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Saturday, October 26, 2013

This Week in Crafting

This week has been a steady crafting week for me.  I have been fortunate enough to have good friends and fun projects all week.  I am smack in the middle of Christmas creations (gasp!)  I know, it's not even Halloween yet, but when you make clothing and run a boutique, you HAVE to stay ahead of the curve.  I keep getting emails reminding me how many days until Christmas.  Eek!  That works as an automatic countdown to the half way point of this TDY.  Not bad!

On to this week's fun!

I started the week off in the Dollar Spot at Target.  It's pretty much my favorite place ever.  I challenged myself with a re-purposing project this week.  I took canvas wine bags with awesome typography and made them into a Thanksgiving table runner. This project rang in under $4 with a coupon and using old supplies from home!  Woo!

This one cracked everyone up.  Then, all the kids asked what gobble meant.  That was a funny conversation and then of course learning to wobble and gobble like a turkey.

Every year I manage to find Easter or Halloween buckets at Wal-Mart for $1.  I didn't look too hard this year and really didn't have anything planned until I ran across a blog challenge from Ellison Lane.  It was from back in July, but everyone was talking about how cute the bags were.  I had the fabric on hand and started cutting.  Of course, I didn't read all the directions all the way through...which we all know is a no-no.  In turn, I ended up making my own version of the quilted Halloween bag.  The kids picked their fabrics and I quilted their designs.  It was a super quick and rewarding project.


On Wednesday, I went to an art class with my friend and her daughter.  I totally thought we picked the typography class and was all ready to paint my ampersand, but as it turned out, we picked the swirly tree.  I put book pages under mine and plan to add some buttons to the tree and hang it for Christmas.  :)

Mr. Connor is the unfortunate child that receives all the hand me downs from his big bro.  For whatever reason at 5 years old, Kristjan busted through just about every pair of pants I ever got him.  Most of them were turned into cut offs one summer, but a few select pairs made it in the box for Connor.  I recently bought a ton of felt on sale for a mermaid project for Miss Stella and thought a monster patch would be a good way to make his torn jeans look new and special again.  He picked the face and together we patched up the hole.  He has already brought me all his other jeans requesting aliens and more monsters.  Hooray!

I had one graphics project this week with a special request from my sister.  They moved into a swanky new house and they needed a classy moving card to go along with the new address.   They are big Georgia fans, so there was no question that their design would be red and black.  I used a fabric that she liked a lot and made a ribbon embellishment with a medallion.  It is ready to post on Facebook and print 4x6 photos to include in her Christmas card.  

It has been a productive week and that's exactly what I needed to keep my mind off Mr. B. being out of country.  We are doing great and have a bunch of fun fall activities planned this weekend.  I can't wait to see the leaves start to turn here.  Mr. B. is solving global problems and doing his own laundry (which is super attractive if you ask me).  :) 



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Portfolio Madness

I am an art student.  I am about to tomorrow.  I am beyond excited because as many of you other students or former students know, graduation is like the holy grail.  We work so hard (in most cases) to achieve this goal so we can feel fulfilled and accomplished...and then get a pay back all the student loans we took out.  Ha!

For the last six weeks I have been putting the finishing touches on my portfolio and today I wrapped it up.  I am so pleased with the results and thought y'all would like a chance to see what I do.

Collage Portfolio Cover

Close up - I made a rub on of my logo - tutorial coming

The bamboo portfolio I wanted was $300.  So - I made one...out of a cardboard box!

Basically, every graphics designer has a digital portfolio and a flat fold portfolio.  They are tailored to the job/client.  I have to versions and I chose to go artsy fartsy with this one.  The branding is carried throughout the portfolios, my resume, website etc.

Here are a few pages in the flat fold.

Logo work

Mixed Media

Hand Drawn Lettering/Typography

There's a ton more, but unless you want to hire me, there's no reason to see it!  Ha!  If you DO want to hire me, I'm available to work on your logo, digi design, collage, marketing plan, etc.! Drop me a line at


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Game Day

It's officially football season in our house.  You can tell because the giant Michigan flag graces our front door, the small banner hangs in my studio window (because it faces the road), and everyone is decked out in their maize and blue.

We are a Michigan home.  What?  You grew up in Wisconsin you might say.  Well, the thing is, my dearest husband is a die hard - maize blooded - get all up in arms about Michigan sports - Wolverine's fan.  So, today is pretty important.  Basically, when the game starts, everything is put on hold.  We all gather and watch the kickoff and as the game gets going, the snacks come out.  However, Mr. B. will eat nothing during the game.  He is too wrapped up in the excitement to even consider a delicious snack.

