Remnants Made Magical by Local Indie Crafters

We took the opportunity to go to a local Indie Craft Fair today, as advertised in a blog post by one of the vendors, Wrensong Woods.

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Some of the other vendors at the event were Artisan Original Pens & Such: pens, bottle openers, and other artful utilitarian items made from recycled materials, Cat Feet Designs: showing unique jewelry, My Purple Goldfish: with lots of gorgeous colorful fabric and rope bowls, Joffe Creations: mosaics, Gator jewelry & Designs,  Hatfield’s Treasures,  Platypusfile.

The vendor DH liked best was Kiker Brothers Boards, AKA the Young Woodworkers in Training booth. DH is always happy to promote woodworking to members of upcoming generations. He really admired the young mens’ beautifully finished boards, and bought one of camphor wood to use as a platter for serving items on the dining room table.

woodworking

Young Woodworkers in Training display, including sleek, polished rock remnants

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Other booths featured artwork, fabulous crocheted jewelry with vintage found objects attached, sewn rag quilts, linens, shirts, unique items of clothing, and many other fabulous finds.

I loved the magical musical instruments by Judy Robinson, whose blog alerted me to the event. My purchase was a 5-holed Native American style branch flute, with a felt carrying case and a sheet of instructions. The vendors encouraged me to come to the local Flute Circle, which gathers once a month at the public library.

flute and case

Wrensong Woods flute and case

Remnants of wood, rock, metal, cloth…once just leftovers, now beautiful objects of art and utility. L ❤ V E

In case you didn’t realize, today is National Thread the Needle Day. So far, I haven’t actually sewn anything but I hope that I do have at least one sewing thing done by night time…although the site says that threading the needle can be taken at its figurative sense…

So figuratively, I may have threaded a needle by: getting groceries or kitchen implements to prepare a dish, preparing for a more musical lifestyle, becoming more familiar with artisans in the community.

Deep in the <3 of Texas, with Remnants

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

Any vacation, for a fiber-holic, must include a sojourn to a local craft, hobby, fabric, or yarn shop. We went to Salado, called “The Best Art Town in Texas,” which has over 60 artsy-craftsy shops filled with antiques, home decor, savory adornments, glittering jewelry, food!

Recurring themes and motifs: glitzy crosses of all sizes. Camouflage on clothing, recliners, purses, hats, cars. For women, pink camo. Duck Dynasty. Stars: most buildings have a lone star somewhere.

We sauntered through the shops with wonder and appreciation, taking in their marvelous textures and colors. When we got hot and thirsty, we simmered down with some Texas pizza and calzones, then bought a cute little cake at the Ambrosia Tea Room, to go with the pulled pork sliders D wanted to make for dinner.

raspberry lemonade layer cake

raspberry lemonade layer cake

We found http://www.thesewingbasket.com/home.aspx, and I knew right away that place was going to be the new home for my Florida tourist spending money. This little quilt shop was busy! They specialize in cowboy fabrics, and also serve the sewing population around Ft. Hood, one of the world’s largest military bases. The shop was teeming with fabric eye candy; sadly their website doesn’t begin to convey the excitement and thrill that you get when immersed in the atmosphere of this awe-inspiring place. Even my DIL began to believe, with some encouragement from the staff, that she might want to come in and take a sewing class! I love it when someone feels inspired to try sewing!

Being me, I raided the remnant bin of any small bits and pieces of cowboy fabrics, anticipating DH’s delight. He loves to watch Westerns…so much that after looking at the “recents” page on Netflix, I was afraid I might have to schedule an intervention on him. I fear he’s spent more time with 1960’s images of John Wayne than with me :(.

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

I also snagged some fabs with military and patriotic themes. (And when I say military, I mean primarily ARMY.)

military fabs

military fabs

I could kick myself with a spurred boot for not taking a picture of some of the paper-doll quilts hanging up in the back of the shop. I have never seen a photo on the internet that remotely compares with the adorable quilts and blocks I saw there. Quilt block kits were on display, and sign-ups for the classes to make them were all around. I thought vaguely that such things would be available in other places, too, but after doing a search I sadly realized that Texas must have a corner on those darling, over-the-top girly paper doll blocks: little cowgirl outfits and frilly, frothy dresses the likes of which must only be found in these parts. Sad enough that quilt shops in every locale seem to get swallowed up by the big box venues. Oh please, let the creativity go on!

