Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Forget ...

... I've moved my blog over here.

Please update your bookmarks, feed readers, etc..., and stop by for a visit! I've written a number of new posts about all the stuff I've been working on!

I've been busy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Movin' On Up ...

Do you remember this post? You know ... the one where I confessed my love for the color red by showing you the new checkbook cover that I made for my new business checkbook? And, remember when I promised to share more on that new business later? Well, today is the day, folks!

I started a business.

It's called Red Owl Designs. Primarily, it is a way for me to sell (on etsy.com) my handmade creations (like these and these, and maybe some of these), but I also do custom sewing for the home (ie, pillows and curtains and such). I mean, I figured that I spend enough time in my studio already ... I may as well try to make it profitable, right?

So I guess I'm going on a fun new adventure. At first I was scared about it (you know, the normal what-am-I-doing?!? kinds of feelings), but now I'm kind of excited to see what happens with it and where God wants to take it!

So ... that said, I have decided to move my blog and connect it more to my business ... from now on, I'll be blogging over at www.redowldesigns.blogspot.com ... so, please change your bookmarks and your google reader settings, and anything else you need to update, and come join me! Oh - and in case you are wondering ... nothing will change about my blog - I will still post about what I am working on (both personal sewing projects and business-related projects) ... it will just be in a different location, so that I don't go out of my mind trying to keep up with 15 different usernames, passwords, web addresses, etc... It's enough to make me crazy!

ps - anyone know how to automatically re-direct this site to my new blog??

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Gift and a Haircut

The girl who cuts my hair just had a baby girl, and so when I recently went in to get my hair cut, I brought her a gift for little Avery (isn't that a great name?) ...

I'm into customizing things with names recently ...
Don't believe me? See Exhibits A, B, C & D.

Here is a full shot of it ... including the cutie shoes I had to take off to climb on the chair in order to take the photo. I know it's a bad photo, but I'm having trouble figuring out how best to take pictures of blankets. I'm thinking a clothesline might work well?
Suggestions are welcome ...

The back is full of cutie pink and yellow and blue birds.
It's all flannel, so it's soft and cozy!

What I didn't tell my hairdresser is that the gift was really a means of getting on her good side ... just before I asked her to cut 10 inches off and give me some sassy short hair.

What do you think?

By the way ... if you can, you should cut your hair (at least 8 inches) and donate
to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. They make wigs for women with cancer.
Do it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comfy Camera Strap Cover

My friend Deb is a photographer. Well ... maybe not professionally, but she ALWAYS has her Canon Rebel xTi attached to her hip, and is constantly pulling it out to "capture the moment," as they say. She is actually the reason that I opted for the Rebel when I purchased my camera last year.

Anyway ... anyone who owns a Rebel knows that the strap it comes with is super-uncomfortable. Mine is constantly scratching the back of my neck ... so much so that I have stopped putting the strap over my head. One of these days I'm going to drop the thing because I refused to have the strap touching me!

For Deb's birthday recently, I decided to be kind to her neck and make her a camera strap cover. Here it is ...

The padded strap just wraps around the thick portion of the camera strap.
It's quilted and cushy.
I love this blue and green fabric ... I had to buy it and make something out of it!

It's completely reversible ... this side has Deb's name on it. (of course!)

A little close-up.
I love velcro ... makes things SO easy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Spring Project

Last weekend, I took a short trip to Atlanta with the women of the family to celebrate my niece's 4th birthday at the American Girl Store. To conserve gas, I piled into the mom-mobile with my sister-in-law and her mom, along with my niece and a friend of hers. Of course, we had to leave one of the van's seats at home so that we could fit our luggage, complete with all three American Girl dolls (which turned into 5 dolls and a llama on the way home ...). It's a good thing we left room, too, because we also made a stop at the nicest Jo-Ann fabric store I've ever seen while we were in Atlanta. Needless to say, we did some shopping!

Anyway ... you need to know that I get horribly carsick on road-trips ... so much so that I really would much rather take a plane and suffer through connecting flights and layovers and the ears popping and such. I do not enjoy being in the car. But, most of all, I hate that I end up wasting so many hours of precious time just sitting there doing nothing! Reading makes me sick. Sewing makes me sick. Playing games makes me sick. Sometimes having in-depth conversations makes me sick. BUT ... there is ONE thing that I've found does NOT make me sick on road-trips (besides sleeping!) ... crocheting! It's weird, but it's actually kinda soothing for me, as long as the car is on cruise control and we're not in heavy traffic.

