Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another dress and a trip to JoAnns (again)

Yeah! It's Saturday! :) I was so ready for the weekend to finally get here.

Anyway, I woke up early by the fault of a snoring husband and started thinking about what the plan was for the day, what I'd be able to get done, what we already had planned, etc. I remembered that the girls had been invited to a birthday party and their Aunt was brave enough to take them - both of them alone and without having naps. (that part of the day worked out surprisingly well at least)...

So yeah, I was thinking about what cute outfit I could dress the girls in and got the bright idea to make a new Kate dress for SQ to wear. I had it all cut out and ready to start stitching by the time anyone else woke up.

SQ's new dress
Cute huh?

I've had that flower print fabric for years now, and never could figure out what to really make with it. It turned out to be the perfect compliment to that awesome yellow shirt that the girls had gotten too tall for. :)

So, after getting everyone ready and going over to Mom's house... I sent the girls off to the birthday party and Mom and I ventured in to town to go to the new JoAnn Fabrics.  I've been a few times since they opened about 2-ish weeks ago and am so excited about their selection of fabrics.  I've been trying to avoid the place this week because it's their official Grand Opening - which means lines to the very back of the store (seriously, we waited in line for an hour today), but Friday I picked up a few new patterns for some new work clothes for myself.  Hobby Lobby doesn't really carry much in the lines of suiting fabric so that meant I would be making the trip to JoAnns. 

I did find some awesome fabrics!  A black-ish kind of print with a red lining fabric (for fun) to use to make a new dress, a brown stripe for a pencil skirt and a really pretty large flowered cotton print for an A-line skirt.  I'm excited to finally make something for myself.  More about these projects later!

It was a full day, but a good one :)  Tomorrow, I'm hoping to make my pencil skirt so that I can wear it to work this week. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just realized...

... how far behind I am in my blog reading. I just looked at Google Reader and I've got 1000+ unread posts. WOW, I've got some catching up to do...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tonight, I'm going to relax

Last night I finished up my 2nd attempt at the Buttercup Bag, and I must say that it turned out so much better than the first one. I think I will soon be ready to add some to the shop. More details about the 2nd bag will be posted tomorrow... I'm too lazy to go get the camera and download the pictures. Tomorrow, I promise :)

Tonight I'm going to dig out my craft books and figure out my next project for The Craft Book Challenge while I lay in bed and catch up on whatever I have recorded on the TiVo, and maybe eat a Bomb Pop (because my wonderful husband bought me some - Thanks Honey!).

Tonight is for relaxing.

What projects are you currently working on?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Autism Awareness Bow Tie

I got a message from a friend of mine last week asking for some help with a project.  Annie teaches Autistic children, and has been making some flower pins for her fellow teachers using the Autism puzzle print fabric.

There was one issue though, the school's Principal is a man... and well, she didn't think that he'd be very willing to wear a flower pin.  He does wear bow ties though!

This is where I come in... Annie asked if I could help her make a bow tie for her Principal.  That sounded like fun, and pretty easy so I told her I was in.

So, before she came over I wanted to be prepared and have the pattern and supplies ready.  It's kind of hard to find a free bow tie pattern.  The first one I found didn't really work too well when I tried to print it, so I looked some more and found a post on Greg's Blog.  The instructions show how he used a bow tie that he already had to trace a pattern.  After a few requests, he drew up the pattern to share with the rest of us.  You can find his pattern in the comments on his post.

Anyway, here it is... don't laugh at the photo (this was the best we could do with tying the bow tie - it definitely takes practice)

autism bow tie

Cute huh? It will look even better on her Principal (who does wear bow ties, so we figure he actually knows how to tie them correctly).

Have you ever made a bow tie?  Do you know anyone who would wear one?  This was definitely a super simple project and was quite quick to finish.  I could totally see making up a whole stash of these in an afternoon.

Next, I'd love to try to make some already tied ones with an elastic adjustable piece for younger boys.  They'd make great gifts for friends to use for holidays or other special occasions.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, February 18, 2011

My New Dress Form!

