Monday, August 30, 2010


Hello friends. I just wanted to let you know that my sweet photographer friend Wendy did a feature on me today and a really fun interview!

So if you've ever wondered what I went to college for, who my "celebrity crush" is, or where the name of my blog comes from, you can find out here. Let her know you're visiting in the comments!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Brother the Yetti

This morning my family picked up my younger brother Luke in the Nashville airport after 75 days in the wilderness of the Canadian Yukon.

He is weathered, furry, muscular, and all around BA after a summer of glacier hiking, bushwacking, ice climbing, mountain dangling, bear encountering, canoeing, and I can't even imagine what else. 

It was kind of like Into the Wild, only he was with a few other people, and in the end he came home instead of eating poison plants.

I'm so proud of him, and so glad he's home.

He took hundreds of breathtaking pictures. Here are just a very few.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zen and The Art of Sewing Machine Maintenance

First the Zen: some new fabric goodies from an impromptu trip to Ikea.
The one on the left is a new design there, and I'm crazy about it. I love it so much that I'm putting too much pressure on finding the perfect project for it. I think of something, and then I think "No, not good enough."

I'm also finding myself very drawn to royal blues lately.

Now for a couple sewing tips I've learned recently. These are probably obvious to most people, but if you are a fairly new, mostly self-taught sewer like me, you might have to be told.

First of all, it did not occur to me that my sewing machine needed to be cleaned regularly until I had already had it at least a year and my mom told me. The thing about sewing machines is, they get really linty. Especially sewing with things like minky, which I use for the back of my monsters, or after big felt projects like Hendrix's playhouse. 

First you unscrew the little plate area. This is what it looks like on my Singer:
You can already see how linty it is just around the bobbin area.

But what's really fun is when you first take the plate off to behold all the grossness lurking beneath. Ew.

But wait. It gets even more gross when you take out the bobbin-receptacle-thingy. (Yes, I'm almost positive that's the technical name.)

Your machine probably came with a little brush thing like this one. If you can't find it, I'm sure you could use a toddler toothbrush or something.

Then proceed to wipe out large amounts of dirt. You really have to get deep into the crevices. You can even pretend to be an archeologist with fancy bone-dusting tools.

So I apologize if every one who owns a machine already knew this because they are actually smart people who read the manuals that come with devices like this. But I'm a bit slow to catch on, so maybe someone else out there is as well. Go clean your machines! They will run smoother.

I have one more tip to share that is probably also quite obvious. SPRAY STARCH!
For some reason, I was under the impression that only 50's housewives needed this stuff. But I bought some a couple weeks ago, and it makes ironing new fabric about 86x easier. I always wash and iron my fabric as soon as I get it in the mail so that it is ready to use when I need it. But it comes out of the dryer in quite a wad sometimes, with serious wrinkles. Starch= magic. And it doesn't even feel stiff at all. I always thought it was just for making things stiff. Not so.

Ok, now that I've shared my "duh, what an idiot" tips, I have a question. Does anyone have a good way to keep the cut ends of fabric from fraying in the wash? I heard about using pinking shears on the edges before putting them in the wash. I've tried that multiple times and it makes no difference at all. Still get those multi-colored thread balls coming out of the wash. I'd love your ideas. You guys are way smart.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Garth and Kat are my FAVES.

Remember a few years ago when SNL went thru a dark age? So glad it's funny again. And thankful for Hulu.

"We came all the way from Epcot!"

Monday, August 23, 2010


As you can see, I did a little work on the "aesthetics" of the blog this weekend. (Seriously, if Gretchen on Project Runway says one more thing about her aesthetic I might reach into the screen and flick her on the nose.)

I've been meaning to do it for a long time, because I've never loved the way anything looked before. But I was discouraged because my old computer, which is the only one we have photoshop on, likes to randomly turn off every few minutes. Also, it cannot type several important letters which is more than a little annoying. While the good computer was being fixed after HG's coffee spill, I actually did a couple posts on here copying and pasting every single T, G, and B.... son of a  i ch.

So I decided to try I have heard a lot about the free photo-editing site on other craft blogs, but I was very skeptical that anything it could produce wouldn't look a little cheesy. Turns out, it was pretty good for a free service. I wish there were more fonts to choose from, and I wish you could overlay pictures as layers somehow like in photoshop. But really, there is a lot you can do on it- including, um, make fun of really super talented people. Totally worth using if you don't have any editing software, and you just want some basics, and you enjoy belittling reality TV stars.

Anyway, grab my new button-thangy over on the side bar if you'd like to say to everyone on your blog, "Hey everyone! Come read A Little Gray! It's super fantastic!!" (this is kind of a weird practice in blogland- but I'm in.)

My last little addition is a sign-off for each post. I made three. Let's try them all right now....

You can tell me which you like best. Or I might just switch between all three.

P.S.- does anyone on blogger know how to get rid of that little shadow thing they put around the images? I don't like. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fabric and Friday Mish-Mash.

It's Friday. My brain feels like gelatin. But the good news is, I'm going to a little party with my husband's work friends tonight, so I'm sure it's nothing a mojito can't fix.

