Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hat Revamp

So it has been a while since I posted a project, I've been doing a few here and there, but by in large, I have been pretty idle craft-wise. So when Mr. Crocker bought a vintage fedora at a flea market last month and asked me to change the hat band, I decided it would be a quick and fun project to work on.

Here is the before picture:

Last night, I dragged Mr. Crocker to Hobby Lobby in search of supplies. We looked at ribbon and feathers and such until he was done with the hobby store. We decided on some brown ribbon and I had some feathers at home that I bought for another project (stay tuned, I might post it soon).

I started by removing the old hat band. I wasn't entirely sure how it was attached and I was afraid it was glued, which would have caused multiple problems. However, it was stitched on! Easy to remove. Just took my seam-ripper and pulled it right off.

My next challenge was getting a straight piece of satin ribbon to match the curvature of the hat. The original band was very flexible and therefore, was able to hug the hat and match the contours. It took me quite a while to figure out just how to do this, but it FINALLY hit me. Measure the widest point (right where the hat brims) and the narrowest part (about the width of the ribbon up the side), mark it on the top and bottom of the ribbon and then sew a miter seam to connect the two! Viola! The circle would be wider at the bottom than at the top. It took me a couple of fittings to get it just right, but here is the result!

It fit wonderfully! Next we decided to work on a feather arrangement to put on the side. I pulled Cullen into the dining room and made him do some work!

We did some trimming on the feathers and made our final arrangement. I hot glued them down to a piece of felt and then trimmed it down to were it couldn't be seen from the front of the feather bunch.

I also added a vertical loop to the band to hide the feathers behind. In hindsight, I should have added the vertical loop before I sewed the miter on the horizontal band. However, hot glue did the job.

Last I positioned the feathers and another little dab of hot glue, moved the band into place, and that's all she wrote!

So I always regret not taking enough pictures throughout a project. It always seems I miss the important steps for instruction. But if anyone reads this and has questions about how I did something, leave a comment.

Mr. Crocker is fairly happy and now has another hat for his hat box!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 Favorite

So I have been distracted and just realized that I haven't done my 5 Favorite in a while. Today it is all about simple pleasures. Things that are uncomplicated and easy, but give me the best feeling.

Here we 5 Favorite Simple Pleasures:

5. Looking at Pictures. I have been doing this a lot lately. My cell phone pictures are my favorite! They just remind me of small little pieces of time and places I was. I have a nice long phone picture history. I can watch my nieces and nephews grow up before my eyes!

4. A Hot Bath. I have seriously been missing these lately! The house I moved into only has a shower. A tragedy.

3. Afternoon Naps. Whether it be a 30 minute, power nap or a 2 hour snoozefest, there is nothing like a afternoon siesta to make my day.

2. Clean Sheets. Cool, crisp, clean, cotton...need I say more?

1. Hugs. Is there any simpler way to show people that we care about them?

Enjoy those simple pleasures, and Be.Loved.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


August was a month of changes for me. Work dropped off and I lost my "real job." So I am in the process of looking for another. Not the first time this has happened for me, and probably won't be the last.

In the mean time, I have found plenty of things to do. My custom orders have picked up. It's strange, but the universe has been telling me "just sew." Yesterday I got a call out of the blue to make another custom diaper bag for an old friend. I didn't even know she was pregnant, and she didn't know I was out of work. If feels good to know that it wasn't pity, it was the merits of my sewing.

I have also been getting the itch for sewing clothes as well. I have done children's clothes before, but only a very few pieces of adult wear. I have rediscovered my love for the library have checked out several books on the subject. Some have just been dumb, but I have found a couple that I might actually purchase.

1. The Fashion Designer's Directory of Shape and Style: Over 500 Mix-and-Match Elements for Creative Clothing Design by Simon Travers-Spencer and Zarida Zaman. Besides is ridiculously long name, it is a really great beginning clothing design book. It takes you from the very beginning of the design process up to the point of pattern making. It is a great theory book, but I had to find a patternmaking book as well, which brings me to my next book.

2. Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch. Pure brilliance! That is all I can say. It breaks patternmaking down to it's simplest form and gives you everything you need to begin the process. I am only into the first chapter and LOVE this book! Don't be fooled by the simplistic clothes on the front cover. Ms. Patch breaks things down to their most basic to get you started.