Is there a party?  Usually no.  As a military family, we move around a bit and for the last seven years we were in the heart of SEC country with his entire family (asides from one hold out who shall not be named) who cheered endlessly for their Dawgs.  My kids can yell Go Dawgs like a true Georgian!

Now, we are in OSU/OU territory.  The only thing I have gleaned so far is that everyone around here hates the Longhorns...which is kind of funny to me.  I happen to think that the Longhorns are pretty cool.  After all, I am a Matthew McConaughey fan, and they have the next winningest program behind Michigan, and we got a hand me down Longhorns t-shirt.  You can see how my affiliations to sports form???

It's hard not to like this guy...

In the end, I am still a Badger.  I will always be a Badger.  Just the other day I was trying to teach the kids the fight song because all we get around here is Maize Rage and Hail to the Victors.  They tried.  Bless them all.  Connor tried the hardest I think because he knew it was somehow important to me.  When it all boils down, it is just a game, but fierce loyalty is something I am proud my children have. They love their dad and in his excitement have found a love for his team, which is now our team.

To all the football fans out there - cheer hard, play nice, and remember there's always next Saturday.



Sweet Stella showing off her newest Crafty Betty Michigan dress.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Envelopes? Really?

It's been a while since I've written anything.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I write every. single. day...just not for fun.  I am at the tail end of my degree in Graphics Design and am cramming in a triple work load to get it all done before Halloween.  It's insane and I find myself sitting down at my laptop just wishing I could do cool things like update my blog or email friends.  But, alas, I am writing critiques or endless ad campaigns for companies I might one day try to work for.

A postcard I made up for a fictitious scholarship I wish I had won.

In the meantime, something funny has been happening and I am wondering if it is a sign or just a silly coincidence.  I have an Etsy shop.  I put all sorts of stuff in there.  I started off with scrapbooking embellishments, branched into baby items, and now have boutique clothing.  Recently, I listed some envelopes and wouldn't you know it - they are the big seller.  No kidding.  I giggle with glee every time my phone goes cha ching because I know someone else bought some envelopes.

The very envelopes that keep me giggling...and thinking...

This was not my intended direction for my shop, but I am wondering if there is a need that I could meet with my graphics skills.  Perhaps personalized invitations, stationery, business cards, web templates, etc. are what I can contribute.  I can't help but enjoy the thought of having yards and yards of baker's twine and little monogrammed envelope seals and ooooohhhhh washi tape!!!  Do you think Mr. B. will support this addiction - ahem - business plan?

An example of some neato things you can do with graphics and paper straws



Monday, June 10, 2013

Busy Lady

So the last time we chatted, I was sewing things backwards!  I'm pleased to say that everything turned out perfectly and here are the photos to prove it!  Stella is modeling the Skip and Play Pants and the Daphne wrap top by The Cottage Mama, which are soon to be offered as pre-order in the Etsy shop.

I think she is writing her first novella.  What do you think?

This might just be my most favorite picture of Stella ever.
Back of the wrap shirt.

Front of the wrap shirt.

Detail shot of her capris.

Chasing the geese - because she can!

This is the Gossie and Gertie shot.  

So sweet!

It seems that every time I get behind the camera, I miss it more.  I have branched out in so many crafty areas that sometimes my true passion (photography) gets the short end of the stick.  This mini session in the oppressive heat yielded some great shots and I'm wondering if it would be as much fun with someone else's kid.  I haven't shot others in a long while and am throwing around the idea of maybe doing mini sessions after supper or on the weekends this summer....I'm thinking lemonade stand, wagon/bike wash, sweet sunsets, families, etc.  This could be fun or a crazy hair-brained idea.  I'm sure my hubby will let me know which it is! Ha!  Just for giggles though - what do you think?



Monday, June 3, 2013

Triumphs and Failures

So as many of you know the weather in Oklahoma is pretty sucky right now.  And by sucky, I mean gigantic tornadoes that want to suck away our towns.  :(  Today, I finally got back into the sewing room and attempted to get my homework revived.

I am in the middle of pattern testing and am loving this experience.  For those of you that don't know, pattern testing is when a designer drafts a pattern for a piece of clothing, etc. and calls on other sewists to try it out.  As a tester, you have to make the item, critique the process, and help the designer make the very best consumer-ready pattern that they can.  It can be grueling work for both the designer and the testers, but so far, this one is going swell!  Huzzah!

On to today's triumph - PIPING!  I did it!  I added piping in one long continuous four foot length to my top. Woo!  *waving arms around like an idiot*  It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Honest!  I used my zipper foot and just went slow and voila!

