Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Welcome to Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day 2015!

This giveaway is CLOSED! Our winner is commenter #6, Rachel!


How could I possibly resist an eclectic 9 year old, especially having been one myself? Rachel & Co.'s new tie is in the mail, and after it gets there, hopefully they'll send me a picture in action to share with everyone.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and visits. My first Giveaway Day was a lot of fun, and I'll be doing it again next time, so stay tuned.
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This is my first time participating in the extravaganza, so let me get right to the goods.



What I'm giving away is a classic burgundy marbled vintage tie, machine-embroidered by yours truly with sweet heart-skeleton-keys motif — a jumble of dark red keys with one true red key right in the center. Aww. (Embroidery pattern by Urban Threads. Hi, Urban Threads!)

From a series of customized ties which I had listed on my (currently on hiatus) etsy shop.

This vintage Wentworth tie is 4" at the widest and 58" long, made of 100% polyester. Digital colors are approximate.

Now! How can you make this yours? It's easy. Leave a comment on this post telling me how YOU would wear this tie! I'm a woman and a fan of neckties, and I don't think anyone is ineligible for neck fancifyin'. (Of course if you plan on using it to fancify someone else's neck—or anything else at all—tell us all about that.)

Details:
• Giveaway is open from now until Sunday, May 10 at 8 p.m. Detroit time (EST).
• I will ship internationally.
• Make sure you have an email address attached to your comment! This is how I will be in touch to get your shipping information.
• If my first choice of winner doesn't respond within 24 hours of my message, I'll move on to the next choice.

Thanks, and happy browsing!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Here's something I haven't done before... Giveaway Day this week!


I am going to be taking part in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day this week, May 6th. I've been reading Sew Mama Sew for a long time, but have never really paid much attention to this event...somehow!

On Wednesday, I'll be posting up what item I'll be giving away. I have a few choices, and I haven't entirely decided yet, but it'll be something good, from my store. "Entry" details will be posted then as well.

So come on back for the full story, and dig right in to Giveaway Day (actually a week!). There are sure to be dozens and dozens of fantastic things in the offing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Felt-Wrapped Dowels Earring Holder

fabric-covered earring rackHave you ever had a scrap of fabric that you desperately wanted to do SOMETHING with, but it was too small (or too flimsy or too obnoxious…) for most projects?

Somewhere, I acquired this little piece of cream-colored cotton with green running horses on it. Smaller than a fat quarter… genuinely, no idea where it came from. But I LOVED this little scrap and have always known exactly where to find it, while waiting for the right project to come along.

Meanwhile... For the last couple of decades, I haven't been able to wear earrings without my piercings getting inflamed and painful. (Damn waste, since I have 7 total [artificial] holes in my ears.) I figured I'd developed some kind of allergy, and experimented with different earring types for a while (silver, gold, surgical steel, platinum, etc.) before just giving up on earrings.

earrings
Then, not too long ago, I discovered nylon ear wires and decided to give those a try. And hey, what do you know, I could finally wear—and make—earrings again. They had to be danglies, which was fine with me, since those are fun to make and wear. I made a handful of nylon-hooked pairs that became favorites.

At some point, I dug up some steel posts and decided I just wanted to wear them, hot earlobes be damned. And I did, and it was fine. Then I got some more posts, and found I could wear those, too. My refound tolerance launched a whole new era of ear d├ęcor.

The problem with studs/posts is storing them. The hooks are easy—they're hooks. Hanging is what they do. In my case, my most-worn lived in the bathroom (with most of my go-to jewelry) over the edge of tall shot glasses (filled with acid green plastic beads). Before long, though, I had a little…pile of posts on the windowsill, just asking to get lost. Enter Pinterest!

I looked for some storage/display ideas, most of which just took up too much space. I did find one idea, though: felt-wrapped pencils, smashed into a drawer, with the earrings tucked between like a ring display. A good start!

I went to the local Sally (Salvation Army, you nerd) to look for a frame, something with a little depth but not too ornate, nor too big. And what did I find? Well, first of all, I found a VISIBLE BAT, y'all, still sealed in the box!! I have a thing about visible ______s and anatomical anythings, really. Thus, the bat and this heart model here.

Visible Bat!

