Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Grilled Cheese Grill

This little joint just opened up in my neighborhood. I finally checked it out last weekend. I took a break from my piles of work and walked on over. Yes it's within walking distance! I have heard people raving about this place. I just had to check it out.

The Grilled Cheese Grill has a wide selection of cheesy wonderful sandwiches. They have the classic for only $4.00 or you can choose between their gourmet line up starting at $4.50.

My choice? The Southsider. It comes with Artichokes, Sundried Tomato, Mushrooms and Mozzarella on Grilled Sourdough. YUM! It was so delicious.

Everything is outdoors. You order at the main cart and you can either sit outside on the tables or inside their famous bus (which is the inspiration for their logo) that has a HUGE mural painted on the ceiling inside. Since it was nice outside I chose to sit on the tables. It was clean and friendly and lots of people were filtering through.

It felt like I was truly at a neighborhood joint, someplace people came every day for a quick dinner snack before hitting the bars. I wonder how they are at night when things really get started! They had signs that said they are open till 2:30 am and at Midnight they have a random dance party. I want to see this crazyness and plan on heading down one night when I have some peeps with me that want to have fun on Alberta.

Check it out for yourself!
They are located:

1027 NE Alberta Ave
Portland OR 97211

At the Corner of
Alberta & 11th

Tues - Thurs
Fri - Sat
Closed Mondays

This place is definitely worth a shot. You will not be disappointed. When the locals frequent, you know it's gotta be good, right? Easy on the wallet, fun people, great location and very tasty food. I'm hooked from the first bite. You will be too!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recycled Skirt

The idea was to use one of my existing skirts and make a pattern from it to make more skirts! Sure I could buy a pattern but I've done that before and there is so much editing involved and when you finish it the design could look horrible on your body, especially a body like mine that involves curves and needs just the right flare. So until I learn how to modify patterns better I decided to use a skirt that I already liked and fitted well.

For my fabric I used three pairs of pants. Why? Because they had cool fabric and didn't fit anymore and the pant legs looked like just the right size to make a skirt panel from. Was I right? Yes! But the problem was I could only get two panels per pant and that left me with two extra panels to match up. So I dug through my closet and found another pair of pants I didn't like to wear anymore and cut it up!

For this project you will need two pairs of pants and a contrasting fabric that can be used from pants or another fabric scrap. For my next try with this pattern I found two pairs of pants that are closer in color so I won't get the patchwork look.

I added in the flare panels and finally used an idea that's been floating around in my head to do the lapels that end in giant buttons.

For the side I had a few hours wasted trying to install a zipper. It involved me ripping it out and sewing again and ripping it out. I need to learn how to do an invisible zipper! Also I was trying to finish this skirt in one night so I was running out of time and energy. I decided to use the pant zipper that was in the original pants. I cut it out and sewed it in. It works perfect!

In the end the skirt was a little too big because of the added zipper panel but my original pattern should work fine as long as I figure out how to do the zipper right. I'm really happy with the flare and being able to recycle pants that I was going to just ditch because they fit so horribly. Yeah for skirts! Pants made into skirts!

I also found this beautiful skirt at a local thrift store (Rerun) and I LOVE it! So hard to get a photo of yourself in a skirt though! Goodness gracious.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Recycle Clothing Ideas

I've been racking my brain for more ways to use these piles of clothes I see at the bins. What would be fast and easy that you could just cut them up and sew them up again but make them cool and useful. How can you re-use this item and not make it a complete headache? Simple is the key, fast is the means and cheap is the gold nugget at the end.

It helps sometimes to see what other designers are doing. Here are some lovelies I tracked down to share with you.

Rachel's awesome recycled t-shirt - blogged here

Courtney Courtney - etsy shop

Dressme - etsy shop

preloved uses recycled vintage clothing and makes them super hip and awesome. I am now fighting the urge to head over to the goodwill bins and dig through the coats. I MUST make one of these. Vintage Modern!

Ok I'm pumped now. How about you? Do you know how easy it is to do this for yourself? If you have a sewing machine and some patience you can create awesome right in your own home. I'm going to make tons of awesomeness all over the place. Do you know how many vintage things I find at the bins? How many coats, and wool skirts I find that are just begging to be used for something?

Maybe it's all the project runway I've been watching.. but I'm pumped and ready to make some great clothing. I don't think I'll be seeing the daylight for a while. Yeah for coffee!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Designs and lots of work

I finally had the time to finish my new designs last week. It been a while since I've posted and I wanted to share these with you sooner.. but you know how life goes!

