Cat Domination at Jewelry Bench!

Blogged under Projects in Progress,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Thursday 18 June 2009 at 1:32 pm

I have a list of jewelry projects a mile long I need to get to. Today, I managed to start working on one of the pieces, and this is what happened about half way through my attempt: Total Cat Domination!!

Now, to fully appreciate this, you have to understand that these two cats are 14 and 15 years old. This means they sleep about 23 hours out of a 24 hour day! But, the one hour they decide to be awake today is when I decide to make jewelry. Funny how that happens!

Here’s one of them giving Russ the Troll Bead from Rings & Things a little kiss. He’s been getting around lately.

Of course, I just waited them out, and soon they were back sawing the Z’s!

Sewing Project on Hold

Blogged under Projects in Progress,Sew Simple by Tammy on Wednesday 17 June 2009 at 8:26 am

Well, I’m sorry to say my sewing project is on hold for awhile as I try to figure out what to do. First, I goofed and didn’t realize I was missing a few pattern pieces. I finally managed to decipher them from the fold-out insert from the book only then to discover they don’t fit on my material! According to the book, Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching, I should need 1 5/8 yards of material that is 45 inches wide. I have two yards that is 42 inches wide, and these pieces aren’t anywhere near fitting on the fabric. Now I know I’m off a few inches in the width, but the difference is considerably more than a few inches.

I went over the to see what the reviews were saying about the projects. I did read there were issues before I bought the book, but after flipping through it at Barnes & Noble I knew I still wanted it (just at an Amazon verses B&N price). Most of the issues discussed were around the wrap skirt pictured on the cover, but I did find out that there are a number of corrections posted on the author’s weblog, so that was some help. In fact, one referred to the pattern I was trying to make, the “Summer Blouse,” but it was about a marking not included on the sleeve pattern, not about the issues with the amount of material required.

So I’m on hold for now as I figure out what to do. I really like this material from Debbie Mum. I’m not usually a yellow person because I’m so fair skinned that it doesn’t look that great on me, but I love daisies so couldn’t resist buying this.

My options are to go back to the fabric store and buy more fabric, if they still have this, or go back to the fabric store and see if I can find a pattern similar to the blouse in the book. I really want to make this now, dang it! I guess either way I’m making another fabric store trip, but I have to decide what I’ll do before I get there. Considering there are two problems now with this blouse pattern, I’m a little guy-shy about tackling it directly from the book. Let me say, though, I still like the book, and so did many of the reviews on Amazon, but there are definitely some technical issues with it. Therefore, it’s more of an inspiration and brainstorming book than an actual how-to book, which is not necessarily a bad thing (who doesn’t need inspiration now and then?) but it’s good to know this before buying the book.

Crafty Cleaning Today

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Tuesday 16 June 2009 at 5:00 pm

I did a little weblogging clean up work today and general maintenance. None of it was massive, but I like to keep my blog roll fresh. Plus, since I’ve been getting into craft podcasts so much lately, I decided to keep those links it a separate category, so you’ll see that I have a craft podcast section now under the blog roll. This makes them easier to find for any of my fellow pod-addicts out there. In fact, if you know of any good craft podcasts, feel free to add the URLs as a comment and I’ll take a listen to and see what I think and may add them to the list.

You may also notice a few links have been removed from my blog. This is because I noticed a few bloggers on my list seemed to have got sucked into the black hole of non-blogging for a time. Unless there’s some kind of awesome information on a weblog, I usually remove links if a blog hasn’t been updated in a month or so. Nothing against those who have take a break but that’s precious real estate over there!

Crafting a Curriculum

Blogged under My Crafty News,Projects in Progress by Tammy on Monday 15 June 2009 at 8:22 am

Well, it is back to the school salt mines very soon. I spend most of yesterday working on putting together assignments and a syllabus for one of the two classes I will teach this summer. It was hard to get into the swing of things for awhile since I had so many craft projects in the works calling out to me, but today I feel good because another day of hard work and I’ll be ready for school and still have about another week before it all starts.

I hope to have enough time to finish some UFOs and continue to work on larger projects such as…

Making children’s hats and scarves for Steven’s Comfy Toes, a non-profit group out of Nevada that collects and distributes warm weather items for children in need. The group especially needs items for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Pictured above are some I’ve finished using Lion Brand Homespun. I was hording it thinking of using it for a blanket, but this is really a good way to use it because this stuff is super warm. It’s challenging to work with though, so I’ll be glad when I get these finished and out the door! I only have a few more to make before I’ve used up all the yarn.

Making a top from the Weekend Sewing book I reviewed a little while ago. I realized the other day that I’m missing a pattern piece, so I’ll have to hunt for that, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll get that at least cut out today. I sure would like to have this made before school starts. Things get a little more relaxed around campus during the summer, so I can even wear it to school.

Making a crochet purse. I have it almost finished, and I plan to sew together a liner for it as well. I’m totally winging this, so I work on it, set it aside and think about it, work on it some more, and so on. There are lots of tutorials on the web on how to do this such as this one and this one. I adore purses, so hopefully, it will work out.

