Progress

So far, so good. I’m working on the to-do list.

I managed to finish (well ALMOST finish) #2b last night. I’ve needed to finish painting my hallway for… um, two months now? It’s been a long time. I was so close to finishing last night but it got so late that I just didn’t feel like finishing the cutting-in around all the trim in the hallway. I’ll finish tonight and be done with that. Then I can make to-do item #2 and have something new to hang on the newly painted walls.

I worked on #6 and now have one finished and one almost finished Everyday Tote for my shop. The one pictured above is listed here, you know, in case you’re interested.

I should have worked on #3 beforehand so I had some cute clothespins for the photo shoot, but I just used the regular laundry-hanging clothespins and tried to crop them out of the picture.

So what’s up for tonight? Hmm… maybe I’ll work on that hallway artwork. Maybe I’ll just sit on the deck and sip lemonade. You never know.

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May I tempt you?

Remember my apple bag? I love it, it’s my favorite bag. I even made a pink one for my sister for her birthday. I get compliments on my bag all the time and people were stopping Andrea and me in Maine to ask where we got our matching bags. So I thought I’d make some for the shop.

These bags are a bit bigger than the Tiny Tote and consist of a lot more pieces so they take longer to make. So far I have this pretty purple one made and in the shop, and one cut and ready to be assembled tonight.

So what do you think? Want to be the first person outside of my family to own an original Lisa Gaumond Everyday Tote? Quick! There’s only one!

Saving the World, One Bag at a Time

Since… January? I’ve had this idea in my head to make some reusable tote bags with iron-on images of my artwork or little sayings maybe, and sell them on Etsy.  I bought some soft natural cotton fabric and cut out the pieces and then left them on my sewing table for WEEKS.  Last night I finally decided to sew them together and, crap, I hate it when things don’t turn out the way I imagined they would.  (And also, my brain keeps playing tricks on me making me think I spelled reduce and reuse wrong.  I can’t tell you how many double-takes I’ve done since I ironed that on.)

Well, sure, it’s a nice bag.  You should feel it.  The fabric is like old pillowcase soft and it’s lined with cotton batting, giving it a sturdy, snuggly feeling.  The straps are long enough to loop over your shoulder and it’s large enough to hold several books or groceries.  But it’s just not what I thought it would be.  It’s puffier (I should try a new lining) and the straps are a bit floppy (I should have lined them) and the iron-on transfer changed the color of the fabric (which I why I sewed on the binding as a frame to hide it).  I don’t know.  It’s OK, but it’s not my favorite.

On that note, how about I give it away?  So many other websites are having giveaways this week, I feel like being charitable myself.  If you would like a chance to win this lovely imperfect reusable tote bag handmade with love, and a little frustration, just leave a comment on this post by 8pm EST.  Tonight I’ll choose a comment at random and that lucky commenter will win!  How about that?

Impressionable

I am easily swayed. Some may call it gullible, I prefer “easily motivated”.

When I was thirteen I stopped eating meat because of a letter-writing assignment I was given in school. The assignment was to write ten letters to politicians or heads of companies to express our opinion against their business practices. I chose animal testing and animal rights and after writing my ten letters to Proctor and Gamble and Maybelline, I decided that if testing products on animals was bad, eating them was worse, and I was going to stop eating meat. I continued to be a vegetarian for about ten years. All because of a seventh grade writing assignment. Well, that and the fact Bop! magazine said that Cory Feldman was a vegetarian, and I looOooOved Cory Feldman. (Shut up, I was thirteen!)

When I got married and moved into my first house, I vowed to be environmentally friendly and use only non-toxic cleaning products. I loved Real Goods catalog and dreamed if having my own solar panels. I reused plastic bags and bought canvas bags to bring my groceries home in. I went out of my way to buy Doc Bronner’s soap to use for laundry detergent and I never bought paper towels or napkins. Then life got busy, and that wonderful Doc Bronner’s soap is expensive, and I fell in love with soft, cottony Marcal paper towels. Sometimes I’d wash my plastic bags to reuse them, sometimes the bag dryer would sit on my counter for months without being used. I still brought my bags to the grocery store and separated my recycling, but the other stuff sort of fell to the wayside.

Then last week I listened to a presentation about sustainable design. The speaker talked about how much of the stuff we buy (especially packaging) is designed to be thrown away, and how plastic is here forever, and how so much of it ends up in the ocean where it breaks down and is eaten by the fish which are in turn eaten by us. Something in that presentation flipped the “Save the Earth” switch in my head and I now have a renewed fire to do all those things I used to do to use less and reuse more. I’m also constantly aware of how much plastic is around me and how I can’t get away from it.

Like I said, I bring my bags to the grocery store, I’ve replaced my old canvas bags with all of the long-handled green bags the grocery stores sell now. They’re great, but there was still one thing that was bothering me. It was the plastic produce bags I was brining home. It seemed backwards to fill my reusable shopping bags with plastic that I was taking home to throw away. I saw some great reusable produce bags on Etsy but they were sold out. Being the impatient one that I am, I couldn’t wait for her to make more so I made my own out of some scrap fabric and an old laundry bag. Neat, huh?

