Sunday, January 30, 2011


Earlier this month Phoebe and I escaped the cold and snow for a wonderful trip to Miami to visit my sister and soon to be brother-in-law.  Aside from spending time with my family and the fantastic eighty degree weather and sunshine, my favorite part was the shopping.  Unfortunately I struck out as far as fabric stores go (there was one quilting shop chock full of cranky old ladies and civil war reproduction prints, but that was it), but I hit the jackpot when it came to finding the store Casaideas.  

Casaideas is a home goods store that originated in Chile and later opened more locations in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.  Their store in Miami is the first in the United States.  It kind of reminds me of a Pier One with a Latin influence.  And the best part - amazingly fantastic prices.

 I was going bonkers over all of this crochet/doily awesomeness.  Price for a bedspread or crocheted throw - $40.

 Kicking myself for not buying one of these umbrellas - especially since they were only $10 each.

  Ooooo - I didn't see this while I was there, but it would look great in my kitchen!

  I picked up one of each of these crocheted boxes at $5 & $7 - and they just happened to be in my favorite color!

 Oh em gee

I got one of each of these dishtowels for only $1.50 each.

 My sister had to drag me away from buying these for Phoebe's future big-girl bed. 

Another huge plus?  Everyone was so incredibly nice in this store - good customer service is incredibly important to me.  I spoke with the manager who said that more stores were going to be opening up around Florida and their goal was to eventually have stores all over the US.  Here's hoping Ann Arbor will be coming up soon on their list!

Their US website is currently under construction, but you can view their catalog (in Spanish) here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Past Project Friday

Every Friday I will be posting some sort of crafty project that I have completed in the past.  It could be anything from baking, to sewing, needlecrafts, art, decorating, etc.

So back in the day (okay, 3 years ago) someone posted this embroidery pattern on CuteOverload.  I went ahead and stitched the pattern and turned it into this sweet little market tote.

Caturday tote

I sent a photo of the completed project back to CuteOverload and they ended up posting it up on their site.  I opened up an Etsy shop purely for the purpose of selling this bag - which I did in a mere 10 minutes of the post going up.  I ended up making 4 more bags and sold 3 of them before closing down shop.

Have you ever tried to explain Caturday to someone who's never heard of it?  People would ask what I was working on and they'd stare blankly at me as I jarbled on about lolcats and icanhascheezburger.

For sale in my etsy shop!!

Anyways, I recently found that last Caturday bag while unpacking and decided to go ahead and relist it in my Etsy shop.  

And I apologize for the bare bones nature of my shop, I've really only used it to sell those couple of items.  I've been wanting to get it up and running lately, but I really need to sit down and think about what I want to focus on selling.  My difficulty with crafting is that I like to jump from crocheting to quilting to cake decorating to apparel sewing to scrapbooking, etc. etc.  It's hard for me to settle down and focus on just one medium.  

Well, baby's in bed and I've got the night to myself!  Heading down to the studio to cut out the pieces for a new duvet cover.  Enjoy your weekend and Happy Caturday! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toddler Crafting

I've never really been into Valentine's day.  I've always found it a bit forced, with people buying expensive gifts and going overboard trying to do something romantic, just because it's Valentine's Day, and that's what is expected.  I always pass over the red and pink aisles in the store that appear before Christmas even comes, and roll my eyes at all the jewelry commercials.  My husband and I don't exchange gifts or go out to a fancy dinner - just a simple I love you suffices. 

Well, that all changed now that I have a daughter.  My husband and I still don't make a big deal out of the day, but I think it's a really fun holiday for kids.  You can dress them up all cute, make fun, heart-shaped food, and let's face it - there is no shortage of valentine crafts.

I've been waiting very patiently for Phoebe to get old enough to start actively participating in doing crafts.  She's just getting to that age now where she really likes to complete simple tasks and has the attention span of more than two minutes.

We invited Phoebe's good friend EB over today (yes, Phoebe & EB) and made first toddler craft project!

This is a really simple one that has been floating all over the web.  You basically collect a bunch of crayon shaving (I couldn't find a pencil sharpener, so I used my potato peeler :)

Cut out two identical shapes from waxed paper.  We went with hearts for Valentine's Day, of course.

