New Year, New Look

I’ve given the blog a new, cleaner look.  I’m  still tweaking and plan to try CSS used CSS to make some more changes.  I’ve  designed a new logo and watermark and a new pull-down menu in the travel category.  I have added links to the tutorial category.   

And now for the tip of the week.   I needed a box for a small gift on New Year’s day and found that a toilet paper roll is a good substitute in a pinch if you have some pretty ribbon to tie it with.  The gift was a porcelain pendant on a silver chain.  I wrapped it with tissue paper and it fit nicely into the box.
 

 

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I could also see taping wrapping paper around the toilet paper roll.  You’d  tuck the paper in the sides of the roll and tie the whole thing up with a ribbon.

From Overalls to Cross Back Apron

My pottery overalls had finally bitten the dust. No wonder, they were more than 25 years old although I had not worn them for a number of years.  Saying goodbye to my overalls was a painful prospect.  What would I  wipe the clay on?  I decided to make an apron from them.

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First, I cut off the legs being careful to keep all the pockets.

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It was not until I turned the overalls over that I realized that I had the makings of a no-sew cross back apron!  Se my other post on how to sew one from scratch here

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Just cut the seam right down the middle of the back.

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Make sure the straps are plenty long to accommodate the cross over.

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Rear view.  You don’t have to unhook the straps to put on the apron which is what is so great about a cross back apron in the first place!

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Front view.  A great, easy, low-cost no sew cross back apron!  With pockets!

 

Franklin Flea Holiday Market and More

If you come to Philadelphia to do Holiday Shopping this year, be sure to check out the Franklin Flea. They’ve set up on the first floor of the old Strawbridge and Clothier store at 8th and Market and the vendors offer a great selection of eclectic funk.

Six Saturdays, 10am – 5pm
Nov. 15, 22, 29
Dec. 6, 13, 20

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Shopping under the chandeliers

 

wpid-img_20141122_141753blog_wm.jpgThe Picasso repro is in needle point.  How ’70s can you get?

 wpid-img_20141122_173908blog_wm.jpgLots of re purposed items including clothes

 

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Vintage belts and look at those Coach bags

 

wpid-img_20141122_142211blog_wm.jpgThere’s some older stuff too

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If you can’t come in person, most of the  ever changing selection of  vendors sell on line

 

Reclaimed Crafts
 

Found RW

 

Earth and Iron

 

This Pretty Life

 

Hoof and Antler


For more information on the Franklin Flea Holiday Market press here.

But wait!  There’s more.  If you’re in town during the week, check out Christmas Village (also open on weekends) which pops up in Love Park  every year after Thanksgiving and stays open until the last Sunday in December.    You can go ice skating at Dilworth Park after you’ve finished shopping.


 

Ugly Bead Beauty School

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Yes, there is such a thing as an ugly bead. I should know because I have made so many of them.  The ones you see below are glass rejects that I have accumulated over the years.  They suffer from such defects as garish colors, drippy dots, pointy ends and general whopperjawdidity.

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I had a sack of ugly beads that I had saved over the years.  At first I thought I would give them away.  But why should I give away crappy beads?  Then I thought I would toss them.  “No,” I decided, I’ll put them in the recycling bin.  “No, I’ll sprinkle them in flower beds in the neighborhood.” No, that didn’t feel right either.  And then I decided to pull out the kiln and see if I  could make them into something beautiful.  And Viola!  All the glass cabochons in the picture below are made from the ugly beads you see in the pictures above along with a little dichroic, Moretti rod chips, stringers and some flat clear Moretti.

 

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I put the beads in the kiln a few at a time and melted them (after cleaning out all the holes thoroughly) I broke up some beads and rearranged the pieces.  Some beads I stacked on top of other beads and put a stringer of a contrasting color glass  down the middle. 

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Orange bead stacked on a blue bead with aqua stringer.  Spacey!

If I only liked part of the fused cabochon,  I cut it off and combined it with something else I liked. 

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I added dichroic class for interest to some of the cabs.  I didn’t want to use too much.  I think that fused glass cabs fill of dichroic glass are boring.  The cab above is a disk bead with dots around it stuffed with goldstone stringer and topped with a layer of clear. Later I fused it to another partial cab that I liked.

