Friday, December 12, 2008

Green Holidays (that don't include the Grinch)

I am feeling much more anxious and excited for the holidays this year. A few days ago I was not as anxious and much more stressed. But today, I started up my "Mariah Carey (Holiday)" station on my Pandora account and rocked out to some bitchin holiday-classic-remakes, all the while being blinded by the sun reflecting off the ice-covered trees and whatnot. Much like this:

Photo from msnbc.msn.com

I am done thinking of holiday shopping, decorating, gifting, etc. as chores. I'm grateful to be spending the holidays with the people I love and that is all that matters. (I mean, I also look forward to the inevitable xmas socks, expecially since almost every single sock I own has a hole or holes in it...) This year, the Grinch in me is gone.

Loving family and friends + new socks = Happy holidays.

I have come across many sites and blogs (and even email newsletters) advising me on how to keep my holidays green ;)

This one was my favorite:


For those of us who just don't drink enough canned beverages, try making your holiday giving season a little greener by supporting local artists and small business. It is a small thing you can do to give back to our environment. Why not make one less trip to the mall and instead, check out the giveHANDMADE! CRAFTSTRAVAGANZA? And while you're there, check out this chick. She's got something for every hard-to-buy-for giftees on your list.

What's that? You want to make your entire holiday (and life) green? Awesome, I bet Google can help you with that. Let's be friends.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

winding down...

Have you ever felt like something is so close yet so far away?  The deadline for my paper is only 3 days away... yet the amount of work that needs to be done is going to make those 3 days feel like 3 months.  I don't know why I chose "months" but that seems like a long time.  Words cannot express how anxious I am for this course to be done and over with.  I am looking forward to Wednesday night when I will walk to my favorite building with the most luxurious high rise condos albany has to offer and... well... that's the best part about handing in this paper.  It will be like handing over responsibility....  I will not make any plans for Wednesday night and there is no need.  I will just BE there.  My life will be much less cluttered with books (thank goodness for book-buy-backs), papers, and thoughts.  Oh, how my mind is begging to have a focus.  Not just on one thing... maybe 3 or 4 things... but DEFINITELY not on the number of things that are crowding my brain right now.  I can't even count them.  I have always been a worrywart so I don't suspect that all of the stress will subside until I receive my grade.  I will definitely not be getting any A's... and that doesn't bother me.  But passing is a big worry this semester.  Like never before.  There is more silver lining to the end of this course than one can even imagine.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Old Capris --> New Skirt

I have been holding out on posting this project because... OK, I forgot I had done this project until I was procrastinating last night by looking through some fotos of my trip to Argentina (aka the homeland for this one). Lucky me, I have a whole new procrastination activity... blogging about the lame-o striped capris that I ACTUALLY used to wear to my job! At a mortgage bank! I can't believe they kept letting me back into the office.

The pants were made of a stretchy denim material that pretty much molds to every curve. Did I mention I got these pants in high-school? Most people who read this blog already know this about me but, did I mention that I'm not in high-school now? Let's just say, a few years later, the stretchy denim isn't so flattering.

Nonetheless, I really liked the stripes and the colors and it was really only the fact that they were TIGHT capris that bothered me. So now it doesn't bother me because the pants are a skirt and I can wear my fancy stripy mini to exotic far away places where I am not as self-conscious about stretchy fabric on my lower half.

The stretchiness is still an issue but believe me, it is way less of an issue.

Wish I could show you how I lined up the extra fabric to fill in the gaps between the leg part. It was tricky making sure the stripes remained vertical but worth the extra effort. And, NO, no one dared me to START with stripes as I began my sewing adventures... but I can see where one would say, "why the eff would you torture yourself like that and possibly ruin your desire to continue learning to sew?" I don't have an answer for that. However, I did not lose my desire, so just CALM DOWN. (Sorry, that was more for me....)

Oh, and the skirt made another appearance in St. Maarten. Not as far away but WAY more exotic :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adirondack Roundtable Conference

This was our "conference room":

This is what was outside:







This was the outside of the "conference room":

The beauty of it certainly outweighed the fact that it was a never-ending meeting. With breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Free food, and beautiful scenery. I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote...

As most of the people who read this blog already know.... today, I will vote for the SECOND time ever. I mean, I've voted for the executive committee at CCHS, a resolution to screw over the state and the environment by allowing Pepsi, Co. and Coke to keep billions of dollars that are not rightfully theirs each year, and for Margaritas for election day.... BUT, because I was a silly science geek in RI for a short time in my life, I did not register to vote in NY until this year. When the candidates for freakin President were finally revealed, I figured it was about that time. Plus the constant annoying ringing in my ear that wouldn't go away.