3. Twinkle Sews: 25 Handmade Fashions from the Runway to Your Wardrobe by Wenlan Chia. I picked this one because it is an actual pattern book from a fashion designer. It comes with a CD of patterns in PDF form and the book has the instructions. I love these clothes and it gives me what someone has done with the information the processes in the books I mentioned above. She also gives great advice on how to modify her patterns and fabric choices for her clothes.

Now, if I only had a printer.... :-(

I have also decided I want one of these: Bamboo Craft. More and more of my customers are asking for custom pieces. I have been sketching things up for them, but I am sort of limited on my options for how to show them what I have drawn. With one of these, I could sketch them up in electronic form and send them off. I could also draw my own patterns.

Anyway, that is what I have been doing with my time, after looking for a new job, of course! Hopefully, I will find some more time to blog more often as well.

In the mean time, Be.Loved!

Monday, July 19, 2010

5 Favorite (Series)

I have recently been reading quite a few blogs (thank you Google Reader). I have found that a lot of bloggers do weekly lists. 10 things I love, Monday Must-haves, etc... I really love this idea and have decided to start my own.

Today, I am debuting Amy.Be.Loved's 5 Favorite Series. Each week, or maybe as the mood strikes me, I will do a blog about my 5 Favorite _______ (fill in the blank.)

This week, in honor of the stifling temperatures that are wreaking havoc on the Midwest, I bring you (queue suspenseful music): Amy.Be.Loved's 5 Favorite Frozen Treats.

And here we go...

Coming in at #5 is...

Otter Pops

These frozen treats take me back to simpler times when all that was needed to make things all better was colored sugar water and a pair of scissors!


Orange Push-Up

Yet another childhood favorite! Orange sherbet in a cardboard tube. If you don't get it all over your hands, you aren't eating it right!


Sonic Orange Creamslush Treat

This is much like #4 on my list, however it is less messy and drinkable! This treat is orange ice slush is blended with vanilla soft serve ice cream. Confession...I had one this weekend!


Ben & Jarry's New York Super Fudge Chunk Ice Cream

I can't mention summer frozen treats without at least one true blue ice cream pick! Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk is a chocolate lover's dream! Every kind of chocolate you can think of . . . and then some.

And #1 on Amy.Be.Loved's 5 Favorite Frozen Treats is.....*drumroll*

Andy's Frozen Custard Snow Monster!

With new Andy's locations popping up all over the Midwest, it won't be long until everyone knows the goodness of Andy's Frozen Custard! This is my absolute Favorite. Treat. Ever. frozen or not. This semi-solid concrete is made from Vanilla custard, strawberries, and melted chocolate chips blended in. The chocolate chips harden when they are blended with the cold custard making an almost backwards dipped ice cream experience! Being the chocolate lover that I am, I get it made with Chocolate Custard. Oh and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.....

So that's it. 5 Frozen Things that make me happy when the weather is hot...or not.

Stay cool, hydrated, and Be. Loved

Oh and don't forget to check on the elderly and pets in this heat!

Monday, July 5, 2010

To Sew or Not To Sew?

I have had anything BUT a lazy summer so far. A major work project has me completely flustered and stressed out. The double edged sword is that it will be over in 2 has to be done in 2 weeks!! Ahhhhh! The weather has been so nice and I have been suppressing the urge to spend a ton of time out doors. I'm sure that urge will only grow. Anywho, on my days off I have been hard pressed to find the motivation to sew. I spent so much money and time getting my store set up...but I just can't seem to get over the hill of filling it up.

The hard part is that I have had so many special requests from friends and family. I know that I would be able to sell so many things if I could just get myself in gear. I was talking to my sister-in-law this weekend and I think that I might just have a slight fear of success. What happens if I start selling more that I can keep up with?

Anyway, today I have been torn with the question, to sew, or not to sew? Today is probably my last day off for the next few weeks. I need to go grocery shopping, clean the house a bit, finish up some laundry, and I have one last holiday BBQ to attend tonight. So once again, sewing may just go back on the table and wait for me.

On the bright side, I did get some new patterns done and sewed this weekend. I am extremely proud of this tote. It is my own idea, design and pattern. We are all a sum of our experiences, so I have to acknowledge the fact that a lot of my sewing experience comes from purchased patterns. So a big part of this is based on Keyka Lou patterns.

