Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Fox ROCKS

Was on a little fox-y kick the other day and decided to make a new treasury. It's all artwork this time. I wish I could get them all and make a fox montage somewhere in my house.



What is it about the woodland fox? In real life I don't want to come upon one, but in the art world I can't get enough.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

If You Don't Play, You Can't Win

This must be some kind of record.  For reals.  But it just goes to show that it pays to play.

Now try not to be jealous.  But I won probably more than my fair share of giveaways on Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day.

First to notify me of my winnings was Eleanor over at Unfamiliar Ceiling.  She was giving away an assortment of goodies and I scored a yard of Alexander Henry fabric:

It's kind of funny . . . every time I've seen this fabric in the store I've thought, I should pick some of this up.  But as you know, I'm not one to buy with no plan so it kept getting passed over.  I'm really excited it's coming my way though . . . is it totally random that I now think I have a project in mind for it.  :)

The next email I got was from Fabric Donkey.  I had never even heard of this site before the SMS giveaway day, but let me tell you, it's a good one!  If you're ever wondering where you find out about the best fabric deals/sales around ye ole internet, it's the place to be.  I am floored at winning this layer cake to play with (it's Fresh Flowers by Deb Strain):
Pretty!!  I see some orange and blue in there too . . . I wonder what I might be able to do with that?

Shortly after that I received an email from Kari at Moo Said the Mama.  A lot of vintage sewing stuffs is coming my way (card of 5 green buttons, 4 red buttons, card of 3 white buttons, 22" red zipper, 22" green zipper, package of red rick rack, package of green rick rack, and a card of red lace).  :)  I really like vintage sewing paraphernalia . . . it makes me feel like I'm part of a long line of sewists, and that I'm tapping into something much larger than myself and my machine.  It's a part of history and I just love that:
You may notice the Christmas color scheme in that prize.  She's also sending along some Christmas fabrics:

Next came Erin from Dog Under My Desk.  She was giving away a copy of Stitch (which someone else won) and this sweet little notebook she made (which I won!):
I think it'll be perfect to tuck in my bag when I go out and run errands.  I'm always forgetting what I'm doing when I don't write stuff down . . . so this will help me out quite well in that capacity.  It doesn't hurt that it's cute too!  :)


There were 100 winners on the next giveaway so I wasn't terribly surprised at the win here (but still happy!)  Green Bag Lady was giving away 100 reusable tote bags and 100 kits to make a bag.  One to have, one to make and share.  Here's the one I won:
Here's the kit I get to make and give away:

Kacey from Stay At Home Artist furnished the next prize . . . a headband that Little Miss is going to LOVE.  :)  No specific picture . . . I can't find the listing on Etsy anymore (she must have taken it down so she could send it to me), but here is the link to her shop:
The next email came from Rebecca of Craft-A-Little.  She was giving away some more fabric (something unknown and a bit of Amy Butler):

And you know, just when you thought I COULDN'T POSSIBLY WIN ANOTHER GIVEAWAY, I got an email this evening from Hollie at The Undercover Crafter.   A little 1/2 yard of each fabric mix including some HEATHER BAILEY!!


Oh my goodness golly . . . it's going to be a fun mail week!

Let this be a lesson to you when you someone is having a giveaway.  You gotta play to win.  ;)

Feeling ridiculously lucky over here . . . not gonna lie,

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Friday, May 27, 2011

HANDMADE TOYS NEED YOUR HELP! NOW!!

We're so close! I urge you to read the following post and contact your congressman so we can SAVE THE HANDMADE TOY (& general children's items) INDUSTRY in this country. For those of you that have never called your congressperson . . . it's time!

If you don't stand up, WHO WILL?

Can you imagine?  If this thing passes I might actually have the ability to do (within the laws of this land) what I most want to do, which is make and sell quality, safe, and unique clothes and toys for children. I have dreams about it all the time. Honestly.  You don't need to do it for me . . . just consider what options are left for our children when we are left with the garbage that big box stores (the only ones who can really absorb the costs associated with this bill) have to offer as the handmade business of making safe and quality items for children slowly dies away.

Seriously, don't gloss this over and assume someone else will call!!

Let your voice be heard! You were given the right to vote for a reason.

The CPSIA needs real reform RIGHT NOW.

Please take a few moments of your time and read on:
Handmade Toy Alliance Blog: Is this YOUR Congressman? We need your help! 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Curvy Wallet Giveaway WINNER!

