Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Etsy finds: "New York Love" print

Today is the BIG DAY! We're moving across the country, from New York to California. Our (former) neighborhood here in Brooklyn is called DUMBO, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, although the Brooklyn Bridge runs over the neighborhood, too. It's a really cute neighborhood that, over the past 15 or so years, has been transforming from industrial warehouses to lofts and apartments. DUMBO has some great shops and restaurants, as well as killer views. We've loved living here- over the 4 years that I've been in DUMBO I've seen the neighborhood grow quite a bit, and it's been an exciting process to watch.

Given all that, I just couldn't resist this print from ArtSharkDesigns on Etsy. It's part of a series of "City Love" prints, featuring a couple toting red umbrellas through various cities around the world. I missed out on the previous Brooklyn print, in which the couple was actually standing under the bridge, looking across the river to Manhattan- they were right in DUMBO! This one is a close second, though- my husband and I have taken some lovely walks across the Brooklyn Bridge, although we prefer the Manhattan Bridge for jogging as there's less foot traffic. It will be a sweet reminder of our old neighborhood- I can't wait to frame and hang it. And in our new, decidedly un-New York sized apartment (1200 square feet! that's more than double our present apartment! (!)), I'll have lots of options.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sewing Changes Lives in Afghanistan

Image source here.

This post on Modern Twist is so inspiring! She discusses efforts to help Afghan women, especially widows are among the most economically disadvantaged, learn to support themselves through sewing. Global Giving's Afghan Institute of Learning runs six-month sewing classes where women learn to sew, allowing them to make clothes for their families and/or open small businesses as tailors or sewing teachers. Other groups here in the US are collecting fabric, sewing supplies, and old-fashioned treadle sewing machines to send to Afghanistan so that the women have materials to sew with, since those are hard to come by locally.

A donation of as little as $10 to Global Giving will provide tools and supplies for one woman to take a six-month sewing course. Talk about a big impact!

I was interested, although not entirely surprised, to read this story, about a sewing-shop owner who's collected fabric, notions, and machines to send to Afghanistan but is having trouble finding a way to get the donated items delivered. Apparently, getting the items donated was the easy part- shipping through the military requires an extensive review process that will take too much time, and shipping through a commercial carrier will cost upwards of $5,000. I suspect it's not an uncommon problem for charities, especially those that accept donated items as opposed to cash donations. Collecting items to donate is the easy part, because it's fun and exciting for people to do. Funding and setting up a way to distribute those items is much harder- aren't the logistics always the hard part?

This is such a great idea, and it seems like it's really having a positive impact on the lives of Afghan Women. I'm planning to donate, and I've added a widget to my blog so you can, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vintage Pocket Detail

Here's another example of clever vintage details from my collection. This camel-colored wool circle skirt probably dates to the 1950s and is by Evan Picone. I picked it up at a flea market for $5 several years ago and it's got a tiny hole but otherwise has aged very well. While it's a fairly simple, classic piece, it's also got just a little detail for interest. The pockets have a scallop opening instead of a curved or straight/slash opening. That little touch makes all the difference, doesn't it? And of course, it would be easy enough to modify a pattern piece to create scalloped
pockets on your own skirt!

Little embroidered triangles at each corner finish off the scalloped pockets.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A room of my own...

Our big move to California happens in FOUR DAYS and I cannot believe it's almost here. There is so much packing and painting left to do here in New York before we get on the plane, but my mind is already on to the next thing. We've already secured an apartment and it is huge- more than double the square footage of our present place, plus it's a two bedroom instead of a one bedroom. This means we'll have a dedicated office/SEWING room! Currently I can only sew at the dining table which means I have to set up and take down my sewing way too often. It's a hassle, not to mention time-consuming, and it definitely puts a damper on my sewing. Plus, over the past few weeks, the apartment has been in such a state of chaos with the packing, that I really haven't sewn much at all (you probably guessed that, given the lack of posts).

But with the second bedroom, I'll actually be able to leave things set up! I'm expecting that I'll sew a lot more once the hassle factor is reduced. Of course, I'll still be sharing the space with my husband's computer menagerie, as well as my own desk- but I'll at least be able to get a table for sewing in there. I'm already thinking about how I'll organize it- luckily there's no shortage of inspiration! I love the simple, graphic, but effective organization of Martha Stewart's (gigantic) craft room- see the whole thing here.

If I set up my sewing room like hers, will my projects turn out as nicely?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scrabble Pillows

How cute are these Scrabble tile pillows from ShopDirtsa on Etsy?!? My best friend and her fiancé are big Scrabble buffs, and I thought of them instantly when I saw these pillows. They wouldn't be too hard to make, although I might have trouble with doing as neat a job of cutting and stitching the appliqués. Honestly, though, at $25 each or 2 for $45, the price is very reasonable, and they look very well made. Too cute!