!

And now I will go and muse over fall 2012 glossy images. Oh, and actually force myself to keep knitting those socks, though, it is a little warm for my knitting tastes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2 DIY Projects // Before Pics

I found the above jumble of string beads stashed away in my beads 'n things box.  Inevitably, all of the beads had become entangled with all of the "things" leaving me with one jumbled up mess.  I also lost one whole string of beads to my carpet after I forgot that when unraveling a bead jumble it is best to tread lightly as string breaks very easily.  But those are the stories that arise from stash busting. 

The above picture of a lovely...plate?...was found at one of my favorite thrift stores for $1.50 with no chips.  It wasn't the 25 cent bargain that I normally hold out for, but it reminded me of a four leaf clover so I allowed myself to be swayed.  I am thinking about reusing one of my spray paints for an old-fashioned quick paint update.  The key will be to avoid drips and drops and globs.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Final Week // 2 DIY Project Wrap-Up

September is right around the corner!  If it weren't for moments of stifling heat I would say it went by too quickly.  I thought I would start this week with 2 small DIY projects and end it with a monthly wrap-up of my favorite projects.  I am also looking forward to a small blog update!  Nothing too grand, just a couple of pages in the side bar for final projects.

Color Play // Thrift Store Redo

I was inspired to do this crafty makeover, after too many instances of stumbling into my bathroom in the morning completely unable to find my essential makeup choices.  They are usually spread across my counter, hidden under each other, making each morning a scavenger hunt.  The final straw came when I realized that I had duplicates of certain lipstick shades.  Definitely not thrifty.  The added bonus of such a project is that it should add a little color to my bathroom.

Living On A Coral Reef // Inspiration

This is a photo that I cut out from the May 2012 issue of Vogue magazine.  The gown is Alexander McQueen and the head piece is Julien d'Ys.  A very stunning piece and a show stopper for sure.  Coral is my current obsession.  I like to think that it can transition from summer to fall.  I, of course, am currently not in the market for couture clothing or headpieces.  So, I will just have to make do with a small nod towards coral coloration in an accessory.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Peak-a-boo Dress // 1 dress // 2 Ways

This dress was mercifully easy to sew.  The pattern writers did not lie!  I am pretty much in love with this dress.  I love how the pattern allows you to match your dress size with your cup size.  I feel like this is the closest fit I've had without having to do too many alterations.

I also cannot say enough about the fabric.  Even with iron burns it is incredibly soft against my skin.  But enough yapping...I decided to pose this dress two ways.  The first is an ode to the Midwest (inspired by my current location + my inspiration post).  The second is what I am deeming my alien style, which represents my alter ego, also know as, "we come in peace."

Midwestern Modesty

We Come In Peace

All photos by JH.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Royal Aspirations // Design

 Using stash fabric that I accidentally burned with my iron seems extra thrifty!  Luckily, I think that the lattice imprint from my metal ironing board that burned into my fabric looks like an intentional repeat.   Especially, if you squint your eyes, tilt your head, and try to blur your vision.

There are so many lessons to learn when sewing and ironing.  A blog is a perfect place to admit, that when I first realized what had happened, I did not think that my mistake was at all positive.  In fact, I vaguely remember some yelling and swearing and perhaps even some pleas for a "redo."  Which seems reasonable after I had spent days searching for the softest fabric in the perfect shade of royal purple.

After rescuing the fabric from my "may never use again" stash, though, I realized that the burns are actually not quite as noticeable as I thought.  You have to be pretty close to detect the stretchy fibers that were melted, which makes me think that there might actually be a chance that I will wear this dress again if I like it!

Materials:  (1) 2 yds. of iron-burned purple jersey fabric (not intentional), did not use suggested zipper as fabric was already stretchy, (2) McCall's pattern M6348, (3) thread, (4) walking foot, and (5) Alfred (my sewing machine).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MidWestern Modesty // Dress Inspiration

Have I fully explained my fascination + love for knits, yet? Knits are some of the most amazing fits that I can ever expect to get out of garments with the least amount of work. They tend to cling in all the right places, and with the discovery of my walking foot, they are much easier to sew.

I know that it is hard to see the details of this dress from my scanned and cut out copy, but this dress involves two pieces that have a cut-out shape right at the chest area. A lot of the dresses I have seen, keep the rest of the dress pretty unfussy as the cutout does tend to highlight a certain area of your body.

