Sunday, January 29, 2012

New bedding is a girl's best friend...

Over the past three and a half years, the bedroom became a catch all for bills, magazines, laundry...and fabric (my fault!). It wasn't as relaxing as it should have been and it definitely wasn't aesthetically pleasing. Our duvet cover was too neutral, our decorative pillows were from my college days, and our sheets had been through too many tumbles in the extra hot dryers in the basement of our apartment building. A little organizing and rearranging would help but fresh new bedding and throw pillows would make all the difference.

I had a stock pile of my favorite fabrics but no jumping off point...I didn't have that statement piece I needed to build the bed around. That is, until Christmas morning when I opened a present from Erik. He bought me a vintage pillow cover with two embroidered love birds. The inspiration piece I needed!

I started throwing fabrics around and a slate blue and tomato red color scheme fell into place. The fabrics were a mix of soft, cut velvet floral patterns with edgy, flame stitch and geometric patterns. It was masculine and feminine...the perfect balance for a young married couple!

As luck would have it, this makeover just happened to be at the same time many stores have their January bedding and bath sales. I spent last Sunday afternoon searching through online deals and finally found a duvet cover, matching shams, and fun sheets. I was super excited but a little worried that the color wouldn't be right. For someone obsessed with fabric and color, ordering the bedding online without touching it and seeing the color in person was a little scary for me. Thankfully, the bedding arrived and it looked great with the fabric I selected from my stash!

The next step was sewing up a few simple pillow covers. Each have an envelope closure in a coordinating fabric. Check out the four pillows, front and back, below:

And after a very productive Sunday.....the finished product! Sweet dreams!

Our bed skirt just happened to work with everything. The printed fabric hanging on the wall is a piece I made in college.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Special Project for a Snowy Day

It took a couple years and a snow day to finally finish a project that is near and dear to my heart. A winter storm hit the northwest early yesterday morning and at about 7:30am my boss called to let me know we were not going to be open. The second I hung up the phone, I knew what I needed to accomplish. As soon as Erik left for work (he walked in the snow, poor guy!), I dove into the closet in search of my task for the day.

In a tiny bag, in the bottom of a huge storage tub, there was a special project I had started a few years ago and needed to finally complete. It wasn't just any random sewing project. It was something special, something sentimental...a teddy bear made out of patches of Erik's Dad's work shirts. His dad, Julian, passed away almost five years ago and as Christmas gifts one year, I made my mother-in-law and sister-in-law teddy bears out of his old shirts. I started Erik's but didn't finish in time for Christmas and continued to put it off.

With just a little bit of time and a whole lot of love...Erik finally has his bear.

Another snow day (or ICE day!) so we will see what I work on today...

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Craft Corner Evolution

When you live in a small space you have to make the most of every square inch. When you live in that same small space with your have to share every square inch. Thankfully, my husband doesn't seem to mind that I've claimed a corner of our dining area, including the dining table, as my own. Scraps of fabric, yarn, my sewing machine, my loom, multiple pairs of scissors, and everything else you might need can be found in my corner on any given day. Did I mention I'm somewhat of a fabric and craft supply hoarder? I'm pretty sure I get that from my mom. Her attic was like walking into craft heaven...or a Hobby Lobby.

Behind the piles of fabrics, thread, books, etc, there is one piece in my little corner that means the most to me- my floor loom. I spent most of college sitting behind a floor loom or around a printing table. If I had more space, maybe a garage or studio, I could set up a printing table but I always thought that owning my own loom would be too far out of reach. They can be extremely expensive and being young and a newly wed, I never thought I could justify spending so much on a hobby when there are student loans and rent to pay. I thought it was something I would only dream about. That is, until one very inspiring trip to the Seattle Art Museum. There was a special exhibit of local Native American art and artifacts and in a quite corner, there sat a very simple frame loom with a weaving still in progress. That was the only time I was ever excited to leave an art museum! I couldn't wait to get home to sketch up a plan. With my sketch in hand, Erik and I headed to the home improvement store to stock up on all the supplies we would need to build a simple frame loom. I never could have done this on my own...Erik not only supported me in my crazy creative idea, he actually built it for me. He even sanded and applied a clear coat finish on the wood.

Here are a couple photos of my very first loom:

There was a lot of problem solving when I actually started weaving on it. It was like learning to weave all over again. With the use of dowel rods, household twine, and a ruler, I was able to "Make it work!" (as Tim Gunn would say!)

Here's a close up of a scarf in progress:

Although my homemade, well 'Erik-made', loom will always be my favorite and closest to my heart, there were things I couldn't do on this loom that I would be able to do on a floor loom. I made a handful of beautiful scarves on this one but I was ready for an upgrade. I religiously searched Craigslist and surprisingly found a number of floor looms for sale...but unfortunately, many were way above my little budget.