SO ... because Atlanta is a 6-hour car ride away, I decided to take along a new crochet project so that I could make the most of my time. I figured if I started it on the trip, I would be able to stretch it out over the whole course of the trip and have a finished product by the time we arrived home on Sunday night. Sure enough ... here are the fruits of my labor ...

Super-fun yarn!
I love the colors ... it's fun to see the mixture of all the different colors,
and how different parts take on different looks.

Here is my project hanging on a hook at home ... I can't wait to wear it!

So, do you know what it is yet?

I'll give you a clue ... even though I started it on the first day of Spring, think WINTER! :o)

(This is me doing my best to model it without getting in the way of the picture ... apparently, I had trouble getting it just right, but you get the idea!)

It's a fun ruffle scarf!
My friend Andrea got one of these for Christmas from a co-worker, and I asked her to hunt down the pattern for me. I love how girly it is.
And it's so stinkin' easy to make! Hmmm ... these would make great gifts!

My next project ... a fun jacket.
This might be a little ambitious, but I'm going to try it anyway.
Why not, right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ladybugs for the Little Lady

My oldest niece turns 4 today. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were waiting outside the hospital room for her arrival! Time sure does fly right by, doesn't it?

In celebration of Anneliese's birthday, I told her that I would take her to the fabric store so that she could pick out some fabric for a new dress for her and her American Girl doll. She eventually saw a purple fabric and said "Auntie Sara, that purple fabric is BEAUTIFUL!" I figured with that kind of enthusiasm, we had a winner!

So, yesterday, I set to work making her dresses, so that they would be ready for her birthday celebration tonight. (There's nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?)

Disclaimer : Please forgive my pictures ... I took them last night, and the lighting wasn't great in this corner of my studio. Also, I was having trouble coming up with a creative place to hang the dresses, and in the end the thread racks won out. Ugly, I know ... but I was tired and my head hurt. Sorry.

I got the pattern for the dress from Suzanne ... it's a completely reversible A-Line. Really simple to put together ... only took me a couple of hours (that is, if I don't count the 3 - yes THREE - times I had to sew the buttons on, because I kept doing them wrong! Don't ask.)

Don't you just love the matching doll dress? It's so cute!

I *had* to include a close-up of this adorable fabric ... LOVE the green ladybugs.

I added a little green ladybug to the hem of the purple side, just to give it more character.
Suzanne reminded me that I always draw ladybugs with Anneliese when we color together (probably because I stink at drawing, and they are one of the few things that are simple enough to be recognizable when I draw them!)

Happy Birthday, Anneliese! Yay for being 4!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Color Me Happy

My very best friend from college and her family were visiting from Philly, and I decided it would be nice to make her children a gift for when they arrive. (In reality, I was just trying to buy their affection ... I was afraid they wouldn't like me!!)

Anyway ... I went to the fabric store and picked out some happy Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett fabrics (and some others that I don't remember the name of), and set to work ...

Don't the colors in these fabrics just make you happy??

I decided to keep it simple and make the same thing for all three children.
Again ... I wanted them to like me. And, how could they like me if they were disapponted that their brother or sister got a cooler gift than they did?
(Of course, I didn't consider the possibility that they might all three dislike their gifts ...)

Have you guessed what they are yet??

Crayon Rolls!!!
Suzanne let me borrow a quilting magazine that had the directions,
and I tweaked them a little bit to fit what I was wanting to do.
Pay no attention to how sad my crayons look ... I didn't have time to run to the store and buy brand new pointy crayons for the photo shoot. Just consider them well-loved and much-used!
Mary's children love to draw in their nature books, so I thought they might each appreciate having their own portable crayon holder to carry with them.

This one reminds me of ice cream. Yum.

This is the one I made for their son ... I figured it was boyish enough.
(at least I hope it is!)

And, the best part of the whole project ...
I personalized them!
They each have their names appliqued on the back!
I always LOVED having things with my name on them when I was growing up, and I thought it would make for a more special gift.

I'll let you know how they liked them after their visit!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Big Apple ... Part Deux

OK, so where was I in my NYC story? Oh yes ... we had just finished having breakfast with my super-cool french parents. After that ... let's see ... oh, of course ... this will be no surprise to you, given my previous confessions of my addiction ... but you know, no trip to Manahattan would be complete without the obligatory frappucino in Times Square. Now, I must tell you that it was cold in Manhattan that day ... I think the high might have been 38. Being from the south, this is indeed very cold. But, as any of my good friends will tell you, it is never too cold for a frappucino. I gladly sipped my frappucino while walked through Manhattan decked out in my wool coat, warm scarf, and red mittens.

