In Hamburg, the day after I purchased my beautiful orange sewing machine, a tiny orange ladybug sneaked into my room through the open window.
She crawled all over my sewing machine’s plastic case, as if to say, “you are like me. we can be friends.”
A perfect orange ladybug on my perfect orange sewing machine. What are the chances?
I have many, many weaknesses when it comes to unloved furniture and pretty, old things. But one piece of furniture I’d always wanted was a sewing chair with storage in the seat.
I was lucky enough to find such a chair on Craigslist a few years ago (and have since banned myself from Craigslist because it is just too easy to find unloved things that i “need”), and it was perfect. A short little chair, with a good secret storage seat, and a terrible beige vinyl-covered cushion. Seat cushions are already easy to replace, and this seat isn’t even attached! It doesn’t get easier than that. This project took me less than 2 hours from start to finish.
The chair was even filled with old sewing notions! Perfect.
It just needed a quick wipe-down with some Murphy’s Oil Soap, and then a hefty dose of bright-and-cheery: bright yellow and white stripes.
My sewing table is now even more cheerful than before, which is always helpful now that the winter sun doesn’t stick around long. The answer to dark nights is always More Yellow. I also made sure my new cushion had plenty of squish. Ironically, recovering this sewing chair was a no-sew project! Gotta love the staple gun.
If you have a sewing chair of your own that could use a new look – or you just love scrolling through DIYs in progress like I do – see what I did after the jump! And remember, you can always click on a photo for a larger view.
Continue reading “how-to: recover a vintage sewing chair” →
Marietta, Georgia’s “Big Chicken” is a landmark so widely recognized, it has its own Wikipedia page. According to said Wikipedia page, in 1963, a Marietta KFC franchise built the 56-foot tall chicken as a way to attract visitors to the restaurant. I mean, look at that thing! How could you NOT stop there? His eyes roll around and his beak opens and closes! As part of my research I watched this informative but hilarious video about the history of the big chicken and its new shiny paint job.
Of course, the reason I know so much about this goofy, giant chicken is because I was asked to make a plush one! Todd, a previous Dunkleosteus customer, has a toddler daughter who absolutely loves the chicken. And who can blame her? Todd figured, if I could make that prehistoric armored fish into a huggable plush, why not Marietta’s most beloved landmark? And of course, as soon as I saw the chicken, I became obsessed with the project. Such bright colors and such crazy eyes!
This project was super easy for me because the big chicken was love at first sight. It’s so silly and brightly colored and all-around awesome. I tried my best to make the plush convey the spirit of the big chicken, and I think it worked out.
And Todd and his wife loved the plush chicken… but more importantly, his toddler daughter was thrilled to have a surprise Big Chicken friend. Having a hand in surprises for little kids is, to me, the greatest honor. It’s so much fun to sew things that will be so loved.
I mean, look at this guy. I can’t help but grin every time I look at him.
Thanks, Todd, for a wonderful challenge and a really fun project. This one will always be on my list of favorites!
And don’t forget, I always love to hear your ideas for custom plush
. It’s that time of year, and I’d love to help you make something awesome and unique! Early November (or earlier!) is the best time to tell me your ideas so I have time to give them the effort they deserve. Let me know if you have the idea for my next awesome plush!
I grew up in a house full of handmade, do-it-yourself spirit. My pop’s a mechanical engineer and a born fixer – the summer after we moved in, he designed and built our deck; a few years ago, it was our finished basement. And my mama has been sewing her whole life: her outfits, my outfits, curtains, blankets, doll clothes; she’s also contributed to my possibilities addiction when it comes to unloved furniture. They were taught by their parents, in turn, so you can say I’ve gained my creative spirit through honest means. I’ve never had reason to doubt my hands, because I grew up surrounded by hands that were capable of anything.
Not everyone is surrounded by such displays of human possibility. There are plenty of reasons, but for many, creativity is not believed to be possible.
It’s easy, today, to overlook the power of human hands. One could, conceivably, live an entire lifetime without ever really making anything. And that’s a shame, because creativity is something that comes naturally to the human spirit. It feels good to make things. And of those who never use their hands, who never paint or sew or knit or fix, for many it’s because they’ve never had an example.
That’s why I try to buy, to give, and to support handmade. When you give your child a handmade plush, you are teaching them that it is possible to do things yourself. When they understand that their toys were made by a single pair of human hands, rather than a giant whirring factory, they will come to realize the great gifts they, too, possess in their own hands.
At one of my craft shows, a young girl approached my table. She was 10 or 11 years old, and she had come with her grandmother, but was exploring on her own. She picked up one of my mousies, turned it around in her hands, and it quickly won her approval. She then looked up from the mousie and looked at me as I sat behind the table. It was just a glance, but as she looked back at the mousie I saw a new depth in her eyes. An “aha!” moment, without a doubt. She saw the mousie and she saw the girl who made the mousie… and from that, she could become a girl who made things, too.
Buying handmade is a lesson, an example, and a great inspiration. By continuing to teach this lesson, we continue to remind people of the power that they hold in their own hands.
I’ve tried to answer the question, “why buy handmade?“, briefly in my Fluffyland shop, but I think it deserves more attention. This topic is especially close to my heart and I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you buy handmade.
In late September, my high school English class friends and I decked ourselves for a Gatsby-themed party at the Smithsonian. It’s one of our favorite books (i still haven’t seen the movie!), we got to dress up, and it was hosted by the Smithsonian! Just amazing.
Of course, I don’t own a 1920′s dress. But that was quickly rectified! I scoured my stash for a suitable fabric and found this skirt from the rummage sale a few years back. The skirt looks pretty 70′s to me, but the print is too art deco for me to say it’s not Gatsby-appropriate. Plus I think it looks a lot like the motifs on the movie poster.
I hacked away at the skirt, chopping off the elastic band at the top. The gathers revealed a lot of bonus fabric, so once I had sized the main dress panels, I was able to cut my straps from the extra fabric on the side. I then found a strip of satin left over from my turquoise prom dress, and had exactly enough to add the accordion pleats to the bottom of the dress. Yes, I did them all by hand… and yes, they took forever! I lined the dress with leftover lining from my prom dress, and slipped an invisible zipper in the side seam.
All this was done in three nights after work, using materials I had on hand – this means the project was essentially free and I didn’t have to take time to run to the store on what was a bit of a time-crunch project. Never have I been so grateful for my fabric stash! It might be a mess most of the time but it sure comes in handy.
And I may be the worst at modeling but I sure love this dress :) My friends and I got all dolled up and we had a wonderful time taking goofy pictures of ourselves, sipping period-themed cocktails, and listening to jazz in the garden. A good night.