Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Handmade Craft Fairs in NYC

The holiday season has reignited my desire to be crafty! So many gifts to make and craft fairs to attend. I'll be selling my handmade bags at the DBA Craft Fair for the first three Saturdays in December from 3 to 8 PM. Stop by this East Village bar, have a beer, and do some holiday shopping!

NYC has more craft fairs than I can keep up with! Here are some I'm considering attending this holiday season (stolen from Brooklyn Based and Etsy Labs):

PS 29/PS 8 Holiday Gift Fair and Pie Social this Saturday December 5th, in Cobble Hill, where staffers at Food & Wine will judge a fundraising pie contest and Rooftop Films will screen children’s films while mom and dad shop.

The Handmade Calvalcade, this Saturday December 5th, has over 50 New York artists, designers, crafters, and Etsy sellers bringing their handmade creations together for this one-day shopping event.

The Bust Holiday Craftacular, this Sunday, December 6th, has handmade wares from over 200 vendors, including handbags, jewelry, and clothing.

3rd Ward’s Handmade Holiday fair Dec. 12 at 195 Morgan Ave: along with over 120 vendors, there are free workshops like DIY Printing and freebie-filled totes for the first 300 in the door.

Brooklyn Indie Market Dec. 12 & 13, designers will donate 10-15% of their sales to Brooklyn Community Housing

The Brooklyn Lyceum’s Holiday Craft Market Dec. 19 & 20 promises original gifts for the last-minute shopper.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fabric Stores from San Francisco to Seattle

My husband Ameet and I just returned from an adventurous trip - we spent two weeks in San Francisco, and then took a road trip north along the Pacific Coast, through the Redwood forests, Crater Lake, Portland, and Seattle. This part of the country is so beautiful. We did lots of sight seeing, visited friends, and ate amazing food. In each town we went to, my husband would search for the best restaurants, farmers markets, and food co-ops...and I spent my time finding the best fabric stores. I know - such a fabric nerd!
In San Francisco, I absolutely loved Peapod Fabrics (pictured above), a tiny little shop in the Sunset. Check out the owner's blog - lots of great pictures and inspiration. I also spent some time exploring Stonemountain & Daughters in Berkeley, a huge fabric store with all types of fabrics and classes throughout the year.

We arrived a little late in Ashland, OR (home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and as we wandered around town, I was sad to find this very cute fabric store (Fabric of Vision) was closed for the day! But I peaked through the windows and it looked adorable inside.
In Portland, another fun shop I found was Bolt (above), which is conveniently located right next to a yarn store in the Alberta Arts District.

Our last stop was in Seattle, and I just a had a few minutes to stop by Stitches. If I return to Seattle, I'd also love to check out The Quilting Loft, which we drove by, but didn't get a chance to stop.

Friday, June 26, 2009

DIY wedding project - table runners

Two weeks before my wedding, I got a little overly ambitious and decided to make table runners for all 26 tables and then a few extra for the bar and gift table (yes, we had a big Indian wedding!). I got inspired by another bride-to-be who was a little smarter than me and finished hers five months before her wedding. It was quite the project. Not difficult at all, but really tedious and time consuming. But I think they turned out beautifully.

I searched for good fabric for a week, and found this one at an upholstery store in the fashion district that was going out of business. I had to buy 18 yards of fabric! To make the table runners, I cut out pieces that were 9' long by 12" wide, making a total of 30 pieces. Then for each table runner, I folded over each edge twice (about 1/4" for each fold), ironed over the fold, and then stitched along the edges.

**Picture courtesy of Lotus Ryan.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blog Word Cloud

My friend Mentha shared this cool web program with me called Word Clouds that create a visual representation of a story or a news article. She created the one below for my blog. The most commonly used words are the largest - I like how fabric sticks out in mine.

You can generate them on this site: www.wordle.net.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buttercup Bag

My sewing machine has been lonely for the last couple months. I'd forgotten about her. I've gotten lost with wedding planning, but I was inspired again this week to make something. I found a free pattern for a pleated handbag and had to make it! I'd been wanting to learn how to do pleats for a while, so this was perfect - and it turned out to be super easy.

