• Artsy Fartsy
  • Singer Featherweight

    So you all know my sewing machine died right? ?If you weren’t paying attention… it did. ?My very expensive, fairly new sewing machine. ?I broke it. ?It is currently being fixed and I am without a sewing machine. ?I haven’t been without one in many many years and it is like having an arm cut off.

    I had a conversation about this with my trusty MIL and she mentioned something about letting me borrow Bunny’s* old Singer. ?She brought back 1 or 2 sewing machines when Bunny moved out here and she thought the Singer was accessible.

    Monday afternoon we had lunch with the trusty in-laws and I thought I’d ask again for the Singer before we left. ?We found it in a closet and I was a little stunned when she pulled out the box. ?I knew it was Bunny’s “old” machine, but I didn’t know it was circa 1964. ?Yes, my sewing and crafty friends, I now am the proud borrower of a 1964 Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine. ?The machine is complete with accessory box and needles still in their original packaging (costing $.30).

    This morning I pulled the machine out of the case just to see what condition it was in. ?Bunny took impeccable care of everything she owned, but this machine hadn’t been used in a very long time. ?To my surprise it was in perfect condition. ?The belt is a little dry and I’m not sure it will take much use so I ordered a new one, but other than that everything is in perfect working order.

    I have never sewn on a machine that sews so perfectly. ?Even my very nice and expensive Viking is not this perfect. ?There is nary a plastic piece on this machine save a few knob covers. ?It is small and will not likely do some of the major stuff I do, but it will finish the silk skirt I started and the gift I have for Kathou’s little girl.

    The only problem with the machine is that I will have to give it back. ?I’ve sewn one line with it and I’m totally in love.



    *Bunny is the Trusty Husband’s grandmother who passed away shortly after we brought the boy home.

  • Elle's World
  • wookin’ po a job

    or better yet, little jobs that might make some money.

    My online portfolio was sorely neglected over the past year and I was getting tired of the old Free Range Media site. ?So this afternoon I found a theme I liked (*shock*horror* the web designer used a stock theme!) and I put it up. ?Yes, I used a stock theme. ?Having a small dog is like having a small baby and I have no time for sitting in front of the computer in the afternoons doing leisurely things.

    I haven’t uploaded all of my work yet and there are some missing links, but it’s getting there. ?Check it out and tell me what you think.

  • Elle's World
  • I suck at gifts

    More specifically, I suck at gifts for my husband. ?Which is odd because I love to give gifts and I love my husband. ?You would think it would be easy. ?Trouble is… he has expensive taste. ?I don’t purchase him clothing that often because odds are he’ll return what I purchase. ?He outright told me once that I don’t know how to pick ties. ?Oh hai! ?I have a good sense of color you boob. ?Evidently pink isn’t in his wardrobe repertoire.

    I went through a jag of buying him booze for a while. ?Actually, that is my fall back gift. ?Booze and books. ?In my defense, I do buy very fine and expensive liquor.

    I like to be creative in my gift giving. ?I had all of my Christmas shopping done last year before December 1st because I did most of it on Etsy. ?My trouble is I can’t shop online for the trusty husband because I use the Paypal account to buy everything. ?It is the one online thing we share. ?We both have 15 email accounts, but we share a Paypal account. ?Technically we shared an Ebay account too, but I wised up on that one this week.

    The trusty husband’s birthday is Friday the 13th. ?I just so happened to be browsing Etsy for Christmas ideas because I had the trusty husband’s gift already picked out in my mind. ?I came across something I thought my brother-in-law would like for Christmas and IM’d the trusty husband the link. ?He shot it down, but while I was in that particular search I found a gift that the trusty husband might like. ?However, the gift was a little more than I really wanted to spend. ?The fact that the gift was on Etsy meant someone had handmade it. ?Meaning, I too could make it. ?Being the person who likes to make things difficult I began researching how to make a Cigar Box Guitar. ?As I was browsing the tubes of the internets I received an IM from the trusty husband with a link to a guy who makes cigar box guitars. ?Ironic no?

    I began to think I was rather clever. ?That didn’t last long.

