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Bright Tote Bag

24 Feb

Last night I made this fun, colorful tote bag.  Isn’t funny how working with bright fabrics really lifts your spirits (or is that just me?)??!  So much fun.  Hope its owner loves it as much as I do!  I’ve got to get some more material to make some coordinating pieces. 

Other than the bag, I spent almost an hour on the phone with Direct Tv. Yes, the service was just installed yesterday but I’m already having problems.   I also let them know a few odd things about the installer. For example shoving showing me his driver’s license in my face tvery closely to prove his identity…don’t they realize that looking at someone’s DL in no way tells me that they are authorized to enter my home and connect my satellite or maybe I’m just a paranoid woman.  And for another example, installing the giant dish right outside my kitchen window.  I mean, who doesn’t want to stare at the alien transponder when you are cooking mac-n-cheese?? RIGHT?!  Sweet!! I know you are super jealous and will be calling your satellite provider ASAP to move your dish for better viewing.  (deep breaths, K, deep breaths)  In all honesty, I find it very sad that I wouldn’t open my mouth when I discovered this atrocity.  I felt bad that he had already completely installed the thing before I noticed.  The last thing I want to do is cause a confrontation when I’m home alone with a strange man who has flames painted on his truck.  I’m really not a push over; I don’t know what comes over me in these kind of situations, but I just completely freeze.  Same thing with personal services -like a bad manicure where it is clear the polish is bubbly (however if you got to Shannon at Jade Nails in Bentonville, AR I can guarantee you will get an impeccable manicure).  I just can’t stand the thought of hurting someone’s feelings.  Anyone else out there have this problem??  Any tips for overcoming my this??

Have a great day!

Charmingly,

Kristin

A Morning with Direct TV = Closet Cleaning

23 Feb

I had to be home this morning for Direct TV installation.  It was supposed to take 1.5 hours, but it took more like 3.5 hours.  Awesome.  It would have actually been awesome had my tv and internet not been out of order the entire time.  Faced with staring at the pool for a very long time, I opted to look for things to do.  My husband had Monday off for President’s Day and was uber productive, so I was inspired by his motivation. 

I decided to clean out the master bathroom linen closet.  It has been a wreck since we moved in.  I’m not an organizer.  I usually leave that to my hubs.  I’ve just never really cared because despite eyesore, I always know where I put my stuff.  In order not to drive my husband completely crazy, I’ve been making a little effort to stay organized.  I can’t wait to show him my closet re-do.  He will be so proud. 

Before…don’t judge…the bottom shelf is all DIAL products.  They are the BEST.  You should buy lots of it.  :)

And After…

Aaaahhh.  So much better.  It isn’t amazing (I’ve seen so many amazing closet makeovers on blogs), but for a quick clean up with no preparation, it turned it pretty darn good.  I grabbed the gray shoeboxes from the top of our closet and found the empty beige crate in the closet as well.  I got rid of some beauty products I’ve been hauling around for several years now but never use.  Everything I did keep went into a shoe box.  I also filled a shoebox of sunscreen (we have a lot of sunscreen…we live in Arizona afterall).   Now let’s see how long it stays like this.

I also wanted to share with you the pillows I made on Sunday for my patio furniture.  I am pretty excited with how they turned out considering I didn’t use a pattern.  I even added a zipper so that I can wash the covers.  I’ve got several more to make in an adorable red and white stripe.  I ran out of zippers so hopefully I can finish those this week.

They go great with my new umbrella from Pottery Barn.  It was on sale for $53 with an additional 15% off and we had a $25 reward certificate, so it was REALLY inexpensive! 

All we need is bar stools, a few decorative trinkets, and outdoor speakers and we are ready for Spring in Scottsdale!  Yay!!   That reminds me, I should do post our backyard renovation!  We love it!

Have a great day!

Charmingly,

Kristin

Learn to Sew

10 Feb

I started sewing on January 3rd, 2011.  I took a lesson that day.  I knew NOTHING about sewing.  Literally nothing.  I read through the quick start guide for my brand new machine but it was like reading greek.  I learned SO much in that first lesson.  We made a make-up bag WITH a zipper! Woah!  But you know the most important lesson I learned that day?  To have no fear.  Putting in a zipper was something I thought would take me a year to be able to do (granted I did manage to leave off the zipper pull when I cut the zipper to size and didn’t realize until we were done with the bag…details psh).  She gave me the confidence to conquer the world of sewing.  Right after the lesson I went to Joanns and bought my first pattern and some more material to start on my first apron.

Here is my very first make-up bag:

I was so excited when I got home that I immediately opened up my pattern.  Immediately I was overwhelmed.  The first thing to tackle was the different sizes of pattern pieces.  I figured that out relatively quickly and got to work cutting my fabric.

