31 May 2010

The Li'l Lizzy Hipster

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Several months ago I made a few messenger style bags and sold a couple online and a few more at craft shows. They were a little different, I had not put a zipper in those and they had a flap closure. Here are a couple examples:

This new one has a zipper closure and a back pocket. I made a tutorial for the new one and have listed it in my Etsy shop and it is called The Li'l Lizzy Hipster and you can find it here.

29 May 2010


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I made a fabric flower bib necklace a few weeks ago which had a kanzashi style fabric butterfly on it. I have had many requests for the pattern to making these butterflies. I didn't have one made up until now. I finally made the tutorial and I have included 2 versions of butterflies, 2 bumblebees, 2 ladybugs and a dragonfly. I call them Fabric Doodlebugs and the pdf tutorial is available in my Etsy shop.

Here are a few pictures.

17 May 2010

Lotus Flower Tutorial

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Seems I can't get too far away from the flowers. I finished another tutorial today and have posted it in my Etsy shop. This one is called Fabric Lotus Flower.

Actually I have had 2 projects in the works. One was this flower, which is pretty easy to make. It is not too time consuming. However, the other project I am working on is taking some time to get together. Once I'm finished it will be easy to construct, I'm just doing alot of flip flopping on the design of it. I think I have it pretty well figured out now though. I should have it finished soon. And it isn't another flower, lol!

My Lotus Flower was fun to make. And the fabric I used to make this one is always a pleasure to work with. I love it. The petals are made from Whisper by Sentimental Studios for Moda. Beautiful. There is a little piece of Boutique by Chez Moi, I used it in the center of the flower. The leaves are just run of the mill 1/4" green gingham. This flower measures 4". I rather like it.

What do you think?

15 May 2010

We Have Some Winners!!

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I want to thank everyone who entered my 1 year anniversary/customer appreciation giveaway. It has come to an end and I have 3 winners!!

My grand prize is a choice of any 4 fabric flower pdf tutorials in my shop, plus choice of 4 fat quarters of any fabric in my shop. This grand prize goes to Jaime from The Hair Candy Store. Congratulations Jaime!

The 2nd place winner gets to choose 2 fabric flower pdf tutorials from my shop and 2 fat quarters of choice from my shop. And the winner is Kottage Kreations.

And my last winner can choose any fabric flower pdf tutorial and a fat quarter of choice from my shop. I am happy to say that craftmom is my 3rd winner. I NEED YOU TO CONTACT ME BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ANY OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION.

If by chance I am unable to deliver one or more of these prizes or I do not make contact with any of the winners by May 22, 2010, I will contact the next person/s on the list.

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you all again for participating. Please keep reading to be able to enter my next giveaway.

11 May 2010

From My Scrap Bag: Lacy Flower Bib Necklace Tutorial

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I put together a tutorial to share with you on how to make this Lacy Flower Bib Necklace. It is pretty easy to construct. I just used pieces from my scrap bag.

I started with 2 pieces of these gorgeous Venise Laces, about 10" long and some satin ribbon. You can use any scrap of lace or eyelet that is decorative like this. I sewed the 2 pieces together at the top edge. Cut your ribbon long enough to be able to tie around your neck plus weave through lace. Weave it through the openings in the lace. If your lace doesn't have holes in it like this then fold down the top edge of your lace a little bit and stitch in place to make a casing. Thread your ribbon through that.

Make sure your ribbon lengths are the same on each side of your lace. Gather lace by pushing it toward center. Pin the ends in place and tack the ribbon down on each end so gathers stay in place.

I sewed on a strand of faux pearls after it was gathered. Then I dabbed some glue on the back at each end to catch the threads. I just wanted to make sure the stitches wouldn't work their way out.

Also I heat sealed the edges of my lace and ribbon to keep them from raveling. I made a small bow and tacked it down on one side. And I sewed a fabric flower to the other side. Voila!

08 May 2010

The Cameo Bag

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I would like to share my newest creation, I call it The Cameo Bag.
The tote bag measures about 11 1/2" w across the top, 6 1/2" w across the bottom, 10" h, and has a 3" gusset. The handle drop is about 8".
There are 2 full pockets on the outside of the bag, 1 in front, 1 in back. There is 1 zippered pocket on the inside. This tote is fully lined and is nicely padded. There is a magnetic snap closure. The handles have rectangular metal ring accents.
The fabric brooch can be made any size and from your choice of fabric combinations, I made mine to match the flower on the fabric. It has a brooch pin back and is removable.
I have this bag in a pdf format for sale in my Etsy shop and you can find it here.

07 May 2010

My Studio

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I recently had the occasion to take pictures of my studio and so I thought I would post them here to share with you. I have been crafting and sewing for so many many years and I have never had a space like this one. I am thrilled to have it.

You can see in this picture that the originals owners of my house must have had the plans to make a 2nd kitchen or bar downstairs here. And that makes me happy! Look at all those cabinets and drawers. I put the shelves on the wall and the ribbon holder thingy. Bad thing about that ribbon, it won't stay rolled up! On that hidden wall there behind the iron I have a piece of peg board for hanging up stuff. I love that nice big cutting surface.

