Friday, 28 June 2013

Don't forget your feeder!

Hi everyone,
It's done!  My exams are OVER, I'm slowly getting back into the usual way of living, and with it slowly back to my sewjo!  

Thank you all for your patience - many, many posts with summer crafting are coming your way shortly!!!

p.s. As you know, as of 1st July Google will "retire" Reader - remember to switch to one of the feeders available on the internet to continue following your subscriptions:

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

MMM13: Appreciation time

I'm very excited to have participated in MMMay'13 (Me-Made-May-2013).  This has been a great initiative to challenge myself into making and wearing my own creations.  Being a newbie I was wise enough to pledge to participate only in the weekends (this time only, I promise!).

The real challenge - I was to find out - was that I did NOT have any me-made clothes, that I would actually have to MAKE my me-made clothes (but not to worry, I was reassured by my learning to refashion clothes - easy, quick, effective!).  I'm happy to report that most weekend days were covered and the revelant posts will be published in the coming days.

How did I find the experience?  It's an amazing challenge!  I cannot believe I would dive into this world of refashioning so easily, but that alone has opened up my outlook on what I can and cannot do.  I thoroughly enjoy following patterns, don't get me wrong.  But to be able to give a second life to garments I already own - it's just unbelievable. To be able to grade patterns, even better!  Now I really understand the glory of one's  craft achievements and the luxury to wear clothes that perfectly fit ME!  I followed plenty of the other bloggers through their MMMay'13 journeys (who, of course, DID have me-made clothes...) and I saw how fun this can be - thank you Zoe for organising this challenge and here's my pledge:  by this time next year, I will have a whole wardrobe of me-made clothes!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sewing: refashioning a dress

I'm really excited about my first participation in the MMMay'13 - and this is because I'm actually making the clothes for this challenge.  As I've just rediscovered my passion for crafts, I do not have a stash of me-made clothes, so this is a great opportunity to start a collection!  Of course, I cannot only rely on making clothes from scratch and here is where refashioning comes in.  Such an ingenious way to give clothes a second life, I was hooked on all the instruction posts from the other wonderful bloggers...

Without further ado, here is my first refashioning project:

This was the dress in the back of my wardrobe - which I did wear a couple of times, but then found the pattern was a little too large for me at a dress scale.

I followed the instructions laid out by dear Miss P and the whole transformation took less than half an hour.

Now it's a skirt - it immediately reduces the impact of the pattern while retaining the exotic look I like.    The most difficult part?  Actually taking the scissors and cutting the dress! Now that I'm over it though, be afraid my dear clothes set aside and long forgotten, be very afraid...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sewing: London calling...

Most of the craft blogs I follow are from the UK - it's only natural then, that whenever I go to London (Eurostar is such a great invention - 2 hours from Brussels!), I will seek out any of the addresses I've found mentioned.

This time around, it was Tilly and Karen who mentioned Walthamstow and Berwick Street, and I was happy to oblige.  Walthamstow is in East London, an area heavily under development.  Which is great from an economic/social point, but not so great from the point of trying to walk around in search of a craft heaven!
my mini-loot from the W. Morris Gallery:
a bookmark and a folding bag 
my maxi-loot: all the trimmings and more!
With a little detour (in Walthamstow there is also a great little museum on William Morris, one of the masters of the Arts & Crafts movement), it was time.  I found High street, and gathered all my courage to zig-zag across the various construction sites there.  I soon found very interesting shops with fabrics and I got excited.  Alas, it was not to be - the prices were normal prices (i.e. like the ones I can find in Belgium), which was not what I was there for - I wanted the 1 and 2 pound-a-metre fabrics!  (I have a slight suspicion that I really looked like a tourist, and that people were not willing to offer me the same prices as to Londoners, but that's ok ...)

What I did find, however, was a tiny little shop with all the trimmings!  Now, that was a great discovery and I'm not ashamed to say I bought half the store (ok, I'm exaggerating a little).  Seriously, all the bindings, the threads, the needles, the zippers -- anything that has to do with sewing was there, and it was at 1/4 of the price here in Brussels.  How could I resist?

my medium-loot from the Cloth House:  rollends

The next day it was Soho day, with a visit to Berwick Street and then on to Liberty.  The Cloth House is a very nice establishment, that carries mid- to high-range fabrics (again, vs. the prices here) but I really liked the ambience that I found there - they even have vintage French buttons (how cute is that!).  I did not leave empty-handed:  I found these two rollends at a bargain!

All in all, a great way to discover yet another facet of London.  Next time, I'll continue with my Goldhawk road adventures...

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Sewing: fabric on sale

Like the majority of people, I'm always on the lookout for a bargain in everything, but more so when it comes to fabric.  I understand that "you get what you pay for" and I'm usually fine with that.  I'm still in an early phase of sewing, so I prefer to ruin cheap fabric rather than cry over a torn expensive one.

My Laura Ashley finds
But every now and then, I do want to feel the quality of expensive fabric - it feels better, it sews better, it looks better...  How to accomodate this need?  by looking for sales or rollends.  The price may still be a little higher than the "cheap" fabrics but they do just fine for small projects.

