Sunday, September 28, 2008

Say Sew

I started thinking of all the sayings that have to do with sewing. Frankly, the only saying I could think of that is positive is "you got me in stitches." All the others have a negative bent: hemmed in; hanging by a thread; coming unraveled by the seams; quit needling me; and I'm walking on pins and needles. Maybe there was some sadistic seamtress that started all of this. Anybody out there have any other sewing inspired sayings?
Theresa, OmMama

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Habijar: New Project #1

Habijar? Yeah, it's not the best name. I'm open to suggestions for this one. Basically I fell in love with some old jelly jars from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, The Gingham Girl, and got six (all the ones that would safely fit in a $9.00 priority box). When I showed my fiancé, Dale, he loved them just as much and wanted me to get more for him. I bought out the rest of them and Dale didn't seem quite as interested anymore or had forgotten his brilliant idea for them. My first thought at the jars was snow globe. But I didn't want to put water in them because the lids would eventually rust through. So instead I thought to try dry snow globes for Christmas. The first thing I got was some fake snow craft goo from Michael's and some sparkly snow bits to mix in. I always wanted that stuff and finally had an excuse to get it. I searched around the inter net for miniatures of Christmas trees, snowmen, Santas, elves, and deer. When I visited Humboldt I thought sure Daisy Dry Goods would have something but they seem to be low on the miniatures ever time I visit now. All the miniatures on eBay were super pricey and most likely too big for my littler-than-I-thought-they-were jelly jars. I finally gave up and just let the boxes of jars sit on my craft books, collecting dust in a lonely corner next to my craft table. Finally, I realized I could sew miniature things and I didn't have to do Christmas (the thought of making a little gnome head is still intimidating me). I started on an example one and glued a mound of felt grass onto the inside of the jar lid. I thought to start with a couple of little amanita mushrooms and have made the cap to the larger. I hope to finish this jar over the weekend but my lack of time for crafts will be continuing with a long work weekend and a physics exam the day after my long awaited concert. Hopefully I will have some pictures of my first habijar up soon.
Cerise : )

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You've got me in pieces!

I have not had any craft time! I have been very busy with school (and it's only one class! How did I ever do more than one lab science class at a time), violin lessons, tap class, and am picking up a second job that I don't have much time for and don't fully understand (I should be getting a masters out of all this!). On top of it all I have a messy household, no time to clean it, and not enough room to spread out my fabric without the bedroom looking like the closet threw up all over. My need-to-be-worked-on-or-completed projects are as follows: finish Mom's socks (fortunately I am only sewing-up-the-toe away from mailing them out to her), finish making an astronaut beanie plush for my aunt's Challenger Learning Center in Alaska, making punk pigs (there's a story behind these I will post when I make one, I really can't wait!), doing something clothingish with all the ridiculous amounts of jersey knit and other knit fabrics I bought online super cheap, and prepping lots and LOTS of critters for a craft fair I am going to give a go in November (while finding tables and the like as they aren't provided!). I am overwhelmed at at a breaking point and I feel my stress coming on. On the plus side, I have a few friends who want to learn to knit and I think I might try to start a knitting group with them. If I can find time. My poor creatures are more like monsters. They sit around with half of their parts, no stuffing, eyes popping out of their lifeless heads. I feel rotten when I see them because I know they are sad that they have had their parts stuffed away in a bucket in the closet, waiting for the next holiday. Hopefully I can find some time between my un-masters work, my physics tests, the dishes, and shaving the cat to sew and knit.
Cerise : )

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Straight Pins and Buttonholes

One of the best sewing inventions is straight pins with the little colorful balls on the top. I can’t function with the old flathead silver pins. Last winter I made curtains. Cerise looked up after I hung them and pointed out a pin sticking out of a seam, pointy end out. We had to cut it with wire cutters and push it in to live forever in the curtain’s lining. I went and bought some more colorful pins the next day and tossed my old pins. Recently I started using longer, sharper quilter pins. They are VERY sharp. Except for the occasional stabbing, I love them. Just keep a few bandages near your pincushion.
Here is a interesting website on buttonhole stitches: . I am so glad I learned how to use my buttonhole attachment (Thank you Cerise!)
Theresa, OmMama

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tricks of the Trade

The more I sew, the more tricks I recall my Grandmother taught me. One of my favorite is using a bunch of small bean bags while pinning a pattern to keep the tissue flat and even. It works to smooth down edges of fabric, too.

