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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Independent Artist's Day!

What can I say, I'm a Starving Artist sympathizer.  Having studied art in school, I almost dreaded the day I graduated and would have to figure out a way to financially support myself on my art.  Rather than facing the challenge head on, I hid from it.  I tried to find a day job that would provide for my needs, rather than finding a way to use my skills to support me.  I packed up my paints, and made a myriad of excuses as to why it couldn't work for me.  For many of the other talented artists I went to school with, it has.  They've managed to find design jobs, and do freelance work that has provided for them and their families.  I don't like to admit that I gave up on the idea of being an artist, because for me it was more or an overwhelming fear of failure, rather than dream of success, that influenced my actions.

After a couple of years without art, I found that I needed to create.  I am a creative spirit.  If I'm not making something pretty, I'm not being true to myself.  I still haven't pulled out the paints, or faced me fears of trying and failing as an Illustrator, but I have found and explored other directions to make and create beautiful things.  When I first started this blog it became a wonderful therapeutic outlet for me to share what I made, and push myself to learn knew things.  I've taught myself to sew, learned more about pattern making, jewelry making, crocheting, and a number of different things.  Starting this blog, opening an etsy shop, participating in craft fairs, and joining boutiques, have all been small baby steps for me, as a way of pushing myself as an artist, and trying to find a way to make my art more of a business. I've learned that the Independent Artist is a pretty difficult job, because not only do you have to be a master at your trade, you also have to have enough business sense to promote your shop, and keep it growing and evolving, and keep it financially sound.  (I'm still trying to figure all of that out).

So, today, on the first ever Independent Artist's Day, I invite you to join me in supporting Independent Artist's everywhere.  What, you haven't heard of Independent Artist's Day?  Well, let me be the first to tell you more about it.  Independent Artist's Day is a day when celebrate, promote, and support (emotionally and financially), the Independent Artist's in our life.  Many Independent Artists are offering discounts in their shops, and hoping that it will become an annual event to promote the arts, and the artists that create it.  Think of a Small Business Saturday, or Black Friday for the Independent Artist. You can find more information about Independent Artist's Day here.

So  I'd love to hear from you.  Who are your favorite Independent Artists?  What makes their work so admirable?

In celebration of Independent Artist's Day, I am offering a 20% off coupon code for my shop! Use code IAD20off for a big fat discount.  Promotion runs through the end of May!

How can you support your favorite independent artists?  How about favoriting their shops on Etsy, liking their fb page, giving them a shout out on FB or Instagram, purchasing a pattern or instant download?  Just a few little and easy ways to help!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New To The Shop

It's been awhile.  The past six months I've been busy sewing, beading, making, and craft fairing; but definitely not blogging.  In the past six months we also packed up our first home, and moved across the state to a new home,  a new job, and a new neighborhood (that was a given, right?).  We are finally starting to settle in, and feel at home in our new area.

Since the move I decided it was time to revisit the idea of having an etsy shop.  I opened my etsy shop long before I ever started my blog.  I actually started my blog as a way to promote my shop.  After not much time I realized that my blog had become it's own thing.  I enjoyed writing up tutorials, and being able to create a variety of items without having to have a cohesive collection of items.  I love to work with different materials, and sew for different people.  Made By Me & Shared With You, became a way for me to explore and share all of my creative projects, be they: knit, knotted, stitched, serged, or glued together.

Shortly after starting my blog I then began selling many of my items in brick and mortar boutiques and craft fairs.  I love this, but I have done well enough that the demand for my items soon took away from the time I had available for blogging and creating my own items.  How sad, and how happy all at the same time.  So, when craft fair season rolled around last year I told myself I didn't need to feel obligated to blog, and I didn't.  Somehow six months passed.

Now with the move, I feel that I have come full circle.  I'm still a part of a couple of boutiques on the East side of Idaho, but now that I'm in Boise, I feel a need to regain my online presence.  So, I've stocked my etsy shop with some of my biggest sellers, and have plans to add additional items and stock.

Currently you'll find many of my chunky bubble gum beaded necklaces.  They are so fun for girls!  Great statement pieces, perfect photo props for cake smashes, accessories for flower girls, and great for everyday wear.

Along with the necklaces,  I have a few of my bib-dana dribble bibs.  One of my most popular tutorials, not only are these absolutely adorable on little babes, but they are practical as well.  So, visit my tutorial and whip some up for your next last minute baby shower gift, or pick one up in the shop.