A Sewing Basket had on display several bolts of Texas fabric that will be available for purchase in September. Until then, I’ll have to get busy with all this cloth festooned with boots, saddles, horses and hats and see what comes of it!

Sewing With Hemp #2

I just finished sewing a batch of sprout bags for a soon-to-be non-profit organization that I love, Plenitud PR. To see the story on how I got involved in this and the prototype bags of hemp cloth, go to my prior post https://jenyjenny.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/sewing-with-hemp/. We went through several styles and tags for the sprout bags, and finally settled on this:

shows their website, plenitudpr.org

shows their website, plenitudpr.org

The folks at Plenitud in Puerto Rico hold workshops on sustainable living, and sometimes put up displays at events like Earth Day celebrations. They demonstrate how to grow sprouts by putting seeds in the hempcloth bags and watering them a few times a day for about 5 days, resulting in a harvest of fresh green salad fast food. Perhaps you’ve read that a bill has recently passed in Colorado, making hemp-growing legal in that state. Here’s an interesting article by a proponent of hemp as a sustainable building material, Jason Lauve, “Team Hemp House.”

I used the hemp 7 oz. summer cloth from Hemp Traders, the one that Plenitud staff members like best, and made a drawstring for the bags out of 100% hemp twine 3 mm thick. On the website, hemptraders.com, I found that one can order scrap hemp cloth by the pound, so being the remnant-seeker that I am, I asked for a pound of scrap. What they sent me was a heavy, long, skinny canvas-like piece of hemp cloth that had what looked like burned-off ends. No problem. I eventually decided it looked like the right size and shape to make a yoga mat carrying case.

I usually keep my yoga mat in the car so I don’t forget it, but this one was in the bathroom since I brought it home from the gym the other day after having smashed a cockroach on it during practice (so much for ahimsa, eh?) and I wanted to rinse it off in the shower before using it again. I wrapped some of the hemp scrap around it to get a rough measurement, cut a rectangle that seemed fitting, and machine embroidered a border motif on it (from Embroidery Library). Then I cut some circles that roughly correspond to the wound-up ends of the mat, and sewed them on. I put a little hem on the unfinished ends in case they want to unravel some day.

snap closure

snap closure

I left most of the hemmed edges open, they’re just sewn together at the ends where the circlepieces connect. After breaking a couple of needles, I switched to one for sewing leather, with better results. I really hope I didn’t screw up the alignment on my needle sewing through thick layers of this very heavy, but seemingly breathe-able cloth. One of the properties of hemp cloth is that it’s supposed to resist mildew. Sometimes after practice I wipe the mat with those wet-wipes they dispense at the gym, to get the foot-germs off, but it’s never soaking wet after practice.

The mat fits very snugly in this bag, so I don’t think it would ever fall out while carrying it, but I sewed on one snap in the center. My DH felt that velcro would have been a great closure, but oh my goodness, no. You just don’t know the overall demeanor of my group. The sound of someone ripping open a velcro seal in class, shudder! It is not welcome, as they’ve been known to announce. Ditto, the sound of someone snapping their mat out of its roll and flopping it casually on the gym floor. We’ve been asked not to make unnecessary noise when coming in to class, especially if we come in late and everyone is already sitting in a meditative pose with their hands folded in prayer position or facing up. And don’t leave your smelly tennis shoes on the floor anywhere near the nose of your neighbor, put those bad boys over by the wall. I think it’s funny, every time they announce that, my eyes involuntarily roll up into my head and I try to guess which of the ol’ ladies it originated with. I know it’s not the tall skinny lady with the Eleanor Roosevelt hair-do because her trainers are more often than not right there next to her mat. And I refrain from adding loudly to the announcement, “And for heaven’s sake, don’t fart! Don’t even think about farting!”

Ahem. I digress.

