Alice in Minneapolis

So I think I mentioned in my last post that I would be posting about my Halloween costume. I was Alice in Wonderland. I decided to go with a straightforward, classic, non-political (even Disney!) costume this year after my Christine O’Donnell costume debacle in 2010. Let’s just say most people must have just thought I was some sort of patriotic witch… long story.

I had the blue dress, courtesy of J. Crew this summer. All I needed was an apron, which I made from an old white sheet and some leftover lace, and a black bow in my hair–which I also made. The white knee socks and black flats completed the look. Overall, I was pretty happy with the result, even if I did have to take a year off from being “witty.” At least I still got a good craft project out of it.

The night started off well enough… (see below). Unfortunately, a trip on the sidewalks of the Minneapolis streets at the end of the night left me with a bloody chin and bruised right side.

But as Gloria Gaynor once sang, “I will survive,” and I might even have a cool scar to show for it. So, all in all, Halloween 2012 was a memorable one. I even gave Little Dipper a makeover for the week (see screen capture).

The goal of my next post will be to (finally) be able to showcase my apartment.. or maybe it will be to talk about Project Runway (all stars!) or maybe Downton Abbey (just saw a preview for season 3!)… so many choices and so little time (even though we DID get an extra hour this weekend).

Stay tuned. –Liz

The ABC’s of my non-blogging life, part 4

I’m back from a wonderful weekend with my 4th entry of the ABC’s of my non-blogging life. Sure, there are probably more non-alphabetical things I could blog about, but hey, I already committed to this format and I’m gonna finish it! Plus, I’m watching the Golden Globes and I’m just not up to putting any more energy into this.

P is for Project Runway All-Stars. Its back. Well sort of. Project Runway All-Stars, though spattered with a couple fan favorites, is not exactly a competition of “the best of the best.” I’m not saying I’m not going to watch it. I’m merely saying, where is Daniel Vosovic? Also, I have to say PR without Tim Gunn is barely PR at all. So, yes, I have been watching it, and all I have to say is Mondo better win this time. (I should also mention, a close second for the letter P was Pinterest. Check out my boards here.)

P is for Project Runway All Stars.

Q is for quilting.Inspired by Anthropoligie, I have started a twin-sized flying geese quilt. I have most of the triangles cut, some of them sewn, and already feel a bit in over my head. I’ll let you know when I finish…I estimate it will be sometime circa 2015.

Q is for quilting.

R is for reading. As in reading Lolita, even if my copy from the used book store is literally falling apart. Also re-reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close because I keep on seeing those trailers for the movie. And of course, reading the New York Times on Sundays, like today.

R is for reading.

S is for Society6. I started selling my designs on Society6 earlier this year and finally ordered some–2 iPhone cases and a laptop skin. Its pretty cool to see my designs in action!

S is for Society6.

T is for temping.About the week before Thanksgiving, I started temping at a small company in Eden Prairie. Since that time, I have become the master of making copies, sending contracts via UPS, and using Microsoft Office (although, lets face it, I was basically a pro at that before). Its been nice to keep busy and even nicer to make money.

T is for temping.

Interview with fabric designer Katie Schrader, “the girl who makes stuff”

Katie Schrader, Wild Notions shop owner

After a successful first interview with Aeropagita Prints designer Mishel Valenton, I was interested in doing some more interviews with other artists and designers. This week’s feature is on Katie Schrader, a 24 year old fabric designer from Pittsburgh who sells her projects on Etsy in her Wild Notions shop and her fabrics on Spoonflower.

When did you first get interested in art and crafting? I’ve been crafting since I was a kid.  I started out sewing simple stuffed animals from scrap fabric and moved into making my own little purses.  In high school I became “the girl who makes stuff” and would commonly be found wearing my own homemade beaded jewelry and altered clothing.

In high school I became “the girl who makes stuff” and would commonly be found wearing my own homemade beaded jewelry and altered clothing.

What drew you to fabric design specifically? I just love the tactility of fabric.  The texture of the fabric just adds a whole other element to a design and there is nothing better than being able to wrap yourself in something beautiful.  It’s been my favorite medium for a while and I had experimented with dying and stenciling fabric to make my own patterns before I found Spoonflower.

You have designed a range of fabrics and had them printed on Spoonflower. Have you had a lot of success in selling your designs this way? I still get excited every time I see that someone has purchased fabric with one of my designs.  I’m not quitting my day job, but creating the designs and sometimes seeing what they are used to create really makes my day.  Getting a free batch of fabric every once in a while is nice too.

I’m not quitting my day job, but creating the designs and sometimes seeing what they are used to create really makes my day.

What is your favorite thing to sew? I don’t know that I have a favorite thing to sew.  I like a lot of variety in my sewing projects.  I’ll get bored with something if I am making the same thing over and over again.  If I had to pick one thing though, I would have to say little fabric card wallets.  They are quick to make and I can play around with mixing and matching fabric and colors.

Little fabric card wallets [are my favorite thing to make].  They are quick to make and I can play around with mixing and matching fabric and colors

What blogs or websites (they can be related to crafting or not) do you follow? I’m a total NPR junkie.  I’m on NPR.org everyday it seems.  The design and crafty blogs I follow are Design Sponge, Craftzine, How About Orange and Grosgrain.  I like to look at all the crazy and wonderful things people are making on Craftster as well.

Has there ever been a craft that you have created to sell that you ended up keeping because you liked it so much? If so, what was it? No, there have been things that I have thought about keeping but in the end if something turns out well I want to share it with others.  If I love it so much I want to keep it then I’ll usually make another one specifically for myself to keep.