You would think that the cutout would make it gaudy, but I think it gives it a weird mix of modesty. Kind of a peak-a-boo feel.

Don't have a serger, but interested in trying your hand with sewing knits? I recommend this video:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sewing with Knits // Brainstorming

I have been having a bit of a love affair with dresses. It's an all-in-one outfit that I have been wishing for more of. My wardrobe currently consists of a lot of two pieces, which is really convenient for laundry (as I am of the mind that skirts can be worn more than once), but goes against my initial dream list.

Speaking of which, here is a little update. I went ahead and checked off dresses, despite knowing that I will be making more, because I have now made two! And my legwarmers are indeed "knee-highs", in fact, they are thigh-high. A little worried about my commitment to making a sweater and multiple pairs of pants...I may have to substitute those out as I am not sure that I want to wear a lot of pants and a sweater seems low on my knitting dream list. But, I may also be suffering from winter amnesia, in which I think that I will be traipsing around in dresses and skirts in the snow.

I have also noticed that my outfit musings tend to lean towards purple. Though I am not one to necessarily keep up with seasonal color trends, I can tell that for me at least, purple reigns king. I have a lovely pattern that has been sitting on my sewing table forever that I would like to try out. It has a cutout, which could be either "AWESOME" or "WHOOPS," depending on my sewing skills.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Butterscotch Legwarmers

I have felt a little guilty about my postponement of knitting and crochet in favor of Alfred and sewing.  I have always fancied myself a knitter/crocheter for any season, but I realize that in the heat of summer (and even during the cooler nights) I just can't bring myself to pick up yarn for long periods of time.

Then, as always around this time of year, I start to notice small seasonal changes.  Leaves turning brown, greens that are no longer lime and granny apple, but ether forest or jungle, and I get the urge to pull out my book with Elizabeth Zimmermann and all of her fiber happy musings.  Of course, I tend to get a little over eager.  I begin to plan elaborate projects--fair isle stockings with whales (they can't be that hard), form fitting sweater knit in the round then steeked (at an asymmetrical angle) with a heavy duty coat zipper (a month tops, right?).

Overall, this project and the outfit I wore it with embody the spirit behind my very thrifty month.  Thrifted clothes + friend-me-downs from a friend leaving town helped to pull it all together. As for the leg warmers, I used a simple fishnet stitch so these worked up amazingly fast.  Probably in about two hours, maybe less.  The challenging part was figuring out how to get the elastic (used towards the top to keep them up) covered with fabric.  I still have some tinkering to do with that.  All-in-all, not to shabby of a project.  Perhaps, this will give me the motivation that I need to get started again on those knee high socks I posted about.

As I continue on my craft happy journey, I want to make a more concerted effort to share links, videos, and tutorials that I have found helpful across the web. Below, is a video showing the fishnet stitch. I did slight variation of it, but this helped me figure it out.

New to crochet? I would start with this:

Also, a special thanks to my awesome childhood neighbor, Ms. Kelley, for teaching me to crochet in the first place!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stitchin w/ Stoller // Design

I am pretty excited about this fall project.  I heart crochet so much, but I normally reserve my hook for home projects--throws, grocery bags, etc.  I love the speed, but hate the amount of yarn it chews through.  My first realization that crochet could be realistically made into garments that won't floor me with bulk was Debbie Stoller's, The Happy Hooker.  Most of those projects still seem really modern and cool.  At one point I was working my way through several projects. 

The stitch that I use a lot for crochet leg warmers is the fishnet stitch.  I like it because it works up fast and because it makes the finished product not feel too bulky.  I spent a little time looking at Wiki's list of colors.  I love putting a name to colors and then thinking about how to incorporate them into projects. 

Materials Used:  (1) 1 3.5 gram skein of Vanna's Choice (orange), (2) small amt. (about 1/4 of a 3.5 gram skein) of yarn for top, thigh high, (3) size H crochet hook, (4) directions for fishnet stitch, (5) ribbon or fabric to fold over elastic, (6) elastic (2" subtracted from inches of elastic needed to fit around thigh), (7) thread

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Legwarmers // Inspiration

I have decided that I am pretty infatuated with the following for Fall 2012:  leg coverings of all types (legwarmers, socks, leggings, and funky socks), hats (of all types, perhaps accessorized with thrift store finds), and red lips.  Speaking of red lips, I know that wine stained is the trend, but I am worried that if I try that one my lips will come out looking like purple eggplants, which I don't think is the intention behind the look.