Guess what I found at my front door when I got home?

My new dress form!!!  It's a birthday gift and I can't wait to put it together and make something!  I think my first order of business will be to alter a few shirts that I already have that have never fit quite right. 

This will open up so many opportunities for making things for myself, rather than taking the easy way out and just making things for the kids. :)

I'll let you know how it goes :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


$5.39 + tax for 100!

Yeah, those are double pronged alligator clips... $5.39/100= about $0.05 each!

I found them at Sally's Beauty Supply. Look down low on the aisle that has the rollers. They also had single pronged ones. What an awesome find!

OK, so you may be wondering what I'm going to do with all these...
They will be used for hair clips for the girls and for the shop. If you have ever tried looking for these things, they can be kind of hard to find. And at a craft store then you will pay much more for them.

Hope this tips helps you out too!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OMG! Someone featured one of my projects!

WOW! How cool is this?

I was going around checking my usual link parties and of course pulled up Sew Woodsy... they show off their favorite projects from the previous week and I saw so surprised to see my patchwork makeup bag there!

Sooo cool!  This is the first time anyone has ever featured one of my projects!  Out of 49 projects submitted, mine was one that they really liked :)  I feel so honored :)

Thanks Sew Woodsy!

My Buttercup Bag

One of my goals this year was to make myself a purse.  At least one, and make sure it's wonderful!

I came across the cute little Buttercup Bag pattern on the Made by Rae blog recently.  I was excited to see that the basic pattern was offered free, but then a little sad when I found out that it was no longer free.  The download wouldn't work and after a little research it seemed that it just wasn't offered anymore.  I liked the idea of being able to try it out "risk free" and planned on purchasing the pattern if all went well, so that I could make some to sell in my shop.   Oh well, so much for that plan.

I was ready to give up and find another pattern to try but my mind kept going back to the Buttercup bag... the comments people had left made it sound like the pattern and instructions were easy to follow, so I gave in and spent the $$ to buy the pattern.  I mean, I was planning on buying it anyway... so what's the loss here?

No loss at all! The pattern ended up being pretty simple to follow and I honestly could have finished the entire bag in one evening (about 4-ish hours) if I hadn't kept having issues and sewing my handle inside the lining (totally my fault).  Well, OK... I did pick out my fabrics and cut the pieces the evening before and then assemble them the next evening.  So maybe total it would have taken 5 hours.

Anyway, here is how my first bag turned out... what do you think?

My Frist Buttercup Bag :)

The outer fabric is a thick linen type fabric.  I'm not sure exactly what it is... it's one I found in my stash from years ago - but that's kind of what it's like.  It was a little hard to sew in some of the thicker areas (like on the handles), but if you go slow enough then it wasn't too bad.

The lining fabric was a fat quarter that I had lying around that went really nicely with the solid brown linen.  Oh, did I mention that this entire bag could be completed with less than 2 fat quarters?  One for the lining and one for the outer... awesome huh?

The only thing I don't like about this bag is that the magnetic closure seems a bit heavy for the bag itself.  I probably could have found a smaller one that would work better.  I'll definitely remember this for future bags!  A velcro or zipper closure would have worked too...  I'd really like to figure out how to add a zipper closure because that would be ideal... for me at least.

I've got another bag cut out and ready to assemble.  This time I'm making the larger version - because I really like bigger bags - the small version is wonderful if you like small bags, but I couldn't carry everything I need in it for everyday use.

Do you like my fabric choices?


I've got a gray corduroy (from JoAnns) and some pink/gray patterned fabric (from Hobby Lobby).  I think I'll put some more interfacing in the next bag too - just to make it a little more sturdy.  I've also found some smaller/lighter weight magnetic closure pieces... so hopefully that will work out better too.

I'll be sure to share once I've got this one finished :)

Have you tried this pattern?  Any tips you'd like to share?  Please leave them in the comments :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What a fun week!

Wow, this past week has been pretty crazy!  With my birthday and all that goes with that, plus the crazy weather day stuff that happened on Thursday, I'm kind of glad that this week is basically over.  Overall, it was a good week, but still a bit exhausting.

