Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken Scraps Wall Art Tutorial

~ This project is fun and easy. Most of you probably have the supplies laying around your home. It is a great way to add a custom art piece to a room or a sweet personal gift for spring. I first made this project two Christmases ago as a gift for a lovely cook( Cinda) who has a vintage themed red kitchen. I had been meaning to make some more and to write up a the tutorial, but what is it they say about good intentions? any-who... the need has arisen to give another lovely vintage collecting lady ( I should say THE vintage collecting lady) a gift . She happen to mention how much she loved the chic in the aforementioned kitchen, so now I had my chance.... And it is spring... and it is Easter ...and I love baby chics!

chic pattern
fabric scraps
4"x6"picture frame with smooth surface
fusible interface
heat and bond lite
marking tool
one button
sewing machine(optional)


1. cut frame fabric. cut for strips of fabric to cover your frame. Mine measured 2@2"x8"
and 2@2"x6" to cover a frame that's surface is 1 1/4" X5/8" deep. ...I have stash of clearance sale frames I keep for quick gifts.

I think the best way to find out the measurement for your frame is to lie the fabric on the frame and cut a little longer than the depth but cut exactly the width. The 4 corners will overlap on the flat part of the frame. but will not over lap on the sides; making it easier to fold over neatly.
2. Attach the fabric to your frame.I like to use a big Ol' bowl when I am using modgepodge. I pour a little in the bowl then coat the strips using a brush in the bowl.I applied my fabric on the longest sides first, then the shorter ones.I did it like that to match up the strips in the ticking fabric. I made sure to try and keep any excess on one side so it would trim easily. I trimmed while it was still wet ...very carefully WITH CRAFT SCISSORS!! that I immediately washedSet the frames aside to dry, you might prop them as I did on little rocks.

3. Print the chic pattern . Just click and drag it to your desktop and print image to "scale". This chic fits nicely into a 4x6 frame. If your using a bigger or smaller frame adjust your chic accordingly.

4.Make your fabric chics. For the red chic I used a damaged vintage quilt square. For the other I made a small patchwork and cut my chic from it. You could also cut a chic from a single scrap of fabric and make this a no-sew project.
a. To make your own patchwork simply cut 4 , 2" x3" squares of fabric that are eye pleasing in combination. Stitch them together to make one 4"x6" rectangle and press.
b. Next for whichever method you are getting your chic; attach fusible interface, then heat and bond to the back side.
c.Arrange and trace your chic. Make sure your chic is on your fabric so that you get the look you want.I suggest if you are using the a patchwork fabric , to make sure the legs are not on a seam, this just make for neater chicken legs!trace the chic on the back side directly on the heat and bond paper , it won't bleed through.

5.Cut a background
. You can use the paper that came with the frame as the template for your background or trace one if you don't have that. I cut my background from one piece of fabric but you could sew together a background as well.
...like this one I made for Cinda with a bi-color field behind the chic sort of like a horizon line.(sorry about the glarey photo)

6. Attach your chic to the background. First lay the frame over the background and decide the placement of your chic before you adhere it . I like to add a top stitch around the edge of the chic, but the heat and bond will be enough if you do not want to stitch. I also like to attach a flat button at this point, as a little peeper.
7. Frame and hang your scrappy chic art!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rodeo and Reading

~Charley Pride, baby goats and cotton candy .....its rodeo time! To start rodeo week off I won tickets on The Country Gold Show, to see Charley Pride(!!!!) at The Star of Texas Rodeo here in Austin. We had already decided this was the rodeo show we wanted to spend our money on this year , then on a whim I sent and email over to enter the kvet giveaway and it was my lucky day! The show is Sunday, and I can't wait to hear this legend I have loved since I was a little girl.

~For spring break, burger and went to visit Houston, and she treated us to a day at the fair. The day was warm, lovely and brimming with cowboys and livestock. We were quite taken with the baby goats, and Burger got gooey with his first bag of real cotton candy.

~and now for the reading....

I am lost in the life of Edna ST. Vincent Millay, with the help of Nancy Milford and her book, Savage Beauty. This incredibly detailed unraveling of the poet's life is my favorite sort of read; historical, feminist, artistic and sexual. First Fig , rushes me with memories from my own fast bright years... With these few lines she inspired her generation to live fast and free and they in turn inspired many generations to come.

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-

It gives a lovely light!

I just started thumbing through this book, The Craft of Baking cakes, cookies & other sweets; with ideas for inventing your own. The title definitely lured me, with the subtitle sealing the deal. Although for now it is mine as a library loan, I am sure we will be adding it to our kitchen collection. I cannot wait to make the banana cupcakes with peanut butter butter cream...and for kg to make the milk chocolate hazelnut panna cotta. I love how this book is set up like a craft project book. It has basic techniques and materials outlined in the font and tips to specifically"build your craft" dropped through out the book. I was looking for a baking book that would give fresh flavor combinations as well as ways to explore and invent on your own( and succeed), and this book looks to fit the bill....yummily!!

