Monday, February 22, 2010

Root beer & cheesecake lemon bars

I just mailed out a huge order of 40 wallets! My fingers are so sore and blistered. I spent the entire weekend making these. I was so worried I wouldn't finish them in time. The customer needed them by Wednesday, so I'm pretty awesome and they are arriving a day early. I finished around 10pm last night. This week I need to give my fingers a chance to heal. More sewing, no glue guns!

Today is the first day as a nanny again! Back in Michigan, I watched my cousin's five kids every Friday. It was great. I miss them. My friend, Sarah, started a new job this week and I'll be watching her daughter, Maura, all day and her son, Finley for a few hours, about three days a week. She's an adorable little 3-year old that looks exactly like my sister, Rachael, when she was a little girl. And Finley is the sweetest little boy I have ever met, not even exaggerating! I used to want four kids, now I'm thinking two. But I'd have 10 if they were all like Finley!

I can't wait for our new roommate to move in so we have a television in the downstairs. Then I'll be able to sew in the dining room while she draws and watches cartoons. I really need to start moving my fabric downstairs!

My poor cats are freaked out at the sight of small children. Stella jumped on the bed when all three of us were watching cartoons this morning and realized there were kids on my bed. She jumped down, and just stared at little Maura saying "Come here Stella!", wide eyed and scared as hell. Neither of them are used to small kids' way of hit/petting them, as they are super spoiled and softly stroked by Rachael and I all the time. Plus the size of kids probably puts them off a bit. Maura just wanders around the house "Clemmmmenntiiiiine", looking for Clem who is hiding under the couch wanting nothing to do with her. Haha. And all Maura wants to do is play.

I just finished baking cheesecake lemon bars, my first time making them. I love the plain lemon bars out of the box, the ones you only have to add water and 3 eggs. I thought I'd try to suggested alternative on the box and left them in the oven too long, burnt them a little. Plus I think I beat the cream cheese too much and it didn't stay separated from the lemon filling layer. I can't get anything done right today. Getting up at 6am is starting to wear on me. I definitely need to start going to bed earlier!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Getting a very late start to my day today as a result of a late night last night. Now comes the huge task of moving my sewing room (all of it) downstairs. It's a huge job; I've been putting it off all week.

My sister, Rachael, and I share a three bedroom house in Augusta, Georgia. I have, had, the entire upstairs, which is a Jack and Jill style two bedroom sharing a bathroom. Since November, when I moved down here, I've had the bedroom across from mine set up as the craft/sewing room. Now we are getting a third roommate in March, one of her co-workers (Rachael is a CTT, 2nd class, in the Navy, stationed at Fort Gordon). So we are turning the downstairs dining room into the sewing space. I've slowly been moving things down there. Last night I managed to get my sewing desk, sewing machine, and serger down there. Today I'm starting with cutting tables, organizers, ironing boards, etc. Fabric is going to be a major pain in the ass! Blah. I'd rather get back to sewing.

I just went outside to feed one of our strays, Isobel. She's been coming around the house for months, even before I was here. We always assumed she was just an outdoor cat that someone was neglecting, because she always had a collar on. One day I was petting her, and her skin was all scabs at the time, and I realized she was completely bald under her collar! I ran inside, got a pair of scissors, and cut off the collar.

See how it looks grey in the picture? It was bright pink on the inside! I imagine she's about 4 or 5 years old, and has been a stray for at least two years. She's skin and bones, we're trying to fatten her up. Thankfully, the hair where her collar was is starting to grow back. The scab on her skin is almost completely gone; I can finally pet her and know it isn't painful for her. I think she's starting to get healthy now that she's getting steady food. I'd like to see her gain a few more pounds and then try to find her a home.

I haven't bothered getting a recent photo of her since she's scared of the shutter on my SLR. She always runs away or gets skittish after I take her picture.

She's such a sweet cat. I just spent about half an hour outside with her. She let me pet her belly for the first time. I hate that people in military towns just dump their animals when it comes time to move. I don't understand how some people don't have compassion for animals. Maybe I'm just a crazy cat lady, but I can't watch them suffer.

