Friday, November 26, 2010

My new schtick

My husband calls me flighty, and I'll admit, I'm a little ditzy and absent-minded, but I also enjoy allowing my creative flights of fancy free rein. Lately those flights of fancy have taken me in the direction of fabric, and more precisely, upcycled denim.

Over the summer I saw a bag my sister had made, and my attempt to re-create it let me to use some old jeans that I couldn't bear to part with, but were no longer functional. They were a gift and had sentimental value, so I didn't want to throw them away. I was thrilled to come up with the idea to repurpose them into a fabulous bag. I had so much fun making that one, that I just couldn't stop! Unfortunately, my Kenmore sewing machine just wasn't up to the task. It really didn't like sewing through more than 2 layers of denim. We were having some serious problems. Around that time, I heard about a sewing machine shop closing, so I went in to talk to the sales people about my options. When I found the BabyLock Sofia 2, it was love at first site! The capability to incorporate embroidery into my designs opened the floodgates of creativity. I had so many ideas running through my head it was unbelievable! :)

Of course, finding time to sew, with my kids, husband, opera & my job as a hairdresser, was pretty difficult. Especially trying to learn something new and incorporate it into an already pretty fluid process. Unlike my sister, I'm not big on patterns. Each one of my wallets and bags is created on the fly. I basically sit at my design table and put together an elaborate jigsaw puzzle of denim.

So being able to finish my first embroidered denim bag was awesome! There's so many pre-loaded embroidery designs on my new machine that I haven't even needed to go online to find anything new. I was so thrilled to be able to create something beautiful out of something worn out and useless. And it's so much fun to play with color!

Originally, this first bag was destined for my etsy shop. I even had a name for it: Eternal Springtime in Shades of Purple. But, I love it so much I think I have to keep it! Purple is my favorite color, and I really love how the embroidery turned out. And my first attempt at using hardware in my bags turned out really nicely as well. I love the adjustable strap! And it was amazing being able to take pictures in my basement in the middle of the night with my new photo setup! So many new techniques all coming together at once :)

I've got another bag that I've been working on that I'm planning on calling Celestial Beauty. It's suns, moons and shooting stars in golden tones. Really fabulous. I really want to keep that one, too! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where has the time gone?

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted! So much has happened since July.

I think the summer is busy in any crafter's life -- with so many shows andopportunities, it's hard to find time to stay connected online. Why would I want to spend time on my computer when I could be outside enjoying life? :)

I had a really busy summer. I was able to do two really great craft shows. As a hairdresser in my other life, taking a weekend off to do a show is a big deal. I tend to be really choosy about the shows I do. So I was very lucky to find two really good ones over the summer.

The first was at a retirement community for very active, vibrant seniors. It was wonderful to bring our handcrafted wares to them and get to talk to some really wonderful people. The second was part of the annual celebration for a beautiful park here in Pittsburgh on Mt. Washington. The park is on top of Mt. Washington with a fabulous view of the city. It was so inspiring to be there all day just soaking up the beauty of the day and getting to meet some really great people, including a couple of other Etsy sellers. Both experiences were really fabulous!

And, of course, with the holidays coming up, I've got a couple of shows scheduled. I did a really great house party a couple of weeks ago, in advance of the holiday craziness, and I'll be part of the Light-Up Night festivities in Hampton Township, north of Pittsburgh. I'm really looking forward to that!

In all of my spare time, though, I've started a new project: upcycled denim accessories. They're SO much fun to do. I've started repurposing old jeans and giving them new life as denim bags and wallets. It's the perfect way to meld my love of quilting and sewing with my love of recycling.

So between my full-time job as a mom, and all of my various part-time jobs, I've managed to find some time to feed my creative spirit. I think that's something we can all use.

Be blessed!