Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Boxes

Part of my job is to cover the switchboard operator on her breaks, which amounts to about 45 minutes of the day. My coworker's computer is a dinosaur (let's face it, so are most of the computers in the office), so playing on the interwebs isn't worth it. Sometimes I bring work with me, but lately things have been pretty slow, so I'm not going to lie, mostly I doodle. And lately, I make boxes.

There's a great little tutorial here, for making gift boxes out of starched fabric, but since office supplies were in abundance, paper it is.

The creases in the paper are useful as guides for decorating (pens and highlighters mostly). Where I used lined notepaper, I followed that too.

For a while I had a bit of a Russian doll thing going, with boxes inside boxes inside boxes. It was interesting to figure out exactly how much smaller the next square of paper needed to be to fit snugly in.

Who knew that folding paper would be so addictive? I guess it helps that they're teeny tiny (that smallest one above fits on the end of your pinky), and I do love everything miniature.

No idea what I'll use these for, but for now I continue to make a box or two every morning at 10:30, and every afternoon at 3:30.

I promise I'm very productive at all other times of the day...

Well, except maybe when Pinterest starts calling my name.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Waiting for the Button

Nearly three months ago (that's how long this post has been sitting in my drafts, oops) I began a small sewing project, again from my current favorite sewing book. Since I started re-learning to sew, I've been borrowing many of my mom's supplies - pins, thread, scissors, pincushion, you name it, she has it.  She has a classic strawberry pincushion, used for decades. And she's happy to let me continue to use it. But I need one of my own.

I cut folded strips of fabric, and using the template from the back of the book, cut out each segment.

This would be the layout:

Since there are 8 different panels to the pincushion, I chose four coordinating fabrics (you'll recognize one from this project), with actually only two patterns, each with two colorways. I really like how it pulls it all together, and the green and orange are appropriately springy (let's ignore the fact that it's no longer spring).

I did all the sewing on the machine, and was able to iron each seam flat, both of which make for lovely evenness, no puckers.

Sewing curved seams is, well, a challenge. But it turned out okay!
Sewed, turned inside out, stuffed, and closed up. Not the most pleasing shape, though...

The golden yellow embroidery thread, above and below, really improved the look. Each time I pulled the needle through, I squeezed the center down so there was a nice depression, giving it a plumper, curvier look.
Much better.
It also leaves room for a button.

Let's talk about buttons.

I don't know about you, but I think buttons are pretty great. My mom has a sizeable button collection, dwarfed however by the jars and jars that my grandmother keeps. There seems to be so much history behind each button. What garment it was on (or was kept as a spare for), who wore it, how it was manufactured. And there is so much variation - style, shape, what it's made of, color, size, age.

Can someone say vintage?
You could, if you were so inclined (and equal parts bored), spend an hour one Saturday sorting buttons.

You could sort them by color.
You could find all the cloth covered ones, love these.
There are a lot of white ones.
Gold, ceramic, wood.
The very biggest.
And the very smallest.
(Not buttons.)
You might want to stop yourself before you sort them into two versus four holes. Not that I like sorting things or whatever, not at all.

You know what you could do next? Spend entirely too much time auditioning buttons for the center of your pincushion. Because you have to find the right one. The perfect button. There is only one! 

Then you will remember that there is no perfect button, but simply a button you like. It's a button that likes your pincushion. And the pincushion likes it.

But maybe there's still something missing...

Aah, there it is.
For next time?