The pattern is for the Buttercup Bag, posted on the blog Made by Rae. The explanation she has is clear and simple. The only changes I made were to make the bag larger by blowing up the pattern 129% and adding interfacing to the lining fabric and handle to make it sturdier. It's lovely! Check out the flickr pool for even more inspiration.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Martha Stewart Loot

Today was another one of those days when I was loving living in nyc. This morning Sacha, Joan and I went to see the Martha Stewart Show! It was her first ever all craft show, and Rosie O'Donnell was her guest - which you know means lots of free stuff! Martha just published her new Encyclopedia of Crafts, which has loads of ideas, pictures, and instructions for all of you crafty people out there. Enough inspiration to last a very long time. Other fun give-aways included a hot glue gun (oh, the possibilities!), glitter, and a Michael's gift card!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A little inspiration...

For the past year, every time I've wanted to sew, I've had to drag my sewing machine and supplies out to our dining table and then drag them back when I was done. Didn't help much with motivating me to sew. So I finally found myself a little corner in our 1 bedroom apartment and set up a table and all of my supplies. I get so excited when I walk by it now. My sewing machine is always staring at me, inspiring me to sit down and start sewing!

I got so inspired over the past few days that I made 3 fun projects.
I modified this Amy Butler Swing Bag Pattern to make this cute reversible bag. I love the fabric that I got at Brooklyn Mercantile, which is conveniently one block from my house.

My ipod has been getting all scratched up in the bottom of my bag, so I wanted to make a cover for it. I found this great ipod tutorial on Made by Petchy, which is very easy to follow. I replaced the ribbon with some velcro and also changed the dimensions of the fabric I cut to 12" x 4" because I have a larger ipod. My sister-in-law Nina got me this beautiful fabric from Japan.

Finally, this makeup bag project had been sitting in my sewing pile for a while because the zipper had broken while I was sewing it the first time. I ripped out the old zipper and put in a new one. I also used a tutorial I found searching through sewing blogs - such an obsession with sewing blogs.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Clutch Tutorial

After a little thinking, some technical difficulties with missing button parts, and a lot of seam ripping and re-sewing, I figured out how to make a simple clutch. And it's just that - very simple. Well, of course, after a lot of trial and error I can say it was simple! Here's a tutorial that hopefully clears up any confusion:

What you'll need:
2 fat quarters
1 magnetic snap (including the top and bottom of the snap, and 2 washers)
A scrap piece of paper
Basic sewing supplies

1. Start by creating a pattern for the clutch. I used a scrap piece of paper and a quilting ruler to draw mine. For the main part of the clutch, I drew a pattern that was 11" long on the bottom, and 10" long on the top.

2. To create a pattern for the top flap, start by drawing a 10" line. Go to the middle of the line and measure about 3" above that spot. Then freely draw a curve hitting the top of the perpendicular line.

3. Use the rectangular part of the pattern to cut out four pieces of fabric (two lining pieces, and two outer pieces) and 4 pieces of interfacing.

4. For the flap, cut out one piece of lining fabric, one piece of outer fabric, and two pieces of interfacing.

5. Iron on the interfacing to the fabric. The shiny side of the interfacing should be touching the fabric so it sticks when it gets hot (interfacing usually comes with directions).

6. Insert a magnetic snap into one piece of the outer fabric and the inner lining of the flap (this is where it got really tricky for me!). I found two tutorials that helped me figure this out. First is one on how to insert a magnetic snap. Another skill I tried to learn, but failed, was how to make a button hole. Combine these two skills, and you have yourself a fancy button! I skipped the whole button hole step, and it still turned out just as sturdy.

7. For the outer fabric, make a sandwich with the right sides together and sew around the sides and bottom edge (leave the top edge open). Turn inside out.

8. For the flap, pin the right sides facing each other and sew around the round edge. Turn inside out.

9. Pin the flap to the back of the outer fabric and sew the flap onto one side (where the pins are placed).

10. Make a sandwich out of the lining, with the right sides together. Sew only the two sides, leaving open the top and bottom.

