Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hallway Gallery

At the end of our hallway, there was a great, empty spot, perfect for a little frame gallery.

Decorate me!
After months of collecting frames (meaning dusty piles of frames stashed here and there) and spray painting them a bright, glossy white, I finally got around to hanging them! 

I started by tracing each frame onto brown paper, which I then cut out and taped on the wall
And arranged...
And rearranged, until I had something I liked.
And then let it sit for a day (or two) to be sure I liked it enough to live with it, and then hammered some nails up, hung the frames, and wah lah!, a simple easy way to display our favorite photos.

We all love to check them out in passing, especially this one:
And now just to find a runner and we are in (hallway) business!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Room for New

I won't deny it - I've been in quite a sewing slump lately. Projects pile up and bury each other, and I can't attempt to finish one without bumping into another one - the guilt and need to do. it. all. now. prevented me from even beginning to work on a lot of things in the first place. There are so many ideas floating around in my head, as well as tons of ideas for my Etsy, but I have a hard time getting started.

I decided a big part of my lack of sewing motivation was my sewing set up - I sew at my dining room table with a large sliding-door armoir right next to it. The armoir stashes all my fabrics, scraps, notions, interfacings, patterns, and the like, as well as shipping supplies, paper crafts, you name it. It was all crammed into those shelves in a very inefficient organization. 

Do you see all those bags of fabric scraps?!
What a frickin' mess! No wonder I never got anything done. Nothing had a logical place and was jumbled in with everything else.

First I tackled my fabric stash. I weeded out some that I never really loved, but had accepted because they were free - back to Freecycle they go! Knits, minky and felt stacked at the bottom, and then cottons organized by color. I hope by condensing my fabric to fewer shelves, I'll be tricked into thinking I have so much fabric and using what I have instead of buying more!
My scraps were condensed, my Etsy inventory organized, and I also dumped a lot of yarn that I will never get to (sorry, knitting, but you've been replaced!). Do you see that free space? grow!

The other side was a bit more involved - lots of sorting, piling, and things to throw away. I also started a running list of supplies I needed and ideas for better organization involving a trip to a store. Take my thread storage, for instance:
Not the most efficient use of my space! What is even in that box? Once clearing the junk out, I realized how sorely I needed lots and lots of thread, and added that to my list. Another motivation-stealer - not having the right supplies on hand. Earlier this week I broke my last needle and had to run to the store, but of course I put that off for a couple days, at least. While cleaning, I, like three packs of needles! Wow.

Whenever I wanted to make a covered button, I never would, because where were all of my pieces? Problem solved, and they are all now jailed in a baby food jar.
And done for now, at least!
A trip to Ikea is definitely in order - have you seen their 'box' department? Awesome! Boxes for interfacing, lace, patterns, paper - boxes! I also definitely need a thread rack in there. Not the most blog-worthy makeover, but my motivation is already kicking back in and it's quite refreshing to actually see what I have to work with. Thanks for peeking!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tatanne Bag

I've had the Tatanne Bag pattern saved for years in my sewing bucket list, and the day finally came! My old purse was an ancient threadbare wreck, so it was desperately needed. I already had the materials on hand, so the cost was relatively free, and it felt great to take several hours to make something for myself.

I used a vintage boucle weave menswear for the exterior and a yellow vintage snakeskin print on the inside.
Add a fun vintage brooch for some flare...
For a better idea of bag-to-body ratio:

The bag is big and roomy with two exterior pockets. I can fit diapers, my wallet, library books, and packages all inside, and still have room to grow. One thing I would change next time is the strap - to make it a tad longer, and, although the current strap is interfaced, I can't help but feel leather handles would be much more durable.

I am extremely pleased with how it turned out, although the pattern itself was very difficult. For one, the pattern, tutorial and photos are in three different places - one online, and the other two in separate PDFs. This results in a lot of running around to figure how many of what to cut for each pattern piece, what photo example coordinates with each step, etc. The resulting tutorial is very unorganized, and the directions are random and hard to follow (I ended up with an extra pattern piece at the end?).  I would definitely not recommend this for the novice sewer,  but there are a lot of online resources for help figuring out the pattern.

Now that  I've actually made one, I might give it another shot when summer rolls around, maybe in a light linen with extra pockets added inside? It really is a great bag, despite the headache!
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