Making various jewelry pieces. I won’t list them all here because at some point they will be on my Jewelry Making site at, but I’ve got a number in the works including some silver clay pieces, some copper clay pieces, and a wire and crystal set.

Making up a new book proposal. I have had some initial interest from an editor but nothing solid. Hopefully, I’ll learn something soon on this, but for now I pretty much have to keep my lips zipped on details. For now I’ll just say that it’s not on jewelry making like my other books, so I’m trying to branch out a little.

Craft Bloggers Unite 06/13/09

Blogged under Around the Web,My Crafty News by Tammy on Saturday 13 June 2009 at 3:12 pm

Mixed Media Artist
Let’s do the twist! Cyndi demonstrates a fun way to paint fabrics with a surprise ending.

The Artful Crafter
Eileen helps a reader who needs to start her Christmas crafting early with instructions for a beaded glow-in-the-dark star ornament.

The Impatient Crafter
Ranger has a three day intensive university and Madge has the 411 after spending a weekend getting fully certified! Inky and crafty goodness was enjoyed by all!

About Family Crafts
Check out photos of home-made Father’s Day cards and submit your own photos to this gallery.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen offers you another printable freebie…a word sheet for you to download and use in your art .

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa shares several craft projects that she has every intention of eventually making.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has the latest episode of Look, Learn & Create featuring William F. Powell showing us some great methods of mixing paint colors, and there is an explanation of the different types of clay, how to plan a business, draw an outline for an illuminated letter, and finally how-to’s for beading and embellishing filigree jewelry from Karen and Ann Mitchell.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Have you heard of the book Weekend Sewing? Tammy offers some tips for making copies of the patterns in this new book by Heather Ross.

Sister Diane’s latest podcast is all about how to write a great craft blog.

Cross Stitch at
An unsettling project has Connie in a contemplative mood. What do you think of this project?

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen gets crafty with wallpaper! A review, how-to project and contest to win a copy of Wallpaper Projects.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Modern Sweater Surgery Toilet Paper Cozy Inspired by the new book- Felt Furnishings by Anne Kyyro Quinn

Sewing Project in the Works

Blogged under Good Books,Sew Simple by Tammy on Thursday 11 June 2009 at 3:48 pm

I recently picked up a copy of Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching by Heather Ross. It is a beautiful book packed full of inspiration and some practical sewing projects as well. While there are a few that look a little more involved than a weekend, at least for what my weekends are usually like, there are a number of projects I am thinking of tackling starting with a peasant style shirt called “Summer Blouse.”

When I first took a look at this book, I was puzzled by the weird drawings in it that supposedly (or at least I thought) you would use to cut the patterns out. I didn’t realize that all the items that required patterns were included in two different pulled out sheets located in the front and back of the book. Even then, though, when you first take a look at one of these, it looks like a crazy map to nowhere.

There were lines everywhere! And, the instructions in the text about how to tackle this sucker were less than crystal clear for me. Finally, I came up with an idea that seems to have worked so far. I took a highlighter and drew around each piece. (The blouse pattern only has two pieces.) If you look closely, you can see the sleeve is highlighted with blue and the bodice is highlighted with orange.

Then I took some white tissue paper I had in my wrapping paper stash, placed a piece over the highlighted areas, and used a pencil to trace around it. Now I know I could have used a tracing wheel and tracing paper, both of which I have, but I was concerned that if I goofed up I wouldn’t be able to just erase my mistakes. I’d have to get an entirely new piece of tissue and start over again. And, I had some success!

I ended up having to use two pieces of tissue for the sleeve, but my one piece perfectly fit the bodice. Here are the tissue pieces I cut out after tracing. They are on top of a cardboard cutting board, so they may be a little difficult to discern right away.

I think I already have some fabric that should work for this, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Introducing My Demon

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Wednesday 10 June 2009 at 6:57 pm

Recently, my DH and I watched the movie The Golden Compass(which if you haven’t seen it yet I really liked except I felt the ending really left you hanging, which I really did not like!) In the movie, the characters, who all live in an alternate dimension, have what they call demons in the form of animals that follow them around and are actually part of them and considered to be their souls. The humans and animals can’t be parted from one another physically for very long or at any great distance, or one of them can die. Of course, my cat Silty immediately came to mind as she was out in the kitchen calling for me half way through the movie (we have the cats in a different part of the house…long story). My husband quipped, “Your demon is calling you!”

She is now about 14 years old, and still pretty darn active when she’s not sleeping, which admittedly is about 20 hours out of a 24 hour day! When DH first brought her home, she was really a “daddy’s girl” for about the first year we had her. I was okay in her book, but I wasn’t him! She was also very quiet and rarely vocal compared to some cats. As the years have gone on (and I have of course cleaned her cat box, filled her water bowl, fed her many meals, and so on), the reverse has happened. She literally follows me around the house, greets me at the door, and constantly jabbers to me, especially if I’m not doing what she wants me to do. She is very bossy!

I love having my own demon. What about you? Do you have one too?