    The boy and I went to the art store that afternoon to look for unfinished cigar boxes. ?At one time they actually had them. ?We didn’t have any luck. ?The luck got worse when the boy ratted me out at dinner and said, “me and mommy went to the art store to look for a box.” ?Nice kid.

    Since I didn’t find the box at the art store I turned to the next logical place (in my mind) to buy a wooden cigar box. ?Ebay. ?Now remember, the trusty husband and I share an Ebay account and all of the notifications go to his email. ?I bid on one really cool box, but lost the auction. ?I thought I was sly and logged into his email account and deleted the notifications. ?I then created my own Ebay account because the logging into his account was rather difficult since he sits at his computer all day. ?I would only have to delete Paypal notifications should I win. ?I then bid on another box, won and as soon as the trusty husband left to go back to work I quickly paid for the box and deleted the Paypal email. ?I was smart. ?Of course I then realized that he was going to be on vacation next week not allowing me to work on said guitar on the sly. ?So that meant I had to get the supplies and whip the thing together on Friday (today) if I was going to have it for his birthday. ?This meant I couldn’t wait for the box that I’d won.

    Yesterday I piled the child into the car and we drove all over hells half acre buying the supplies to make aforementioned guitar. ?Good news is I found a really cool Cohiba box at a local cigar store that would work perfect. ?I bought a neck piece at the mega home improvement store. ?I took my limited knowledge of the parts I needed to the music store and the patient guitar tech helped me piece together the mechanical bits I needed. ?I then went to Radio Shit to pick up a piece I needed to make the guitar electric and then to another mega home improvement store to buy glue and a few other bits I forgot at the first mega home improvement store. ?I had everything I needed (except strings because I forgot those) to make my very own electric cigar box guitar. ?Oh, and we don’t have an amp.

    I was going to be the awesome wife and I’d finally get a gift right!

    That is until the trusty husband came home and told me that if I delete things from his email I need to empty the trash. ?Doh. ?And he did some Ebay searching yesterday and the dumb little box that says “search suggestions based on your history” listed things like guitar bits sold me out.

    So for my husband’s birthday… he’s getting a nice build your own cigar box guitar kit (that I get to put most of it together).

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Another day, another bag

    I got a wild hair to start making bags again. Part of it had to do with my cousin Sarah coming to visit and her falling in love with this bag. She graduates from Mizzou this summer and I made her an orange version as a graduation gift. I figured, well since I have all of this stuff out I might as well make a few other bags.

    So last week I sorted through my fabric stash (oh mah hell I have a lot of fabric) and found a few things to work with. Monday I did this fun Sock Monkey number. It’s the same size as the Dick & Jane version I personally carry, only better constructed. It’s 12″ tall and 17″ wide, so large mommy bag sized. I’ve carried my laptop (and I have a big ass Dell), camera, drawing book, wallet, water bottle and other various purse junk in mine. I don’t have it listed on Etsy yet because I don’t have any quality photos of it. I wait until I have a few bags done to photograph them all at once. I thought it would be fun to share though.




  • Artsy Fartsy
  • The Great White Hype

    Remember how a few weeks ago I said that I wanted to refinish our kitchen, but that if I started I would never finish?? That feeling of I am so stinking tired of these white cabinets got the best of me and yesterday I walked into the mega home improvements store and walked out with paint stripper, stain, and flooring.

    I have been agonizing for weeks over what colors I wanted in the kitchen and with a little help from the trusty mother-in-law a conclusion was drawn.? The goal of this project is to complete in in under $350.? That includes stripping and re-staining the cabinets, painting the walls, new base moulding and putting down new flooring.? If I have enough left over I would like to replace the cabinet handles (hinges are fine) and replace the black counter tops.? Only problem with that is the back splash is black too and we would have to replace that and the tile we want definitely does not fit into the budget.

    I was so excited about our great kitchen adventure I went straight home to start on the project.? I convinced the trusty husband to help and he begrudgingly said yes.? The idea with the cabinet paint removal was to apply the stripper and simply scrape off the paint.? There is three layers of paint on the base cabinets and two on the doors.? It’s not like we are talking about layers upon layers of age old paint here.? Of course Dane the dumbass previous homeowner strikes again.

