Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

It's Earth Day. Hope you are all celebrating in some way. Taking public transportation, riding your bike to work, picking up litter, etc. 

I made this little pouch today I thought I'd share with you all. 

My sister, Rachael, bought me about 4 or 5 squares of fabric, with SNACKS printed all over it, and I've been looking for a way to use it for the longest time! 

Today I saw it on my shelf while looking for white fabric. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a few plastic bags (yes, we sometimes get plastic bags at the grocery store, but always bring them back to be recycled!). Found an old zipper in my drawer of a million zippers, ripped from all the old clothes I cut up. I fused two target bags together. After about 20 minutes of sewing I had a reusable snack pouch that can be thoroughly cleaned! 

See how the interior is old target bags! Check out how to fuse plastic bags here.
I listed it on my Etsy page, here.

Hope you are all celebrating Earth Day in some way, even if it's just to educate yourself on ways to cut down on consuming unnecessary things!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cheap & Chic - preview!

My apologies for falling behind schedule with last week's tutorial. I started a new job since I'm looking for a new place to live here in Augusta. Things have been crazy busy. I'm not used to having a normal job that requires me to leave the house. 

Today I started to outline my next three tutorials. The three dresses that I'm taking on are all very different and perfect for spring and summer! Here are the before pictures:

#1: An adorable early 90s floral romper. It is actually shorts and buttons up the front. The puffy sleeves have to go, and it needs to be cut down to a smaller size. Ties in back. Very comfortable! I'm so excited about this one!

#2: A full length coral cotton dress. Beautiful embroidered cutouts on the front and back. Matching belt, and buttons up the back. This is the dress my mannequin came dressed in when I bought her at an antique store in Holland, Michigan. Needs to be shortened and taken in a lot!

#3: A loosely fitting rayon polka dot dress. Buttons up the front. Matching belt (not pictured). This dress really reminds me of something my grandmother would have worn. It is so lightweight and would be perfect on a hot summer day, minus the sleeves. Also needs to be cut down to a smaller size. 

Stay tuned for the actual tutorials and after pictures! The tutorial will have easy to understand step-by-step instructions.

My goal with these tutorials is to inspire you all to make a trip to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or better yet -- your grandmother's closet, and try on something you would normally pass over. Try to look at old clothing in a different light. Almost anything can be beautiful and wearable with just a few simple alterations. 

Have questions on how to alter something or advice on updating old clothes? Send me an email with pictures and I'd love to feature your outfit in an upcoming entry!

(A big thanks to Sarah for the photos)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Art In The Park

Just got home from a long, long day at Art In The Park. What a great day today has been! I am genuinely happy with the outcome of today's show, and that never happens. I had my booth set up by 9:30 this morning, woke up at 7, and got there by 8 (and I love that I can set up my booth all by myself now!).

The amazing romper Sarah bought me yesterday at Goodwill! I wasn't even with her either. She texted me "I bought you a romper!" and I almost peed my pants. I've been looking for something like this for the longest time, and it fits perrrrfectly! I didn't have to alter it at all.

It wasn't super busy, but the people were very nice and I actually sold handbags! I always end up only making money at shows selling the cassette wallets I make. Well, today, people were opening their wallets a little wider and springing for the big ticket items. And I was finally able to get rid of all but three of my t-shirt totes. They came free with any purchase. I made them about a year ago when I was considering selling my stuff at the Muskegon Farmers Market. 

They're t-shirts with the neck line cut out, the sleeves cut off, both of those seams zig-zag stitched, and the bottom sewn up, with a few pleats to give them depth. They make great carry-alls for a trip to Goodwill or Kroger. 

The wind was really blowing today, and everything was flying off my tables all day! This is my booth at the end of the day, messy and bare! I absolutely loved that it was in the grass; I didn't wear shoes all day! When I got really bored, I sat in the grass and read my book. 

Pretty much all the purses I have left. I really need to get back to the sewing machine!