I hope that along with my return to Etsy, I can revisit the blog.  I don't anticipate daily posts, but we'll start with semi-regular posting and see what happens.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Girl's Skater Dress with Lace Overlay

This may be my favorite project of the year.  My niece was having her birthday, and I thought she deserved a dress of her own.  So, I set out designing an age appropriate semi formal dress.  I had this beautiful lace that I bought from, and had intended to use for scarves, but it just wasn't the right weight for scarves, so it became a lovely lace overlay for a skater dress.

The pattern is self drafted, and I used a half circle skirt for the skirt of the dress. I've been hanging onto an oversized lavender zipper, and it was the perfect detail for the back of the dress.

Unfortunately, I didn't factor in enough seam allowance to account for the structure of the lace.  I ended up haven't to make the seam allowances quite a bit larger, which made the bodice quite a bit smaller.  Unfortunately, the dress didn't end up fitting my 10 year old niece, but fortunately, she has two younger sisters, and it fit her petite 8 year old sister perfectly.

I'm glad that someone gets to wear it, and I just might have to make myself a matching dress.  It's just too cute.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I honestly don't know how time manages to pass so quickly.  The past month has been a whirlwind, and I hardly feel like I can keep my feet on the ground.

Amongst other things, my oldest starting kindergarten has thrown our family for a loop.  I really didn't think that it would be a hard transition for me, and emotionally, it hasn't been.  Half day kindergarten, however, takes over your life.  It's going to be a new phase in our family's life, and I am trying to adjust.

I've been hoping to find a nice structured routine for all of us, and I suppose that it happens a bit naturally. Originally I thought that I'd sew/work while Clark was in class, but so far that hasn't happened.  Any and all sewing has been in the early morning, with errands being run during school time.  With craft fair season on it's way, I have to find a bit more work time.

Do you have any suggestions for finding a good work/family life schedule.  Balance has always eluded me. The idea of working from home sounds like a dream, right?  You're able to work in your pajamas, stay home with your children, and make a little extra money.

I've come to think that working from home might be the hardest job ever.  Having to balance your work  and family responsibilities is nearly impossible, not to mention keeping your home in good repair. Sometimes I fear that I'm doing a disservice to my children working from home.  I don't want to send the message that they are less important than a project or a deadline.  They don't often get my full attention, but instead a frazzled and frantic momma.

Like I mentioned, I'm hoping to find a better routine, and a balance, until that happens, posting will continue to be light in these parts.  I can't do it all, and I'm trying to admit that to myself, and the harder part, accept it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Toddler Swimsuit

Summertime is fading, and to be honest, I'm pretty sad about it.  Normally I'm ready to welcome in cooler weather, but this year my oldest will be entering kindergarten.  It will be a new phase of life for our family.  Our schedules will never be the same.

In an attempt to make the most of the remaining summer, we hopped in the car a few weeks ago, and had a big summer road trip.  We started out camping at one of our favorite lakes, and ended up spending some time in the sand and sun in California.  With all of the swimming and sunshine, a second suit was in order for August.  

I had purchased this adorable swimsuit material about a year and a half ago, and finally put it to use.  I absolutely love the little lobsters.  The red athletic knit for the rash guard was purchased at Wal-mart of all places.  I used a combination of the knit and the swimsuit fabric for the hat.  My little Gus and an anything but little head, so having a nice knit on the sides provided the stretch that his head needed.

The bucket hat was made using Abby's (Sew Much Ado) free pattern.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Princess Anna Inspired Costume

In addition to the Snow White costume, I also sewed up a winter princess costume for our princess meet and greet.  We had the very best Elsa and Anna, and they deserved to have something pretty to wear.  

For Anna's costume I ended up ordering the aqua blouse online, and that saved me quite a bit of time.  The vest and skirt were self drafted patterns.  The vest was a bit of an adventure.  I've decided that I really need to invest in an adjustable dress form, it would have made the pattern making process much easier.  I used black satin, gold double fold bias tape, and iron on flocked vinyl, from Expressions Vinyl,  for the vest details. My silhouette cameo saved me so much time, cutting out the intricate designs for me.

I also designed some floral details for the skirt, once again, vinyl and my silhouette did all of the work.  You can see that I didn't do the scallop detail on the skirt, I just didn't have it in me.  

Better than the dress, was the princess wearing it.  Both "Elsa" and "Anna" did a wonderful job, and were so adorable and sweet.  There were lots of star struck little princesses.

