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Yellow Suitcase Studio: November 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thrift Store Finds and a Fabric Buying Tip

Here's some fabric I found at the thrift store yesterday!

I looooove the vintage floral.
And guess what?!?! They're bed sheets!

I love getting fabric that doesn't cost a lot. Bed sheets are also great because they can be wider than a normal bolt and you've got a couple yards.  

If you're in need of some new fabric check out the bedding section of your local thrift shops! Be sure to look them over a bit too to see how worn they are. These ones were in perfect shape!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Guest Post: Letterboxing

So my sister told me about how she went letterboxing and I was like..... "what?"

She's going to tell you about what it is and her experience.


“What is letterboxing?” 
Glad you asked.
Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt.  I got the chance to go letterboxing on one of our last nice Saturdays before winter sets in for good.  So here’s how it works.

First you go to http://www.letterboxing.org to find some clues. You can search by map and narrow it down to your area of the state.  Some of the clues have puzzles or riddles to figure out before you know what city it is in or where to start looking. Some tell you which city and park to start at. My friend had all of this prepared ahead of time. She had printed out clues and grouped them by city so that we could do a few at a time.

Our first set of clues had us start of down a boardwalk path through some lovely cattails.

Unfortunately our first box was nowhere to be found.  But we pressed on. Our next clue had us start out in a park that was at the other end of the trail. We followed the clues, and there it was!

Inside each Letterbox is a log book and a stamp. Many of the stamps are hand carved.

You take the letterbox stamp and using your ink – we used some markers – you stamp it in your journal. Then you take your stamp and stamp it in the log book with the date and your name.  Hurray! First box found, off to find more! On our way back to the car we saw this big tree stump. We stopped to count the rings.

Our next clue took us to a park and ride. This one was pretty quick to find.

It is so much fun looking through the log book to see who has found it before you, and how long ago it was.

Our next clue led us on a very long trail. We started off in a park but then followed some public trails that wound through a subdivision.
This willow next to the pond was gorgeous.

After a few wrong turns and some back tracking, and plain old snooping around we finally found the box! Sometimes you really need to look hard in the branches and brambles.

At this point we decided we would have just enough daylight left for one more box. Off to another park! This park also had some long trails and boardwalks through marsh land. Check out this crazy tree

We were a bit confused on some of the clues with this one too, but in the end it worked out. This one was a KISS stamp.

Hiking with a good friend and enjoying some time outside before we hibernate for the winter was a great way to spend an afternoon! It’s amazing how many wonderful parks and trails are out there and right in your own backyard too. Try it out.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Cornwell's Improved Self-Fitting Chart For Cutting Dresses 1876

This gem. My goodness.

It belonged to my husband's grandma. I long that I could have met her and learned from her. With our cooking, sewing and love for the same people, I bet we would have gotten along great!

I resurrected it again after going through craft stuff at my parents. Being a designer and a crafter, the detail in this boggles my mind. And that you can make your own custom pattern from it! It's one of those things that makes my heart beat a little faster and ache. And all I can do at that moment is take it all in - the color, the typefaces, the creases, the musty smell, the minute details, the flourishes.

I hope you find some inspiration in these details as well! I hope to someday have it framed somehow on display in my craft room.

What inspires you?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Purple Charm Quilt Tree

*Edit* I have found enough people for the swap. Thank you so much for your interest!

Helloooooo readers!

Last week I received a quilt tree letter, like a chain letter, where you send fabric squares. I'm looking for 2 more people to send squares to. Any fabric hoarders, quilters, or people who love mail and fabric out there want to join me? I'd love to make some new connections too!

What's involved is mailing 2 fabric squares with purple in it to the 3 people on the list in the letter and then to 4 of your friends along with the letter. You will then be receiving many squares in return. Considering people follow through, of course!

If you're interested please use the contact form to send me your address and you'll have some mail coming your way!


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Lace Top Tutorial

I love me some lace! I wanted to make myself a little something pretty while I'm in the middle of making a bagillion gifts and things for an upcoming craft fair.

In its former life it was an old frilly lace grandma curtain -- ruffles, big bow tie backs, the whole gaudy shebang.

All that is gone. Now it is simple and classy. Just the way I like my lace.

Start with some lace!

Look for something that's soft with a non directional pattern. Also, bonus points if it has a finished edge something like this! Because you give yourself less work to do! I like that.

Now I didn't follow a specific pattern to make this. I used two shirts that I had the elements I wanted -- one for the neckline and one for the shoulders and sleeve shape.

