30 July 2010

thesis party

No photos, but I've been doing a whole lot of sewing this week. I'm slowly, slowly working my way through the entire ridiculous mountain of fabric that I've accumulated over the past year. I've been on a self-imposed thrifting moratorium (partly because I really do have a mountain of fabric cluttering my sewing room and partly because I am so, so broke), and I'm getting tired of it! I want to go dig through some bins of clothing and maybe find some new glassware. I am dying to start a vintage/thrifting resale shop, but I need far more merchandise, but I can't buy anything new until I reuse and/or sell what I have.

So! In order to make some space and also some money, I have been making so many things. Craftacular is in about two weeks, and I am actually on track to have quite a bit of things to sell. I've been cutting and sewing assembly-line style, so I don't actually have many completed items, but I will soon. Working this way is ultimately going to be good, as it saves time and allows me to keep my prices low, but it's a tiny bit of a downer to sew for six hours and not actually 'finish' anything. Of course, the feeling of finishing 20 bags in one day will likely outweigh that, so that's something to look forward to.

Okay, actually, I should go do schoolwork. Realized this week that the final project for my summer class is due the same day as Craftacular. Awesome!

26 July 2010

suddenly i am very busy and productive

I would like to talk about how productive I've been the past week or so, but I've learned that is a very good way to completely jinx myself and get nothing done for a week, so instead, here is a photo of something I made.

green dots

It has a polka-dot lining, which is pretty much my favorite kind of lining.

polka dot lining

It is also one of a few zip pouches I made using a new construction method. I have been trying to figure out the perfect zip pouch for ages, and after going through at least four different methods, I think this is it. It's lined with twill, which is both sturdy and non-bulky and allows me to use lightweight and quilting fabric that would otherwise be unsuitable. Awesome! Now I just need to make 30 or 40 more for Craftacular next month.

24 July 2010


stripe tote

Nathan gets back from a week-long tour today! Exciting. Aside from the first day or so, when I was feeling a bit lonely, this week has been ridiculously productive, both with sewing and with school stuff. This is one of the things I made; it might be the best bag I've ever made. I love it so much, SO MUCH. The exterior was originally two pairs of overalls (there's still a bit of denim left, enough for some zip pouches or maybe striped accents on other bags), and the interior is a white-on-yellow polka dot that used to be a sheet. I attempted top-stitching on the outside of the bag at least four times with two different machines; apparently top-stitching through four layers of denim is not actually a thing that can happen, at least not with my current machines & needles. (Maybe if I had a denim needle? I could swear I bought some the last time notions were on sale at Hancock. I should really organize my sewing room.) I eventually gave up on top-stitching, but I think it looks okay without it. I will likely list it on Etsy on Monday, though I am sort of hoping no one buys it so I can keep it.

Oh, and this is one of the machines I used during my top-stitching attempts.

Singer 239

It's a Singer 239. I bought it last summer for $25 at a thrift store up north, but this was the first time I actually used it. Winding the bobbin was ridiculous--I ended up winding it on my Janome. Threading took forever, but once I figured that out, the machine ran fairly well, though it smelled a little funny. I can't tell if there's something wrong with the engine or if the smell is just from using the machine for the first time in probably twenty or thirty years. I'll probably take it in to be serviced whenever I can afford it. I think it might be good to use for quilting, if I can find a vintage walking foot that isn't too expensive.

21 July 2010

purple + blue

cut squares

I'm working on a new quilt! Exciting stuff. It's made entirely from thrifted fabrics so far, though I'm still not sure what I'm going to use for the backing + binding. Planning ahead is for suckers.

possible layoutanother possible layout

Seriously, I haven't even figured out what the layout of this soon-to-be quilt will be. I'm pretty sure I want to do half-triangles, though I have no idea which design I'll use. Two options are pictured, and I also have been wanting to do a pinwheel quilt for awhile now, though I may give up on the triangles entirely and just stick with squares. (But that's boring, right?) The blue flower fabric is vintage quilting fabric, I think, and the purple fabric is probably garment fabric. I only have two rather oddly-shaped remnants of the purple, so in order to get the most use out of it, I'm cutting mostly 6" squares, but also some 4" squares. Originally I intended to just cut everything out, make a bunch of half-triangle squares (there has to be a better name for that), put it all together, and hope it was at least baby-quilt sized. However, after seeing this post on 36 Shea, I'm thinking maybe I should add some white? I have a few different pieces of white fabric that I could recycle--backing for a set of drapes and fabric from a bedskirt--and it would be nice if I had the option of making this lap-quilt sized. I obviously won't be copying the design in the post exactly, as that would be so disrespectful to the anonymous woman who made it, but I'm glad I saw that post this week. When I'm designing quilts, I tend to forget that adding solid color blocks or sashing is an option. We'll see; probably I'll finish cutting out the purple + blue flower fabrics and then see how I feel.