I got all the pieces cut out and felt pretty good about things.  Then I got the directions out.  Step 1- pin one piece to another.  Sweet I can do that.  It wasn’t until Step 2 that I got the overwhelmed feeling again.  The pattern was using words I had never even knew existed in the English language.  Awesome.  Now what.  Oh I know- call Mom! She used to sew a little!  She talked me through step 2.  It was time to stitch something.  OOOO exciting!  Of course, threading and bobbin winding was so easy at my teacher’s house.  At home, not so much.  That took about 30 minutes to figure out again.  Got it ready and yelled for my husband to snap a photo of my first stitch (please disregard my appearance and clothes…had worked out earlier)!  See that big smile! That was before the seam ripper had to come out and play.

After stitching, unpicking and restitching a few times, I was ready for step 3.  Again, no clue what it was telling me (“gathering stitch” whaaaat?).   Too embarrassed to call Mom back, oh I know, email teacher.  So I did and she walked me through it.  When I got stuck on Step 4, I turned to the internet (love you internet).  I trudged along step by step, stitch by restitch (love you BFF seam ripper).  I realized close to the end that I had made some grave mistakes in lining up the pieces.  Mistakes that were leading to the demise of my apron.  But being one to always monitor and adjust, I thought of a way to save my apron and made up my own steps.  I was feeling pretty good about things.  That was, until I held up the apron to try it on and I had only 1 side string.  Yet, I had just sewn them both on to the skirt.  Where oh where could it have gone?  I looked on the floor thinking it had fallen off.  Nope, not there.  Looked all around the room.  Nope no where.  What the heck!?  How does a strap just go missing??  And then…I saw it.  Hanging ever so perfectly from the bottom of the skirt.  Humph.  I had sewn it on (with my best stitch yet nonetheless) to the end of the bottom of the skirt.  SIGH.  Unstitch…Restitch.  About 5 hours (spread over 3 days), a lot of yelling, sighing, and pricked fingers later, I emerged from the office to show my husband what I made (yes I wear my christmas pajama pants year round).

It was FAR from perfect, but it was a very proud moment for me.  My husband was in shock that I actually made that all by myself (well minus the tips I received).  I knew I was hooked when I immediately went to work on my next project. 

I attempted to make some napkins for my sister.  She loves gray and black.  I had a beautiful design in my head for them.  Let’s just say, they didn’t work out so well.  But it wasn’t my fault, really.  Just didn’t have the right materials available to make what I had designed.  Here is the one I made.  It looks nice in the picture, but this was the only way you could fold it because the velvet trip was super stiff.

So because this was a huge failure and I wanted to make something for her since we were going to LA soon, I decided to try out some bags.  Here are my first few bags.  Thank goodness for internet tutorials. 

First Up- Little Boxy Pouch

Gathered Clutch was next

Again, these were far from perfect and I did a lot of unstitching, but I still felt pretty good them.   I decided it was time to work on my sister’s gifts.  Here is what I came up with.

Tote, zippered makeup pouch, keychain

White suede, fur-trimmed stockings!

 All of these gifts turned out so great!  The bags were adorable and the stockings were beautiful (prettier in person than this photo…she and her husband couldn’t find white stockings like they wanted, so I surprised them with these)!  The rest, as they say, is history!  Considering I’ve only been sewing for a little over a month, I would say I’ve come a long way pretty quickly!  

I bought a couple new patterns yesterday that I cannot wait to try.  I’m going to make a boxed pleat valance for our bathroom window and an ironing board cover to match the office (since it stays in there now that I use it for sewing…which is good since it never got used previously! ha!).   My list of projects to do is getting SO long.  And I keep wasting my time at night watching tv or sleeping!  Ugh! 

Charmingly,

Kristin

A New Technique- Quilting Fabric

2 Feb

I’m so excited! I’ve had almost 400 views in my first week.  I have no idea how, but I love it.  I find myself happier than I have been in quite a while and I attribute all of that to the blogging world (from writing this blog to reading the blogs of others).  Hopefully I will start getting some actual followers soon!

I was at Dillards last week looking at shoes for my friend Sarah’s wedding and they were having a really big sale.  I, being the bargain shopper that I am, had to take a quick look around.  I fell in love with a purse, but I didn’t really need it since I just got a new Michael Kors a couple of weeks ago (LOVE).  So, I snapped a photo and decided I would try to make a bag the same shape.  I first started to design my own pattern, but after a few tries I decided I probably wasn’t ready to be designing my own patterns quite yet (understatement of the year possibly).  Sooo I admitted defeat,  put those sketches in my drawer, and headed to Joanns yesterday to look for a pattern.  I found one that is just the shape I wanted.  The only catch is that it is for a quilted bag…hmm.  No biggie, I will just leave the quilting steps out since that is not the look I’m going for here.  After spending over an hour cutting fabric (gag), I began reading through the directions (I always knew learned the importance of reading all the directions before starting because I’m smart the hard way).  I made it all the way to step 1 before I got stuck (typical for me).  It required quilting the outside and lining fabrics together.  I  realized that this could be a problem as this would result in a different process than using a separate lining (thankful that I had this realization before starting instead of at the end…whew).  After an internal debate with myself, I decided to just give the quilting a shot and follow the pattern as directed.  Once I’ve made it “by the book” then I can adapt it to eliminate the quilting.  Oh, and in case you wondered about my original sketch, my sketch matches the pattern piece shapes exactly! Yessssss!