    Our house was built in 1964.? It had wood cabinets that had a simple clear coat of varnish on them.? They aren’t the prettiest cabinets in the world, but at least they aren’t those hideous oak things in all homes built in the 80s and 90s.? We aren’t 100% sure on the type of wood our cabinets are made out of, but I know it isn’t oak.? Clear coat plain wood isn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but Dane (or his equally dumbassy wife) decided that painting the cabinets would make it better.? He/She/They painted the cabinet bases red.? But they took it a step further and a put masking tape X over the drawers and faux drawer fronts and then painted, peeled off the tape and our kitchen looked like a giant advert for Jamaica Red Stripe Beer.? I had so much to do when we bought the house the logical choice for covering the horribleness was to paint over that.? I picked white.? Never have a white kitchen.

    Here’s where Dane’s “smarts” plays in.? We suspect that he selected oil based paint for his lovely endeavor.? Seems logical.? Put oil based paint over varnish.? He didn’t strip the varnish, he didn’t prime, nothing.? Just slapped some red paint on there and called it good.? So now I’m trying to remove 2 layers of white latex paint, 1 layer of oil based red paint and a layer of varnish.? This is going to go well don’t you think.

    The first run through with our eco-friendly paint stripper got some of the white paint off.? A second layer got most of the white off and a tad of the red.? I had hoped I could get through all of the bases (top and bottom) with one bottle of stripper (that stuff is expensive), but it didn’t look like that was going to work.? We felt defeated and part way through the bottom cabinets we retreated to the couch.

    A quick search on teh googles revealed that a good non-toxic way to remove many layers of paint is to use a heat gun.? Heat up the paint until it blisters and then scrape it off.? Now here is where being crafty is an advantage.? A heat gun you say?? Well, I happen to have one of those.? Albeit it’s a little small.? It is basically a stamp embossing tool.? It puts out a ton of heat and he he! it works like a charm.? It gets all of the white off and enough of the red that I can simply sand that off.? No extra money involved.? So I can now save my eco-friendly paint stripper for the doors (which it takes off the white) and use the heat gun on the bases.

    Now should we take bets on how long that little gun will work before I burn the motor out?

    Just to give you an idea of what my kitchen looked and looks like here’s a little slide show.? Please don’t comment on the many many layers of burned on grease on my tea pot.

  • Elle's World
  • The Beet Goes On

    I spent the weekend away with friends.? Tacoma Chickadee and Neal so graciously invited us to spend the weekend at a condo in Port Townsend, WA.? It’s only about and hour and a half away, but to me, going out to the peninsula always feels like getting away from the world.? I suppose that’s because we live in such a “big” city.? It was the perfect opportunity to take some great photos and spend time with my family and friends.? I came back refreshed.? So thanks to our good friends for letting us crash your vacation.? Here are some photos.

    In other news… yes, I did get my hair cut.? Thank you for all of your great suggestions and for telling me how cute I am.? I always like a compliment.? Makes a girl feel good.? I ended up going to the salon that Tacoma Chickadee suggested.? I read every scrap of information on their blog and website.? I lamented over wether or not I should attempt to let someone else cut my hair.? I finally gave in and went for it.? The lady I booked the appointment with also has naturally curly hair so that was a huge bonus.? I talked with her about what I didn’t like, what I’ve had before and let her help me make the decision on what might look best on me.? Many of your suggestions were good and my hair ended up being a combination of a bunch of them.? I like what she came up with and odds are I’ll be going back to her.? It makes me a little sad to leave my old stylist, especially since the trusty husband still goes there, but this will work better for me.? Besides, the new salon is only 15 minutes from my house.? My old salon was over 30 minutes away.


    In other other news… I finally redid my look for March.? Sorry about taking February off.? I simply could not get my own site and all of my client’s sites done at the same time.? I finished Amy’s logo set and then got to work on Rebecca’s site.? With this project I collaborated with a very talented local artist Andrea Lowen.? She created the graphic on the side and I put it together with my own touches.? This site was so far out of the normal of what I do.? I’m your average fluffy bunny and pink pony kinda gal, but with this project I got to think outside of the box.? Thanks Rebecca.? And if paranormal romance is your type of thing, look for Rebecca’s book “Her Wolf” coming out later this year.