The first time I voted, I had a small anxiety attack. I needed my mom to show me what to do and then I hesitated pulling the lever.... you know, like at the end of a test when you almost get up out of your seat but quickly turn back to your test and scantron to make sure the answer to the question you skipped was properly recorded on the scantron because if not, ALL of your answers get messed up.... Luckily, all was well and I was able to pull the lever with confidence. And when I did, that little "ding" sound sorta made me giddy. Who knew voting would have such an effect on me? Not me, that's fer sher. If you are a skeptic like me, I say to you (in true Mom fashion), "Try it, you might like it!"

I don't know if I will get that same rush this time around because I'll probably be cranky from waiting in line but I guess there is only one way to find out.

Go on... what else do you have to do today? I'll be sacrificing:

a. treasured time spent with my baby

2. gas + the environment (yes, I am registered in NY however I am not registered in my new place of residence.... albany... oops.)

d. time spent on getting these past 2 and 1/2 years into my past already!

What is your poll tax?

ps- are cupcakes synonymous with election day or something?? On way more than 1 blog, I have been dared to devour election day cupcakes.... You?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

experimenting with pillow patterns + new digs :)

What a boring pillow, no?

Yeah, I thought so too...

Back when I was a beginner seamstress... (ha! barely...) I would raid the clearance bin at JoAnn's. One day I found some shiny-purple-stripy-polyester nonsense for $2.50/yd. I bought 4 freakin' yards. Walking out of the store I thought to myself, "Who the hell do you think you are?" At least I had tons of room for making mistakes. Oddly enough, I haven't wasted hardly any of it. Just trimmings. The silvery fabric is also a poly blend that I found in the oops-already-cut-it-and-nobody-wants-it bin. These pillows were my first attempt at some serious sewing projects and so cheap to do... I never thought I would like them as much as I do.

This serious of pix are showing the process for just one of my couch pillows. It's a good thing that trigonometry was one of my best subjects in Math 3R.

Cutting these triangles was ridiculous. I had to make sure the angles were just right and that the stripes would line up once I was ready to sew them together... I wouldn't recommend working with stripes when you are still getting comfortable with your machine.

Actually, it wasn't so horrible... Now, getting myself to make sure the RIGHT SIDES of the fabric actually end up on the outside of the pillow cover, THAT'S my real problem.

This point was hard because it's hard to tell from the wrong sides if the stripes line up on the right sides.... because the right sides are facing each other during pinning.

FINALLY. I was pretty pleased with how well the stripes lined up. And I only needed to use my stitch ripper twice!

Below was the first pillow cover I made. No pattern, just started sewing pieces together and ended up with this:
Don't even ask to see the other end! I gave up and hand sewed the pillow form inside the "cylinder" cover. I decided I def need more practice at sewing curves and circles and whatnot. It is plenty obvious in person that this was created by an amateur but DON'T even dare look for the evidence in this picture! It took more time to place the pillow just so and take its picture so as not to reveal how poorly made it is than it did to actually make the effing pillow.

The next two pictures are the "front" and "back" of one pillow (I use quotes because I don't know which is the front and back). Both of these pillows were made from scraps leftover from making the above pillows.

The first one was a bit more on the planned-out side.

You can really tell in the bottom picture... Just started sewing pieces together!!

HONESTLY, I didn't know that the silver fabric would be an EXACT match to my new couch.In fact, I made these pillows well before I even considered buying a couch. Seriously. The couch looked so much more white in the picture online but that's what I get for not bringing my swatches with me to the store.

No, I did not pick out the color for the walls but I enjoyed its crazy uniqueness so much I decided to keep it. I can't even describe how much I love the contrast with the purple too! If you look really closely at any of the pillow pictures, you'll see the green thread making up some of the stripes... wtf, right?

Best part, my sister, mom, and I had so many ugly pillows lying around that I didn't have to buy any pillow forms!! Shwing!

Interested in where I'm living? Check it out for yourself!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Guess who...

Everytime I walk past this place on Lark St., I am reminded of someone. Well, two people.

First, I think about when the bf when he said, "Is that where [guess who] works?" It makes me laugh because I pretend that he was serious.

Then I think about [guess who] and wonder if he/she wants to work there someday.

Doing good things + arts and crafts = ??
Hint: He/She went back and forth in deciding between focusing on health and urban policy... I know this is too easy but this place is a WIN WIN WIN for this.... person. ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

If only everything were Black and White ...

