Sunday, December 27, 2009

Handmade Gifting

I consider myself a round peg. I like to make things complicated and detailed. Take this blog for instance. I haven't written a descent post in quite some time. Though, here I am about to lay down a massive post loaded with picture and links. Grab a beverage and get comfy.

Where was I? The winding roads I take throughout my crafting process gives life to the final product. It's as if one can feel the life and time that was put into an object. I think handmade is the original way of life, buying only what you can't make yourself. Making something, rather than buying something also gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

For the third year in a row, I have done a handmade Christmas. My family lives far away from me, which means I don't always make it home for the holidays. When I send a box of gifts to them, I want it to really count. I want to them to know that I think about and miss them often. I know they miss me, too. I feel that a little something made from my own two hands, helps us to be a little closer. I also recruited help from other crafters (all hail etsy!) to keep with my handmade theme. I am but one woman. hahaha!

These first round of pictures were crafted by yours truly.

Applique fun

mandala hoodie for the armanos (this is only one of them, some how i missed snappin' a pic of the other. boo.)

wall hanging for the hunter

festive repair job on my miguel's sweatpants

Cowl neck scarves
I chose the color palette and button to go with each lady's style

Soy wax candles
This was the first time Miguel and I ever made our own candles. It was super fun and easy. We scored fun ceramic vessels at the thrift store super cheap. My favorites were in hand thrown mugs.

Handmade Hippie Secret Santa gift I sent
I made this apron with vintage velours and blue scraps for Sarah of May's Playce

Repurposed "Classy Cozie" (pattern courtesy of fiber artist & friend The Peaceful Peacock)

Drink Coasters
I made these with repurposed vintage fabric from a family stool. One went to my mom and the other to my sister. This way they could have drinks together while being far away from each other.

Retro Apron
I made this sweet throw back apron for my future mother in law. It features lots of gathering in the front. I made my own bias trim and added a towel loop.

Dog Jacket
This gift was an impromptu for my buddy's dog who stayed with us over the Christmas holiday. I used repurposed fleece from a torn sweatshirt and vintage buttons along the belly closure. Isn't she precious?

These gifts were created by other etsy artists.

Hand turned wooden orb/marble stands by Wood Art and Steam Punk

Handmade natural and awesome deodorants by BathLife.

Hand printed T-shirt by dndteesandstrings

Hand thrown shave mug set & handmade soap by Soothing Suds

A beautiful hand spun & hand knit scarf by my dear Gypsy Road team leader The Peaceful Peacock

More Gypsy Road goodness
My favorite gift from Miguel was this amazing apron by my fellow Gypsy Road member Holly, of Holly Daze Creations. She does amazing applique work, not to mention her bad ass patchwork skills. You can find her etsy shop here.


I look forward to the new year. I plan on setting realistic goals for myself. The most exciting thing about this year, is that my main squeeze and I are getting married in the fall. Planning our wedding is going to be the biggest crafting challenge I have ever done. I want lots of DIY and vintage inspired everything. It is a bit overwhelming to think about all of the details, but I have lots of people who want to help me plan it all out perfectly. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Standing Strong

Sometimes, I feel like my life is living me the same way a freighter rides the rails.

The feeling of vertigo bares it head while trying to balance a job and working from home

The creative juices flow, but have to be jarred for a later date

I have a sense of yearning to spin in circles until I am dizzy.

Focusing on bettering myself is hard when the outside world stretches you thin.

Drawing on my inner strength with patience for myself and others is no easy task.

All of these feelings remind me how important it is to take a few quiet moments of my day just for myself.

The big wheel is always turning. It will be ready for me to jump back on as soon as I've caught my breath.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Patience for Patchwork

Hey everyone! I sure have been busy this fall. The frequent rain has kept me from the woods, but I can't complain because it's been a whirl wind of threads and inspiration in my world

As I told you all in my last post, I was up to my ears in scraps in the sewing studio. The life of a die hard pack rat permits me from throwing away many things, especially textiles. After a massive scrap color sorting session my vision came to me.