The local Humane Society is a no kill shelter, hopefully they can find these cats a home. I already have two brats of my own (Clementine and Stella) and Rachael has one. If anyone in the Georgia area is interested in getting a sweet cat, let me know. They deserve someone who is going to be able to give the proper attention and nourishment.

In the meantime, I'll keep feeding the four or five cats that come around. Clementine doesn't like them in her backyard and she always attacks the glass telling them "go away, this is my house!" She's such a brat.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to make custom fabric labels - Tutorial

How rewarding is it at the end of a sewing project to be able to put your own tag inside?! Instead of spending a fortune on woven labels that one has to order 500 at a time, this is a quick and easy way to make labels, using recycled materials!

You will need:
  • photoshop or a word processing program
  • photo transfer paper
  • an inkjet printer
  • scissors
  • Dritz Fray Check
  • an iron and ironing board
  • linen or fabric for tags
I use Avery Light Fabric Transfer paper. Avery offers an assortment of photo transfer paper, it all depends on what color you want your tags, and if you are using stretchy fabric. They are sold at most paper supply stores, like Walmart, Staples, Office Max, etc. A pack of twelve sheets will cost about $15.

First, open photoshop or any photo editing program, even Microsoft Word will do. Make the tag you want using text, a small picture, whatever you want. Tile this on an 8 1/2" x 11" file, like you are printing address labels. I prefer a straight-to-the-point tag that has my name and website. It's clear, easy to read, and simple.

Be sure to flip the image horizontally before you print it on the photo transfer paper!

Next, cut out each individual label, making sure you are as close to the edge of the font as possible.

After cutting out all of the labels, it is time to iron them onto your fabric. I prefer to use old banquet napkins, which are linen. The weave of the fabric is nice and thick, it doesn't stretch, and the white matches anything. Most fabrics will do, but to be sure, try a test one first. If you are using fabric with a stretch, be sure to get photo transfer paper for stretchable fabric.

Follow the directions on the transfer paper. Make sure you have the stream turned off on the iron! After the fabric cool and you have ironed on all the labels, you can peel off the paper and it will looks like this.

Next, cut out all the labels, leaving enough room for your seam when you will sew it onto your clothing, handbag, etc. Depending on the fabric you use, if you sew on the transfer itself it may eventually peel off over time (I ran into this problem when I initially used ribbon). With the linen I use, however, I can sew right over the edge of the transfer and it is very durable with everyday wear and tear.

The final step is to use fray check along each edge of every tag. This little bottle can be purchased at any craft store for about $3. Allow to dry and your tag is ready to be sewn into whatever you so desire!
The end result: a fabulous, professional looking tag for your handmade goods!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Birthday recap, snow in Augusta!

It snowed in Georgia!