Back to the point, I also found a decorative shadowbox sort of frame with some super tacky ribbon flowers in it, an inch or so deep, and about 15" x 4". First step, tear out the hideous…art and throw it away. (I would have burned them, but I'm sure the fumes would have killed me.) Then I'd have to cover the gross brown—HEY! HORSE FABRIC!

fabric-covered earring rackI've never really Mod Podged anything, but I've seen it done, so I just hacked at it. Got the Fabric formulation (probably not necessary), and put on a not-too-thick coat. Wanted to make sure the fabric would follow the contours, but not get soaked through. Did the long sides first, smoothing down long strips and running a nail along the indents to get the fabric in there. Oh, and made sure the ends turned those corners a little, to be covered by the short sides.

fabric-covered earring rackThe short sides were the only tricky thing about the whole project. Smoothed the strips the same way, but up at the corners, I folded the raw edge in and pressed it along the miter line. It was kind of fiddly, but the Mod Podge is super workable, so I just kept at it until it was smooth enough.

fabric-covered earring rackFor the rods, I got enough doweling for six 5 15" lengths, and a yard of cream-colored felt. I had to experiment a bit to figure out the right length for the wrapped dowels to fit in snugly* together. After a couple of tests, it turned out to be 10" (by the 15" width).

For each dowel, I hot glued the dowel along the long edge, and rolled it up tightly. It's all about tension, so if the felt is loose, it's not going to hold the earrings. (Maybe. What do I know.) Then I sat on the sofa and stitched down the free edges (rather than gluing, because I have a fear of commitment). The blanket stitch was probably unnecessary, but I like things neat.

Stuff the dowels into the opening, replace the back that came with the frame, nail on a little hanger, and that's it!

Now cram the posts in between the rolls, and flip your hair or whatever comes next. I'm sure there's room on this for every pair of earrings I will wear for the rest of my life! (Just like I said for the first of the now three clothes racks I have in my dressing room.)

fabric-covered earring rack

fabric-covered earring rack
If my bathroom looks very green in this picture, it's because my bathroom is very green. It was also close to dusk, when that room looks craziest. Because the room where you want the whackest lighting/colors is the room where you dress and put on makeup, right? Yeah, I thought so, too!


*I DID IT AGAIN. I swear I'd completely forgotten about my string of "snugly" until I was editing this post and saw that I'd used it AGAIN.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New stuff in the shop—ties!

I've opened a new section at my Smash Patch! Etsy shop for a series of embroidered ties I've been working on. These are all vintage ties I've hand-picked and then machine embroidered designs (and colors) that I thought fit them.

There are four ties in the shop right now, and in the next few days I'll be adding more. Check 'em out!


Friday, November 28, 2014

My new Etsy shop, SMASHPATCH!

I've added a new icon/link to the right navbar, maybe you haven't noticed. I've opened a new Etsy shop, SmashPatch!



Right now, I have a selection of hand-made felt flower brooches, especially for the holidays.

Like this:

And this:

Aaaaaand this:

And a bunch more. I'll be making more "holiday" style flowers in the coming days, then less "holiday" style flowers beyond that.

Right now I am also listing some collections of bead mixes like this one, so go check those out.

As the shop gets more traffic, I'll be listing more embroidered pieces, including ties, zipper cases, etc. And I'm definitely open to talking custom pieces, so come have a look and let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Embroidered Wallet with Matching Biz Cards

I have a friend who is an author and monster-hunter; I've mentioned him before when I made this Nessie tie for him. I like to tease Ben about remembering dates and places, since he works alone and travels extensively. Turns out, I may be underestimating his recall, especially in light of what I thought was a slam-dunk bet I lost to him recently when I challenged him to remember what state (of the Union) we both were in at a particular time. (We live in different states, and every time we have seen each other has been out of our respective home turfs.)

I must have been really confident in that bet, because I put on the line FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS. Damn you, Arizona!

I'm Scottish, not Welsh, so I make good on my bets, no matter how minor. But I couldn't just, what, put a fiver in an envelope and send it off? What am I, an animal? No, I had to make a little card wallet for him that would fit a few (AMERICAN) bills, as well as business cards and a drivers license, just in case he wanted to take it on the road with him.

And since I was making a fabric wallet, I should go ahead and embroider it.

Ben's Card WalletAnd since I was embroidering it, I should go ahead and create a monogram/logo for him.

