Apr 262012
 

I’ve been having fun lately, making various kinds of art jewelry for my new Etsy shop, Fancy That Art Jewelry.

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These Faux Dichroic Glass necklaces are loosely based on a faux dichro technique Tim Holtz taught in one of his videos.

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It’s tough to capture their depth and sparkle on camera.  They’re really quite cool and interesting in real life.

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The wire wrapping is simple, but I think it serves to set off the glass pendants nicely.

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I’ve also been playing with faux opals.

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These are done with polymer clay, perfect pearls and iridescent glittery inclusions.

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The dark opals are cool, but I especially love the white ones.

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There are also several polymer clay flowers, as well as beaded bracelets in the shop.

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As a special thank you to my blog readers here is a coupon code for free shipping on any purchase in the Fancy That Art Jewelry Etsy shop between now and Mother’s day. When you are ready to check out, just click on “apply shop coupon code,” and type ART4U.

Happy shopping and happy creating!

 

Apr 252012
 

All the projects currently on my desk are gifts for folks who likely read this blog, so instead of showing my workdesk today, I’m showing you a few quilts I’ve recently completed.

joshs-birthday-quilt

My oldest son’s birthday was last weekend and I made him this quilt.  It was supposed to be sent to him while he was overseas in the Marines, but that just never happened.

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Now that he’s out of the Marines, it’s awfully nice having him back in the area. 🙂

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When I finished piecing this quilt top, I measured it to see what size batting & backing I’d need to get.  Imagine my shock when the measurements turned out to be exactly what the pattern said they should be.  That never happens, I’m always fighting the “fudge factor.”

I attribute the newfound accuracy to the fact that after my sewing machine’s recent tune-up, I notice that I’m no longer wrestling with it wanting to wander off to the left.

Moral of the story: Those regular sewing machine tune-ups are worth every penny.  Don’t put them off.

jungle-quilt

I also finished these two small quilts.  They’re for missions that my quilting group has been working with.  The pattern is great and goes together very quickly. (You can find it here.)

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Aren’t those baby animal the cutest things?

cupcake-quilt

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Yummy!

To see what other creative people from all over the world are up to, make sure to check out What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy creating!

Apr 182012
 

I’m so happy to have finally gotten back to my polymer clay sculptures.  Today’s desk shows several pieces I’ve made while working through Christi Friesen’s book Cats Big & Small.

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I don’t intend to copy her stuff forever, but she does have some techniques that make for good jumping off places with my own ideas.

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The “lump” cat and kitten are just meh, imo.

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But I’m quite pleased with how this lion came out.

I’ll have to show you photos later cuz he’s baking in the oven right now, but I also made a white tiger with blue eyes named Dhiren.  If you’ve read Tiger’s Curse you’ll know what I mean.  🙂

In the meantime, happy creating!  Don’t forget to join us in checking out what’s on the workdesks of creative people from all over the world.

Apr 162012
 

This is what I wore to church on Easter Sunday.  Yup, finally finished that jacket.

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Sorry about the grouchy face, I really wasn’t in a bad mood.

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See?  Smiling.

I’m quite pleased with how the jacket came out, except that there still is one fitting issue.  There’s about 1/2″ too much fabric on each side between the shoulders and the lapels.  It’s more obvious with it unbuttoned.

simplicity-2446-tailored-jacket-pattern

Here’s my review of the pattern.

 

Pattern Description: Lined Princess Seam Jacket with individual pieces for A, B,C cup sizes

Pattern Sizing: I made a 14 with a B cup, although according to my measurements I should have done an 18 for the bust and a 16 for the hips. It’s just a teensy bit snug across the back of the shoulders.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, a very classic style.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were great. I really like these Amazing Fit patterns. Although I know what I need to do in order to make a garment fit properly, (mostly, lol) I often get in a rush and don’t take those steps.

These patterns have built-in 1-inch seam allowances and the instructions walk you through everything you need to do in order to get a good fit. It’s time-consuming, but worth it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the classic style and the waist shape, which makes it a bit more feminine. I also love patterns that have separate pieces for different cup sizes.

Fabric Used: I used a linen blend from Joann’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 1 inch to the sleeve length, but will add another inch if I make it again. Following the directions for fitting, I had to shift some of the fabric at the underarm seam from the front to the back in order to make it hang properly. Since I’m something slightly less than a B cup, next time I’ll need to take out a bit of the excess fabric between the shoulders and lapels.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This was a wearable muslin. I definitely plan to make it again, especially now that I’ve taken all the time to alter the pattern pieces.

Conclusion: A great pattern with many helpful tips for getting a nice fit.

Happy creating!

Apr 122012
 

I finished sewing this dress the other night.

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It’s definitely one of the most challenging patterns I’ve ever made.  However, the gleam in hubby’s eye when he first saw it on me made it all worthwhile.  😉

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I’ve seen several photos of this dress completed and the wraps in this style seems to make the most of everyone’s figure.  Us girls thank you, Donna!

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Here’s the pattern photo, which shows the details a little better than my navy blue fabric.

And here’s my review of the pattern.
Pattern Description: Fitted dress, below mid-knee, has pleated and tucked front forming wrap effect. Front extends to back at sides, back has zipper and hemline vent. No side seams.

Pattern Sizing: Other reviewers have mentioned that this dress runs big in the bust area. I made a straight size 16, which worked out perfectly as it was a size smaller than my bust measurements indicated, but was just what I needed for the hip measurement.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it’s very flattering.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Well, um, no. But not because the directions weren’t well written, they were. This dress is unique in its construction, and you just have to follow each step carefully.

