Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Manana, Rana! Tortilla Warmer from the Heart

Many times my best work is born out of an act of gift-giving.  Using my talent, thoughtfulness, sewing machine, and creative genius, I can whip out an awesomely unique gift for just about anyone.  Oh, and it helps to have a stash loaded with all sorts of fabric, notions, and supplies, too.  My creativity and frugality were unleashed during my most recent project- a gift for my coworker, Kathleen, who is entering retirement.

Kathleen is a pretty amazing lady!  I'm willing to bet the only continent she's never set foot on is Antarctica.  She was born in Mexico, makes a mean guacamole, and has the most kind, loving, warm energy that you don't often come across in a person these days.  As a little tribute to her leaving the company, I wrote about her on my company's blog, if you'd like to read more of the details.  When she gave her notice of retiring at the end of this month, I pondered what I would make her.  I can't tell you how many beautifully put-together gift bags she has made for me and others in the office:  with homemade, embellished tea towels and all sorts of goodies and loot.  This gift I was making had to be extra special, but luckily it wasn't too difficult to conjure up a gift idea for her.  She loves frogs & loves TexMex food.  So, without further ado, I present you my 'El Ribbito' design, for a tortilla warmer!

I cleaned up my original sketch to adapt it into an applique.  The applique would be added to a tortilla warmer.  My sketchpad pictured above was the perfect size at 12" x 12" to make the circle pattern template for the tortilla warmer.

The project was pretty simple for me to complete in about a day and a half, using only materials I had in my fabric pantry.  Good thing I had some fun, zesty, bright fabrics to spice up the design:

And my man, Jimmy, who lives in New Orleans, even sent some Panola Hot Sauce (hecho en Louisiana) to compliment the gift!  HOT TAMALE, BABY!

WWOZ FM out of New Orleans was streaming when I was typing this post tonight and a Freddy Fender song came on.  His voice was so pure and bittersweet- it struck a chord with me.  I had to google him and was surprised to see a little bit of resemblance to my froggy above.  Instead of 'El Ribbito', maybe it should be 'Froggy Fender'?  As I read about Freddy Fender, a Mexican-American Tejano musician with a strong following in Southern Louisiana, I thought, what perfect synchronicity!

To mi amiga, Kathleen, with a heart that never beats any truer!

Manana, Rana!
(Tomorrow, Frog!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baring the Ugly Truth: My Fabric Stash

If Lance can come clean with his dirty secret, so can I.  Above is a picture of the beast that resides in the corner of my apartment.  My fabric stash.  They say admitting is the first step, so here goes:  I'm a fabric addict.

What you see in the picture above is just a portion of my stash.  I've managed to stuff fabric in every little nook & cranny in my tiny Seattle apartment.  It didn't help that I worked at a fabric boutique and now I work at a fabric wholesale company.  I guess fabric follows me home like a lost puppy dog?

As the new year began, I decided to make a few goals for 2013.  Exercise more, stop over-eating, save money, and pare down my possessions.  The theme for this year is healthy, wealthy, and lessening the load.  My mother has been an inspiration to me in resetting my pack-rat ways.  Last summer she took a trip to Tanzania and she observed from the people she met on her travels how easily it is not to live with many belongings.  I constantly think about this now before I make unnecessary purchases and when I'm starting to clean out my closets at home.

Since the new year, I immediately went into clean-out mode.  First, I tackled my book and vinyl record collection (How'd I end up with 3 copies of Elvis Costello's 'My Aim is True' ?).  Next up are my closets, and then after that is the beast in my fabric stash.  And as if I needed more motivation to make this happen, here's my horoscope from yesterday:

Sorry to break the news to you today, Stephanie, but the truth of the matter is that the time for fun & games is over for now.  It is time for you to buckle down and get to work.  Rescue any project that you have let fall by the wayside.  You will feel so much better about yourself after having taken that first step toward accomplishing the thing you need to accomplish.  Subsequent steps will be infinitely easier than the first.

Synchronicity, I tell ya!

Well, now I've made it public.  I'm accountable.  My stash needs a trim and though I may be an Italian lady, it's not an epilady that's gonna trim it.  Time to break out my sewing machine!  Put a moratorium on new fabric purchases!  And say no to extra helpings of fabric from work!  I'll be keeping you posted as I clean out the fabric pantry.  There's no telling what kind of crazy concoctions I'll cook up from that stash.

Now to dump the stash and stitch away this beast of burden.....

Au revoir, fabric!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Groovin' Forward- New Year, New Look!

New Year, New Look, New Logo, and New business off the press from Vistaprint

Happy New Year, ya'll!!  Just 2 weeks into TwentyThirteen and I'm gettin' back into my groove.  Spent a refreshing & relaxing holiday back home in the Midwest with my folks.  Holiday-ing with my folks was filled with the following:  cooking a Mediterranean-style Christmas dinner...watching reruns of Cajun Pawnstar...tearing up over a viewing of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'...taking long walks in the' in the backyard...and eating twice my weight. As much as I wish I could snooze away the winter, and wake up to sunshine & 70 degrees, I have no time to hibernate.  I already had another project waiting for me to tackle upon my return to 'Sew-attle', err...Seattle.  Shaniece and her twin, past clients of mine, called upon my Salt-n-Pepa craft-o-nista services, to make t-shirts and hats in the style of Salt-n-Pepa's Shake Your Thang video.  They asked if I could send business cards, too, as they'd hand them out at the show they were attending where they'd wear my creations.
2 parts cut felt,  1 part sequins, a dash of Shake Yo Thang!!

This got me thinking....the business cards did.  Lately, I've been going through some rapid artistic evolution.  Back in August, I renamed my blog and the name has really stuck for me.  The more I kept thinking about it, the more I kept feelin' it.  Needles Groove encompasses me as an artist: a lover of art and sewing & a lover of music and vinyl records.  Two passions that meld easily in my craft alchemy.

For quite some time, I used to go by the moniker 'ms.sad' to place an identity with my art & creations.  Sure it's cute and it holds special meaning to me- my initials spell out the word 'sad'.  But, it's got a gloomy & confusing connotation...something that doesn't represent my lively, colorful, enthusiastic art & craft.  And I tended to hide behind the veil of 'ms.sad', sometimes.  So with much thought, I'm groovin' forward with Needles Groove.

Upon my return from the holidays, I went straight to work designing a new logo and new business card.  And just like I got a facial & pedi for the new year, I gave my blog a little bit of an updo, too.  I put the kibosh on the ms.sad website, and in place created a new Needles Groove facebook page.
Welcome folks to the new look.  Thanks for your continued support, it means the world to me!

Ashes to Ashes, ms.sad!
Funk to Funky...

Now, time to get a groove on it!