I’m very excited about them. Last night I made a small one, about 11 x 10″ and a larger one, about 11 x 14″. I used my favorite bias tape maker to bind them, and I think they’re perfect! Tonight I want to make a couple more and hopefully this weekend I’ll test them out at the local farmer’s market (the link says they don’t open until June but they had signs up saying they were open last weekend). Maybe it’s time to dust off those old Birkenstock’s and look into that solar panel again.

A Word Problem

Dust off those metal cobwebs, I’ve got some visual math for you.

What does this:

plus this equal?

This perhaps?

Ug. No that can’t be right… Oh, I know, you get this:

That’s better! That’s right, I’ve decided to do away with my Lisa’s Studio shop and combine it with my Jewelry by Lisa Gaumond shop. Since the new shop will carry not only jewelry, but also my artwork and prints, bags and purses, (and more!) I’ve had to give it a new name.

Welcome one and all to the Artsy Fartsy Shop. The new home of everything Lisa Gaumond. Go, browse, enjoy. I’m still working on the switch as we speak so both shops are still open, but as soon as everything from the Studio is merged, Lisa’s Studio shop will close. The tabs on this site have changed to reflect the new shop. Instead of a Gifts and a Jewelry tab, there’s just one Shop tab. See? Easy!

I hope you like the new digs, it’s certainly going to make my life easier, and it’s it really all about my happiness??

Playing with Fabric Again

It seems like I’ve been working on the house and painting the walls so much lately, I haven’t been doing anything artsy-crafty in my studio lately. I keep buying fabric for projects-to-be not making anything out of it. Well, I’m happy to report that the craft drought ended this week.

I have been looking for buttons to spiff up the wool coat I found at the Salvation Army for $7. I love the coat but the old fashioned buttons on it were falling off and worn out. Since it’s a peacoat, there are 12 buttons to replace and the only buttons I liked were $2 each – yikes. If I’m cheap enough to buy a used coat for $7, am I really going to spend $24 to replace the buttons? The answer is no.

I have a set of three gorgeous embroidered buttons that my friend Karen made hanging on the wall in my studio because they’re too pretty for me to decide what to do with them. I was looking at them the other night while I was ironing and I was suddenly inspired. I remembered Karen telling me how she made them with a button cover kit, so I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and found a kit of my own. Monday night I sat for an hour watching Dancing with the Stars and making my new coat buttons. How fun -and easy! I can’t wait to make new buttons for everything in my house.

Then last night after screwing up everything else I had tried to make – including dinner – I decided to try out another tool I bought at Jo-Ann’s: my new bias tape maker. I’m in love. I didn’t even know that there was such a thing or how much I needed one until I got this book for Christmas and I was enlightened. What a cool tool. No more folding and ironing tiny strips of fabric and inevitably burning my fingers. Now my bias tape maker does all the work. See what it made last night?

The bias tape maker folds the fabric perfectly so I can iron it into neat little strips of bias tape which I put back-to-back to make Miss Molly a pretty new collar. It’s even reversible. The back has a contrasting fabric which I also used to make a loop to hang Molly’s ID tags. I tried to get a picture of it, but a certain sleepy dog wasn’t cooperating and all I got was a fluffy ear instead.

Making her collar was so easy and I really love the way it came out. I’m thinking I might make some more and put them in my Etsy shop. Oh! Maybe I could make dog collars with covered buttons. How perfect would that be?

Procrastination

Have you ever had something you need to do, something you promised you’d do, but every time you think about doing it you feel a sense of dread? Like taxes. I know I have to file them, but actually looking at the TurboTax box makes me feel sick and then I come up with a million other, quite important things that I have to do instead.

A very patient, lovely woman named Anais, found my Etsy shop and requested a big version of my Tiny Tote in a very specific fabric. The brown polka dot and striped fabric I bought last spring because it was on the clearance rack as a discontinued pattern. Just like the taxes I dread to file, I dread making this bag. I have already made two others in an attempt to get the pattern right before I cut into the very slim remains of the material she wants, you may have seen them: the loud tote (too small) and the big striped prototype (too big). I ripped apart another bag I had made of the same fabric so I could use the scraps if necessary and last night I finally made my first cuts into the last of the fabric. Amazingly, I had just enough of the stripe to make the long shoulder straps you see up in that picture above, and there was enough of the polka dot to make the outside of the bag. I was even able to stitch together the old bag scraps to make sort of a quilt-looking mix of stripes and dots for the lining. Things were going well, and then I started to get tired.

This is what happens when you sew and yawn at the same time. It was about the fourth time I sewed a piece to the wrong side and I just gave up after that and went and took a nap.

The funny thing about procrastination is, as soon as I started the dreaded project, I got excited.  Even after I screwed up for the umpteenth time and gave up, I felt great because I started it and the end didn’t seem so far away.  Now I can’t wait to get back and finish the bag, not just to get it off my list, but to feel proud of my accomplishment.

So Anais, if you’re reading, thank you for your patience.  Your bag will hopefully be finished this weekend.