Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mush Brain

I have days where I lack the words to compose even a simple entry to my blog. Yesterday was one of them. Do you have days like that too? I edited and edited until it all sounded so inane and mindless that I ended up deleting all of it. Today is not much different. I think I get this way when I'm busy and have too many things going on at the same time. My head feels like mush!

I would like to thank everyone who has sent me emails and have posted comments to my blog. You know, you are all way too kind. Thank you! I plan to take the next couple of weeks and concentrate on visiting your blogs and seeing all of the wonderful things that you are working on. I've been out of the loop for far too long.

Here is another one of my early handbag designs. The dark fabric made it difficult to photograph. It also doesn't help that it's overcast and raining here either.

There are pockets on either side of the button plaque. This is repeated on the other side of the handbag too. Notice the drawstring closure. I told you I was all about drawstring closures back then.

I hope you're all having a wonderful day. Take care!


Monday, March 30, 2009

You mean it's Monday again?!?!?!

Hello, everyone! Today is Monday, Diet Challenge check in day. Did I mention that I am beginning to hate Monday's? Just a little. I'm not doing very well with my diet and have been eating everything in sight. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I've gained back a pound and feel so disgusted and feel like giving up, but I won't. Onward and upward, right? LOL

I don't have anything to show you today so I'll leave you with a picture of my big fat happy cat and his amazing long white whiskers.

Take care!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pushpin Mania

Hmmmm, wonder what these could be. More pushpins, you think?

The cardboard backing determines the shape of the finished piece.

Carrots, Strawberries, Yo-Yo Flowers....let your imagination be your guide.

This slacker is heading back to the sewing room to do some serious sewing this weekend. I'll let you in on my little secret real soon. Until then, have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pretty Posie Pushpins

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

For this project you will need fabric, thin cardboard, needle and thread, thumbtacks with 1/2-inch points, a 1-1/8-inch 6 petal paper flower punch, glue, felt, polyester fiberfil, scissor, small button or bead, and embroidery thread.

From cardboard, cut a 2-1/4-inch circle and a 7/8-inch circle.

Trace the 2-1/4-inch cardboard circle onto the wrong side of the fabric. With scissor, cut out the circle of fabric.

Trace the 7/8-inch cardboard circle onto the felt. With scissor, cut out the circle of felt.

Punch a 6-petal flower from thin cardboard using a 1-1/8" flower paper punch.

If you do not have a flower paper punch, use this simple method to create the general shape.

You will need flat head thumbtacks with 1/2-inch points.

Lay a small amount of glue onto the center of the cardboard flower.

Stick the thumbtack through the middle of the cardboard making sure that the underside of the head makes contact with the glue. Set aside to dry.

With needle and thread, take a running stitch around the outside of the 2-1/4-inch fabric circle.

With the wrong side of the circle facing up, place a tiny bit of fiberfil onto the center. Place the cardboard flower base on top of the fiberfil with the thumbtack point facing up. Draw the fabric tightly around it, trapping both the fiberfil and the cardboard base inside.

Tie off with a secure knot. Cut the thread close to the knot. Be careful not to poke yourself while working around the thumbtack.

With 3-4 strands of embroidery thread and a sharp needle, come up through the back of the cardboard at a slant to the center front of the flower. You will need to work at a slant to avoid hitting your needle on the base of the thumbtack.

Bring your needle around to the back and up to the front again. With your finger, feel for one of the notches making sure that the embroidery thread falls into one of the grooves. Pull embroidery thread taught.
Repeat this process 5 more times.

Six petals made.

Thread a small button or bead onto the embroidery floss and sew it to the middle of the flower. Tie off with a secure knot to the back of the flower.

Poke the thumbtack through the center of the 7/8-inch felt circle and glue it in place to hide the mechanics.

Pretty Posie Pushpins.

Use your Pretty Posie Pushpins to jazz up your bulletin board.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oldies But Goodies

Remember that old pile of raggedy patterns that I pulled down from the shelf last month? Well, I got tired of looking at them and returned them to the shelf that they came from. I've recently discovered that I have no desire to recreate those bags again. Over the years, I've managed to keep a few of the old handbags so I will show you some of those instead. Unfortunately, the ones that I did keep are mostly dark prints and we all know that dark colors don't photograph well but I will try my best. Some have faded with time and others are wrinkled, but with a little ironing and primping, they should be presentable enough.

I designed this handbag in the late 90's and continued with it up until the early 2000's. During that time, there was a huge Hawaiian print revival going on here in islands and everything possible was being made from it. Thus, all of my early handbags were made using Hawaiian print fabrics. This was one of the most widely requested designs back then and every once in a blue Hawaiian moon I still see people schlepping it around.

This bag was the 3rd in a series of eight that I designed for use with Hawaiian print fabrics. It is a soft tote with a drawstring liner. There are two large pockets on either side between the liner and the outside fabric. It is interesting to note that I was heavily into drawstring closures back then, a rather obvious and repetitive trait that you will see pop up in many of my early designs. I can still recall how torn I was over the decision to retire this design. It was obvious that I was bored with it and needed to move on.

For just a wee moment last month, I was considering bringing back some of the old designs. After regaining my senses, I decided not to revive any of the old simply because I have already been there, done that, and need to concentrate on what lies ahead. I think you will agree after seeing several of the bags that my design sense has changed considerably.

Over the next several days, I plan to post a couple more bags from my old collection just for old times sake. Seeing them again has been good for me and has allowed me to realize just how far I've progressed in handbag design. A stroll down memory lane was a trip worth taking but it is clear to me that I should continue down the path laid before me. No more looking back, only straight ahead from now on.