My friend, Liberty (right), set up her booth as well. It was my first time actually seeing what she makes! I also finally got to hear her daughter, Lily's (left) band! She is only 14 and in a band!! It's was so great. She sings and plays guitar. 

Oh, and I finally parted with my pink acoustic guitar today. I gave it to Lily since she'll actually use it. She's going to restring it for a lefty and teach her drummer to play on it. I'm so glad to see it go to someone who will love it as much as I did, well, probably more, since I never really learned how to play guitar. 

Lily and Liberty again. I love this apron Liberty made! I need something like this for shows. Definitely would have been helpful today with handling money.

And check out these amazing baby clothes Liberty designs! She makes them from vintage, thrifted sheets, pillowcases, etc. Little spring dresses with bloomers, little girls skirts, and she also makes the most adorable bonnets! Find some things on her Etsy shop and read her blog to see some of the great things she makes. 

Her work makes me excited for the day that I finally do the whole "get married, have kids" and switch my business to childrens clothes, much like what Liberty makes. When I was a little girl my mom always made me the greatest clothes, and I can't wait to do that for my kids! I need to stop being so baby crazy, first of all. Being a nanny, and seeing cute stuff like this makes me want to have kids right now, but realistically, it won't be for a very, very, very long time.

On a side (sewing) note, this is the bag I made a few months ago to carry my metal purse racks, bottoms of my easel, and legs to my red table. I made it from a wool skirt, a red string, some old strap from a canvas bag, and a little toggle to tighten the string from an old winter coat. Makes the set up and tear down a breeze, goes over the shoulder to carry, and most importantly, it's really pretty.

This is the park where Art In The Park took place. Right behind the public library, about 2 miles from my house. The amphitheater is so quaint. I love the seating.

It was prom night for all the local high school. When we were tearing down there were high school kids everywhere taking pictures. I can't believe my senior prom was 7 years ago! OMG. I feel old. My senior prom dress was amazing though. I made it of course. It was a red full length dress, with a really deep v-neck, like really deep, so much so that I had to use double sided tape. But it was very elegant; my chest was/is so small that I could get away with it. God, 7 years.. Again, I feel old. 

I got some takeout crab rangoons, came home, and this is what I find. My cats didn't even greet me at the door. Too busy sleeping to even miss me today. Spoiled bitches. Both of em. 

Time to unload my car, shower, and clean, clean, clean!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hate mail

I woke up this morning, took a shower, checked my email first thing, like I normally do. I was pleasantly surprised to have had two sales overnight. Then I see an Etsy conversation. I assume it's someone asking for a custom item, a recent customer, or something. To my surprise it is an angry note from someone whose Etsy username shall remain anonymous. This is what they said:

"i can't believe that an artist on this site would actually be so rude as to STEAL from another artist. funny how you used to link your to your "inspiration", but now that you're getting a little attention, the credit is all yours. karma's a bitch and i guarantee you'll get yours."

I can assume they are talking about the cassette wallets I make. Whenever someone asks if I came up with the idea I'm the first to admit, I did not. I had seen them for yearsss and always thought, hmm, how clever those little wallets are. They came out on this website a few years ago, and are sold on Design Boom.

Over a year and a half ago I saw some on Etsy from Etsy seller Kymbix. I bought one, Roxy Music in fact. It arrived within a few days. It was exactly as described but I was disappointed it's construction. Part of the zipper was exposed along the hinge of the wallet, and only one piece of felt was used and it was the outside and inside lining. I'm very hard on things I use so making them more efficient is the fist thing that comes to mind.

I thought to myself, how can I take this concept and make this wallet so much better? And that is exactly what I did. Since I'm very good with building things, math, and engineering, I'm handy when it comes to looking at something and making it better. 

I use my dremel tool to completely flatten the cassettes, a few different pieces of felt and added the inside dividers with elastic. All the little things I do contribute to them being sturdier than any other cassette wallets out there, guaranteed. I refuse to believe that I am stealing someone elses idea. Thats like saying making a purse with handles is someone elses idea.

