Thursday, February 24, 2011

Daily Craft - Think I'm getting the hang of this...

I've always admired wire wrapped jewelry and I've been practicing my skills.  I think my first breakthrough was realizing that thinner wire might be more effective.  Second brilliant notion was that the eye pins I have were too short.  So, I decided to get some plain 24 gauge wire and give it a go.  I think I'm finally figuring this out!  I also bought some 28 gauge wire to see if I like it better, but I'm finally producing some tidy wire wrapped joins.  Has to be said, it's quite satisfying. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daily Review - Fabric District

As somebody who loves to craft, the Fabric District in Downtown L.A. is a resource that I probably don't use enough.  The streets in that area are filled with store after store of floor to ceiling fabric bolts with everything from apparel and upholstery fabrics, trims, lace and more.  If anything, it's somewhat overwhelming and if I were in fashion school, it would be a dream.

Given that it's a three day weekend and I had no particular plans for today, I decided to head down there and take a good look around.  I've been before, but usually with husband in tow.  While he's quite accommodating to my crafty whims, I didn't want to torture him with what I knew would be a lengthy stroll through that spot.  I wasn't searching for anything in particular and this was really more of a mission to see what was on offer.

Parking can be a real pain and even though it's a holiday, so the meters weren't an issue, finding one can be completely impossible.  I decided to pay the $4 for a parking lot and not have to deal with the painfully slow "looking for a space" traffic crawl.  Fortunately, the fabric stores seem to be concentrated in a relatively small area with a few blocks in either direction of Santee and 8th.  With comfortable walking shoes, it's a breeze.

I'm going to use Joann as a point of comparison for pricing, as that's a good standard, although I know there's lots of places online with more competitive prices.  If you're looking for apparel fabric, there are tons of places that have offerings starting as low as $0.99/yd.  I'm a big fan of brocades and while those usually run about $9.99/yd at Joann, they seem to average about $3/yd downtown, which is a nice savings.  There were lots of places to get a great discount on minky fabrics, with the cheapest I found being $6/yd (compared to $12.99), and I bought some polar fleece for $2/yd (compared to $9.99 and up).  I didn't look too closely at the upholstery fabric, but there was no shortage of choice.  The one thing that wasn't readily on offer was quilting type fabrics, which is a shame because that's probably what I would have the most use for.

Some shops have their prices very clearly marked, but other places you will need to ask.  Those seem to be the places where negotiating is almost expected.  For example, the shop where I purchased the fleece had quoted me $2/yd, but a different sales person told a lady that came in just after I did that it was $2.50.  You definitely want to bring cash as well because most places don't take credit.  The other problem can be that the fabric content isn't always clearly marked, so worth asking and making a note of as you buy.

A review of the Fabric District certainly wouldn't be complete without mentioning Michael Levine, which is probably the most well known store in that area.  I did pop in for a few minutes, and they have a terrific selection of whatever type of fabric you might want - from silks, denims, leathers, flannel, Kona cotton and so on.  One thing to note is that they are not the cheapest place and while I'm sure the quality is better than Joann, the prices are definitely higher.  Across the street is the Michael Levine Loft, which has tons of fabric bins filled with what appear to be end of bolt or scraps from the cutting room floor.  Everything in there is $2.50/lb and is great if you have the patience to rummage through everything to find suitable yardage for your project.

Overall, it's a fun place to spend a few hours, but I would definitely suggest having some idea of what you're looking for.  I think I'm going to go through my clothing patterns and figure out what types of fabric/yardage I need for next time I have some extra cash.  I'll probably be buying every color of minky available too!  :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Daily Craft - Destashing

I'm finally attempting to clear out some craft space and it's sadly time for me to part with some of the supplies hiding in my storage bins!  I'm hoping that these items can move on to a loving home where they'll be used rather than being part of this one woman attempt to craft her way through entirely too much stuff.

Anyway, I've created a destash page for anybody who may be interested.  Mostly acrylic yarns there right now, but as I continue to go through my supplies, I'm quite sure that other items will appear as well.  All prices noted do include shipping within the US, and I'm open to reasonable offers if anyone would like to make one.  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Daily Craft - A swap haul!

In an attempt to get rid of some of the excess in my craft space, I signed up for a destash swap on Craftster - which involved each pair swapping craft supplies that they're not using.  I guess technically it's not reducing the stash, but it's obtaining "new to me" things without additional cost right?  (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). 

I sent my original partner a bunch of knit and crochet supplies, seeing as she said crochet was her new thing - yarns (both commercial and recycled by me), a crochet hook roll, stitch markers etc.  Unfortunately, my partner turned out to be a flake.  I would like to gripe for a moment about those that flake on organized swaps.  The fact is that crafty types are very giving people.  We're constantly making things for those around us, donating supplies or making things for charity groups, offering free patterns and tutorials to help others perfect their skills.  Quite frankly, not holding up your end of the bargain is crappy.  Of course, for every flake, there are hundreds of wonderful crafters out there who keep up the good name.  Big thanks to my swap angel, Connie, who sent me a substitute package to make up for the one I was supposed to receive but didn't!

She sent me some lovely fabrics.  I intend to turn the blue/green fabrics at least into quilted coasters, which I had fun making previously.  

She also sent me a bunch of jewelry findings and beads, even going to the trouble of making sure that I have at least 2 of each bead in the package.  How did she know that I'm an earring addict?

There was also a "slice of pie" soap bar, and some Halloween stamps.  Never quite managed to get a good picture though as Deuce tried to claim the soap for himself.  As you may recall, this is not the first time...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Dish - A little faux Cordon Bleu

Sometimes I'm trying to think of what to cook for dinner and I'm completely uninspired.  That's when Food Network comes in handy.  Today, while perusing chicken dishes, I came across this Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe from Tyler Florence.  No prosciutto, but we have deli sliced ham.  No gruyere, but we have a 5 Italian cheese blend.  Done!

I decided to make a little grilled veggie (asparagus, carrot, green onion) pasta on the side, tossed in a simple sauce of my own.  These are approximations because, as you know, I never really measure anything!

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper
- Grated parmesan

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daily Craft - Finally finished!

A little over a year ago, I felt inspired to start my second ever cross-stitch project.  Of course, didn't think to get my feet wet with something small and instead launched right in with this Dimensions kit. It was somewhat slow going, but I loved watching it develop as I was stitching along.  I'm thrilled that I finally finished it yesterday and now I get to pick a frame for it to complete the look.

I have this complimentary kit already in hand and I'm debating whether to get started on it, or go for the dragon from the book I just bought. Decisions, decisions!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Daily Gripe - Urgh, sick again!

Seriously, whatever mutant disease has taken over my body, I would like you to leave now.  Further to that, who is the genius that makes cold/flu capsules the size of a small child?  I know it's bad when I wake up to Deuce's sweet, furry little face sniffing me in the middle of my Robitussin/Sudafed/Dayquil induced coma.  I think he was checking if I were still alive, given that I'd been face down on the bed for several hours straight. 

See, he knows how to look loving and concerned! 

Have a HEALTHY weekend everybody!