Monday, June 24, 2013

I See Spots

I went to a new (to me) thrift store the other week, and it was great. It was like getting to rummage through someone's closets.  This dress caught my eye. Normally I HATE polka dots. I have a strict "no polka dot" policy, actually. But these....are just different enough they have a loophole.

But wait, is that strapless? I don't do strapless. 

And even if I wanted to, I can't because LOOK...

It won't even zip up around my massive She Hulk torso!

Admission: I knew that when I bought it, it wasn't going to fit as designed. So I had sneaky plans and separated the top from the bottom, and pulled out the zipper. The tie became the new waistband and BAM now it's a skirt.

Much more wearable. 

There's a built in crinoline that doesn't really show in the pictures. It's got kind of a brown ruffle to make it poof a little. I'm not sure if that's going to stay or not. But I'm satisfied. So Fluffy!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


 One of the weekend's projects.

I can't resist a shirt that says science, because science is f'ing awesome.
However, like most things in the juniors department, "large" is still not big enough. So side panels to the rescue!

The side panels are kind of a hex pattern. Hex patterns are sciencey. They make me think of molecules.

I also made a purple sleeveless tee, but didn't remember to take pictures of that. And after I finished that and the other project for the week and finished tying knots and clipping threads, I cleaned the craft room. What a disaster. But at least now I can see the top of the table.

And while cleaning, I uncovered some stuff and now have two more projects on the list than I did this morning. DOH!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Watermarks, Stealing and Attribution

Carina from Polka and Bloom is doing a series on watermarks.  She started off with Four Reasons You Should Use Watermarks and is continuing with a how-to and I recommend you read it. (If you love Europe, color or embroidery, you should be reading her blog anyway, BTW)

I have mixed feelings about watermarks.

On one hand, I'm lazy. Well, not so much lazy as non-industrious about it.
Photography isn't my business. It's a nice hobby, but so far absolutely none of my images have ever made me any money. I haven't figured out how to make that happen yet. And since I quit making crafty stuff to sell, none of my images are depicting anything that is making me money either. So if someone steals my picture, it's not really causing my wallet any damage.

I know, not a good attitude and I agree.

When I make an image with a watermark, I have to save two copies. I like having clean media storage, and having two copies of one thing seems excessive and cluttery to me. And quite a hassle, since as I said a second ago, those binary digits don't make me money.


Stealing someone's images is BAD.
This means saving the file and then later representing it as your own.
This means posting it linking back to my image where it is stored and also stealing bandwidth.
This means pinning or blogging without a correct link or mention of the original source. (I can't claim to be perfect on this one on Pinterest, but I do try to make sure the link is right.)

Images are the new internet currency, I get that, but it only takes ten seconds to state where you found that picture, really. Pinterest even will do it automatically if you click "create pin" and put in the page address where the photo is.

So while pondering this week on this, I did a image search of some of my pictures. Lo and behold, some site had slurped all of my ribbon veil tutorial pictures for themselves. Direct linked to the pictures where Blogger hosts them.

The site is in a language I can't read (which also conveniently won't translate every time I try), so I can't tell if their intent was good or not. But it doesn't matter. There is no mention of my web address or my name or anything about that post at all. I put the effort into making the item and writing up a tutorial (to be nice and help out other non-traditional/crafty brides), and none of my effort was represented there. NOT COOL. Just because someone give you free instructions on how to do something doesn't mean that you have free reign to just eliminate them completely when you tell the rest of the world about it.

Needless to say, the originals got deleted (and do not show up on that site anymore), and then those images got branded and reloaded.

I won't put watermarks on every single thing I post, but I'm probably going to go back and do that for all my tutorials, because people apparently can't be trusted, even in the craft community. Just another thing to add to my "reasons humanity sucks" list.

Long story short: Give the creator of something their rightful credit.

Friday, June 14, 2013

7 Rules of Thrift Shopping

So I'm on a thrift shopping high at the moment (new stuff to make into other stuff!) and following up on something I started on Twitter this week, I'm going to share my rules for thrift shopping.

