Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Odd Obsession

Yesterday morning I planned a quick stop at our local flea market. I had two items on my shopping list. I wanted to purchase some antique milk bottles to put in a PB drink caddy that I bought a week ago, and I wanted to keep an eye out for some aged handmade lace that I could add to some muslin pillows. I scored on both counts. I'll post about those later, but as I was perusing the aisles my eyes lit on these...

Seventeen spheres of milky white fibrous string...

Sweet mother of pearl, this is creamy goodness at its best...

You may remember that I recently redecorated my entryway with a tone on tone creamy-white color scheme. I knew these pallid balls of fiber would fit perfectly in that area. I quickly checked the price. (Yippity-do-da-day!)

I've never admitted this openly, but I just might have a slight obsession with string and yarn-like fibers. I find them beautiful! I'm not sure what that says about me. If there's a psychologist out there, please don't analyze me. I'd rather be oblivious to my oddities.

I just love the texture and color of string and yarn. I find them beautiful in a rustic, earthy kind of way. Ivory colored fibers are my very favorite. They remind me of fisherman cable knits.

Pair these fibrous spheres in various of shades of color and density with a huge glass vase and a thick satin ribbon and you have a blond bombshell! I'm giddy. Absolutely. Giddy.

I love it when I go shopping for a certain something, and I come back with an item I never anticipated buying. So much fun!

Mmmm. 'Twas a good day at the local flea market.

Linking to:
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Show Off Your Stuff Party @ Fireflies and Jellybeans
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage
Get Your Craft on Thursday @ Life as Lori
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple

Thank you!

Several weeks ago Tina at Rubies Place and Anna at Lona de Anna had a Double Lucky - Lucky Dip Give Away. Tina hosted a give away for Anna that featured some of Anna's beautiful earrings, and Anna hosted a give away for Tina that provided some fabulous mug cosies that Tina had knit. I won Anna's Give Away and as a result I became the proud owner of one of Tina's beautiful cosies! Here's a sampling of her work...

Today my cozy arrived. When I spotted the package in my mailbox, I might have squealed!

When I unwrapped the envelope I found this. The wrapping was so cute that I put it on my desk and just looked at it for a half hour.

Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me. Now you would think that hot chocolate wouldn't be a drink of choice in the springtime in Colorado, but that just means you aren't familiar with Colorado weather. As luck would have it a storm is brewing and for the next three days it's supposed to be close to freezing at night. That calls for a mug of hot chocolate, an almond horn, and a mug cosy!

It's going to be a good night.
Thank you Anna and Tina for your generosity!

Give Away Results...

I put all the names in a basket,
mixed them up,
closed my eyes,
and picked one!

Here's what I came up with...

Pink Swirl Frosting Cupcake Tote is going to a new home.

The lucky winner is...

Tammy from "She Wears Flowers."

I never knew by saying "Now, pick me please!"
that a person would actually win.
I need to remember that strategy -- It's positive thinking at its best!
Congratulations Tammy!

By the way, check out "She Wears Flowers Etsy Shop." Such cute items!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

California Dreamin'

I feel it my official responsibility to warn you before you read any further. This post is sure to be hazardous to any who currently find themselves watching their weight. Just say "No" and back out of this blog -- quick like. I don't want to be responsible for a horde of ladies kicking their diet pills and rice cakes out the window and high tailing it to Carmel. Although, no one would blame you if you did. Nope, not one little bit...

I tried to warn you.

We just returned from visiting family in California. A couple of months ago I mentioned that one of our favorite haunts when we go to California is Cassanova Restaurant in Carmel. You'll find it tucked between Mission and San Carlos on 5th Street in Carmel. Cassanova has become a family favorite over the years. There's good reason for that. In my opinion everything about it is fabulous.

Old world charm greets you when you arrive, but as wonderful as the surroundings are the thing that keeps you coming back time and time again is the food. The cuisine is heavily influenced by the flavors of France and Italy and hosts a variety of rustic regional delicacies. Here's a sampling of what we experienced this time.

Spaghettini "Mimmo di Capri"
Pasta with sauteed beef fillet tips with fresh tomato sauce

Shrimp Scampi Linguini
Linguini with shrimp simmered in a light cream sauce

Goat Cheese & Salami Sandwich

As for dessert...

Cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream
with warm chocolate sauce and roasted almond toffee

Dolce di Cioccolata
Molten chocolate cake with ice cream

Tartes Grand-mère
Lemon tart

These three were fooling around at the end of our table on the patio. They kept us entertained.

After lunch we strolled the streets of Carmel and made a couple of delightful purchases...

Then we drove down Ocean Avenue, sat on the beach, and took a few photos. Did I mention it was warm and clear that day? Well, it was. Unbelievably so.

Thanks for putting up with my travel log. I'll be back to projects later this week, and tomorrow morning I'll post the winner of the Give Away! Have a relaxing night.

Friday, April 23, 2010

"Friday's Fabulous Find" Give Away!

I spy with my Etsy eye something...

I'm away from my blog for a few days, so I thought I'd do something different for my "Friday's Fabulous Finds" post. It's Give Away Time! Long overdue if you ask me. This give away is directed to those who frequent my blog. It's my way of saying "thank you" to those who follow my blog one way or another and leave such kind, encouraging comments. It doesn't matter if you've been a long-time follower or if you've just discovered my blog. You are welcome to enter. If you've never left a comment, now is the time. No need to advertise this in any way. It's just for you.