This view is directly opposite the first picture, you can see my cutting surface in the foreground. These are my metal shelf units where I keep my bolts of fabric, my felt, some bigger tools and stuff like the Go Cutter, Cricut and my serger. I also have boxes of scraps there and also smaller cuts of fabric. Just all kinds of stuff there.

This isn't a very good picture, but it shows my work surface here in the foreground. It is a very very convenient "L" shape and it is big and I love it. I made this from planks of wood and 2x2s and covered it with plexiglass. It has cross pieces on the bottom but it is still a tad wobbly. In the background you can see my new photo light box and my tripod. I am falling in love with that little baby! I have some shelf units back there where I keep my precuts and other small cuts of fabric.

Just another view of the room. You can see one of my book shelves back there with some of my precuts on it. There are a couple shelves of books. Don't look too closely, my books are not organized at all. You might see all kinds there, from my critical care nursing magazines to organic gardening and everything in between. Around the corner from those bolts of fabric I have two more of those book shelves with nothing but books. You might say I am a book junkie. It's true. Ha, I didn't notice that until now, I have that fabric on the counter there. That is the fabric I used to make my latest handbag. I will post that tomorrow.

I have yet to paint these walls or put up any pretties, but I'll get to that soon enough I guess.

Thanks for looking!

06 May 2010

Spring Day Tote

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I'd like to share my newest pdf tutorial with you. It is called Spring Day Tote. I just listed it in my Etsy shop.

The tote bag measures about 12" x 11 1/2" and has a 2 1/2" gusset. The handle drop on the bag pictured is about 5 1/2", however you can make the handles longer if you wish. 

There are 2 large pockets on the outside of the bag, 1 in front, 1 in back. There is 1 pocket on the inside. This tote is fully lined and is nicely padded. There is a magnetic snap closure.

I used 3 coordinating fabrics to construct the pictured tote. My fabric is Boutique by Chez Moi for Moda. The outside pockets have piping at the top edge. You can choose to add decorative top-stitching like I did, as well. 

The fabric brooch can be made any size and from your choice of fabric combinations, I used 2 matching fabrics. It has a brooch pin back and is removable. 

Hope you like it! Thanks for reading!

05 May 2010

Picture Redo

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Ok, so I got my photo box set up and decided to start experimenting with picture taking. I don't know very much about my camera as far as settings go. The camera I used for these pictures is digital and has 5 megapixels. I shot all these pictures with the flash off and the camera in close-up mode.

My photo box is equipped with 3 lamps with 20 watt (which equals 75 watt) 6500K natural light bulbs. I have 1 on each side of my box and 1 over the top. I had them all turned on for these pictures. I used a white poster board background for all the pictures.

I cropped these photos and edited the lighting in Picasa.

This first picture has only been cropped, no other editing done on this one.

This next one was edited by using the autocontrast option in Picasa.

And this final picture was edited by using the "I feel lucky" option in Picasa. I have no idea what that really means or what any of the options really mean or how to use them to get the most benefit.

So my question to all who read this is: Are any of these pictures considered good pictures? Would you use one in your listing on Etsy or another online shop? And if so which one? If they aren't please, someone guide me on what to do differently.

I appreciate any help, thank you!

04 May 2010

My Homemade Light Box

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I have posted on the subject of my shop photos a couple of times. Both times complaining about how I need to improve them and not really knowing how. I've brought up the idea of making a photo light box and hoping that was all I needed, but it was pointed out to me that is not all I need. But you gotta start somewhere.

I have done some research about making a light box of my own instead of buying one, because afterall I am a crafty gal. I found several websites showing how I can do this for less than $100.00. Well alright, that's what I'm talking about.

I found one website that had some interesting plans by Bill Huber and I decided to follow it, well pretty much follow it. Here is the link to that site so you can get more information and so I can give proper credit.

This is what I did.

3 5ft lengths of sch 40 PVC pipe, 1/2"
4 elbows, 1/2" slip type (read below for the long story about my elbows)
4 end caps, 1/2" slip type
4 tee pieces, 1/2" slip type
sand paper
2 #6 sheet metal screws
white fabric
white poster board
3 gooseneck lamps
daylight bulbs, 6500K 20 watt=75watt

So I went to Lowe's and grabbed the PVC pieces and screws and spent about $10. I got the lamps, bulbs, and poster board at WalMart. That came to about $50. The rest of the stuff I had already.

I get home from Lowe's and start measuring and cutting my PVC. I cut the legs at 20" long, that took up 1 and 1/3 of my pipe.

I cut the top frame. I cut 4 pieces, each 20" again another 1 and 1/3 of my pipe. I have 20" of pipe not used.

Now the fun starts. 'Cuz I'm crafty and all, lol. I pieced my top frame together just like it shows in the picture. My frame is square, with each side being 20" long. But when I needed to put my elbows on I discovered that I bought the wrong kind. I should have bought street elbows? What are those? Well, they are the kind with 1 part of the elbow that fits over pipe and the other part that fits into the pipe.

I did not want to go back to Lowe's, so I had to improvise, 'cuz I'm crafty. I took my frame apart. I took the 2 side pipes of my frame and cut a 2 1/2" piece off each end of each pipe.