These are Laura Ashley fabrics that I managed to pick up -- all that is left now is to transform them into cushion covers. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Knitting: ribbon-tied needle roll, part 1

I like keeping busy and just enjoy multitasking.  When I watch TV, for example, I want to be knitting something so as to fill in the boring scenes and the ad breaks.  The pattern should not be so difficult of course so that I have to count every stitch:  I want to be able to knit a look once, skip twice pattern.

This is one such pattern, which I found in the first issue of Debbie Bliss magazine (btw, great variety of projects for all levels) and it should at some point become a knitting needle roll.  I've inherited my mother's and grandmother's needles, so the total number is fairly big -- I had to have somewhere to stash them all!!!

the original and the "copy"

I'm using Schachenmayr yarn in Boston Fashion and I just can't get enough of the combinations of colour:  just look at how cute it already looks!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Cross-stitching: new arrivals

This is a cute little story:  I have nothing hanging on the wall above my bed.   I've been contemplating what could go there for quite some time now, as a. I'm on the minimalist side as regards a bedroom (for the time being, there is nothing hanging anywhere in that room) and b. it has to be something different.  I like playing with alternative ideas as to the art (because it will be art, of whichever type).  

my cross-stitch arrivals...
The idea came to use a Japanese kimono and stretch it over a camvas as a screen, a painting in its own rights.  Off I started looking for kimonos, with a twist:  it had to have a nice, impressive scene depicted on it.  That scene would be the subject of the artwork, or so I thought.

My endeavours in the kimono search were fruitless (or if you like everything was beyond my budget).  And here come my second best solutions:  cross-stitch frames depicting kimonos depicting nice scenes.  What do you think?  I was thrilled when I received my order with two kimonos, and then, if I like and still want, a little mischievous cat...

When I'll stitch them you ask?  most probably on the weekends and the summer holidays...

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My first challenge and my first refashioning project

I have my first challenge!  Even though I've only started in crafts, I'm looking forward to being a part of the MMM13, or commonly known as the "Me Made May '13".  Here's my pledge:

 'I, Patty @ Crafts Everywhere! sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear  a self-made garment/outfit on the weekends of May 2013'

So, come back to this site to see what I'll come up with during the month of May!  Excellent initiative by Zoe @ SoZoWhatDoYouKnow, thank you for accepting even a novice like myself!

On other news, I refashioned my first jewerly project!!!

I received these exquisite earrings:

unfortunately, they are a bit too much for my taste.  I prefer smaller, more discreet earrings that can go from work to party.  My solution:  break them up!  I used pliers to open up the jump ring connecting the upper to the lower part of the earring and then added a new jump ring with a rose gold hook.  Et Voilà!  I'm now in possession of two pairs of earrings, both beautiful :

Very simple refashioning, I agree, but it's the baby steps that will get me to greater things!  ;-)

Friday, 12 April 2013

Sewing Patterns - paper or digital?

I started sewing some 20-odd years ago, and have only recently taken up this hobby again.  How many things have changed in the meantime!  How many extra buttons are now in the sewing machines that make sewing so much more enjoyable!

And the patterns:  how interesting that we get to have our very own patterns, printed at home, thus saving primarily on postage.  I remember finding some exquisite patterns in American sites, only to realise that shipping charges to Europe would triple the original price...

So, off to my first such purchase:  for a novice like myself, I rather liked the fact that Sewing Patterns has an extensive collection from all major (and other) makes.  I immediately ordered a nice little bunch of patterns, and off I went to print...

what am I supposed to do again?

Ahem... it  does look weird.  My logical mind tries to explain that if I were to cut a usual pattern sheet from a magazine, it would look exactly the same, still it takes a while to sink in...

What I liked:  the fact that I can have a pattern instantly!  If ever I find myself in a pattern drama (...), I know I can have something within 5 minutes!  Plus, the print is much larger, there are far fewer lines, making the project easier to trace and cut!

aahhh.... now I get it!
What I'm not sure about:  the file is available for one year, and I can print it up to 3 times.  Of course, this is more than I'll ever need, still the fact that there is a limit suddenly made me think again.  Some of my (postal) patterns lie there for several years before I decide I want to use one of them.  Now, I'm "obliged" to print almost immediately, lest I forget... OK, I'm exaggerating, but there is some food for thought!

Will I switch to digital patterns?  For the time being, I think I'll stick to the original pattern sheets, in their little envelope.  I like the idea that all information is kept in one place, waiting for me to pick it up!  On the other hand, I'll continue experimenting with the digital ones, just to make myself accustomed to this new technique - plus, there are several free patterns to be had (I'm making this top pretty soon!).  It reminds me of when e-books started...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Let me in!

Yet one more blogger in the wonderful world of crafts, I know.  But I blame Tilly, Karen and Jane most of all for this intrusion:  I was lying sick for over 3 days, not having the energy to do anything, when I started devouring their blogs - and I found myself in this pretty world, where creativity, self-respect, respect for others and the environment mingled and also produced some great results - be it in sewing, knitting, crocheting, jewerly making or whatever else takes one's fancy!

I want in - I've been doing all these crafts at some point in my life, only to push them back in my mind, claiming that my life now was "complicated".  Yes, our lives are complicated, which is exactly why we need to keep sane!  Plus, the energy we derive from our accomplishments only pushes us to even greater things - and making our lives oh so beautiful in the meantime...

so, without further ado -  welcome to my crafts blog!