Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Update

Confession: this weekend I am being selfish. I moved up my Weekender Bag to the top of my to-do list. sigh. Spent the evening tonight (No I don't think it is lame to craft on a Friday night) doing laundry, watching the Blackhawks (they lost BTW, grrr love J. Toews though), and ironing and cording and sewing. I have to pick up some more interfacing tomorrow (of course I didn't get enough), and then hopefully I will finish it up this weekend!!
xoxo CJ
PS I am currently thinking this project isn't so bad, I survived the making of the cording, but I have a feeling its going to come back to bite me. :-) wish me luck!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Revised Must-Do List

OK so I've been in a craft-induced frenzy which has since led to a craft-induced coma. I have all this fabric with no immediate purpose, a half-finished baby quilt top, weekender travel bag supplies piled up in a corner, cut-out chef's jacket pattern, and a new Japanese sewing book. I NEED to get it together here folks. Its starting to STRESS me out, and isn't my crafting supposed to promote the opposite effect? (affect?? ugh whatever) So here is the plan, Stan.

1. FINISH quilt top for baby.
2. Cut-out weekender bag pieces (I think this project may best be done in stages)
3. Sew a dress using muslin to get the perfect fit from my new Japanese book.
4. Sew dress from muslin pattern using some fabric lying around here.
5. Use my newly acquired pattern following skills to finish chefs jacket.

OK that's the plan for now. I am hoping that by putting this down I will force myself to follow it. HOPING. really HOPING.

In the meantime check out my friend's blog. No these boys aren't crafty, but they are pretty entertaining in that post-college life way. Let me know what you think!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Colored Pencil Roll Tutorial


12 (or 24) 12 “ long x1.5” wide strips, one strip for each color of your pencil pack.
13” x 12” of Home Dec fabric (for the back)
13” x 9” strip of Home Dec Fabric , same as the back or coordinating, for the pocket
12” of coordinating cord, for closure
1 cord stopper (available at Joanns, etc)
Fabric Marker

1. Iron the pocket strip to make a 13” by 4.5” strip
2. Sew the 12 colored fabric strips together, using a ¼ inch seam allowance, in order preferred (I used the order they were packaged in, like a rainbow).

3. Iron seams in the same direction, and iron completed patchwork flat

4. Trim the patchwork rectangle so that top and bottom edges are straight.
5. Pin the pocket (with the unfinished side meeting the bottom of the patchwork rectangle.
6. Mark the seams of each patchwork strip on the pocket with a disappearing ink pen.

7. Sew along the marked lines to form individual slots for each pencil on the pocket. Be sure to reinforce the top and bottom of each slot. Tie off and trim all thread ends.

8. Pin the right side of the backing rectangle to the right side of the patchwork/pocket piece. Double the cord, insert the cord stopper, and place inside the sandwich, just above the pencil slots on one of the sides. Match the ends of the cord with the raw edges of the fabric.

9. Sew a ¼ inch seam allowance along the sides and bottom of the rectangles, making sure to reinforce the cords in the seam by reversing several times along the seam.
10. The seam allowance on the top of the roll will be ½ inch, sew along the side leaving 4 inches unsewn in the middle so you can flip the roll right side out.
*NOTE*: when i prepared the roll for the tutorial I didn't follow my own advice and left a hole open on the side. Don't do what I did!! Follow the written directions in that regard. sorry!!
11. Now turn your roll so the right sides are facing out. You’re almost done!! Make sure the cord is outside the roll (I did it wrong the first time!).
12. Iron down the open seam at the top so that the raw edges are inside the roll, then top stitch along the edge of the entire roll to finish it off.

13. Insert the colored pencils in their assigned slots, fold down the top flap, roll it up, and tighten the cord to keep it all together!! Congrats!!!

Make sure to send it along with a coloring book. Have fun!!

Please be understanding as this is my first tutorial, just let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Also, let me know if you make one, I want to see pics!!