Rule #1: You can't go back and expect something to still be there, not even an hour later. 
I generally subscribe to the "Go away and think about it before you drop the cash" mentality, but this doesn't really apply to thrift stores, especially in heavy traffic stores! Grab it while you can (assuming it's not cost prohibitive) or regret it forevermore. I can think of quite a few items that I wish I had gotten at the time and didn't. A shrug here, some satin flats in Harrisonburg, a Calvin Klein drape sweater in Arizona that I bypassed under the misguided lack of suitcase space assumption. I've learned my lesson. Those regrets are on me. Don't let it happen to you.

Rule #2: Never buy secondhand underwear. 
Ew. Not even if you're going to use it for something else. Double ew. Don't....just don't. 

Rule #3: Know your time and effort limits for repair. 
Missing buttons on a jacket and small holes are easy to fix, and worth doing to make a piece wearable again. Some furniture just needs some cleaning or a quick strip and refinish. Don't pass up a thing with a minor ding you can easily fix. BUT figure out how much time are you actually willing to out into rehabbing a damaged item. Are you going to end up spending more to fix it than the cost of the thing when it was new?  Some things cannot be salvaged, no matter how hard you try. Also, avoid anything buggy. Un-infesting is too much trouble and you run the risk of spreading it to your existing non buggy stuff.

Rule #4: Keep an open mind about purpose.
You don't have to use that shirt for the intended purpose of being a shirt. It can become something else. Example, that baby sling that became a purse for me. Even if that dress cut is horrible, you can use the cool fabric for something else, or redo a la Marisa's New Dress A Day Project (and lots of others).

Rule #5: Know What's Worth Getting
Certain brands of jeans fit me better, and I will usually buy those every time I come across them. Hurley shirts usually have enough shoulder room for me. There are certain accessory companies I know put out higher quality stuff. That's not to say I won't buy a name I've never heard of before, but if I know something still has a long life left, I'll make the effort.

Rule #6: Be ready to dig.
Not all the good stuff is going to be just lying on top, easily visible. Look at ALL the jeans. If a print catches your eye, stop and look at what it belongs to. Look for fabrics that feel nice, and good classic pieces. I'm STILL wearing my gray peacoat that I found like 4 years ago (albeit with some lining repairs) for $6. Classic. People bury stuff in racks, either on purpose or being stupid. Make the effort to find them. Yes, it will take some time. Your patience will be rewarded.

Rule #7: Wash that stuff.
Not everyone is nice and washes before they donate. Something really might smell like R. Kelly's sheets. If it's dry clean only, either take it or use Dryel. A quick vinegar tinged wipe down is good for wood furniture, and you can bleach glass and plastics (like kids toys). Shoes get Lysol or vinegar spray. Whatever it is, there IS a way to clean it.

And if you think that this post was just a partial excuse to watch the Thrift Shop video, well...duh.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Vision Brought to Life

A while back I stumbled on this *thing* at the Goodwill. Kind of looked like a tube, but wide. Really pretty fabric reminiscent of a peacock feather print, but only about a half yard's worth. 50 cents, so I bought it.  Turns out once I got it home and washed it and looked at all the tags, it was a baby sling. Well, there's no need for THAT here, so the original plan of using it for fabric stood.  I just didn't know for what.

So I started sketching this bag, see.  I kind of wanted a crossbody bag, not too big. I like my pretty purses, but they all slide down my shoulder at the store.  Hey, what about that fabric? Sure.

I wanted a zipper pocket in the front. I wanted it in a specific place - a specific way. I drew it out. I plotted. I engineered this bag.

I ended up putting a pocket inside. Everything is lined.
I used my new reinforcing skills to add my new favorite closure, the magnet.
Last minute game time decision for interfacing.  The only thing I had to actually buy specifically was the webbing for the strap. And even that I'm still not entirely decided on - that might be modified later.

I spent time to finish this bag right, even knotting and clipping threads, which I DESPISE.

I'm also a little irritated because I oiled the Singer a week or two ago, and it decided to drip the excess onto the white lining when I switched directions, even though I cleaned it off like 27 times with degreaser. UGH.

Doesn't matter. This is my new favorite project.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bits in Blue & Green

A few quick things from the past week:

All that clearance Martha Stewart Mambo bulky yarn became a bowl. I like how the colors swirl and the black makes it look like a funky line drawing.

And I had to make an accessory for my new friend. Strap cover!

Remember that fabric, you'll see it again...