Right when I thought my upgrade was out of reach, I found this:


Erik, again, was pulled into this adventure. Believe me, it was an adventure. I'll try to paint a quick picture of what we went through to pick this monster of a loom up-  the large part of the loom was strapped to the top of our Jeep during rush hour on one of the longest floating bridges in the world while an ambulance trying to pass. I should also mention that it started to rain AND Erik had to pee! It was crazy, but worth it! I made many rag rugs, scarves, even a baby blanket on this extra large loom. It took up so much room though and it still wasn't quite the set up I wanted. To help you relate- its like having a car that drives ok but it isn't that Audi or BMW you've always wanted. At least, that how I tried to make my case with Erik. :)

I held onto this loom for over a year and a half when one day this past November I decided to list it on Craigslist. I thought it would sit there forever but within 48 hours, Erik and I were loading it up to go to its new home. I never thought it would go that fast! I said a quick goodbye but I'll be honest with you, I had already moved on...

And finally, here is the new addition to my craft corner:

I haven't had time to set it up yet so the photos show it folded up. More photos of the loom and new projects to come soon!

This is the Audi of looms for me and its parked right there in my own corner...I don't think I'll need to upgrade for a while.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Year's Eve to Remember

I've always liked New Year's Eve but I've never felt the need to plan an elaborate night or throw the party to end all parties. I usually enjoy ringing in the New Year in my pjs, flipping back and forth between MTV and Dick Clark, Carson Daly, Ryan Seachrist or whoever else might be counting down that year. When I was little, all of my cousins and sisters would stay the night at my grandparents. We would play Spoons, dance and sing at the top of our lungs, oh and don't forget my Papa's chocolate malts!

This year was extra special, though. It was a night that was almost a year in the making. I was my little sister's Maid (well, technically 'Matron') of Honor! It was a beautiful night filled with family, friends, dancing, and of course, Kansas City barbecue...Jack Stack, yummm... The ceremony, dinner, and dance took place in the old loft space of The Berg in downtown Kansas City. It was the perfect setting for a NYE/winter themed wedding.

My sister and new bro-in-law, Rachel & Adam Beville
The flowers were amazing!!!
My sister Jill and her boyfriend Jake.
Jill caught the bouquet....sorry Dad!

Erik didn't want me to post any pictures of him because he didn't like any
so this is what you get...
me with my husband's profile

My sister Rachel was kind enough to let me make a beaded cuff bracelet for her big day. She said she completely trusted me with this project and I'm happy to say, I finished it on time and it looked great with her dress. It was definitely a labor of love and I'm so happy with how it turned out!

The beaded cuff tied around her wrist with dark blue ribbon.

And one more of my little sister!

The night was amazing...actually, the whole week leading up to it was amazing. My sisters and I haven't all been home together for that length of time in a few years. We usually only catch each other for a day or a weekend at best and even those quick trips home are becoming few and far between. As cheesey as it sounds...the best Christmas present I got this year was to spend New Year's Eve with those I love the most.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

The presents have been opened and the wrapping paper and bows are long gone. The holidays are finally over. Now that the gifts have been given and I can no longer ruin the surprise, I can finally share what I've been working on this holiday season!

The past few years I've been obsessed with the homemade gift. My love for making things by hand and  supporting my fellow Etsy shops are two of many reasons my family and friends have received handmade goodies recently. I spent all of December sewing away at a few fun gifts for a few important people. I tell myself that waiting until December to make my gifts is not procrastination...I wait until last minute because I  work best under pressure! I think I know how Santa's elves feel...

My sister-in-law, Julie, mentioned she wanted pillows to match her bright green, black, and white color scheme in her cute little apartment. When I searched through my fabrics, I couldn't decide which patterns I liked best. My solution?  Use all of them! I pieced together stripes, dots, velvet, silk (just about everything) and here is what I came up with.

My Mom and sisters received huge (and I mean HUGE!) overnight bags. My favorite task is finding fabrics to fit each personality. My day job has enabled my fabric hoarding so I have a closet full of beautiful fabric to chose from.

 I'm a self-taught sewer and always want to improve so I chose a pattern that was a little outside of my comfort zone. The pattern is from an Amy Butler book and I have to say, I am proud of myself! I did a test run a couple months ago and enjoyed making it. By the time I was on the forth bag, I didn't need the instructions!

Here is the test run:

Here is my Mom's (who helped pick the fabric!):

My sister Jill's bag has a 'beachy' theme:

A finally my sister Rachel's bag, with a bright and bold lining:

I still have one more gift to give before I can post a pic. Check back soon to see what I made for my mother-in-law, Leslye!

If you like any of the bags or pillows you see, please let me know. Any of them can be customized for I said before, I'm a borderline fabric hoarder so I have a variety of patterns and colors!

Coming from a special New Year's Eve event I attended this year!