Now that I’ve bored you with that long long story, here is a picture of my first quilted piece.  I found the process to be super fun for the first piece.  The second piece was not so fun.  I haven’t started the remaining 4 pieces yet.  It is quite a time consuming process.  And I did might have gotten a little off when drawing my lines on the second piece so it is may be a little funky…I bet it was just the lighting…. :)  Hopefully tomorrow I can actually start sewing pieces together!  So what do you think of my quilting?

Charmingly,

Kristin

Revamping an Old Favorite for a New Space- Desk Remake

28 Jan

The summer before my sophmore year of college, my mom and I re-did a desk together.  It was my Dad’s old wodden desk used when he was a little boy.  We transformed it into a shabby chic white desk with a mosaic top (it is very heavy due to the mosaic).  It has been with me through many moves since that day.  Unfortunately, our summertime move to Scottsdale was pretty rough on our furniture due to the heat and a lot of my older pieces endured some damage.  The desk just isn’t holding up so well anymore.  The wood is split and the top is cracking, but I just can’t part with it.  Anyone else have nostalgia for family “heirlooms”?  However, my attachment to my crumbling desk has become a problem and has prevented us from moving forward on the office.  1. It is crumbling and cracked. 2.  We have smaller rooms in this house so it will not fit in a spare bedroom as it did before. 3.  Since it won’t fit in a bedroom, our office now has 3 desks crammed in to a small room.  THREE.  These were formerly dispersed throughout our house, but just don’t work in our new house.

Since I’m getting more and more involved with my projects, I told Jason that I really want to make our office useable instead of storage.  I want it to have the look of a fun, inspired office while having storage for all my crafting items.  He is FINALLY onboard (he has been against a “craft room” but I’ve managed to convince him it will just be a cute office… shhhhh).  So, last night we were looking around our rectangle-shaped space and the furniture currently being stored there.  Three desks and an old dining table that was my grandmothers (I inherited this when I went to lawschool, but we replaced it with a larger and sturdier table this year).  We realized some of this had to go.  The unused table was taking up precious space, so Jason suggested taking it apart.  Pure brilliance.  The legs easily came off the table and now the legs and table are resting under the bed in one of the spare bedrooms.  Then we had to start tackling the three desks.  We came up with a plan for my old, crumbling desk so that I can salvage it and turn it into something that is more versatile.  You will have to wait and see what we came up with!  Should be ready for unveiling on Monday hopefully! So exciting!

For now, here is the desk as it was, minus the drawers that I had already removed prior to snapping some photos.

This promises to be a fun weekend!!

Hope you all have a fab weekend as well!

Charmingly,

Kristin

Seeing Purple- Custom Save the Dates and Birthday Bag!

28 Jan

This week I’ve been seeing purple!  Purple is a hot color right now.  Tons of magazine covers have been filled with purple deliciousness over the past couple of months.  It wasn’t until the past year or so that I’ve become a purple fan myself.   I am in two weddings this spring and both brides are using purple! 

I completed a custom Save the Date order this week for one of those brides.  She wanted something with a vintage feel and floral to set the mood for her spring, farmhouse wedding.  Here is the finished product.

I used a lush, textured, creamy paper for the main invite and a linen textured muted purple for the background.  I added a lovely purple hydrangea to pull in the floral element.  I love hydrangeas!

I also made these bags for a friend.  I fell in love with this fabric at Joanns and finally decided I had to have it for my friend who also loves purple!  It is so much prettier in person.   I used the pleated purse tutorial over at artsycraftybabe for the tote (check it out here http://artsycraftybabe.typepad.com/artsycrafty_babe/2007/07/off-on-an-adven.html).  This was my second bag to make with this pattern.  It is simple and fun to make!  For the zipper pouch, I used the tutorial for the scrappy makeup pouch on Noodlehead (check it out here http://www.noodle-head.com/2010/10/scrappy-make-up-pouch-tutorial_20.html).  I love that this pouch stands up.  For some reason I’m still having a hard time with the sides of my zipper pouches (where the material meets the zipper).  I’ve had one pouch that turned out perfectly and the rest…well not so perfect.  If you have any ideas on what I’m doing wrong, please share!!

I”m so glad tomorrow is Friday!  Hopefully I will get to start on some new projects this weekend.  I’ve got some ideas for the house that I’m anxious to bring to life! 

Charmingly,

Kristin