This was the perfect occasion to induct Joy into the coffee cozy club.

After our caffeine-infusion, we headed down (via subway) to Soho to take in the boutiques and - we hoped - some star sightings. We hopped into a few shops, including one for designer Catherine Malandrino, whose clothes - I must say - are exquisite. The detail is incredible. If I were wealthy, I would definitely shop there. We also made the obligatory stop at the MAC store (not to be confused with the Apple Store), where we saw their new line of Hello Kitty cosmetics. Yes ... that's right. I said Hello Kitty cosmetics. Who would have ever known??

It was necessary to take a picture of Ann with the gigantic Hello Kitty head in the window.

On the way out of Soho, while we were lamenting the fact that we had not seen any celebrities during our brief jaunt there, our luck changed when, to our surprise, our new BFF Mikhail Baryshnikov passed us on the sidewalk. He looked directly at both me and Joy, as if he were daring us to recognize him. I knew him immediately ... not because I am a ballet fanatic, or even because he once played the golf course I work at, but - sadly - because I had seen him while (in a moment of weakness) watching Sex in the City reruns on TBS. Yes ... I admit it. I have watched that show. And, I kinda liked it ... mostly for the fashion (particularly the shoes). And, I must say that my brush with fame in NYC was on a much bigger (albeit older) scale than my recent brush with fame in Charleston.

After Soho, we made it up to the Upper West Side, to roam around some other boutique-y places and eat a Gray's Papaya Hot Dog. Apparently they are famous. Who knew?? Ann & Joy informed me that the specific Gray's Papaya Hot Dog joint that we visited was the very one in You've Got Mail (you know ... where Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan go to grab a bite to eat before he reveals to her that he loves her). There's nothing more romantic than eating a hotdog and then confessing your love for someone. I mean, really. So ... the whole hot-dog-eating thing can be chalked up (once again) to my whole out-of-the-box in 2009 resolution. I never eat hotdogs, but I ate one for the whole experience, and it wasn't all that bad - not that I'm going to start eating them every week or anything, though!

This sign cracked me up ... the Big Bad Recession even affects hot dog prices!!!
Oh ... and since when do we put the words "gourmet" and "hot dog" in the same sentence??

After our hot dog dinner, we made our way (again, via subway) back to Times Square to pick up our car and head out of the city for Dover, Delaware, to see Ann's brother and his wife. I snapped this photo in the subway ... there was this band playing incredible music for tips. It so much reminded me of the Metro in Paris, where you could always count on seeing talented artists trying to make a living. I could have stood there listening for hours ...

That pretty much sums up our whole adventure in The Big Apple ... I intentionally left out the part about the man who was yelling obscenities while being pinned to the floor by the police in the subway, and the part about the high-speed police chase we witnessed on the New Jersey Turnpike ... oh and also the part about how we realized how bad mapquest directions are after having crossed the same bridge three times within a span of 10 minutes while trying to get out of the city. No need to mention these unpleasant parts of the trip ... let's just remember it for what it was - a super-fun out-of-the-box adventure that I will never regret!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Red, My French Parents, and The Big Apple

Two weeks ago, I was presented with an opportunity to take a quick trip to New York City on Valentine's weekend, to see the parents of the family I lived with when I was studying in Paris. Ordinarily, my everything-needs-to-be-planned-months-in-advance self would have shuddered at the thought of throwing caution to the wind and buying a plane ticket a week in advance without knowing where I would stay, how I would get around, or what I would do when I was there. But, I have deemed 2009 to be the year when I live OUTSIDE of my box ... and so far I have to say that I have not regretted it.

SO ... last Friday, I hopped a plane to Washington, DC and met up with my dear friend Ann and her friend Joy, who were my traveling buddies on our adventure to Manahattan. Because of the Big Bad Recession, we tried to do this trip on-the-cheap. So, we set off in the car for West Point, NY, about an hour outside the Big Apple, where Joy had a good friend who would let us stay overnight. Despite the rush hour traffic in Washington and the crazy toll booths on the New Jersey Turnpike, it was a really fun drive, and a great time to catch up with Ann & Joy. We were exhausted by the time we pulled into West Point, so it was good to have a warm bed to sleep in ... and even better that it was decked out in red and white polka dotted sheets.