When I started making them, it was just as a little addition to my table at art shows. Something to get people to stop and reminisce about the way we used to listen to music. And that is exactly what they do at shows. They get people to stop.

It is unfortunate that they are the main seller on my Etsy page, but I must says I am very happy to be selling them! I feel that I am a much better seamstress and designer, and these wallets are a great way to get a break from my machine. They are so much fun to make and I will continue making them.

It is funny to me that someone who isn't even a seller on Etsy wrote me this. I do not believe in karma, and I don't believe I will "get mine". I believe that hard work and dedication to ones passions will lead to success and happiness. 

Cassette wallets can also be found on these Etsy pages: NatureHike (and kudos to this seller who found a way to use 8 tracks to make a wallet, I tried and gave up), OmgknitsGrooveBagMoemoe711, and IKCdesign (I send her the paper from the cassettes I buy and she uses them to make wallets out of the paper!). 

Enough said. My stomach is growling and I need to start my 10 hours work day. I'm going to work on another tutorial today, finish a few wallets, and then work later on at Red Robin.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Tutorial #2 - 80s shoulder pad nightmare!

While shopping at a local Goodwill, my friend Sarah saw this dress and immediately grabbed it and told me this was my next tutorial! It's a beautiful floral print wrap dress from the 80s. Shoulder pads, puffy sleeves, dickie, but most importantly, had a matching belt and fake handkerchief!

I'm sure many of you can find a similar dress in your mom's closet. A great print but so many things holding you back from wearing it. This tutorial will help you update it and make it 100% ready-to-wear. Taking off the few things you don't like, tailoring it to fit you, all so simple! In less than an hour I made this dress perfect for summer!

The problems:

The "dickie," a fake front of a shirt.

Shoulder pads and puffy sleeves

This strange flap.

It goes all the way around the back. Accentuates the hips. Definitely has to go.

Awesome features:

Little fake handkerchief

Matching belt!

The dress fit me perfectly aside from the few things I needed to change. I liked the length, just about at my knees.  And I just love the deep V-neck of this dress!

I started by cutting off the dickie. It was attached on one side with a simple seam and buttoned across on the other side. Be sure to cut out the now useless button.

Next, carefully cut out the shoulder pads and cut off the sleeves. I use a straight razor blade and rip out the seams. More inexperienced sewers use a thread ripper. I prefer a razor blade as it is faster and sharper. This can also mean you cut yourself and the fabric more easily, so be careful!

See it's potential starting to come through?

[Note: All the fabric you cut out can be reused! Save the sleeves and make a matching pouch or small handbag! Once you cut out all the seams, there is a lot of fabric to work with. And with the should pads, being the same floral print, you can get really creative and use them too! When I was a little girl my mom used her old should pads she cut out of dresses to make barbie couches and arm chairs.]

Again with your razor blade, split the seam attaching the flap. The yellow indicates the path of the seam. The dress will look like a mess when you are done with this step.

Now the finishing seams. Only a few more minutes and you are done! 

First thing is putting the dress back together at the waist. The seams that ripped out the flap just needs to be sewn back together.

Use a straight stitch and follow where the previous seam was. Use a zig zag stitch along the edge.

Now there is a small opening on either side of the front of the dress to close.
Straight stitch, then again, zig zag stitch along the edge.

Finish off the seams on the sleeve. Double folded hem works perfectly. You don't want any raw edges showing! Don't just fold the fabric once. Fold it over twice and it gives you a much nicer finished product.

And you are done!

Your new dress:

Since it's such a deep v and this is the internet, I wore it with a vintage bright pink slip I cut down to my size. It can easily be worn alone.

This isn't your mother's dress anymore! No one will ever know the state it was once in.