This was my first gifted project. It was always intended, from beginning to end, as a gift to a very lovely and talented friend of mine. I wouldn't have made it through 3 years of self-inflicted pain and chaos if it weren't for her open ears and kind words. She's so easy to talk to. She's a huge fan of black and white (which explains a lot about her easy going personality) so I used up some fabric that I had originally intended to use for... well, myself. ("All women reserve the right to change their minds at any given moment." -I forget)

Anyhoo, I followed a pattern from this book, thank you very much. I cannot follow directions as well as I had thought. The lining on the inside is... inside-out... and I changed the straps so that they do not tie together at the top... instead, made one strap longer than the other and had it "button" toward the front of the bag. But don't expect to use the button. The buttonhole attachment on my machine does not make buttonholes as large as I needed so I just sewed her right on there through a way-too-small buttonhole. woops.


Hope you like it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Practically famous by association...

A fellow blogger is one famous dude around this capital region.

Real re-purposing blogging coming soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

MIA...

... or AWOL as some have put it...

I know, I KNOW, if I want loyal readership I have to keep up with my posts. This summer has not been as productive as I had hoped it would be due to uncontrollable distractions and we all know how well I deal when things don't go as planned.

Don't worry this post isn't only to let my readers know that I have not given up on re-using and blogging about it... no. This is also a request for pictures... from all those lucky recipients of a certain congrats-for-graduating present (you know who you are) so I can post something without actually making anything in the meantime. SO, if I don't get pix now, it's YOUR FAULT for the lack of posts on my blog.

thanks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

moving...

My computer, sewing machine, and all other general crafting supplies are packed up in boxes awaiting my move. I hope to be able to blog again soon. Although it looks as though this process might take a bit longer than expected, I am lucky to be able to stay with my parents as long as I need. Oh, and my grandmother is also visiting this month. I'm so lucky to be able to spend so much quality time with her.

Anybody feel like margaritas???

Monday, July 7, 2008

a comfy workspace...



I enjoy my workspace a whole lot.  My brandy new desk (thank you for helping me shop for it) has a drawer to hold my keyboard with a drop-down front.  I need to be comfy whilst writing an infinite number of 25 page research papers.  Mission accomplished with this baby!  However, the "drop-down" part was a little too much down for my hands' heels.  I don't know why I thought I could make my own wrist support for my computer keyboard... but I thought it, and I did it.

I save cardboard boxes that the recycle-man does not pick up at my house.  By cutting one up into rectangles of various sizes, and stacking them pyramid style, I was able to create a base.  I again went to my old jewelry gift boxes containing cotton cushions to create the padding for the top of the hand rest.  


I was not fancy with the construction on the inside as I was certainly in a hurry to get this hand rest finished so I could comfortably write my master pieces... 

get it?

You are probably getting sick of the fabric used for the outer slip cover, me too; however, it matched all my Mac gear + sewing machine.  It's really soft too, despite the fact that it melts sometimes.  So there ya go.

 


Old cardboard box + toilet paper storage coverlet + gift box cotton cushions + stringing wire = comfy-ness

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

jewelry pegboard for the imagination-impaired...

I like to see my jewelry out in the open all at once. Preferably right next to my mirror too. When I moved into sister's childhood bedroom, I admired her pegboard displaying pictures, bumper-stickers, police tape (??? I don't ask), etc... I also noticed some mardi gras beads hanging from the thumbtacks.

Of course!

You might recognize this fabric from the iPod nano cozy... previously used as a toilet-paper shelf cover. I have quite a bit of it left. (We liked to buy in bulk).

All I did was fold the fabric around the edges of a pegboard and staple it to the back a la staple gun from dab (aka dave). I left some fabric hanging off the bottom for hanging my stud earrings.

This genius extra-fabric-at-the-bottom-for-earrings idea was working perfectly until one of my hook earrings got bent. What to do? Let me take you back to elementary school...

EVERY year, teachers made us kids buy new notebooks for our new classes. I got used to the idea of getting more and more notebooks every year and continued this wastefulness all throughout high-school and college.... until graduate school when I became obsessed with reusing. I ripped out unused sheets of paper in old notebooks to use in binders, threw the used sheets in the recycle bin, and... what to do with the metal spirals?

Ta da!

Featured item: custom, one-of-a-kind earrings made by christine.

It took some wire cutters courtesy of dab, and some careful/purposeful bending. I attached the ends of the spiral by wrapping them around thumbtacks at the ends of the board. Now I have a nice way to hang my earrings so that:

a. their hooks don't get bent
2. they face forward
d. I don't have (as many) metal spirals from old notebooks lying around :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

iPod cozy (for the nano I never knew I wanted;)...

What do I need an iPod for? You may find this hard to believe but my brain is constantly reeling with thoughts. Enough so that I can pretty much keep myself entertained for a 4 hour plane ride. And my taste in music has gotten such comments as, "why would you BUY that*#$&^%?!" However, I have an iPod rojo now (courtesy of a q-toe pass-tell). And I love it.