I didn't make Elsa's dress, I ordered it.  Yep, I broke down and bought a dress.  I'd originally planned on making it myself, but after pricing fabric, I just bought it.  Her crown, however, was all me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Snow White

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, prepare to see a lot of duplicate images. 

 A couple of weeks ago, I put together a little princess party at one of the local boutiques.  It was so much fun to play dress up, and take a bit of a  break from all of the superheroes and robots that fill my home.  To my knowledge, this was the first time that I've ever dressed up as a princess.

The party was an Elsa and Anna inspired meet and greet, but since I'd be at the party all day, I figured that I should dress  up as a princess too. So, in order to avoid purchasing a wig, Snow White was naturally my first choice.  After all, I do live with several little men in a small house.

The costume was thrown together in a hurry, but came together nicely.  I didn't want to have to draft a fitted bodice pattern, so I used a crushed velvet with stretch.  The sleeves are satin, and though I wish I'd made them a bit puffier/pouffier, they were fine.  I'd thought that I'd cut the pieces with enough extra material for gathering, but, I was wrong.  Since it was last minute, there was no recutting/sewing sleeves.  I ended up trimming the sleeves with a gold glitter fold over elastic.  It was an afterthought, but one of my favorite details.

The sweetest little Elsa you'll ever meet!

My dress, is actually separates, the skirt has a flat front, and an elastic back at the waist.  I like elastic waistbands on costumes, just so that they can stretch and be worn by multiple shapes and sizes.

 Add some red lipstick, and of course a bright red hair ribbon, and you're set.  Now who wants to see Anna's dress?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Technique Tuesday: Sewing and Serging Pintucks

Today we are going to talk tucks...mostly pintucks.  I love pintucks, they are a simple sewing technique that can add an extra special detail to a project. Pintucks can be created with either a sewing machine or a serger, but I must admit, in this case I prefer my sewing machine.

First off, a pintuck is basically a straight stitch sewn on the fold of a fabric, creating a narrow lip. I've used pintucks and tucks on a number of different projects.  Here are a few examples: Sunburst Pintuck Top, Crayon Box Pleat Skirt (waistband),  Itty Bitty Remix, and my pintucked top.

Sewing a Pintuck

Light to medium weight fabrics are traditionally used with a pintuck technique. For practice, it is helpful if the fabric has a linear print on it.  For example, this cotton print has lines running vertically, horizontally, and on the bias.  If you want to practice making pintucks, it may help to use a similar fabric.  

Of course, you can use a solid, and use a removable marking pen/pencil as a guide, it just involves more measuring and marking.

Start by folding your fabric along the desired line or guide.  Pressing can make the process easier.

Place your material under the presser foot, and align the material with your 1/8" presser foot marking.  The larger the seam allowance, the bigger the tuck, the smaller the seam allowance, the smaller the tuck.  For a pintuck, I don't go any larger than 1/8", and often stick to about 1/10".

Sew a straight line along the length of the material. 

Sew as many tucks as are desired.

Press the tucks in the same direction.

Here's a look at some tucks created with varied widths.

From left to right: 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1"

Serging a Pintuck

A serged pintuck is nothing more than a narrow rolled hem sewn on the fold of the fabric.  The thread is much more visible than when a tuck is created with a sewing machine.

The technique is the same, but the serger requires specific settings.

My brother 1034d uses the multi-purpose guide foot for creating pintucks.  The foot features a plastic guide that can be adjusted left to right to accommodate different widths of tucks.  The guide is really helpful in maintaining a straight stitching line.

The pintuck is created using a three thread set up. The owner's manual provides these settings:

Right Needle: 4.0
Upper Looper: 4.0
Lower Looper 7.5
Differential: 0.7
Knife: Disabled
Removable Stitch Finger: Off
Stitch length 1.0-2.5 (I prefer 2.5)
Foot: Multi-purpose guide foot (aka: blind hem foot).

Here's a look at what the knobs and dials look like all set up.

 Adjust the guide foot so that the guide sits just to the right of the right needle. Place fabric under the presser foot, with the folded fabric flush with the guide.

Stitch down the length of the material.

 That's it.  The serger requires more set up, but once you've worked out any necessary adjustments to tension, it is really quite simple to do.  As I mentioned earlier, I still prefer the look of a standard sewing machine pintuck, but the serger is quite, easy, and works well.  Using a coordinating thread will help the stitching lines be less visible.

Now, aside from these basic techniques, there are a few helpful tools to making pintucks even easier.  Pintuck presser feet are available, and paired with a twin needle, pintucking becomes a cinch.

 Enjoy this informative video by Liz of JanomeLife