I laid out my one shirt over two layers of lace and cut a generous rectangle around it.  My nice edge in the above photo is going to be the bottom of the shirt.

Next fold the two layers of lace in half lengthwise.

Fold your shirt in half and lay it on the lace -- folded edge on folded edge.

Cut around the shirt leaving a generous half inch. It's better to leave a little room than find out it's too small later. You can always take it in. For the sides, I wanted it to be loose so I just went straight down from the armpits.

You'll now have two pieces of lace like this.

{ha your eyes are probably telling you that it's way out of focus -- it's not!}

Now take one of the pieces of lace and fold it in half like it was before. Take a shirt that you like the neckline from and fold it in half and place it on the lace -- folded edges on the same side. Cut along the neckline edge. This is the back of my shirt.

Take the other piece of lace and do the same except use the front neckline. I lined up the shoulders from both pieces (the front and back). 

Now unfold your pieces and lay them on top of each other. Right sides out (I found my lace didn't really have a specific front and back sides). Pin along the sides, under the armpits and across the shoulders. We're going to do French seams!

Sew where you pinned using a quarter inch seam allowance. My sewing machine had a couple hiccups while it was sewing the lace probably because some of the parts are so open.

At this point you can try it on and see if any adjustments need to be made.

Next trim very close to the stitches you made.

Now turn your shirt inside out and iron along the the seams. What you're going to be doing is encasing the first seam you made inside of the another seam. This gives a nice clean inside seam! It looks nice and professional.

After you have ironed and pinned, sew the seams again. You will then have a pretty inside seam like this:

Once you have finished the shoulders and sides, it's time to finish the arm and neck holes.

From some of the lace ruffles I cut off about 3/4" of the edge. You could also use bias tape or ribbon.

With your shirt right side out, pin this edging to the neck and arm holes. Rough edges together. I apologize if these next steps are hard to see. The lace is hard to photograph.

For the ends of the edging pieces, fold one end over...

and overlap it with the other end.

Then sew using a quarter inch seam allowance.

After you have done that, turn your shirt inside out. Take the nice edge of the edging and fold it over the seam you just made, pinning as you go. Again, you are encasing the rough edge inside another seam.

Finally sew where you pinned, giving the arm and neck holes clean finished edges!

When you're done, put it on! You'll feel proud and and look pretty!

It took me three-ish hours to make it.

Enjoy! As always, let me know if you have any questions!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Suitcase Stories: From the Side of the Road

I’ve gotten good where I can spot old suitcases like none other.  I rescued these babies before they went to the dump!

My husband and I went to pick up a table for my craft room that I found on Craigslist. The seller was a sweet teacher packing up and moving because of an unexpected job offer she took. She was moving to a smaller apartment so she was cleaning out. Walking up to her building, there were some things by the side of the road and I spotted a vintage green handle and latches of a suitcase. (I’m thinking really what are the chances!  I hope it’s in decent shape – poor thing put on the side of the road). We got the table and the seller helped us bring out some parts.  I told her I was going to check out the suitcase and she told me the funny story of why she had it and why it was on the side of the road. It was a little bent up. She used it for a prop for something in her classroom  and a big 8th grade boy sat on it. Yep, sat on it. 

Despite being a little bent up, it's in decent shape! 

We were planning to get our kitties soon so I had a good idea for this one. I made a padded insert to turn it into a pet bed. They slept in it some, but now it’s more of a toy box.

{Elwood after his momma’s heart.} 

This wasn’t very long after we got them- they’ve more than doubled in size now! My growing boys!

These next suitcases have to be the most interesting and oldest suitcases I’ve found.

My husband and I went to a rummage sale just down the street from us. We went to a rummage they had there about month earlier.  With the season ending it looked like they now had more of their out buildings cleared out and they lowered some prices to get rid of things.

Low and behold suitcases on the side of the road! Like 6 of them, but looking pretty shabby.  I still looked to see if there were any good ones. Good thing I looked a little harder because I found these beauties (does anyone else think this kind of stuff is beautiful?) I just saw the one at first and then got excited when I saw another one under some more of the junk. I’m pretty sure we moved a concrete block to get at it (my husband is so good to me). 

I love the latches, the airline tags that were left on and how they’re a little closer to a square shape. 

Another thing of interest – they were filled with stuff. Most of which was immediately disposed of for sanitary reasons. Judging by the contents it belonged to a very religious lady! Here are a couple pieces that took me back in time.

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