Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So sew me!

What do these two fabrics have in common? They are both going to be used by yours truly to make a bag in my very first sewing class at Spool! I'm so excited to be learning how to sew. I sort of knew the basics from watching my mother and grandmother make things, but I've never sat down to learn how to use a machine and all the technical terms that come with being a sewer. Tonight, we cut our fabrics, cleaned them up (including cutting off the selvage), learned how to thread the sewing machine and maneuver it, and we created a seam allowance.

Some of my friends have been surprised to see me launch this blog, along with the one I have at Examiner. Even though I took a bit of a sabbatical as a young adult, I was a pretty creative kid. I used to design and hand-sew clothes for my Barbie dolls out of scraps of fabric from whatever my mother was sewing. I also loved making jewelry; my favorite project was making macrame-style bracelets from embroidery floss. But somewhere around late middle school, I decided I was going to become a lawyer, and suddenly, there was less encouragement for my creative pursuits and more for the academic ones. When I was in college, many of my closest friends were art or theater majors, but I rarely got involved in their art projects because I think I felt like I couldn't be both a lawyer and a crafter. I was going to be a career woman, and something in me feared the idea of straying from that path. I can't put my finger on how I got that idea, but it was my husband who actually opened my eyes to idea that I could make my own path. You see, he's always had a deep respect for this lady and he informed me that she was a model and a wall street trader before she brought her creative talents to the mainstream. (Plus, she was the product of a women's college, just like me!) It made me realize that it IS possible to "do it all," even if you don't end up having a multi-million dollar corporation as a result. (I'd settle for just being an editor in her crafts department, thankyouverymuch.)

I do think Martha would be proud that my first sewing project involves her latest obsession: faux bois. But no matter where my path takes me, I'm truly hoping that it will be one that is full of fun and creativity, even if the things I make don't go any farther than my friends and family.

I finally see the light...

The Pete Lamp is finally complete! This project was inspired by a hanging lamp in the Long Island City abode of my friends, Stacey and Pete. Pete's version was smaller, but the idea was the same: kraft paper coated in shellac and attached to a basic Ikea light cord set. For my version, I made a frame out of garden mesh and electrical ties, so that I could make the lamp a bit bigger. I also added the stencil, which was done with black spray paint. Everything is held together with spray adhesive. I kind of like how the grid shows through the paper when the light is on, but a google search will reveal places where you can buy top and bottom rings for homemade lampshades, so that you can re-create this shape without the grid.

A word of warning: if you choose to make one for yourself, use one of the flourescent energy-efficient bulbs, please. Not only are they more eco-conscious, they also emit less heat, which is a good thing when you are working with a paper lamp and all. If you are still nervous about combustion, I hear that there are flame retardant sprays out there, although my trip to my local Home Depot was fruitless on that front.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Productivity...

My project this weekend was really to clean my house! It needed a good spring cleaning, and purging, as we seem to have acquired alot of junk over the last year. We've made three separate trips to the local thrift store with furniture, clothes, books, and even a big bag of yarn. (That last one made the thrift store employees VERY happy!)

I got married last September, and my husband sent me a beautiful flower arrangement, the day before our wedding. After the wedding, I made sure to hang the flowers up to dry, along with my bouquet, so that I could do something with them. In our cleaning frenzy, this weekend, I realized they were STILL hanging in our laundry room! So I took them down and made this.

I love it because it has the single yellow rose right in the center. Yellow roses are my favorite. Also, it's in a mason jar like the ones we used for the centerpieces at our wedding. It's a great addition to our dining room table and a pretty reminder of our awesome September weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Home Sweet Crafty Home

I have little touches to add, here and there, but for the most part, she's done! I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

The inspirations:

A blanket, hand knit and felted by my college friends in celebration of my wedding. Mine was the fourth blanket to be made for such an occasion. I specifically asked for something that was more for display than for every-day use, and they gave me this! I love the uneven edges. We started the tradition of knitting wedding blankets in 2003, when the first of us got married, and it was how I learned to knit. My college girls are usually my biggest inspiration, so the one thing that HAD to be in the room was this blanket. The other picture is the bedspread that inspired the wall color. I love purple, but I didn't want the color to be overhelming. The grayish hue that I chose was just right. Now...on to the before/afters!






After (my law library)

There's still more to do, like finding a cork or magnet board for above the desk and getting a few more shelves on the walls. I've also purchased a few IKEA organizational pieces that I will be hacking in a future post. But I have to finish the current project I'm working on, first. You can catch a glimpse of it in the picture of my desk!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Here. We. Go.

Welcome! The purpose of this blog is mainly to be a showcase for my creative pursuits, as a writer, a knitter, a crafter, and a designer of...things. My current projects are:

1) My Arts & Crafts blog. It's so great to be able to tap into the creativity of Philly with this blog. I think it's helped me become more connected to the city, in a way. There's a great give-and-take with this type of writing, where I can tap my existing knowledge of the arts in Philly, while also constantly finding new crafty hot spots in the city, as I do my research.

2) Designing and making knitted items for a to-be-launched shop on This is my first foray into writing my own knitting patterns and it's really given me a boost in confidence. It's one thing to be able to follow a pattern and create a piece that looks like the picture on the page. But to envision a piece in your head and then figure out a way to engineer it? That's a whole new world for me, having spent the majority of my adult life in the legal world, where ingenuity is not always encouraged. My design goal is always to create something that is simplistic, but with a gentle flourish. The picture above is of one of my recent products, which I am tentatively calling "The Walk in the Woods Hat."

3) Redesigning a space in my home that will be a work space, office, and showcase, and then helping others to do the same thing in their own homes. While I am a person who often works in front of the TV, because I like having the background noise, I also crave a space that is my own. I wanted something that had color, and where I could also place items that inspired me. Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as the final touches to the room are complete!

4) A super secret project that has yet to be revealed. Trust me, if all works out, it will be worth the wait!

Please comment to your heart's content, and enjoy!