And since I had a monogram/logo for him, I should go ahead and make some business cards.

That's where I started.

A certain fandom among us will recognize the origin of this monogram right away. One of Ben's books, the first of his that I read, is Tracking the Chupacabra, the Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. In it, Ben believes he "solved" the mystery of the (non-existent) chupacabra, which makes him a vampire slayer of a certain sort.

Starting with the Buffy logo (designed by the marvelous Margo Chase), I found an expanded character set, and made outline versions of Ben's initials, BTR. Knowing the logo was also going to be digitized for embroidery, I simplified the design where appropriate so the cards would exactly match.

I've covered a little about my digitizing process in my Electric Eel post. This design is 2-color only, so it was much simpler, but essentially the same process.

Little sewn projects like this are great stash-busters. There was no doubt in my mind that I had some black and red fabric stowed away, so I dug up this really cool black-on-black zebra print/texture (from a skirt I made) to use for the body of the wallet. The embroidery went down without a hitch.

Ben's Card Wallet

Embroidery accomplished, I built the wallet, using a scrap of abstract red/black fabric for the inner card pockets. The wallet itself is very simple, using only two pieces of fabric—the black for the body (folded in half on the long edge) and the red & black for the inner pocket (also folded in half on the long edge), along with some interfacing in the body. There are plenty of wallet tutorials out there if you want one, so I won't go into detail. The trickiest part, for me, was getting the size and the stitching juuuuuuust right so that the longest item to be placed in the pocket, the business cards, were held snugly.*

Ben's Card Wallet 

All my top-stitching in place, I tucked in a dozen business cards and, of course, the FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS, and sent it on its way.

I tease Ben about not knowing what day it is, but the truth is, I finished this project and was just about to mail it off when I realized that it was also the week of his birthday. Oh! Right, um, happy birthday! I'd feel more guilty about being a crappy birthday-gift-giver, but I make things for people at random times, so hopefully the points carry over.

Ben's Card WalletOverall, a fun, uncomplicated project, with very big personal impact. I think so, anyway—I know MY socks would be knocked off if anyone made something like this for me! (Can I say that??)


*I have unintentionally used the word "snugly" in two consecutive posts. Now that I've noticed, I'm sure to have broken the string. :(

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Paul's Yeti Mug-Warmer

Paul's Yeti Mug-Warmer by shefightslikeagirl
Just a quickie.

A friend had a bday party this weekend, and I spent a good week or two thinking of what to make him...before I actually came up with an idea the night before. Typical!

(To be fair, my sewing machine was also out of commission for two weeks.)

Paul is an infamous Bigfoot aficionado, as well as a tea drinker. I'd already gotten him a Tea Rex infuser last time I was at the DIA for the Samurai exhibit (which is gorgeous, BTW — go see it as soon as plausible!) I'd also seen neat little knit/crochet mug warmers, which I thought would make a nice combo with the tea infuser. I'm not a knitter/crocheter, but I knew I could sew one.

Paul's Yeti Mug-WarmerI also knew that there were a couple of Bigfoot machine embroidery designs in my collection, from my favorite purchased embroidery source Urban Threads. The Latte Yeti was the obvious choice. As for fabric, Paul is a huntin' kinda guy, so I dug up some flannel shirt scraps I had for the main body, with a strip of felt in between for insulation.


Paul's Yeti Mug-WarmerI decided to use a self-binding technique that's often used on receiving blankets, which I've done a couple of times before. (See my embroidered placemats post for more details.) Starting with a standard mug, I measured around the body, omitting the handles, and then the full height. The flat mug warmer is about 9" x 3", which then wraps around the mug, and then is held in place with a round elastic.

Typically, one of these might be quilted as well, but it turns out to be such a small project, that between the size, the embroidery, and the plaid, quilting struck me as a little overkill.

The buttons are faux wood made from...honestly, I don't know what. Resin maybe? They were a couple I had in the Big Box O'Buttons that you know we all have.

Here's what it looks like, snuggly* around a generic/standard coffee mug. It wasn't the Bigfootiest gift he got that day, but I'm pretty sure it was the only one made by hand.

Paul's Yeti Mug Warmer

*Just fully recognized the difference between "snugly" and "snuggly," and it made my day.
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