Entries Tagged as: sewing

Trying Something New

January 10th, 2012, Comments (20)

Last year at this time, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. I started out with a book and an old sewing machine and I made a huge, frustrating mess. I didn't want to give up, so I signed up for a class. I drove my pregnant self out to a small, local fabric shop where the owner was offering beginner sewing lessons. Sitting around a re-purposed kitchen table, 2 other woman and I learned how to thread a machine, how to make a lot of mistakes, some stitches, and came out of it with a simple bag.

Leaving the class, I was ready to do more, so I took a book (Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings) out from the library and used the patterns to create a pair of baby shoes and then a jacket, which was first modeled by a teddy bear, but made for Annabelle. I definitely gained a whole new respect for clothing makers! I also loved making little touches, (curtains and crib skirt) for the nursery, which make the space feel even more special for me.

This year, I'd love to learn how to make flower headbands for Annabelle. I've been gathering up the supplies and will post pictures here when I give it a go.

Learning something new really stretches and inspires me. I think it's good to learn something new every so often, even if it's not something you'll continue. You never know how trying something new will inspire your main creative outlet(s).

Do you have plans to try something new this year? How will you learn the new skill? What kind of supplies and/or support do you need?


April 27th, 2011, Comments (67)

There are still a few tiny touches to put into the nursery, but I couldn't wait any longer to share this little room that I've been working so hard to create. I'm in love with it (it's definitely my favorite room in the house!) and hope our little girl will love it too. I've shared where I got some of these items at the bottom of this post, just in case anyone is curious.

At first I was thinking of doing a yellow and gray nursery, but the hubster didn't think it was feminine enough, so I went with aqua and yellow. Looking around for inspiration, I saw a gorgeous nursery that used the Robin's Nest paint color with yellow and happened to have a very similar crib to the one we bought! So we started with the crib and wall color and went from there.

I loved adding all the personal touches along the way. Customizing and hand-creating items really made the space magical for me. I sewed the crib skirt and curtains out of fabric I found online and painted the sweet, simple wall mural of trees, each with its own bird and/or woodland creature.

I enjoyed customizing items, like the mirror and lamp, which I painted to match the nursery. I also loved adding hand-crafted items from loved ones, like the quilt hanging over the chair, created by my talented cousin, Kim.

Looking to put something in the space to the right of the dresser, I combined the idea of the hubster (to paint another tree) and my best friend (to hang a growth chart), and painted a growth chart tree with a little bunny rabbit. I love how it came out. I'm planning to use white cut-out leaves (or birds or butterflies) made of contact paper, to mark her growth on the wall.

Here are some detail shots:

I fell in love with this clock from Decoylab early on (they make the coolest clocks!), but it was a bit translucent and looked off-white on the wall. So I painted it white to make it opaque. Perfect!! I love how it also looks a bit like a round moon on the wall.

This clothesline was hand-crafted by my best friend for my baby shower. Isn't it adorable? I love the little "A."

Here are some close-ups of the lamp. It fit so perfectly with with the little birdies and was easy to customize with some paint and a white lampshade.

It was fun combining items and art, my own (like "Lucy and the Elephant" and "Owl and the Pussycat" paintings) and that of others (like the Amy Ruppel encaustic above, and the polka dot bucket full of fans from Judean), that I already had in my possession, to decorate the room.

I'm sure I'll be adding/subtracting and changing things up over time on the shelves.

And I had to share the little squirrel because he's a bit hidden, but so sweet. :-)

I hope you enjoyed the peek into my baby girls' nursery! We've got less than 2 weeks til my due date, so we'll soon be adding the best part: her!



Paint: Benjamin Moore Natura paint in Robin's Nest, applied by my step-dad (thanks, Gil!)

Crib: Babyletto Modo crib from Amazon.

Wall mural of trees, woodland creatures, and growth chart: Hand painted with acrylic.

Rug: notNeutral Seasons rug purchased from csnrugs.com

Curtains and Crib skirt: I made these myself with Premier Prints Suzani fabric in corn yellow from fabricguru.com. I used a slightly modified version of the Young House Love no-sew tutorial to create the crib skirt. I did sew the hem of the skirt, but I used her (brilliant) velcro idea for the top. There are blackout honeycomb shades hidden behind the valances.

Mirror and lamp: I purchased both at Home Goods and painted them to match the nursery. I changed the lamp shade to a simple white one.

Dresser, toy box, night stand, and bookshelf: Land of Nod (love their furniture!)

Nightlight: Oxo "Tooli." The hubster and I love this thing. It's super cute.

Baskets/buckets: The ones in and on the dresser (except for the small white one, which was a gift), book shelf, and next to glider are from The Container Store. The elephant bin next to the crib was a gift from my dad and step-mother, but I've seen them at Giggle.

Clock: Decoylab on Etsy (I painted it to make opaque white.)

Glider: Dutalier from Baby Furniture Warehouse (gift from my mom.)

Wall shelves: Home Depot. Artwork on shelves is by me! I'm not sure where the little bird/votive holders came from. I bought them for myself ages ago. The letter A was also a gift.