So I have finally arrived back home in Georgia, pulled in yesterday afternoon. It was so nice to walk in the door, greet my cats and sister, and fall into my bed for the first time in almost three weeks! It was also my birthday; I turned 25 yesterday. The big 2-5. Halfway to fifty, a quarter of a century, blah blah blah. I never really like celebrating my birthday; it feels selfish for some reason. Generally, I just call my mom and say "thanks for having me and putting up with me," but I was reminded by a friend a very simple reason to celebrate with close friends. He said that people around you like to celebrate the fact that you are a part of you life on the day you came into the world. I thought that was cute and made me smile.
I was home for an hour and a half when it started snowing in Augusta, Georgia!! It never snows here and we just happened to bring it with us. Brilliant. I was looking forward to coming home and wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe even my mint green denim skirt I just bought at Valueland in Muskegon. No. Definitely not. Had to continue to wear my snow boots I wore during my entire trip in Michigan. Awesome. Thanks Georgia.
So of course silly Georgians can't get around in snow, God forbid it snows! They can't even drive in the rain. So my friends all cancel on the dinner we were all going to meet up for. And since I went out on a limb to try to celebrate my birthday I was a little sad and disappointed.
Rachael and I.
My dad, his wife Sue, my sister Rachael, and I went to Applebee's for dinner. General blah halfway decent food. Since my dad is on the South Beach Diet, it limits places I would have liked to go. I was so exhausted from traveling, and a margarita, and food... I just wanted to go home. My sister pleaded with me that I let her take me downtown for a beer to celebrate.
On the way downtown, we have to stop at our friend's apartment to pick him up. I'm thinking it's just a little pop in, he puts his shoes on, we continue East and head downtown. All of a sudden.. "SURPRISE!!!!!" About six of my friends were there. For the past week they had been coordinating a surprise party with Rachael! It was awesome. They had ice cream cake and everything! It's cheesy to say, but I felt so special. I hate being the center of attention, which is probably why I don't ever celebrate my birthday. But it's nice to feel loved like that by close friends, especially since this place is still slightly new to me. They've made Georgia my home. I love it here.
Walking in. Right before the surprise.
My cake.
Jonathan and I. Blowing out my candles.
Luke and I.
Mallory, Luke, and I. Enjoying the cake.
My friend, Sarah, made me a beautiful necklace for my birthday! She repurposes jewelry, taking old things and making them new. She is amazing. I'm wearing the necklace in the picture below. She sells them in her Etsy shop.
Traye and I with little Roxy.
We went down to Soul Bar after a few cocktails at Jonathan's, Stoli and cranberry is my favorite, mmmm. Rachael kept trying to get me drunk with shot after shot. And of course it didn't happen. Had a great time dancing and being ridiculous. 80s night never lets me down. They place good 80s music too. The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, etc. Great time.
Took some picture this morning after getting up and around. It was that wet slushy snow that is a pain in the ass but still very pretty. We walked up to the pond that surrounds my street and found little kids making snowmen, probably the first time they saw this much snow, and the ducks freaking out.
These are what the ducks looks like here. I don't know what is going on with them but they looks like peacocks and chicken more than ducks to me. I think it's an asian breed of chickens, but I'm not sure. Whenever I enter or leave my street, which is one big circle, they are wandering all over the place, too stupid to move.
Near one of the ponds. The snow was starting to melt from the sun. Everything shut down down because they thought it was the end of the world. They would never survive a Michigan winter.
The geese in one of the ponds near my house. Geese are nasty but they look pretty swimming around the pond. And now the unpacking process will commence. I've been dreading it. Blaaaah. Maybe I'll finish the 20 or so cassette wallets I couldn't finish in Michigan when I ran out of tags for the inside. We'll see.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rrrrr... packing

So it's finally my last day in Michigan, tear. I've been bumming around my mom's house all day, eatting junk food (Ben & Jerry's Phish Food is soooooo goooood), watching TV, playing with the cat. I should really be gettting some stuff done, like, I dunno, packing maybe. 

My list of things to do for the day are as follows:
  • showel the driveway and sidewalks (done)
  • bake an apple pie
  • pack all my bags, neatly
  • go to Walmart and buy wet cat food (for my spoiled cat's in GA, where it's not sold)
  • go to the post office and mail a few cassette wallets
  • finish laundry
  • (I'm missing a few things, gahhh)

Snowy day in Muskegon, Mich.

I was finishing up a handbag yesterday when I broke the belt on my mom's sewing machine, oops. I felt terrible! I'm sure she'll be able to fix it, my mom is wonderwoman. My grandmother bought it for her in 1979 for an engagement present before she married my dad. She said the belt was old and wasn't surprised it snapped. I have three half done purses that I'll finish when I get home. I can't wait to list them! They are some of my best work yet! 

OH! And guess what my brilliant self did the other day, wiped my iPod touch of alllll it's music! I was trying to charge it on my old iBook (what I'm using now) that I gave my step dad when I bought my new iMac. I went to look at how much it had charged and iTunes took the liberty of syncing itself with my ipod.. and this computer has zero songs! So I traded 3000 songs for zero, awesome! And I have a 16 hours drive with my dad and his wife all the way home. It is going to be a long drive.