FQ Swaps

I found two fat quarter swaps to join, sewmamasew and Stitches and Scissors, and managed to convince my crafty partner in crime to join in as well. I have 5 people that I am paired up with and Heather and I worked on our packages yesterday during a snowy windy day. Here is what we came up with: our chosen fat quarters, a chocolate lolly from a Wilton kit we impulsively purchased from Joanns (haha), some ribbon, and a homemade card. These are cutouts I have used before for cards and I also made a larger one to frame for my apartment. There is a second half that can be used along with the left side which includes the Hancock Center and other buildings on the northern side of the Chicago River. We used some Amy Butler paper and some other paper from a sweets paper collection. I think they look really incredible if I do say so myself...I hope my partners really love their packages. I can't wait to get mine in the mail (who doesn't like getting mail?).

On Friday night we celebrated Heather's boyfriend Nate's birthday, the big 26. She made a fantastic dinner per usual, and as a really special treat she made two cakes. A cheesecake for Nate, and a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass frosted chocolate cake for me. See, FLW (as we affectionately refer to him) was my first introduction to the study of architecture, the idea that someone could create buildings that would be considered art. My friends here in Chicago have taken a few trips to various FLW attractions in and around Chicago, from Oak Park to Taliesin. Hence, the conception of my FLW cake. Here is the pic from Friday, it made me sad to eat, and I tried to forbid anyone from touching it, unfortunately that wasn't a popular order. So it was cut into and it was an amazing cake. I can't thank Heather enough, and all my great friends here in the windy city, really I am so lucky to have such supportive friends, and it makes me feel so loved that they want me to stay here for architecture school!! Cakes are definitely a good bribe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LA and More!

First of all, I just found out I got into the Master of Arch program at UIC in Chicago!!! I am SO excited. I really wanted to stay here in Chicago, and the program at UIC is fantastic, and I can even stay in my same neighborhood!! The only downside is less time for crafting...haha. I will find time no matter what!!

On to the point of this post, my amazing trip to LA. I took the quilt I had been working on as a housewarming present for my best friend from Utah, Jennifer, her wonderful boyfriend Robbie, and their dog Roman.The back with a strip of purple

They loved it. And so of course did Roman!! The next day Jen and I visited her friend Ashley at her office/showroom. Ashley is the designer and owner of the Myne-LA fashion label, and her designs have been seen on everyone from Rachel Bilson to Vanessa Hudgeons, to Selena Gomez and she is even featured in Elle this March! Her clothes are exactly my style, simple, beautiful, modern yet also with a vintage flair, and easy enough to wear anywhere for a hot look. Definitely check her out!!

The next day was Valentines Day (blech!) but it was the perfect day to be outside. Jen had to work so I walked up a few blocks to Runyon Canyon for a hike. I admit I was so busy looking for famous people the whole time that I barely noticed how steep the hike was, but believe me I am feeling it in my legs even today!! I guess thats what happens when you live in the FLAT midwest!! The skies over LA were crystal clear and the temp perfect for a brisk hike. I came back and laid out on their grassy lawn and enjoyed as much of the sun as I could before heading back to Chicago. That night I met up with a great friend from Colgate, a superstar on the Bakersfield Condors, and his equally stellar teammate. They were the best Valentine's dates ever. We went to dinner at my favorite place, barneys beanery, then hit up a club, a must to complete a fantastic night. I danced circles around those boys, but they are definitely better on skates!! (thats no question as I am a disaster on ice).
The next morning Jen and I headed to the Long Beach Flea Market where I picked up some fantastic finds:
Several embroidery patterns (Aunt Martha!), some Scandinavian style trim (Heather is going to LOVE this!), and a Coats&Clark book, "100 Embroidery Stitches". Can you tell what my next project is going to be?? I also got a beautiful resin aspen leaf pendant. That night we made a wonderful burrito dinner, and I made a Brownie pudding, courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa. One word: wow. It was the most amazing dessert EVER.

My last day was Monday and before I hopped on the plane I took a second trip to Mood Fabrics. Uh. Bad. Idea. Really. I have a hard time with clothing patterns, that whole following written directions thing is lost on me. I need pics. Please. but I came away with the absolutely most beautiful silks I've ever seen...I'm enlisting my mom to help me make a dress and two skirts. (do you see the ant fabric in pumpkin!?)
Then it was back on the plane after a sad goodbye to my Los Angeles family. I really had the most fantastic weekend. I can't thank Jen and Robbie enough for putting me up. I will hopefully be back there soon, this time for the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and maybe a hockey game???

