Tag Archives: upcycled

not-yo-gramma’s mini skirt.

Based on the ever democratic process of polling my friends on the internets, I threw together this little H&M-inspired mini skirt last week. I’ll be posting a tutorial on this INCREDIBLY simple throw-it-together-in-two-episodes-of-Ancient-Aliens-or-less piece sometime in the next couple of days.

I haven’t blogged about it yet because I’m trying desperately to have a life that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer all day. Which means that, in addition to the skirt, I have made a metric shit ton of other things in the last couple of weeks and just haven’t tossed them up on here yet. I’m actually finishing Christmas presents already while knitting at my desk at work. Yeah, I totally just blew the surprise, but whatever.

I’m back in the vinyl bag business in a big way. Here’s some recent stuff:

This one was a special project for Sloppy Jodes.


Look at that dramatic lighting!

I can’t post a couple of the things I’ve done just yet because they’re for birthday gifts or are waiting on the final touches. I’ll get them up here soon though. Well, I make no promises really. I’m bringing my motorcycle to the city this weekend, so I might never be indoors again. Four wheels is just two too many. LIIIIIVE TO RIIIIIIIIIIIDE!

In addition to not computing outside of the office, I’ve been doing the “tourist in my own city” thing for the last couple of days. I took an absolutely incredible walking tour of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, following Lawrence A. Glasco and Christopher Rawson’s book August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in his Life and Plays. If you’re from Pittsburgh or intend to visit sometime and care about important things, you should find a copy (try the Carnegie Library Branch in the Hill District, where you can see the stool from Eddie’s Restaurant where August used to hang out) and take the tour. Here’s a great shot from the top of the Hill, with the remains of a funicular (the Penn Avenue Incline) that was removed during a period of not-so-subtle racism.

The incline, removed in 1953, ran to 17th and Penn Ave in the Strip District. Shortly after it’s removal, construction began on the Civic Arena, drawing a distinct line between the Hill and downtown Pittsburgh, further alienating this neighborhood from the rest of the city.

Other miscellany: TORI SPELLING IS STARTING A CRAFTING REALITY SHOW. yesssssssss. How do I get on this?! She’s faboo!




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Filed under crafts, generally awesome, off week, pittsburgh, sewing

it’s electra. (boogie-woogie-woogie)

Rainy Monday in Pittsburgh. It’s the perfect kind of day to sleep until 1, drink too much coffee, fret about life and do some crafts. I even wore my “craft lady outfit” as Trent described it.

Yes, that is a Pittsburgh Public Theater denim shirt, you're not dreaming.

It’s teetering on a fine line between “Michael’s Craft Store Glam” and “Mad About You Casual”

I like to think it's leaning on the side of 'Mad About You' casual, only because I didn't have a clean turtleneck and time to trim my mullet.

So the vinyl bags are getting a bit out of hand. I always have pending orders for them it seems and, while I love making stuff, they are taking up a lot of time. The awesome thing is once I get paid for some bags sold on consignment, I’ll be well on my way to purchasing a new (probably used) industrial machine.  I’ve actually been approached by another local non-profit about manufacturing the bags for them as well, so it’ll be good to get something more appropriate and give my current machines a chance to relax. An industrial (or at least commercial grade) machine should help me get through them a little more quickly as I won’t be fighting the machine so frequently.

Anyway, this week has actually been about a couple of different crafts but I’ve started on Christmas presents that I can’t talk about on here . You know, as my followers are pretty much just my close friends and family, there’s a good chance that you, dear reader, are getting some crappy thing I spent too much time on and I don’t want to give away the surprise too early! I’ve also started the process of fixing up an old Finesse sewing machine from the 70s, but I can’t do much else until I learn how to fix the tension. The one craft I can tell you about is another vinyl bag in a new style:

Finished Electra envelope clutch

Back of the clutch.

This bag was made on commission for another actress from our recent production of Sophocles’ Electra. Now in addition to the wristlet and tote bags I had been making, I have a pattern (modified from this pattern) for an envelope style clutch that I absolutely adore. Honestly, I was feeling pretty guilty about not giving this actress one of the totes that I made, as they had already been requested and paid for by other folks, so I was thrilled that this turned out so well and I can get it in the mail to her soon.