Did you know that iTunes has FREE music on it? Now, when dave says, "You spent cash MONEY on THAT#!^$?" I can reply, "No. No, dave, I did not." Then he'll stop asking me to pay rent.   

This cozy was NOT my second sewing project but it is, however, the second one that has actually been COMPLETED. I suffer from Cantfinishwhatistart Disease (CD). The final piece of the cozy was added moments ago with much frustration attached. In true G-ma B spirit, I SHOULD HAVE thought about what type of fastener I wanted to use and how I was going to attach it before I got to the point where I thought, "Shooooot.... it doesn't close."

I am getting ahead of myself.

I "reused" some fabric that was formally used to cover my toilet paper storage shelf from my college apartment. The fabrics on the inside were store bought for an old project that turned out quite juvenile looking so I'm not going to talk about it. I wanted some padding for the iPod so... the pieces of fabric in the pocket holding the iPod were sewn around a cotton cushion from a small cardboard earring gift box. It just so happened to be almost the exact size of my nano! Neat-o, non?  

Before sewing together all the pockets, I DID consider this: What if I want to ever start exercising again and I want to bring my iPod?? Isn't that what people use iPods for? Exercising, right? I mean, if I have some straps on my cozy, I can wear it around my arm like those exercising iPod owners do and listen to music while I, you know, exercise... okay okay, perhaps if I sew on these straps, I might start exercising because my god I spent all this time sewing straps onto this damn cozy! (See what I mean about the constant thinking??) So, here are the silly little straps that allow me to attach my cozy to my arm. 

Oh, and another symptom of CD is failing to make the attachments for projects that have been started (and possibly finished but not likely), like the actual strap to fit around my arm. Now that I've told you all about it, be on the lookout for it. This blog has been like therapy for my CD :) 

Now, about that fastener. I wanted to use velcro... I have some lying around... I didn't want to go to the store to BUY MORE STUFF... however, velcro was no longer an option since there was NO WAY I could iron on the pieces because:

1. the piece that needs to be attached to the outside of the pocket could not be ironed on after construction because there are 5, count them, 5 layers of fabric and 2 layers of cotton padding between where the velcro would need to be and where the iron would need to be.

2. the white fabric is NOT iron-able. It has some ridiculous fiber in it that... ehem, melts. Stop judging me.

After much wallowing about my carelessness, I gave up and used the iron-on velcro. I know what you're thinking... I thought you said there was NO WAY the iron-on velcro could be attached?? Well... I sorta still feel that it won't stay put.... It stuck onto the flap well (because I MADE SURE the iron never touched the melt-able fabric). The opposite piece... on the pouch... needed to be hand sewn on. Even after I turned the cozy inside-out, two layers of fabric, and one layer of cotton padding was enough to block the heat of the iron from the toxic stickiness of the back of the velcro. Go fig. It wasn't sew-on velcro (not even close) so hopefully it will stay put... And now, some views of the FINISHED product.





Wednesday, June 25, 2008

don't freak out...

I'm still getting used to the whole blogging world so forgive me if posting two days in a row is... shall I say... taboo.

I can't resist showing off my new baby brother and baby sister... :)


video

(technology is difficult for the babyboomer generation.... ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

must start somewhere...

I was so lucky to make such great friends at grad school.  One friend in particular was able to inspire me to begin sewing. Turns out, I'm pretty crafty. I'm thinking about putting it on my resume.  The real inspiration came at a transitional period in my life, where I was moving ... get ready for it... back in with my parents.  I know. 

She made me a wonderful little gift (disclaimer: not actual gift) that was so simple in idea and construction, but so immensely thoughtful that I was blown away.

 (actual gift)

These little recipe pouches were just what I needed to keep my recipes organized and accessible, all the while giving me a cute way to display them. It was perfect for my very first sewing project. I was able to use some fabric that I bought years ago in my college days that sat in my childhood bedroom, until now. My stitches could be straighter and I could have ironed my seams better but I am pretty damn proud of my first steps.   

Can you tell??

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

update

Just in case anyone was getting worried, (I was for a second there...) I have finished my papers for this semester and handed them in.  Be on the lookout for some serious blogging.  

Friday, April 25, 2008

introductions

Can you believe it?!

You HAD to have known that I was going to create a blog during the rush to get final papers done. I surely did. I know it's probably a bad idea but I am hopeful that blogging will get my writing juices flowing just long enough to inspire me to write something useful... I know what you're thinking... everything I write is useful. Right?

Anywho, I have been hording all my creations in a big pile in my room so that they will be handy when I can blog about them. No, I still don't have a camera, however dave (page 4, bottom right) is gracious enough to let me borrow his. I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am ;)