Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Truckin' On The River

Last Saturday night, Matt and I, along with some out of town friends, attended the Food Truck Rally down by the Landing. Live music, beer and fried food on the river, can't get much better than that! Since I had been at RAM all day, I was in need of some fun and letting loose.

Matt had to cover the event for his job, as Jacksonville's guy around town. It's always fun to have friends along for the shoot to see first hand what Matt's job entails. We had such a great time! Watch the video below.

I've been super crazy busy the past few weeks, so apologies for the lack of posts. It's not slowing down anytime soon, as tomorrow I head to Pensacola for Rachael's going-away party. It's so insane that in less than a week, she'll be out of the Navy and on terminal leave! WOO HOO! 

More soon guys, I'm blogging from a coffee shop with Zeus, and he's itching to go for a walk. Also, there are a few new lingerie listings in our Etsy shop, so check em out!

Friday, July 26, 2013

DIY clothing tags

Are you a handmade artist struggling to find an economical way to make labels and tags to sew into your work? Well, not anymore. Here's a great, inexpensive way to create your own labels! I've been making these for years, and while embroidered or professional labels would be nice, they cost an arm and a leg, and I really enjoy having even my tags being made from recycled materials.

You will need:
  • photoshop or word processing program, computer
  • Photo transfer paper, I use Avery brand transfer paper
  • an inkjet printer
  • scissors
  • Fray Check
  • iron and ironing board
  • fabric (non-stretch works best!)
Start by printing up your designs. On a single document, tile your logo or design. It can be pretty close together since you'll be cutting them all out. And most importantly: flip your image horizontally. Next, cut out each individual label. Arrange them on your fabric, spacing them out with enough of an edge is you plan to fold the raw edge before sewing onto your piece. I like 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.

Press. Read the instructions of your transfer paper. And DO NOT use steam. I repeat, DO NOT USE STEAM!

After the fabric cool and you have ironed on all the labels, you can peel off the paper and it will looks like this. The paper will peel off to reveal your beautiful labels! Make sure you iron them long enough, or these will not come off easily and it will take the design with it. If it doesn't peel off easily, iron it again! And DO NOT iron the top side of any of the labels. 

 Cut out your tags with enough of an edge to fold over before sewing, if you don't like the raw edge, or leave enough to stitch on the outside of the transfer. You will not want to sew ON the transfered part.

Fray check all the edges. Allow to dry before sewing into garment or accessory.

Questions? Comments?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mad Nails by Morgan

There's no better treat for oneself than getting pampered and having your nails done. Better yet, someone that comes to you! Last week, Morgan of Mad Nails traveled to my house for a very relaxing and amazing manicure, and sewing themed nail art!

I'm never the kind of girl that has pretty nails. My fingers are my most frequently used tool. The overused, stressed out tool in your toolbox that is so run down, you just wish you could retire it and buy a new one. But that is not possible with these hands. They're scarred up, always aching, and always making something. It's been years since they've looked this good. Sure, I've gotten them done here and there, but the "gels" I've gotten in the last few years only lasted me a few days. And since my 80 hour work weeks were split between bartending and sewing, they never lasted through the beatings I've give them. Almost one week in, these are still going strong, with only one chip, on my thumb when I was using it like a chisel the other day.

Morgan definitely knows what she's doing. It's great to have a fellow artist in town I can now rely on to keep my hands pretty. It is so much fun having my nails express me. Check out her Facebook, StyleSeat, Tumblr, and Instagram pages for more of her work!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cat House

Blogging from the market this morning as I share some fun photos from Matt and I's visit downtown this week. Downtown Throwdown brought us to Bay street, where we found our favorite abandoned building with a cat mural! Best mural ever

This mural, "Cat House", is one of the most beloved murals in downtown Jacksonville, and was painted in 1995 by Anne Banas. It was approved by the city as a restoration project to beautify a vacant building that was originally the Guaranty Trust. She had three weeks to complete the mural, before school started back up, since she was a full-time teacher, and before the Jacksonville Jaguars first home game.

What a better way to beautify an old abandoned building that to add a mural. Much of the downtown district in Jacksonville is covered in beautiful murals, and I can't wait to shoot in front of more of them. More cities across America need to take a cue from Jax and spruce up old buildings with art. And what a great way to get people excited about art!

After we finished this little shoot, we went into a restaurant/bar that will remain nameless. Matt and I sat down, ordered our beers, and listened to the bartender/owner complain and complain about his business, about downtown Jacksonville, how people don't support him, and they just go to the competing businesses. Then he went on to tell us that if his business did not pick up he was leaving downtown. What a way to talk to your customers, eh? He didn't once ask us what we did for a living, or what our names were. Had he asked us even once about us, he would have known that we only shop, eat, and spend our money on locally owned businesses.