Dress: Goodwill
Heels: Liz Claiborne
Necklace: vintage, gift
Slip: repurposed, Goodwill

This dress is now for sale in my Etsy shop. Click here for the listing.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Friday recap

It's Saturday already and 91 degrees here in beautiful Augusta, Georgia!

I'm about to go unload my car from First Friday last night. I set up my booth and sold my things, again, and only sold a few things, again. No purse sales but I guess I'm just too cool for Augusta or something. Next time I suppose. I got a lot of positive feedback from passers-by. Many compliments, which is always nice.

My friends came down for the last hour and it only took us all 10 minutes to tear down! The city mandates we be completely tore down by 10pm. Not a minute later. So of course we waited till 9:45. My friends are amazing. After we were done we all went out for a few beers at Stillwater. Then to Sky City for what I believe was 80s night.

I left my SLR in the car so I only took a few pictures on my cell phone to email my dad. My booth. It looks better with every show. I am becoming an expert at set-up and tear down.

I wore this fabulous dress Sarah picked out for my at Goodwill last week. It was straight out of the 90s, but you'd never know. It had two rows of four buttons along the front that I took off. I added a wide belt I had in my closet I never get to wear. Paired it with my aviators and black flats. It was the perfect dress! Since it was about 85 degrees yesterday, and it's only going to keep getting hotter here, I think I will be in a dress or shorts everyday for the rest of the spring and summer.

The only photo I took of myself. Can't really see the outfit, oh well. And it's a little blurry. I need to start using my remote and SLR! Just need a tripod and it will be perfect.

This time I had an extra set of lights since Sarah had to work and couldn't come set up her booth. I ran them along the inside of the tent, and it looked so pretty when the sun went down! I was so proud of myself. And putting up these lights with a dress on, not an easy task.

Check out my sweet new bike! I got it at the flea market in Augusta. Only $125! 

I haven't had a bike since November 2007, when my asshole landlord, Simon, stole it when I was moving out. He took it along with my hookah Stephanie bought for me in Turkey and my awesome Hoover bagless vacuum. 

This idiot landlord didn't pay the gas bill, of which I paid 50%, and my heat was shut off. For those of you who aren't from Michigan, November is a little cold. He didn't have the capital to pay the deposit and turn it back on, since Consumers wanted extra money for a deposit on top of his past due balance. He wanted me to put the entire building in my name. Yeah right. I'm not that stupid. Three floors, I occupy one, no thanks. In the end he also cut off my electricity as I was packing to be an even bigger asshole. So cops were called, the building was "red-tagged," and I lost my bike, among other things. To make everything so much worse, he sued me for rent for the last six weeks I was there that I had refused to pay when my apartment was about 50 degrees! My cats barely left my heated mattress pad, poor little girls. And I'd have to shower at a friends house everyday since there was NO hot water either. Uhhh.. enough ranting. 

Looking back on it now, I'll know better when looking for places to live. I also appreciate hot water so much more! Slumlord assholes that lie about everything, no thanks. Back then I was still operating on the assumption that because he had been my friend before my landlord, he wasn't lying to me, he was looking out for me. Riiiiight. He got what was coming to him though. All of his properties were foreclosed upon when the market turned south, so ha! In your face, Simon! That's what you get.

I'm so thankful for running water, heat, and the amenities that most of the world is not accustomed to. We, as Americans, don't realize how lucky we are. No matter how shitty things get, just stop, take a look around you, and remind yourself that your are probably living better than at least 75% of the people on this planet!

Yet people still find ridiculous things to be petty about, like the make, model, and year of our cars, that should only be judged on how well they serve as a mode of transportation. Sure, comfort in a vehicle is nice, but not necessary. I drive a 1998 Plymouth Breeze, and it is amazing! It runs, it was cheap, it is cheap to maintain. And, get this, it gets 35 MPG! It has manual windows and locks but that is no reason to complain. I never see myself buying a new car. When mine dies I'll just find something comparable. 

Wow, I managed to rant for a while now. I think I should go clean out my car. And go to the gym!