Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sewing Machine Frenzy

Wow.  Never knew sewing machines were so intricate.  I just watched about 3 hours worth of videos on how to use a sewing machine and found some really helpful clips.  One lady used to repair sewing machines and walks you through all sorts of machines (in case you don't have a manual or don't know the make and/or model, like in my case, where I'm using the semi inherited machine circa 1960's).  Sewing machines are really fascinating!  If you've never used a machine before or need to dust off your seamstress skills, I'd advise you to check out some of these clips.  I feel ready and enlightened for my sewing adventures!  I know what a bobbin is!  And I know how to wind it!  Now if I can only figure out which hooks I need to use...In any case, if you're brand spankin' new to sewing, then check these out:

If you are already familiar with your machine but need help with threading the bobbin or machine, skip to video 4 & 5 (The intro to machines is pretty repetitive and long, but for someone that has never touched a machine before, I found it very helpful to know the parts and why they're there)

How to use your basic sewing machine 1 - An intro to a few different kinds of basic machines and parts
How to use your basic sewing machine 2 - A continuation of intro to machines and parts
How to use your basic sewing machine 3 - More explanations of parts on the machine and a tutorial on how to wind your bobbin
How to use your basic sewing machine 4 - This is a bit of a repeat of Video 3....sorry!  I think this skips the continued machine intro and goes straight to the bobbins
How to use your basic sewing machine 5 - This skips ahead to winding the bobbin on different kinds of machines

*Pam Cortese, The Place That Sells Sewing Machines

These videos are a bit of a repeat, but less intro to the actual machine, and more tutorial on how to use the machine.  I thought the video on basic sewing stitches was really helpful.

*Beth Bates, SewTeacher.com

It might be helpful to mix and match the videos according to your needs, just like you would thread and fabric!!

Hope this helps.  Now on to the sewing factory!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who Says Aprons Are For Cooking?

My hair stylist's mom makes these gorgeous aprons she sells at the salon.  They are intricately designed down to the buttons and strategically placed pockets.  I envy the details and want to wear one everyday.  The price is pretty steep on those suckers, so in true spirit of my parents who first attempt to make anything a DIY project even if it ends up costing them more in the long run, I will be attempting to make my own.  This may be a challenge as I have never used a sewing machine.  I'm quite skillful with the needle (when it comes to making some quick fixin's), but I imagine sewing an entire apron by hand would be somewhat idiotic.  So, I borrowed my boyfriend's mom's sewing machine that she got on her sweet 16 (meaning, this mofo's been around since the 60's!  SO COOL!!).  I am fascinated by the many knobs and gadgets.  Where does the bottom string go?  I am convinced there is a magic piece somewhere on the bottom that just endlessly spits out thread like spiderman.  With no instructions and no prior experience, it'll be an interesting adventure.  But I'm excited!  Guess what comes with aprons?  RUFFLES!  PATTERNS!  COLORS!  FANCY SHINY BUTTONS!  COOL POCKETS!  AND RIBBONS!!  All very exciting things.  I'm posting a few inspirations I found on Etsy (don't get lost on that site...it's quite magical!).  I realize I could probably save myself all the trouble by just buying one of these beautiful hand made aprons that only cost about 20 bucks, but where's the fun in that?  This weekend I'm going to the fabric store, buying me some goodies, and attempting to make a damn apron.  Wish me luck and I'll definitely let you know how it goes =)

Hello Delilah
hello Delilah  hello Delilah

Handmaiden's Cottage Style Apron

4 Ruffle Apron
4 Ruffle Apron

Black Heart Half Apron
Black Heart Half ApronBlack Heart Half Apron

Morning Glory Craft Apron With Ruffle
Morning Glory craft apron with ruffle  Morning Glory craft apron with ruffle

It's A Small World - Half Apron For Woman
it's a small world  - half apron for womenit's a small world  - half apron for women

Ruffled Jungle Apron Grow Up
Ruffled Jungle Apron grows up  Ruffled Jungle Apron grows up

Apron 2 Pocket Poodle Skirt - Pink
Apron - 2 Pocket Poodle Skirt - PinkApron - 2 Pocket Poodle Skirt - Pink

Matryoshka Pocket
Matryoshka Pocket

Retro 50s Black Polka Dot Apron
Retro 50s BLACK POLKA DOT full APRON with fifties ric rac details make a sexy hostess and is vintage inspired Retro 50s BLACK POLKA DOT full APRON with fifties ric rac details make a sexy hostess and is vintage inspired

