Monday, December 21, 2009

Bag Recreation Project

Recently, I was commissioned to recreate a bag that had an unfortunate accident:

oh the horror! you can see the damage in the picture below, but also keep in mind that these photos are of the bag that i would be recreating, stitch-by-stitch:

I was able to salvage the zippers, D-rings, and straps:
You can really see the ink on the left side of the bag here:
so my work was cut out for me! new canvas, vinyl, closures, lining, and completely new construction. want to see the end result? course you do!

Here's the front:

the side panel:
Close-up of the new closures:
the back:

my fave part is the lining, which was upgraded by my client from army green nylon to fun fun fun floral cotton!

What a fun project! Can't wait for my next challenge!


Friday, November 27, 2009



happy thanksgiving, all you americans :)

yesterday i spent it with my fam, and with a frien who is german! it was interesting to talk to him about the differences between america and europe in patriotism, transportation, language barriers and culture in general. it all started when he said he had just booked a hotel room for new years eve - in PARIS! (but that's only a 4 hour drive for him!)

for us, i guess the equivalent would be NYC, but a hotel room for new years in the big apple would be way more than what they paid in paris. guess we'll just stick to fireworks on the beach :)

how was YOUR thanksgiving?

have a great black friday!



the SALE is on! head on over for some great deals!


Monday, November 9, 2009

an article i like....

...and think we should all read and think about:

what does the word "need" mean to you?


Monday, September 28, 2009


i have decided after much contemplation to take a hiatus from my blogging efforts. all of my past posts will still be searchable and readable, but i won't be adding anything new for awhile.

thanks for understanding :)


Friday, September 18, 2009

TRADE5 $5 sale

today (sept 18) thru sunday (sept 20) the trade-a-holics team is having a $5 sale!

just search etsy for the term "TRADE5" to see all the stuff we have marked down for just $5!

here are just some of the lovely items on sale now in my shop:

and there's more - check it out before the sale is over!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


ok, everyone it's the day of all days! the last set of repeating single digit days we'll have in almost a century! (until 2101!!)

AND i'm having a 9% off sale in my shop! 9% off everything in my shop all day TODAY only!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i held my breathe and..

i got an etsy treasury! holy cow! for the first time ever! i was on and on there they have a really neat feature called the "treasury clock", which counts down to when the next time the treasury will be open. i saw it approaching, went there, and got one!

you should check it out:

i'm lovin the pink, i mean, it is my favorite color and all :)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees: a book review

i am a bookworm, always have been. recently, i finished reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002), and i thought that i'd stray away from sewing/crafting for a few moments to share my review.

(please keep in mind that i am not a literary critique, and that i personally am color-blind, however it applies in the context of this book :)

The story is set in 1964 South Carolina, during the peak of the Civil Rights movement in the South. Lily, our heroine, is a 14-year-old white young woman who has grown up until the point where we meet her being raised by her neglectful father. the little attention he shows her is harsh and cruel, and Lily spends much of her emotional energy sorting through his words an actions looking for some inkling of love. Lily's mother died when she was a child, her only mother figure a robust black woman named Rosaleen whom her father hired to care for her through her youth.

through a series of escalating events, Lily and Rosaleen run away from home and find themselves on a bee farm several towns away, run by August Boatwright and her two sisters June and May. the Boatwrights take them in and soon Lily is helping with the beekeeping and Rosaleen is helping with the housework.

a few weeks pass, and eventually Lily comes to terms with the fact that she is here because her mother was once at the same place. the story comes to rendition as August reveals the relationship she had with Lily's mother, and Lily sorts out her emotions with the help of the Rosaleen and the Boatwrights.

the story has an episodic plot, the climax coming very close to the end of the book, and finishing it only left me sad to leave the characters behind. i've left out some of the best parts such that this would not be a spoiler for you who would like to read it, but in the end, Lily finds the love she had been searching for through her whole life.

i think now i need to get the movie added to the top of my netflix queue...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thirsty Thursday

tonight we're headed to a baseball game and the theme is "thirsty thursday". in this spirit, here are some great etsy finds:

yep, some good stuff here. tonight is gonna be fun, and i am glad tomorrow is a day off :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HomeStudio: scrabble tile pendant

the other day on etsy, i came across the shop HomeStudio who makes these awesome little pendants from scrabble tiles! while there were, like, a million i wanted to purchase, i limited myself to 4 (they have special 3 and 4 pack deals!), one for myself, and three to give as gifts.

pick in the gifts was the easy part, but for myself, not so much. i realized i really wanted a sewing machine. so i convo'd the shop, and Mark there promptly convo'd me back saying that he had a b/w antique-y looking one that he could do. perfecto!

check it out:

if you order the pendant with a chain, it comes with a ball chain, but i put mine on a box chain i already had:
thanks Stef and Mark at HomeStudio! (i litereally wear this everyday!)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

50 Best Websites: in love with etsy!

OMG - thanks Diana for finding this great video about BROOKLYNRehab and Etsy today on's 50 Best Websites:

til next time...

Monday, August 24, 2009

remember that To Do List?

the Toot Sweet relaunch is coming, and no one is more excited that yours truly! so remember that list of stuff i had to do before i could relaunch? let me jog that memory of you (teal=completed with notes, pink=still need to get to that):

♥ make a new lightbox - bigger, better, more kitten-proof! i'm thinking either one like this or like this. then take new pics of the inside of my bags.
→ Done and Done. see the results here and here. (the second link is to a listing that includes a pic of the inside of the bag. i did this with all of my bags.)

♥ order new business cards with my new motif
→ Done! check out my new motif on the banner at the top of my blog, and if you bump into me on the street (or purchase from me) you'll get to see how the business card turned out! (thanks to HappyDayGraphics for designing my new motif!)