And then there's that stinking failure...the whole time Sweet Stella was my human mannequin for my fit tests...I WAS PUTTING THE TOP ON HER BACKWARDS.  Yup.  The entire time.  I didn't realize it until I went to chat with the other testers, saw their photos, and went OMG!!!  I'm doing this bassackwards! Sheesh!  Thank goodness I didn't take her portraits in the outfit yet because I'm sure I would have looked like a complete idiot!  Can any of you relate?!?  No?  You're all amazingly bright and would never make something backwards right?  Oh Lawd!  *slaps forehead*

Soooo...yeah.  That's my day today.  Homework up to my ears tonight just in time for tomorrow's weather prediction of you guessed it...more tornadoes.  Pbbbbbbt.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spring Cleaning. Because I have to...

So, I'm feeling terrible admitting this, but I have a small problem with not putting things back where they belong in my studio space.  I know I should.  I tell my kids to put their stuff away.  I mostly keep the rest of the house (semi) picked up like it's supposed to be...but come on, I have four kids, go to school  have a shop, blah, blah, blah....

Confession time:  This is situation normal for my space.  Yup - I see it now and I think I belong on that hoarders show.  (Don't tell my sister, she'll call them on me!)

Sweet Stella is wondering why the gate is down and she can venture in to the crazy mess. 

You see, I have a few hobbies - sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, photography, collecting antiques, and the list goes on and on.  I have one room (so blessed) to put all my stuff in and it just never seems big enough to house all the treasures and supplies I *just might* need. 

So, what started this whole quest of cleaning up the studio space you might ask?  I stepped on a pin and almost cussed the loudest cuss anyone ever heard.  Yup.  My space hurt me.  It was time to do something about all this.

My dearest husband suggested I decide what I was keeping and what I wasn't (gasp)!  I told him that I had it under control and that I would see him in an hour (ha) and he needed to entertain the children.  He obliged and the mess commenced.  Wait - I am supposed to be cleaning.  Why is the mess getting worse???  Yeah, apparently that's how it work.

I'll spare you the looooong drawn out event and give you a sneak of my favorite part of my space - the fabric.  I used to keep all the fabric in bins, in the closet, or on the tables all around me.  Now, look!  The fat quarters are all neat and tidy in an unused repurposed shoe bin!  It's just like the "real" quilt store!

I also managed to shove that old cubby into the closet (thanks hubby) and snagged the IKEA cubby from the kitchen to make a home for all my yardage.  This was THE very first time hubby has ever seen all the glory that is my fabric.  He wowed appropriately and didn't even cringe - success!  :)

Now, there's a basket full of supplies to list in the shop, numerous bags of scraps to do something with, and an organized happy place for me to work.  (Anyone have projects they do with scraps?  A giveaway perhaps?)

After tomorrow's homework I'll be tackling the scrapbooking side of the room.  Any scrappers interested in kits?  I have a few left overs from classes I have taught.  

So - now that I've spilled the beans...what's your confession?  Do you keep your space all neat and tidy or is it a wreck like mine was?



Monday, May 13, 2013

Braggy McBraggerton

Today is HOT in Oklahoma.  The kids keep running outside and jumping on the trampoline for a few minutes and then coming back in bringing all that hot air with them.  Ugh.  I have spent my time today split between the endless piles of laundry and a couple of projects on my to do list.  I feel accomplished - I'm not gonna lie.  You hear that?  It's me blowing my own horn. *toot toot*  But, honestly, if I can't do that here, then what the heck do I have a blog for...right? :)

Accomplishment #1:  Wait for it - the blind hem!  Wahoo!  This is seriously a big deal for me.


Wrong again.

Nobody makes me bleed my own blood.  Nobody!

Blind hem on the underside!

Correct again!
Blind hem on the outside!  See how "invisible" it is!!!

I made this dress on Saturday for my niece.  This whole seersucker theme is for their family pictures on the beach!  She liked the dress, but required a little something to girl it

Accomplishment #2:  Shabby Chic Fabric Flower
I think it turned out divine!  It's removable and can be put on the strap, the waistline, or in her hair.  
Girliness unlocked!

And last but not least was a new one for Connor and I.  He usually models all ties and bow ties for me, but today was asked to model his new shorts.  Of course, our deal is contingent upon a lollipop.  However, this go around he was insistent that he get to use the lolli as a prop.  What can I say? The kid's got negotiating skills.

Accomplishment #3:  Copycatting a pair of Gymboree shorts to make our own more sock monkey-ish pair.

One satisfied customer!

That's it for today.  It's time to tend to the mountain of laundry that needs folding and maybe a little time running through the sprinkler.


aka (Braggy McBraggerton)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sewing for Boys: You want me to make what?