Well, goodness! Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day was just kind of awesome. I had so much fun reading all your comments (112 entries!), and I'm so excited to welcome some new readers as well. :)

Alright, enough jaw-jacking . . . onto the winner!



It appears that Miss Sarah had a date with destiny this go round:

I love that Random.org saw fit to give Sarah just what she needed.  He's fickle, but sometimes he hits the nail right on the ole head.

What I'm trying to say is Congratulations, Sarah!  I hope your new wallet provides your personables with a much higher level of security.  :)  Thanks again everyone for entering!

OK.  This gal needs to go to bed now.

Peace out.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tools of the Trade: Quilter's Grid

Until recently I had never even heard of this stuff, but I used Quilter's Grid on a block for my Bee Vintage group and IT.IS.GENIUS.


It bugs me a bit sometimes when I see someone "write" their own tutorial for something that they saw a tutorial for, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel on this one. (No, no, I'm not mad at you if you saw something cool, switched it up a bit and blogged about it . . . no worries, friends.) However, I switched nothing so I'm not going to tutorialize like I did.  My queen bee, Heather, posted a very concise and easy to follow tute on the use of Quilter's Grid on her blog, and I won't steal her thunder.

You should seriously check it out though. BRILLIANT STUFF, I tell you.

I started with 100 - 2" vintage sheet squares (hurray for using up itty scraps!) and a 20" square of the QG and when I was done I had this:
Quilter's Grid Block


I defy you to find a non-perfect point. (Seriously, you don't have to scrutinize it. Just trust me. This stuff works!)
Quilter's Grid Block - Front Detail


I felt like I was cheating while I was using it, but when I saw the outcome I screamed, "I don't care!" and made Mr. Skooks marvel over it with wonder.

"Look at the back . . . NESTED SEAMS!"
Quilter's Grid Block - Back Detail


Bless his heart.  I love that he humors me about this stuff.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Curvy Wallet GIVEAWAY!!

*****COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED.  THANKS FOR ENTERING!*****

I don't know what it is about Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day . . . there are a lot of giveaway posts all the time around the blogosphere, but the SMS Giveaway Day is just EPIC.

I'm sorry if you hate the use of that word.  In this case, it is just true.

So because I love my readers and because I do love to share with you all, I'm offering up this Skooks Original:
Curvy Wallet Front


I made this wallet awhile back . . . I ran across the pattern on Etsy and just fell in love with the unexpected shape that was still packed with function.  My Wallet Shell is a pattern by HappyBee, and it really is a fun one.
Curvy Wallet Back


I wish I could tell you she's perfect, but I am really not super skilled in hand sewing bias binding on ANYTHING.  Seriously . . . it's like my Sewing Achilles Heel.
Curvy Walle tInside


I don't believe, however, that takes anything away from the fun of this lil gal.  She boasts 3 card pockets and a zippered coin pouch with a velcro closure.  She may be just a wallet, but she packs a cuteness punch.  :)
Curvy Walle tInside - Detail


Want to win?  SUPER EASY.  Just leave me a comment telling me if you'd keep 'er or give her away.  (Just cause I'm nosy, LOL!)

I told you it was simple.  Yes, leave a comment and this non-manicured hand could be yours:
This Hand Could Be Yours!

Oy.  I really need to stop biting my nails.
 

Oh . . . and in case you glossed over all my jibber jabber and just want the low-down here's how you enter:
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me whether you'd keep this little darlin' for yourself or if not, who you would give it to.   (Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment so I can get back to you if you've won!)

Oh, and if you're a follower or become one let me know that in your comment too so I can say "Hi!"  :)  (This doesn't gain you extra entries, but I do love to hear from my readers!)

THAT'S IT!

I'll pick a winner on May 25th (Wednesday) so if you're here now DON'T WAIT!  You've only got a few days to enter.  Please be fair as there is only ONE entry per person.  If you mess up and need to leave another comment, please delete your first one.  (International friends: I welcome you to enter too!)

With the understanding that there is no obligation to do any of the following, I would still love it if you'd bookmark me, follow me on Twitter, become my friend on Flickr, or consider subscribing to my blog and come back for a visit sometime!  It'd be sweet to have you as part of the creative community at Skooks' Playground.  :)

Ok, now off with you!  You've got plenty more great prizes to win.

You do know that's what I'm doing right now, right?  ;)


Good luck!  And may the Random.org gods smile upon you.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ok Ok . . I GET It Now . . .