Right now I'm printing new shirts every week and ordering more and more from my wholesalers online. Lots of onesies are out there! I even had to order more tags for my shirts because I am almost DONE with my bag of 500 labels! WOW!

Shirts labeled and ready for printing. I first stack them by design and ink color that they are going to be printed with.

This is my new pirate ship design. It's based off a block print I did a while back. I always wanted this to be a shirt. Now it is! It looks so cute on onesies. I'll have to take some pictures when I'm printing again tonight. This is the only one I have right now.

This is my new daisy design. Just a sneak peak of the screen!

Icecream Bear! sorry for the blurry shot.

Cupid bear. From one of my OLD paintings back from when I first came up with this style. So far he hasn't sold yet and that makes me sad a little. I'm putting the rest of my "cute" designs on the shelf while I work on what my customers actually want.. Monsters, Robots and Dinos!

Here is a sneak peek on what I'm working on tonight to debut on Last Thursday next week!

I have been selling out of stuff like crazy at the market and I've been trying to keep up with demand but every time I set up I realize I forgot to print something really important or I'm totally out of black skull buttons. So I'm spending this week getting organized. I put together an excell sheet so I can tally what I sell and I'm going to try and keep a certain total amount of things in stock. So hopefully that will mean that when someone comes to my booth to find a certain design in a certain color, I'll actually have it! Thanks to Gina of Experienced Materials for showing me her handy list that she keeps track with. I am learning so much from these awesome people at the market. I didn't even think to keep something like that.. writing them down one by one is too time consuming but keeping a tally on a clipboard. I can do that!

Also I'm refocusing my business. This is in a good way folks. I keep hearing it time and time again. It's a pain to find COOL clothes for boys, especially babies. There is so many generic sports and animal themes out there. So finally I'll listen to YOU my customers. I will be focusing less on the cute and bring out more of the funny and the farts and the sass. I am going to just draw robots, dinos and monsters until I have a AWESOME batch to offer all you dads out there for your great kids. Because dads want to shop too! They don't want cute! They want something with a bit of bite, or nerdiness. I hear you guys! I'm also going to focus on more gender nueutral designs and colors because people seem to want more of that as well. I get reports of an oversaturation of PINK. Oh the horror! I actually love pink really :)

So my goal is to offer cool and fun clothing for your kids that is different from the mainstream. Clothes that will be entertaining to you the adults as well as influencing future generations to love monsters and robots as well. Guys, I hear you. I'll stop the cute. I LOVE IT but I understand that there is so much cute in the world that we really need to balance that out with a little bad ass cartoon action. I'll bring on the funk! I'll show you things you've never seen on babies! I'll bring you awesome things to buy your friends that will totally get you points.

I am here for you guys.

Dads.. I'm doing this for YOU. Because Dads love to shop too.

Oh and HAPPY freakin Father's Day Guys!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Worn out clothing recycling

There is so much extra clothing not being used in this world. Can you imagine how much clothing is just thrown away every day? There are so many good uses for that old garment that you don't want to wear anymore. I used to think that I couldn't donate an item because it was worn out and raggy. Then I found out that these donation centers can use these items as well. There are places that BUY rags from these centers that is really old clothes cut up into pieces. They are eco friendly and perfect for cleaning up oil messes in workshops.

So what can you do with the stacks of raggy clothes you have piled up? Here are some helpful solutions! Some tips borrowed from Thrifty Fun.

Cut up the items and remove the zipper, seams and buttons. Cut out the fabric and lay flat in a box and save for later. A lot of these scraps can be used for quilting or a panel on a skirt. I would sort them by cotton and synthetic. If you were really organized you could sort by colors and patterns.

Doll Clothes
Little scraps makes the perfect source for doll clothes. When I was a kid I made my own barbie clothes and it's a great way for kids to learn how to sew for the first time.

Kid Clothes
Take that old baggy shirt and make it into a cute skirt or shirt! Sew, Mama, Sew has a great collection of little girl clothing tutorials, as well as some boy clothing tutorials as well. More Boys Clothes Tutorials here. Kids go through clothes so fast and they are also small so a little bit of cloth goes a long way.

