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Sunday, April 27, 2014


This project was a treat since I'd never made bridesmaid garters for a wedding before.....and they weren't just any garter, a pretty hybrid version that combined a vitage lace look with an elastic insert and gathered feel of a traditional garter....and to top it off it also had a truly contemporary twist by including a cute little hidden satin pocket for a "pocket shot".  Just enough liquid libation for a toast with the bride during that special "getting ready" time with her eight gal pals.
I was able to find a perfect color match (to the bridesmaid dresses) for the stretch lace on etsy....they call it sangria.  Very deep burgundy, just perfect for a September wedding.  The satin I found at a local JoAnn fabric store.

The finished dimension of the garter is 2" wide.  So my cut dimension was 5" wide and however long I needed it based upon the girl's thigh measurement.  The 5" width allowed for one folded edge and the other edge had a 2" seam allowance the full length of the garter.

I found the pocket shots at a large liquor store in town, (not your Mom and Pop variety of liquor store) and used the sample to develop the dimensions for the pocket.  I chose to sew the pocket behind the garter itself for a few reasons.  1) It secured the pocket shot against the leg versus having the weight of the liquor pulling the pocket down on the outside of the garter, 2) I understand the bridesmaid dresses are very tapered so I didn't want to add any extra bulk around the thigh and finally, 3) the idea of liquor in the garter dates back to the days of prohibition when the ladies literally tucked a flask behind their garters; so I wanted to preserve that history in my design.

It had fun putting these together and adding some decorative touches to make them unique and sexy.  Can't wait to get the pictures with all the girls together.  Oh yeah....I'll be able to do that since I'm the second shooter for the wedding!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


My Mother-in-Law recently celebrated a significant milestone birthday and I wanted to do something special in honor of this important event.  I mean after all, who knows how many of us may make it to celebrate 80 years on this earth and not only did she make it, but she's been very healthy along the way!

I opted for a personalized gift basket with a number of treasures commemorating her special day.  Let me show you what I put together.
1.  New York Times Jigsaw Puzzle
     This was cool, you can find it online.  It is the actual front page of the paper on the day you were born.

2.  Movie
     "It Happened One Night",  the Academy Award Winning movie for 1934.  Starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

3.  1934 "Remember When" booklet

4.  Ritz Crackers
    You guessed it, they were first introduced in 1934!
    (I really love the small boxes of crackers you can get at Walgreens)

5.  New York Times crossword puzzle book
     My mother-in-law religiously tackles the crossword puzzle in the weekly Sunday paper.

6.  Wine
I bought two bottles of wine; one red and one white and made personalized wine labels.   I did this last year for my daughter/son-in-law's 1st wedding anniversary.  I decided to finish them off with "wine bottle sweaters" made from leggings.  I bought the leggings on line and then sewed the bottoms closed and added a bow!

7.  Eight Decades of Music
I put together a compilation of eight decades of music on CDs; including personalized CD sleeves and labels.

I had so much fun putting this idea together.....I love being pampered on my birthday; in fact, as I get older I like to celebrate my birthday on more than just the day.  If it's in the middle of the week, I celebrate the weekend before too!  My husband on the other hand, wants his birthday to be treated as any other day of the year.  So, he wasn't much help.....but, I will share that he was very touched with the amount of thought and time I put into making his Mom's birthday extra special!

Friday, April 11, 2014


My daughter mentioned she was looking for a tote bag that she could use to take items with her to client meetings.  She had been juggling photo albums, brochures and a laptop and wanted to be a bit more organized.  Once I started playing around with my Silhouette machine and chatted with her about all the things the machine can cut, the idea of a heat transfer took shape.  How cute would that be to carry a tote bag with your very own label on it?

In the beginning, I was just going to make the transfer and iron it on to a purchased canvas bag, but I decided to make a more stylish tote that would be extra special.  All the details for creating the tote can be found on the MakeIt-LoveIt blog (I've been following Ashley for a couple of years now).  So, I will let her step you through the supply list and sewing if you need some guidance along the way. She is really good about step-by-step details.  I on the other hand, get going into my projects and forget to take pics along the way!
I did choose to add a couple of design modifications to this tote.  First, I added an inside pocket to the basic design; I thought it would come in handy (finished dimensions 8x8).  I also strengthened the straps by sewing a strip of 1" wide canvas trim right on top of the fabric handle.