Friday, I went to work as usual and the lovely girls from work sang to me and then gave me a pretty necklace and the softest houndstooth scarf ever!  Lucky me, it matched my outfit for the day so I got to wear it :)

We went out Friday night with my family and some friends to eat German food on the Arsenal.  It used to be a birthday tradition of mine, but somehow we hadn't been there since about 2004... I think.  Oh well, we finally made it back at least.  It was good food and we had a great time!

Saturday, I hung out at home with the girls and the husband until it was time to go to a baby shower for my friend, Jessica.  I had a good time, and most of all, I'm pretty sure she did too.  It was good to see people that I hadn't seen in awhile.  The invitation said to just bring gift cards because they are still waiting to get into a new house, so I didn't take my awesome homemade gift.  I should have just taken it though, because most people didn't follow instructions.  Oh well, this will give me an excuse to see her again sometime soon.  I'll share the cute home made baby gift after it's been given (it's pretty adorable - and an original design by me!)

After the baby shower, I headed home to do a final pick up of the house and help get the girls settled.  Aunt Whitney was coming over to babysit so that we could go out with some friends (OK, technically family - but you know).  See, here's where it gets fun - not really - I had forgotten that this was "Valentine's Weekend" and kind of forgot to get a reservation for dinner.  Luckily I found a table for 6 at Phuket Thai Restaurant, so we went there.  The food was good - but we had nothing to do after dinner.  We were going to go to a movie but there weren't enough seats available (go figure), so we ended up at my Sister-in-Law's house playing Rockband.  Yeah, we are a bunch of nerds... but it was fun.  The night ended around 11:00... we got home to find out that all had gone well with the girls, and I fell asleep pretty quickly.  See, I am getting old.  I'm not used to all this going out business anymore.

Anyway, you are probably wondering where all the crafty fun went... I am working on something great to share in the next few days.  This past week I spent time making a baby gift, but I can't really share it until it's been given away... so you know the drill.

One little hint... I tried my hand at using some piping for the first time, and I just love it!  It just makes things look so much cuter!  I even made my very own custom piping for a project that I am still working on.  I'll share more later.  But if you are curious about the custom piping... I learned how to do it here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


So I mentioned before that I had signed up for a headband swap over at Take Heart...

I got paired up with the lovely, Kendra from Country Living on the Farm.  She sent me two beautiful headbands... one a little dressy and one a bit more casual.  I had a hard time getting photos of myself (still trying to master the self portrait thing), so please bear with these...

Hadband Swap Goodies!

Cute huh?  Thank you Kendra!!

Oh, and of course me trying on headbands with the kids running around at my feet prompted them to want headbands on too...



Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday,
Happy Birthday,
Happy Birthday to Me!

Yup... it's my birthday. My 30th to be exact. Oh and what a day it has been...

I woke up to a phone call from my Manager telling me that we were going to have a delayed opening at work today. So I got up and got on the computer for a little bit and did a few things that I had to do for work (basically, let others know when to show up). Of course though, I couldn't go back to sleep by then.

I got ready for work knowing that once the kids got up that it'd be quite fun trying to get ready all the way... Done. All was well, then I got packed up and headed out to brave the icy roads. It really was pretty much ALL ice the entire way to work - so we (everyone who had to be out) was driving between 5-20 mph depending on how bad the spot of road was. It was pretty bad. Well, I made it about half way to work when I got another call from my manager... this time letting me know that the decision had been made to close the whole day.

So... I turned right around and went back home. The roads were clearing up pretty good now, so that wasn't so bad at least. I spent the morning hanging out with the kids and my Mother-in-Law. Not bad. Then my husband left work early and picked up lunch on the way :) Ahhh... food - I hadn't eaten anything yet today, so it was really good.

Then Grandma packed up the kids and took them back to her house for a sleep over tonight. Yup... the whole rest of the day and evening to myself.