Leg warmers are a funny idea.  They basically assert that you will either wear them over other leg coverings or that you will be using them to cover your legs because you are wearing something that would normally make you shiver all the way home.  Also, is it too early to think about fall?  Perhaps, it is the cooler weather (thank the lord) or the glossy mag frenzy that has been months in the making.  It is at times like these that I realize that my mail person must hate me during the month of September...I am patiently waiting for my birthday gift that brings joy every single month (Vogue).

Also, thinking about committing to the eye liner cat eye swoop, but you do have to have a rather steady hand.  I know that there have been times when one of my eyes looks like it is drooping while the other looks like it is Minnelli big because of a shaky application.  With practice maybe I can get as good as Karla from Karla's Closet.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yarn On the Brain

Can I keep him? I swear this is what I see every time I go to a store that has yarn. You would think that this would keep me away from such stores. Instead, I go in with the reserve of a reformed hoarder. I tell myself that I am only going to look at the yarn. I am not allowed to pick them up and pet them. That is what gets you in trouble.

Anyway, I have decided that I should congratulate myself on only getting one, and with a specific project in mind, no less. Progress. I have been craving buttery, creamy butterscotch, and I am thinking that this orange would go great with one of my stash yarns...yellow, maybe? Anyway, I drew the picture below to give myself an idea of what I would like to happen here. The one downside is that I don't have a lovely gown like that. Perhaps, I can remix something I already have?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where You At?

My bedroom/craft room...

I am thinking about yarn for the week ahead.  A little break from Alfred, my sewing machine, might be nice.  He has been working extra hard for me lately.  

I also have a confession.  I slipped up and bought a skein of sale yarn.  I have so much stash yarn already that I feel very ridiculous (not enough to return it, though).  But I have decided to force myself to incorporate at least a little stash yarn into my next project.   

Not sure if a self-administered hair cut counts for atonement, but I did it. Well, I did something.  I used real hair shears and I think that I managed to get most of my split ends.  And while studying my face in the mirror, I decided to finally commit to bangs and to focus on making them thick and somewhat even.

Guess this weekend was a cut above the rest... (yep, I wrote that).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thrift Store Beads Reveal + Outfit Remix

I must admit that this has definitely been one of my favorite jewelry making projects. I love the bow on this necklace. It is removable so that I can clip it onto anything my heart desires, but on this necklace it adds a little whimsy.

This is one of those projects that I wanted to post right away, but I decided to be patient as I wanted to make sure that I at least attempted to show my thought process when it came to making a big accessory.

I am already thinking about other outfits to wear this piece with. I am pretty proud that I was able to remix my lace dress up a bit. In fact, all of this outfit is either thrifted, sewn, or a hand-me down (except for the shoes)! I am totally loving this thrifty month!

Wooden Jewelry // The Plan

Update/edit:  I figured I would include this in case anyone was curious about how I made the necklace!  I reversed the order of this post so that it goes before the reveal...

The beads are beautiful by themselves, but I really did want to add some unexpected color. My plan is to use the materials below to craft something up. I have this idea of a necklace with a removable bow. I am not sure if I will like this when I actually make it, but I figured I would include the materials I plan on using for the bow, just in case it works.

Materials: (1) light colored wood beads, (2) dark colored wood beads (not to be painted), (3) 1 can of Rust-Oleum, gloss, sun yellow spray paint, (4) rust colored linen fabric from JoAnn's (about a 2" wide strip x 1.5' length), (5) 1' x 2' piece of cardboard, (6) 12 round toothpicks (to put into cardboard for easy bead painting).

Optional Bow Materials:(1) thread, (2) a sewing needle, (3) 12" length of fabric (about 4" wide) folded in half; sew up three sides leaving an opening of 1/2" to 1" to flip bow inside out, (4) another piece of fabric 1" wide and long enough for the ends to meet if wrapped around the bow, (5) a quilters clip for the back to clip it to necklace (I simply sewed it on the back of the bow).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chunky, Wooden Jewelry Inspiration

I love the way the perfect accessory can make an outfit. I am always amazed at how long it has taken me to figure out how to make use of my jewelry making odds and ends. I think it is sometimes hard for me to visualize how what I have can fit into my emerging sense of thrift-tastic style.