11. Keep the lining inside-out and pin to the top of the outer fabric and flap. Sew around the top edge.

12. Turn the lining fabric inside out like so.

13. Fold in the opening in the fabric about 1/2 an inch, press, and sew. Stuff the lining into the clutch.

14. Done!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Handmade Nation

Last night, for a little inspiration, I attended a panel discussion with the authors/director of the new book and movie, "Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design." Faythe Levine travelled the country and visited 15 cities to document the growing craft scene throughout the country - it turns out that crafty folks are part of a movement!

The movie is premiering in NYC tonight at the Museum of Art and Design. Tickets are sold out for tonight, but available for Saturday and Sunday. Go check it out!

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Attempt at Making a Clutch

I bought a stack of beautiful, color-coordinated fat quarters last year at Purl Patchwork. Every couple weeks I take them out of my closet and stare at them, thinking that I'll come up with some fancy project to make, since I love the fabric so much. I finally got inspired this weekend and I attempted to make my first clutch purse with two of the pieces of fabric.

I searched the internet for a simple tutorial, but couldn't find one that worked. I vaguely based it off of this tutorial on U-Handblog (which is a great site for bag tutorials), but got lost on the directions. So I thought I would try and wing it and write up a tutorial from what I learned. But it didn't quite work out the way I planned! The lining was all out of whack and I wasn't quite sure how to secure the top part of the bag. But I think now I understand what I did wrong and am going to try again next weekend. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Experiencing a moment in history

Ameet and I traveled down to DC this past weekend to take part in history in the making. Barack Hussein Obama is now our president! How exciting!! I am exhausted now after a weekend of waking up early and being in the cold, but so inspired by our country and my fellow citizens. The mood in Washington was something I have never experienced. Over 2 million people coming together for a common cause of celebration.

Some highlights from this weekend:
  • At 11PM on Monday night my friend Ann managed to get me a ticket to the standing area of the inauguration! These tickets were harder to come by than Super Bowl Tickets. The only down side is that we didn't have another ticket for Ameet.

  • Ann and I arrived at 6:00 AM to get in line with our tickets and waited in the cold for 4 hours before the event began. But it was so worth it.

  • I got emotional after first realizing the enormity of people attending and celebrating Obama's inauguration. The crowds were so diverse in terms of being all different races and ethnicities, ages, and all from different parts of the country and world.

  • I hugged a random stranger after Obama was sworn in. We were all so happy!
  • I turned around at one point during the inauguration and saw the 2 million people waving American flags in unison.

  • Obama's speech. What else can I say?

  • Everyone was singing "Nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye!" as Bush was introduced at the inauguration. As his helicopter left the city, 2 million people waved in unison to say good riddance!

Back to sewing this weekend...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Etsy Craft Night - Making Your Own Sugar Scrubs

One of the things I love most about living in NYC is that anything you could ever dream of doing is right here. I found out recently that one of my favorite crafty websites, Etsy, happens to be headquartered in Brooklyn. Every Monday night they have a free craft night where volunteers teach a workshop on a variety of crafts. My friends and I decided to check it out last night and learned how to make our own sugar scrubs.

Who knew that the $50 sugar scrub you get at a fancy beauty store is really one of the easiest things to make!

Here's what you need:

A small jar
Sugar in the raw (about 1/2 cup)
Either coconut, grapeseed, or almond oil (or any other oil that you like)
15 to 20 drops of an essential oil (I chose peppermint, but there was also mango, grapefruit, and other scents that I can't remember)
A drop of Vitamin E to help preserve it

Mix all the ingredients together (measure the oil and sugar based on the consistency and smell you like) and voilĂ ! Have yourself a wonderful, relaxing bath. I tried mine this morning, and my skin is loving it.

If you don't live in NYC, but want to check out the Etsy craft night - they have a virtual lab where you can ask questions and learn on your own. Hope to see you there soon...

Monday, January 5, 2009

My delayed hand-made Christmas present

My family was never much into buying presents for one another on holidays - so I just never gained any skills in knowing what to get for friends and family. Shopping for gifts gets me all nervous and frustrated.

This year, in an effort to avoid this frustration, Ameet and I decided to limit our gifts for each other to $20. My new sewing skills came in handy. Since he loves to cook, I made him this double sided apron, that I kinda just winged, and matching oven mits using a tutorial I found online. And he loved them!