Patchwork is truly an age old tradition found in many cultures around the world. In the times of yesteryear, all people were frugal and resourceful out of necessity. Why would a woman get rid of a torn dress that could potentially become a quilt to warm her sleeping babes? My "Scrap Collection" is a tribute to our fore mothers and their humble creativity.

purple power!

moody blues

green dream

mellow yellow

I still have three more pieces I would like to finish before posting the collection on good ol' etsy. Until then, let me know what you think of what I've got far.

~~~~~~~big fluffy hugs!~~~~~~~~
*Brenna Banana

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Come Along and Ride on a Scrap-tastic Voyage

I've been feeling a little claustrophobic in my sewing room these days. I can never say no to fabric 'kick downs' or clothing people no longer wear. This has resulted in my sewing room being stuffed to the gills.

Such is the life of a pack-rat, but even more of an earth conscious crafter. There are SO many existing materials already made and ready for use.

I believe absolutely everything can be used again someday, whether it be packaging styrofoam or the thinnest scraps of fabric from my serger. I even fold up the wrapping paper from the gifts I have received.

I try to stay organized, I really do. Nevertheless, I am an atypical Taurus and the definition of unorganized. Much to my dismay, this chaos I live, breathe, and create for myself can stifle my creativity and overstimulate me more than you can believe.

Every so often I have to force myself to resituate everything back into "order".

I started with my dresser that houses my fun smaller cuts of fabrics. I folded and color sorted every last piece.
scrap spaghetti

rainbow goodnessbrowns to whites

My sense of accomplishment did not last long.

that's right folks, it's a cube of scraps

I looked around my sewing room saw that I had three fruit boxes FULL of random scraps. I knew what I had to do. I dumped every single box on my floor to force myself to deal with it. I color sorted all the woven fabrics and threw all the jersey scraps into another box. I ended up with a giant garbage bag stuffed with tiny fabric scraps too small for sewing. Of course I am not going to just throw this stuff away. This has become my pillow stuffing source.

Ta da!
Fast forward to a couple days later,,,,,,

A couple of work buddies and I hung out and got crafty together. I packed up my back-up sewing machine and my good ole 'Rock Steady' with color sorted scraps in hand.
action shot

It was so much fun to share with them what I love. I taught them how to thread the machine and straight stitch. They patched up larger pieces to make a couple of throw pillows (stuffed with my aforementioned tiny scraps) , while my Miguel and I patched up smaller pieces. The patchwork will be used for a house warming present for a dear friend....more on that on a later day.
yay for sewing

they were totally feeling the creative rush

we did it!


What have you done lately to tread lightly?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm still here

I have been enjoying my summer to the maximum degree. You may think I am crazy, but I love summers in Alabama. They are hot and humid like you would not believe. I soak in the heat like a lizard, I was not meant to live in cold weather. I also love any reason to wear an insanely short skirt everyday. :-D

On a crafty note, I went through quite an ordeal of buying a new serger. I ran my Singer ProFinish into the ground and very quickly might I add. I fought tooth and nail replacing the ol' girl. My crafty support crew, also known as Gypsy Road, helped me realize that I deserved a more rugged machine.

As I said good bye to Bee-Bop (my old serger) a great weight was lifted from my creative spirit. You definetly get what you pay for when it comes to sergers. I dropped a pretty penny on a JUKI Pearl and let me tell you all; I am in love with a serger. Her name is Penny and she purs like a kitten. The sweetest part about the youngn' in my sewing studio is that there is a little mechanism that threads the lower looper. It's like magic.

I have been super inspired and motived. I even moved around every piece of furniture in my studio. It's amazing what a little rearranging does for your mind.

My newest design was inspired my friend who has recently become a mommy. She wanted a custom dress to flatter her figure. I also thought about how a mama's dress needs to be accessible to her mommy parts.....hence the Mama dress was created. A cross over bodice that features elastic beneath bust for comfort. There will many more of this style to come. I have already had several custom inquiries. yay!

hops thriving

I am officially a part of the facebook community.....(myspace --shmyspace pfft over it! ) can join my fan page here to hear about my adventures and see fun pictures.

Also, if you have purchased something from my lil ol etsy shop I would LOVE if you would submit a pic of you rockin' my wears.....

~~big hugs and smiles~~


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy and Classy