One of my long-term goals is to the majority of my clothing. I am pretty far away from that goal, but I want to start pulling together items that will work with me as my skill level (hopefully) moves forward. I think that this necklace will add a pop of color and drama to a wardrobe in need of a facelift.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thrifted Beads

One of the things that I love about Michigan is that it is a very crafty state. It seems like every thrift store that I go into is overflowing with awesome, crafty finds.

I often day dream of going into a thrift store looking my quirky, glamorous best. This is probably because normally I look like a "I-just-woke-up-early-on-Saturday-morning" wreck. On the day I found these beads, for instance, my allergies were going full-force. And, in my rush to get out the door, I did not bring any tissue. So there I was, opening dusty craft drawers and fishing out beads, trying to sniffle back the amazing amount of gook that threatened to drip down my face.

I looked a mess. But the thrill of finding wooden beads for a dollar did not diminish my zeal. I was, however, grateful when I was offered a tissue at check-out. You can always count on thrift store mavens to have tissues on hand. I love it!

As far as the beads, and it being thrift-tastic month, I am thinking yellow spray paint that I will use again and again and again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Home Sewn: 80s Summer Mini Dress

Had a bit of a break in the heat, so I decided to go around town and show of my new t-shirt/ mini-dress (depending on my level of adventure).  One of the things that I soon found out about this material, is that though it is as weightless as all get out, it is completely transparent.  I am aware of the transparency trend, but I am not sure that I am brave enough for a garment that is totally see through, at least not yet.  

Therefore, I had to make a quick slip.  To do that I just used the left over green fabric and a simple zigzag stitch.  M6288, view d, was a cinch to make, and it is very loose.  Perfect for heatwaves.  I wasn't able to pull off the pink hair from my original drawing, but I wore a hat (gifted to me by my friend, Gabby) that added a little color.   

I really love the above necklace that I found at a local thrift shop.  It was only $3.  I might have squealed when I spotted it.  The chain is the perfect length for me, so I am sure that it will get worn a lot this fall.

Speaking of fall, am I the only person excited about it?  I know that this happens every year around this time, when I fancy that I actually enjoyed the gray, Michigan winter.  That I love cold weather.  That I couldn't get enough of it.  That I never once exclaimed, "Oh my god, I am FREEZING."  Which reminds me, it is definitely time to get the knitting needles going in anticipation of weather changes.  Whoops, just squealed again.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Mini Dress// The Plan

The heat does not bode well for tight clothing. I immediately am in the mood for breezy clothing that does not show perspiration. I want the fabric to be as close to weightless as possible. I want the pattern to be simple to put together (the less I have to plug in the hot iron, the better). And most of all, I want to be able to wear my dress the same day.

One of my goals, is to actually use all of the sale patterns that I have bought. I tend to get caught up in the designs, but it is beyond time for me to begin sewing some of them up. This pattern has multiple easy options that could be useful. I am thinking that a shirt from this project could be very useful as well.

Materials I will be using:  (1) 1 1/2 yds. of fabric from two different bolts from super store (fabric composite was literally marked, unknown), (2) white thread from left over sewing project, (3) M6288 sewing pattern, view D, size 12

With help from the usual suspects:  (1) Beatrice, my body double, (2) sewing sheers, (3) my new favorite tool for working with knits, a walking foot, (4) Trusty, my seam ripper, (5) clear rulers + french curve, (6) pins + tailors chalk, and (7) Alfred, my sewing machine

In case you missed it, this post is a part of a series: (1) brainstorming, (2) inspiration.
This post is also a part of my thrifty month.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where you at?

Sometimes I get so excited about a project that I am working on that I have to share a sneak peak.   This was shot in the back of my apartment, on a surprisingly beautiful day.  I will have more on my non-sewing project on the blog towards the end of the month.  I love when Sunday turns out to be a productive, creative day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Dress Inspiration

Funky, pink, over-sized, 80s inspired goodness. Once I started searching, I found some wonderful things to collage to make me feel like I was in the correct mind frame for sewing. Sometimes you just need a little inspiration to set the course for a wonderful sewing experience. Currently, I am also listening to The Reminder, by Feist. Hard not to feel in the groove with that album.

