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Archive for the ‘finished objects’ Category

pre-shopping

I hate jumping into the holiday season too soon (and yes, it IS too soon!), but I also hate feeling stressed out by holiday shopping. This is about the time of year when I start casually picking up items here and there and tucking them away until it’s gift-giving time. It seems to makes things a little easier on the pocketbook, too.

I spent the whole weekend chained to my workbench (with a plan of attack this time) and did a big ol’ shop update yesterday and today!

mosaic2

This just happens to coincide with the opening of the latest Poppytalk Handmade Marketplace. This month’s theme is Indie Love. It’s meant to be a “pre-holiday” market, for those of us who make lists and plan ahead and all that nerdy stuff. There are also several more items ON SALE at  the Small Bird Outlet! This is a great time to grab some of those discontinued designs before they’re gone.

I’m really pleased with some of the new pieces I’ve made for the Small Bird shop, and really excited about some of the pieces I have planned…as soon as my new materials arrive…

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There are about 6 weeks left until the Second Storie Indie Market and I’m starting to realize that I need to git on it if I’m going to feel ready and not stressed out (as the little voice inside me says, “fat chance”). Real life tends to get in the way of the things I want to do. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way from time to time…or maybe all the time.  

I’ve had limited opportunity to work in my jewelry studio lately, and the last couple of times I’ve sat down at the workbench I feel like I’ve lost my jewelry mojo. I realized that I get really excited to get into the studio when I have a bunch of ideas swimming around in my head, but that I don’t actually wind up accomplishing much. I guess I’m too “type A” to work that way. I’m a list-maker. So I’ve been filling my sketchbook over the past few weeks with new designs and variations on designs and some half-baked ideas, as well. I know I won’t have time to complete everything I want to make before the indie market, but at least I have a plan of sorts. Or a general direction, at the very least. And the good stuff will get into the shop, eventually.

I’m working on incorporating more irregular shapes, new patterns, larger pieces, and maybe some color. In the meantime, I do have a few new pieces now available in the shop: 

Perseverance Necklace II

Perseverance Necklace II

Little Saucers Bracelet

Little Saucers Bracelet

Mark your calendars for the Second Storie Indie Market on November 28th and 29th in Rochester, NY!

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back to work

Summer was busy with home improvement projects (some of which are finished and need to be blogged, some of which are still in progress), but back to school has meant back to knitting and back to jewelry making. One of the best things about my new house is that I have a proper jewelry studio in my basement. Having a dedicated studio (i.e. a place to make a mess!) has made such a difference in how I work. I acquired a couple new pieces of equipment that I previously didn’t have the space for, so I’m finally able to incorporate some techniques that I’ve been wanting to try for what feels like forever. I’ve got a sketchbook full of new designs, and I’m hoping to have several more new items before showing at the Second Storie Indie Market at the end of November! My new favorite is the Druzy Quartz Ring. It’s BIG. And really pretty, but not too pretty, if that makes sense. Look…

There are a few more new items already in the shop and more to come! If you want to keep up with new item listings you can subscribe to the Small Bird RSS feed, too!

Happy Autumn!

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anda dress

I took a sewing class this spring and made a pillow…which was ok. But come on. It was only a pillow. Then I took another sewing class and made a skirt…which did not fit. This was also ok, because it was an actual skirt! With a zipper! So on my own, I made another skirt…which fit poorly. Now I was starting to get frustrated. A good and normal type-A personality may have re-made the wonky skirt, figured out what went wrong, learned from her mistakes. Not I. No, I decided to make a dress, instead!
…Help me, Rhonda.

I used the Anda Dress pattern from BurdaStyle. I printed the pattern at home, which meant I had to tape all those 8.5 x 11″ pieces of paper together into something the size of a human, which was kind of a mess in itself. I started cutting, I started sewing, and then I got completely lost. The fact that this pattern is rated “Very Easy” was not helping matters. I sent several frantic e-mails to Erin, who posesses the sort of kindness and compassion it takes to lie to your friend and tell her the pattern is wacky.