What is your ideal work environment? Plenty of sunlight, a queued up playlist of podcasts and good music, and lots of beautiful fabric in view

What inspires you? The writings of Jack London and John Muir have been big inspirations.  Objects that I find will also inspire me. Recently I found a small plastic dinosaur that was just like one I had as a child at our family’s summer cabin and that inspired me to create a “Long Weekends at the Cabin” print that I am currently working on.  I’ve also been inspired by specific colors and vintage patterns.

The writings of Jack London and John Muir have been big inspirations…  I’ve also been inspired by specific colors and vintage patterns.

Do you have other Etsy sellers or people in the art and design business that you respect and admire? Care to name any names? There are so many talented people on Etsy.  Some of the shops I check in on from time to time to see what they are up to include: Beck and Lundy (who is also one of my fabric Spoonflower designers), Sadly Harmless, A stitch in dye, and Leah Duncan.

In your mind, what is a successful day? A successful day is when I check off everything on my To Do list.   There is something extremely satisfying about seeing everything that you accomplished.

If you could see your fabric designs anywhere, where would you want to see them being used? My grandma keeps asking when my fabric designs will be available in JoAnns but I would be ecstatic if I saw my fabric designs being used in projects and featured on sites like Craftzine or Design Sponge.  I would love to see them being used in quilts or items that will be passed down and treasured for generations.  Basically I would love it if my fabric designs stood the test of time and became vintage!

A new place to keep my pencils

Though I was able to spend a large chunk of my weekend wallowing in self pity over my employment status, I eventually overcame my gloom and went shopping. As everyone knows, laughter may be the best medicine, but shopping is the best therapy. A pair of boots and a couple bowls of homemade caramel corn later, I feel a little better.

Under construction

Adding to my personal well-being was the completion of my Spoonflower swatch project! I decided to construct a pencil case from the fabric. I must say, I am very happy with the result. I will be even happier with it when someone comments on it and my response will be, “Thanks, I made that. No, really. I even designed the fabric.” Boo. Ya. Though the fabric swatch was small, the pouch is plenty big to hold pens, pencils, and the occasional chapstick. As I didn’t get to go back-to-school shopping this fall, the pencil holder also helps fills the void that new school supplies used to occupy. And that, my friends, is as much as I think I’ll be able to say about a home-sewn zippered wonder. Here’s another picture of the completed item.

Sorry for the one on the right being a little blurry. Just think of it as an impressionist painting.

If you need something to look forward to, I have a couple vaguely to mildly exciting things coming up. First, something that is actually a little exciting, is the second installment of the Little DIpper interview series. On Friday, I will post another Q&A with Katie Schrader, Etsy shopowner and aspiring fabric designer. Check out her Wild Notions shop and Spoonflower page! Beyond that, I have been working on a series of new designs, which I will be posting over the next couple of days. If you want a sneak peek at some of the new designs and some classic LD patterns, check out my Society6 page. Once there, you can buy prints, laptop clings, and iPod cases created by yours truly. Preeeeeettttty exciting if you ask me.

Til next time, LD

Allow me to reintroduce myself, I’m Liz. And I’m back.

Can't beat fall at NU, well maybe spring at NU, but fall is still pretty great

It has been too long since I last posted. I apologize. Hopefully I’ll be better this week. Part of the reason for the delay in new posts was a trip back to Evanston to relive my college days… I’m not sure if that’s what you call it when you still don’t really feel like you’ve graduated, but nevertheless I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer a wildcat. Just an old cat now, I guess.

I’ve been filling my working hours with Caribou Coffee and job searching, while my down time has been spent mostly watching season 2 of Mad Men. Why is it that the only time I find inspiration for a blog post is times when I’m either in the shower, going for a run, or engrossed in the goings on of Sterling-Cooper while my laptop sits idly at the other end of the room?

As you probably guessed, I am really only watching Mad Men for the clothes. And Don Draper.

I think I’ve gotten weaker since coming home. No, I’m sure of it. How could you not when you suddenly have all the conveniences of living in a real home with a full time chef/maid/therapist (i.e. my mother)? I really need to snap out of it. And I’m sure I will… just as soon as I finish season 3.

During my slump, I have been doing some creative things, like breathing new life into old thrift store finds. Admittedly, thrift stores are my weakness. Where else can you get a vintage scarf for 50 cents? Or leather belt from the 80s that looks like you bought it at Urban Outfitters? Its great. This trip was especially great because everything at Arc’s Value Village was 50% off for Labor Day. (Yeah I know, I haven’t posted in a while.) This meant that I got the following items for less than $20.

Starting at top left and moving clockwise: romper, 2 scarves, earrings, and belt, button-down dress, vest, and shift dress

So normally, I might not get so many items that need to be, ermm… updated, but I was feeling pretty ambitious that day as it is fall, and, as I mentioned earlier, I am not going back to school. So I bought some dye, made some sketches, and channelled Tim Gunn to bring some of these items up to date.

I started with the romper. It needed help, but had potential. I liked the print and it came with a belt made from the same fabric that I liked a lot. First, I cut out the built in shoulder pads. Honestly, just doing that made the top fit well. Second, I ripped out the seam that created the two leg holes. As much as rompers have come back into style, I was hesitant about rocking the look, especially in a full body suit. Third, I sewed seams down the front and back converting the gaucho-like pants into a skirt. Fourth, I shortened and hemmed the garment, et voila! With black tights and booties, this look really came together.

The next project will be the vest… hopefully after a short soak in the dark brown die the teal and purple will reach more appropriate shades, less reminiscent of the early 1990s. I’ll keep you updated.

For now, I’m going to hold off on posting my most current pattern. Photoshop crashed as I was trying to work with the vanishing point tool. You’ll see why that matters soon enough 🙂 So I will now bid you adieu as I am about to get lost in the extra big Arts&Leisure section of the Sunday Times.