Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Upcycled Book Tote

There is one New Year's resolution that I'm really looking forward to, and that is to read more books. Motherhood and my home business keeps me so busy, that I rarely reach for a book now. There is nothing more satisfying to do on a frosty January evening than cozying-up on my couch wrapped in warm blanket with a cup of tea and reading a great book.

My kids really enjoy trips to the library, and check out tons of books to take home. To keep them safe and prevent loosing this precious cargo, I decided to make a tote from an old pair of jeans.
For this project you will need:
~ pair of old jean pants
~ machine thread
~ scissors or rotary cutter
~ measuring tape
~ needle
~ embroidery floss
~ buttons
~ fabric pencil or chalk
~ sewing machine
~ cutting mat
~ omnigrid ruler
1. Using side seams of the pants as a guide, make a cut all the way to the bottom.
2. Lay out back of the pants flat and tuck any access fabric under the back seam until flat and pin it in place.
3. Measure 13 inches from the top of the pants and mark it with a fabric pencil or chalk in two places, then connect them drawing a line all the way to the edge of the fabric.
4. Cut with scissors adding 1/2in for seam allowance.
5. Using upper corner of each pocket as a guide, mark vertical seam lines and cut adding 1/2in of allowance. Make sure, that the distance between the pockets and edge of the fabric is the same on both sides.

Please note, if you are using pants in smaller size and would like to make your tote larger, add strips of fabric on each side.
6. Lay out leg part of the pants flat on your work table, pin down piece of the tote with packets on top and cut out with scissors using edge of the ready piece as a guide adding 1inch of seam allowance on top.

7. Measure bottom and the side of the tote piece without the pockets, and cut out one 5inch wide strip of fabric for the bottom of the tote, and 2 strips for the sides.

8. Cut out also two, 4in wide strips of fabric for the handles, I would like them to measure 30in and will add another 3in to the length to secure them in place.
9. Using fabric pencil or chalk, write the word "BOOKS" on the larger piece without the pockets, and hand stitch the outline using any type of stitch you'd like.

10. Time for sewing! Remember that axcess fabric we tucked under the "butt" seam? Using your machine, make a stitch on the edge of factory seam securing access fabric.

11. Pin down two side strips of fabric to front and back of the tote, and sew all the pieces together. Your extra seam allowance will be sticking out on top of the tote. Make sure also, that the inside of fabric is facing out.
12. Using zigzag stitch finish edges of the seams.
13. Pin together and sew front and back pieces to the bottom strip of fabric between side seams. The bottom piece should have a seam allowance on both ends. Sew the short ends of the bottom piece and side pieces together and finish seams with zigzag stitch.
14. To finish the top edge of the tote, use zigzag stitch or double fold bias tape ( I had some leftover from another project). Fold the edge to the inside and stitch 1/2 in from the top edge.
15. To make straps, sew edges of previously cut fabric, iron the seams, turn them inside out and iron again.
16. Secure the straps to the bag and finish embellishing it with buttons.

Embellishing part is so much fun, so go wild! Let your kids make drawings of their favourite book characters with permanent fabric markers, use buttons to spell out "BOOKS" or "READ". Use ribbons, patches, beads or scraps of colorful fabric.

Have fun reading!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Berry earrings

I'm slowly getting back into my studio to work on new jewelry. Signing up for Dumbo Indoor Market, where the Brooklyn Flea is moving for the winter, is a great motivation.

I finally made some winter berry earrings, which are on my business cards. They are quite time consuming, but customer's order forced me to dig up the design and improve ways to execute them. I made 2 brand new pairs of earrings yesterday, this time in antique silver finish. They will be listed in my Etsy shop soon.

Hope you will like them:O))

Don't forget to check out the {NewNew} at the Dumbo Indoor Market on February 7th and 8th.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

The weather channel keeps getting their predictions wrong lately, and the big one last week turned out to be nothing at all, and this weekend surprised us with quite a bit of snow. This is the beautiful winter wonderland we woke up to the day before inauguration...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mountain Ash

Czerwona Jarzębina, originally uploaded by ulotnie.

My jewelry making started in childhood with this lovely red berry. I remember making countless amounts of mountain ash bracelets and necklaces with fava bean and green pea accents. I can still remember the scent... In US, I have seen the mountain ash only ones, in front of someones house in Hagerstown, MD, where we lived for 3 years. Hopefully, I will plant an ash on our property this year. My husband is not crazy about the idea of ruining his vision of our landscape, but I will put my foot down;O)) and I will also plant crocuses in the front lawn in fall when he is not looking;O)))))

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why parents drink;O)

I just got it from a friend by mail, lol, nightmare! but really funny...

Why Parents Drink

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent one day but had not phoned in sick. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper.

' Hello ? '

'Is your daddy home?' he asked.

' Yes ,'

whispered the small voice. May I talk with him?' The child whispered,

' No .'

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, 'Is your Mummy there?'

' Yes '

'May I talk with her?' Again the small voice whispered,

' No '

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, 'Is anybody else there?'

' Yes ,' whispered the child,' a policeman . '

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, 'May I speak with the policeman?'

' No, he's busy , 'whispered the child.

'Busy doing what?'

' Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman , ' came the whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, 'What is that noise?'

' A helicopter ' answered the whispering voice.

'What is going on there?' demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive. Again, whispering, the child answered,

' The search team just landed a helicopter'

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, 'What are they searching for?' Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle...

' ME . '

It actually reminds me of the time when I was hiding with my younger cousin in my grandparents attic. We sat on the window seal, watching our moms frantically looking for us all over the neighborhood. I finally had to go to the bathroom and could not hold any longer;O))) My mom was really mad and I'm sure it was my idea. He was probably too yang to even remember...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Big after New Year pre spring cleaning

My mom always turns the entire house upside down before Christmas:O)) Every cabinet is cleaned, every single crystal wine glass washed, basement dusted, walls repainted and even the car washed despite frost and snow;o) I had no time to do that before holidays, but since organization is on my resolution list, I jumped right to it. The kitchen is almost spotless, really spotless. I had finally time to reorganize my cabinets and rearrange things so they work better for us. I even gave the overgrown bamboo plant by the window a trim...hope it will not kill it.
I promised myself, that every room in the house will get a special attention before I will allow myself to enter my studio again. I'm afraid, that if I cheat and make even one pair of earrings, reorganizing will end-up on the bottom of the list again.
I miss my boxes filled with beads and findings sooooo much... How I love my pliers... and the newly ordered supplies arriving today did not help the situation ether...

Well, I'm off to clean out the under sink cabinet;O))