I laid down on the couch and fell asleep. When I woke up from being so cold, I dragged myself back into the bed and under the nice warm comforter - to be awoken at 6:00pm by my husband. He was getting hungry and wanted to know what I wanted for dinner :)

It's a good thing he woke me up or else I would have probably slept another few hours and then been up all night. Plus, he's out now picking up Outback for me :) Awesome!

Oh, and I got the most awesome present for my birthday...

Isn't it awesome? The entire CS5 Design Premium Suite! I've had Photoshop for awhile (CS3) but now I've got all the other programs that I would have loved to have!
Thanks to my husband and daughters for this one!!!

It would be a total waste of today if I don't do any crafting... I haven't gotten to anything so far due to my nap, hummm... maybe I'll cut out another bag tonight...  Oh yeah, stay tuned for my post about the cute little purse I made earlier this week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Craft Book Challenge

I probably didn't need to come across this... or maybe I really did.  Either way, it will be lots of fun and I'll hopefully learn something along the way.

The Craft Book Challenge... a wonderful idea thought up by Liesel Made.

The whole idea is to use the craft books that you already have and make at least one thing from them each month.  Well... I'm a sucker for a great craft book.  You know the kind - the ones with beautiful photographs and illustrations of some really cute projects.  I got several of these books for Christmas and picked up a few others recently too, so now it's time to actually do something with them.

Without even knowing about the challenge, I have already completed 2 projects.

My first was from Applique Your Way by Kayte Terry.  I started off by making the cute little coaster set.


They were a gift for my Aunt-in-Law for her birthday.  So cute and so easy to make.  I'll definitely be making more of these... just hopefully I'll get them a little bit straighter (squared off correctly) next time.  It takes practice, right?

My 2nd project I just finished last night.  It's from I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale.


Cute huh? It was a PITA to make... but I suffered through it.  At least I'm not the only one having some trouble with it.  I've been chatting with Wendy from The Crafter's Apprentice and it seems that it's not  just me who thinks that the instructions could have been done a bit better.  My advice, take it slowly and be sure to read the entire set of instructions first.

Based off past experiences I was able to see that the way the instructions were written could have been done better.  Yeah, they would work, but I was able to save myself a ton of time hand stitching by following this one bit of advice. :)

Anyway... I'm so in for this Craft Book Challenge!  Would anyone else like to join in?  Just head on over to Liesel Made to see the rules for the challenge.

Experiments with patchwork...

I got this book (I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew) for Christmas and decided that I was going to start off with the little patchwork bag project.
Photo from book

Cute huh?  I had run across this post and The Crafter's Apprentice and that gave me a little extra push to go ahead and have this be my first project (there were quite a few really cute ones that I was trying to decide between).

Anyway... here is how mine turned out...


Not bad, huh? Well... it was a struggle.

This is my first ever patchwork project... so my blocks don't line up exactly. I partially blame this on the fabric (it wasn't the easiest to work with). Oh well. It takes practice.

One thing that I have found invaluable for piecing pieces of fabric together (quilting, anything patchwork, anything with a 1/4 seam) is my new 1/4" quilting foot. Wow this thing was so helpful!
There are a few things about the book though...

I noticed that the illustration in the book where it shows you how to lay out your squares is backwards. It shows a solid linen square where the patterned fabric is supposed to be. I started laying out my squares according to the book and got confused when I didn't have the right number.

They obviously got it right when they made theirs for the book (it's correct in their finished photo) so It's just lazy for them to not have it right in the illustration.

This is how it should be

Anyway, so I got started piecing and ironing and had all the pieces assembled. Now to attach everything together. This is where the zipper comes in.

well, I started reading the entire rest of the instructions to figure out how everything goes together. I did not like how they had written the instructions to attach the lining though. I really didn't want to hand stitch the entire lining to the bag (and have to be careful enough to not let my stitches go all the way through. Too much hassle!

So, I made a few adjustments - this caused me to make some changes on how the zipper was inserted.

I started by laying my outer piece right side up and the zipper face down on it and stitching it with my zipper foot. This has the same effect as the instructions in the book (which said to press the edge down 1/4" and then stitch with the outer piece on top of the zipper - which would cause the stitch to show on the outside) but mine does not show the stitches on the outside.