*****Author's Note: I thought this post was eaten by Blogger on Friday the 13th (those of you who use Blogger may recall the frustration that day), so I went a different direction later when I stopped wringing my hands over losing my whole post and instead told you all about my fabric haul.  As it turns out, it showed back up in my draft folder today so I'm publishing it now.  Hallelujah.*****

As I haven't always been very fabric snobby savvy, it's taken me a bit to get my bearings with "designer" fabrics.  There seems to be a lot of hoopla around certain designers (seems like everyone is ga ga over Amy Butler whenever she does anything, for example), and as I've read and seen and felt fabric more . . . it's coming to me a bit more why.

This post isn't about Amy Butler at all actually.  I like quite a lot of her stuff, but I'm not of the opinion that everything she touches turns to gold (though . . . a lot of the stuff she touches seems to).  When it comes down to it, some people just have an eye for design and partner up with textile companies that just use better quality fabric to print their stuff on . . . in this I'm with Amy.

But what I really get now is the hype over Heather Ross.  I think I figured out she existed around the time that Far Far Away I was coming out and I became enamored with this cute little frog print:

Never did pick up any . . . as I've mentioned before I'm not a fabric hoarder in the traditional sense.  I'm more of a scrap hoarder . . . so hard to throw away the least little bit of leftover fabric from a project because well jeeps . . . I just might find a use for it.  The point is, I see stuff that I like but have no immediate project in mind for and then the stuff just goes away.  Like it is no longer printed, and then I think of a great project for it and it's just GONE.  Poof.  VANISHED.

Or in the case of Heather Ross, it is being sold in itty bitty bits and pieces on Etsy and eBay for the equivalent of a million dollars a yard because it's EXTREMELY RARE and HTF (that's "hard to find" for those of you who still don't use abbreviations in your writing and reading).

So, ok.  I had never actually seen any Heather Ross fabric in person before.  I've got one good quilt store in town that I know of that carries the better-than-JoAnn fabric selection, but they don't have it all.  By any means.  But I kept seeing these adorable quilts and projects on Flickr (total time-suck website that I'm completely addicted to btw) being made using this Heather Ross fabric, and I started getting the fever.  Honestly, I don't know what it is . . . the simplicity of the art work that is somehow so sweet?  The whimsical subject matter she chooses to focus on?  The fact that it's so elusive?

It's probably a bit of all of these.

And as I pondered how to spend some bit of birthday money (thanks to Mr. Skooks' grandparents . . . on both sides), I thought . . . what if I could find a bit of Heather Ross . . . what if I could get just a bit of it . . . for my very own?

So I searched around to see what I could find . . . and if I could ever lay my hands on some of that cute little frog fabric I had seen so long ago.

Thanks to the power of eBay, this little stack of sweetness came to my house today:
Heather Ross Far Far Away I mini stash


And yes . . . it was most definitely worth it.  As I said . . . I *get* it now.  Or rather . . . I *got* it.  ;)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Few More Bee Blocks Received

A few more blocks came trickling in just after I finished my last Bee Vintage update post.  They look so awesome, I just had to share.   :)

Is there a person on the planet not completely impressed and astonished that the super talented Jenny was able to match up those stripes??  My goodness . . . this block is awesome.

You Are Here by Jenny
You Are Here by Jenny
This pretty little thing was made up by Simple Girl, Simple Life.  I'm digging the mixture of gingham with the blue and pink florals  It's a bit more muted than some of the others, which I really like . . . I think it will help mix things up on the finished quilt:
You Are Here by Simple Girl, Simple Life
You Are Here by Simple Girl, Simple Life

Here they are with all the other blocks I've received so far:
So pretty!!  This quilt is going to be a scrappy STUNNER when it's done.

I also acquired this near perfect sheet at the Goodwill the other day . . . she may end up as the backing to this quilt:
Thrifted Sheet

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Giveaway Day is BACK!

Last time I participated in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day it was so much fun, I couldn't help but do it again. Make sure to come back Monday as I've got a handmade goody to give away.



Yes! That's right. From me to you.

That is . . . if you're lucky.  ;)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Brushing Up on My Skillz

Recently I found out about a fun quilt-along/build your quilting skill set Sampler-A-Thon. Ok, that's my name. It's actually called the "We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler", and it's being organized by Leila (someone participating in my Japanese Import Charm Swap.)

BWS tips button


I'm intrigued, as I'm not well-versed in quilting . . . though perhaps I've tricked you all in to thinking I might be.  Should be fun to participate and work through some new techniques or brush up on some old ones.  If you participate the whole way through you should end up with enough squares to make a queen sized quilt!  Wowza.

