Sunday, May 25, 2014

And the Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who had a look at, thought about, and wrote down some ideas for what to do with the mystery fabric in my first U Pick 'Em. It was definitely a toughie!

Jennifer had the most do-able idea for me: a man's apron with matching towel. If there is fabric left to make Heidi's wallet idea or Marie's something-boat-y idea I will let you know!

Congratulations, Jennifer! You'll have to let me know whether you prefer a gift certificate or a set of snack bags, and if you like the snack bags, which ones you prefer. Here are some photos of the latest ones; there are many more fabrics to choose from!

blue and orange

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Little Spring in Your Step!

I took some photos the other day of the springtime flowers in our garden. We live quite close to a giant refrigerator called the North Atlantic Ocean, so we get spring very late, even later than other parts of our own town. It is usually quite cool around our house until mid-June. The plus-side is that it is much less hot here than elsewhere in July and August, so we can actually enjoy, say, lunch outside. But for now our flowers are still just waking up.

Enjoy, and Happy Spring!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

U Pick 'Em Contest

It's my first contest on LilaCreates! 

When I was in college my coach used to have U Pick 'Em Fridays in the fall season (crew is a three season sport). This meant that we, the lowly rowers, got the chance to assign ourselves to the seats in the boats rather than having him pick the line-ups. Then he made the boats race each other. There was quite a fair amount of pressure because you had to think about how he thought about everyone, which of course he never actually said out loud, so that you could place yourself among teammates who would help you win those races. And those teammates were all your friends. Lots of psychology going on here.  

But this isn't like that at all. I just stole the name, not the heart-wrenching, nerve-wracking feelings that went with those collegiate U Pick 'Ems. This is all fun. So here it is: I bought this gem of a fabric below a little while ago at the mill. I only bought one yard because I was not sure how to use it. It is made of cotton sailcloth, which is like canvas or duck cloth only lighter weight. It is tightly woven and, though it feels substantial, it is also really soft. It does not stretch. It's got what fabric gurus call a really nice "hand." I think the pattern is super fun, but it is somewhat large. Each group of those rainbow things is about 7" x 8" (18 x 20cm). Each rainbow by itself is 1.5" (4cm) across. In the second photo below the fabric is draped over a square table measuring 16 x 16" (41.5 x 41.5 cm) The color is blue-green on natural. And get this! No one at the mill could tell me who designed it. I thought that was a little strange, but all I could find out is that it is a discontinued pattern by....someone.

So, the challenge to you is: What should I make with it? I'd like to hear many ideas: get creative! Ask your coworker. As your mom. Ask your kid. Send them the link. Please post your ideas--as many as you want--in the comments by May 24th. And if I pick your idea? You get a choice: either a snack sack set or a $20 gift certificate to use yourself in my shop or to give away. And I'll make the item you suggested and credit you in the item's description! Think of the glory!

So get moving. We've only got a couple of weeks for this and you don't want me to come up with an idea on my own, do you? Oh, and one more thing. Keep in mind that I don't do clothing for people because of the regulations, but I do feel pretty confident that I could make nearly anything else, given the time. If this goes well, I'd like to make it a regular blog feature with new fabrics I pick up. Please spread the word so everyone can participate, and so that I can continue to have these contests in the future!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Custom Work Makes Me Happy!

Hi everyone! We're welcoming spring around here. Finally!!

We've had a bunch on our plate here in our house the past couple of weeks and I haven't been able to do much blogging or sewing. But I've been working on a special order from a customer who likes to cook. She asked me to make some changes to my pencil rolls so that they would hold eating utensils--spoons, knives, and forks as well as chopsticks. So I made a new pattern with slightly wider slots and a much taller back. Now her utensils will all fit inside and still have a protective flap over the top. 

Those are our family's colored chopsticks. They are really fun. 
All closed up I think the roll looks really smart. It's going to be a gift for a friend of hers. 
Custom work is great for me because I really enjoy working directly with someone to help them get exactly what they want. I also appreciate the opportunity to develop new patterns and create new items. It's a fun challenge to tweak things or even to create completely new one. I also find it valuable to communicate with customers since I always learn something new, whether it is what attracts people to my shop or how they use the things I make. So keep those custom orders coming! 

Here are some photos of previous custom orders. 

A tween sized apron in pink and grey linen. One of my all-time favorite creations. 

A petite apron in a gorgeous pastel blue and white floral linen. 

A simple pencil holder in pinks and lime green.
The customer was going to attach it to a bag she was making for her daughter. 

Child-sized play oven mitts made with all the little scraps of these fabrics I had left.
The customer purchased a ready-to-ship apron in these fabrics as well. 

A pinafore smock for a toddler made with fabric the customer purchased. 

A child apron in fabrics I hadn't thought to put together! 

Two little tote bags/purses for the customer's daughters in fabrics she purchased. 

A pencil roll with a covered button closure instead of the ties. 

And finally, you can't tell how adorable this is from the photo, but it is a toddler-sized tie-back smock.
It is super tiny and super cute. The hanger it's on is a child sized hanger. Maybe that gives you an idea.