Fav Craft Podcast Goes Weekly!

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Tuesday 9 June 2009 at 8:28 am

I love a good craft podcast. I have searched the net for them, and while there are some decent ones out there (some of which you’ll find listed in my blogroll), I have to say that the podcast over at Lion Brand’s weblog called YarnCraft is my favorite. The hosts, Liz and Zontee, keep it light and fun, but they still pack their shows with solid information about yarn, crochet, and knitting. And, did I mention crochet? Yes, even though they both knit, they also crochet and attempt to give crochet equal airtime, which I can’t say is true for a number of similar podcast, many of which are knit only and thus don’t really appeal to me.

Another big plus to the podcasts is that there are two people talking, and I don’t know why, but I like this much better than one person yammering on and on with the occasional interview with someone else, if you manage to get that. I can’t really say why I prefer this. In fact, some podcasters I don’t really mind talking by themselves, but others start to irritate me when they seem to ramble too much or come off as unprepared, like they figured they would just flip on the microphone and wing it. I want to hear an organized podcast that actually has a point other than someone listening to themselves talk.

Recently, Lion Brand had a poll about the podcast and website (which I have to say I like as well and have downloaded many of the free projects and even done a few). One comment I made was that I wished the show was weekly versus every other week, and my wish was granted! To top it off, they have shortened the podcasts to 15 minutes, which I like because I can usually find 15 minutes during the day to sit and crochet and listen. More than that, and I feel guilty and will actually stop the podcast and come back later, if I can.

Take a listen every Tuesday, and let me know what you think. And, hey, if you know of any good podcasts you’d like to recommend, please include them in the comments section!

Craft Mom says, “I Did Not Teach You That.”

Blogged under Sew Simple,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Monday 8 June 2009 at 8:00 am

I was talking to my mom the other day about sewing and using pinking shears versus finishing off raw edges with a serger or zigzag stitch. She’s a pinking shears sewer, and hers had bitten the dust, so I got her a new pair of Gingher G-7P 7-1/2-Inch Pinking Shears as a birthday gift. I knew she wouldn’t spend the extra bucks on Ginger, so I figured it was the perfect gift. We continued to debate how to finish edges when she turned to me and said, “I did not teach you that,” sort of surprised by her daughter/craft-student. This scene started the following train of thought:

I come from a fairly crafty family. Some of our crafting was due to the joy of making things, but a good deal of it was out of necessity. My dad made a decent living, but I wouldn’t call us rich. While we were better off than most, my parents were frugal and careful (still are) when it comes to money.

As a result, my dad made much of the furniture in our house, repaired the family car, and was a general handyman, fixing anything from a broken Barbie doll’s leg to a clothes dryer. My mom was a SAHM who cooked, cleaned, chauffeured, and all the other million and one “mom” chores that most moms still do. Part of this included sewing for her three girls. In fact, my “princess” picture shows off some of her handiwork. Easter dresses, Halloween costumes, play clothes, even prom dresses were stitched with love by my mom.

We rarely wore store-bought clothes; even our school uniforms often had to be altered with a new hem or elastic in the waist back in the day when I was a toothpick. I did not appreciate the work that went into my clothing back then. Actually, it was kind of the opposite. The few store-bought clothes I had were rare and thus cherished. Some of it was due to the novelty of it all, but admittedly, mom sewed mainly for practical purposes. For example, she would often get one pattern that had multiple sizes and make three identical dresses in three different sizes for her three different sized girls. Polyester (a 1970s staple and nothing like what we have today) was her primary choice of fabric. It was inexpensive and easy to work with.

She was a self-taught seamstress who learned for her own practical reasons: As the oldest of five children, the only way she got new clothes was if she made them herself. Like any good mom during the 70s and 80s, she attempted to pass down her domestic knowledge to her daughters. And, I did pick up a thing or two in between jamming her sewing machine with thread and burning the occasional batch of cup cakes. I also learned some sewing skills when I joined a local 4-h club during junior high. However, my knowledge-base was solidified years later when a college roommate of mine (who is not only an amazingly talented stitcher but whose mom was a home-ec teacher on top of that) gave me a number of one-on-one sewing lessons.

During this time, I began to realize that I could make clothes that were better than “store-bought.” While mom gave me the nuts and bolts of sewing, my roomie taught me how to refine it. This included extra steps like finishing seams, hand-stitching hems, pressing after pinning, and covering shoulder pads (it was the 80s!) with matching material. These extra touches, along with the fact that my finished pieces were actually wearable, finally made it all “click” in me. I got it! It was an empowering feeling, and I understand a little more now about why mom took her precious time to make clothes for us. Today’s talk of “sustainability” was a way of life for my folks, and being able to do for yourself versus being dependent on others is a good feeling.

Win Art Travel Goodies from Quilting Arts

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Sunday 7 June 2009 at 12:00 am

Hurry up and get over to the Quilting Arts blog to leave your comment! The magazine has a number of travel – slash – craft related giveaways going on like these very cool bags. The deadline is June 9th! You can find the details over there when you leave your comment. Hurry up already! 🙂

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