The person who's name is chosen will win a $20 "gift certificate" to be used in my Etsy Shop. Just go here and peruse the isles for things that are $20 and under. That's almost everything in my shop! I will throw in postage on top of that! Let me know which item you would choose, and if you are the lucky winner that's the item you'll receive!
Remember, look for items $20 and under! (My "adult totes" would be over the price point for this give-away.)

Here are particulars...
  • Go to my Etsy shop. Choose an item you'd love to have. Let me know what you've chosen by commenting below. You're done!
  • No anonymous comments, please. I need an email address or accessibility to a public blog. Private bloggers --feel free to enter, but you'll need to leave your email address. If I don't have any way to contact you, your name will not be eligible.
  • This contest will run through midnight on Tuesday, April 27th. Wednesday morning, April 28th the winner will be announced.
Good luck & have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gathering Fabric & Muslin Pillow Tutorial...

I have received many emails lately asking if I might create a tutorial on how I gather fabric. I've used this gathering technique on a number of pillows that I've created recently -- like the pillow I made Monday (below).

Some people call this technique "gathering." Others call it "ruching." It's probably more accurate to call what I do on these pillows gathering, because ruching can also imply "pleating" or "laying in creases."

There are different ways to gather fabric. Many people swear by sewing machine attachments that do the job. I'm not going to rate the easiest or quickest way to gather fabric. I'm merely going to show you how I get the job done. I will attempt to give some basic steps on gathering techniques. I'll also throw in the process for how to make the front of the pillow above. There are a bazillion tutorials on the internet on how to put a pillow together, so I'll let the experts teach you how to finish the pillow by connecting the front of a pillow to the back!

There are two main things one needs to remember when gathering fabric:

1.) A good rule of thumb is to allow 2 ½ times the finished length for the piece of fabric you want gathered. A gathered piece of fabric that does not have enough fullness will end up looking skimpy and as if it has tucks rather than even gathers.

2.) Even, uniform gathers look best. It's best if gathers do not have folds of fabric mixed with flat fabric. The gathering should be evenly spaced.

For the front of the pillow, you will need the following cuts of fabric:
  • Top & bottom gathered panels: Two pieces of fabric 4.5 inches x 45 inches
  • Middle panel: One piece of fabric 8 inches x 18 inches
Back Panel: This amount of fabric will depend on how you are finishing the back. If you are merely making a solid panel back, filling the pillow with stuffing, and then slip stitching it shut the panel of fabric should measure 15 inches x 18 inches.

  • Note: The two "gathered panel" lengths are 2.5 times longer (45 inches) than the middle panel length, which is 18 inches. If your fabric is only 44 inches wide, then just cut the gathered panels to be 44 inches long. One inch will not make any difference.
  • All seams are 1/2 inches, unless otherwise noted.

Gathered panels:
1.) Sew a basting stitch (the longest stitch your machine will allow) along the length of both sides of each 4.5" x 45" panel 3/8" from edge. Don't snip the ends of the basting threads short as you will need them long in order to gather the fabric.

2.) Run another basting stitch along the length of both sides of each 4.5" x 45" panel 5/8" from the edge.

3.) You should have two 4.5" x 45" panels that look like this:

4.) To facilitate even gathers "divide" and mark the length of these gathered panels into four equal sections. See photo below. Mark quarter sections with a pen line being careful not to make the lines any longer than 3/8". (Pins are there to show the marked lines more easily.)

Middle Panel:
5.) Divide and mark with a pen the length of the middle panel the same way you did the gathered panels into four equal sections.

Gathering and attaching the gathered panels:
6.) On the wrong side of one 45" long panel, take the top two basted threads and pull those threads to gather fabric. Carefully pull threads, then ease gathered fabric toward the middle of the panel while holding the two threads tightly in your hand.

7.) Align the middle mark on your 45" gathered panel with the middle mark on your 18" middle panel and pin.

8.) Continue gathering fabric. Work one side of the fabric toward the center and then the other side of the fabric toward the center. Make sure all pen lines meet and pin. Short ends of panels will align. Gathers should be uniform and even. Pin gathered panel to middle panel.

9.) I always anchor the ends of my basting threads around the pin on the end of the fabric to hold it secure, like this:

10.) Change the stitch on your machine from the basting stitch to the regular setting. Sew seam 1/2" from edge. The needle should be running in between both basting lines.

11.) Remove 5/8" basting line which now shows on the right side of the fabric and press seam toward middle panel. Topstitch over seam and along edge of gathers on middle panel.

12.) Repeat Steps 1 - 11 with second 45" panel and attach to the other side of the middle panel.

13.) Attach front of pillow to back using the same gathering techniques you used to attach the gathered panels to the middle panel. (Gather, align pen marks, pin, sew.)

As I said there might be easier or faster ways to gather, but this way creates luscious, full gathers, and I have found it to work well. Please let me know if you make any items using this technique. I'd love to know if the tutorial was helpful!

Linked to:

Get Your Craft on Thursday @ Life as Lori
Be Inspired Link Party @ Room to Inspire
Mother's Day Link Party @ Fireflies & Jellybeans
Get Your Craft on Tuesday @ A Silly Little Sparrow
Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Designs
Boardwalk Bragfest @ Bobbypins Boardwalk
Woo Hoo! Wednesday @ Always Nesting