Speaking of parties, here is the party that is going on in my workspace right now. This is what happens when I try to work with Hendrix there. His favorite thing is to tear apart these pads of post-it notes he found and dump out all my stuff. And I let him. Because it keeps him busy.

Speaking of what I'm working on, here's a sneak peek of my next round of bags. Fall yellows, browns, reds, and deep pinks, all cut and interfaced and ready to be put together. This makes me happy.

Speaking of sneak peeks, have you seen Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush line coming out in October? Oh my.

Speaking of fabric I love, I'm getting a ton in the mail, hopefully Monday. I mean, a TON. A lot of it is for a precious little boy's nursery I am helping my friend design. Here's the little scheme for bedding and curtains we came up with. I love it and can't wait to see how the room turns out. (BTW, the upper left looks black and white, but it's really brown and white.)

Speaking of baby rooms, if I were decorating for a new babe, I would use this new line from Ikea- be it a boy or a girl. (Please no one take this to mean I am having a baby. I'm not right now. But I do love this gray house fabric.)

I just realized I have neglected to give you my crafting music lately. Most of you probably don't care, but I think it's fun so whatever. Lately it's been Arcade Fire's The Suburbs and Swell Season's Low Rising. I realize I should probably start listening to obnoxious toddler music for the sake of my child, but I'm probably not going to do that. Maybe he'll just have to grow up with good music taste?
(what a great album cover.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Antique Market (I Like Old Stuff)

Sunday morning we headed down to Burlington, KY, just about a 20 minute ride, to the Antique Market. They have it on the fairgrounds there every third Sunday of the month. Dealers come from all over the place, and it's huge! And everything was beautiful, or had the potential to be- I was in heaven. I could have spent a lot of money there (even though the prices were very reasonable.) I snapped some pictures of stuff I loved but didn't have room for. After just a little while, it was no use, because I wanted to take pictures of everything. Here are some of my favorites.

I actually regret not getting these canisters. They are so adorable!

This would be perfect for Hendrix with just a fresh coat of chalkboard paint.

I'm usually not that into the old Coke stuff, but this tray was so cute. 

If I knew how to knit, I definitely would have snatched up this basket of fabric yarn. In fact, I considered buying it and worrying about learning to knit later :)

The perfect color.

I loved these huge spools. I'm sure there are some really great projects I could think up with the spools themselves. 

These next few pictures are the things I did come home with. How hip is this clipper ship necklace?

The lady said this necklace was from Spain.

The perfect little vase for my corner shelf.

And I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this set of embroidered cloths, but I just thought they were too pretty to pass up. These are like those sets your grandparents put on every piece of their living room, all the side tables and over the backs of the couches. I'll think of something to make with them- any ideas?


Monday, August 16, 2010

OBSESSED WITH: Finding an iphone case

So as you know from my geriatric ranting the other day, I got an iphone 4, which actually came much earlier than expected. And I must say, I'm starting to enjoy it. But the next logical need is a protective case for me to carry. So I searched on Etsy and found one I'm happy with. I also found a lot more that I might have also been happy with, had I wanted to blow all the money I just made on Etsy, on Etsy. (Which is very easy to do.)

I LOVE these simple pouches by Denardi.

Yummy Pocket has really fun ones, like a gameboy, monsters, mustachioed faces, and my favorite- the mix tape.

And Tinder and Bloom has tons of BEAUTiful leather ones.

I ended up snagging this Japanese fabric cutie from Genie Crafts. It was just $8- no shipping!

Sometimes it's really nice to just buy something lovely and handmade rather than make it yourself, you know?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Humor Me

Alright, I now you are probably sick of the Louise Bag, but I wanted to show you these few I just finished up because the fabrics I used are so much different than some I have done before. Some of the fabrics are from Ikea, and they are very bold and mod. Some are little nautical feeling. I love it.

They are reversible, so each picture is two sides of the same bag. 

Bag #1:

Bag #2:

Bag #3:

Bag #4:

Bag #5:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A girly-girl birthday gift.

Our little friend Alivia turned 3 last week and I made her this little dress-up set. She is a very sweet, pink and girly girl, so sorry if you gag on these pinkalicious pictures a little. But she seemed to like them :)

I sprung for the sparkle tulle instead of plain with this tutu, but be forewarned- the stuff is stiffer and it takes a little longer to do the no-sew version. It did for me anyway. But what 3-yr old doesn't appreciate a little sparkle?

The wings I made with this pattern. I changed the shape though to make them a little softer. The shape the pattern has would probably be better to make dragon wings for a boy or something. I also had to make them quite a bit smaller. I found this project on Chez Beeper Bebe, which I love.

For the little wand, I broke a dowel in half, painted it pink, and sandwiched it and the round ruffled thing between two circles of sparklicious craft foam. To ruffle the fabric, just cut a long thin strip and make a gathering stitch on one long edge. Pull the top thread to gather and sew the ends into a circle. If that sounds confusing, it's just like this tutorial, just adjust the sizes to what you need.