Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something to savor....

Here's a sneak-peak at my next tutorial.  It is a simple envelope-style wristlet that can be embellished in endless ways for a variety of different looks.  I'll give you the pattern and directions, but the decoration is up to you!  I'll post this next week.  But in the meantime, you'll need to locate a scrap of vinyl at one of the garage sales I know you'll be attending this weekend. 

I'm headed out to my annual family reunion, so I'll be gone until Monday.  The family in question is my late maternal grandmother's family.  They are Serbian (well, I am too!), and proud of it! Imagine a bunch of dark and handsome men with deeply dimpled chins and their female counterparts camping and fishing in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana as if they were little brown bears themselves.  While pale and freckly me and my red-headed children reapply our sunscreen and get our fishing tackle stuck in trees!   The best thing about my Serbian family, is they strive hard to make everyone feel welcome and you need not be "blood" to be "family".  Many of the regulars at these reunions are not blood relatives.  We have a history of taking strays into our fold and love them thoroughly nonetheless...

In the meantime, please check out all my posts and pages and leave me lots of comments!  I would love to return home from a weekend of camping to find my inbox full o' feedback!

Goodbye in Serbian is zbogom or dovidjenja.
Good morning is  dobro jutro.
Good night is laku no'c.

Happy crafting and big Serbian hugs from Montana!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Romantic velvet purse with metal frame

You can see the tutorial for this purse here.

My very talented and beautiful cousin, Jennifer, is going to be married in September! (squeal! I LOVE weddings!)    Now, Jenn is a very skilled jewelry designer and is making all the jewelry for the bridal party, but she asked me to make her bridesmaids and flower girls some little handbags.  YES!!!  I have always wanted to do this!  What should I make?  What size? Shape? Fabric?  So many possibilities!  I have a board all set up for it on pinterest.  

After lots of looking, I have decided to use metal purse frames with the balls on top that you twist and untwist to open and close.  (They must have a special name, but I don't know it yet. . . ) Anyway, Jenn has chosen a light minty green paired with black and silver for her wedding colors.  (Squeal again!  Green is my absolute fave!!!!)   

It's an evening wedding so I am thinking I can go a little darker and sexier, but still keep it classic and tasteful.  So, I settled on a silver velvet.  What do you think?  Will it work?  Would you like a silver velvet purse with a metal frame?  Just in case you would like one for your very own, I made a great big easy-to-follow-tutorial that you can find right here! 
What I came up with is a bell-shaped purse with a flat bottom.  It is sleek and unfussy.  It is just crying out to be decorated and embellished with fabric flowers or vintage broaches.  The tutorial I created allows you to modify your purse to meet your specific aesthetic and space needs.  I do hope you'll try it and tell me how it turned out. 
Thank you so much for checking out Ricochet and Away!  I love to see the numbers of pageveiws increase throughout the day, and I truly appreciate those of you who take the time to make a comment and/or become a follower.  Thank you!
Happy crafting and hugs from Montana!

DIY purse with a frame....

First things first:  this is NOT as hard as you think it may be.  Second things second:  I'm sure there are pre-made patterns for constructing a purse with a frame out there, however you don't need one.  You are going to learn how to make one all by yourself!  Cool, eh? Third things third: I wrote the instructions with the beginner in mind, but the seasoned sew-person could probably do fine with just skimming through the pics. 
Purse frames are now available at most big label craft stores for around $6-10, but be sure to bring in your 40% off coupon!  The frame I'm using in this tute is one that has little holes along the all the outside edges.  The holes are for hand-stitching the frame to your bag.  (Don't freak out about the hand stitching!  The evenly spaced holes keep all the stitching neat and tidy.)  There are other frames without holes that require you to glue and crimp the frame with pliers, but don't buy one of those for this tute.  Now, lets get cracking!

