Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crafty Chica Brings Sewing to the People!

~I swear this is a review of Kathy Cano-Murillo latest book, Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter


~I have been very lucky. I noticed at quite a young age that I was an artist (not that I wanted to be an artist) and my family,friends and teachers fostered and supported me full force. ....At some point while studying art in college I noticed that everyone is an artist, just some people did not have the support that I did and therefore the confidence to find their own artistic path. I guess around that same time I started veering off into the craft world. I went to a fancy art school my first year in college. Only one year. It was not my bag . Art school seemed to me, in 1992, in Atlanta, to be a place of exclusion. I was way to into my fellow man to be so elite. I was more about art as a means to heal and communicate(yes a Lil hippie at heart). OK so that is a tiny bit of back ground about what I think makes great art and artist.

~I will say a little about craft Vs art here. I think I joined the craft team because crafting is less high brow than the regular old art world, Crafters seemed to me to be into pooling resources and sharing information(most of the time). Now with that stated I must admit I am on the artsy side of Arts and craft . I tend to barrel my way through processes blindly relying on trial and error (lots of error) and necessity often dictates my aesthetics...( like it is necessary to make a patch work skirt because the material I already made the skirt out, of is a vintage table cloth and it has been bleached so much that all the green areas are fraying).
~This is all old news I know the feminist art and craft art movement in the '70s and 80's has come and gone and come again; but still it is on my mind alot .

"…While many artists, especially sculptors and installation artists, are steadfast members of a “slacker” generation, Kiki, 52, embraces craft, the dreaded C word of the art world. In myriad materials such as glass, fiber and beads (some associated more with amateurs and craft-show practitioners than with professional artists), she has embraced a dizzyingly diverse vocabulary of the demoted, debased and despised–and she makes you like it"
chuck close

~I have become so comfortable in the craft environment I sort of forget there is an art world and to them we are just a movement in their greater scheme of things.
So when I come an artist/crafter who is blurring the lines between art and craft I get super duper excited and inspired. The craftyChica was one of the first crafty superstars that I ever came across. I was quite drawn to he imagery

...but even more I was drawn to her biznass sassyness(?). I loved that she had made a job for herself out of helping others discover and develop their creative core.

*fast forward here is the book review finally

~Kathy Cano-Murillo is an inspired artist and someone you want to be around, She is an incredibly creative soul who wants to share with you all her creative secrets to help you find your creative path. And she is freakin' Hi-larious ~Her latest offering ventures into the world of sewing .
Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter
I love this book it has so many creative and relevant projects. This is the perfect book for someone who has never touched a sewing machine( but has dreams of conquering one), however the projects are innovative enough to spark the interest of an accomplished seamstress. ~The chica is hilarious and heartwarming and seems to have a knack for luring out the hidden craft diva that lies slumbering in each of us. Her projects are so clever and they are things we all use and need. Many of the projects are reconstructions; She shows you how to use those pretty place mats and napkins that are too nice to eat off of, but you would love to showcase on your arm or couch. I came to sewing through reconstruction,( and bookmaking) and I feel it is less intimidating to turn something destined for the rummage sale into something cool and useful. There are also plenty of new material projects here. I found her instructions for very simple techniques to be quite impressive, sometimes it is the simplest things that tend to be over looked in guides. Also include in the book are other peoples inspiring tidbits... as well as some rituals to help you through the tough times.~ What is so great is that Kathy brings sewing down a peg or too. It is not some elite club that you have to go through a sewing circle hazing (although that is kinda a cool idea)in order to learn how to ease a sleeve perfectly (ease a sleeve?? ) You will find that the chica has overlooked nothing here and that through her simple ,clear instructions you to can uncover your creative sewing self.

~My crafty chica project.

I have been trying to decide on which project to try first I actually have a few going now but this one I finished first . Ribbon trimmed pencil skirt
I actually made my skirt but the project has you use one that is pre-made.(very cool and instant)... It was for a friend's daughters rodeo days at school. Isn't she tough as nails!!!
~The project is about using up your surplus ribbon supply (which surprisingly I really do not have much of ) Instead I made "ribbons" of fabric( because I have way way too much fabric ). The buttons here all vintage plastic . The fabrics were recycled and new. I also added a pocket with an appliqued chic because this little cowgirl loves my chics
~As you can sees the projects are quite adaptable and each one has several alternative ideas for the project to help get your creative juices flowing.

~As a final thought and an attempt to make this all seem like it makes a little bit of sense... Sewing is kinda like the Art world to me. I had to teach myself all I know( my mom was afraid~when I was a begging 8 year old ~to let me use her machine?!!!!)I still have a hard time reading patterns and I definitely only ease a sleeve by accident. A book like this ,Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing: Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter
Is a breath of fresh air into those back room sewing classes.
The Crafty Chica is helping everyday girls find the courage to pull that machine out and start sewing . It is not some elite club anyone can do it all you need is confidence (and a borrowed brother)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

pretty spring things

~Finally the weathers is settling into a temperature that I can tolerate. That means we will be taking up a space at the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market again soon. April marks our one year anniversary at the Market, and the return of Belle and Burger after the "long hard Central Texas winter". I am super excited about some of my new spring looks .

