Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sewing project: portfolio case

While I am still smack dab in the middle of finishing applications and starting interviews for grad school, I really needed a sewing project this past week to calm my nerves. I decided to make a pretty case for my portfolio since I'll be traveling with it soon, and you know, first impressions and all that. The standard black outside of the portfolio book itself is pretty boring. It needed sprucing up. So here's what I did:
Here are my fabrics. I had the slate blue and white stripe from the sewing expo last year. The yellow is a home decor fabric and the black is classic twill bottom weight.

So the first thing I did was straighten out the edges, because things are never cut perfectly. Then I cut out a rectangle of the fabric for the outside of the case, one inch bigger on all edges than my portfolio book (which is large, so if this looks huge that's why).

I cut the fabric I wanted for the outside pocket/trim one inch wider than 1/2 of the first rectangle.

Next I cut two rectangles of the interior fabric the same size as the first rectangle.

I pinned and sewed my outside pocket onto what will be the back side of the case. You can just see the center fold line in the far left of the pic in the yellow fabric.

I then stitched the two fabrics together on either side of the center fold line so that the pocket would not wrap around the spine of the book.
Now I've finished off the edge of what will be the front pocket.
I put an invisible zipper in here since it was the closest in color to what I wanted and I like the way the zipper pulls on them look. It is not actually invisible when zipped nor does it need to be. I sewed it first to the blue striped fabric first so I could line it up properly on the yellow.

The next thing I did was to cut out rectangles from photo mounting board to give my case some stability. I cut these the same size as the covers on my actual portfolio.

With wrong sides together I sewed my outside fabrics (yellow and blue stripe) to one of the black twill rectangles on three sides, leaving one of the long sides open. I slid the photo mounting board in to check placement, then stitched two seams on either side of the spine piece.

I slid the boards back in and stitched up the remaining side.

Next I made a couple of simple handles.

And sewed them on securely through all layers. Yes even through the photo board.

See! I tested it first. Totally works.
By this time it was getting late and I started to forget to take pictures. At this point though I had cut my last black rectangle in half, finished one long edge of each half, and sewn them into the inside of the case.
Next I made a ton of bias tape, which I didn't take pictures of cause it's boring, and sewed some onto the sides of my zipper and the rest around the outside edge of my case. Here I'm trimming the edges and corners before I turn the bias tape to the inside.

And here I'm pinning in the zipper to the inside with the bias tape. It got dark out so picture quality went down. Sorry :(
And here it is done! (see, I told you I started to forget to take pictures.) Putting in the zipper was...interesting. I ended up re-doing some parts to make it pucker less. Anyways, this is the front.

This is the back.

And this is the inside. I did put a strip of elastic in the center of the spine to add another layer of security, but it really isn't necessary. The book isn't going anywhere once it's in there.

So yeah! Now I have a lovely portfolio inside and out! And I felt better for having made something instead of just sitting in front of my computer smacking my head on the table trying to finish a personal statement.

And now back to the scheduled head-desk routine.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sweet 16th: Recipe Round-Up

Well the 16th was yesterday and despite the fact that I actually was making delicious things, I managed a lapse in either judgment, time or both and forgot to do a post.  But it's ok because I made more yummy things today so you get bonus recipes!

We have an almost constant stream of company this weekend so I've been making little snacky treats and such and I'd like to share a couple with you.  First up are these delicious rosemary walnuts from Eclectically Vintage.  These are spicy and really full of flavor without being heavy.  I have a sneaky suspicion that I could eat an awful lot of these on my own so it's a good thing there will be others here to help me out :D

Next up I made these lovely little coconut macaroons with a raspberry twist. These are from a Martha Stewart magazine and they just looked so pretty I had to give them a try. They turned out really nice. I put some extra raspberry in mine so they have a little more kick than they might if you followed the recipe exactly.  I think I had about 3/4 cup fresh raspberries instead of just 1/2 cup.

Here they are before going into the oven.

And now after chocolate dipping and playing with a variety of toppings.

Last but not least, I got a candy making cookbook for Christmas this year and wanted to try something out. I started out with something really simple, the Chocolate Mint Meltaways.  They are absolutely lovely.  Minty and melty as implied. I've been trying very hard not to eat them all before our visitors get some.

These are from the book The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook. If you are at all interested in making candy, get this book. Not only is it full of beautiful and delicious candies, it is also hilarious. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading a cookbook but it happens frequently with this one.

Anyways, go forth and make some goodies. And send me recipes you like!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Long time no see!

Hey all!  The holiday whirlwind has died down and life and routine are getting back to normal. Happy 2014 by the way! (Won tons were definitely consumed) It has been an embarrassingly long time since I've posted anything here. Hope to get better about that, but I'm still working on those grad school apps so, ya know, priorities.

Anywho, I'd love to share a project I was working on before the holidays. It was a gift or I'd have posted some pictures before, but here they are now!

Progress shots of painting a crystal skull (from a photograph)

There you have it!  It was a fun challenge, although it made walking into my workroom in the dark mildly startling! 

And now I need to clear some shelf space in my workroom for this beauty!

Aw yeah! Jar of buttons.

Ta ta for now.