Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Beautiful Mess

I got an email from Cynthia at Altered Couture Magazine the other day. She was asking for submissions for next year. I always panic a bit thinking there is no way I can produce anything good enough. But then I always give it a go and try anyway.
I love scrappy fairy skirts but honestly hate the process. I over think things to the point where I have so many unfinished projects laying around. But I finally found a formula for making them in a reasonable amount of time without my OCD ADD Bipolar personality kicking in. ( oh yah, I'm a mess but only if you can hear the voices in my head. Muwahhahahaha)

Ok, down to earth again. Sigh... maintain soldier!

I started with this....

Scraps of linens, lace, hankies, doilies... what ever I just couldn't throw away. I"m such a pack rat.
I cut a big square of printed muslin and cut a really long spiral out of it. Then I started sewing the scraps along the strip of muslin until I had a really long strip of all these scraps.

I had a lined skirt I had cut the outer layer almost all off. It still had maybe 8 inches left along with the complete top of the skirt.
I started at the bottom of the lining and pinned the strip in a spiral pattern until I got to the top just under the skirt. I turned under the skirt and sewed through all the layers. It turned out very nice If I say so myself.

Here is the beautiful mess in the sewing machine...

And the finished product.

I hope Altered Couture likes it! It will eventually be in my Etsy store. Oh, and it is a size 12.


Monday, December 8, 2014

My Therapist Said There Would Be Days Like This.....

Woke up this morning with so many ideas in my little ADD brain. So I decided to gather the troops and let the hamster brain go.
I have 5 dress forms now. Anorexia, Skinny B, Mia (as in it fits me), Broken Blue, and Rosie. (she looks like Rosie the Robot from the Jefferson's.)

Here are three of the girls getting ready for my creative endeavors.

I have been reading a bunch of blogs and articles about how to make my blog better and how to stand out more. ( to my all of 4 readers...).One of the things that keep coming around was for your readers to see your process. (I"m sorry....it did say I had to do that.) Well, my process is a bit scattered most of the time. I have a sewing room filled to the brim with thrift store finds and donations from friends. Here is just a peek at my supplies.

The last one is a work in progress with a tall bookshelf behind packed with t-shirts. There are three baskets under the table filled with shirts and shirtsleeves. Soo much stuff!! I can't tell you how many times I have tried to organize everything.

It becomes a bit of an obsession to collect the perfect garment for upcycling. I do believe I will be purging to regroup soon though. I have more than I can ever use and it can get overwhelming at times.
So the girls help out. I chose three tops to fit the three girls and start there. It helps me focus to some point. So when I start to spazz out, I just make sure I'm working on one of the three outfits. Then I do't feel so out of control.
So that is a peek into my process. I'll post more later on.

Stay warm and safe!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sewing for Plus Size Women

I make quite a few items for plus size women. My son said big girls like to look cool too. I was thrilled to find this plus size dress form. It is a size 18/20. It is so nice companies are finally realizing that we are all not a size 6.

It was always a bit of a bummer to put an xlarge item on a size 8 dress form for my store. It always looks baggy and ill fitting. This jacket is a size 20 and it looks so much better on my new dress form. Don't you think? It is in my store now if you just can't live without it! Black Unlined Bustle Jacket

I also just got back a dress I sent to Altered Couture. It was in their November issue. I wanted to put it in my store. (it is a size small) sorry.... While getting it ready for photographing I saw this through the camera lens and thought it looked kinda cool. I'm in my mom's living room and her chandelier just makes this look so elegant!

Of course, disregard the lights and mess on each side.

Stay warm everyone!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How In The Hell Did I Do That?

I was sewing along the other day on  the sleeve of a sweater. The hard way of course because that's how I roll!

When all of a sudden my machine made a terrible sound and my needle did this....

I think I now have a special kind of fish hook or something!! I have been sewing for years.... and years... years.... and I have never bent a needle like this. I'm great at snapping those suckers in half. Bending.. never done it.

I really didn't want to do this again. (probably couldn't do it again if my life depended on it.) So what now. I have no idea what I hit to bend my needle anyway. But then I got a great idea. How about sewing this sweater the easy way!! Ya think?

Of course I had to drop the feed dogs and use my darning foot. The rest is freeform sewing. I love freeform sewing. It's so messy and well, freeform. No more bent needles for me.

Hopefully next time you have to sew something awkward and you aren't afraid of the darning foot... you can try this.

And here is the sweater finished... you can see it in my Etsy store too!!
One sale a day is all I need!

Cropped Blue and Grey Sweater



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall is On It's Way! Time to Break Out the Sweaters.

I made a very cool oversized sweater dress for my Etsy store. I kinda wanted to keep it for myself, but as I have said many times before... don't make any money if I keep it all!!
It sold in two hours after I listed it!! OH MY!!
Here it is.

Pretty cute huh. I was glad and sorry to see it go. I get too attached to my creations.
But someone is going to have a very cool sweater top for winter.

Well, that meant I had to make another one. I couldn't find another fun doily for the front, but I made this one.

Not quite as fancy. but check out the back....

I added a sweet little tie for smaller sizes.

Ok, this one was my favorite too. I could see someone wearing their Wellies Boots in the garden and this dress....

I added a pretty rose linen skirt underneath.
Anyway, I have been busy! These will be added to my Etsy store in the next few days.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Work In Progress...

