Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's Day Rose Pot

I'm loving Valentine's Day crafts this year.  I love the bright pinks and reds against the background of a long winter - it's very fresh and appealing.  And I love Valentine's Day crafts.  There is a lovely appeal of a sweet and simple crafted heart, the deliciousness of a cookie.....

I had received this beautiful music paper in a craft supply trade with Meridian Road , and I really wanted to use it in a V-Day craft, so here's what I came up with:

A lovely flowerpot

I was really thrilled with how it came out!  I had a terrible craft&sewing day a few days ago- nothing I made worked out, and I had to ditch several projects.  We don't always list our big FAILS, so scrolling through craft blogs becomes hard when all you see are lovely and graceful successes! Most especially if you've had a hard day of not even being able to sew a stuffed heart, or cut a quilt square right side up.  So imagine how happy I am to bring you the tutorial for this cute little pot!

You'll need:

Clay pot
Mod Podge
White craft paint (optional)
Decorative paper to decoupage
Felt - pink, red, white or a combination (about 4 sheets)
Foam ball (that sits comfortably in the lip of pot) or floral foam
Glue (tacky or hot)

I started out by painting my pot white, just so any gaps in my 'podging wouldn't really show.  After that dried, I tore my paper into strips and began covering the pot.

After I covered the pot, I let that dry and began making my felt roses.  I decided to use the Felt Rosette tutorial to crate the flowers.  I used two different colors, but I think this would look equally nice with any combo you wanted.

I happened to have some floral foam lying around, so I used a knife to shape that into a round shape.  You could also use a foam ball or half ball, depending on what you like and have.  A ball resting on the lip would give a more topiary shape and would require more rosettes.

I ended up only using part ofthe whit e and red, the extras have gone into my notions storage.

All you have to do then is glue your rosettes on your foam!  I used Tacky Glue, because I had it, but hot glue would probably work better. I DO like that if I get tired of this arrangement, I can just pop the foam out and the pot will be unharmed.

Remember, Valentine's Day doesn't need to be stressful or difficult, your loved ones would rather have your time and attention than anything, and there is no need to spend a lot on decorations!  Here are some of my favorite ideas so far:

Felt Cookies at Pamela Susan
Window Garland from Noodlehead
Paper Heart Garland by How About Orange
Pretty Window Hearts by Quiltish
Banner from Fast Daze

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am I am I am Superman, and I Can do Anything

by Kimberlee

Well, that's an exaggeration...but I did make my first cape!

It was minus 30 the other day, so it might be a while before I wear it outside, but I'm pretty happy with it.  The only thing I'm going to add is a small snap in the collar to help it stand up more attractively.  Here are some more shots:

Awesome Frog Closure

I used McCalls 5764 (C), which has been seen in several other blogs; I've spotted it in Sew Store Bought and Adventures in Dressmaking.

I made a few changes to the cape - I added a pink flannel lining and found a beautiful vintage frog closure on Etsy in lieu of the buttons.

The pink lining
I had really wanted to make the belt, but I just couldn't figure out how to do it without ruining the cape.  Perhaps at a later date, I'll add it.  If I feel like it!  I like it how it is, frankly.

The frog was my favorite addition.  I wanted something special to offset both the simplicity and the exaggerated shape of the cape, and immediately came up with a Chinese Frog, but I had no idea they'd be so difficult to find!  JoAnn's only had 3 different kinds, all of which were too small.  Even the internet lacked in a decent selection.  NOW I see why there are more tutorials than inventory for frogs, and next time I will definitely learn how.  But I lucked into this beautiful vintage one on Etsy, and my second set of eyes (my husband) thought it was awesome, too.

Some other photos:

Me & my Helper

So I'm pretty jazzed!  What's coming up next?  Lots of Valentines stuff, of course.  I'm also teaching myself to knit, working on my first quilt square, AND making a dress from my own pattern - another first!  So please stop over again soon, become a follower, leave a message!  I love hearing from you all, you are true inspirations.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That Crazy Hat Lady

 By Kimberlee

I am sorry that it has been so long since my last entry, I have had a number of difficult days related to my cancer treatment.  Also, there was a frantic hunt for a Chinese Frog Closure....let me say I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a decent one, even on-line.  Only in a crafting house would this be considered something of an emergency!  I finally tracked down a beautiful vintage one on etsy, and decided on it at the suggestion of my husband (who so rarely offers his opinion on matters of dress or notions that I had to).  ANYwho, now I'm waiting on its delivery to do the final stuff on my first big project on the year.  I can't wait for you all to see it!

