Giant Moths and Embroidery Design

Wedding dress is still on hold. Not the man, just the dress. I sometimes worry that folks look at me like this:

morello  I’m not a crazy stalker, I swear.

Anyway, I’ve been working on some new designs. They started out as something I was working on for a tote bag, that turned into more of a purse, that I’m still working on. Anyway, I came up with these…

Moon Design

Moon Design


Moth Design













I came up with these while I was sitting out on my porch one evening. The biggest moth I have ever seen landed on the wall beside me. I thought it was a bat at first, it was about 6 inches across. After some Googleing I found it was a cecropia moth, and that they are fairly rare in these parts. Strange fact: they don’t eat, in fact they don’t even have mouths, they’ve done all their eating as caterpillars.

I have been wanting to offer some digital downloads of my designs, so I did put these up in my Etsy store. Wow, there’s a lot of work involved there, beyond even the tweaking and testing of the designs. Making everything available in a variety of formats and sizes, as well as coming up with a decent description that covers all the bases takes some time. Now that I have the first ones roughed out, I’m hoping it will get easier down the line.











Singer 99 (Mostly) Reassembled

I got my Singer 99 put back together, for the most part. I ended up having to do a lot of gluing and shimming to get it to sit level in the case. So now I’m waiting for the glue to dry on the studs in back before I give it a test run. 

ImagePlease excuse the paint runs I didn’t notice until I got the machine back in the base. It’s not coming back out of there, the damn thing must weigh 30 pounds, I had to get the man involved just to get it back in. I’ll just do a quick sand and spray as soon as the weather warms up again. There’s really not much you could do to make it pretty anyway. 

I bought this machine as a back up, and it really hasn’t worked out for me. It’s a great machine and will sew everything I throw at it, but it just hasn’t been a go-to for me. I thought I’d use it when I had a free motion quilting project on my big computerized beast, but it seems I’m much too spoiled for that. Everything I need to do either seems to involve anything but a straight stitch, a larger machine bed, or both. I may take this up to our lovely second home in Iowa (crappy apartment the man is staying in for work) and leave it for when I’m up there. I’ll just have to careful about what projects I bring with me. 

In other news, I made a ton of these over the weekend..


I designed these one night and put them in my Etsy shop a few months ago. I’ve been very surprised by how many folks have been interested in them. I love giant lizards setting things on fire, but didn’t realize other people would too. 

I’m still waiting on my muslin fabric for the wedding dress.


Muslining My Wedding Dress

I got all inspired yesterday and decided to start the muslin for my wedding dress. I got out my pattern and took a look at the fabric I’d ordered, then I looked at my stash. Not a thing that would work. I couldn’t believe it, I could practically open a fabric store with everything I’ve got.

I just didn’t have anything with a similar wight and hand as the fabric I’ll use for the final dress, so I did something about it. Yes, I was forced to order more fabric. Luckily I found something I think will work, at a reasonable price.

Muslin fabric

Muslin fabric

The fabric in question.

The real dress fabric.

It’s a brocade of a similar weight and hopefully will make a dress that I can wear on other occasions without looking too much like my wedding dress.

I know I could do a quick fitting muslin out of something else, but I really want t go through all the steps of making the dress. That way I can find any little things in the construction that might give me problems. I’m picky like that.


And since I had some time, I decided to work on the case of a Singer 99 that I had purchased a few months ago. The machine itself is very nice, a crinkle finish with enough cosmetic problems to make it a very usable machine, and it sews like a pro.

crinkle 99


The case is a different story. It has just enough scratches and peeling veneer to make it very poor candidate for a careful refinishing, so I decided to just do a quick and dirty repaint.

I just sanded it enough to take paint and went for a spray can hammer-tone finish in gold, because I had the paint around. Since the paint on these machines are know as a Godzilla finish, I thought it was appropriate. I’ll try to get everything back together and post some pictures today.

I also had good access to the bottom of the machine itself and took the opportunity to clean it and oil and grease it. Good thing I did, looks like the previous owner only used oil. So my machine may run even better after I get it back together.

So the sewing day wasn’t completely wasted.

My fabric came! My fabric came!

