quick project: jewelry drawer liner

I continue to grab brooches and other pieces of jewelry at rummage and yard sales and the drawer I’ve been keeping them in has been a big jumble.

Quilted drawer liner

You can see that there’s a wide variety of stuff in here and that it moves around every time I open the drawer, making it hard to see what I have and find specific things. I had the idea to make a quilted drawer liner to keep things more organized.

Quilted drawer liner

This is the simplest design – it’s just two pieces of fabric with one layer of cotton batting, sewn all around the edge and then turned right side out, and a double line of stitching around the edge (closing the gap through which I turned it, as well as providing a nice detail and some stability). I thought about quilting it more than this, but decided that this was good enough. As I was able to remove the drawer to do this, it was easy to measure and make the liner the exact size of the drawer.

Quilted drawer liner

While I was at it, I did some sorting and found a number of items to get rid of (including no fewer than 6 pairs of cheapo sunglasses that were either scratched or didn’t fit very well – all in the Goodwill basket now!) So here’s the drawer with everything laid out neatly on the liner. Isn’t that so pleasing?

Quilted drawer liner

And here’s the drawer in place, from my vantage point (I’m not super tall compared to this dresser, but I can easily see everything here). I still have other jewelry in drawer organizer unit (which does not fit into this dresser – it fit into a previous one we owned, so now it’s sitting on a shelf) holding earrings, chain necklaces, and some other assorted sundries, but these are the brooches, bracelets, rings, and necklaces that I’m looking for at a moment’s notice and/or are best stored laying out. I will admit I even found a few things during this sort that I had forgotten I owned!

1. measure your drawer
2. cut two pieces of fabric 1″ larger than the drawer’s measurement (1″ wider and 1″ longer)
3. cut one piece of cotton batting the same size as the fabric
4. place fabric pieces right sides together, and layer them on top of the cotton batting (doesn’t matter which way) so the three pieces are all lined up
5. sew around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 5″ gap on one side (or big enough to get your hand in)
6. trim the excess from the seam allowance except at the gap (especially be sure to trim around the corners)
7. reach in through the gap and turn right side out – you may wish to use a corner poker to get the corners turned out fully)
8. press well with the edges of the gap turned in tidily
9. stitch around the perimeter, being sure the gap is sealed – I used a longer stitch for a nice top-stitched look
10. stitch around the perimeter again an even distance from the first line of stitching


review: On the Go Bags

On the Go Bags

On the Go Bags: 15 handmade purses, totes & organizers – unique projects to sew from today’s modern designers by Lindsay Conner and Janelle MacKay

This book contains instructions for making a variety of types of handbags by sewing and related construction techniques. Most include dimensions for cutting fabric and use minimal computer-generated diagrams to illustrate the how-to of constructing the item. Pattern pieces for a few items are included in a perforated section at the back. While these instructions are fairly detailed, I have been spoiled by the excellent bag patterns created by Erin of Dog Under My Desk, and these just do not measure up. I prefer Erin’s actual photographs to the diagrams here, and her patterns never skim over the little details that make a handmade bag look perfect. The instructions here are fine, just not the level I’m accustomed to.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library through the MeLCat ILL system



review: The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching

The Art of Whimsical Stitching: Creative stitch techniques and inspiring projects by Joanne Sharpe

This book covers a range of stitching techniques including machine and hand sewing, quilting, and embroidery. Sharpe’s goal is to enable the maker to create unique art using the artist’s preferred choice and combination of methods. The pieces shown also use fabric painting, dye, art markers, and more. Some basic information about using these tools and techniques is provided, along with inspiration pieces created by the author. The bulk of the book consists of projects that showcase one or more techniques and include utilitarian items like bags and pillows as well as pieces created purely to be art. Fans of mixed media collage will find lots of inspiration and useful information here.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Capital Area District Library through the MeLCat ILL system


review: Handmade Heirlooms

Handmade Heirlooms

Handmade Heirlooms: Crafting with intention, making things that matter, and connecting to family & tradition by Jennifer Casa

This book embraces the idea of family heirlooms being special keepsakes that are, more often than not, handmade by someone in the family. One doesn’t often think of creating new heirlooms, but this book challenges the reader to do just that – instead of simply making a gift for a family member, make something that will be loved by that person and handed down over the years. These projects are made using a variety of techniques including knitting, crochet, sewing, and more. They range from traditional baby items like booties and caps to more unique objects like a knitted airplane toy. Some are more utilitarian, like a knitting needle roll and a monogrammed bulletin board.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library through the MeLCat ILL system


Spring Showers and Spring Flowers Blythe Swap

This was such a fun swap to put together! My partner and I figured out quickly that we both like the Mori Girl style and that really informed my process for making things. I got so excited about it! I wrote a few new patterns for knitted items (see yesterday’s freebie for one!) and sewed a bunch. Here’s a quick look at the things I sent:

And the awesome package I received:


review: Simply Stitched

Simply Stitched

Simply Stitched: Beautiful Embroidery Motifs and Projects with Wool and Cotton by Yumiko Higuchi

The projects in this book combine wool embroidery thread and cotton embroidery floss. Most of the projects I’ve seen use either one or the other exclusively, so this combination allows for a different look than many other embroidery projects. Fourteen projects and sixteen motifs are included here, all inspired by nature, mostly plants and animals. The motifs and finished projects are shown in large color photographs while the project and motif instructions are provided in black and grey illustrations. The floral motifs are pretty but not fussy and have a classic feel. The creature motifs seem simple but perfectly represent their subjects without anthropomorphizing. I especially love the bees (with segmented legs and french knot bodies) and roosters.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Sterling Heights Public Library through the awesome MeLCat ILL system


Blythe three dress giveaway!