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trip to LA

the quilt top, originally uploaded by Carson.J.

This is the finished quilt I took to my best buddy Jen, her fabulous boyfriend Robbie, and of course Roman, their child, i mean pug. They loved it, really really loved it, it made me so happy to finally give it to them!! For more pics check out my flickr.

ps. please note the sunny weather, it was AMAZING!! booo Chicago winter....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pencil Roll!

I have talked about the baby quilt I am making for my friend Jackie's boy bun in the oven, but I wanted to make something for her 1.5ish year old Tillie since she deserves a little present too!! So I have seen these colored pencil/crayon rolls all over these days. I finally tackled the project and came up with my own pattern/method!! (really impressed with myself to be honest) I even think I will put up a tutorial on how to make it!! But first I want to show it off:

PS: Jackie if you read this, I just couldn't keep it a secret!! xoxo

PPS: Heather please don't be mad I used some of our shared fabric!! I heart it!!

Newest Additions to the Stash/Crafting

I haven't been very bloggish lately. Oops! I have to be better about that!! Anyway, last week I didn't make or do anything too thrilling. I finished up the quilt for my friend Jen, and I will be bringing it to her and her boyfriend this weekend. I can't wait to see them, and Roman (the "child" aka a pug), and their new house, and LA!! In the slim 1 in 1000000 chance that she might read my blog I won't post the final pics til after I get back.

So in the meantime, here is the next quilt I am working on. A baby quilt for Jackie's newest little one, just a small peek though!! I think she might in fact read this and I want it to be an amazing surprise when her and her hubby get it!!

And finally, to round out the Monday post, here is the package I got today from Fat Quarter World, all on Sale!! My favorite Amy Butler, Martini in Mustard, LOVE grey, LOVE yellow!! I scooped up a yard and a half! And some Anna Maria Horner Garden Party, I was getting worried I would miss out on snatching some up!!

I'm cut off from fabric buying at the moment, unless of course I can find an amazing deal on the entire line of Joel Dewberry Aviary in the Bark Colorway. I swoon, I want, I must have!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sweet Treat

PS I promised a pic of the amazing cupcakes I made for Sunday's Cupcake Bowl/Ruthie's Birthday. They were AMAZING!!! Check out those toppers too!! Blempgorf gets all the credit for these. She is my new cupcake/quilt inspiration via the blogworld.

My Therapy

I don't want to spend much time venting about things in my life that aren't going well. Thats not why I started this blog. But, I did start this blog and my etsy store and all my recent craft projects for the sole purpose of comfort, distraction, and confidence. I have had a pretty rough 12 months, yes a whole year, but this past summer I realized that I wanted to DO something about it. To start feeling better.
Final Drawing Class
I started an Introduction to Drawing Class through the Continuing Education department at the SAIC in September. It was incredible. My professor, Ross, taught me to be confident enough to draw what I see in my head and all around me. I can't tell you how amazing it was. This helped to push me to apply to architecture school by getting one of the hardest parts of the application, the portfolio, on its way. I started Carson.J Designs around that time to give me a "reason" to make the jewelery I've been creating for forever. I rather quickly lost interest out of frustration and discouragement. I would still feel periods of sadness and loss, especially as I live alone, but the drawing and jewelery making really made me happy. It allowed me to focus on something outside of the pain in my heart and create something worthwhile.

Then in October I was given the perfect reason to bring out the sewing machine, a new baby on the way! My friends told me they were having their first child, a girl, in March and I quickly leaped to the cause and began work on the quilt. These friends, while far away now, mean alot to me, and I like to show people my gratitude, respect, and love by making things for them. What began as a smallish quilt project,quickly expanded into a full on fabric obsession (I have only recently discovered the amazing designer fabric out there) and a sewing project mission. This was it for me. I really began to pull myself out of the hole I had been in and get back into my groove.

I think about what to make, how to make it, all day, and even to put me to sleep and it soothes me. Relaxes, distracts, and comforts me. I am so grateful and fortunate to have the ability, or at least the desire to "create". It has been the most potent therapy, besides my nightly mug of Sleepytime or Tension Tamer tea. Thank you.
-love, j