Then the kiddos get to sprinkle the crayon shavings all over the shape.

I was so incredibly excited and proud at how Phoebe got so into this.  She was sitting there, so serious in her big girl chair, taking little handfuls of shavings and delicately sprinkling them all over her heart. 

Then put the second piece of waxed paper on top of the first and place between a few sheets of newspaper.  Press with a warm iron for a few seconds.

Finally, peel back the newspaper to reveal your stained glass creation!

I ended up hanging these in the window with some fishing line, and they really do look pretty with the sunlight streaming through.  She kept coming in the kitchen the rest of the night to point them out and was super excited to show them to daddy when he got home.

It gives me high hopes for our crafting future together :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

There's still time!

In case you need any last minute birthday ideas - I don't officially turn 28 until 3:30pm.

Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter sewing basket?
I've already got a spot picked out in my studio.

Sure they've been out of print for forever, and it's one of the most sought-after fabric lines, and I just found someone on Etsy trying to sell individual fat quarters for $45 each (yeah, $45!!), but I came into the sewing scene right on the tail end of Denise Schmidts, Flea Market Fancy and I would just love to make a huge quilt with these.

Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush and Pastry Line in voile.  I seriously might pass out if these were in my possession.

A terrarium for your finger.  What more would you need in life?

I'm not huge into cross stitching - unless it's a pattern by Gera!  Superbuzzy has a great selection.  I made the Hansel and Gretel one for Phoebe's room.

My own Shasta Airflyte trailer turned cupcake bakery

I highly doubt Phoebe will be getting me anything from here, but maybe she'll be nice and let me sleep in. 

*On a side note, if you're looking to get some Echino fabric - including the new Fall 2010 line - at wholesale prices ($8.50/yard!), Sew Sweetness is hosting a fabric co-op and is taking orders through Jan 28th.  Awesome deal!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vay Cay

Phoebe and I have high-tailed it out of Michigan in exchange for some warm weather, cuban coffee and key lime pie.  We'll be back next week with lots of crafting (there are four - yes, four - quilts I need to start asap), getting some major work done on the rest of the basement, and finding some storage solutions for my studio (I forsee a trip to Ikea in my future!).

Until then, you can check out these lovely links where other bloggers have been kind enough to feature some of my work this week....

*Nicole at Chic & Cheap Nursery did a post on Phoebe's nursery.
*My Heather Ross Squared quilt was featured over on Quilt Story

On a side note - I totally had a dream last night that I was in a fabric store and I found a huge stack of Anna Maria Horner's voile fabrics on super clearance for 99 cents a yard.  Man, was I bummed when I woke up!

A side, side note - if you know of anywhere not-to-miss in the Miami area, let me know!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Past Project Friday

Every Friday I will be posting some sort of crafty project that I have completed in the past.  It could be anything from baking, to sewing, needlecrafts, art, decorating, etc.

Handmade Mittens

I made these mittens three years ago using a tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew that currently doesn't seem to be working.  But I basically just traced my hand, adding on a very generous seam allowance.  I used this for the outer fabric and lined the inside with fleece.  I also sewed some elastic to the wrist in the lining, so they don't slip off.  They are incredibly cozy.

Recycled Crochet Trim

The vintage, crocheted trim I picked up from a garage sale.  I haven't seen these babies since the move, but I'm hoping to find them soon since Michigan has been COLD lately!  Hope you all are staying warm - have a cozy weekend!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Clean slate/fresh start/blank canvas and a peek at my fabric stash

So a mere two days ago my studio looked like this.  It's amazing what a little carpet and paint can do, eh?


So I ended up going with a color quite similar to my old studio because, well, it's my favorite!  This shade is Sea Lily by Valspar.

I really really really wanted to put in a wood laminate floor and I even had plans to make one of those giant crocheted rugs from Crafting a Meaningful Home that would look just perfect against the darker floor, but I went with function over form this time.  Michigan winters are just too darn cold to have hard flooring in the basement.  Actually, it's amazing how much warmer it feels in this room just by throwing down some carpet.