Freezer paper (because it irons on and pulls off easily) works best for making little patterns right on your ironing board, but really you can use any kind of paper. 
Straight edges are crucial, but a combo of your measuring tape and the edge of a book will work in a pinch. 
Something to write with:  I use metallic gel pins for all my pattern making, but they don't photograph well.  So, you'll see I used Sharpies and highlighters. 
You'll need some outer and some lining fabric.  Think lush and chic and rich and precious!  You won't need much (I'd guess 12"x24" squares of each would be more than ample.) and that means you can either raid your larger sized scraps or splurge on something new! 
Besides the given sewing machine and coordinating thread, you'll need some strong, heavy-duty thread for the hand stitching as well as a sturdy, but not too long sewing needle.  (A really long needle is hard to maneuver through all those little holes.) 
And let's not forget the purse frame!

1.  Iron your big sheet of freezer paper right onto your ironing board.  Unless you want an asymmetrical, wonky purse,  you need to start with some precise(-ish) guidelines. The dotted lines in the picture up there are my guidelines.  The lines are perpendicular (math-speak for they intersect creating 90 degree angles) to each other.  One guideline is your center (the horizontal dotted line in the pic above). 
2.  Take your frame and center it on your center guideline and square it up with your perpendicular guideline.  Trace the OUTSIDE edge of your frame.  Note: I used a square-ish shaped frame, but a curvier one will work just as well.  
 3.  The length of the pink line in the drawing is totally up to you.  I chose 7" because I knew I wanted the height of my finished bag to be at least twice as tall as my purse frame.  Essentially, it is the distance between the top of your purse frame to your bottom seam.  YOU'RE the pattern-maker, so you decide. 
4.  You find the width of the base by doubling the width of the frame.  My frame was 6"(shown 3"+3" in the pic above) wide so my base was 12"(shown 6"+6" in the pic above) wide.  If you really want your purse to flare out at the bottom, add more inches. 
5.  Draw a straight line from your hinges to the edge of your base.
6.  Add your .5" seam allowance (not shown) all the way around your shape, cut it out,
and you're DONE!

If you used freezer paper, you simply iron on your pattern to the fabric you want to use.  I usually just cut it out with the pattern still attached (no tracing!) or you can easily chalk around your pattern first and then cut it out. 
You'll need:
2 pieces cut from your outer fabric
(I used a silver stretch velvet---uggh! Pretty, but avoid knits if you can.)
2 pieces cut from your lining fabric
(I used a light green satin)

After you've cut out your pieces, make a little snip (less than .5") in each piece right where the hinge on the purse frame will be.

Put your pieces right sides together and stitch around the edges, using your .5" seam allowance.  Start and stop at the little snips you made, leaving the area where the purse frame will be unsewn.  Leave an opening in the lining fabric as shown in the insert pic.

Because stretch velvet is such a pain to work with (I tell myself every time that I'll never use it again...) I am showing this step using only pics of the lining.  But you'll need to do this to BOTH the lining and the outer fabrics. 
First, press all the seams open.  Next, match up the side seam to the base seam.  This is a little tricky, but be patient and try to match up those seams precisely.  Once you have it, iron it down to help keep 'em lined up.  Measure 2.5" down from the corner and draw/mark a straight line across.  Stitch across that line and trim off the corners.  You just gave your bag a flat bottom and sides! 
It's now officially 3-D!
Note: the 2.5" measure is also optional.  Increasing the distance will make do 3 things: 1) your purse will be shorter in height because the side seams will be shorter.  2) your purse will have a narrower bottom width because you are shortening the base seam.  3) your purse will have a bigger bottom depth because the line you marking and stitching will be wider.

Turn your outer fabric so the right side is facing out, just like it would be in the finished bag.  Keep your lining fabric like it is, with the right side in, just like it would be in the finished bag.  Put you outer fabric bag INSIDE your lining fabric bag so the RIGHT sides are facing each other. (These are the steps where I always got confused as a beginning sew-er so I tried to be specific in the instructions.)   Match up all the corners and edges.  Pin the edges and stitch 'em together using your .5" seam allowance. You should have some little holes where you initially made the tiny slits near where the hinges will go.  Don't worry about sewing them up.  You can use them to hide your knots when hand stitching the frame.  Dig your fingers into the little hole you left in the lining and pull (or turn) out, essentially, everything.  Now all your raw edges are hidden inside!  It's like magic, right?!  The last step is to hand stitch the hole in your lining. 