You can see from this photo that I now have six 20" long pipes, two 17 1/2" pipes, four 2 1/2" pieces of pipe, four tees, four end caps and those four elbows.

Once all the pipe was cut I sanded each end to get rid of little burrs. Be careful when you handle the pipe because these cut edges can cut you, and that won't be any fun.

I just used whatever sandpaper I had on hand, but 80-100 grit is recommended.

So now I can put my frame together, albeit a little differently. You can see from the picture how it is assembled. Check here for how it should look if you bought the right kind of elbows. Pretty soon you'll be saying to yourself, if I have to keep going over to that other site I just as well stay there. But don't do that, you gotta support girl power!! I can do it.

 Do you see my little 2 1/2" pieces sticking out the sides? That's ok. Also, you may want to use some PVC cement to glue everything together. I opted to not use it, everything pretty much stayed together. I don't know about the drying time of this cement, so if you use it take that into consideration.

So because of the elbows, my perfect 20" cube photo box is now just a memory. This little mistake added an additional 1 1/2" to the depth of my box. No biggie!

Now attach the end caps to your legs and the elbows to the other end. If your pipe has writing on it you will want to turn pipe so that writing faces away from center of your box. If you bought the street elbows, you will need to put the elbow over the leg pipe and save the smaller part of the elbow to fit into frame. Attach legs to frame, use a carpenter's square to square up your box.

Flip your box over. If you didn't use PVC cement your box might be a little lopsided. Don't ask me how I know that, my box was perfect. Lol. This should not be a problem if your light box is going to remain stationery, like mine.

You can drill small starter holes in the back cross piece and screw in your sheet metal screws. I just used 2 screws. You can see in the picture here where I put my screws, you might need to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see better.

The screws are to hang your poster board. You can get that ready now. And it is really handy to do it this way because you can change out your white poster board for different color backgrounds.

I measured the distance between the elbows crosswise and cut my poster board to that width. I punch holes in the top of the poster board to fit over the screws.

My size frame is larger than the standard poster board so I had to piece 2 together. I was concerned that this was going to be visible in my pictures but I thought I would give it a try. I made the seam up towards the top of my box and taped the 2 pieces together with masking tape. Then I covered the taped with a strip of poster board and hid the tape underneath. It remains to be seen, well actually I hope not.

I made my poster board extend to the front edge of my box. This made a nice slope. I taped it to my work surface in the front so it would stay put. Be careful when working with the poster board, you don't want creases in it, which can show up in photos I'm told.

Now take your white fabric and lay over the top and sides of your box. I just let mine hang there mostly, but I did pin it in front.

I have 3 lamps set up, one on each side and one over the top. I don't really know why yet, but that is another lesson.

The bulbs I chose are daylight bulbs with 6500K. The 6500K refers to the color temperature, this is a cool natural light from what I have read. This is what you want for taking pictures for your shop. I have also read that most digital cameras are designed to use with 6500K bulbs. And how fortuitous for me because that's all that WalMart had.

Here is my finished box. It is a little sloppy looking, I guess. I don't think that is going to matter though. I will experiment taking some pictures and post them next time.

I am so thankful for finding that tutorial. Now I need to find one to tell me how to use my camera to it's fullest potential and take some good pictures.

As always I welcome your feedback. Thanks!

Back to an Old Favorite

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For some little while I designed handbags, totes, little clutches and wallets and the like. I sold many of these at local craft fairs and Ebay. Some didn't sell at all, but I always got wonderful feedback from my customers and had much repeat business. I had several designs and lots of different color choices. I also made lot of things that I used for my home and to give as gifts. It was such a tremendous time, very very busy working long hours and what an outlet. And what fun!

So why did I ever quit doing it? Well life got in the way and I had to put it on hold. Then about a year ago I was suffering from crafting withdrawals so badly that I had to come up with a way to incorporate it back into my life. I knew there had to be a way to make that happen.

So I rearranged my house and came up with a spare room! Fancy that! So I claimed it and transformed it into my studio/shop. I thought to myself that I would paint the walls and dec it out with all kinds of crafty goodies. But I was so anxious to get my stuff back out of the plastic bins I had put it in that I told myself that I can paint later and after I paint I can put up all kinds of crafty goodies. So that's what I did. That was over a year ago and my walls are still white and I have nary a crafty goodie hanging on the wall. I just got too busy.

I decided to get back into creating at a small level and I started a lifelong dream of having a fabric shop/quilt shop. I discovered Etsy! It was like an answer to a prayer. It was perfect! I opened my shop on March 29, 2009. It has been great but now I am ready to expand a little more and offer more handmade items.

I am thinking once again of my handbags. I am thinking of not only making these again, but of offering pdf tutorials to make my handbags and other stuff. Yesterday I created a new tote bag and today I finished the tutorial to make it. I am so excited about the prospects. Now my head is swimming with ideas.

I think I might wait until I get a few designed and made before I put them in my shop. But I can give you a preview of this new one. I would love some feedback, good or bad, not just on this tote but also on my whole idea of making and selling handbags and tutorials.

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