I added a strap to carry it on my shoulder. I’ve seen lots of bags with various kinds of straps, and I think they are pretty cool.

all bagged up and ready for down-doggin'

all bagged up and ready for down-doggin’

off to the gym

off to the gym

My Tarte-y, Heart-y Birthday & Remnant Project

My less-than satisfactory blog photos of the past few months are partly the result of the Canon EOS20D having bitten the dust. DH took the 20D to the local camera shop to get it fixed. After the repair shop mailed it off to Canon, they sent it back with regrets: they don’t make the parts for these any more and so it can’t be fixed. Our only option is to take it to a dealer in a big city, like Orlando, and maybe an old-timer in the back room of a camera shop can fix it. They couldn’t even tell us what was wrong with it. The 20D was made from 2005 to 2006. It is now 2013 and no one can repair it? Aaargh.

So DH got me for a birthday present—as consolation for the functional obsolescence I feel from being older AND having a defunct camera, 2 new cameras to play with. One is a Canon Rebel which can use the same lens as the 20D. The other is the pocket-size Nikon Coolpix.

I snuck the Coolpix out of my purse to photograph our very romantic birthday dinner in the flickering oil-lamp light at Embers.

blackened filet mignon and colossal crab appetizer

blackened filet mignon and collossol crab appetizer

bronzed cobia with lobster mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus with Bearnaise sauce

bronzed cobia with lobster mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus with Bearnaise sauce

DH's braised short ribs with fire-roasted beefsteak tomatoes and caramelized onion blue cheese, and sauteed spinach

DH’s braised short ribs with fire-roasted beefsteak tomatoes and caramelized onion blue cheese, and sauteed spinach

this is the remains of our dessert, apple tarte tatin

this is the remains of our dessert, apple tarte tatin

The tiny Coolpix fits perfectly in a purse pocket, but I wanted it to have a bit more protection from bumps, so I made a little felted case for it, out of remnants.

felted wool remnants from a couple of old sweaters

felted wool remnants from a couple of old sweaters

I heart my new camera

I heart my new camera

Coolpix fits in case very snugly

Coolpix fits in case very snugly

The cost for this case was $0 because I had these scraps kicking around. I used hand-quilting thread to hand-sew the felted wool pieces together. I try to pick up old wool sweaters when I see them at yard sales and thrift shops. If they are not already felted from some laundry mishap, you can prepare woolens for felting (or “fulling” as it is more correctly called) by washing them in the machine in warm or hot water and making sure they agitate quite a bit. Drying in the dryer also accelerates the process, making stretchy knitted fabric turn into tight, shrunken, thick woolen material.

On the way home from the restaurant, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up an item we couldn’t do without. The plan was for me to run in and get it, while DH circled the parking lot and came around to pick me up. I made the purchase, went out the door and saw what appeared to be our car pulling up with a strange woman at the wheel. Then I realized that wasn’t our car after all, ours was parked out front but DH wasn’t in it. So I went out and climbed in. DH had gone in to use the restroom, and when he came out he saw what he thought was some strange hoodlum breaking into our car! Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten such a shorty-short haircut! I tell you, it’s heck to get old!

back view of my short haircut

back view of my short haircut

Remnant Doll Clothes with a $0 price tag!

Loving the remnant doll clothes I’ve been making! In this project, it helps to be a hoarder of notions and small bits of fabric.

Notions hoardity

This container is stacked on a shelf high up on the wall in my sewing room. Until one unseats it from its perch and discovers the wild and wooliness within, it just looks like a fabric-covered box. But inside are ruffles and beaded lace and ribbons and swatches of all sorts. I’ve had possession of some of these bits for so long that they don’t even need to be tea-dyed to get that yellowed muslin look.

I made the underblouses and petticoats from Samantha’s Pretty Clothes patterns I downloaded free from American Girl Playthings. The remnant is a [maybe 1/3 yard] sheet of embroidered cotton that had a small border (too small for a grown up or even a child’s skirt). You can see that Texas Girl is wearing the petticoat that has the embroidered border.

Dolls in their 1904-style underthings

The blonde Target doll’s petticoat is tucked and has a beribboned ruffle at the hem. Don’t pay too close attention to the tucks and think badly of me. I am not a great tuck-seamstress, as you can see from the pic. But I had so much fun!