Use old towels as dishrags and floor-rags. If the clothing is too stained or worn out to use for anything else than cut them up and get a stack started underneath your sink. They come in handy for so many things and when they get dirty you can just throw them in the wash with some bleach and they will be all clean and sanitized to use all over again. My mom did this when we were growing up and the idea of paper towels is still strange to me. In the long run you will save a lot using rags instead of papertowels for simple mess cleanup.

So the lesson is that YES you can still use a piece of clothing even though it's worn out, full of holes and headed for the landfill.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The elusive invisible zipper

I know I haven't written in a while, sorry everyone! I've been so busy and just haven't had any time to post the projects I've been working on. I've been obsessed with skirts for the last month or so. I have a couple skirts I really like and I've been meaning to make patterns from them so I can make some more out of different fabrics I have in my sewing room. I finally made one last night! (photos to come)

One of the hardest things about sewing a skirt is the invisible zipper. All the rest of it seems to go so smooth then BAM zipper time.. It's worth putting one in and works better and looks cleaner than elastic but DAMN is that a pain in the @#$$.

I tracked down this helpful tutorial. It has pictures and everything!

I can't wait to try out my other patterns as well. I found a couple awesome skirts at the thrift store yesterday and they have such a nice cut and flare. I LOVE THEM! Instead of going to a store to buy a new skirt I'm finding ones from local thrift stores or digging through my closet. They fit well and I like the cut so might as well just copy the original. Next step is to use up the fabric I've been collecting, mostly recycled fabrics and clothing I have from other projects. I've also been digging through the goodwill bins and had some awesome finds. It's a bit dirty but it's like finding treasure. In an effort to stay thrifty I've been using these fabrics to make new clothes.

So the idea is to not go to the store to buy a new item but take a pattern from an existing item, use recycled materials from other clothing items and remake it into something fabulous! Then you save money, it's better on the environment, you make something original and funky, and you can refresh your wardrobe for almost free!

I am planning on doing this for blouses as well and maybe teaching myself to sew with knit fabrics. (Most tops are made from knit, have you noticed? The hardest stuff to sew too) I love the idea of having a whole collection of patterns that fit ME and are stylish and hip. Much easier in my book than buying a pattern and trying to make that fit you. I have so many ideas of new things to make. I have so many new clothes! I love being thrifty.. it's so fun. :)

I will soon have pictures of my projects but in the meantime you can check out my friend Theresa's project where she made a skirt and bag from a coat she found at the bins.

Banana Pops (food porn)

My mom used to make these banana pops when I was a kid. They are really easy and a mostly healthy treat to make. They also store really well in the freezer once covered in their protective chocolate shell. This is one way to use up ripe bananas if you find a bunch on sale and need to freeze them fast.

Recipe on Craftzine Blog. Make a delightful treat tonight that is ALMOST guilt free.

OMG! Food porn!
yum yum yum..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sock Dreams

I am obsessed with socks right now! Have you heard of Sock Dreams? Of course you have.. right? Sock it to Me socks? I recommend both! Great for guys and gals and sexy as hell. I love this selection.. how can I choose just one?? I got four pairs! yeah!

Socks socks socks. Knee Highs are HOT. Don't you agree?
I asked T (who has a friend that works there) if these guys get crazy foot fetish people browsing this site and she said they get weird calls from time to time. No kidding!

I am so into wearing skirts nowadays. Gone are the days of ill-fitting shorts and pants. I want to wear skirts and be flowing and pretty and dainty. I want to be feminine again and be warm doing it! Socks are the answer.. layering is the key. It's always been too cold for me to wear skirts. Socks are the answer! Also skirts are easy to make and inexpensive while shopping for pants is HORRIBLE and time consuming and EXPENSIVE. I can never find the right fit! I'm SHORT and have HIPS and those are two things designers do not account for. I want to be in a skirt and feel free and dressed up and I'm tired of dressing boring and plain.

Dressing up is fun! and socks are awesome.
Oh by the way, this is only the beginning to the collection. I limited myself to just four at a time, more to come for sure! Also free shipping on this order! Awesome huh?

Oh and check out these leg warmers! HOT! available from Sock Dreams ladies! You know you want them. :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Upside down tomato hanger

My friend Leah posted this nifty hack to make your own upside down tomato hanger. Awesome! Now I want to make one! Me and the housemate were just pondering buying one of those fabric ones they sell but they are a bit pricey. I'm sure everyone has one of these hangers sitting around though.

Check out the rest of her post here.

Monday, June 01, 2009