Mobile: Pottery Barn. I have to say, the mobile is super cute, but the music that went along with it was dreadful. We ended up buying a clearance mobile to change the music box part.

Art on top shelf of book shelf and hanging above it: Two paintings by me and "Urban love" encaustic by Amy Ruppel that I've had in my collection for years. The yellow polka dot bucket and adorable fans were created by my best friend as baby shower decorations. I had to take some home with me!

Clothesline (on the back of the door): Also by my best friend, Judean as part of a baby shower decoration. She hand-dyed the clothes and constructed them, which totally blew me away!

Any other questions, ask away!

Some small things I’ve been up to

April 22nd, 2011, Comments (10)

Keeping with the small theme, here are some of the small things I've been up to in the last week. I finished up a total experiment in sewing, using some fabric scraps I had from my first big sewing project, to make this little bird. He's perfectly imperfect.

My littlest pal (my best friend's 3 year old) and I made beautiful play-doh art (this was entirely directed by her.)

I've been taking loads of tiny photos with the Instagram app. If you use the app, have you heard about postagram? It's a cool way to get your instagram photos in hard copy, in the form of a postcard. I'm going to have to try that out.

I've also been putting the finishing touches on the nursery, including painting a growth chart tree which I'm in love with. Here's a sneak peek of it in progress. I promise to share photos of the whole nursery in all its glory very soon!

I also got a copy of the small and lovely new book by Patti Digh, What I Wish for You. I love Patti's writing. You can find my painting, The Unknown, on page 70!

I hope your weekend is full of small beauties!

Nesting Sneak Peek

March 3rd, 2011, Comments (22)

I've had the Nest theme on my list of possible themes for awhile now, but this month it just seemed so fitting, both with Spring around the corner and also my fervent desire to nest at the moment.

This winter, I've been learning to sew, so I put some of my new skills into practice by ordering some fabric and making some very simple valances for the nursery windows and a matching crib skirt. I didn't do much sewing on the crib skirt, as I followed the general guidelines of the no-sew version here. I simply sewed the sides and bottom of each piece and then used the nifty velcro technique suggested in the tutorial to attach it. Fun, simple, and easy!

I've also painted the wood frame of a beautiful mirror to match the room and I'm about to start painting some trees on the walls. I don't think I've ever had so much fun (or gotten so giddy about) putting together a space! I hope you enjoy the little sneak peek! I plan to have as much done as possible this month (some things like the rocking chair might not get here til April), so I'll continue to share little sneak peeks and a bigger reveal when it's all complete.

New Passions

February 12th, 2011, Comments (11)

I've become slightly obsessed with a couple new creative outlets. Things tend to come in waves with me, but for right now I'm feeling passionate about sewing and Instagram. How fun to have these new means of expression and creativity!

Sewing has been a good lesson for me in accepting imperfection, laughing and going ahead anyway. I think if I was too much of a perfectionist about it, I would have given up 500 times already. As I was making this latest project, a sweet little hoodie for baby from Anna Maria Horner's book, there were a lot of little mistakes made. The sleeves were hard to attach, I'm not always the best at sewing in a straight line, and I had to re-do a few things. I remember at one point thinking, "Um, I'm not sure this is going to look anything like a jacket at the end."

But I kept going, and magically at the end of it all, there was a sweet little baby jacket that I'm immensely proud of. I asked my blue bear to model it for me and he happily agreed.

Instagram (an iphone app) is another creative tool I've been enjoying. All the pictures above were taken with Instagram (if you join, I'm there as leah_art.) There's something about snapping pictures throughout the day that wakes you up to the tiny moments of beauty all around you. I love that. And it's fun to see the tiny moments captured in others' days as well. Times like this make me madly in love with technology and all it has to offer for creativity and connections.

Are there any new creative passions in your life this month?

Sewing Adventures

January 30th, 2011, Comments (17)

Here's the bag, all finished up. I was happy to get through this first project. I made a whole lot of mistakes along the way, but they were all good learning experiences.

All that sewing got me excited to try my own project. Using the Anna Maria Horner book I got from the library and some fabric I ordered online, a nice cotton outside and flannel inside, I set to work on making a pair of baby booties.

They're a bit lumpy, but for my first go, I'm quite pleased with them. Cute, eh? Next up on my sewing agenda is a baby hoodie.

p.s. The pictures above are from two different iphone apps. The top one is from Hipstamatic and the bottom two are from a super cool app called Instagram. The neat thing about Instagram is that after you take your picture, you add a filter to it, and then you can share it with your Instagram followers (much like Twitter) or post it on places like Facebook. If you join Instagram, you can find me under the username leah_art.

p.p.s. One of my oldest blogging friends, who I simply adore has set up this fabulous blog, La Salonniere: Interviews for the Creatively Curious. And her most recent interview was with me! I loved Marilyn's thoughtful questions. I shared a bit about my own creative history, my love of trees, and how I came to the style of leading I have for the Creative Every Day Challenge. You can read the interview here.