These three weeks in Michigan really flew by. I didn't get to see so many people I wanted to see. It's hard coming "home" to visit and having to manage one's time. I understand what my older sister always complains about not having enough time when she comes home. She and her husband are both from the same town and it's double the family to visit, and we all have big families. She lived in Japan for three years, was in the States for a year, and now she's in Hawaii for another three.. I really need to plan a visit and see her... oh how nice it would be to be in Hawaii right now. I just put on snow boots, a hat and a scarf to drive a mile down the road. 

I'll be driving all day tomorrow with Dad and Sue, probably staying in Nashville overnight, and pulling into my driveway in Georgia around noon Friday, the 12th. And it'll be my birthday. 25 years old! I still can't believe I'm going to be 25! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lazy Mondays

Is it strange that I find it really amusing to pretend Squirt is a baby in my belly? I don't think so. I read somewhere once that pregnancy at nine months is like having a house cat inside you. So I stick him under my cardigan and mess around. He doesn't mind it too much. Crazy cat.

I sat around and did absolutely nothing today. Well,... I went down to the Secretary of State today and had my drivers license picture retaken and renewed. I hate having my drivers license picture retaken. Went over to the Goodwill next door and bought some cute yoga pants. I always go to the Sec of State in Grand Haven for that very reason. Plus they always have sweet stuff. I found a beautiful silk dress there last week I'm cutting down to my size for spring. It's going to be beautiful.

I should have gotten some sewing done but I felt like death all day. Napping definitely helped. Now I'm in a sewing mood thinking about the clothes I have downstairs I've thrifted over the last few weeks I've been here that I plan on altering. I loveee buying semi-hideous clothes at the thrift store and making them gorgeous!  

I'm thinking about before/after blog entries on the process with tutorials. Maybe tomorrow I'll be a little more motivated. Muskegon is getting 6-12 inches of snow tomorrow! I'm going to be stuck inside all day. Can't wait. 

Now time for a glass of wine and a good book. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tired toes, cold feet

The weekend is finally coming to an end, I'm almost done living out of a suitcase. I've been visiting my family for two weeks now in Muskegon, headed back to Georgia early early Thursday morning. Warm weather will be so glorious! I'm sick of having chapped, cracking skin and cold feet. My blue leather Keds don't quite cut it for winter shoes. 
I spent Saturday afternoon wandering around East Lansing. Sometimes I miss living in Lansing, but generally I get so bored when I visit and always end up going to NCG and seeing a movie by myself, which is a little awkward on a busy Saturday when the theatre is all couples and I say "ticket for one please". I saw "Crazy-Heart". I'm calling it now; Jeff Bridges is winning the Oscar for best actor. And I generally can't stand Colin Farrell, although he is very nice to look at, I hate him in almost everything as an actor, but he was pretty good in it. 

I went into Scavenger Hunt, a cute little vintage clothing store across from MSU campus and found some cassette tapes for sale. When I went to pay for them with my cassette wallet, the owner offered to sell them in her store! Very exciting. When most times when store owners offer to sell my stuff it doesn't end up working out, but I have a good feeling about this one.
I've been a huge fan of Scavenger Hunt ever since I was 16 or 17 and my newspaper/yearbook class would travel to Lansing for M.I.P.A. (Michigan Interscholastic Press Association) conferences and we'd hop on the CATA bus and go get pitas and go shopping in downtown East Lansing. We thought we were so cool back then in a college town. Having my wallets for sale there would be amazing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Meet Squirt, the cat

I'm still in Michigan, less than a week left now. Just wrapped up my sewing for the day. This little shithead cat has been at my feet all day. My mom's cat, Squirt. I bought him a few years ago at Pruess' Pets in Lansing, Michigan. I used to go in there to see all the cute little kitties, even though I had two at home and didn't need more. Well the clerk decided to let me hold one of them, which they never do. This cat lunges out of his cage at me and won't let me put him back. He was the oldest kitty there and no one wanted him. He was $100 and came with a free bag of cat food. So I bought him.

