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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 7 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 15 posts. There were 61 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 78mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 18th with 50 views. The most popular post that day was Kimono Dress and Obi Sash from Weekend Sewing.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were flickr.com, facebook.com, ravelry.com, craftster.org, and newdressaday.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for sewing lawyer, day of the dead makeup, ladybug fabric, sewing slippers, and day of the dead fabric.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Kimono Dress and Obi Sash from Weekend Sewing October 2009
3 comments

2

Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross Updated Errata Sheet October 2009
16 comments

3

Guest Slippers December 2009
2 comments

4

Summer Blouse, take 2 November 2009

5

About September 2009
2 comments

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Upcoming Craft Shows

I haven’t been very good about posting lately, but it’s because I’ ve been sewing nonstop, as I’ve got a ton of shows coming up.

Check out Allison Kapner Originals on facebook to see my latest creations and find out all about my upcoming shows.

Here is my schedule so far:

October 17, 2010, the Indie Craft Bazaar at Cinema Paradiso in Ft. Lauderdale.

October 19, 2010, the Jr. League Sip & Shop at the Marriott in downtown West Palm Beach.

November 13, 2010, the Jr. League Trunk Show in downtown West Palm Beach.

November 20, 2010 , the Fall Fantasy Craft Show in Royal Palm Beach, FL.

Phew!  That’s all for now.

Back to School Time

It’s time for me to get back to this blog.  I feel like I’ve been on summer vacation from blogging.  Well, I’m now back, and sewing in full swing.  I got to have sewing classes this summer at my house, so that has kept me pretty busy.  Summer classes are over, and the fall classes don’t start until October, so I have a little breather.

I had my last show in July, which went very well, and I can’t seem to stop sewing.  The problem I have is that every time I make something new, I tend to want to keep it for myself.  Am I the only one who feels like this? 

My latest projects seem to really focus around repurposing items.  In particular, I have been making skirt bags.  I hate when I shop thrift stores and find the cutest skirt in the greatest pattern, only to find that it is nowhere near my size.  Now I can turn those cute skirts into bags – and no matter what size I am, a bag ALWAYS fits.  I also like to leave in original details like zippers or pockets.  I’ve also found I can have a little fun with them, like with this Abercrombe and Fitch pink boucle skirt.  The lining is pink, with a lace trim at the bottom.  Instead of sewing the bottom closed, I only sewed the lining closed.  If you swish the purse just right, the skirt flips up, and reveals the pink lining with the lace trim. I thought it was very whimsical.  Some of them will be listed for sale in my Etsy shop  .  If you purchase anything in my shop, let me know you came from my blog, and I’ll throw in a special gift.  You can also see some of my latest creations posted on my facebook page, and hear about any upcoming shows I’ll be at.

 
 

Abercrombie & Fitch skirt purse

Here are just a few others that I’ve made recently

 

 
 
 

 

The mod floral pattern one (in silk) is one of my favorites.  I think I’ll be keeping that one.  I was also thinking of posting my first tutorial about how to make these.  Is that something that you all think you would be interested in seeing?  If I get enough positive responses, then I’ll take the plunge.

I’m also going to try and post on a more regular basis, about once a month or so.  For all my fans and supporters, thanks for hanging in there with me on my blog.

As a mother’s day present for my mom, I made her this slouch style purse, with a felted red sweater, and a red and black tulip lining.  The flower is made from one of the sleeve cuffs, and a cute button.For my sister, I made this cute little stuffed fabric heart for my sister, and machine embroidered each of her daughter’s names, one on each side.  It’s small enough to fit in the palm in her hand, so she can always carry them in her heart and in her hand.

Detail of flower

Gemma sideElsa side

To all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and anyone else who has taken on the role of mother out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

Red felted sweater purse with red and black tulip lining

Springtime

It’s springtime…finally.  Though, in South Florida, we don’t have much of a change of seasons.  This year, however, was the exception.  We actually had a winter this year.  Apparently this year from January to March was the coldest it has been in about 100 years.  I’m not complaining.  For the most part, I loved the cold.  I enjoyed actually getting to wear sweaters and coats this year.  And, the unthinkable happened…I actually wore through a pair of my boots.  In all my life, I have never done that.

I had some fun making some totes out of felted wool sweater vests.  Here’s a group of them .  The shape of sweater vests really drives the shape of the tote.  I used the collar as the exterior pocket, and hand stitched it to the bag using a blanket stitch.In keeping with the seasons, I am now working on a spring/summer line of bags.  While my wool bags can be used all year round, and I’ll be making them all yearround, I thought I’d add a touch of  lightness.  Instead of wool, I’ll be working with recycled denim from old jeans.

Wool felt sweater totes

 

I had made this bag, the Weekender Tote, which came from the February/March 2010 issue of Sew News and was featured on the cover.  I made it from some heavy tweed like decorator fabric, but in springtime colors. 

Weekender Tote

I had a few problems with the pattern instructions.  They were not the best instructions I’ve seen.  The instructions were very vague as to how to do the pleating on the front, and how big the pleast should be.  The pocket instructions were not quite accurate, which made the inside pocket smaller.   I had to turn in the ends to have them finished inside the bag, since they did not line up with the side seams.  For some reason, my lining was much smaller then the exterior.  As a result, instead of a full band of the orange fabric on the top of the bag, it ends up being mostly on the inside, with just a hint peaking out.  However, it also looks very cute that way, so overall I’m very happy with how the bag looks.  I did not use plastic canvas (which would have given the bag a more solid struction), but I would like to try using it on future bags.  The pattern calls for fusible fleece, which can be very pricey.  Thankfully I happened to get it on sale at 50% off at Joanns.  I would think regular fleece would work just as well, but maybe would be a little looser, since there would be no adhesive.  It was a pricey bag to make, but I think it is worth it when you see the finished project.