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Teaching an Old Box New Tricks

You may or may not have caught my little box of Kona Solids in my last post:

Let me tell you a little story about how that came to be.  C'mon.  I'd listen to your stories if you'd tell them to me.  ;)

So last Christmas, I spied these adorable boxes of Smore's Party Mix at Meijer in the after-Christmas clearance.  They sounded nummy and all (and yes, let me tell you . . . they WERE), but more than that I was just taken with their packaging:
Smores Bowl - Before

Please tell me other people buy stuff because of the box it comes in?

Anyway, on clearance I want to say they were 80 cents each or something, so I snatched up 2 thinking I'd transform them somehow when I was done eating a ridiculously bad for me snack.  As in, so bad it's GOOD.

Anyway . . . it only took 5 months, but I finally did some work on one of them:
Smores Bowl - After

Yes . . . I broke out Mod Podge . . . something I seem to have on hand even though I probably haven't used any in probably 5 years.  It took lots of cutting (once you open up that box on both sides . . . there's a LOT of odd ground to cover), and a generous amount of MP, but I'm really happy with the transformation.

And for now I'm nestling the two together to corral my Kona solid fat quarters:
Kona Cotton Fat Quarter Storage


And that is a beautiful thing.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ribbons and Trims - Conquered!

Since I went on the whole fabric folding kick a few weeks ago, I've been on a mission to really clean out and corral all of my sewing stuffs so that my sewing room really works FOR me and not AGAINST me.  At first glance and for awhile now, it has appeared really "together".  But what the discerning eye couldn't discern from looking at it was how many times I went to find something . . . couldn't . . . and then bought a new one. 

I HATE doing that.

So with fresh determination to get all of these lovely supplies under control I took my fabric rolling a bit further and dug into my trim stash.  I am terrible with before shots, but I'll explain what I was doing before so you get an idea of the improvement.  

I had gotten a package of little plastic treat bags from the Hob-Lob for maybe a dollar or 2 a LONG time ago when I was on a quest to find a way to make a crinkly page for my niece's quiet book.

These guys, actually:

I had no real use for the rest of the bags and they were just kind of sitting there purposeless.  I put 2 and 2 together and proceeded to take all my odd lengths of ribbon and trim and portion them out one per bag.  It was kinda fun for awhile . . . digging through the bags of trim was kind of like diving for candies.  And it was cheap and didn't take very long to accomplish.

Realize though, that I don't have a lot of ribbon on rolls . . . so if you do, this may not make sense to you that someone would do this.  Most of my stuff was 2 yards or less, and I acquired most of my stash from a friend of mine.  Back in the day Hob-Lob used to bag up the ribbon and trim odds and ends old school and sell a gallon sized ziplock bag of random bits and pieces for $2 or $3.  I'm not talking about the contrived bags they sell now.  I'm talking about the good stuff that they cut right there for you on the floor.  When there were odd pieces left on the roll they'd shove a ton of randoms in a bag and sell it.

And the people rejoiced.  (Seriously . . . it was like a mad dash to that back clearance endcap in the fabric department at the end of the month).

Anyway, that's where I started.  I had them divided up into categories: Bold colors in one drawer, Pastel colors in another, and Blacks Browns and Neutrals in the last one.  It helped me save a bit of time when I was looking for a particular color, but it was eating up 3 DRAWERS in my storage dresser which always struck me as a tad LOT inefficient (especially as I looked around at all the stuff that was just taking up room out on my work spaces).

Anyway.  I had an A-Ha Moment (as they say) when I started rolling my fabric on the comic book boards and nearly simultaneously ran across this post on ribbon organization:
Simple but Genius idea via Just a Girl
She wrapped her ribbons up and put them in a dollar store basket.

Simple + Cute = Sure, I Can Do That Too

So I cut down a few of my comic book backer boards to fit in some dollar store baskets I had sitting around my house already (would have loved that cute turquoise, but I was determined not to spend any money on this) and I got this:
Ribbons and Trims Reorganized

I had ALOT of trims, but I was able to consolidate them all down into just 2 little baskets!
Ribbons and Trims Reorganized
They're now sitting on my shelf with all of my fat quarters (the toy sewing machines got the boot unfortunately, but I'll find a good spot for them eventually):
The Newly Reorganized Fabric Hutch

I am crazy happy with how my stash is coming together in a concise I-Can-Really-Find-That-One-Thing-I-Know-I-Have kind of way.

Next on the Agenda: Supplies!

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