Take care, everyone!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

I received a question from Cheryl Lynn asking how to attach a jeans button to the center of a flower pin. I'm sure that some of you were wondering the same. I thought that I would show you with a few pictures. It seems that the indention between the top and bottom of the button is the perfect place to hide the mechanics of a pin.

With needle and thread, take a running stitch along the bottom edge of the petals.

Gather petals into a circle. Pull tight, making sure that the gathered edges fall into the indention between the top and bottom of the button. Tie off securely. Clip thread.

The bottom of the button will show on the back. You may choose to cover it with a piece of felt before attaching a pin back or leave it as is to show that it is a recycled jeans button.

The perfect embellishment for a recycled denim handbag!

Take care, everyone!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Diet Challenge Monday

Watching the scale move is akin to watching a pot of water boil. Neither budges under a watchful eye. As you have probably guessed, there were no pounds shed this week. On the bright side, I am thankful that there hasn't been any weight gained either.

Here is a recipe that I found on Allrecipes.com for Penne with Chicken and Asparagus. Allrecipes is my favorite go-to site when I am in need of cooking inspiration. The reviews and ratings looked promising for this recipe so I gave it a go. Delicious and light and so easy to prepare.

1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into cubes
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.
Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

My big plans to sew over the weekend never quite materialized. This is all that I managed to accomplish before deciding to call it quits.

I have been in a major funk since returning home from vacation and am finding it difficult to get back into the swing of things. Sewing just doesn't seem to be at the top of my list at the moment. Actually, nothing really is. All I want to do is to sit in front of the t.v. and eat bonbons, err, uhm, I mean, raw celery and carrots and do absolutely nothing all day.

Have a nice day!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Origami Gift Card Envelope

Many who have grown up in the islands have some form of paper folding or origami experience under their belt. Hawaii has a large Japanese population, dating back to it's early plantation days, a period where people from many countries immigrated to the islands in search of jobs in the sugarcane and pineapple industries. Due to Hawaii's diverse culture, the arts and crafts of the many ethnicities slowly melded into the lives of all islanders. Over the years, it would have been difficult not to have learned some form of origami as it was often introduced to elementary aged students in art classes.

Folded paper ball.

There have been many times in my life that I recall paper folding coming in handy. Most recently, on my airplane trip back from Washington,D.C., where I encountered a restless toddler in the seat behind me. I tore out the back page of my crossword puzzle book and made an origami paper crane for her. This took her mind off of her boredom for a little while.

Folded paper tsuru (crane).

I am sure that many of you will recall in the "old days" how heavily we relied on drinking fountains in public places to quench our thirst. Those were the days prior to the ubiquitous disposable water bottles of today. When my son was young and unable to reach the water fountain on his own, I would hoist him up trying my best to keep his face in the perfect position for drinking. More times than not, he would come away with water up his nose and his face and shirt soaking wet. Ha! Then I got smart and started keeping a few paper drinking cups with me to eliminate the mess. Because they folded flat, they took very little space in my handbag.

Well, those days are long gone and the idea of drinking from a public water fountain now grosses me out. Those paper cups that I carried with me have taken on a new identity and have now become envelopes for gift cards.

I start with an 8-1/2-inch square piece of card stock which makes the perfect sized envelope for most gift cards. The folds are exactly the same as for the drinking cups. I punch 2 holes into the outside face of the flap which will accommodate the fabric pin that I will be using as an envelope topper. Do not punch completely through both layers of the flap, just the outside.

Before folding the pointed ends over, slide your gift card into the envelope (in the opening between the points).

Do not separate and fold the pointed flaps to either side as if to make a cup, instead, fold both flaps to the front. Tuck both into the opening in the flap with the holes.

Top with a cute fabric pin. Voila! Two gifts in one!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Create! Create! Create!


Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm at it again. Seven more denim coasters.

If you made t-shirt yarn and are left with odd bits and pieces of t-shirt...

Save the hems and neck bands and turn them into coasters too.

Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ruffled Peony Tote

Two different cameras, a multitude of locations, and a butt-load of photographs later, these are the best pictures that I could come up with. Blech! I can't remember when I had this difficult of a time getting a half decent shot. Now, my claim to fame will never be photography, but I can assure you that I can usually come up with at least a couple of reasonable photos. It must be our overcast skies. The last several days have been pretty brutal. Yeah, uh-huh, I'll blame it on that. LOL

Let me introduce you to my Ruffled Peony Tote (I'm silly like that and enjoy giving names to my handbag designs.)

The majority of the fabric used in this tote is from reclaimed denim. I added several flowery fabrics to the face of the bag for a shabby chic kind of look. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't one of my favorite designs, but it was still fun to see it emerge from a drawing on a piece of paper to an actual, usable handbag.

Have fabulously creative day everyone!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Diet Challenge Check-In

It's Monday and it is time to declare that I have lost another pound!! Yippeee!! Finally!! The scale, she is a movin' now! Hopefully this will be a better week for me.

On another note...I kept all of the metal buttons from the pile of denim jeans that I dissected over the weekend. I just couldn't resist.

They make very unique and interesting embellishments for denim fabric flowers. This makes the pack rat in me want to save everything in sight!

I snapped this photo outside of my home today. Very ominous and angry skies. It was very difficult to take indoor photographs and you can see why. Decent natural lighting was hard to come by and it felt cave-like all day. I anticipated a huge downpour but not a drop of rain fell from the sky. Very bizarre.

I would like to send a hug to all my readers and to all that have left me such sweet comments. Thank you so much. You really uplift me and make my day so much brighter.