As much as I want to short-cut to save time, washing and drying fabric ahead of time is worth it, especially with cottons. I hate shrinkage (more on that later).

Sharp needles are very important and so cheap. I do change my sewing needle very often now, though not every project as the manufacturers recommend. They are cheap, but not free. Good thread is worth the price, too. Stock up on basic colors of good thread when it is on sale or look for it at thrift stores like Cerise does. It really is true they don't make it like they used to!
Theresa, Ommama

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sewing Injuries

Last night I was reminded not to put my head too close to the sewing machine. I was doinked in the forehead with the machine arm. However, the most painful injury is a needle through the finger. Machine needles are not like hand needles. They are big and fat and kind of sharp but also usually balled at the end so it is like getting punched with an awl. Another painful injury is the burn from the light on the machine. Yes, I know it gets hot!

How can all these injuries occur, you ask? Getting too close to the machine! Even before my eyesight started failing, I had a problem of getting close to see each stitch as it's made. It is fascinating to me to see my little machine pump up and down 15 stitches an inch or more and to see it all come together to be a bag or shirt.

If you want to know if someone is a sewer look for little track marks from the pins and needles all over his or hers fingers. Perhaps a cut from the scissors (never cut yourself with pinking shears. That really hurts!) and maybe check the forehead for marks.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buffet of Bow Ties

While visiting my parents in Humboldt, I noticed a couple old, mouldy looking boxes of vintage sewing patterns. Mom planned to take them to Daisy Dry Goods (one of my all time favorite stores!) on the Arcata Plaza to see if they would buy them. I thought to take a look to see if any of the patterns interested me before we too them in. Some were cute, some a bit creepy (clown costumes!), and some just silly (many of the men were very similar looking their female photo op. partner). All of them were must to small for my lady hips. But in the midst of all the funny 70s patterns was a bow tie package. Tie-yourself designs, pre-tied, clip-ons. At least the man really looked like a man. I snatched that one up and stuffed it into my luggage bag to later try out when I was back in my sewing pad in San Diego. A couple days ago I pulled out the pattern to start on a project for an alchemy request for a red bow tie. Now, not only is the red cotton fabric and its interfacing cut out, there are many funky and holiday-inspired bow tie wannabe cutouts all over my sewing table (and beyond). I thought, I might as well make a bunch since I have the pattern ad try to sell some in the boutique. So far I have all the pieces (save some interfacing parts) ready to be sewn together. I can't wait to attempt tying them for the Etsy pictures. My fiancé has volunteered himself and his fedora as the model. I hope other people enjoy my funky and a bit tacky taste in men's fashion. I know I would definitely done a tacky tie to a holiday party just for kicks if not for a nice conversation piece. My next task: cumberbunds. I just know I'll get a custom order from a holiday barbershop quartet group for some Frosty bow ties and matching cumberbunds.
Happy crafting,
Cerise : )


I wish you all could see my face when I found out for the first time I sold one of my yoga mat bags on etsy. I did a little dance, too. My second sale was just as exciting and included a squeal.

Before my first sale I recalled my days doing outside sales and last week went on cold calls, "warm calls" (follow-ups), tried to do some cross marketing on-line and made pretty packaging for my things going out. I still do better in person but I had some success with the cold calls as I have an appointment set up next week. Virtual selling is not too much different other than there are about a billion people. I can narrow that down to potential buyers and it leaves maybe only a million people. That is a big lake to fish in! I will try the ponds around my little town first!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cork Board

Sometimes I want to do other projects than sew. Cerise found this wonderful frame at her old retail job in the trash pile. I just knew we'd find a good use for it. After many glasses of wine considering what to do, I decided a cork board would be nice. So I drank some more wine, found a board to attach to the back, drank some more wine, found some glue, drank some more wine, arranged the corks, didn't have enough corks, drank some more wine... and finally it is done! In the end I actually had to go find about 30 more corks.