I hope that everyone has had a safe and happy 4th of July holiday.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Setting Up Shop

I have spent the last couple of weeks getting Amy.Be.Loved set up. Of course, having a full-time job and being a full-time wife have complicated things slightly. I had high hopes for being able to sew every night to jam pack my store with inventory. That simply hasn't happened. Life has gotten in the way. There is always dinner to fix, ball games to attend, laundry to do, errands to run... shall I go on? Long story short, I find myself slightly frustrated with the progress of things.

Interestingly enough, although I haven't had time to fill my store with inventory, I have been very successful in putting together the accouterments of my branding. I have found Etsy to be a wealth of resources for entrepreneurs. So at the very least, I can share what I have found.

I found an extremely talented graphic designer who put together a wonderful package of graphics for my store. The banner above is some of her work. She was extremely easy to work with and couldn't have been more eager to give me exactly what I wanted. If you find yourself in need of graphic designs, Thompson Designs comes highly recommended!

I really wanted to create a brand more than just a shop. Part of my package from Thompson Designs were business cards and return mailing labels. I have found an excellent source for printing. Vistaprint. They did my wedding announcements (which turned out perfect!), so it was an easy and cost effective choice for my business printing needs. My stuff in is the mail as I type this so I should have it all before I know it!

I also used Etsy to get some hang tags for my bags. My hopes are to someday do some Farmer's Markets and Craft Fairs. So in those hopes, I wanted to have some really nice looking pricing tags. I found a wealth of tag makers! I finally chose Rhubarb. She was able to give me an excellent deal on some custom tags. She made them exactly to my specifications! I couldn't have been more pleased.

I also have nearly 45 fans on my Facebook page! Questions about my bags are rolling in and I am hoping to roll those questions into sales.

So amidst the doldrums of not getting inventory into my store, I have found myself highly pleased with my ability to get the Amy.Be.Loved brand on it's feet. I have a few more things I would like to do including sew in fabric tags so that my actual items are branded. I haven't quite found what I am looking for there yet, but soon!

I have also gotten 3 custom orders from family members. I will be working on them all this weekend. I am so thankful to have a family that supports my endeavors! There are some days where I wonder why I am putting all this time, effort, and money into this (I'm sure my husband has those days as well!) But it always seems like those days are the ones where I get a question about my stuff. It cheers me on and drives me forward. I love every second of what I do. One day it will pay off...I just know it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekend Projects

I FINALLY found some time to sew! Hooray! I downloaded some new patterns and woke up early today to get started.

My first project of the day was something I have wanted to make for a while. I love the idea of bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I get tired of those plastic bags. While they make good bathroom and car garbage bags, but I always end up with more than we can use. I found a pattern for a really cute and simple reusable grocery bag. Keyka Lou's patterns are quickly becoming my favorites! They are simple, straightforward, very well explained, and illustrated. The best part is that I can usually finish a project or two in an afternoon. I absolutely love the result of today's efforts! Observe . . .

I think this one will be the first item in my Etsy store. I promptly made 2 more! I did these assembly line style and it was to dark outside so no pictures. . . maybe tomorrow.

My second project was one for my husband (teehee, I still giggle when I say it). Mr. Crocker loves wearing hats. He has quite an extensive collection. We have been on the prowl for an adequate hat box for him for quite some time. The problem is that hat boxes are usually made for old ladies. They are flowery and haven't been big enough for what he needs. I was excited last weekend when I found a garage sale down the street that was selling wine crates. These crates are made out of wood with a hinged lid. They vary in size, but are usually big enough to hold about 6 bottles of wine and as luck would have it, they are big enough for a fedora! We picked up a couple at about $5 a piece. (I also got some cool cigar boxes for sewing stuff. My thread now smells like a fine cigar!)

The box is perfect, except that the inside is wood. We were afraid that the hats would snag. So we looked high and low for something to line the box with. I remembered that I got a ton of blue corduroy on sale last winter. Long story short, I measured, cut, sewed, and glued and voila, up-cycled hat box. I have one more thing I want to do before I call it done, but it will take a few trips to the flea market I am sure. The lid has this perfect little hole that is just screaming for a knob. Anyway, I was a shutter bug today so I have pictures of this as well.

So that is about it, for now. I have been working very hard behind the scenes to get my Etsy store up and running. I'm hoping by this time next week, I will have myself organized and have some things for sale!

As always,