The ASTRID Vintage Inspired Full Hostess Chef Apron - Fresh Floral
The ASTRID Vintage Inspired Full Hostess Chef Apron  - Fresh Floral  The ASTRID Vintage Inspired Full Hostess Chef Apron  - Fresh Floral

1950s Hostess Petal Apron - Pink White Polka Dots
1950s Hostess Petal Apron with Oven Mitt and Potholder Set - Vintage Reproduction (Pink, White Polka Dots) WOMANS SM/MED    1950s Hostess Petal Apron with Oven Mitt and Potholder Set - Vintage Reproduction (Pink, White Polka Dots) WOMANS SM/MED

1950s Petal Apron With Oven Mitts - Crafty Mod Floral Border
1950s Petal Apron with Oven Mitt and Potholder Set - Vintage Reproduction (Crafty Mod Floral Border) - WOMANS MEDIUM (Sizes 8-14)  1950s Petal Apron with Oven Mitt and Potholder Set - Vintage Reproduction (Crafty Mod Floral Border) - WOMANS MEDIUM (Sizes 8-14)  1950s Petal Apron with Oven Mitt and Potholder Set - Vintage Reproduction (Crafty Mod Floral Border) - WOMANS MEDIUM (Sizes 8-14)

I also found these oven mitts...D-lish!
Frosted Cupcake Hotpad e-pattern  Frosted Cupcake Hotpad e-pattern

MUST STOP NOW....ON APRON OVERLOAD...I have looked at over 80 pages of aprons and carefully hand selected some of my favorites for your viewing pleasure.  It was certainly hard to choose and I highly recommend you go to Etsy to find one that meets your needs...or make one!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I absolutely love and adore Fred & Friend's products.  They are witty, adorable and useful!  Great for parties or gifts, I want to buy everything they create.  Unfortunately, I can't, so I'm sharing some of my favorites here.  Today's topic is ice, so I'm only showing a few of my favorite ice trays, but you'll be seeing tons of Fred products on my blog because I can't help myself.  Ikea also has some awesome ice trays.  I've been using my hearts and stars trays these days which make even the boys go "OOOoohhhHHhh!"

But back to today's topic, ice.  I have a weird love for ice.  Always have, and probably always will.  Ice is versatile.  To me, it is one of my favorite candies, a necessity in all drinks and something I crave and require when I'm drunk or hungover.  Not only does it provide coolness, but is also clear and pretty and you can make fancy sculptures out of it!  Wow wee!  So take a gander at these fabulous ice trays that make me dream of floating pieces of cuteness in my cup o' drank. 

Cool Jewels:  I must have these immediately.  I OMG'ed at my boyfriend for about 10 minutes when I first saw these.  He looked thrilled.  It's OK, his lack of enthusiasm won't deter me!  I already ordered them and am patiently awaiting their arrival!  Come to meeee!  =)

Fossiliced:  Who doesn't like dinosaurs?  Reminds me of my younger days when the American Museum of Natural History was basically my playground.  Ah, good times.  These are so cool and are also on their way into my freezer!  Yippee!

Frozen Smiles:  Because everyone could use an extra laugh.  Even when you're binge drinking...

Gin & Titonic:  Inappropriate?  Ney!  Comes with its own iceberg to crash on and everything!  Can you believe it's been over 12 years since we cried our eyes out listening to Celine Dion and watching handsome Leo slip away into the dark seas of death?  It's definitely time for a drink to commemorate!  To Celine!

Ice Princess:  Because I'm a girl and every girl wants to be a pretty pretty princess!

Cool Jazz:  Making music often requires a cool drink.  Makes cute popsicles too!

Ikea needs some lovin' too!  I'm currently using the yellow star and pink heart trays =)  They have way more shapes at the stores!  Amazon.com actually has a variety of ice trays as well, should you feel the obsessive need for ice trays like I do!

And in Japan, they use giant ice balls.  What a fantastic idea!  Most bars will hand carve each ball!  Those wacky Japanese!  If you aren't a skilled master at carving ice balls or just don't want to risk cutting off a finger or two, then buy these MUJI Ice Ball makers!  (apparently you can only get them online or in SoHo, NY but if you need help finding them let me know and I'll put my super internet searching skills to work for you!)


I hope you liked these as much as I do!  These trays obviously are multi-functional.  You can make flavored frozen treats/popsicles, jello shots, or just fun jello jigglers!  Let me know how you use your ice trays!  Cheers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ready, Set, Paint!