Now I just need to hang it and use the cute ladybug tacks Cerise gave me. But first, I will have another glass of wine!

No More Hair Scrunchies

Sorry about the hair scrunchies. I got a little carried away. Just like with my yoga bags. But now I am making little pillows, too. Actually, they are mini-zafus, to rest your hands on while meditating or prop up a knee. Kinds of like big hair scrunchies without the elastic.

Thrift Store Thread Sherbert

A girl I work with at the Fleet came into set up her summer camp a few weeks back and had some cool sewing gear. She told me she went by the thrift store to get some thread and found a big stash of old wooden spools of thread in some great colors. As soon as I was off work I wandered around the thrift store, found the craft section, and was sad to see only a few sad balls of unloved yarn. I wandered down the street to another thrift store (there a quite a few in North Park), thinking maybe I had gotten the name of the thrift store wrong, and didn't even find a craft section is the very musty and creepy two story store. I called my dad and wandered back down the street, telling him of my sad ending to a great adventure. I stared into the window of the first thrift store and lo and behold, there were the wooden spools of thread on the other side of the store I hadn't ventured into. I quickly went in and almost squealed with delight at all the wonderful colors of thread and sizes of spools. Then I almost fainted at the price of them. They were only 20¢ each! Search wooden thread spools on the web and you will see how pricey they can be. I snatched up 41 spools in all in many magnificent colors, paid the women at the counter, and pranced out to my car with my wonderful find. Now, I'm not really sure what to do with them. I almost want to keep them to savor the wonderful craftiness of yesterday or just stick them in some vintage jelly jars to admire the beautiful, bright colors of the thread. I might end up using the thread because, even though it is old, a wooden spool of white thread I snagged from mom's thread box is the best thread I have ever used so I have faith in my new found treasure.
Empty spools can be great for crafts. I first became interested in wooden spools when I saw a Halloween garland at the Harvest Fest in Eureka, California, last fall. Since then, I have been scoping out wooden thread spools. I found a neat site about decorative relief carvings in wooden spools and I think I might give it a try for some neat Christmas decorations. I will have to talk my dad into lending me his carving tools first and invest in some paints. I don't know that I have room or time to take on another project but it would be fun!
Happy crafting,
Cerise : )

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Featherweight 2

All righty, after a long, frustrating attempt to blog last night and lacking a picture of my wonderful Singer, here is my blog-in-a-better-mood. My mom taught me to sew and read patterns when I was a wee child (I don't really remember when we started sewing but I do remember the funny grey flannel pants we made when I was in 8th grade). I also remember we sewed a lot of 90s scrunchies, possibly for a sofball team. There are still retro memorries of those floating around the fabric bins. I became more avid of a sewer, not better but more excited to sew, in high school. Don't be jealous of the dress mom, the sleeves ripped off. When I moved out of the house and into a pad with my beau, I wanted my own machine. So I found a pretty good deal on one at Ebay (these suckers are expensive!) and got it with minimal plug damage (sad about it but I still have the peices I can glue onto it). Since then I have been sewing a few clothing items, including a pumpkin outfit for the Tiva the chihuahua, and lots of plushies that I sell on Etsy and to friends. I don't get enough alone time with her but when I do I relish it. I am still figuring out how all the doodads work with the machine (I love the pleater and zipper foot!). This is the most wonderful item I own and I can't imagine my life without it. I have a new digital machine (to be introduced in a later post) that I enjoy but I am so comfortable on my Singer Featherwieght (221!) that I use my other machine for making pretty stiches and such. I have too much fun editing my photos with picnik and I tried to give it an aged feeling, but there is my machine! And since I have some spare time and the cat and pig aren't bugging me, I am off to tackle a pile of elephant parts!
Happy crafting,
Cerise : )