    So you can see that with big projects on my desk I haven’t had time for my own site.? I did get this one thrown together though.? Enjoy.? And please don’t bitch that you can’t read it.? I’m not changing it.

  • She's Crafty
  • Handmade Sampler Review

    I know many of you are close to finished with Christmas shopping, or at least I hope you are.? I am personally done, with the exception of a few gifts that I am making myself.? I got all of my shopping done before chocolate season started so that I didn’t have to worry about it.? It worked out well if you ask me.

    After Christmas I’ll do reviews of all of the Etsy sellers that I purchased from.? Not because they asked me to, but because they were all so awesome I thought I owed them that.

    To help with a little last minute shopping I am going to do a review week.? A few weeks ago I submitted my name to receive a package from Handmade Sampler at Etsy.? This is much like the Little Black Box, only I didn’t have to pay for it.? She picked me and I agreed to do a review of all of the sellers.? It is a way for artists to send small samples of their work to people and get their name out.? It is a great idea.

    My sampler came a few weeks ago and I am just now getting around to doing the review.? I apologize for no photos.? I may take some later and upload them to my Picassa acct, but I dissasembled the goodie bag so quickly and forgot to take photos.

    So here goes.

    Out on a Whim Studio:

    Cute stuff if you are in to Shabby Chic.? This isn’t my personal style, but she has a wide range of price points and the products look well made.

    Views from Paradise:

    The artist doesn’t have a website listed to view more of the products.? They sent a 4×6 photo that I was very intrigued with and I’d like to see more.

    Zuppa Artista:

    I love this artist.? Not only is the shop banner killer, but the artwork is something that I might actually buy.? I don’t have any additional wall space, but if I did I might get something for my office.


    Very cute stuff, and I might buy something if I ever had a girl.

    Mattie Reid Chicago:

    I hearted this shop right away.? She sent a cute button ring as a sample and I wore it for 3 days straight.? The only thing I’m not so sure about is that the rings are adjustable.? Otherwise, quite nice.

    A Sentimental Affair/ Crafty Ladies:

    Kitchy little items that aren’t quite my style.? When I first visited this shop the shop announcement said that they wouldn’t be shipping after some date in November.? If I had liked this stuff I wouldn’t have been able to buy anything for Christmas as the sampler came after the date.? The shop announcement has now changed.

    Twilight Knits:

    Beautiful hand dyed yarn.? Kinda makes me want to relearn to knit.? However, no actual sample was in the bag.? Just a card.? I would suggest adding a sample of the yarn so people have something tangible to touch.

    Floating Jewlery Design:

    I love the sample ring that was sent, but there was nothing listed in the store.? I was a little bummed about this.

    Wren Willow:

    Something totally different for baby.? My kind of unique.

    I Find Hope:

    Cute idea, but I don’t know that I would purchase them.

    Hawaii Monkey:

    She did origami gift tags that are very well made and beautiful.? Unfortunately, there was nothing listed in the shop when I visited.? There still isn’t, but if you look at the things that have been sold they are very cute.

    Happy Monster:

    This seller sent a little monster felt pin that I thought was cute, but again, nothing in the shop.

    Handmade Sampler:

    She sent a fairy charm that was quite sweet.? I want to thank her for the opportunity to do this.? I learned quite a bit about other sellers and found a few that I really like.

    There were are few shops that either didn’t have products in them or that the concepts were not somthing that I found particularily interesting.

    Art Pins

    Funky Pencils (no website)

    Custom Dog & Bandanas & Pet Products

    Stick ’em

    Scrapbook Business Cards

    It’s Very Cute

    What I found confusing about all of this is the number of sellers that didn’t have any product in their stores.? I know that many could have sold out quickly.? However, if I personally went through the trouble to put together a bunch of samples I would do so know there is a bunch of product in my store to sell.