I've mentioned before that I LOVE hats.  Love them. I don't have as many non-winter hats as I'd like, but Winter hats are a true obsession.  Scarves & gloves as well.  So I thought for fun, I'd pull out part of my collection for you to see.

My furriest, most wonderful of the Target hats.  Works wonderfully against Minnesota Winters.

Handmade by a group who makes hats for chemo hair-loss.  I plan on profiling them in the near future.

I lived in NYC for 13 years, this is my "oldest" hat, purchased at a store in the Village called "Himalayan Visions."  It's Tibetan Alpaca!

A Hallowig made by the amazing Eileen.

The newest beauty, made by the wonderful ladies at Girls with Good Taste

Another from Target.  It's one of those hood/scarf
combos but the killer is the puffball at the end of each hood pull.

A "vintage" scarf/hat (it has a teeeeny bill!) combo from Urban Outfitters.  I used to have more UO hats, but 4 moves + divorce + accidental stuff in the purge = oops lost it!

A Side-View Gallery of Skull Caps, Mostly Hand-Made

 OK, 3/4 view.  One of the most joyful hand-made caps ever!
A gift from my oldest (since grade school!) friend.  There are 2 other knitted flowers, they are all interchangeable.
Stripey awesomeness.
OK, I love stripes on hats.

This one is marbled and slightly felted.  The lovely scarf came from my friend Amy, who grew up in MN and understands.

The hat is awesome, but I really wanted you to see the gorgeous eternity scarf made by Eileen.  I even use it for a hood/scarf combo!  Look for a decent shoot of the scarf soon, done by my husband, who is MUCH better than me at photography.
Purple Marble.  Purple is such a glorious color!
Thank you so much for visiting Magpie Shinies and checking out my hats & scarves!  If you have an obsession with winter accessories, I'd love to hear it.  I'd also love to hear any stories about going to the ends of the earth to find that perfect notion.

Much Love!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pillow Project - Pillow #1

Thanks, everyone, for your great suggestions for pillows!  I decided to make several pillows, so here's Pillow #1.  I decided to focus on texture for this one.

This pillow is incredibly soft - the shell is natural flannel, a new favorite fabric of mine.

The flowers are made of denim, muslin and flannel, and the adorable buttons were Christmas gifts from my co-Magpie...aren't they pretty and shiny?

I decided to sew inside the circles so that the edges of the flowers would eventually fray and give the pillow a pretty, almost shabby chic effect.

So pillow number one is done! Thank you again for all the advice, much of which I will be using as I go along.  Take care and much love!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Pretty Pillow Problem

I think it was just that I was overwhelmed with pillow choices - I love buying pillows but haven't in ages, as it seems kind of pointless when you can make them for sooooooo much less.  For me, the price of the fabric really has to justify the price of a pillow (as generally the stuffing is negligible) because you are sewing a SQUARE.  So no matter how cool a pillow is, I'm haunted by a depression-era voice from yesteryear, "It's a SQUARE!  You could make that!"  Honestly, if I ever learn to screenprint (and knit - it's on the list!) I won't be able to justify A SQUARE ever.

What makes throw pillows so damned expensive?  I mean, really - what?  I think spending 30 dollars on a faux fur coyote throw pillow from Restoration Hardware is actually sort of reasonable, as that works out to not much more than buying the supplies.  And it's so fluffy:

Coyote Pillows
My whirlwind tour of pillow inspirations pulled up several lovelies:

Koko Pillow - 128 DOLLARS

UO's Gingham Ruffle Pillow

UO's Grey Wool Vines Pillow

Creole Pillow from Target
So looking for pillow tutorials would be the next logical step, right? 

Well, as we know, corporations have nothing on the creativity of the individual, and if I thought that looking for inspiration from companies was tough - what artist-crafters had made was much more overwhelming.  I was truly moved by projects from the subtle to the sublime.  The feminine trends of ruffles and flowers were in abundance!  Like I said earlier, I get easily overwhelmed.  I know that my apartment will never look like a set from an Anthropologie catalog, but it doesn't stop me from striving, and every blog seems to have amazing ideas.  So it is difficult to focus!  Look at me, in one paragraph I've gone from pillows to once again contemplating how to be happy with my shelving.  That means right after I submit this, once again I'm pulling everything down from the darn things. *sigh*

Oh right, pillows!