In addition to all my crafts and projects this week, and events at work almost every day, I got my very first dental crown on Thursday. This does not, as I previously thought, make me in any way royalty, though at the moment I have a temporary crown while my permanent is being crafted in porcelain. Fancy shit. Anyway, I drained my savings for one fake tooth and it currently looks like it has Down syndrome. I hope the fancy permanent one I’m getting in two weeks will be based vaguely on what my tooth actually looked like. In the mean time, this thing kind of hurts. Lame.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the release of the new Zelda game (it’ll arrive tomorrow!), I’m probably not going to get any crafts done in the coming week.  It’s a hard choice between crafts and video games, but I know what I must do.

I hope you all (those that I don’t get to see, at least) have a great Thanksgiving. If you don’t, you let me know, we’ll fix it.


Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled, vintage looks

vinyl remix: update with more photos

Trent pointed out that my last post was a bit photo-bland. I took a lot of photos of the process, but WordPress seemingly was struggling that day, so I didn’t get them all up here. Also, I finished the last two bags:

Look how much crap you can fit in there!

They’re pretty fun. Unless you’re making them. ANYWAY. I have a few of these available at the moment. Ones that look like this:

Seriously, think about how much Iron City you can carry in these things.

And then a pair of wristlets:

The one with the sprinkles might actually already be claimed. The other one is available and I’ll have a little additional stock in the next few days.

Finally, one last thing just to prove that making these things causes nothing but pain:

I’ve seen the needle and the damage done.

That happened. My machines need to join a support group.

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Filed under crafts, sewing, upcycled

vinyl remix: upcycled bags.

I went back to work at the theater this week. It’s only once I go back for the first time each fall that I realize how much time I actually wasted during my summer off. It’s like the Summer of George every summer.

So now that I’m back and have to spend my time at the theater instead of in my underwear watching Netflix documentaries about aliens, I thought that it would be appropriate for my project this week to involve the bags I’ve been making out of old marketing materials from work. We get two of these huge vinyl banners printed for each show and they were usually thrown out at the end.

Banner, uncut.

I managed to make a deal with the devil (a.k.a. Kristin Garbarino, marketing assistant) to take these home and try to make something out of them. After a little experimentation, I came up with two styles of bag, a wristlet and a large tote bag. They’re kind of a hit at work. I made two of each this week. Sort of. I’ll explain. Anyway, first, I made two wristlets:

Well, actually, I made one wristlet. The  other one was partially done but needed a problem fixed and finished. So I did that. I did all of this on Tuesday. All told, it takes about an hour per bag to assemble these. Well, one hour and about 15 really creative combinations of “fuck” “shit” and “asshole” directed at my sewing machine. But you know, I was really moving along on my second week of crafting and I was very proud. Then Wednesday happened and I started on the tote bags:

But you know what? Every time I sit down to work on these things, I have a breakdown. Seriously, this stuff is shit to work with. How many expensive needles did I break on Wednesday? Nine. NINE. And my sewing machines alternate problems. Eventually I get angry with one machine and move to the other one, re-threading it, changing the needles and presser feet. Then that one does something shitty and I lose my mind. By the end of Wednesday night, I had thrown such a temper tantrum Trent actually came to check on me. I put the tote bags away for a bit, thinking I’d get to them the following night, after I went to motorcycle class.

But then I failed motorcycle class before I even began. I was late. That made me cry. Not regular couple-of-tears-get-this-girl-a-tissue cry, but like full on can’t-breathe-using-my-sleeve-in-a-gas-station-parking-lot-at-rush-hour cry. It was like my brain broke. It was one of those days where nothing really goes wrong but for some reason every little tiny thing that goes wrong seems suckier than it really logically should. After I turned around from the shit-show that is Rt. 19 at rush hour and got home, it occurred to me that I was not in any state to sew that night. Instead, I ate a cold Primanti’s sandwich, watched the Green Bay/New Orleans game (I’m new to fantasy football this year, I’m trying to embrace it) and made Trent give me a massage.

I’m realizing now that the title to this post should be “vinyl remix: upcycled bags. OR how to craft with pms.”

So anyway, I haven’t finished the tote bags yet, but I wanted to get this up here before I failed my own challenge. It’s probably relevant to explain that I’m pacing my week from Monday-Sunday like my work week. So by tomorrow, I only have to finish the bottom of the bags (it would take minutes), which is the last step of everything. Once I get to it, I’ll toss some more photos up on here. Actually, I’ll try to get all of my bags on here, just in case anyone’s looking for a unique gift. I sell both styles for $20.

Next week, I’m going to make a skirt that should be perfect for the fall weather. I’m happy to get away from the vinyl for a little bit.

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Filed under sewing, upcycled