My photographs for my Etsy store sucked big time! I needed to make a change. Being of little income, it was hard to come up with a solution. Etsy likes plain white backgrounds. I wanted a little more of something behind my dresses. I found this great company that sells vinyl backdrops for photography. They are AWESOME! So many choices. So I ordered this one.....

I have a cool door like this in my room but I can't get enough space in front of it to take good pictures. So this is second best. Of course I don't have the logo on mine.
So my pictures went from this...

To this....

I think it looks better and my site is looking more unified.

Check out their website SwankyPrints  Their customer service was great by the way.


Oh, if you REALLY like this jacket and can't live without it. You can purchase it here. (if it is still available!)


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Published... again!!

I'm so excited! Two of my upcycled creations have been featured in the new Altered Couture magazine!
I also have a dress that will be in the Winter issue! Now if I can just convert this into some sales life would be perfect!

Altered Couture had a slip challenge. Here is my before:

I know... BORING!!!

Here is my after:

Big difference huh.

It was so much fun to make and  to have it in national magazine is an added bonus!

Here is a picture of the back.

Pretty funky if I say so myself.

Now the cool thing is this magazine is great at asking for submissions. Go outside your comfort zone and check out the submission challenges. Here is the link:  Altered Couture submission guidelines

Now go make something funky and cool! You can do it!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Make it Custom One of a Kind Just for You!

I have added a new listing to my Etsy store. So many of my clothes are Favorited but I know they are not purchased because the size is not right. So I decided to add custom listings with just labor charges. My customer purchases the clothes they want their outfit made from and I make it awesome!
Here is what my customer sent. I LOVE everything!

She added a pink and white stripped blouse in her size for the top. These 5 shirts are for the bottom skirting.
So this is what I came up with....

I had so much fun making this dress. Hopefully I will get more as time goes by.

I do 3 custom styles right now.

 Click link to check out my listing. Dresses. These are longer tunic dresses.
 Tunic Dresses These are great with leggings or even over jeans.
Tunic Tops These are best over pants or a skirt.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Learning some hard stuff here!

Ok, so my store on Etsy is hanging in there. But I knew I needed to learn how to get more traffic from outside of Etsy. So I joined this wonderful (albit very overwhelming for this lady) team to show me how to do it.
It is called the Helpful Relevancy Team - Etsy Based Artisan Group. Here is the link to find out more. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

My favorite creation so far!

I created this dress a little while ago and I have to say. It came out really cute! I took it to a craft show last weekend and if it was a larger size, I could have sold it ten times over.

You can see more pictures of it on my Etsy Store. I made it from some men's shirtsleeves and leftovers from another dress.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I have to brag a little... just this one time!

My youngest son Jesse graduated from Marine Basic Training in April. I was fortunate enough to be able to fly to San Diego to see him. He is the one in the middle yelling. Marines yell a lot!
Poor guys were hot and tired. The drill instructors had them running probably to keep them busy until it was time to visit. This was family day and we got to spend the whole day with him on base.

He is the tall one in the back...always. It was easy to find him.

        This was his first sight of family in 13 weeks. He was a very happy guy to say the least. I made sure his girlfriend was the first person he saw.
The next day he got to leave with us and first order of business was Pizza and Beer. So we found the best place we could.

An added bonus was this bus parked in front of our hotel room.

Yep, Willie was there! It was an outdoor concert so we got to hang at the pool and look between the plants at back stage.

So this is what my baby looks like now. Pretty handsome if I do say so myself.

   Here are both my boys together. Yeah, I'm a proud mom. I think they are pretty handsome guys.

Just needed a break from sewing and school work. Plus my poor blog was missing me big time.

Just a quick note, if anyone is actually checking my blog out. I will be at a fun little craft show this Saturday.
Here is the poster. If you are in the The Dalles Oregon area, come by!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Upcycled Repurposed Life

For those who don't know my story, late in 2010 I had to close my quilt shop and lost my beautiful log house. Another victim of the economy downturn and not enough future planning on my part. Yes, I do take part of the blame.

The emotional pain was stifling.. I still think... "I want to go home". I lived 25 miles from Yosemite National Park. I miss the trees, the forest, the little fox that would come by each night to raid whatever cat food I had forgotten to pick up.

Fast forward three years......

I'm in Oregon living with my mom. That in itself isn't progress but it allowed a time of healing and reinvention.

It took a while. I worked at a local quilt shop. Note to oneself. Do not go to work for another quilt shop owner.
I taught some kids sewing classes. It helped pay a few bills and introduced me to a new experience.

I went back to school... at 50 something. I discovered I'm a pretty decent student. Of course I drove my accounting teacher nuts.

I started looking for something I could do with my creative spirit and earn money at the same time. Enter Altered Couture Magazine and the local thrift stores in town.

It's like every day is an "Aha Moment". I'm amazed I am still at it 7 months later. Not only that, but the February issue of Altered Couture has two of my creations. One, the managing editor liked so much she bought it and modeled it in the article.

My sales are still slow. I'm learning to be patient. Steady and hand to the sewing machine. Don't stop now, I feel like I'm almost there.

I'm still in school. I got my Accounting AA. I'm working toward an AA in Administrative Assistant. Just a back up. But in my heart I know because of my age, it most likely won't turn into a job.

But it will make me a better businesswoman.

And so the story goes on in a positive note. Finally, thankfully, and gratefully I think I'm going to make it.

To God and the Universe. Keep on... and Thank you!

You can visit my Etsy shop here...... Curious Orange Cat