My fabric came, and it’s just perfect. I haven’t had a chance to do a darn thing about it yet. Life’s been very busy. It’s been all lawyers, birthdays, motorcycles, and custom orders.

My Loverman turned 50 last weekend, so there was all the hoopla about that, and he bought a motorcycle (insert mid-life crisis joke here). I also had a couple of custom orders for the pincushions pictured below. They are a bit labor intensive, so between that and the ebay stuff, I get nothing else done yesterday.


Then there was the whole Craftsy situation. I have been try to purchase a class for my mother-in-law (who’s birthday was over 2 weeks ago) and have had no luck. The darn thing just wouldn’t go into my cart. When I emailed customer service, they suggested I switch to Google Chrome, I thanked them for the suggestion, but declined.

They did offer me the class for free, which was really nice, but it seems to take advantage of it, I’ll have to change my browser to Google Chrome. I’m just really not into that. I use a Mac, and an iPhone, a lot. The iCloud thing works well for me. I really don’t want another browser on my computer just for one website, it seems a grand waste of space.

The last email I received from them in a “pretend-you-are-speaking-to-a-2-year-old” tone, detailing how to install Google Chrome, kinda brought out the sarcastic beast in me. So I’m thinking that free class may be a no go.

I do like Craftsy, their content is excellent, I’ve loved every class I’ve ordered, but they are leaving a bad taste in my mouth right now, and my mother-in-law still has no class, paid for or not.

I’m hoping to get the pattern alterations on the wedding dress done today, and the muslin cut. I’m thinking I won’t have to do much more than a small bust adjustment, since the pattern isn’t much fitted below the bodice.


I’m going with current measurements. If I should lose some weight (yeah, I’m not betting on that either) before I need the dress, I can always go with the big bra option. I always lose weight in the boobs first. I’m still debating if I should just consider the muslin a future source of quilt and appliqué materials, or actually make the dress out of something I might consider wearing. I think inn the right fabric, and minus the trim (which I’m thinking about not using anyway) the lines of the dress are simple enough I could come up with something I could actually wear. I’ll have to take a look at my stash.

I Just Spent $50 a Yard for Fabric OMG

OK, it’s for a very special dress, and it’s from Mood, but I’ve never in my life spent so much.  It scares the heck out of me.

The fabric in question.Italian Pale Turquoise Abstract Brocade  and it’s godamn polyester.  I also purchased an eggshell lining at a price I usually pay for fashion fabric. Yes, I will be muslining, thank you very much.

It’s for this pattern, Burda 7112, view B.

Burda 7112I cannot wait to receive it. I’ll have to just look at it for a while, feel it, get to know it, and really build up my confidence before I cut it.

I’m still debating about the neckline trim. I’m thinking with the brocade, the dress is not going to need it. Once I get a good look at the fabric, I’m thinking I know which way I want to go.

I’m super excited about this project and may start the muslin tomorrow if I have time. Which I probably won’t. It’s my man’s birthday, and he’s going to need my attention.

Burda 7112

Embroidered Patches made from Old Blue Jeans

Even though I’m a rug weaver, I never much cared for working with denim. It never quite works with the kind of rugs I like to make, So I have a lot of old blue jeans around. I think I might have found exactly what I like to do with them. Embroidered patches.


Help Me Name My New Dress Form

I got a big box in the mail today. That sweet man of mine sent me a wonderful birthday present, a dress form.

I’ve been wanting one for a while but was a bit hesitant to make the investment. I had had a dress form several years ago, I ended up giving away. She was one of the plastic adjustable ones and never quite worked for me. She was too light weight and tippy,a little hippy, and I never felt like I could quite get it adjusted. It was covered in some kind of synthetic stuff that looked like it belonged on a car seat and wasn’t really pinnable. And she had boobs like a 1950’s bullet bra.

This one is much nicer. Solid, heavy, wheeled metal base, padded, and covered in linen. She also has much more natural tatas . I can work with her.

But she needs a name. I called my old one Eunice, because of the boobs. My new dress form needs a more feminine, pretty name.