I have SO MANY pillow projects bookmarked.  It's ridiculous.  I seriously do not know what to do.  I'd love to hear any pillows you have done/bought lately that you have LOVED.  I need to reduce my options, as it were, and get some advice, already.

OK, time to hit the shelf.  Any advice on how to spruce up shelves?

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Re-sew-lutions

by Kimberlee

One of the things I have trouble doing if finishing a project.  I'll get discouraged and put it away, then start something new, or more likely become excited about something new!  So here are my Re-sew-lutions for sewing that I will finish this year.  It should be interesting to see what I manage to hold to.  In no particular order!

This is Butterick 5398, one of the first patterns I bought and possibly the best bang for the buck (literally, it cost a buck), considering it is an entire wardrobe.  I've tried to make the very easy dress a few times - once I was short on fabric after I had cut the rest, once I cut all the fabric but it fell apart during sewing, etc etc.  But I love these designs, and want to do them all (in the same colors, too) as the patterns - except for the pants, which are no great shakes.  I also want lime green flats now, too.

The Yellow One from B5045. I don't know what it is about how the yellow is cut, but it looks super comfy.  I want to make it out of some fabric that is both casual but fancy at the same time, and I'd be happy to take ANY suggestions!

Something awesomely retro. I have yet to make a retro item (Ren Faire notwithstanding, but possibly too retro), but I really want to make something that looks straight out of a classic movie.  I love these robes(B5152), and I'd get a lot of use from them, as I practically live in pajamas. It would be really cool to make a fabulous retro party dress, too, which brings me too...

I've had this pattern, Simplicity 2444, for a very long time as well, but I've been waiting for a dress form to finish it.  Now that I have one, and a muslin for the bodice, I'm excited to make a custom fitted party dress.  The PR patterns are a little funky, more exactly the instructions are, and were definitely too much for a beginning sewist.  I'm making the pink dress in the drawing, as I'm not a "huge bow" kind of gal.  More power to you all who are, but it's not how I roll.

This dress should be easier but I may be cursed.  S2472 is a dress/tunic option with a really cute belt.  Like, supercute.  Why did mine wind up looking like a tshirt and why are the instructions for the belt mystifying? I'm open to any fabric suggestions!  Much like this pattern, the next re-sew-lution is mostly made:

I was into capes before anyone else.  One of my most beloved pieces of clothing is a poncho/cape I bought at Top Shop for 50 lbs (when one pound = 2 dollars!).  I knew it would be a while before I was on a High Street again, and it was so perfect and army green, and then I had to go get cash out because there's some chip in English credit cards that American cards don't have, etc etc. But this was over 3 years ago!  Now I want to make this cape, and C (the blue one) is at home, all cut, but for some reason there is no lining, and without a lining it has about a two week wear-season here in MN.  So I created a lining which I have to figure out how to put in, and want to make a hood to go with it.  I don't know how to make a hood, so I have been studying the hood on my beloved cape like crazy, hoping to match it.

A great pair of pants.  I'm terrified to make pants.  I just don't know how to.  Before the end of the year, I will make a pair, learning how to... following a book learning course.  This wonderful book, which was on my Amazon wishlist and was picked up by a friend, is like a sewing 101 course for beginners, and one of the things I dearly want to do this year is to start at the beginning and, with Betty's help, follow it in order.  At the end, I think I'll be a much better seamstress and of course have a wardrobe made to fit my body perfectly.

Make a tee shirt quilt.  Several sites have instructions on this, and I plan to follow a mix of traditional quilting and the instructions in Generation t (love this book!).  And if this is a way to preserve something for an eternity, why don't I..

...make an Infinity Dress. The latest issue of Quick Stuff to Sew has an infinity dress pattern that I am dying to try.  In fact, I am dying to try a LOT of things in the mag, and elsewhere, but I figure things that are a day project don't need to be listed here.  Inspiration is everywhere, and one site I'm often inspired by is BurdaStyle.


At least one of these projects.  Ideally, I'd get to all three.  The Talea Skirt is already cut and ready to sew, and that leaves me deciding whether to do the dress or the jacket next.  Thoughts?

Overarching Resewlution

Learn to Knit
Make Something that Can Be Sold
Get 100 Followers
Have Enough of a Wardrobe to wear all my own clothes for 2 weeks