(oh yeah, sorry for the difference in quality of the photos here... I just grabbed whichever camera was closest to me)


I did follow instructions for the next steps - but they were a bit confusing. Here is how I did it...

Here you have to reinforce the zipper ends, I slid the tube of fabric around my machine and stitched back and forth a few times at the ends of the zipper. Be careful and go slow - you could easily break your needle if you hit the wrong part of the zipper.


And you get this...

Now you will stitch up the sides. I kept the zipper closed while I was stitching the first side to make sure that it was lined up correctly.

When you flatten your bag so you can sew it, fold the zipper part in half - so that you can stitch right up near the edge, but don't stitch all the way through the zipper this time.

Now, open your zipper (at least enough to get your hand through) and then stitch up the other side the same way.

Turn it right side out to admire your work!

OK, really... you aren't done quite yet.

I followed the instructions for stitching the bottom corners of the bag - except I kind of measured wrong and took it in 1 1/2" instead of the written 1". Oh well. It was too late to change it when I noticed this. It just makes for a smaller bag on the bottom.

Now, you need to attach the lining.

I stitched up the lining as instructed and slid it over my outer piece (you'll have to turn the outside piece inside out again).

When I went to iron down the 1/4" seam allowance at the top (so that there is a clean edge) I noticed that my fabric wasn't quite tall enough to do so. I know that I measured my piece correctly... so there is another flaw in the written instructions.

This is where my trusty Heat-N-Bond tape came to the rescue!

I simply ironed on the tape where I needed the fabric to stick to...

Then took off the paper and ironed my lining down to it (being sure to turn the edges under at least a little bit).

Not bad, huh? Now, since this tape is so strong I guess I could have just left it like that. But, it really did need the top stitching - and it's always usually much better looking that way.

So I took my zipper foot and attached it to my machine again and did a top stitch around the top edge of my bag.  Going around or near the zipper ends was tricky though.

On the end where the zipper pull was (when it's unzipped) I even broke my needle and jammed up my machine for a little bit.  Not cool.

I decided that since I couldn't easily get to that one little bit of area to finish the top stitch, that it could just stay open there.  The Heat-N-Bond tape is holding the lining to the bag, so it's not technically needed at least.


I think that if there were some tabbed ends on the zipper part, like I have done before using this tutorial, then that might have helped a good bit on the zipper troubles.


So, it's done... far from perfect but it's OK.  It will either be used by me... or maybe I'll give it to the girls to play with so I'm not really concerned about it being "just right"... Lessons learned at least.  If I try this bag again I've definitely got some ideas on how to adjust it to make it better.

handmade projects Photobucket

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oops... and today's plan

hehe... so you know that new sewing machine I mentioned?  Well, I was excited to make something using it, and so I started on this sweet little dress for a friend's little girl. 

It's a quick project and I wanted to do it right (zig zag my seams, even stitching, etc.).  All was going smoothly until I had just finished off running a zig zag stitch to reinforce my gathered seam and turned the dress right side out - and realized that I had sewn the top to the bottom the wrong way.


I swear I checked it before I pinned - but I guess I must have been distracted by one of the kids or something.  Oh well.  Now to hang out with my trusty seam ripper for a little while... so much for a 30 minute project!  Oops!

So, today I am venturing out to the newest craft store in town... JoAnn Fabrics!  We have had Hobby Lobby and Michaels for awhile, and now we've got a third choice!  I'm so excited!  A friend of mine mentioned yesterday that she saw it was open, and another friend said she actually went there.  So Mom is headed over here in about an hour and we are going to check it out!

I'm being good though, I am making a list, I downloaded the Jo-Ann iPhone App too... you can get coupons on your phone and not have to print them to use them in store (simply show your phone).  Check it out, it's available for several different devices (iPhone, iPod Touch)  Also, they have a mobile site and offer text message discounts :)

OK, the kids are up... I'll be back later to share what I found and what I'm making!