~Last but certainly not least is ....THE new frock guide. A Valentine's gift from my ever supportive and thoughtful man, the Built By Wendy Dresses, has sat prettily on the trunk in the living room, collecting dust. March was full of pretty aprons but I have been dreaming of dresses. I have not really done more than a gentle Sunday morning pour over it and impulsively buy some beautiful cotton lawn fabric. But it did travel to Houston with me and I studied the wrap dress variation. I am thinking a new dress for Easter brunch? I am sure as usual this book will be an eye opening sewing experience. Wendy Mullin's books are required study for anyone green in the basics of garment construction. Her common sense sewing instruction and demystifying of pattern reading and usage put her books at the top of my sewing favorites. list. Get it!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


~I officially am super thrilled about spring. Probably because it has been 3 years since we have had spring in central Texas. I Like having a little time to be inspired by all the pretty flowers before they burn up( I am just a teeny bit bitter about last years horrendous heat and the loss of my best starter garden in at least 5 years) . Here are few of my latest renderings of spring .

~These are a couple of thank you cards I sent out a few weeks back with an order. ....They were probably my first flirtation with a spring palette

~These apple embroidered cafe style name tags, are part of the goddess apron series I will post soon.

~Next, I used my recently potted annuals, as a subliminal inspiration for the color scheme in this custom apron. I swear I was inside when I put it together, I did however pot the plants the day before.I was downright giddy the day I put all these scraps together. The small floral pieces featured on the bib and the pockets came from a vintage table cloth that is pretty shredded but absolutely gorgeous ...I would describe the shredded treasure as Very California fifties modern(!?)
~The ticking fabric (seen as at the waist here and used as the backing panel)is really finding itself right at home among all theses colors and patterns. I recently checked out Home Sewn by Kaarri Meng and although I did not do any of the projects, I was fascinated by the images and historical information about french ticking fabrics. This is a lovely book to flip through and just soak in.

~As part of of much much needed wardrobe re-boost I made this t-shirt and skirt. ....I cannot for the life of me remember where I got this sweet knit for the shirt . ....The FOE I use for the edging I got at a usual favorite on-line haunt. She has ALOT of colors right now.

~Speaking of Sewzanne's I got this lovely blue ticking from her as well, I made this skirt for myself. ~This is the first of my basic spring/summer skirt using my old faithful A line with elastic waist pattern;
*one of these+ a Tshirt or tank +flip flops=summer uniform*
This is at least the forth revamp of this pattern . ...This skirt is finished at the hem with a contrasting re-purposed fabric, FOE finished waist and one of the apple designs appliqued to the always needed pocket. Nothing says summer freedom like a nice sized pocket on an elastic waist "A" line skirt ..or maybe a fanny pack (hmmmm) could or should I bring that?
~It is so fun and easy to change the entire pattern by simply moving the hemline up and down, slimming or widening the "A"line down the sides or adding a pocket. I have even added a faux button panel down the front of a few. I will be stocking my store with variations in the coming weeks....or It is pretty easy to make a 3 piece pattern off of any skirt you already have and adore. So what are you waiting on????

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Working the yard on El Paso

~Yesterday it must have been almost 80 degrees in Austin!!!!! ...We even had a surprise spring thunderstorm that lasted no longer than 10 minutes! We were pretty bummed ( cause it seemed to be a wash out), that we had to pack in our picnic real quick and tear outta lil' stacy; but after the quick hard rain burger ran into the kitchen screaming " it s a sunny day ! it was raining now its a sunny day". ~Needless to say we high-tailed it outside to break up the soil and do a little planting and yardscaping. ~Burger and I transplanted one of our little strawberries into a taller skinner "pot" and he told it as he sprinkled it with water " I LOVE YOU".(chest swelling with mother pride) ~I planted the rest of our pretties we got over the weekend. I love using these olive oil cans as planters. They are so perfect and look bursting when you pot them. It makes me want to use more and more olive oil...or maybe find a restaurant that is tossing them. (hmmmm, will do)
~We planted our seeds on Sunday night and already we have germination.
...There was one beautiful causality which found itself at home on the kitchen sill. A perfect little reminder of the "Sunny day"!
~I am excited to be hosting a giveaway for Eco smart here in a few weeks. I will be testing out some of the products and have one of their bundles as a give away on here! I will keep you posted as to whens and wheres

Thursday, March 4, 2010

settling the nest

~We are really settling nicely into our new to us home. Now that the crazy moving during the holidays has past and most everything is finding its place in the space, we can start finding room for what we love.

....And as you might think
Sewing/making is of course high on the list. I have the most lovely space for my studio. It is a little hard to photograph but here is one view.You can see my new necchi girl, I love her so very much.

~Treating the windows is always a big deal to me. I like them all to be special, so I have been slowly making curtains for our new windows. This first curtain is an adaptation of one of my first ever curtain designs( made many moons ago.). It has a bubble bottom and I love that....I am thinking of writing up a quick tutorial when I make the kitchen curtains, much like this one.

~Speaking of kitchens...Our new kitchen is just wonderful. Over the weekend Kg and I (well mostly him) hung peg board and organized the stove top work space area. Across from the stove there is a huge counter space which probably caused my new years resolution;to bake more (really bake; like learn how to).

~Outside we are just starting. I have been cleaning up a little everyday this week. Burger and I painted some pots to put our lovely strawberry plants in. Spring always brings hope...hope some of our plants won't burn up by mid July. Luckily el nino delivered some much needed rain to central Texas , so we will probably not be so restricted this year on water usage. ~The best thing about the new nest is the extra space. Every room is just a little bit bigger. We also have 2 full baths(!!!!!!!) and the sun room( my studio) is a whole extra space, that the other place was totally lacking.