Yes, I took pictures.

I - needless to say - felt right at home in my room.

I mean ... look at these pillows. Have you ever seen happier pillows???
Whew ... it's a good thing I didn't leave my new checkbook cover on the bed ... It might have gotten lost in the polka dots!!!

OK ... enough about my love for obsession with the color red.

We woke up early Saturday morning and drove into Manahattan to see my french parents. It was a fun drive ... there is nothing like driving right through Times Square to get you excited about being back in New York. Seriously ... nothing like it. I mean ... just look at it!!

These pictures were taken later in the day (probably more like evening-time).
I love that there is no want of things to grab your attention in Times Square.
It's overwhelming!
I mean ... let's face it. I grew up on an island. Times Square is unreal to me.

Anyway ... back to my story. So, Virginie & Daniel didn't have much free time in their schedule, so we met them at their hotel and had a lovely breakfast together. They are just as warm and friendly as they always were, and it seemed like we picked right back up where we left off the last time I saw them (four years ago, when I was in Paris for the Paris Marathon). They are the kind of people that you want to introduce all your friends to, because you just can't stand that someone you care about doesn't know them. You know what I mean? Do you know people like that? I do ... and it was SO good to see them again.

Here we are after breakfast.
Maybe I should work on getting out of my black-clothing box in 2009 ...

There's more to the NYC trip than just this, but this post is getting pretty long, so I think I'll end with one thought, and continue with the rest in another post ... As much as I would love to be married and have children right now, I will say that the freedom afforded by singleness is really quite nice. Many of my married friends have often reminded me that I should take full advantage of my single years, since they are only for a season, and with the blessing of marriage comes responsibility and commitment and a surrendering of one's own needs & desires for the benefit of others. So, as much as I plead with the Lord for a husband and a family of my own, I am thankful to Him in my singleness for providing this opportunity to take off for the weekend and see dear friends on an adventure in NYC! Yay! More to come ...

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Love Red!

This Wednesday ... on my day off ... while I was battling a cold ... I decided to try something new in my studio ...

I am a sucker for red ... and linen ... and cute polka dot fabric.

Have you guessed what it is, yet?

Yep ... a checkbook cover
... for my new checkbook
... for my new business!
More on that later.

I put a little pocket for business cards, too,
because you know I'll be handing them out! ;o)

This project really came together just exactly as I had envisioned it ...
and it wasn't too hard, either!
I am already thinking of a few variations,
and I could imagine it in all sorts of fun colors and fabrics
... and personalized with initials.

What do you think ... would YOU use one of these?

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Official ... I am a Procrastinator

OK ... so remember way back in September, when I posted about this really fun fabric and the plans that I had for it? And remember also when I posted a sneak peek of the almost-finished final product like a month later?

Well ... I am here to tell you that today - 4 months later - I'm done. I would be lying if I told you that it took me every bit of those 4 months to put the finishing touches on ... in reality, it just took some searching for the right kind of clasps and about 5 minutes of sewing. I got the clasps well over a month ago, and I finally sat down for the 5-minute sewing session this weekend. I think it's safe to say that I have a procrastination problem ... that, or a time-management problem. Either one is disturbing.

Ann ... if you are reading this, I plan to put your laptop case in the mail this week! Finally! Hope you like it!!

Here it is!
It has two short handles and a detachable shoulder strap (thus my need to find clasps!).
Besides the big, roomy zipper-compartment for the laptop, it also has a pocket for papers on the outside and another zip pocket for cords, etc...
Oh, and the little ribbon bow is detachable. Just a fun little girly addition.

A close-up of the inside. Polka dots everywhere!
You can't really tell, but I definitely finished ALL the seams, so that there are no raw edges showing. It took a LOT of sewing to do this, but I think it was worth it.

Here's a close-up of the outside pocket and zip pouch.
Don't you just LOVE this fabric?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My New Favorite Purse

I never win anything. I mean never. I am just not what one would call "lucky." (Of course, I don't believe in luck. I believe in the Lord's providence. But, that's a whole different conversation ... for another day) Today, let's talk about the fact that whenever there is a contest involved, I end up losing. Don't get me wrong ... I'm not bitter about it. Really, I'm not. I just - over time - have come to accept the fact that I don't win things.