Happy new year! I’ve been attempting to spend more time doing things other than the internet, hence the lack of posts. I’m not giving up on blogging – far from it! – but am trying to focus on mostly on making things and taking political action. I’m still planning to make time for blogging but I am also in winter hibernation mode, so posts will probably be more sporadic at least for a bit.

So, back to making things! I made these three dresses for Blythe and would love to give them away to other Blythe folks. Head over to YouTube and comment there to be entered to win. I’ll pick a winner on Friday January 13th so hurry on over!


a brand new bag

We are going on a trip pretty soon*, to Universal Studios and Epcot! I am pretty excited since we haven’t been on a vacation in awhile, and it’ll be Halloween-theme-time at the parks. It’s also the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, which we loved the last time we went. And we haven’t ever been to the Harry Potter parks! I’ve been bingeing Witch, Please in preparation (I have been listening to this anyway because it is THE BEST, but I’ve been spreading the episodes out so I could always have more – I finally gave in and just got caught up).

I knew that I wouldn’t want to carry my usual purse in the parks and that I wanted a cross-body style for max comfort and making sure I don’t lose it (a shoulder bag is too put-down-able). I know that generally you don’t need to carry a lot of stuff with you in these parks, but I always want sunglasses and sunscreen and mints and whatever and anyway, I knew I needed a bag.

The perfect one was already in my pattern file: the Two Zip Hipster by Dog Under My Desk.

Spoopy Two Zip Hipster - pattern by Dog Under My Desk

It turned out awesome! I have raved before about Erin’s patterns but seriously, they are THE BEST (equal level of awesome as Witch, Please). They’re so easy and every step is laid out and it all goes so smoothly. I chose this super spoopy fabric in honor of Halloween time. I had hoped to find a Harry Potter themed fabric, but all the ones that Joann carries (at least in our local store) are loud and juvenile and not cool enough. I’m happy with this spider fabric, though, and I’m also going to embellish the exterior with at least one Hillary pin (#ImWithHer)! If any of you lovelies have tips or things to know about our destinations, please share!

*would-be evil-doers, take note that our house will be occupied while we’re away! No opportunities here!


Art Walk Central wrap-up

Modern Venus - on display at Helios Art Gallery

Here’s a much better photo of Modern Venus on display at Helios Art Gallery! I went in with the DSLR and of course managed some higher quality shots.

I am so honored that my art was displayed in this gallery! It made my Art Walk Central experience so much richer this year – big thanks to the folks at Helios for welcoming me, being interested to know more about the piece, and encouraging me in every way during every interaction we had throughout the festival. It was such a pleasure to be involved with such good people.

Overall my experience this year was a bit of an up-and-down. I had received a call from ArtReach informing me that my piece was in the judges’ top ten and I was both stunned and elated! But then when we attended the judges’ round table discussing their top picks, mine was not among them. I felt so embarrassed in that moment, even though as far as I know, K and I were the only ones expecting to see mine in the slide show. I am pretty sure that someone confused my name with the other art quilter from Mount Pleasant (named Ann, oddly enough) on their contact list and called me by mistake. The folks at ArtReach were extremely apologetic about it and really did everything they could to make things right, so I have no ill feelings on that front, just a little residual disappointment and embarrassment that I had to then tell everyone that my big happy announcement was the result of an error.

Listening to the judges discuss their top picks was extremely enlightening. It’s clear that they both appreciate fiber art, which is awesome (the top 10 had two art quilts, which seems unlikely to happen very often). They both also spoke a lot about political art and how much they value pieces that address specific current events (#blacklivesmatter and the Flint water crisis in particular featured in several of the top ten). For me as an artist, I think I’m less likely to address a specific event – I think that my work, so far at least, is less likely to be so direct and specific. I would rather address a theme or idea in less literal ways, I guess. I wonder if this is a current movement among art critics or in the art world in general? Or maybe it’s always a preference some folks have? I should ask the Art Assignment! It was also interesting to note that the judges seemed to be very in sync with one another – I don’t think I heard either of them express an opinion that the other didn’t echo. I wonder if it’s a challenge, when working in that capacity, to keep one’s own voice strong and distinct. It could be that they were just that in tune with each other.

I also quite enjoyed the artist talks that I got to attend. I could have signed up to do one myself, but I was so intimidated that I didn’t. Having seen some others now, I think that I could manage it, though I’m sure I’d still be quite nervous. It was reassuring/notable to me that the artists I heard all took somewhat different approaches to the talk – and all seemed to be equally acceptable. That gives me a bit more confidence for the future as well.

For now, I’m still working on the planning stages of my next piece, so I need to get to the drawing board for that. Once again, big thanks to everyone I worked with this year and big congrats to all the other artists!