26 August 2013

I Need More... Bow Ties.

I'm a lady who loves bow ties.  Love them on the silent-but-strong mannequins at Nordstrom.  Love them on Handsome Him (AKA my dashing husband).  Love them for the fabrics from which they are made.  LOVE THEM!  So, how is it that Lifetime's Project Runway read my mind and fashioned a recent episode (Season 12, Episode 4: Tie the Knot) around my obsession?  AND featured an amazing organization that promotes equality?  Fabulous!  Way to go Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

The winner deserved to win, no doubt about it.  But his design wasn't my personal favorite.  My favorite came from Dom Streater.  Did you see her dress?  So beautiful and so fresh.

And here is my HELLO!?!?! moment -- Did you know that MoodFabrics.com spotlights all of the creations from current Project Runway seasons AND the fabrics from which they were made on their site?  How many times have you sat on your couch, watching and wishing that you could capture even a tidbit of the essence of a contestant's design?  When I saw Dom's dress, I knew that I had to re-create it for myself!  But where to start?  Now I know!  MoodFabrics.com.  Wow-ee-wow, is this going to be fun!  Click here to see just what I'm jabbering about.  And stay posted to see my version of this fantastic dress!  (But give me a little time, I just had a baby.  I amy be a dreamer, but I'm also a realist.)

10 September 2012

I Need More... than SEVEN folds [Sette Neckwear]

Get out of town.  Seriously, only SEVEN folds?  My sewing/crafty brain cannot get over how these gorgeous, Italian-crafted neckties have ONLY seven folds.  I am in awe and totally salivating.  Which one probably should not do around high-end, silk ties... 

Sette Neckwear pays homage to old world craftsmanship and attention to detail.  (And I'm not just saying that.  If you know me, you know how persnickety I am about fabrics and construction.)  I love the history and tradition of this kind of production:

"A Sette seven-fold necktie is constructed from one beautiful piece of silk asymmetrically folded seven times onto itself.  This process give Sette its name, as "sette" means "seven" in Italian.

"Recently, many high-end neckwear companies have offered a version of a seven-fold necktie.  While these ties may appear elegant on the surface, they lack the traditional craftsmanship and quality of a true seven-fold necktie made the traditional way, as a Sette is made.

"After the Great Depression, the high cost of silk and struggling economy led to cutbacks in quality, and the seven-fold, made in the traditional way, disappeared.  Sette's world-class designer brought this traditional style back to life in the 1980s and has perfected it anew with the Sette seven-fold.

"Is our way more difficult?  yes.  Does it make for a finer product?  Most certainly.

"A Sette is the absolute finest necktie in the world thanks to its exquisite finish and pure silk interior, classically crafted."

And if you act quickly, YOU have a chance to win a Sette necktie!  Like them on Facebook and share their giveaway post, tweet about it, or spread the word on Instagram for a chance to win a political Sette of your choice.  This is a golden opportunity and won't you be sad if you didn't throw your hat in the ring for a chance like this?

Well, if you must know... my favorite Sette (non-election) tie is the delicious Golden Tossed Dots.  Do you have a favorite?

Big love to our friends, the Watkins, for launching an amazing company with fashion flashes from the likes of Mike Allen of Politico, Piers Morgan of CNN, George Stephanopoulos of Good Morning America, and John Dickerson of Face the Nation.  And glossy mentions in Washingtonian Magazine and StyleForum.net.  Not to mention, Sette Neckwear is on The Fancy.  TheFancy.com deserves another post all it's own because I love it so much.  It's like Pinterest in the fast lane.

01 September 2012

I Need More... Lunchtime Entertainment [Lunch Box Re-do]

We are lucky enough to have friends/neighbors who own a booming business.  Maybe you've heard of it - DownEast Outfitters.  They sell super fashionable, modest clothing.  But what you might not know, is that they also have clearance centers that re-sell treasures from stores like Pottery Barn and the like at killer prices.

Last summer someone tipped me off to DownEast's sale on Pottery Barn Kids beach towels at just $2.50 each!  I seriously bought about twenty and then another twenty to pass out like tissues at the pool.  This year the hot tip was lunch boxes.  With my daughter starting kindergarten, we were in need of a serious lunch box.

There is just one little hitch when it comes to things like beach towels and lunch boxes at the DownEast clearance center... they are there because they are factory seconds or returns.  So, the lunch boxes that we found, at 2/$5 by the way, originally looked like this:

Now, I don't have a clue who "Mrj. Reese" or "Zoe R." are, but I am more than happy to make lemonade out of their lemon lunch boxes!  And it was easy, I just cut some fabric labels and ironed them on with no-sew ultrahold Heat-N-Bond.  My favorite kindergartener is over the moon to have not one, but two lunch boxes to choose from each morning and I'm trilled that it only set me back five bucks!  Easiest (and maybe cheapest) craft ever.

Do you have any "easiest craft ever" stories to share?  I'd love to hear them!