~I have several new skirt designs this one I am very keen on. I liken it to a woman's 1970's sportswear look; That sits on the hips with elastic rather than over the tummy ( I am into new century comfort, after all)
~It has a faux row of buttons down the front, from my vintage stash, all dark brown and mismatched ....I made 2 lil pouch style topstitched pockets with little scrappy collages on them. ~ It is a little longer than last summer's "market skirt " and has a little wider flow in the skirt. This skirt is all recycled materials.The fabric for the skirt itself was a table cloth . The pockets and button flap are from old beloved pair of jeans....This skirt has lots of little quirky extras because this first one is for yours truly. (usually the first ones are mine so I can work out the kinks, kinda like the kinks plus I am a little more inspired when making something to actually wear)

~I am also making this skirt in a simpler version with no pockets and an applique on the bottom . I will have quite a few of these tone down simple skirts ready by next weekend.

~I have also been a busy lil pantie maker. This tanks and pantie set I made with the last of my twin cherry knit .
The bottoms have fold over elastic at the waist and legs( I did not fold it over at the waist). They are a hybrid hipster /bikini...with a low rise but full bum coverage; very comfy. This set is for sale and is a size medium. I also made a pair of thongs (for my self) . They are patterned after a cheap Target pair that I love. The leg finish was a quick solution they are wearable but still could use some tinkering

I also made this cute sun dress I am dying to here are some bad bathroom shots. I have not added straps yet( it does not need them to stay up) but I will probably add spaghetti ties. The top edge is fold over elastic ...
...Then inside has a little lined bosom with flat fold over elastic sewn (and stretched) all around for a sort of empire waist. I will take some 'on' photos soon with the straps.
yay!! spring Is here but do not blink....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inspiration... Fleur T -designer silk and lace luxury lingerie

FleursT lingerie is absolutely gorgeous and every click lead me to more beautiful details that I am dying to try to mimic because I probably cannot afford to actually purchase any of these. I love the beautiful lace they use in this kimono.... maybe some thrifted lacy window sheers might find new life as a pretty imitation. Lalalalove the suspender skirted brief.

I am really into the suspendered brief . I am gonna try and purchase some of these little suspender notions and give it a whirl.(love nude hosiery ...I only have one pair of nudes, they are vintage , and real silk and stashed away somewhere (remember...must find those )
"Powder Pink Ballerina Suspender Brief - This beautiful garment is the epitome of romance with its handcrafted detailing. The back of the garment features a playful gather in silk georgette. Whilst the front has a hand finished georgette frill attached with a satin ribbon. The seductive suspenders are detachable so the garment can be worn as a brief."

~also I love the retro style 'Granny panty'
"Baby Blue High Waisted Shortie - This retro shortie combines a sexy look with ultimate comfort and flattery. The beautiful lace panels teasingly offer a glimpse of skin and the playful pockets can be left to your imagination!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Inspiration...The Natural Gardener

~Today Burger and I took a trip to one of local favorites the Natural Gardener. I felt a little like driving far away from there when I saw how many people had the same idea as us, but I had to pee something fierce so we found a spot to park and headed inside. Luckily all the other folks had come to buy stuff instead of looking at goats and chasing butterflies(?!).... It was lovely as ever and with all the rain last week the place was exploding with color .

~Burger investigates the rain water distributing system.
~We came home loaded with old fashioned petunias and inspired to do a little cleaning, planting and of course bug hunting! ~I have been taking baby steps around our yard but we have big plans for a family yard cleanup this Saturday.( not pictured daddy)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tsunami Cycles custom apron

I made this apron for a local bike shop owner/mechanic. It was very fun. It is has a double layered bottom both heavy canvas weight material.The oil can and wrench were adapted from free online clipart. The bib material is light weight shirting with canvas on the bottom layer. I made the spokes on the wheel with serger scraps. He has a great shop on south congress and is planning on having a booth at the Farmers Market, starting this spring for quick tune ups and such (brilliant).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yes I know it is spring...My pumpkin bread adaptation

~Muffins and breads are burger's favorite and pumpkin tops the list . So I make them year round. I like the zucchini added because that is the only way he eats it so far. I started using this pumpkin zucchini bread recipe almost 3 years ago. While making some bread early this week I realized, I had done gone and changed the recipe... quite a bit; So I am gonna share my version.
~I think my adaptation makes an extra moist(from extra pumpkin) bread that is a little lighter in texture and color thanks to the white lily. I actually stumbled on the white lily thing by accident . I was 1/2 a cup shy of regular flour while making some pumpkin bread and subbed in 1/2 a cup of white lily. I liked the result so I used it in all my muffin/ bread recipes. This time I decided to sub a full cup and liked the result even more. Of course this is optional if you do not have white lily just use regular flour and don't worry about adjusting the baking powder/soda . You will just have a denser bread which maybe what you like anyway! I always use fresh pumpkin if it is available but plain can pumpkin works in a pinch(and last week target had bunch of can pumpkin on clearance). I know some of my fellow bloggy ladies freeze large amounts of pumpkin so they probably have frozen pumpkin on hand.


* 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 white cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar packed
* 1 can of pumpkin or 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pumpkin
* 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup white lily
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 cup shredded zucchini
* 1 cup chopped pecans(optional)


1. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini and nuts. The original recipes says to Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until breads test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.
2. I make six muffins minus the nuts (burger and daddy love muffins and not nuts in bread so much). I then mix and match the rest according to what pans I haveon hand... maybe some mini loaves if I am planning on giving them away. I always make one big one and freeze it for later. The boys just work around those nuts. I use a tooth pick to check the done-ness since the different pans have different cooking times. A clean tooth pick is always my best done-ness indicator.