Business owners with the mentality that they will just give up on a city that supports them is beyond me. I mean, I understand, we all have to make a living, but there are plenty of ways to improve your business that do not include giving up on 'downtown'. We saw this with downtown Augusta, businesses that were "fed up" with people and moved to the suburbs of Evans and Grovetown, away from 'crime' and the 'downtown people'.

I digress, but I just couldn't get over this man that had a dirty restaurant, served me two hour burnt pizza on a paper plate that had probably sat in a warmer for a long, long, time. Then we waited over 20 minutes to pay our tab, which we paid in cash, because he was running the whole register through an iPad. Talk about a bad businessman. Maybe there are other reasons your business is suffering other than 'downtown'.

Who knows the future of many downtowns across America, but I really hope there is a resurgence to ours here in Jacksonville. When people in Riverside tell us "don't go downtown unless you want trouble", it makes me so sad. Support downtown businesses, artists, restaurants. 

Hope y'all have a great weekend. Matt and I have a full house this weekend, with his family visiting. After the market today, we'll meet up with everyone down at the beach, grill tonight, and then I will be a beach bum all day tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New listings in our Etsy shop!

 Cinderella Two Sided Over-The-Shoulder Purse - Over the shoulder simple purse for the basic on-the-go gal, small and compact. Lightweight and tiny, to only allow you to carry the essentials, and prevent you from having the shoulder pain and annoyance of a large bag. Small magnetic clasp on the interior keeps your things in their right place. Made from 100% recycled materials and the smallest scraps from the Sally Ann studio. Accent in the strap is an upholstery sample, leather belt makes up the majority of the strap. All scraps are saved from the trash bin. Felt board characters of Cinderella on front and back side.

Green Floral Skirt - Handmade skirt. Made from thrifted by the yard fabric. Green floral print. Elastic waistband. Size small. Cotton. Washing directions: Machine wash. Machine dry low.

Decapitated Turkey Recycled Pouch - Carry all pouch made from 100% recycled materials. A decapitated turkey felt board piece is sewn onto scrap fabric, lined with discarded pieces that were almost headed to the trash bin, closes with a vintage zipper. Great for a small purse, makeup pouch, electronics case, etc.

All The Little People Marimekko Skirt - Handmade skirt. Made from scrap Marimekko fabric. Elastic waistband. Sally Ann tag at center back. Size small / medium. Cotton. Washing directions: Machine wash gentle. Machine dry low.

Millionaire Recycled Pouch - Carry all pouch made from 100% recycled materials. A school boy felt board piece is sewn onto scrap fabric, lined with discarded pieces that were almost headed to the trash bin, back side is hand dyed 'personal ad' bed sheet scrap, and closes with a vintage zipper. Great for a small purse, makeup pouch, electronics case, etc. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shelby's Debut Video

A special thanks to Matt for making this fun little video to show you all the first day I took out Shelby to Riverside Arts Market. I can't wait to get all the vinyl decals finished and add a few more things to her interior.

Whatcha think?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Healthy Living: Avocado and Egg breakfast

Looking for a fun recipe to wow some friends or family? This will do the trick. But make sure they like avocados! Simply get a few avocados, soft and ripe, a few eggs, cheese if you'd like, salt, pepper, and some cayenne pepper, and preheat your oven to 360 degrees.

Slice the avocados lengthwise and remove the pits. Carve out a bit more of the avocado, making the hole deeper and wider, so the egg has a more room. Crack your egg and move it from each shell back and fourth, getting rid of about 40% of the egg white, place in avocado. Top with salt. pepper, cayenne, and whatever spices you'd like to try. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your personal preference.

And enjoy! It's so pleasing to the eye and costs about $6 to make it for a party of four! We cut up four avocados instead of just two, and garnished the plate with raw avocado, one of my favorite things to eat recently. It's delicious!

Also, you can freshen up the breakfast by slicing up some different kinds of fruit and tossing them with a little cinnamon. This morning I also added whole wheat toast, buttered with local honey. Oh my goodness. It was the best breakfast ever!

Happy Monday, friends! I'm sewing like a crazy lady and getting some listings ready for my Etsy shop. Have a great day!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the St. John's River with Dolphins

So Matt's job is pretty great. Last week, we ventured out with the University of North Florida's Research team, as they did their weekly research on the local dolphin population. The team is collecting information on the 300+ local dolphin population in the St. John's river.

Doctor Quincy Gibson heads the team of Masters and Undergrad students that collect all kinds of information on the dolphins from the mouth of the St. Johns at Mayport, all the way to downtown Jacksonville. We accompanied them for about two hours of their eight hour day, watching dolphins and recording for Matt About Jax. It's incredible to see Dr. Gibson shout of the names and identify some of the 100+ of the she's named in the population. By simply spotting it's dorsal fin through her lens, she knows exactly which dolphin it is.

Have you ever seen baby dolphins? Oh my goodness, they are too cute! According to Dr. Gibson, you can spot a mother and calf based on their surfacing patterns. If two dolphins are just cruising along in the river, one surfaces, following a second later by another, and they are side-by-side, the second one is usually the calf, or baby dolphin. They stay with their mothers for up to 6 years, and stay close behind her, so it's easier to nurse as the mom swims. 