But, I haven't let my long-standing track record of losing stop me from trying ... which is why, when one of my favorite blogs announced a fun giveaway, I entered. "You have to be in it to win it," right? I read about all the fun stuff Linda was giving away, and about how she was going to draw 5 lucky winners from her comments. "Wow!" I thought ... 5 winners ... that means 5 chances to lose ... um, i mean win. (Think positive, Sara!) So, I added a comment and went about my day. A couple of days later, I got an email from Linda saying that not only had she drawn my name as a winner, but i would have first pick of all the items! I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. It was like my whole world-view was crumbling. Could I really be a winner??!!?? What do winners do when they win things? Should I have prepared an acceptance speech? Do I need to thank anyone? Are you sure you didn't mean the OTHER Sara who entered? You couldn't possibly mean me ... could you??

After a lot of jumping up and down squealing in my office, I composed myself and wrote a brief reply asking for the "lotus bag" because it was made from some of my very favorite Amy Butler fabric. I thanked her profusely for her generosity and waited patiently while the United States Postal Service transported my bag all the way from Texas. It arrived about a week later, and it has been attached to my arm ever since. I might have had to surgically remove it to take the following pictures...

Isn't it awesome??!!??
It's this fun tangerine-ish color, on an ecru background.
It's nice and big, with a roomy inside to fit all my junk.
And the shape ... isn't it fun??

Look at the fun polka-dots on the inside. makes me smile.

Linda even included a matching fabric envelope thingy to hold random stuff in.
Isn't that nice??

The only problem is that I'm running out of outfits that match it, since my wardrobe is primarily made up of black or red items. Maybe this is a good excuse to go shopping! :o)

THANKS, Linda!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Little People

We had Brett's birthday party over the weekend, and I think the little house went over well (as well as can be expected for a gift that has nothing to do with Yo Gabba Gabba, right?). I definitely was prepared for her to look at it in disgust and set it aside in favor of other store-bought gifts. But, she actually took time to play with it after she opened it, and that made me happy.

The house wouldn't have been complete without dolls to play in it, so I made a family of little people to go inside ... I figured there aren't many dolls small enough to fit in the house, and I wanted her to be able to play with it right away. SO ... I went to A.C. Moore and found these fun little wooden people shapes. They are only about an inch an a half tall. So cute ... and yet so tedious to paint! I painted them for each member of Brett's immediate family ... her mommy, daddy, sister, and brother, as well as one of herself. Mama (Brett's grandma) promptly asked where her doll was ... I guess I have to make a set of "extended family" dolls now ... with Gram, Pops, Mimi, and of course Auntie Sara. Maybe I can get that done before Christmas!

I love this picture ... it makes me laugh that the window is bigger than the dolls ... I wasn't really thinking about proportion when I made everything. ha!

Five little dolls, all in a row. I'm hoping that you won't be able to see how the eyelashes are smeared on the purple doll. I accidentally got too close with the clear spray stuff. Oops!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Brett's House

For Brett's birthday, I decided to try something new ... I found a tutorial for this fun little portable doll house made out of fabric. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I found the tutorial ... no doubt on one of the blogs I read regularly ... I just printed out the instructions and forgot to list where I found it! aargh. If I figure it out, I'll update this post with the link to the tutorial.

*** updated ... here is a link to the tutorial online ... http://uklassinus.blogspot.com/2008/08/fabric-dollhouse-tutorial.html THANKS Jen! ***

Anyway ... here it is :

Do you think I'm trying to subtly nudge Brett to love black & red as much as I do???

The house measures about 6 inches wide by 4 inches deep and maybe 7 inches high ... it's I guess about the size of a small lunchbox? Perfect for a little kiddo.

Button closures to hold it together ... I'm sure mommy will have to help with that at first, but it shouldn't be too hard.

Here's the button at the top, just below the handles ... a vintage button from my mom's collection. Love it.

And - of course - when you open it up, you can see the fun red "wallpaper" on the walls and the blue "tile" floor. I also used a green striped fabric to simulate the lawn, in case Brett wanted to pretend her dolls were playing outside. I'm sure I could have gone crazy with embellishments and stuff, but I prefer to leave all that to Brett's imagination. :o)

It wouldn't be complete without a label on it!

This was a whole lot easier to make than I thought it would be, and I'm happy with the way it came out. Now I just have to figure out how to make dolls small enough to fit in there, so that Brett can play with it!