Lovely Letters.

Corresponding with my pen-pal, Felicity (Flick for short) has been wonderful!

Shell of Kitty + Buck has worked so hard with Nat of Modern Buttercup to manage this letter exchange, and I’m so very grateful for the effort that’s been put in! My pen-pal is so much fun! We’re having a blast writing and decorating letters to send to one another and the ice-breakers that are posted for us to try are insanely fun.

One of the tasks we were given was to ask each other 10 questions. I love how Flick packaged up each of my questions separately! Each was so thoughtful and exciting to open. This project has been such an inspiration for me and although I haven’t had much time to dedicate to my letter writing, I try my very best!

When my brother was living in Germany, the letters we got from him had these red, white, and blue stripes around the edge. I was thrilled to see them grace the border of my first letter from Felicity. Somehow that’s what it took to really sunk in that she was on the other side of the Earth from me. Funny how little things like that can make such a huge impression. This is such a big world!

I’ve always loved getting mail, but I think the letters I get from her are my favourite. And even though we’re grown ups, I still think having a pen-pal does something really great for a lady. Check out the flickr page for snapshots of other Lovely Letters!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xx.

Suzy Bishop – a costume from scratch.

I’ve never made a dress from scratch before.

I’ve done a lot of alterations, hemming, taking things in, changing necklines, straps, or sleeves, but this dress is the first one that I’ve ever made entirely myself. It was somewhat intimidating at first, but I managed it and I’m really excited.

The first second I set eyes upon Suzy Bishop’s darling dress, I knew I had to make it for myself. Knowing that I work best with deadlines, I decided to be Suzy for Halloween. I ordered the fabric, zipper, and a similar dress pattern a couple of weeks ago, and got to work on the dress this week. The pattern had to be altered a bit and added to, so, as is usual for me, I was right down to the wire. My Moonrise Kingdom costume was finished around noon on Saturday, right before I went in for work.

We had two parties last night to attend, and both were fantastic. The first was a big bonfire party hosted by Ryan’s and my boss. It was wonderful! Such a fun group of people with great costumes and fabulously fresh air. The second was our usual Halloween party  at Rob + Pam’s. We stayed for the night and today did a bevy of fun fall things like piling up leaves and burying ourselves. I love the smell of crisp and dying leaves.

Happy Sunday,

xx.

DIY How To | Make your own coasters

I’ve been meaning to try this out for awhile now!

Ryan and I love to collect vintage and antique furniture, but part of the problem with that is it needs to be carefully cared for, ie. get coasters. Rather than buying some I wasn’t really all that in love with, though, I thought I might as well just put some fabric scraps to use and make my own. I’m always getting pretty fabric from Goodwill to use in my Etsy shop, and I hate to throw out the tiny pieces that are left after I’m done, so this was the perfect solution. Here’s how I made my coasters…

For supplies you’ll need: Cork board, Mod Podge, a paintbrush, a pencil, scissors, something circular to trace like a cup, fabric scraps, and about fifteen minutes!

First step | Make sure that the cup you chose is wide enough so it will cover the entire bottom of the cups, mugs, or steins that you will be setting on them. I turned this teacup over and used the mouth of it to trace since that’s bigger. Trace as many circles as you want coasters onto your fabric scraps with your marking tool.Second step | Carefully cut out the circles of fabric that you just traced.Third step | Trace and cut the same number of circles into your cork board.Fourth step | One at a time, cover one side of the coaster with a generous amount of Mod Podge. You’ll want it to seep up through the fabric a little, so don’t be shy about your application! Diluted Elmer’s glue might do the trick, too!Fifth step | Place the fabric circles one at a time over the Mod Podge and press firmly so the glue comes through. Make sure you press over every part of the coaster, including the edges so they don’t come up after the rest of it has dried.For some fabrics this may be all the Mod Podge you need (my stripes were fine with just this amount!), but with others you may need to apply another layer of glue on top of the fabric after this first application has dried – such was the case with my floral fabric. So, wait for it to dry just from pressing and test the fabric to see how well it is stuck to the cork board before assessing whether you’ll need to add more.
Sixth step | Let dry! My striped coasters were dry after only a few hours, but the floral ones needed a little longer to dry. Every type of fabric will absorb the glue and dry differently, so just pay attention to yours to see what it needs.

Pretty easy, right? You may also need to trim up the edges of the fabric with scissors if it hangs over the edge a bit. Make sure you wait until it’s completely dry and all of your layers of glue have been added before you do this! Have fun with it!Thanks for stopping by! I hope your scrap pile got a little smaller and I would love to hear your small project ideas for fabric pieces. Even after making these coasters I still have two clementine boxes full of them just waiting to be given life. Think you’ll give this project a try? I’d love to see how yours turn out!

Oh, yes, and these would make great housewarming gifts!

xx.

Update a thrifted lamp shade – DIY

Hey, thrifty ladies {and gents}!