Now you get to attach the frame to the bag!  The first thing I did was tuck the lining into the channel of the frame and tack it in there with some sloppy stitches in the corners and in the middle of the top edge.  This held the bag in the right place so I could put in the 'real' stitches, and you'll take 'em out at the end.  I used a double length of heavy duty thread, folded in half, and knotted at the end for my real stitching.  Ultimately, that meant 4 threads being pulled through each stitch.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I think embroidery floss would work even better.  Important:  Make sure you start with enough thread to stitch all the way around one side of the frame.  That way your stitching starts and stops at the hinges and you can hide your knotted ends inside the tiny openings there.
Look at the pics above to get a good idea of how I stitched it. 

After you've stitch all the way around both sides of the frame, come back with a seam ripper or tiny scissors and snip out the sloppy stitches.  After you cut the threads, tweezers work really well to pull them out.  Now you are seriously DONE!  If you are bothered by the stitches showing on the lining inside, your can trim down some piping and glue it right over the stitches, tucking it under the frame.  I didn't do it, but maybe you'll like the neater finish. 

So, now that you're done, you need to think about embellishing this cute purse!  I think broaches are the simplest solution and you can switch them up so easily.  But there are a million tutes out there on different ways to make all sorts of fabric flowers, and lets not forget buttons, beads, lace, etc...

Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded tute!  I honestly went back and shortened it up twice, but it is still purdy long.  I think the seasoned seamstress can probably just look at the photos and know how to do it.  But, I wrote this with beginners in mind.  I always hated getting stuck on tutorials that had vague instructions, so I hope this helpful to someone.

Before you click away to another blog post, I'd like to invite you to participate in:
We are accepting entries up to March 31, 2012.  You may still have time to enter!
Click the button above to learn the rules and enter today!

Thanks so much so checking out my blog.  I surly hope you like it enough to become a follower.  Hugs from Montana and happy crafting!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Amy Butler with a dash of Ricochet...

Before I start with my actual blogging, let me say that I really appreciate YOU!  I know there aren't a whole lot of you out there, but I know you're reading, and I love it!  Thank you!

Just finished a big ol' tote today and I thought I'd use it as a platform to gab about artistic process.  This tote is based off of Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag. 
Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag.
Fun, functional, and cute!
If you know anything about Amy Butler, you know she is a diva in the sewing world.  Besides her vibrant and often botanical-based fabrics, she has numerous patterns and colorful books that showcase her design.  My current Amy Butler obsession is with her Cosmo Bag pattern.  It is so stylish!  The shape is such a curvy and chic take on the everyday tote.  And it's so roomy, easy to carry, and full of pockets.  When fashion and function collide, you know you have a winner. 

One of my major flaws/traits is that I resist rules with an almost phobic vengeance.  I don't like schedules, rules, recipes, and yes, patterns!  It is not that I am too lazy or rebellious to follow directions, it's just that I don't feel comfortable with them.  I like things to be different every time I experience them.  I like to experiment.  I like to tweak and tinker and expand and edit my world until it is MY world.  I take "theirs" and make it "mine" and that's what I'm all about. :)

So as much as I truly loved and appreciated the Cosmo Bag, I could not recreate one.  I knew I would get way too much enjoyment out making it my own.  Plus, I had already done it once with my Amy Butler Hybrid Diaper Bag.  So, I was on a roll and ready to really put my hand to some designing. 

My muse was a cool pillow with a blown up brocade design on it.  I found it on a google image search, but it came from here.  I saw that pillow and thought that I could apply that to the side of my next Cosmo Bag. So, I looked up some brocade patterns and found one I liked.   I used my computer to blow it up and print out a poster-sized version. 

Hindsight is 20/20, and now that my tote is done, I see how I can make my next one even better.  You see, I centered the design on the side of the bag, and I think it will look even better if I apply it off-center next time. 
With the design centered like it is, my eye can't help anthropomorphizing that pattern and trying to make out facial features. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it to you. If you haven't made out the big nose and mustache, you have now and I've totally ruined it for you. Sorry! But maybe we can all take this as a lesson learned and not make the same mistake again. 