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Sometimes I liked the bottom of the cab more than the top.  So I just cleaned off all the shelf primer,  turned it over and fused it again.

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This one is a clunky star bead that I fired with a layer of clear over it.  I considered trimming off the places where the color did not flow and firing it again, but I like the contrast between the clear and the color. I like the bubbles too. The white dot in the middle is where the hole in the bead was originally. 

I plan to post some more specific directions and before/after pictures.  By the way, the glass is Moretti and the kiln is a Jen-Ken Bead Annealer hooked up to a Kiln Controller.

Turn An Old Skirt into Something New!

I wanted a dreamy looking leather satchel in a soft, buttery leather only I didn’t want to shell out a couple hundred dollars for it. I saw a cool looking black leather skirt in a thrift shop and I suppose they were having a hard time moving it because it was marked down to $7.00. I grabbed a back leather belt for $2.00 and away I went!

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I turned the skirt inside out and marked there I wanted to cut it.  Since the skirt was lined, I could skip lining the tote.

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I had to decide how to work around the zipper and  decided that I would  make a seam there and remove it.

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I’m glad I scanned the Internet for tips (see end of post) because I got myself some heavy duty needles which helped immensely.  The leather I used was thin-it had been a skirt after all, and the Singer Slant-O-Matic had no trouble handling it.  Plus it glided smoothly because the lining and not the leather was making contact with the sewing machine.

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I cut the handles from a thick leather belt which was very hard to cut.  I used a utility blade.

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I attached the handles to the body of the bag with grommets I bought at Harbor Freight.

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I stitched the  handles to the top of the bag with a sewing awl, also from Harbor Freight.  You can see that I had to make the holes with a drill, but the awl was great for passing the thread back and forth between the holes.

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I installed a magnetic purse snap and I had a leather tote for under $10.00!

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Here’s another one made from a suede thrift store skirt

This tutorial from sewbeittudio.com was very helpful.  I also liked this one from the Vintage Ramble blog.

And here is a good video to get you started.

 

Creative Thrift Shopping

One of my favorite thrift store in Philadelphia is Thrift for Aids.  With its creative and witty staff, shopping there is always entertaining even if I don’t find anything.  Case in point: their new trash receptacle outside the store.
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For me one of the best forms of therapy is retail therapy in a thrift shop. There is no thrill like finding an item like a pair of Talbot’s Silk pants for $4.00 or a an Ann Taylor sweater for $7.00. Unless you are shopping for new fashion trends, are a Wall Street Trader or work for Big Law, a good thrift shop can be your go-to store most of the clothes you’ll need, not to mention a source of fabric for quilts, a source of yarn for sweaters, and all kinds of household goodies.  But what to do  when you see a pair of Eileen Fisher pull-on pants in a soft and dreamy  Italian knit that you must have but they are much too large?  If you are like me, you buy them and keep them for a year before you get the courage to take scissors to them.  You search your sewing books and on line tutorials and then you come across a video on YouTube which is as simple as it can be watch it and get the courage to alter those pants so they fit!   I was so surprised at how well they turned out that I had to share the results and the video with you.

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I don’t have any “before” pictures, but these are the pants after I took in the legs and crotch, put in a new waist and  shortened them about 6 inches

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New hem

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New waist

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Here are another pair of Eileen Fisher pants made of linen which will be perfect for summer.  These don’t need a new waist so much as slimmer legs and a crotch that’s not in the middle of my thighs.   And now here’s the video to which I owe my new pants. 

Here are some links to instructions  for  altering waistlines and hemming pants.  Now get sewing!

Recycling Ideas From My Workshop

My friends call me “thrifty.”  Maybe my penchant for reusing things comes from having parents who lived during the Great Depression and were always trying to out do one another with stories of how poor they were.  My father recalled having to eat chicken skin, chicken fat and gristle at dinner because his mother “paid for that too.”  Little did they know that with some imagination, some secret ingredients and a whole lotta cooking fat, they could have made the first chicken nuggets and ended that Great Depression  at least as far as they were concerned.  But I digress. (Why do I always do that?)  Here are some examples of how I’ve been recycling.