We ended up going with attached pad carpeting mainly for price.  We found lots of regular carpeting in our price range that we loved, but by the time you add in the pad and installation costs, you can pretty much double or triple that number.  With this, the pad already comes bonded to the carpeting, and you can install it yourself.  You pretty much just cut it to fit the room and secure it with some carpet tape around the edges. 


Just the essentials have been moved in so far (is the dollhouse considered an essential?).  And there's still lots of work to be done.  I've still got to replace or do something with those ceiling tiles and I've got to add some trim around the base of the wall, paint the doors and trim, and replace their hardware.  And I still have plans to cover that back wall in fabric at some point.  The room is so large, that I'm also hoping to get a couch to set along the right wall to make this place nice and cozy.  I was thinking about something like this.


Have I mentioned that I like to scrapbook?  Well, I do - but I'm pretty far behind at the moment because it always takes a backseat to sewing.  I'm hoping that turning that far corner into a space solely meant for scrapbooking will help.  Before, I would always have to clear all of my sewing stuff off of my workspace and drag out all of my scrapbooking supplies and then switch everything back afterward, and it just became a giant hassle.  I'm planning on putting up a ton of shelves so my materials will always be within reach. 


The first thing I unpacked was my fabric.  I used to organize my fabric primarily by color, but I switched it up this time and sorted it by type of print.


Clockwise from top left:  All of my Heather Ross prints; stacks of fabric divided by collection (Nicey Jane, Flea Market Fancy, Midwest Modern, etc); novelty prints; on the left is polka dots, stripes, and plaids, and on the right is my japanese fabric; these are all floral prints, with small scale florals in the back and two stacks of large scale floral in the front; solids and gingham.


Clockwise from top left:  Flannel; more flannel; some wools; the pink bin is full of batting; fleece, chenille, and minky; knits.


Clockwise from top left:  these are my leftover miscellaneous prints divided by color; holiday fabrics on left, and bird prints on right; multicolored prints on left and kitchen prints on right; home dec fabrics; notions; browns and neutrals.


These bottom four cubes contain some more home dec stuff, wools and apparel fabrics, and works in progress.


I also reorganized my collection of fat quarters into similar categories.


And while I've been doing all this, Phoebe has been making herself at home too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Past Project Friday

Every Friday I will be posting some sort of crafty project that I have completed in the past.  It could be anything from baking, to sewing, needlecrafts, art, decorating, etc.

I am a huge fan of all those cake shows - Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, Cake Challenge, etc; and while they provide me with tons of inspiration, they have definitely upped the stakes for us small time cake decorators.  Gone are the days where a simple sheet cake with some piped flowers will suffice for a little girls birthday, everything has to be custom and everything has to be sculpted.  

Dragon Cake - in progress

So sometimes I cringe during that initial phone call where the client tells me what they want.  On this occasion it was.... a dragon cake.  Or more specifically, "my kid really likes that red toothless dragon from that new dragon movie that came out last week".  Okay.  So I spend hours online trying to find said dragon, and trying to figure out how I'm going to create this three dimensional dragon out of cake.  

Dragon Cake

Then I have to get it past the stage where I tell the client the price and they freak out on me.  Honestly, I make all of my frosting, filling, and cake by scratch - made to order, come up with my own designs, and do all of the work with my own two hands while a toddler hangs on me the whole time crying "up! up! up!".  And the amount of time I spend on some of these cakes easily adds up to at least 15-20 hours.  Since I don't consider myself a "professional" and don't take on tons of jobs (for my own sanity), I charge considerably less than a custom bakery and think that my prices are very reasonable - but I can't do this for free, people - my time is worth something!    


Anyway, the next step in my process is where I freak out about how exactly I'm going to pull this whole thing together.  This time I wandered around the house for a couple of days saying "Dragons are hard!"  Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, my husband still uses that one. 


Finally I just motor through and get to work.  Sometimes it's just easier to do it than think about it.

This guy sits atop a two tiered 12" & 9" cake.  He is hand sculpted out of rice cereal treats and covered in fondant.  All of the scales and details are fondant as well, except for the wings which are gumpaste.  I was pretty pleased with him in the end.

I hope you have a great weekend!  I'll be back Monday with some updated studio pictures.  The room is painted and we just got done installing the carpet!