the power tie

I made embellished baby jumpsuits for my boss's baby is a pic of him rockin' one them.

My cousin's baby shower is this sunday and is too far to hutsle up there for one day. I sent something up to her, but I neglected to take a picture of what I made. Everyone will have to wait and see what I made. Someday I will have a picture when her little man starts wearing his special something.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cheap Thrills

I went to an estate sale the other day. You never know what you are going to stumble upon at these things.

I wonder what the sale of my estate will consist of.....

Hopefully there won't be a bunch of unused craft supplies. I hate to leave things unfinished.....even though these are usually what I look for. Nothing makes me happier than an uncut pattern or unopened package of elastic. Nevertheless, I try to buy as few new supply items as possible.

Don't get me wrong I love all the fancy designer prints available in fabric shops, though most of the time the price deters me from purchases. Using eco friendly upcycled fabrics allows me to keep my prices low for my customers.

I try to find the style in textiles that are already favorite finds include vintage (or just plain pretty) bed sheets, corduroy pants, table clothes, and anything made of knit fabric.

Back to my estate sale visit....I didn't find any craft supplies this time. I did find some awesome functional pottery.

I was pretty excited about the earthy brown tea pot. I scored a his and hers set of mugs that remind me of beehives. These mugs are huge and will be great for cold nights and chamomile tea.

The coolest score has to be the tiny "pitchers". I found out that they were made by a local potter and worth about alot more than what I paid for them. Antique Road Show here I come! Anyway, I think they may be nasal cleansing pots....or nettie pots. Mine will be used to refill my steam iron with water. Yay!

While bumming around my neighborhood I stopped at a farmer's little stand on the side of the road. I grabbed some of the prettiest yellow squash I've ever seen. I couldn't resist the peaches either. I will probably make a vegan potato salad with the tender red potatoes. The cucumber will be eaten raw. Miguel made a batch of garlic and dill pickles with our last local cucumbers.

estate sale fun $5 + home grown local produce $5 = summer time fun, priceless

Get outside and enjoy the warm season!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Phamily Fun

Our town has free concerts in the park on Monday nights. We decided (more like Miguel tore me away from my sewing machines tee-hee) to take the dogs and soak up some tunes........

I've got several new items that need to be photographed and such.

In other news, I just go a new adjustable dress form. Yay!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ramble On PaRt Two

So I've been busy sewing and neglecting the second post of my adventures.......but here it is as promised. Grab a cup of iced tea and bounce through my journey with me. :-*

Banana Bouncing through the forest

I think my favorite part of seeing live music is all the memories of of old friends and moments we shared over the same music that flood my mind{{{.....Does that makes sense?}}}
My friends near and far who have shared moments of time with me are forever etched in my mind. I am grateful to think of our time together and dance in their honor.

Going on a three day leg of Phish was so amazingly fun. Miguel and I saw friends that we had not seen in years......not to mention gettin' down and dirty with the phamour phour.

When ever we have long distances to travel we try to break up the drive. We've found it makes for a much more enjoyable and restful trip.

On the way to Noblesville, Indiana we camped in a sweet State Forest in Southern Indiana to break up the drive up north. It was such peaceful way to begin out lil journey. We and enjoyed one of the trails and saw ToNs of wild mushrooms

trumpet-ly awesome-ness
This one reminded us of sea coral
Miggy fossil hunting
Before arriving at the Deer Creek venue we stopped at a few microbreweries within the town. Yum! We also had a chance to vend before the show on Shakedown....I really need to invest in a was flaming hot. Nevertheless, we took care of business and had a good pre-show time.

happy mama to be rockin the Jedi Mama dress
my lil spot

Anyways, the coolest part about hanging out was I saw a beautiful young lady who had purchased a dress I made and sold on ebay a few years ago. I did a double take when I first walked by her! We exchanged hugs and kisses. She continued to say that it was her favorite dress and she looks for my stuff on ebay. { Now that I am on etsy I forget to post something over there in ebay-land just for meare exposure purposes......**note to self :D }

The first set was really rockin with Moma Dance, Fluffhead, and Ocelot really tickling my pickle. In between the sets there was a CRAZY lightning storm. It was the gnarliest lightning I had ever seen, very ominous. It delayed the second set substantially and they actually let people go to their cars (we didn't go) for re-entry after the storm.