And the winner is...

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!  I hope you'll stick around and enjoy all the crafty goodness that is found here.  I've got TONS of ideas that I'll eventually get out :)

I was planning on using for the drawing... but found out that it's not free to use their generator - and well, I'm just not willing to pay for the service right now. 

So, I wrote down the number of each entry (1-13) on a piece of paper, folded it up, and dropped it in a little cup - shook it up really good to mix the numbers, then held it over my head so I couldn't see (everyone else is still asleep so I couldn't get someone else to draw) and drew out a number.

Congratulations sarahrob19! 
You are the winner of our very first giveaway!  Please email me at desileaboutique{at}gmail{dot}com with your address and your color preference (red, yellow, green, black, pink, or white). 

For anyone else who may still be interested in this fun pin, head on over to our shop.  We are adding new stuff all the time!

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's like Christmas all over again!

... No seriously... I came home from work today to a whole pile of boxes that came in the mail today!!

What did I get you wonder???

Well, first... our new iPhone 4's came in!
Yep, I even still have the plastic covering on... yeah, it's annoying but it's at least partially protected until my case comes in (expected later this week).

Also... my new sewing machine!
Yeah! I just had a basic Kenmore machine (not sure which model) before. It got the job done. Really, not a bad machine at all. But there were a few things that I discovered that I wanted that it just didn't do.

With a little bit of research and a personal recommendation from my friend Cyndie, I decided on the Brother CS-6000i.  It was super easy to set up.  The instructions were pretty easy to follow and I had my bobbin wound and machine threaded (with the automatic threader) fairly quickly.  I've only done a few test stitches but so far so good!

My favorite thing about this machine so far? (OK, maybe 2 things)... it's SUPER quiet, and I can actually do the automatic ruffle trick (where you tighten your tension all the way, and use your longest stitch to make it ruffle without pulling threads manually) - which I could never get to work on my old machine.  Whoo hoo!  This will probably be one of the biggest time savers for me because... well, I tend to do projects where I need to ruffle some stuff :)

What's next you wonder?  My new bedding... that's right!
Isn't it beautiful? It's the Amy Butler Bucharest Constanta Comforter, Smart Bed Skirt, and Sham Set. It's going to look so good in our room once we get it all put together, and some walls painted, and the headboard covered (more about that later...).  I just got the comforter, bed skirt, shams, and a set of the charcoal colored sheets.  I'm looking forward to making some bright colored throw pillows to add a bit of color to the room :)

See what I told ya?  It's definitely like Christmas around here - except for us big kids this time... hehe

OK, that's it for now... I'm off to go play with my new toys! 

Don't forget!  You can still register for my giveaway until midnight on Friday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's A Grand Opening Celebration!

It's official, Desiree and I have finally officially opened our Etsy shop, DesiLea Boutique!   This is something we have been talking about doing for months, and I am excited to announce that we are officially open for business.

There isn't a ton of stuff listed in the shop right now, but we are working to get new stuff added each day!

In honor of the grand opening of our new Etsy shop, I am going to be having a giveaway!  Yep... my very first giveaway, so please bear with me.

I'm offering up a Large Felt Flower Pin to one lucky winner!
Large Flower Pin

This pin measures approximately 4.5 inches in diameter and is made of felt.  The best part??  You get to choose the color!

I've got red, yellow, green, black, pink, or white to choose from.

Do you want to know how to win?  I bet!

You have a chance for 3 entries...
  1. Leave a friendly comment on this post :)
  2. Follow this blog.  Just click that follow button in the sidebar on the right, then leave a comment saying you did so. 
  3. Like DesiLea Boutique on Facebook.  Again, come back and let me know you did so.
That's it! Giveaway entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Friday, February 4th.  The winner will be announced as soon as I get a chance to post it on Saturday, February 5th.

Oh, and don't worry... I'm still keeping this blog as just a fun place to share my craft projects, ideas and tutorials.  I promise now to not turn this into some major promoting area for my new shop... just a link in the sidebar and the occasional giveaway.  :) Enjoy!
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