Jun 24, 2011

Made In America?

A few days ago on the way to work I was listening to a segment on NPR. This segment was about a store called "Made in America" who only stocks 100% American made products. While I don't entirely agree with their reasoning why, it made me really stop and think.

This store only carries only products made in the USA all the way down to the glue, as they say. Hmmm. That can't be too hard, right? I realize that we do buy lots of products made in other countries but I didn't think about the sheer mass quantity. How many things do I use that are made in the USA?

So I looked down at my trusty Elmer's Glue sitting on the table from the paper-mache session last night. Made in China. My stapler, China. My balloons, China. My paper labels, Mexico. My gluestick, Germany. It was a bit astonishing. Do we really pay attention to where products are made anymore? I guess I don't. How much is really made in the USA?

I decided right then to try to buy more from my own country. Not as a 'screw you' to any other country, but as more of a supportive, aware customer. I'm going to try to buy more locally when I can. I want my country and its inhabitants to have jobs, to be able to provide for their families, and to support the economic growth. The unemployment rate is over 9% and it seems to keep climbing. I wonder if we attempt to buy products from our own country (no matter what country you live in), if we can help ourselves and our fellow citizens.

I sure hope so, because everyone wants to put food on the table for the ones they love.

Jun 21, 2011

Ten Dollar Tuesdays #5

I've been taking a small break from blogging and internet in general to do some work around the house. I've skipped a few Ten Dollar Tuesdays but I thought this one was a great one to start again.

It's the Summer Solstice and in honor of that here is my Ten Dollar Tuesday.



I really enjoy the color and the sparkles on it. The colors are so bright and cheerful. Perfect for outdoor parties and faeries!

$.8.50 from  MagickalCupboard



I like the line quality and styling of this and the colors are so warm and friendly.

$3.50 from TheInnerGoddess





These are so simple and pretty. I really love the blue color up against the tile color. 

$4.00 by AngelEllie

Jun 16, 2011

Progress!!

Whooopy!

Yesterday I was actually productive. I finished hand stitching on the bias trim of my revamped maternity top and also tacked on the bow to the lolita skirt.
The second tier of the skirt was tucked, then gathered and a bow attached.
The skirt is nearly complete. I just need to insert the back elastic and close the waistband. Hooray! I can't say I will be sad to see it go. It looks lovely but I really fought with the material. Who knew that it was such a slippery little sucker. My guess is that it's a crinkle taffeta. Wish I knew that when I decided I loved the color and bought it several years ago. Oh, well. I guess it's a small price to pay to do some destashing.

 Please forgive the horribly quick shot done at work.
All in all this skirt only cost me a little sanity, time and about $2 for the zipper. The fabric I already had and the ribbon I had left over from Halloween. It was actually a wire edged ribbon for craft purposes but I slid the wire out and like magic, just a regular grosgrain ribbon again!

Next on my list of projects is to work on a plarn totebag. This time I am using the remainder of that Malley's bag from the Recycled Bangle Bracelet tutorial as the bottom. It's very thick and I think will work well for the bottom of the bag for reinforcement. I just wish it didn't scrape up my knuckles as I add on more and more rows.

Crafting is love. Love and pain. Well, sometimes more pain than love.

Jun 14, 2011

Father's Day is Coming!!

I'm not ready. I'm not ready! I'M NOT READY!

I have no clue what to do for my precious husband yet. He's not a regular dad. Ties and golf balls as gifts do not apply. But for now I think I will delay my own panic and look into crafts me and the kids can do for him with things I have around the house.



Here are a few contenders I've found online.

Cast Catchalls
Denim MP3 Planer Holder
Nuts and Bolts Photo Frame
Ringbound Notebook
Handpoem I think I could merge a few things into this since I have some left over plaster at home. I just wonder how a 1 year old will manage plaster. HAHA

So far I haven't found the winner yet. Daddy does not work in an office and is on the road often. I don't want to make random knick knacks or things that he can't take with him or won't last. We'll see what we come up with.

Jun 13, 2011

Crawling back up

I'm still sick but I'm slowly gaining momentum so I can start crafting again. I better start crafting again. My deadline for my lolita skirt is coming.

Last week I finally sucked it up and took it back to the sewing machine to put that evil zipper in. I swear I never had so many problems with a zipper in my life. I don't know what was wrong but that problem with the wrong bobbin certainly did not help in the slightest. I got the zipper in, and now all that is left is closing the waistband, sewing on the last tier and hemming. I might go the lazy route and serge and single fold the hem. Everything in me says to double roll it but oh, lordy. I do not want to double roll and press 178 inches of hem. That? Well, that can suck it. I will befriend my serger and bust that bad boy out.