I have three boys.  They always get the shaft when it comes to my sewing projects because, well, my boys ask for ridiculous things when I ask what they want me to make.  For instance, tonight I got yet another pattern for a dress for Stella (Browniegoose!) and then almost instantly felt bad because the boys are stuck with what little is in my repertoire for boys - ties, applique shirts, capes, and the occasional pair of elastic waist shorts.

You can buy this tie here (shameless plug).

So, me in an all my smartness asked Kristjan (7) what he wanted me to make him.  Without hesitating he replied "a full leather suit of armor."  I'm not kidding...a suite of armor.  What?  How in the world?  We then proceeded to check out leather armor on Google....which is NOT a good idea.  Apparently, leather armor is popular among a "certain" crowd.  Needless to say I understand what he's talking about and now have to find "dragon leather."  You would think he watches Game of Thrones or something (which obviously he does not!)

Tomorrow's task - draw out a pattern for leather armor to fit a 7 year old and find fabric that looks like dragon leather in the clearance bins!  I'm sure I'll be making a smaller set for Connor once he catches on to what I am constructing!  Wish me luck!

This is real deal handmade leather armor made by Karbanog...and what Kristjan wants.



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saving Money Makes Mom Happy!

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm offering a 10 percent discount in the shop!  This is a great chance to get your hands on Crafty Betty clothing, blankets, and digi designs for less!

Just enter coupon code:  MOM10 during checkout and voila!

Hurry!  The code expires tomorrow!



P.S.  If you are behind on your Mother's Day shopping (gasp), this is the perfect time to get the Inspire instant digi download.  Just print it, frame it, and hand it to mom!  Well done!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blind Hem Hell

How many of you have ever tried to tackle the blind hem stitch?  It's that one that looks oh so professional and is hardly noticeable.  You will mostly find it on dress pants, curtains, and even skirts.

The blind hem is the holy grail of finishing techniques as far as I'm concerned.  For years I have searched the Internet far and wide looking for a tutorial that showed that fabric flip required to get it just right.  Most tutorials have been all about hand sewing, which is not my thing.  I have four kids for cryin' out loud!  Who has time to hand stitch anything these days?  

Well, today in an attempt to finally finish my Lilly Pulitzer Mimosa inspired seersucker skirt, I decided to go for the blind hem.  It's a high end inspired skirt and it needs that polished look to really sell the look.  Again, I ventured into my usual places for tutorials and stumbled across one that is solid gold!

Thank you Ashley at Make It & Love It!  Your tutorial finally makes sense and gives me the high quality pictures of every step to get this technique mastered!  Plus there's a bonus - her tutorial is WITH a sewing machine!  Woohoo!

Quick - now you can finally hem those pants that you can only wear with heels!  I'll be in the studio...ripping out my mistakes.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

To the Maxi

It's getting to be that time of year where all you ladies are venturing out into the sun in your dresses.  I have not been a dress wearer in years.  It mostly stems from many years in private school where the only option I had was to wear a dress (with itchy tights) and leather t-straps.

This is me - circa 1985.  Apparently, the apple basket was a prop.  :)

Now, that doesn't mean I don't like dresses, it just means that I am beyond particular about the dresses I like.  I know what fits my shape and what flatters my good points.  I feel as though the 50s shirt dress is just right for me.  It has support for my girls (a bra is a must!) and can be brought in at the waste giving me that oh so desired hour glass figure.

So - here's the challenge:  Can we find dresses for this season that are flattering and appropriate for an everyday mom?

What's appropriate you ask?

1.  Must be worn with a bra - preferably not strapless (who can keep those puppies up???)

2.  Must be flattering or at least cute enough that we look forward to wearing it.

3.  Must be durable enough to withstand snot, poo, tears, and potentially puke (not mine - the littles!)

4.  Must be simple enough to construct so that if the littles do ruin it I don't' feel like I just wasted a week's salary and time.

Here are a few that I found that meet my criteria.  Feel free to add your own dresses and patterns in the comments below.  I would love to know what you think is most important in a dress.

Ahhhmazing dress made from a sheet - yes a bed sheet!

This beauty is from Running with Scissors.  It's divinely perfect if you ask me.  There's a tutorial too!

A simple tank dress that is truly fantastic!

Just add fabric length to your shirt.  Your tanks fit you, so this is functional and sexy!  Tank Maxi from A Small Snippet


Anna Maria Horner does it again with her Empire Maxi.  It has great straps and can be altered to be chevron or not, short or long!

Which dresses are you looking forward to this season?  Who wants me to make one for them?