As the year is winding down to an end, I had to dust off my list of New Years resolutions (I have a list of 9) to tally up the scores.  One of them was to paint.  Conveniently, my Secret Santa gave me a certificate for a cute but efficient art supply store (and some fancy chalk for the wall on our back deck...more to come on this creative tradition shared by a talented pack of Norwegian folk I love dearly), and I am proud to say that I have successfully achieved at least one of my resolutions!  Sadly, another one of my resolutions was to be nicer to my boyfriend but I don't know if I've accomplished that.  I think the verdict is still out (oopsies!).  But I digress...Back to the painting....So my ultimate dream is to do pet portraits like these (Chris Galligan is a talented artist I really like.  A very generous friend commissioned a painting for me by Chris of my beast, the love of my life Toby, aka Tobesters, Toes, BoBoThe Toberizer, The Handsome One, or more affectionately known as "that fat piece o' shit ate my [fill in the blank with anything that may have possibly touched food at some point]"...But I digress again.  I'll have to do a separate posting of both pet portraits and Toby!).  I want to do these pet portraits because I love animals and I think they just brighten up our lives.  Plus I get the benefit of looking at adorableness while attempting to portray said adorableness with a flair of Ninja!  But it'll be awhile until I have the skills to pull that dream off, so the short term goal is to get better and faster at painting so I can give each person I love and care about a painting uniquely tailored with something that I associate them with.  It should be a fun project!  I am starting off with cheap acrylics and basic studio canvases.  But my most exciting find, and today's topic, is this AWESOME easel I got that folds and is super easy to adjust.  I like to paint while sitting on the floor, and this easel adjusts to my finicky painting ways allowing me to set the canvas at any angle! You can use it on the floor, table top, standing, sitting, tilted...all in one click!  LOVE IT!  I suppose for a legit artist, wooden H framed easels would be more ideal, but for an amateur like myself with no actual studio and hardly any work space, or for the artist on the go, this is seriously perfect!  So if you've been looking for a good, not so expensive easel, then look no further, I've got you covered!  VOILA!

Art Supplies Winsor & Newton Bristol Easels

The Winsor & Newton Bristol Water Colour Easel!  Look at that!  It even comes with a handy little carry bag!  I love when things come in their own carriers!  Just like burritos!

Paint away my fellow artists!  I'll post some of my paintings if you share yours =)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



Welcome to Shiny Things!  To be quite honest, I started my first blog awhile ago, but it was extremely negative and I just couldn't keep it up.  So to add more color and sunshine to my life I've decided to start a blog of things I like, want, look at often, want to make, create, fix, love....Basically pretty shiny things that I think you would enjoy too.  It's just my way of spreading some of the love and positive energy, and hopefully get some creative juices flowing!

Instead of giving you a boring intro of myself, I would like to introduce to you something that is very representative of me...

My hands!  

On any given day my hands probably:

Y smell like dogs
Y have fading nail polish from rearranging my turtles' tank
Y have specs of acrylic paint under my fingernails and/or cuticles
Y have different colors of nail polish on each finger because I never get around to deciding on a color
Y have pretty ink marks from my colorful collection of pens and other awesome office supplies
Y will give a hearty hug, a cordial handshake or nice pat on the back depending on who you are
Y will give anyone at anytime an enthusiastic high five
Y are stuffing my face with some delicious meal...most likely a burrito...yummmm....
Y are fanning my sweaty face...I drink a lot of water and produce a lot of sweat..it's a vicious cycle
Y are bruised from Muay Thai
Y are bent over backwards because I have bendy measly wrists
Y are not using the phone (I hate phones...txts are always welcome!!  Just no calls)
Y are not holding hands with or massaging my boyfriend (because I'm cold hearted like that...says the deprived man who loves me)
Y are typing 100 words per minute because I type A LOT
Y are pointing at pretty shiny things
Y are clapping out of joy or amusement 
Y are wiping away tears of laughter
Y have shiny rings!!  Which is today's topic!  

I love rings. Rings rings rings!  I love 'em.  They are fun, easy ways to jazz up any outfit or dress up the hands (the most active part of my body other than my eyes, and hopefully brain).  Just last month I went to the 'Buque (aka Albuquerque, New Mexico) with some of my dearest friends for the Balloon Fiesta (the biggest balloon fest IN THE WORLD!  Another topic coming up soon!) and on our way we picked up some really cool rings, which I can now add to my assortment of accessories.  Here are a few.  Most of my shiny things are really cheap and just things I picked up along this sparkling adventure called life.  

*Pictures courtesy of CLWS Photography

I hope you enjoyed them and come back to look at more shiny things!