21 August 2012

I Need More... No.2 Pencils [Back to School]

Who's ready to head back to school?  I'm going to guess that the majority of hands that shot up are from the mothers who are busy packing lunches into shiny new lunch boxes, settling into carpool routines, and delirious with excitement about the possibility of new-found moments of free time.  The collective groan must have come from the under-18 set.  Stop it.  What are you groaning about?

I loved the first day of school as a kid.  Remember how your clothes were new and starchy and way too warm for the summer heat that clearly didn't get the memo that autumn had arrived?  Remember seating charts that sat you right next to the cutest boy in school who - when he was in a good mood - asked you, yes, you to help him fill in the holes on his unfinished homework?  Remember the little notes of encouragement from your parents tucked into your book bag that made riding the school bus bearable?  Yeah.  Me, too.

Parents!  Don't miss the chance to make your little scholar's day!  Tuck a love note into a lunch, a book, or inside a sneaker.  Who knows... they might even forget to roll their eyes at you as you shout, "I love you, sweetheart!" in front of their friends.

Download the FREE "Hey Smartie Pants!" printable here.

I made my custom Back to School seals by printing the pdf document on full sheet label paper (available at any office supply retailer) and then cut to size.  (I started with a scalloped circle paper punch that was just shy of 2-inches, but decided that I liked the look of a square better.  It made the label look more like a miniature piece of binder paper.  You can see both in the photo above.)  Stick them on a teeny paper bag full of Smarties candies and enjoy!

10 July 2012

I Need More... Singing in the Rain [Tray6]

I love rain.  Alas, living in a desert clime doesn't satisfy my desire to don wellies and splash around in puddles as often as I would like.  But it doesn't mean that a girl shouldn't be prepared for when the thunder rolls!  Speaking of... have you seen the new umbrellas by Tray6?  These are not the umbrellas of yesteryear, that were "plain black and boring plaid... with shoddy spokes and sharp metal parts".  Oh no!  These are beautifully designed and an accessory that you want to have at the ready.  
(I think I might want need the Pixel Plaid Orange Stick Umbrella and Rain-Resistant Raspberry Crossbody Bag, if you're wondering.)


Check out Tray6's web site and like them on Facebook.  I am so proud of my old school buddy, Peggy Hsu, on the launch of her fabulous new company!  J'espere que il pleut!  (We took French together...)

26 June 2012

I Need More... Pinpricks [Clover Wonder Clips]

My mother send me these little gems recently and holy cow have they changed the way I sew!  Well, not actually the way I sew, but definitely how I hold things together as I sew.  The Clover Wonder Clip replaces the straight pins that have, for years, pricked my fingers.  
Use them just as you would regular sewing pins.  They stay put and won't snag your delicate fabrics!  Plus, when you accidentally drop one on the floor, you aren't panicking to find the lost pin before someone steps on it!  Ouch!

REVIEW PROS: They hold like a pin without puncturing your fabric.  They come in a hinged storage box.
REVIEW CONS: They are much pricier than old fashioned pins at $6.99/10 or $32.99/50.  (Be sure to use a coupon when purchasing these little beauties!)

21 June 2012

I Need More... Cute Kid Clothing [dolman sleeve shirt]

Why is it that little girl clothing in stores for four to five year olds is still designed as if they are either: 1) still 2 years old, splattered with unnecessary glittered butterflies (I so hate butterflies) or 2) way overpriced for just how quickly little kids grow of their clothing (Crewcuts... I'm looking at you)?

Why is it that I hoard ideas for fashionable childrens' clothing, am a fairly experienced seamstress, and yet my daughter's wardrobe still comes from the store?

Okay.  Thanks for playing therapist for a moment.  Now back to the creation at hand.  Let's start with just about the easiest piece of clothing to sew.  Ever.  Kindergarden - meet the dolman sleeve tshirt - because my daughter will be wearing one of these babies every day.

A basic tshirt that your kid wears now as a rough pattern
Jersey knit fabric (unwanted adult tshirts work beautifully for this)
Sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc.


1. Lay your child's tshirt on top of your new shirt's fabric as a guide.  Cut around the existing shirt, allowing some breathing room.  A dolman shirt should be a bit roomy.  HINT: To get a perfectly symmetrical shirt, cut half of the shirt and then fold your fabric in half to cut the remaining half.  Wildly helpful!

Cut out an accompanying waistband, 4-inches wide and a few inches shy of the bottom of your shirt's measurement.  This will rely mostly on how stretchy your fabric is.

2. Serge (or zigzag) the necklines and sleeve openings, fold under about 1/4-inch, and hem.  Be gentle here, you're working with knit.  Too much tug and you have a ripply mess; too little and every time Janie puts on this shirt your likely to have a seam pop.

3. With right sides together, serge the shoulder and side seams.

4. Sew waistband fabric into a tube and then fold in half.  Turn your shirt right side out and pin waistband piece to main shirt.  Serge.

5. Pat yourself on the back.  You are so done!