  • Depression
  • Christmas in our house

    I have long given up trying to make Christmas perfect in our house.? I figured that one out after our first summer when I couldn’t cram enough stuff into the allotted 3 month time span.? Come to find out Christmas is much the same.? There is only so much holly jolly that is allowed in any given month of December.

    Our first Christmas (as a family of 3) was so overwhelming I didn’t know when it started and when it ended.? However, I’m sure I was wearing some kind of jule food.

    The second Christmas (last year)… well, that was also a blur.? I’m pretty sure there was chocolate involved and something about me getting irritated with my mother over cookies.

    This year, I’m enjoying it.? Ok, not the chocolate part, but the rest is all good.? I have my shopping done.? My little pile of gifts is staking up on my desk.? I’m looking forward to the annual tree hunt on Sunday.? I have nothing to be freaked out over.? Sure, we could have more money, but I’m buying great gifts at reasonable prices.? And dare I say it, but the boy has been mostly pleasant.

    For once I can say I’m looking forward to Christmas.? It could be because I’m refusing to admit there is a January to follow.? It could be because I know the trusty husband is taking the week off between Christmas and New Years and we won’t have a hoard of family around this year.? Or it could be that I’ve finally come out of that depressive hole and see the bright side of things.? Who knows.

    What I do know is that if all the outside lights don’t get hung it’s no big deal.? If I reuse the rest of my gift wrap from last year and the packages don’t match that’s fine.? I just know that the magical kind of Christmas is the kind where I don’t run around like a loon worrying about how perfect it should be.

    I like this me.


    And I just listed a new bag in my Etsy Shop.? Check it out.

  • Elle's World
  • I was going to write about turkey

    I was going to write about turkey, but since that is so 4 days ago I won’t.? Our Thanksgiving turned out nice despite my slight mishaps.? No homes were burned down in the process, so we’ll call it good.

    I also won’t bore you with tales of chocolate.? After the past month I am sure you are getting tired of it.? But for those who follow my Twitter feed… I’m sorry.? It’s going to be the all chocolate all the time channel for a while.

    Instead I’m going to do the Nelson* dance over here and gloat about how I have 90% of my Christmas shopping done.? That’s right.? Done.? And!? And, I didn’t even have to step foot in a mall.? This year I am taking the Handmade Christmas pledge.? 99% of my gifts this year are handmade.? The only exception will be the boy’s.? I am not capable of making a bike or a guitar and a 4 year old does not need a handmade guitar.

    At this point my whole family is making that noise.? The one that says, “oh dear lord not a hand knitted ugly sweater.”? Have no fear family dear… your gifts will kick ass this year.? You see… I’m not making all of them.? I hand selected everything from various artists and am letting them do the work.? Smart girl wouldn’t you say?

    So this is where I want to hear from the internets.? What do you think of handmade gifts?? Love them, hate them?? And would you ever consider making the Handmade Pledge?


    *A stupid dance the trusty husband’s bff does when he gets to gloat about something.

  • Artsy Fartsy
  • Handmade goodness

    For quite a while I’ve wanted to set up my own Etsy shop.? There are only so many handbags I can make for myself.? I’ve hoarded way too much fabric and something has to get done with it.? I finally bit the bullet and got that checked off my list.? Now the task becomes actually listing everything (which is not the easiest task in the world).? I had to describe everything, type it all up, take decent photos, edit the photos and decide on a price for the items.? Putting a value on stuff I make is always hard for me.? I usually give everything away.? But since money is tight around these parts I’m selling.

    I currently have 3 handbags listed (I sold one this afternoon), 2 quilts and a few lavender eye pillows (with lavender from my very own garden).

    One of the quilts is a bitter sweet sale for me.? I originally made it to sell it.? That was always the intent.? But it sat around in our house for quite a while and then one day I hung it on the wall.? I was tired of the cat laying on it (I’ve since cleaned the cat hair off).? I’ve grown fond of the quilt and there is a little story that goes with it.? It is an adoption quilt and to me it tells our adoption story.? The little story is listed with the description on the item.

    Go check out my stuff.? Here or follow the link over there —>? The adoption quilt is the Forever Home Adoption Quilt.? I am always making new stuff (mostly bags) and hope to have a few new fun items listed n the next few weeks.