I walk in the front door of my apartment and my two girl cats, Clementine and Stella, are not pleased. He is a terror and destroys everything in my apartment. Everytime I took a bath he'd jump in with me. He's play with rolls of toilet paper, shredding them like they were nothing. I come to the realization that I can not have three cats... so what is my solution? He becomes a Christmas present for my little sister, Rachael! Great idea huh? 

She brings him back to Augusta, Georgia after visiting Michigan for the holidays, and he's the biggest shithead you can imagine. Can't be by himself, destroys everything he touches. She couldn't even have flowers in a vase because he'd knock them over. She's in the Navy so naturally she has to deploy so he comes back to Michigan. Long story short he now lives with my mother and stepdad. Still destroying the house, biting ankles, waking everyone up at all hours of the night. 

This picture is a great representation of him, always getting into something. He owns this house.

Here are a few photos of the tote I finished earlier from the silk screen wall hangings I bought last week and also wrote about here

For sale in my Etsy shop here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blistered fingers

How am I so exhausted when it's not even 10pm? My bones are aching, my fingers all blistered. I somehow managed to burn the palm of my hand! What is wrong with me today?! Uhhh. A glass of wine is helping.

I made about 30 cassette wallets today! Including this Buddy Holly wallet from a Dutch cassette. Then I realized it was the 51st anniversary of his death, straaaange. My hot glue gun is begging me for a break, my fingers as well. But I do feel very productive.

It was a little too cold to sew in the basement of my mother's house all day, so I camped out upstairs glueing and glueing,... watching crappy episodes of ever version of CSI with my stepdad, Vegas, NY, Miami.. all crap shows.

They make me so irritated with their one liners... "you know... where there's blood.... there's *dun dun dun* DNA!" Ahhh. I just want to punch David Carouso in the face. And then step on his sunglasses breaking them into a million little pieces.

I'm getting a little homesick for Georgia. This Michigan weather is way too cold!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another cold day in Michigan

Still in Michigan visiting my family. I spent the day hanging out with my dad, who happens to be the funniest man on the planet, putting a few things on my Etsy page, and finally got to play Mass Effect 2! After wasting a few hours I really didn't need to waste, I'm back at my mother's house laying out projects for tomorrow.

I used her sewing machine yesterday for the first time in years. She has a Kenmore machine from 1979 my grandmother bought her when she became engaged to my father. Even 30 years later it is the most amazing machine ever. I have a Janome I bought last year for close to $700 and it doesn't even compare! In less than half an hour I made four pouches that would have taken me well over an hour on my machine. 

The big time saver is the speed at which her machine sews, and the width of her presser foot. When sewing a zipper on my machine I have to stop and change to a zipper foot, which is a little more narrow. Her foot works for all stitches and is more universal I guess. I never have to mess with the tension on her machine and it's sooo fast! I can't wait to sew all day tomorrow since I'll be stuck at her house with no car and no where to go but downstairs to work.

Since I've moved in with my sister in Georgia, she has banned me from buying more fabric. I filled up the craft room in our house with so much fabric! We made a deal that I could buy fabric (and I only buy my fabric from thrift stores and resale shops, no new fabric) if I cut it up and make it into something before I get back to Georgia. 

This is what I made yesterday. Four pouches from a placemat from Valueland. The place mat had all four seasons, the cutest print. I bought a bag of scrap fabric that from the 50s and 60s that I used for the lining and back side. The inside is a lovely pink rayon that is almost resistant to spills. The backside is a woven fabric from Grossman's department store in downtown Muskegon. Some lady went there in the 50s, bought 3/8 of a yard of fabric for 25 cents and never used it. The tag was still attached!

Available for sale in my Etsy shop.

Now almost time for Lost! ... And yes, I am a huge nerd that watches Lost and plays Mass Effect. I am so very excited for the three hour final season premiere this evening.