Besides adding the brocade motif to the front, I made some other modifications to the pattern.  For one, I stitched the side pockets to about half their depth.  Such a narrow pocket should never be so deep.  What if you drop a quarter down there?  You can barely dig your hand all the way down there to grab it, much less find the coin and fish it out.  So I made it more practical depth.  As for the interior pockets, I don't know how far I've strayed from the pattern in that area.  I just made the interior to my own liking and didn't consult the pattern at all.  Basically I made a half panel on each side of the lining.  On one side I simply put in some some Velcro and made a huge divider-pocket.  On the other side, I stitched in 3 pockets of varying sizes and depths. 

The handles are vinyl, but look and feel convincingly like a supple leather. Vinyl and leather are not materials that Amy Butler has embraced in her designs. But, big leather totes are so hot right now, I couldn't resist adding a splash of pleather myself.

<<== Here I am taking a terribly unflattering pic that is not doing the tote or myself any justice.  But, a girl does what she has to to get the job done.  Sometimes, sacrifices in quality must be made for the good of the blog.  Or maybe I just needed to stray from the norm and make this MY post...

Happy crafting and art-making to all my readers out there.  Please comment and let me your thoughts.  I would love to hear from you and promise to respond either in the comments or through email.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My First Ever Feature!

Pumpkin blossom from my garden.
Isn't that the most gorgeous
shade of orange?
The story goes like this:

One day I was looking at Craft Gossip, like I do EVERY day because I love that site!  Ever on the lookout for anything to do with purses, I spotted a tutorial for creating a summer clutch.  The tutorial is on Scissors & Spatulas and it is called Every Girl Needs a  Cute Summer Clutch

Modge Podging fabric onto an existing clutch?  Wow!  I was sold!  I needed to try it.  I needed to document my crafty journey.  So I tried it and took a lot of pics.  I formed my own version of the original tutorial citing Scissors & Spatulas as the inspiration.  Much like one band will "cover" a famous song, I attempted to "cover" a tutorial. 

The next thing that happened was I left a comment on Scissor & Spatulas' tute saying that I made my own version of the tute and cited and linked back to the original.  I got a response email from the blogger, Jen, thanking me for featuring her.  (Funny, cuz I didn't even know what "featuring" meant, much less do it intentionally!)  So Jen looked at my version, said she liked it, and said she would feature it on her "Feature you Friday" post.  So, I looked at her Friday posts and saw exactly what featuring is.  It is pretty darn cool.  Really. 

So, here it is 12:54 AM on Friday morning and I am still up.  Forgive any typos, please, I'm barely functioning, I am so tired.  I've been revamping my blog all day.  I even made my own menu bar.  HTML is seriously tricky, but I am figuring it out.

So, please, my faithful readers and followers, go give Jen at Scissors & Spatulas some love.  Her blog is very beautiful.  Her pictures are gorgeous.  Her craftiness is not easily surpassed (certainly not by me!).  Her attention to detail in this blogging business sets her apart--so please check her out!

I am certainly excited and eager to grab my first "featured at ____" button!

Now, off to bed for me!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The road to ugly crafts is paved with good intentions...

I will begin this post by saying I have a beautiful, recently remodeled, bathroom.  Well, recently remodeled if you consider one year ago as recent...  But alas, the walls are blank, and the pretty glass shelves (I just had to have) don't have anything pretty on them. 
Perusing the local dollar store one day, I came across these tall cylindrical vases.  Then, on the same aisle I found some pretty glass rocks in the same shade of blue as my bathroom.  Perfect!  An idea was born!  I placed the rocks in the vases and put some fat stubby candles on top and Presto! I had 3 very cheap looking impractical candles I would never light.  So, I put the whole shebang aside for several months. . . until I saw a bag of potpourri in the right shades of blue on a clearance shelf!  Yes!  Exactly what I needed!  Another idea was born!  So proud and intrigued of this crafty idea I came up with, I got out the camera and started contriving a tute for my blog.  I figured the whole world would be so impressed with my crafty prowess (narcissistic, me?). 
After seeing the results, I am less than impressed.  "What was I thinking?  I can't use this for a tute," I thought.  But, it was a funny experience and perhaps a journey through craftiness that others could relate to, so I made this little anti-tutorial.  I hope you can relate to my good-ideas-gone-wrong. 

