Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bag-alicious weekend

I had to think of a different heading, since last time was crafty weekend.  First, a shout-out to Jenny, whose recognition for the draft dodgers of my last post is overdue!  Thanks, Jenny!
This weekend started with a terrible beach bag-gone-wrong fiasco.  I had a huge bag in my mind, with all kinds of bells and whistles (zippers, terry-cloth, pockets) that I spent most of Thursday on then I just had to abandon it.  And boy am I glad that I did.  
I ended up using some of my new Amy Butler fabric to make a different (beach, but probably too small to really be useful for the beach) bag. I used contrasting canvas fabric for an inner lining with one big pocket.  Remember, folks, clashing is the new matching!  
Sunday turned into a huge 

project day; Jenny, Ruthie and I had brunch at Feast in Wicker Park (boyfriends tagged along for the brunch part), then we ventured on to the Needle Shop, where we found more than enough fabric prints to get our creative juices flowing.  Ruthie picked up an Amy Butler purse pattern which I had bought a few weeks ago for myself, so we decided it was a sign and hurried home (after a quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics) to get started on our bags.
Ruthie, being a newbie, and me, being an interfacing scaredy cat, were glad to have Jenny with us every step of the way.  We got straight to work, ironing - here's Ruthie with her hot, orange faux-bois fabric - 
and cutting  - here's me with my red damask-y fabric and my yellow bird fabric (the purses are reversible so we needed 2 fabrics that complemented each other)
and then sewing, of course. My poor little sewing machine has never seen so many layers of fabric all at once! By 9 o'clock we were more than half-way done with both my and Ruthie's bags, but we all have lives and jobs, so everyone needed to go home. Psssht!
Anyway, here's my almost-finished purse (that's the fabric for the other side, underneath it on the ironing board.
We didn't get a real picture of Ruthie's mostly-done purse, but this one will do.  Here's Jenny, modeling it for us (although a little upside down . . . )
Thanks to Nate, for making us all dinner and cupcakes for dessert while we were hard at work.  Thanks also to Nate, for being my nerdy boyfriend and having fun at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night, listening to Bartok (his fave), Debussy (my fave) and a brand new symphony by Arvo Part which I enjoyed, despite its not having any definite endings to the movements.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crafty Weekends

Last weekend, I got off of my bum and made a big step forward in a project I've been working on for a while now.  Using all my t-shirts from college, I'm putting together a patchwork quilt, with a Colgate "sweatshirt blanket" as the backing.  A few years ago I did the same with my high school tshirts and was quite happy with the results.
This weekend I did a few smaller projects.  Saturday was my friend Katy's birthday, and in preparation for a new Colgate Alumni book club we are starting up, I made her a bookcover that is an appropriate size for all of those best seller books.  I was pretty happy with the design, but right away, of course, I thought of improvements - I do plan to make another one soon.  
On Sunday, Nate and I went for a lovely 4 hour brunch at our friends' Bob and Magda's apartment.  Magda has just bought them a large dining table and chair set which I think is probably from the late '60's, early '70's era.  Magda is thinking about recovering the dining chair seat cushions (or perhaps I talked her into it . . .) so we got to have a nice long talk about where are good places in the city and online to purchase neat fabric.  When we got home, still chilly from this Chicago winter, I was inspired to make some draft dodgers for the windows in our family room.  The chair where I sit most of the time when we're watching TV is right next to a window and I feel like the cold air is constantly blowing onto me.  I got out some fabric I bought a while ago at Ikea and got to work.  I filled them not quite full with pinto beans - making them not quite full I found helps them to be "moldable" to the contours of the window you're trying to insulate - and voila!  It was a pretty successful weekend, craft-wise, and I am especially proud because the book cover and the draft dodgers were both made from fabric that I bought with no specific project in mind, and now I've finally made use of it!  

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Resolution, 2009 edition

Much the same as last year, one of my new year's resolutions was to organize a closet in my home.  This time, it was my guest/sewing room closet.  Much like my grandmothers before me, I try to save everything, sure that it will be useful again someday.   This takes a toll on my guest room closet in the form of packaging boxes and old clothing or bits of fabric that I am determined to use up.  
In order to prepare my closet for the great Elfa reorganization, I did throw out probably 2/3 of my boxes, but no fabric (I'm still sure that I'll use it all someday).  I celebrated my achievement by going out this past weekend and buying more fabric and JoAnn's.  wahoo!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I have a student who looks like Harry Potter, loves the Beatles and has a touch of ADD.  I love to chat with my students and learn what movie they love right now, how school was, etc. and I always end up kicking myself when I chat with this kid because if you get him started he can and will talk about anything at all.  
In our first lesson back from winter vacation yesterday, I asked him if he was glad to be back to school, and he answered "yes and I have a crush and she loves the Beatles and she loves the song Help" (which he played for the recital just a few weeks ago).  I asked if he had played it for her yet, and he said "I haven't found a piano at school yet."  So I suggested he keep playing every once in a while.  He needs to be prepared if the opportunity to serenade his crush should arise!