On steps 12 and 13, the pattern directions have reversed the sides to be sewn on top/bottom. (Compared with the photo on the pattern envelope.) This was probably the most confusing part for me, as I tend to swap right and left anyhow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I thought the use of a back zipper was silly and pointless in a knit dress.

Fabric Used: Cotton/Lycra blend knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 3″ to the hem length and I skipped the back zipper and the hem vent. This meant that I cut pieces 5 & 6 on the fold, with the folds at the center back marks.

This makes steps 21 and 22 a little confusing. However, if you marked everything carefully, you should be able to get it all going in the right direction without too much difficulty. (The good news is that you can skip steps 24-28, putting in the zipper.)

I also found I need to do a little hand tacking of the top wrap at the point of piece #3, as there was a bit of gaping where the wraps crossed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This dress was done in an inexpensive fabric as a wearable muslin. I definitely plan to make it again in red, which I think will be quite va-va-voom. 🙂

Conclusion: A fun challenge for advanced sewers. It only took a few hours to complete from start to finish.

Apr 052012
 

Here’s a fun and easy project (with a free pattern!) to get you thinking about summer.  I love the ombre effect, which is popular right now.  They suggest trimming each band with fringe, giving the skirt some nice weight.

maxi-skirt-illustration

The pattern (thank you Fabric. com) uses one yard or less of four different fabrics, so you might be able to get away with fabric from your stash. Or, use it as an excuse to go do some shopping. 🙂

For me, who tends to trip over her own feet, I’ll probably shorten the second from the bottom tier and make it “not-quite-so-maxi.”

Happy Creating!

Apr 032012
 

Happy Wednesday everyone.  Today’s desk isn’t real exciting to look at, but I’m pleased with my progress.  The green jacket just needs the hand work on the sleeve linings and buttons.  Isn’t that lining cool?

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Yes, it will be done in time for this Easter.  I’ll probably wear it with the dress I made for last year’s Resurrection Sunday.  I did pick the green fabric to go with that floral print, after all. (The lining, I know, clashes horribly.  But I won’t be wearing it lining side out!)

empire waist floral print dress-Simplicity 2247

That other pile on my desk is the fabric and pattern for this dress.

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I spent a while last night going through the reviews on Pattern Review.  Lots of helpful tips there for most any pattern you’re thinking of making.

This pattern is going to be quite a challenge. Here is the sketch of the dress and pattern pieces.

vogue-1087-donna-karan-wrap-dress-sketch

Now I ask, do any of those even remotely resemble a garment pattern piece to you?

Well, maybe #6, the back neck facing, but that’s about it.

I’m making it out of that navy knit I got for $1 a yard.  If I like it (and can stand the thought of making another) I love to try it in something brighter, like a red or fuschia.

We’ll see.  All the pattern reviewers suggested we keep the seam rippers handy with this one, lol.

If you’re wondering why I shared a photo of my desk, it’s because there’s a whole bunch of us who LIKE to check out what others are up to each week.  Hence, What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a wonderful week creating!

Mar 302012
 

Not to bore you with technical details, but I know there is a handful of folks out there who subscribe to this blog, either via email or reader.  (Thanks so much!  How amazing!)

What I didn’t know until today is that Google bought up Feedburner a while back and kinda made a mess of the transfer. Some of you who subscribed may or may not be getting your notices when I make new posts.  (Boo, hiss.)

Shortly after this post goes live I will be changing the subscription settings to more reliable ones.  I generally post 3-4 times a week, so if you haven’t gotten anything from me in that time, you’ll likely need to resubscribe via the new links on the upper right.

To recompense you for your trouble, I leave you with this charming video.  The girl has got personality plus, and her project is pretty cute, too!

Mar 272012
 

Was there ever any doubt I’d get this done in time for Easter?  (Well, there was here, haha.)

Anyhow you can see, in spite of the fact that it’s been a rough few days (more on that later) since last Wednesday, I am nearly done with my green jacket. I just have to finish the hems and add buttons.

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It was quite time consuming because I carefully followed the directions in the pattern (review to follow soon) to try and achieve a really nice fit.  The thing that took loads of time was transferring all my changes to the pattern pieces.  However, now I have a complete jacket pattern that I can turn to time and again to with assured good results.

Actually, that purple jacket on the table is one I got at Salvation Army for $3.50.  It seems worth the time to take it apart along the princess seams and alter it, using the newly adjusted pattern pieces.  So the payoff will be sooner rather than later.

As far as the rotten week…

My 37 year old nephew passed away on Friday after a long battle with cancer.  I feel so bad for his mom (my dh’s sister) – no parent should have to bury their child.

On Friday morning, while scrubbing off after a shower, I felt and heard a small *snap* in the middle finger of my right hand.  When I looked at my hand, this was what it looked like.  (Try making your finger do that.  It won’t, unless you hold it down.)

hammer-finger

The tip is all floppy because I managed to snap the tendon.  So. Very. Weird.

It doesn’t hurt at all, but has to remain splinted for 6-8 weeks so the tendon can heal.  Most inconvenient, but there are many worse things in life and I can deal.  In fact, that’s what the washi tape is for (middle right of the desktop photo.)  This is how I have it splinted.

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Yup, washi tape and a popsicle stick.  Betcha didn’t know scrapbooking supplies were so useful!

So, that’s where I’m at.  Sorry to sound cranky.  I know there is always LOTS to be thankful for and I promise to be sun-shinier later on in the week.

To see what’s happening on the desks of many other crafty and creative people, go to What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Cuz it’s Wednesday and that’s what we do.