When I sew, I always have a little something blaring in the background. I have just started to notice that my music choices often closely align with what kind of garment I am making. For instance, if I am in the mood for a "night on the town outfit," music with a beat is quickly sought and then played. Not surprisingly, if I am making an outfit that I believe will cause me to go out of my comfort zone, Lady Gaga mysteriously plays in repeat.

I have begun to fall in love with my musical + sewing quirks. It's like the clothes are the DJs. Love it.

In case you missed it, this post is a part of a series:  (1) brainstorming
This post is also a part of my thrifty month.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stuck In My Imagination: Summer Dress Musings

Now, back to stash busting for this weeks "thrifty" post. I am only somewhat ashamed to admit that there are times when the mystery fabric section (heavily marked down) at the superstore catches my eye. I go over and I sniff it, I rub it between my fingers to try and assess just how thin does a fabric have to be before it disappears. In this case, it can be pretty thin. Transparent, in fact. But, boy is it super soft, and light as a feather.

And thus, the story of how something once relegated into the "knit muslin pile" began to upgrade into actual, wearable fabric. Fabric than could act as a thin shield between me and the elements.

One of the things that I have always loved about imaginative musings, is that I often experiment with all of the wild ways in which I would wear the piece once finished. Apparently, pink hair and a Pharaoh like headpiece are in order for this particular dress. I have to believe, though, that I am not the only one who imagines making big, awesome statements with a change of hair or headpiece.

In case you missed it, this post is a part of my thrifty month.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shrinky Dink Pin Wristlets

After taking an online class, read about the results here, I became kind of obsessed with the Gertie's wrist arm cushion

The usefulness of such an object became immediately apparent as I began to gain sewing momentum in May. Being able to have pins at the ready and to use both hands to shift patterns or pin fabric proved invaluable to me. I am still using these for all of my sewing projects.

I kind of made up how to do this as I went, but everything ended up working out. This project took me about an hour to complete three pin cushion wristlets (baking included). My first try was a wipe out, but once I overcame my math skills and figured out an approximate shrinking measurement it was pretty smooth sailing.

Materials used: sheets of shrinky dink (can purchase at most big craft stores), permanent markers (for decorating), fabric scraps + fiber fill + thread (for pin cushion), a cup (to trace out shrinky dink circle for pin cushion to rest on), a ruler (to measure out shrinky dink wrist band), a mini flower vase (to shape shrinky dink wrist band into half circle), & hot glue gun (to glue pin cushion to shrinky dink circle and then to glue circle to shrinky dink wrist band).

In case you missed it, this post is a part of my thrifty month.

5 Ways To Keep It Thrifty


My Top Five Ways to Keep It Thrifty:
  1.  Stash Bust. I am woman enough to admit that I have stashes in all of my crafty areas.  Luckily for me, my stashes have plenty of good things to  offer up for my thrifty cause.  Using materials that I have around allows me to be creative with what what's on hand, justify my previous purchases, and (more importantly) to justify my future purchases.  Okay, so perhaps that last part wasn't quite as thrifty.

  2. Give a makeover.  I am a fan of giving old items that I use or have found a makeover.  This is especially true when I have great finds at a thrift store.  I often find that an item may have a particular awesomeness about it, but is just one spray can paint job away from fitting perfectly into my personal style.

  3. Bend the rules.  Some of my most satisfying finds end up not being used the way they were intended to be.   Delicate basket weave ceramic vase as an earring holder?  Right on.  Serving dish as a bathroom organizer?  Oh, yeah!

  4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.   One of the ways that I have saved money is to reuse materials to death.  For example, when I buy a can of spray paint I try to make sure that it is a color that I adore so that I can use it again and again on many different projects.  This helps keep costs low and, if I am careful about the color, can add the right pop of color consistently throughout my space.

  5. Cross-Merchandise.  I try to combine my materials and knowledge in one crafty pursuit to another.  So I might, use a knit element as part of a garment or add a sewn fabric element to a necklace .  I love this as it allows me use up multiple stashes at once.

To the dog days of summer, I say, I am ready. Give me a cold glass of Southern style iced tea and put a link on the grill. Or in my case a link on the frying pan, but that image wasn't quite as savory. Hot dogs and sweat tea, definitely off to a thrifty start.