Another interesting thing about the research here in Jacksonville with UNF, is the study of the male behavioral patterns. Male dolphins and human beings share one thing in common no other species on the planet exhibits. Male dolphins pair up, and two males court the female dolphin. Here in Jacksonville, these pairs of males team up with other teams of males, and compete for the women's time and mating. Pretty funny, huh? This research team has a pretty cool job, following and observing dolphin behavior! How much fun, and seeing those little babies this time of year is so exciting. We didn't see any tiny babies, but this picture will melt your heart.

For more information on this awesome research project, check out their website.

Truly a nice break from my sewing! Can't complain when the breeze hits my scalp and the sun shines down on our shoulders! The river is so beautiful!

 You can see Matt's video here. Thanks to UNF that let us come out and observe their research!

Hope y'all had a great weekend! Rachael is in town, and we're about to do some house hunting! Surpise: Rachael is moving here next month when she gets out of the Navy! WOO HOO!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shelby's Debut at Riverside Arts Market

 This weekend was Shelby's debut! It was amazing! Riverside Arts Market takes place every Saturday in Riverside, a cute little historic neighborhood in Jacksonville. The market features up to 200 booths from local food vendors, farmers, artists, and more. This past weekend was special, being River Rukus, an extended RAM, going until 9PM, versus the regular 4PM. We stayed all day, 10AM-9PM, selling all my handmade wares out of Shelby and meeting locals.

RAM also features live music, food, and plenty of things to keep you busy, and informed of local non-profits in the community. This will be something we attend every weekend, toting Shelby along to showcase all my newest works. 

Matt covering the event. Stay tuned for the next post, a video debut of Shelby and her interior! Thank goodness for Matt. I can't wait for y'all to see her gorgeous wood interior! The best part about her debut, aside from showing off all my new pieces and having a show, was meeting new people in Jacksonville. We haven't exactly made many friends since we work everyday. I can't wait to make more artist friends and get to know more people. Also, it was so funny when so many men that intrigued with Shelby. We even got a few offers on selling her. No thank you. She's ours! Everyone loved her!

Sales were great, and my inventory is even kind of on the small side, since my focus has been finishing Shelby. This week, when we get back home, I have a ton of sewing ahead of me!

Currently, we're back in Augusta, Georgia, staying with Matt's family for a quick vacation and spending Matt's mother's birthday hanging out at the pool, recuperating from the weekend. It's nice to finally sleep in past 6 AM. Man, we were exhausted after the last few weeks of getting her perfect for the show, and hosting our closest friends for the weekend as well. 

I can't wait to get back to Jax and sew new work for a few commissioned pieces for a few customers at the market, and make new things. I'm thinking more skirts, tanks, dresses, and more purses of course! Hooray work is going so well. I hope y'all are as excited about Shelby as we are. 

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shelby Update: 99% complete!

It's hard to believe the end is in sight! Shelby is so so so close to being complete, it's almost as if she was never going to be finished. Some days when I'm working on here, I step back and look at the entire project in my mind, and how far we've come, and I get a big overwhelmed with pride. She is a real beauty. If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, scroll through the posts marked Shelby by clicking here, or Shelby tag at the bottom of this post. You can go all the way back to our first demolition post, when we brought her home from the foothills of the South Carolina mountains in Greenville and ripped out all of her guts, most of which was rotten.

For the first time in this entire project, things are going our way. I think it has a lot to do with living in Florida. Our life is a million times less stressful, we're so happy in every way. Another big difference at our new home, we have a huge workshop and garage, where the tools are stationary and set up whenever we need them.

In Augusta, we had to haul all of our tools from inside our apartment, to the backside of the house, set up a card table, and run an extension cord out to the camper. If it rained, I had to drag out my 10'x10' pop up tent and try to work out of the rain. Florida has rain at least once everyday, but we're working until the cover of a huge garage with florescent lighting. Makes a huge difference when the weather can't control your workday.

What makes it so much easier now that we're down to the last little fine details, we already had in our possession all the tools necessary to finish Shelby. Early on, we only had a hand saw and card table, bought materials as we needed them, and had no idea what was ahead of us. When I knew we'd need reflectors, I went out and bought them. We've slowly accumulated three different saw, with a few more on our wish list, an air compressor, nail gun, and a ton of knowledge!

Last weekend, we finally finished those benches! They covered the wheel wells, and on the driver side, enclosed the electricity that goes to the sconces. The little door on the face of the bench, above, allows access to the power strips, wires, and access panel to the outside. For those of you that have been following along the entire time, you probably remember the dreaded solar panels. Ugh, that was the worst.

Just a few more days and she'll be revealed to the world. The curtains are up, painting has begun. Aren't you so excited to see the finished mobile boutique!? I know I'll be happy to have her at Riverside Arts Market.