I avoided the dress for a while, but when it came time to start packing up to move, I just wanted to get the thing DONE…one way or another. Moving an unfinished project like this would have surely sealed its fate as The Dress I Started Sewing That One Time.  So I went rogue ont his project. I tossed the instructions (and caution) to the wind. I told myself I’ve been wearing clothes my whole life and by now I have a pretty good idea of how they go together. And I finished it. And it’s…ok.

I like it better with the cardigan than without, which is kind of disappointing since it would make such a nice warm-weather dress, but I get a bit of a hospital gown vibe from it without the cardi. I also hemmed it a little on the short side. Just a little. I’ve worn it twice and received a couple compliments and only one person asked if I made it (at which point I vowed never to wear it again until my sister told me not to worry about it that much). Actually, I surprised a couple people by telling them I made it, so that was pretty satisfying!

I don’t know if I’ll attempt another garment any time soon. Right now the sewing machine just feels like a vehicle for messing up a project faster.  But I hope that someday I’ll make friends with the machine and we will make more dresses together.

The fabric is from eQuilter.com.

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I think I have the upholstery bug…if there is such a thing. I have no desire to tackle anything major, like my sister’s sofa (ahem), but a super duper easy footstool makeover is right up my alley! It took all of about 45 minutes to turn this:

Into this:

The fabric is Amy Butler Midwest Modern 2 – Ivory. And I left the original fabric underneath. Because I am still a chicken.

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Another project for the new house…nothing major; just a little fabric and thread. I embroidered a simplified illustration of the front of my new house. I was thinking of doing something more complex, maybe some kind of crewel design, but my crewel book has already been packed.  🙂

My embroidery skills are a little weak, and the finished piece is a little wonky, but I’m very pleased with the overall look of the simple backstitch outlines and the lovely little French knot blossoms on the tree.

I don’t actually know what kind of tree that is, but it’s one of those that fills with gorgeous flowers for about ONE DAY…and then they all fall off. It just so happens that the tree was in full bloom the day I first saw the house. So in my mind, I will always picture the house with that beautiful flowering tree in the front yard.

For some added kitsch, I did have “home sweet home” embroidered underneath the house, but when I finished, it was pretty much unreadable. (See: wonky embroidery skills.) So I took it out. I think this piece will wind up hanging in the foyer.

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I found this orange vinyl chair at Goodwill a couple years ago. It’s in great shape, it has nice modern lines, and it’s actually pretty comfortable! So I convinced myself that the orange vinyl was groovy and lived with it in my apartment for a while and rather enjoyed this weird little piece of furniture. Now that I’m moving, I have a whole new idea of what I want my home to look like…and it does not include orange vinyl. (Aqua Naugahyde? Perhaps…) Now, I watch more HGTV than any person really ought, but it still took me longer than it should have to realize that reupholstering the chair was the perfect solution for my limited furniture budget! After a few e-mails back and forth with my sewing guru, some ordering and returning of mislabeled fabric with an online fabric store, several trips to good old Jo-Ann’s, and finally working up the courage to just go for it, I have a new chair! It should be noted that I really have no idea what I’m doing, but here’s a little peek at my process:

disassembling the chair.

disassembling the chair.

 

sewed a strip of fabric that fit tightly around the bottom cushion.

sewed a strip of fabric that fit tightly around the bottom cushion.

 

tightly pinned the lid on the bottom cushion.

tightly pinned the "lid" on the bottom cushion.

 

the cover for the back cushion, all sewn up for a snug fit!

the cover for the back cushion, all sewn up for a snug fit!

 

my corners are bunchy. im not skilled enough to know how to make them smooth.

my corners are bunchy. i'm not skilled enough to know how to make them smooth.

 

brand new old chair!

brand new old chair!

At first, I was looking for a fabulous fabric to use, but finally decided to use a plain canvas, since I was pretty sure I was going to mess the whole thing up. And I know all the cool kids would tell me to remove the vinyl and use it as a pattern, but I wasn’t about to take that chance, either. If I botched the reupholstery, I at least wanted my orange chair to remain intact!  Turns out, the chair looks really great. Mass-produced, even! I don’t want to say it was easy…but it kind of was. Being my first attempt at upholstery, I’m not sure if it was easier because the entire chair came apart, or because of the shape of the cushions, or what, but I am completely proud of myself and SO excited about finding the perfect pillow to accessorize my “new” vintage chair!

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