I have to tell you that whenever I try something new on my Silhouette, I say a prayer, cross my fingers and toes and hope that it works.  In most cases, I do a dry run on regular copy paper to test things out, which I had done in this case so I knew my shape was good.  But again, I had never cut on heat transfer vinyl, so I didn't know what to expect.  Heat transfer is vinyl one one side and a clear plastic sheeting on the other.  One of the tricks is to reverse the design in the software program so that it is backwards when it prints through the machine, that way when you peel away the vinyl and place it face down on your fabric it is right side up!  Once I stripped away the excess vinyl I had a beautiful logo (yes, I forgot to take a pic) ready to be ironed on to the tote bag.

I will tell you it took some good pressure, a really hot iron and a good 45 seconds over each area (based upon the size of the design, I needed to do a little at a time) to get the logo to transfer properly.  It took a little bit of trial and error as I went to see that it was adhering properly; that means I literally peeked under the pressing cloth and attempted to remove the clear plastic sheet to see that the vinyl was actually adhering to the fabric.   But in the end, it turned out awesome!
To make it easier to manage, I ironed on the logo before I had attached the handles and the lining to the needless to say, once I had the logo on the bag, I couldn't wait to finish it! .

To make the flower I cut five pieces of the striped fabric in the shape you see to the right (flat edge on the bottom and kind of like an "m" shape on the top); I didn't even worry about them being perfect, since I was looking to make the flower shabby chic with frayed edges and such. I just hand stitched the petals together creating a couple tucks along the straight edge.

The center of the flower is a circular piece of the damask fabric; I fringed the edges by snipping all the way around the perimeter almost to the center of the circle in small increments (again, I didn't worry about each snip being the same exact size),  I put a couple of stitches right into the center through the striped fabric to secure it knowing I was going to add the glitter which would hide my stitches.

The very center is just a glob of fabric glue with gold glitter sprinkled on it.   I then spread some glue around on the petals by just using my fingers, and sprinkled glitter over that to give some added highlights. (My daughter's accent color is a glitter gold)

Doesn't it look awesome!  I am so pleased with the finished product.....I can't wait to give it to my daughter and see her reaction.   It truly is an easy project, I finished this little baby in about 2.5 hours time.  That literally is from start to finish... from cutting the fabric to sewing it together, including cutting and applying the heat transfer and adding the flower.

This might very well make the Christmas list for a couple of unsuspecting folks....Heck, I just might have to make one for me!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Now I realize that there are so many options available for listening to music these days that the idea of CDs may be waning.  But. I would argue when you want to create a unique gift for someone, this is definitely a creative idea. For instance, how about a collection of love songs as favors for your wedding guests, a collection of lullabies to give the expectant Mom at her baby shower, or a collection of songs for someone's birthday?

I chose to do just that as one of the gifts for my Mother-in-Law's 80th birthday. I put together music from each of the decades of her life (1934-2014) and called it "Eight Decades of Music".  I had a really tough time narrowing down the final song list; in fact, I ended up with five CDs of music! ended up being about six hours of music; anywhere between 6-10 songs from each decade.
From a packaging perspective, I decided to make custom CD labels and sleeves and then packaged them   in a cute little box.   I know...I know....I didn't need to make both labels AND sleeves, but I wanted to.

I used the Memorex-exPressit Label Design Studio for the CD labels....the labels load right into your printer and the software has some templates to choose from or you can create your own.  I actually played around and created my own for this project.

As for the CD sleeves; I created my template in Microsoft word using a commercial cardboard sleeve as my pattern.  I measured out the dimensions, and went to town. Once I had my dimensions and folds just right, I then added my artwork to the layout.  I bought some cardstock and then printed my design right onto the cardstock; cut it out and glued them together with a glue stick.

I'm really happy with the finished product...from the music, to the labels/sleeves...even the perfect little box I found at the Container Store!

What's totally cool is I downloaded a bunch of songs I didn't have; and these are classics (Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Duke Ellington, Etta James, etc.) so my own music collection has grown...and many of these songs bring back fond memories since I remember hearing them playing on Sunday mornings when I was growing up.

I remember Sundays as our big breakfast day...usually pancakes and pork sausage patties, the aromas wafting through the house, with the big stero console in the living room playing a stack of LPs (Big Band, Broadway Showtunes).  That sucker even had an eight track player in it!  I know....if you didn't already know my do now!  Awesome memories.......