Last night craft-fever hit me hard! While Ryan relaxed and settled down for the night I found myself getting all in a tizzy over recreating a thrifted lampshade. We bought this lamp and shade separately from Goodwill months ago, but it’s never looked exactly the way I wanted it to until now that I’ve added my own vintage fabric to it. Here’s how you can update an old lamp, too:

You’ll need a lamp {duh!}, scissors, fabric, hem tape or double sided tape, measuring tape, and a marking tool. You could also add some cute rick-rack or stitches to it depending on how much time you want to spend and how detailed you want the shade to be! I first thought I might do some stitching, but didn’t want to get holed up in my studio for too long on a night off, so I sprung for the tape.

First step: Strip the lampshade. When we bought ours it had ribbon hot glued to it from the previous owner. We took this off immediately, but the glue itself has been there ever since. Depending on your shade, you may choose also to take the fabric off entirely and have just the wire frame, but since our shade was white we knew it wouldn’t make a difference to the look at the end of the project, so we left it on.To make sure that you cut the right amount of fabric, measure the height of your lampshade as well as the diameter and write down both of your measurements. Then, add one inch to the height and one inch to the diameter so you’ll have space to fold over the edges.

Mark this new measurement on the wrong side {the side that won’t be showing when the project is finished} of your fabric, then snip, snip, snip!

Add the hem tape to the top and bottom edges of your fabric keeping in mind that you added an inch of fabric {a 1/2 inch for the top + a 1/2 inch for the bottom} for these adjustments. Folding the raw edge in will make the project look nice + neat.

Next you’ll fold both edges in a half inch and press down on the tape to stick them in place. Your fabric should now measure from top to bottom the same as the lampshade does. Almost there!

Add a strip of tape up the lampshade to hold on one of the sides of the fabric.

Add tape to the bottom and top edge of the shade, then, making sure your fabric is smooth, turn the lamp and attach as you go.

When you get to the end, remember that you added an inch in the measurement for overlap, so you can fold the fabric under as you stick it in place with the double-sided tape. Et voila!

I’d love to see how yours come out if you decide to give this project a try! It’s a simple way to spruce up your home and to dig into that gorgeous fabric stash I know you have hiding away.

Have a wonderful night!

xx.

The ultimate DIY thrift find!

Hello, my dears!

As you know, I was away last week for the Goodwill Summer Conference in Miami, Florida! It was hands down one of the best experiences of my life! I got to connect with so many amazing people who value thrift, creativity, and community as much as I do in a city vastly different from anything else I’ve ever seen. It was remarkable! My session was so. much. fun. Jenna Isaacson, Evette Rios, and I chatted about Goodwill, shared our favourite thrifting stories, and sipped sangria with our audience before I presented six easy DIY projects with one good ol’ fashioned thrift store staple: the mason jar. You can check out my post with the project ideas here! More on the trip later in the week…

So happy to be back in the Shire!

xx.

A peek into my shop…

This year Etsy opened up an About page for every shop!

It’s a space where each shop owner can go into greater detail about their process, inspiration, and work space, and I love that idea! So I’ve been very excited to update my own and this week I put the finishing touches on it! I’m so pleased with how the page turned out that I thought I’d share it with you. There’s only space for five photos on there, so the extras here are just for you. Enjoy!

First stop is the sewing station {above} where all of my products come to life. Bess is my trusty sewing machine, always ready for more work and easy to run. It’s smooth sailing when we’re working together…most of the time.

Also in my shop space is Ryan’s Grandmother’s old sewing machine / my packing station. I stitch all of my packages shut to avoid all of that obnoxious packing tape {photos of my packages here!} so having two machines is a real help.

With every order I tuck three snapshots inside. They’re all freshly printed from this station, but some of them are photos taken of my family throughout the years. The rest are little moments that I couldn’t stand to see disappear.

More photos of the room itself later! Thanks for visiting.

xx.

I’ve Closed Up Shop!

On Saturday night, right before I went to bed, I shut down my shop.

It’s sort of a scary thing to do, when one is used to having an Etsy shop. I opened my little corner of the internet four years ago when I first graduated from college. I was a fresh face to the broad world, and I knew that no matter what I got out of life, I wanted part of it to be something that I had created for myself. However, in the years since opening, I have struggled for a unifying vision for my dream shop. I’ve made everything from sewn bags to paintings, and I’ve also sold vintage. Everything that I listed had a place in my heart, but thinking back on it I can’t believe how humble my beginnings were {not that I’m super successful now, just that I’ve honed a few of my skills since then}.

However, over the past year my inspiration has become more focused. I know my tastes better, and what I want to offer to the world. I’ve figured out what I enjoy making, and what others are interested in buying, and with all of this knowledge I aim to reopen shop in May with all of my Is dotted and my Ts crossed. I’m even going so deep as to study the details of my shop very carefully and work at pulling everything from my for-sale items to my packaging together. I’m offering freebies with each purchase that reflect my shop’s aesthetic, and I’m even soliciting help from a couple of my expert friends in the design and visual set up of the shop!

One thing that won’t change: my commitment to the environment. Nearly all of my paper products {business cards, packing materials} will be made from 100% recycled material. My fabrics are all either reclaimed or organic from WorthyGoodsTextile, and my threads for sewing and the baking twine I use for packaging, are biodegradable cotton. I also try to purchase things as locally as possible. I’ll go into more specific details just before the shop opens back up, but I couldn’t wait to share a little bit with you {-ahem- like the stamp above}!

I’m already excited for the re-opening!

xx.