A piece a Week – A Pattern Remix

Sidetracked is what happened to me last week – in a mass of projects I saw this beautiful fabric in my project pile and thought what can I make with this? Then a flash of inspiration came – why not combine your favourite top and skirt combination and see what happens? So I used the skirt of a favorite dress pattern of mine. For the top was a fabric a good friend in Portland gave me last time I visited. I really wanted to focus on the super cute birds in the print and used the Geometric Top pattern from the Burda Sewing Vintage Modern book – I pretty much wear the black version of this top every week to ceramics class and it can be layered with long sleeves and with its interesting cut it sits quite low and does not creep up when I am working on the wheel. This dress makes me so happy as yellow is my favorite color. Currently I am planning my wardrobe for when we leave the country to visit Australia in 4 weeks and it will be winter 😦 at least yellow is a happy colour!
Vintage chick fabric
The front of the dress has pockets – which I love
A V at the back of the top with a yellow fabric I found in my stash 

This was going to be a Mothers Day dress but the day was far from what it is today, which is lovely and sunny! Yesterday by the beach in Pescadero the sun was hidden by cloud most of the day so I made this top in a wool to be worn as a layer. I like the way it turned out and it is a lot of fun with a short skirt and tights – an easy layering piece for a Sunday at the beach in California. 

The geometric top in wool suiting
We had organized to meet our friends from Oakland in Pescadero for Mothers Day for lunch at Pescadero Country Store and after a feast we walked down to see the goats at Harley Farms. There were so many baby goats, way too much cuteness. After our 1 mile cruising walk we decided to go and hang out at the beach for a bit before heading home. Lucky for us we were there in time to see a family of whales swimming by in the shallows. We could see their little fins popping up out of the water and the air from their breathing holes – sweet! While we were at Pescadero there was a parade down the street celebrating the Portuguese community check out the mini horse taking these folks for a ride! 
Dudes strike a pose – loving your mini horse! 
We wandered up to Harley Farms to check out the goats as a tradition of ours for the many years we have been visiting Pescadero – no trip is complete without a visit to the goats! And we were in luck with seeing lots of baby goats and a trip up above the store to the hayloft where sat a huge table and chairs. 

Just like being in Alice in Wonderland 

As it was nice overcast weather we made our trip to the beach for a final farewell to Pescadero.

The pair of us on a rock – very rare photo op!

Missy finds clay and makes a cat

The cat closeup

Adding a bit of detail to the head

A bee in a poppy – one of my favorite photo captures

This guy found a whale bone – not really it is a stick! 

The culmination of creativity happens this weekend at the Textile Art Boutique

Time is closing in and it is my last week to prepare for the show this Sunday October 27th. I have been working like a busy little bee since the kids went back to school in August. The last couple of months has been intense and very challenging with crazy things happening like a power black out (therefore time dedicated to sew could not happen and I lost hours), my iron giving up the ghost (all fine till I could head on over to Target and grab another one) and a whole week of minimum days for the kids. Even with these time sucks I have managed to create an inventory of over 35 items (13 of which are small hair clips / lapel pins). So here are some highlights of my collection – more can be seen here.

I have loved the organic unfolding of the creations and just working randomly with the fabric. Knowing how many pieces of each item I wanted to create and letting the fabric and colours come together. It has been an incredible experience to be working with colour and experimenting happily. So here goes the following pics are some of my faves!

The colours in the bag are so vibrant – I would be a happy market shopper with this tote

This is a linen fabric by Jim Thomson and it is just beautiful 

The fabric on this reminds me of pixels and the pocket is a cool contrast to the colours

What a sweet little handkerchief embroidered onto a pillow

I used to do a lot of patchwork and my husband said do more so I came up with this with these incredible fabrics

More of the patchwork in a linen fabric

The handbag I have been road testing – oh my I love this fabric so much, it is vintage from the 1930s

This fabric was from a 1970s skirt and now it is a super cute hat – perfect for the beach! 
I love these and they are going to be hair clips or lapel pins as there’s an alligator clip on the back