Check out the buttoned waistbands! I actually hand-stitched the button holes, sigh.

petticoat buttons onto waistband of underblouse

Best part: I did not have to go buy anything. And no one cares if they are not perfect. I’ve seen girls play with doll clothes that are squares of unfinished fabric with a hole cut in them for the doll’s head to pop through; and it’s all good!

Avoiding the Dirt Nap with Remnants

“Life is a constant battle to keep the dirt from covering us up.” –my Mom
I thought she was referring to the never-ending cleaning one has to do when one has a family. I can appreciate it, having been around busy little fellows recently, who keep you on the move shifting clutter, sweeping up Fruit Loops, calling attention to the desired resting places of toys in the baskets rather than all over the floor.

This saying, “Life is…” can also refer to avoiding death, as my DH said while we watched an episode of a Crime Show: “She’s about to take a dirt nap…”
Me: No! She would have been such a great girlfriend for McGee!
DH: No, I’ve seen it before, she takes a dirt nap.

Sigh. This week’s remnant project features a white piece of silk? Satin-backed shantung? I’m not sure what it is, but it has a very shiny side and an opposite side with slubby threads all pulling in the direction of the grain. It’s been in the stash forever. With a narrow hem around the edges, it was ready to be colored on with my new Shiva Paint Stiks that I scored from a Flock Shop online bluelight sale. I found Flock Shop on Twitter. I think they are an off-shoot of Interweave, because that was on the envelope when I received the stiks in the mail. They advertise a deal going on currently at their online shop, and you click on the link and get the current price. I got the Shiva Paint Stiks on sale because the packaging was damaged, but all 15 paint stiks were good.

Shiva Paint Stiks and remnant

I figure that based on the size of the remnant, it can be a dresser scarf, a table runner, or a shoulder wrap. The oil paints, when dried and set, will be washable as long as the garment is washable. I have seen beautiful silk dresses embellished with paint stiks. A web site that distributes paint stiks also sells blank clothing to be embellished, at wonderful prices. Check out dharmatradingco.com clearance sales for interesting items. My local sewing store gives classes for using paint stiks. I don’t want to get too artsy-craftsy with them, such as stenciling and tole-painting on fabric. But the possibilities for this type of project abound. Maybe a portrait of one of my grandkids’ dada?

Dada

Early summer freebies

A little PS to week before last entry: I found a Mickey Mouse fleece remnant about 30″ x 15″ and sewed up some travel pillows for the twins, to go with their woobies.

travel pillow

. This is the sort of project I can really get into, because all the materials were stashed and I didn’t have to buy anything. First I cut off the selvage from the remnant and folded the remainder in half, then cut it into 2 equal pieces. I had an old bag of quilt batting lying around, which had been previously cut into, so it contained lots of long narrow pieces leftover from a bigger project. I cut some and folded them into a small pillow shape. Then I got a remnant in my “white” drawer that was labeled “Wamsutta 100% cotton” (probably what used to be an old sheet) and fashioned a pillow case for the rolled-up batting. I seamed the fleece pillow cover on the wrong side then turned it, leaving an opening on the back with slightly overlapping ends to stuff the pillow inside. More overlapping would have been better but the remnant was just too short.

finished blankies & pillows


Meanwhile, last week I went trading at 2 different venues, the gym and the church, and obtained some freebies to experiment with. Sheesh, from the photo, looks like even my mannequin has saddle bags.

Gym freebie

white embroidered shirt

olive drab microfiber Old Navy maxi skirt

.I like the shirt and the red dress. The skirt could use some adornment, such as the recent trendy Letters and Text dress on the Sew Fun blog (Husqvarna Viking Sewing machine blog). The blogger said she has decided to embroider words she likes, names of children, etc. At first I thought “dotty” then I began to think “innovative!”
We also got free produce over the weekend, thanks to a farming friend who let us come and pick. Thanks, Billy and JoAnn for the wonderful, fresh, beautiful, free food!

yard-long and heirloom red Chinese noodle beans

tomatoes

blueberries

purple hull, razorback and zipper peas

corn

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