Unraveling Sweater

I bought this Man’s size large Shetland wool sweater at a thrift ship for $5.99 so I could take it apart and reuse the wool.

Unaveled Yarn

Taking a sweater apart can be tedious but who doesn’t love a challenge?

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One big ball of yard and lots of sweater left to unravel.

316 rods

I wanted some fatter lamp working mandrels.  These are about 5 mm.  I got them from a discontinued  Ikea storage cart.  I think they are aluminum but they work fine although not as well as steel.

Cheerios

Now I can make beads that look like Cheerios!

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I had to stop eating cheese because of a medical problem and had no trouble finding a new role for the cheese grater.

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Cheese graters hold lots of earrings.    You could blast it with a coat of spray paint (minus the earrings of course) to give it a new look.  Make sure the holes don’t get clogged though.

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Here’s a silicone mat with little fingery things meant to be used for drying  crystal wine glasses.  I got mine on sale for about $5.00.

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They’re a great tool for coating small items with resin .  Place your cabochon or what have you on the mat and pour.  The excess resin runs into the mat and when it cures, simply pop it off!   Here’s a link to a similar mat that Amazon sells.  You could probably find a better deal or snatch one up at a yard sale.

Here’s a good video on sweater deconstruction and yarn harvesting.

Still Quilting, Still Dreaming

I started these quilts (I am making two) a year and a half ago. I put them away during our house renovation.  I have moved from the dining room to my new workshop in the basement where I have lots of room and a floor that is easy to sweep.  I moved my mother’s Singer Slant-O-Matic down there and plan to have it tuned up.  In the meantime,  I’m using my late mother-in- law’s Kenmore which I also love and which I  used to make my couch covers.

I’m making a modified Log Cabin pattern, semi wonky because I could never color inside the lines and still can’t. I plan each block to be 13 inches square raw and 12 inches square sewn and I have 70 made so far. I want to make 14 more.  I am using mostly cut up clothes, old sheets and tablecloths, scraps and found fabric.

I bought a big box of scraps on Etsy.  If you do a search for “fabric destash” you can get some incredible deals and the shipping is reasonable too.

You use a lot of thread when you sew patches together so I am using a cone rather than a spool of thread and I made a stand for the thread cone that is working out quite well! Here are some instructions.

I also learned about the chain piecing technique that helps you to sew faster. There’s a nice video on it at the bottom of the post.

 

And now for the gallery

Sneak Preview!

This Saturday is reveal day for   group three in the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party.    I thought I would give a sneak preview of some of the things I made.  The rule is that you must use the focal and the clasp that your blog partner sends you.  In my case,  my partner Miranda Ackerly sent me a great focal and clasp and I am using them both-but in different pieces.   So decided to make a clasp for one of the necklaces out of brass

Start of Toggle 1The pieces cut out

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The brass disk  was part of the bead soup and I textured it and the loop and toggle clasp

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Another View

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Ready for  soldering.  You’ll have to wait for reveal day to see the finished clasp.

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This is a clasp I made for another piece you will see on reveal day.   It’s made of stripped electrical wire and a section o ring from a 5 gallon plastic bucket which resembles thick buna cord and it’s free when you find it in the street!

And here are some more preview pix!

Swimming in Bead Soup

I signed up for Lori Anderson’s 7th Bead Soup Blog party and my reveal date us April 13. My partner is Miranda Ackerley who runs MirandackArts.  Miranda obviously takes these bead swaps seriously because she sent me SO MUCH STUFF.  I mean, they had to drive a truck up to my house (only kidding).

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Lots of stones

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Some beautiful crystals

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Chain and some metal stampings

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Some semi precious beads

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Some glass and shell beads

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And a lovely focal and clasp.

Here’s what I sent Miranda

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A sterling clasp I made

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Some vintage buttons, leaf dangles and chain

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Some of my small lamp worked beads and tumbled glass shards

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And a focal set I made from glass my friend Sandeye  gave me.

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And that’s not all; I was interviewed by a new on-line called line magazine A Garden Life,  about the jewelry I made from sidewalk finds and found objects.

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     Click on the image to open the article in Adobe Reader.  Or you can view the web page here.