So this is where I started.  Total investment so far: $5.  As I said, I had originally thought to add candles, but had some technical and aesthetic difficulties.  Technically, the candles wouldn't sit straight on the uneven rock surface.  Aesthetically, it looked crappy.  I wasn't ever going to light the candles anyway.  So I nixed the candle idea.

The potpourri I found on clearance.

Potpourri is made up of the strangest things. 

These blue-ish giant seed pod things were so ugly.  My daughter (4 yrs) wouldn't touch 'em.  I don't blame her.  They looked kind of moldy. 

I had high hopes that once I got those vases on the shelf in the bathroom, they would magically look chic and beachy and totally awesome. . . well, they didn't. 
The moral of this story:  The road to bad crafting is paved with good intentions.

Thanks for reading!

p.s.  In case you were wondering, yes, they are still in my bathroom.  ;-)  But if you like them, I'd be happy to mail them to you!  Honestly! 

I've linked this post to:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Modge Podge Upcycle

Here I am again, Modge Podging another purse!  Since my initial wallet upcycle tutorial, I have been scouring the thrift stores and garage sales for another wallet to decoupage.  I found this little envelope-style purse at a garage sale last Sunday.  The design was simple enough, no tricky angles or curved edges.  A perfect candidate for upcycling!

The original purse had a gold belt-like detail along the edge of the flap. I could have removed it, but the garage-saler who sold it to me suggested just leaving it be. She had a good idea, and I think it turned out great! Leaving that gold detail on the flap really ties in the gold chain strap. I gave her my card, so I hope she ends up reading this. :-)

Before I could get out the Modge Podge, I removed the magnetic clasp from the front. I used a razor to cut a slit in the lining and unbend the prongs. I haven't yet, but I WILL close up the slit by decoupaging a little patch over it.

I got out my little needle nose pliers, opened up the jump rings, and removed the chain handle as well.

I used the same decoupage techniques I used in my previous wallet tutorial with a few little exceptions. First, I put masking tape over the edge of the flap so I wouldn't mess it up.
I'm wishing I did that to the metal frame on the wallet I did.

Second, I didn't feel like messing with removing and replacing the grommet,
so I just didn't cover it up. It's under the flap anyway, no one will see it, so who cares?

The last thing I did differently was to tuck the edge of the front under
the folded edge of the back fabric.
Hopefully, you can see what I mean by the picture up there.

Three coats of Modge Podge later and my purse is nearly done!  One tip I could give you about the decoupaging process is:  if you are decoupaging something that will be bending or folding, you need to let it dry in the bent/folded position.  For example, I had to make sure the flap was down while it was drying so it would lay flat and not crack at the fold. 

Sanding out the brush marks and scratches is an optional step.  I liked the way it improved the texture of my wallet, so I chose to take the time to sand down this purse as well.  First, I used a 280 fine grit sand paper to take out the bigger grooves.  Then, I did a wet sand with steel wool (0000 fine).  Now, don't freak out, wet sanding will make the surface all milky colored, but don't worry because it'll dry nice and clear.  One thing that I forgot to do is let it dry with the flap folded down.  You can see from the pic that I got a crack when I tried to bend it later.  Don't make the same mistake!

The last step was re-installing the hardware. I had to cut some tiny slits with the razor to re-insert the magnetic clasp. Not too hard. I couldn't realign the jump rings as neatly as they were originally, but I managed to get the handle re-attached.

And so ends another Modge Podge Upcycling tute!  PLEASE comment and let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from you!  I'd like to end this by saying that I was inspired to do all this decoupaging by a beautiful tutorial posted by Jen from the blog, Scissors & Spatulas.  Please check out her blog and send her some love! 

Before I sign off, I'd like to invite you to participate in:

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

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