Weekender Tote front

Weekender Tote inside

I liked the style so much, it has inspired me for my spring/summer line of Allison Kapner Originals.  

My first project was made from an pair of jeans that was donated to me by my brother-in-law Andrew.  I decided instead of doing an appliqué design like I do with my wool bags, I would feature the lining fabric by having it peak out from the denim.  Here is my first bag. 

Denim Purse Inside

The fun is always in the details.  I used the waistband for the handles, and the 2 back pockets became an outside and an inside pocket.  I loved how the color combination looked so much, I whipped up a matching makeup bag to go with it (my first time making a makeup bag).  I think this came out really well.  I was surprised that I was able to make this without a specific pattern.  I let the denim tell me what size it should be.  This bag is pretty decent sized, but I’d also like to make it in a bigger style, a more boxy style (with one long strap – hobo style), and maybe a smaller clutch style.  What do you think?

I’ve still be felting like crazy.  Here’s a quick summary of some projects I’m still working on, and others that I have finished.

Felted Wool Patchwork Blanket from Warm Fuzzies by Betz White.

Felted Wool Patchwork Blanket

Cashmere blanket (unfinished – I still need to add a back to it, and maybe do some appliqué on the top) from Sewing Green by Betz White Long and skinny cashmere scarf  Hand beaded coasters from this blog  

Wool felt hand beaded coasters

Cashmere Long Skinny Scarf

Cashmere Patchwork Blanket

Denim Makeup Bag Inside

Denim purse front

Learning a new skill

Since I have been doing so many projects with felted wool lately, I thought it might be time to learn another new skill – knitting.  I’ve tried learning how to crochet in the past, but I’ve learned that I learn best from teaching, not from a book.  I figure if I learn to knit, I can knit things to the shape/style I want, and then felt them – and use it as a way to supplement and enhance my bags.

 So, of course, the first thing I had to do was get some knitting needles.  My new favorite hunting ground for these type of things is www.shopgoodwill.com.  It lists goodwill items from all across the country.  It is auction style, like ebay, but all the proceeds go to goodwill.  The shipping can be high, so keep that in mind when you are bidding.  I managed to get an assorted lot of knitting needles for a steal, and I supplemented with a pair or two from my local yarn shop.

The next step was making a cute case for all my needles.  I’ve been making projects from Betz White’s Warm Fuzzies.

Warm Fuzzies by Betz White

Lucky for me her book happens to have a great project for a felted knitting needle case.

Felted knitting needle case

Even luckier for me was that I had a sweater in my felted stash that almost matched exactly the sweater she used in a book.  Not that I had to use a sweater that matched, but it was pretty cool to have it look similar.  The sweater I used happens to be a Benetton sweater that I got from a local Goodwill.  Here is my finished case. 

Wool felt knitting needles case

I was amazed how quickly and easily the project came together.  A word of advice – when making projects that involve felt (like craft felt), pay attention to how the felt will be used.  In her book, she has you use a thin strip of felt for the tie of the case.  But, if you use craft felt, it pretty much breaks and falls apart after you tie it once.  Unfortunately, this happened after I had already sewn the project.  Thankfully, the sweater had a very wide collar, with great detailing, so I cut that off the sweater, and used it to wrap around the case like a huge rubber band.  The flower detail was from a ruffle cuff on another sweater that I had felted.  Think outside the box when looking at your sweaters.  You never know what part of a sweater might be perfect for some future project you will be working on.

wool felt needle case - closed

Now that I have the tools, and the cute carrying case, I’m ready to learn.  Lucky for me my local yarn shop has a special $15 class for first-timers.  Wish me luck!  I think I’m going to start with a basic scarf, or maybe a cute coin purse.

Upcoming Show!

So much has been happening in the past month or so.  I have been sewing like crazy.

First, the big news…I will finally be selling my bags (not only on etsy), but as a vendor at my first craft show.  Introducing Allison Kapner Originals:

Allison Kapner Originals Logo

I will be a vendor at the Black n Bleu Festival in Downtown Delray Beach on Sunday, March 14th (http://www.blacknbleu.com/) from 12:00pm until 6:00pm.  If you are in the area, please come by to show your support – you don’t have to buy anything, but I’d love it for people to say “Hi.”

In addition to my regular big totes and purses I’ll be showcasing craft items like my adorable ice cream cone and cupcake pincushions made from upcycled recycles wool sweaters that I have felted. 

ice cream cone pincushions

Cupcake pincushions

And, bigger news, I will be launching my NEW LINE.  I have fallen in love with felting wool, and turning it into bags (I try and let the sweaters tell me what they want to be when they grow up), and love matching them with bold linings, and whimsical appliqués.  I love how each sweater felts differently, and seems to call out to be made into a specific bag. 

Here are just a few of the bags I have completed, but more will be made as it gets closer to the show. 

pale green sweater, chocolates lining

red sweater, red tulip lining

peach/grey sweater, peach Heather Ross tadpoles lining

And this bag, I just had to keep for myself.  I made it specifically to be able to hold a legal pad and magazine inside – the perfect business size for me.

yellow sweater, pink floral lining

The good, and the bad, about using old sweaters is that once the sweater is gone, that’s it – so the bags truly are one-of-a-kind.  But, then again, that’s part of the fun for me – that I can never exactly repeat what I’ve done before. 

I hope other people like my bags as much as I do – if not – more bags for me!