I’ve considered the obvious, Marie Antoinette, Ann Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, but I have a feeling everybody does that. She came from a place called Roxy Display, which wouldn’t make for a bad name, but it’s a bit drag queenish for her.

Basically I’ve got nothing here. Help me out.

DIY Glue Stamp Pad for Cheap

Tired of your glue stamp pads drying up as hard as a brick? Have a sudden inspiration, have the stamp, the glue and the glitter, but no glue pad? Just don’t want to pay $5 for a pad with a quarter’s worth of glue in it?

Then just make it yourself.

Everybody has a dried up old stamp pad, most likely in a color they didn’t like much in the first place, put it to use.

Crappy old stamp pad I didn't like anyway.

First, make sure the stamp pad is WATER SOLUABLE, this is mucho important. It will say so on the lid.

Now, with your craft sheet (Reynolds Freezer Paper) on your work surface, spritz it down with water until it just short of dripping wet. Be careful this is where you have potential to make a big mess.

Water, also effective on misbehaving cats.

Next squeeze out about one-half teaspoon of WATER SOLUBLE glue such as Aleene’s Tacky Glue (know as The Universal Solvent around here) directly onto the pad.

Don't eat the glue.

Now moosh the glue in with a paper towel, put the lid on the pad and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Kinda looks and feels like slime.

And you’ve got a glue pad, for less than a quarter’s worth of glue.

Always remember to clean up with warm water quickly. If the glue does dry on your stamp, you can peel it out of there, but that’s no fun.

Now get out your favorite stamps and glitter it up. Here I used the Close To My Heart Dream Big stamp set to dress up some Valentine’s Day cards I’m working on.

Cute. Cute Cute

If your pad gets a bit too gluey, just spritz it down with some water.

Supply List:

Old dried-up stamp pad

Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Close to my Heart Dream Big set

How to Make Alcohol Ink

DIY Black Walnut Alcohol Ink

Everybody is all crazy about alcohol inks. The fact is they are really easy to make. For a basic recipe all you have to do is check out YouTube and you’ll be on your way. I used this video to make the inks for my business cards and tags. Check it out here.. .

Homemade Alcohol Ink

As you can see, it might be a bit messy, but it’s not rocket science.

BUT……I had to take it a step further, I decided to see if I could make walnut hull alcohol ink. Guess what? It’s working out.

First I gathered up 10 black walnut hulls from my yard. If you don’t happen to live in God’s country, where the black walnut trees grow, you might just be SOL on this project. (Hint: talk nice to me and I just might send you some, email me).

Anyway…wear gloves with this project. Walnut hulls aren’t actually a dye, they are a stain. A stain that’s as permanent as dye. I’ve been working with these things for years on fiber. They give a beautiful mellow brown that just can’t be duplicated.

So, wearing gloves (OK, I just used a ziploc bag around my hand. Do as I say, not as I do.) I crunched up the hulls into a 16 oz. glass container. In this case a reallybadforyoubuttastydip jar, and added 70% isopropyl alcohol to cover. Then I let it sit for a while. And by a while I mean until I got around to writing this post, think a couple of hours or two glasses of wine, however time is measured in your Universe.

Next strain the contents of the jar through some preferably used cheesecloth and your crappiest colander. This stuff’s not toxic, but it is vicious and could (will) stain.

Seriously, your crappiest colander

Let walnut gunk stain for a while.

and you end up with this.

Treat what is t in the cheesecloth like toxic waste.Throw the gunk and cheesecloth away. Head out to the outdoor trash can with it immediately. It will mess up your trash can. After walnuts fall, they exist only to strain things. Black walnuts are not happy little trees.

Now lay down your craft sheet, or as we refer to it in this house, the freezer paper. And see what you’ve got.

I'm not kidding, people, this is nasty stuff. Freezer paper.

Yeah, I know it's still wet. But cool, huh?

This gives an aged effect that just can’t be beat. I’m putting this one in the win column.

Give it a try It’s quick, messy, and easy. Three of my favorite thing You are going to need stuff to use with all the cool dyes you just made.

Happy crafting and don’t tip over.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode when we will do something with our nifty new inked cards. I just haven’t decide quite what.


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