Of course, just like I do every time I make a quilt (because I have thus far been unable to ever plan ahead, ever), I am second-guessing every decision and permanently convinced I'm going to waste all this fabric and end up with something awful. Because I'm a crazy person! Actually, no, that's not fair, I am doing far less worrying on this project, mostly because I know what to expect by now. I have pretty much decided that I really need to start choosing a design first and then choosing fabric, but I am also okay with the fact that when you're recycling thrifted fabric rather than buying it new, you have to be flexible and figure out what's possible with what you have.

16 July 2010

what did i get myself into

So! Things are happening. I did some sewing this week, though I have very few photos to share as I stupidly forgot my camera at my parents' house. But still, sewing happened! Awesome.

I went to an amazing show last night. I missed the first band (Stacian) but Manic Zamboni and Bzybodies get better every time I see them (NB: both started out awesome) and Possible Fathers was pretty great. Bzybodies is one of Nathan's bands, and I don't want to get all cheesy or whatever, but every time I see him play, I'm kind of blown away by how great he is.

Today has been less awesome! It is getting super hot again (kill me now), and I finally had some time to sit down and work on my thesis proposal, which reminded me how much work I still have left before it'll be ready to submit. And then I'll still have to write the thesis itself! (Kill me now again.) But at least I'm actually getting some of that huge mountain of work done, I guess? I stopped by the studio arts & craft center on campus, and apparently I can stop in whenever I want to work on sewing, so that's kind of amazing. They have AC and large tables, both of which my sad little sewing room lacks. The Madison Craftacular is now less than a month away (which I just now realized and okay I'm sort of freaking out), so it'll be nice to have somewhere to work on super-hot days.

Alright! I have so much to do, so maybe I should go work on things? Yes, definitely. Oh, and the photo is of the two ducks that live at my sister's house. They also have five chickens! Moving to Milwaukee next month will be a bit of a change for her and her boyfriend.

13 July 2010

back in mke and it is not quite so hot

eventually most of this mess will be cat toys
I went up north last weekend for rather unfortunate reasons. We had to go to a memorial service for someone in Nathan's family, and my mom had knee surgery. However! The memorial service was super beautiful and I think brought some closure to his family, and my mom is doing awesome. So! Yeah. We are back in Milwaukee now, and it is now just normal hot, not brain-meltingly hot. (Meltingly isn't a word? LAME.) I was actually able to do a bit of sewing yesterday, which was super amazing and also kind of messy, obviously. I'm hoping to have 100 cat toys to sell at the Craftacular next month, and after working on them yesterday, I have decided that I need to work a lot faster. Also, I learned that cats can smell catnip stored in a metal filing cabinet, but they can't smell catnip stored in my sewing table's cabinet. Possibly because that cabinet smells really weird? Like new-car smell, except new-cabinet smell? I don't know, that's what happens when you buy discount cabinets, I guess. Anyway, my new favorite game is to shake the bag of catnip, watch the cats freak out and try to jump up in a vain attempt to claw it open, and then sprinkle a bunch of catnip around them and and watch them roll around in it, hissing at any person (or cat) who gets too close. Hilarious!

07 July 2010

i have a new goal in life

And that goal is to be rich enough to always have central AC, because OHMYGOD it is so hot outside CANNOT HANDLE IT.

06 July 2010


The Girl with the Dragon TattooI read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Sunday. The fact that I read the entirety of it in a day (maybe eight hours total? which, sidenote, I may be broke as s--t, but at least I have the time to lay on the couch for eight hours and read a good book, you know?) should not in any way reflect poorly on the book. I likely missed a lot of the subtleties of Larsson's writing, but when I sit down with a book like this (i.e. mystery/thriller), I sort of need to finish it immediately NOW NOW NOW. And oh man, this book more than most was super engrossing and has some really well-executed plot twists. I've read a lot of mysteries as my mom is a fan--I have no money to buy books of my own so mostly I just read whatever my mom is reading. Actually, I borrowed this from her! Anyway, I have read a lot of mysteries, and soo many of them are poorly written and formulaic and cliched and the kind of thing that makes you think "seriously, why am I not a mystery writer? Because clearly they will let anyone with half a brain do it, and I have at least that much brain." This however, this is good! And in an era when drek like The Book about the Catholic Secret Society or Whatever and That stupid "Vampire" book that is really about how no one should have sex until marriage and maybe not even then because you'll just have a demon baby that eats its way out of your womb are super popular, it is nice to see a hugely popular book that is also actually pretty good. I am actually not going to say anything about the plot, because I don't want to give anything away, but you should really buy/borrow/steal this book and read it immediately, if you like good books, crime novels, and/or books that are set in Sweden. I really want to go buy the other two books in the trilogy, but probably I should wait until I'm caught up with classwork, as I will likely end up spending another day or two reading them immediately, whenever I end up buying them.

03 July 2010

hey i am older today than i was yesterday

And the day before! I am now officially 26, and I feel much older. Suddenly I have an opinion about whether or not people should be on my lawn.

birthday cheese plate

Here is a cheese plate! Nathan made it at about 1am on the morning of my birthday, because I was bummed that no one wanted to go out to the bar for birthday drinks. He also poured some 2 buck chuck for me and our house guests. It was awesome, as was the rest of my birthday.