Friday, January 27, 2012

In only 93 days...

This is is what I did today
I had every intention of making something -- anything -- today. Alas, the January blahs preventing me from getting my plans from the drawing board to the finished-and-ready-for-its close-up stage. I did manage to print and prepare some templates. I guess I made them.
When I am this stuck, the only thing to do is to surf the 'net looking for inspiration. I stumbled upon wonderful news -- I can pre-order Tilda's Spring Ideas from the Book Depository. This I did.
I just love that they will ship it to me for free without having to spend a million dollars. This kind of deal is unheard of in North America.
In only 93 days, Tilda's Spring Ideas will be mine. It is just a little booklet, like Winter Ideas. For me, it is all about the eye candy!
I have seen some non-English sites featuring some of the projects contained therein. There is a new design range called Sewing Bird, which features stickers and scrapbook papers of little sewing-themed designs like button jars, ladies from vintage pattern envelopes, pin cushions, and sewing machines.
Sure, 93 days seems like ages, but I am sure it will fly by. It will go faster when I get out of this creative funk.
In the meantime, isn't that cover just soooo pretty?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Studio chair rehabilitation

Cute and comfortable at last!
The chair in my studio needed some help, a facelift if you will.
We just had a electronic recycling day in our town. I finally sent the kids' high school computer off to meet its ultimate destiny. It served us well, considering it was made the year my youngest started Grade 1. The monitor alone looked like a refugee from a 1980s teen movie.
Once the ancient technology was carted away, I took a hard look at the chair that used to be perched before that GIANT monitor.
The ugly, scratchy upholstery "fabric" (which was more like polyester tweed) was ripped and the foam beneath was threatening to take flight.
Googling "how to cover an office chair" yielded a surprising number of results. I was looking for LOTS of photos, so I ended up using the instructions found on Joyful Abode.
I found this nice print at Fabricland for $3/meter.
Armed with a staple gun and a number of  screw drivers, I went to work on the chair.
Basically, I used the chair seat and back as patterns, with a generous amount added all around to accommodate the foam and hard plastic seat foundation. I sewed a channel all around the fabric. Then, I threaded some rat tail cord through the channels, pulled it tight until it encased the foam and the seat foundation, adjusted the gathers all around, tied a serious knot and then stapled the whole thing to the seat. Doing the seat back was a bit more challenging, involving the careful removal of plastic rivets. By some miracle, they did not break and also went back together again.
I like the way it turned out -- and more importantly, it is nicer to sit on than plastic tweed that is leaking foam. Well, just about anything would be nicer to sit on than plastic tweed that is leaking foam.
My point is I conquered the office chair. Now, if only I can organize the desk to make it a better workspace for my paper crafting adventures.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A FNSI flop and a wacky wobble...

iPad tote materials gathered, just not constructed...
 I was determined to make a tote for my iPad for my  FNSI project.
The iPad arrived in my life following a stroke of luck. My son won it, but didn't want it. He wanted money for school. I bought it from him -- the money was going to be handed over anyway, at least I got a cool new device out of it.
It has a leather cover, but I wanted to make a padded tote for it as well, with space for the charger/cord. The main fabric is a dec. weight gingham, the lining is a Riley Blake flannel, the accent fabrics are some stripped linen and an ancient piece of fabric bought to make teachers' presents when my kids were in kindergarten and Grade 3. Yikes! (The technology hadn't even been invented then, and I already had the fabric to make the tote for it. Amazing!) The handles are adorable Japanese ones from Quilt a Bag. I just love them.
See? I was motivated and surrounded by cute inspiration. I got as far as envisioning the design, collecting the materials and doing the measurements. Did I cut? No. Did I sew? No, I did not. Every time I started, I was called away to do something "urgent". I am not even kidding.
Each time I picked up the rotary cutter, the phone rang. I had the ruler lined up, and my mom needed me for something. Eventually, I gave up on the project for the time being. I want to do a good job, but if the planets aren't quite aligned properly, I see no sense in trying to charge onward. Maybe I will get it done on Monday -- Make It Happen Monday. MIHM isn't quite as famous as FNSI, but I have a feeling it might work better for me -- at least for this particular project.
Wobbly, but finished!
I did manage to work on my VERY LARGE Tilda jewellery mannequin. The pattern is from Sew Sunny Homestyle. Just for fun, I enlarged it 400 per cent.
I found a wooden candlestick at Goodwill before Christmas and I had a round wooden plaque. I glued them together for the stand and got to work on the mannequin. I was pretty pleased with myself by the time I had it all put together.
However (you knew this was coming), engineering is not my strong suit. The large size demands some adjustments to the construction. I had mounted it on the stand, glued the wood into the figure and sewed around the opening by the time I realized its centre of gravity is a bit off -- frustratingly -- just a bit. Not surprisingly, at some point this weekend, I am going to do some revisionist construction to eliminate the wobble. (sigh)
Nonetheless, it is something to show for an otherwise wacky FNSI. Here's hoping other people had a more productive evening. I'm off now to check on a few blogs.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A cup of brithday wishes

I hope it is the birthday girl's cup of tea!
Tomorrow, we are invited to a milestone birthday for a family friend. She loves to read, so we gave her a gift card  for her favourite book store.
However, handing over a gift card in a store bought card isn't my style.
So, I made her a teacup card out of polka dot scrapbook paper, wrapped the gift card like a teabag, and decorated the cup with paper flowers, a sentiment sticker, a handmade tea tag, and ric-rack.
I like the way it turned out.
This card also marked the first day I actually made something in 2012.
There is a tempest swirling all around me at the moment. I am working through it with the love and support of family and friends, but there is no denying that 2012 has started out as a very challenging year so far. As much as I love it,  I have had little energy for the creative process.
Putting this card together was very therapuetic, and I am remembering why I love to create things. All the troubles seemed to melt away. 
I am promising myself time to get my machine back into operation this coming week. It is cheaper than therapy -- and often involves shopping for supplies. I see this as a win-win.