Also, I got a bit of a surprise yesterday. We had my son's very first birthday party and during which a friend of mine commented about my Etsy store front. It came completely out of the blue as I have not thought about my storefront for a few weeks. I've been so preoccupied with other projects and other nuisances of life that it's just sat that. But I guess it wasn't forgotten by everyone. She said she wanted to purchase a few things of mine and was really surprised and enjoyed my work. Granted, she is one of the nicest girls I've ever met (and was trying to clean up after others at the party itself) and always has a positive outlook on everything but to hear someone say that was wonderful..

I had forgotten and started to lose faith in my Etsy shop but knowing someone remembered and liked my items was a boost. That might have been the edge to get me rolling again. I do feel more motivated. Perhaps it's that comment, or the fact that I can breathe through my nose again and not wake up struggling for air.

Jun 10, 2011

Sick

Last weekend my littlest brought home a cold or some sort of virus. In normal kid fashion he decided to share with anyone he comes in contact with. I've been battling since Sunday and failing.

Because of being sick and tired I just haven't had much motivation to push myself to continue my crafting and posting lately. Sleep trumps hand sewing on bias tape or coiling. Sometimes it even trumps cleaning.

Until I get out of this sick funk, expect my blog to be a bit slow. I am still slowly working but I don't have any drastic updates or changes to mention. The only big change is I can't breathe through my nose and it feels like someone is sitting on my face.

Jun 3, 2011

Unmotivated

I think I might actually be crafted out. I've been running and running on so many different projects, that I might have burned out my craft motor. I didn't think it was possible. I just feel so stagnant. I don't feel like I'm going anywhere lately.

I haven't put the zipper back in that skirt because I'm still mad at that evil bobbin. I haven't finished my maternity shirt revamp because I misplaced my thread. I have had no sales in my Etsy shop, and have not listed any of the new items because I... have no sales in my Etsy shop. I really should get on to taking some nice photos of the new items so I can post them.

The problem is time. Time and sunshine. I don't want to waste that happy sunshine time on something that I consider a bit selfish on the weekends (when I have more time to do it) when I should be out playing with the kids or doing that annoying grocery shopping. I work a full time job, I am a full time mom, selling on Etsy is a part time gig and I'm failing. I don't have the time to devote to getting a real lighting set up and taking nice photos because as soon as I come home from work it's -clean, vacuum, cook dinner, dishes, play, jammies, bedtime, do the banking after the kids sleep- etc etc. It's like it never ends. And little kids certainly will not leave your lighting set up alone. Oh, no no no!

I think I need a brain vacation. Or maybe a real vacation.

But for now I will keep plugging away on my unfinished projects. Maybe when I accomplish more of those I will be more inspired and motivated. Sometimes, that can only come from finishing something.

Jun 2, 2011

Quick and Dirty Tutorial- Altering the hip and thigh of a Skirt or Pair of Pants

In my recent quest for cheap and easy maternity clothes I have come across a problem. It's the same problem I keep having throughout my entire life. Because I have some hip, companies seem to think I have enormous thighs, too! Sorry, but that is not the case and if you are like me, you get pretty tired of trying on something you  love and looking in the mirror just to envision yourself as a female oompa loompa.

I recently acquired a pair of maternity capris that are exactly this way. The waist fits, the length fits, the top of the hip fits, but the thigh is too big. So, I fixed it and in doing so I made this quick tutorial for you.


Fix that Hip/Thigh Tutorial

Supplies:

Pins
Fabric pencil or marker
Mirror
Hip curve ruler (if you don't have one, you can eyeball it)
Sandpaper (optional)
Sewing Machine

Directions:

Step 1. Turn your garment inside out and put it on.
Yes, expect to feel silly. 


Step 2. Using a mirror and your fingers pinch the excess away from your body from the side seam.

Step 3. Pin down the side vertically where you have pinched. Then start to move around in your bottoms. Make sure you still have enough room to sit and take them on and off.

Step 4. Take off pants and lay down flat. Using your Hip curve ruler (or your eyeballs) line up and mark a curved line along your pin line. Blend your adjustment in with the rest of the side seam.  Mark with your pencil or marker.

Step 5. Sew along the curved line you made. Trim off any excess from the side seam to remove puckers.  If you wish you can serge or zigzag the altered area to avoid fraying.


Since my pants were jeans I noticed that where I made my adjustment did not have the wear and fading of color on the seam. I thought that looked odd so I took it a step further. 
 Notice how the white edge stops where I have blended the hip.

Step 6. (Optional) Fold your jean item at the side seam with the fold facing the same direction as the remainder of the unadjusted side seam. Now take some fine grit sandpaper and start sanding the protruding edge. Continue until you get the effect you wish.

Some wear and tear will happen with regular wearing so don't get overzealous. Also please remember, you are intentionally wearing down the fabric on this seam. Don't do too much!!

There, I think that will be better from a distance. 


You're done!! Now you should have a bottom that fits your hip well. This will work well for any bottom garment that only needs slight alteration and won't affect the grain line of the garment too much. Anything with a much larger ooompa loompa problem will need more work.