An interview with a fellow SF Etsy Member meet Usha from UshaDesigns

As part of a fun team member project we were assigned fellow SF Etsy team members to work with for this online meet another creative person Q&A. I met the wonderfully talented Usha from UshaDesigns – Handcrafted Accessories made in San Francisco. I just love the embroidery work, Usha does an absolutely wonderful job! Enjoy this interview – we had a lot of fun emails along the way to make this happen…
Embroidered henna inspired notecard – find them here
1. When did you first pick up your craft?
My first memories of sewing & crafts are from when I was 4 or 5 years old. I had one of those plastic square loop-weaving looms (yes, it was the ‘70s!) where I could weave potholders. I also distinctly remember making a bubble-gum pink half apron (all hand-sewing) from some scraps of fabric my mom’s friend had.  And I used to make necklaces by stringing berries using a needle & thread from a shrub in the front yard.  When I was 7 years old, a neighbor started giving me sewing lessons at home.  I’d go to the fabric store with her and my mom and select a pattern, read all of the yardage & notions guidelines, and select fabrics.  By the time I was in 4th grade, I remember making my own outfits to wear to school!  I ended up taking home economics in middle school, and advanced sewing in high school.  By the time I was in college, I took a pattern-making class, a costume design class, and started working in the costume shop in our theatre department.  That turned into working summers at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in their costume shop, and eventually working for several theatre companies in San Jose.
Beautiful freehand embroidery experiement
2. Following on so when did you decide that you wanted to be an artist or a creative person?
I don’t think I ever “decided” to be creative.  I was actually a studio art major in college, primarily doing abstract oil painting.  But working professionally in the theatre made me realize that I missed being creative for the sake of being creative.  I would spend 40 hours (or more) per week sewing for work, which left little mental or physical energy to work on my own projects.  I definitely remember moving to San Francisco in the mid-‘90s and conscientiously deciding to NOT work in the theatre.  Ironically, my first job was working at a clothing boutique on Haight Street where I was hired to do on-site production and alterations.  But I also remember realizing that I got much more enjoyment from working on things for myself or for my friends than working on other people’s ideas.
Floral appliqued fleece hat to keep you nice and toasty
3. We all have that product that people always ask for and we’ve made a few of them – what do people ask you for? Also, what product would you wish more people would “show some love”?
I don’t get too many requests, and I want to encourage my customers to ask for something specific if they don’t see exactly what they want in my shop!  Last year, my main focus was on machine-embroidered coasters and fleece beanie hats.  I did get a couple of custom orders for specific flower (accent) colors on the hats, and I worked with one customer on a batch of custom fleece scarves that she wanted to give as holiday gifts.  But I wish more people would check out my coasters – I think they’re really cute and make perfect gifts (for yourself or for a friend).  And I’d love to get requests for different color embroidery – sometimes changing the color can make the design look really different, and I love discovering the endless looks one technique can produce.
Embroidered coasters make perfect gifts
4. What drives you to continue to work with textiles and sew?
Wow, I thought this would be an easy question to answer! I’m a really tactile person – I get really excited about fabric.  But I think there are a few things that drive me: I have endless ideas for projects I want to make, and so many techniques I read about and want to incorporate in a unique way in my own items.  There are so many creative people out there who write blogs and create tutorials, and there are so many projects that look like tons of fun to make.  I’m always really careful to find out whether those tutorials are for personal use only or if they can be used for commercial production – the ones for personal use are the ones I love to make as a special gift for a family member or friend (of course, I still blog about it and give creative credit where it’s due!).  My newest motivation is that I’m about to become a mom, and I am just bursting with joy about the prospect of me making things for my little one!
Tote bag created from upcycled curtains – love it!
5. Any new items coming out in your collection soon?
I’ve been talking for a while about creating a line of iPad placemats.  I got the idea when I took a beginning quilting class.  Our project was the perfect size for me to carry around with my iPad and use it as a mat on a café table.  One of the best things about an iPad is that you can take it anywhere with you.  But the tables at coffee shops are usually a bit dirty.  I found myself always grabbing 2 napkins – one to wipe down the table, and one to open up and use as a barrier between the table and my iPad.  I hope to make a couple of those and put them in my shop soon.  
I also have a lot of material I was using years ago to make tote bags (before taking your own bag to a store was fashionable!) but I got tired of making those bags.  Recently, I was playing with some ideas of how to use that material for placemats, so hopefully those will be in my shop soon, too.
Another line I’ve been working on for the past few years is upcycling vintage Indian clothing (mostly embellished silks) into beautiful decorative pillows.  Each pillow/set is one-of-a-kind, and I plan to put those items in my shop later this year.
For more information and beautifully made products you can find Usha at the following:

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ushadesigns/

It is time for a holiday sale!

a new apron for holiday cooking?

It’s that time of the year again – shopping for gifts for your family and friends. From now until the 30th November (a 10 day sale) I will be offering 20% off everything in the store. Yay so click on nerdwallet link on this page or my etsy page and enter this code HOLIDAZE2012.

Side projects

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish! 

A friend recently loaned me her sewing machine to play with for a while and I rediscovered my love for instant gratification sewing projects. Unlike knitting which takes a lot of time, sewing is a craft I have been doing on and off for a long time so is easy for me to work on! Coming this spring (right nowish) is the launch of my home wares collection using up cycled fabrics from interior designer samples. Still working along in my free time so it is a process… The inspiration for home decor came with the desire to decorate my couch with cushions – so here is one and there will be more!