♥ go thru my whole sewing room and organize, label, purge old stuff
→ Done! i should have taken before shots, because if i post after shots now, they are pretty meaningless, but nonetheless here's a rundown of what i did: donated all fabrics i will not use, sorted all notions into bins, labeled everything, switched my full-sized ironing board for an over-door model (clears a huge area in the room!), and reorganized inventory.

♥ promote! advertise in local coffee shops and businesses, plus post on other etsians' blogs. and tweet tweet!

♥ revamp the format of my listings and tags and the way i list items - i'm thinking database

♥ offer free shipping!! woo hooo!!
→ Done! check out my shop to cash in on this!

♥ photo-swatch each of my available fabrics and upload to my fabric site- this will make choosing fabrics for custom bags super-easy!
→ Done! check it out here.

and here's a few more i thought of:

♥ design care instructions, shipping labels, order forms, and coupons and have printed.

♥ get all books in order. this will be a big task!

alright, looks like i have the rest of my work cut out for me!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Lift with your Legs

back in May, i was in a car accident where i was rear-ended by a vehicle much larger than my own. since then, i have had back pain and had to go to physical therapy in order to rehabilitate. if you've ever had a back injury, you know what it means - you pick things up off the floor with your toes so you don't have to bend over and even brushing your teeth hurts like heck.

now that i am almost 100%, the whole ordeal got me thinking about how i have coped over the past few months and how i am going to be better to my body in the future. here are my findings:

1) lift with your legs. we all know this one. don't bend at the waist to lift, rather squat down, grasp, lift. this includes but is not limited to: boxes, children, pets, bolts of fabric, etc.

2) ergonomics are your silent friend. i had a ergonomic evaluation of my workspace at my day job. it resulted in a switch-er-oo of my traditional computer desk to a "sit-n-stand" air-touch table that can elevate or lower with minimal (and i mean minimal) pressure. standing relieves the pressure in my back, plus it has been shown that alternating between sitting and standing causes less fatigue that just sitting alone or standing alone:
(note: these are stock images, i cannot take a picture of the actual desk because i cannot bring a camera to work with me. and the woman in the first photo is sitting ergonomically wrong, but that is besides the point.)

3) level it out. in my sewing workspace at home, i put my cutting table on bed risers so it would be at a better level for standing at. since i sometimes work there for prolonged periods, i also put a bar stool beside it so that i can perch on it if i feel the need.

this is how i've been coping, and it's been a great help in my recovery process since my injury!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

DIY dishwasher indicator

james and i have been having some issues lately with trying to remember/communicate whether the dishwasher is currently loaded with clean dishes or dirty dishes. since the dishwasher is magnetic, i decided a magnet indicator was in order.

i decided also to show you how to make one for yourself! this only took me about 20 minutes (takes me longer when i photograph); it would be a great project to do with kids and to personalize as you like!

1) choose an unused magnet off the fridge (reuse!)

this one looks good (it's my high school hotline number...i graduated quite some time ago and live about 5 states away...perfect!)
2) gather your supplies: mod podge, sponge-brush (sorry it has paint residue on it), scissors/paper cutting tools, brownish paper, white paper (plus stamps and pads, we'll see these later)
3) cut white paper to proper width. you'll only be covering half of the magnet with each color.
4) glue the white paper to the magnet.

5) repeat the cutting and gluing with the brown paper.

this is what you should get:
6) here's where you can really personalize it. i got out the stamps! i wanted to keep it sweet and simple, so i used my lil' letter stamps:

7) stamp "CLEAN" on the white side of the magnet:
8) stamp "DIRTY" on the brown side, upside-down from the word "CLEAN". that way when you have clean dishes in the dishwasher, you face the "CLEAN" side of magnet up (so it can be read), or visa-versa when the dishes are dirty.
you should now have this:
you can really do anything on either side! a little picture of stacked dishes versus dirty dishes would be cute, use your imagination!

here's mine in action:
shoot - now i have to unload the dishwasher...


Friday, August 14, 2009

reduce - reuse - recycle - ship!

as you know, i got married recently, and we were very blessed to have received many beautiful gifts from our doting friends and family. we registered at both macy's and bed, bath, and beyond. i tell you this not because we have an incomplete registry (you know you've been stocking up on those bb&b 20% off coupons!) but because it leads into my weekend craft project for tootsweet.

"crafts??" you say, "but i thought tootsweet was about sewing purses and whatnot..??" well, my dears, it is. BUT being the recycling waste-not-want-not fool that i am, i saved ALL of the beautiful purple paisley swirly wrapping paper that our gifts came wrapped with, in hopes of doing something fabulous with it. (i mean, look at it, how could i not??)

and i came up with....BUBBLE MAILERS!! that's right, it's simple, it's easy, it's sooo pretty! and here's how you can do it at home too:

1) collect your supplies:
that's bubble wrap, spray adhesive, scissors, wrapping paper, and brown scrap paper to spray on (plus you should do this in a well ventilated area. i did it on my back lanai)

2) be sure to have a friend to pop the extra bubble wrap for you :)

3) cut a piece of bubble wrap approx. 16 inches by 24 inches. lay that out on the wrapping paper and cut the paper such that there is a one-inch perimeter around the bubble wrap.

4) spray the back side of the wrapping paper with the spray adhesive.

5) place the bubble wrap in the center of the wrapping paper. carefully press it down - don't pop any of the bubbles!

6) fold the paper/bubble wrap fusion in half, bonding three sides of the paper perimeter.

7) be sure to leave one side open so you can stuff it for mailing!

8) cut the edges flush for a cleaner look.

9) voila! cute and pretty REPURPOSED bubble mailers!

hope this help spark your creativity :)