After much anticipation the show started up again. Drowned was a really exciting as well a Possum. 2001 was such a crowd pleaser. It felt good to soak up all that uplifting energy.

06/19/09 Verizon Wireless Music Center (formerly Deer Creek) - Noblesville, IN

1: Backwards Down the Number Line, AC/DC Bag, Limb By Limb, The Moma Dance, Water In The Sky, Split Open and Melt, Lawn Boy, The Wedge, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, The Connection*, Ocelot, Fluffhead

2**: A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing -> Drowned -> Twist, Let Me Lie, Tweezer -> 2001 > Suzy Greenberg > Possum

E: Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise

Somehow, like crazy people, after the show Miguel and I made how way to a suburb of Chicago. It was a challenging situation because getting out the parking lot took 2 hours. It almost broke me, for serious. I don't know what the deal was, but it seemed like every line we were in didn't move. AnYwAys, these things happen what everyone wants to leave at the same time.

Needless to say we made it safely to Chicago and set out for the sweetest lake house ever. It was right on the lake front, super spacious with beds galore, and very homey. A friend of mine said it would make a great "hippie fall out shelter" because of the seemingly unlimited amount of space..... :-D

All of our time in Wisconsin was SO cherished because we spent time with a very dear friend who we had not seet in four years......I realized that is way too freggin' long to be without each other........

Hanging out with old friends is such an amazing feeling because you pick up right where you left off.

It was SO uplifting and I promised myself never too let that much time come between us again.....

06/20/09 Alpine Valley Music Theatre - East Troy, WI

1: Punch You in the Eye, Runaway Jim, Stash, Ya Mar, Bathtub Gin, Kill Devil Falls, Train Song, Farmhouse, Sparkle, Run Like An Antelope

2: Waves > Sample In A Jar, Maze, Makisupa Policeman > Ghost -> The Lizards, You Enjoy Myself* -> NICU > Prince Caspian -> Waste > Fire

E: Character Zero
My fav's of the night incluses Ya Mar (shout outs and mad love Ashley and Too-La), Sample in a jar, Ghost (I love you Becca!), Lizards, Waste (my sweet Mig), and Prince Caspian.

we had to go for a dip in the cool WI lake to cool off, though the "hot" weather there was a far cry from the southern heat in full swing now

"Let's do dis!!!"

Miguel caught my off gaurd here making pretty eyes at him early in the morning

This pic was bitter sweet....the last night of our "tour".....but geez I love these people!

This night Miguel, our old friend Cliff, and I broke away from our crew to get nice and close to the stage.....well not that close, but closer! We had ample dancin' grass that was flat enough so that you didn't twist you ankle. haha!

The show started with the band's children coming on stage in tribute to Father's Day.....I happily sent my Papa a text messge wishin' him a happy day. It was truely touching. Wolfman's brother was really fun, but Avenu Malkenu was freakin awesome! Trey was so funny when he sang in "just called my probation officer". That's right buddy! Keep your nose clean! ;-)

The second set really did it for me.Down with Disease, Velvet Sea (more mad love to Becca!), Reggae Woman (hooolllaa!), and Slave to the Traffic light.

06/21/09 Alpine Valley Music Theatre - East Troy, WI

1: Brother*, Wolfman's Brother, Funky Bitch** > The Divided Sky, Joy, Back On The Train, Taste, Poor Heart, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday^^, Time Turns Elastic

2: Crosseyed and Painless*** > Down With Disease > Bug > Piper^ -> Wading In The Velvet Sea, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Slave To The Traffic Light

E: Grind, Frankenstein^&^
The encore got crazy! You could feel the happy sadness of the crowd wanting more.....The end of the first leg of summer tour was an amazing ride.......For Frankenstein Trey busted out a 5-neck guitar and Page's cute lil self busted out a vintage keytar he scored from a vintage instrument store in my hometown St.Louis.

here's a carppy pic from the screen, but yo uget the idea

Miguel and I capped off our trip with an evening in Carbondale, Illinois. We hit up a favorite Pizza Place (holla Quatros) and bar (Yeah Tres Homebres). We even walked around our old campus.....More memories flooded my mind.

Miguel in front of his first Dorm....awwwww
The young woman I was and who I have become. It was really humbling to get back to the woods where Mike and I first began our jourey together.

deep in thought on Thompson Lake
All in all, I couldn't be any more grateful for my safe and gratifying vacation experience. My heart and soul needed the freedom of the open road, if only for a lil while. My creativty is bursting my mind as I type this........

Thanks for reading about my trips and I hope that you find yourself on a journey soon!

so much love,

Big Thanks to for setlists.....