Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birthday Totes


True to form I waited until the last minute to crank out a birthday present. What to get for the girl you have been shopping for forever? Thankfully my friend Krista said that she was planning on using mostly tote bags this summer. She has a really cool vintage library tote that I should try to get a picture of...but long story short I decided to make her a few totes to fill out her collection. After digging through my fabric collection and deciding there was nothing there that was going to work for my vision, I jumped in my car and headed to one of my favorite fabric shops. At the store I found some drapery remnants that would be perfect. I made three totes for her (each with a cotton lining and pocket) in the span of 24 hours.

 The first tote is a plain fabric with an embroidered flower girl from a pattern from doe-c-doe on flickr that has been hanging out in my favorites forever. The birthday girl is going to school for horticulture so I really wanted to do something like this. Originally I was just going to stop with this tote- but of course I didn't.
 The second tote is similar size to the first and it has the loveliest little flower pattern. It reminds me of something that you would maybe take to a country market in France. I was tempted to keep this one for myself! (I might have enough fabric to make another one...) And I did not stop there...
 The last tote bag is longer and a bit narrower than the other two. I wanted to include a different shape for hauling around different kinds of stuff. Plus it has a blue stripe pattern- Miss Krista owns more blue-stripe-pattern clothing than anyone I know. It is her signature and she pulls it off well. My hope is that this is subtle enough to work with a lot of her existing pieces.
 So there you have it. A new summer wardrobe of totes. I had a lot of fun making them and once I got into the groove they whipped up pretty fast. If you are interested in making your own totes I would suggest googling it! That's what I did and after looking at a couple different tutorials I found a method that worked well for me. It was important that they had linings so that I could include pockets (especially on the blue stripe tote since it is so deep I put the pocket close to the top) and so I could embroider on one layer and have some protection for the stitching. This might be exactly the project I have been looking for to use some of those other vintage patterns that have been lurking in my flickr favorites.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camping Win, Glamping Fail


Well my dreams of a glamorous camping experience did not really pan out. I was looking super cute as we traveled the 4 hours to our lake in Wisconsin but by the time we got there it was so cold I had to change into the warmest clothes I brought. Of course I would be more worried about how warm it was going to be! I had barely any warm clothes at all! But layers are my best friend (along with sunblock and bugspray!) and I made it work. Also once we arrived at our destination I realized the sad truth that it was really just us friend there and that I had no one to impress. Enter no-makeup and rumpled clothing. Perhaps most shameful of all? I went FISHING. This was the one activity that I was fairly sure I did not want to be a part of but they hooked me (excuse the bad pun) and so the first night we were out I bought myself a 4 day fishing license. It was really fun being out on the lake and I actually caught some good fish! Of course we had to let my 16" bass go because it was Thursday and the season didn't start until that Saturday. Boo. Also fishing is a pretty gross business- live bait, unhooking fish, etc. but I will put a shout out to the guys who were not only patient with me but helped me with many of the 'gross' tasks that I just could not handle.

We spent so much time out on those little boats that I still feel them moving when I sit really still. We had two boats for our group and the first night we just had 6 of us so four of us (and a dog : ) were in one boat and then our other two friends Brent and Ellen were in another. We joked and laughed and shouted when we caught something but at one point Ellen shouted over to our boat..."Hey! We just got engaged!" Those two have been going out forever and as a group we were pretty sure that Brent was finally going to pop the question but we didn't know when. It was really cute for them but I still think that someone proposing to me on a fishing trip would be a "no." But she is really happy and that is all that matters. Now we get to plan another wedding!!!!! Yay!!!!!

Besides fishing and life changing moments we ate really well. Of course this is the "foodie" group but I wasn't sure what was going to happen on this kind of trip. Bless Sabrina's little heart she sent out a spreadsheet the week before the trip dividing up all the meals. Couples had two meals and singles just had one. I actually only had 'sides' for our fish fry that we were planning on having Saturday (depending on us catching enough fish for the event!) so I made a couple of sides and then also some snacky food for in between times. I ended up bringing two kinds of potato salad, two kinds of hummus, mini banana chocolate chip muffins, mini trail mix muffins, and fixins for smores. The mini trail mix muffins were a new recipe and I thought they were fantastic, little bite sized portion of granola, mini chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried apricots. I also took it to the next level for the smores. I made homemade marshmallows and homemade graham crackers. They made fun of me for not making my own chocolate but they all thought it was delicious.

Everyone else brought their A-game as well. We had two different versions of stuffed burgers, hobo dinners, an entire rack of bbq ribs (oh my god yummy), sausage and eggs, the list goes on! By Saturday night we also had quite the catch for our fish fry. The boys took the fish to get them ready (I was not going to watch that). They brought a little fryer and fried up those fish right in front of us. From lake to table in under an hour? Do you get any fresher than that? I had never done anything like that before and I was just in awe. It was so yummy.


So overall it was an excellent trip. I was ready to go home though, the boys have a collective maturity of about 12 years old and I swear if I hear another bowel movement joke I will shank someone. But I got in a good chunk of fresh air, reconnected with mother nature a bit and rebooted for now that I am back in the city.

Shout out to one of my besties Krista! It is her birthday today! (Later in the week I will post about the gift I made her.)
Cheers all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I get to go camping this weekend! Usually I would not actually be this excited for this kind of thing (nature and I have a very love/hate relationship) but this upcoming weekend I get to spend some quality time with friends in the great outdoors. The only thing is that I am not technically going camping...I am going glamping. Glamping, or glamorous camping, is the best of the real world meets camping. Now actual people who go glamping are usually on the richer side of things and go to places with beautiful fully furnished tents and things like that. We will be in cabins (big step up from a tent-on-the-ground) and I am taking this opportunity to show off some of my favorite sundresses, big hats, and sunglasses. I will be sitting lake-side either reading or crafting (yeah I am planning on taking some embroidery with me!) While all the other people do real camping things like fishing I will be lazing about movie-star style. I am also planning on bringing a ton of make-ahead food for snacks and sides for our meals.

Some cute plaid would be in order for this weekend as well...


So pack your sunscreen and bugspray kids! Two more days of work and I am FREE!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Simple skirt recon

Sometimes I have great ideas and other times it takes me awhile before I have one of those 'duh' moments. This is the latter. A few months ago I bought a skirt at a thrift store that I really liked and it was labeled my size so I bought it without trying it on. Well I got it home and it was too tight. In a fit of dissapointment it got thrown onto a pile of 'scrap' clothes in my craft room to be forgotten for awhile. Then this past week I decided that I needed something new to wear to the Soundset music festival. (A full closet of clothes and I really wanted something new!) Anyhoo I found this skirt in my scrap pile and went to work.

At first I was going to try to make it into a dress by adding a waistband and then sewing it to the top of a t-shirt. This did not go as planned so I kept it as a skirt. Remember how it didn't fit? Well all I had to do was to look at it for a second to realize that I could take off the waistband, remove the zipper, take out 2 pleats in the back where it would not be too noticeable and just sew it onto my new waistband (a strip of elastic cut to size). SIMPLE. Seriously, it was like this skirt was waiting for me to figure out how to make it awesome. Now it has a comfy stretchy waistband that I made to fit as a high waisted skirt. Layered over a tank top with a cardigan thrown over it I am ready for anything. Yeah new skirt!!!!

 Not too different but oh so much better!