Archive for April, 2010

Weekend Craft Fix: DIY Fabric Bolt Boards

Fabric consumes my sewing room.  Finding a good storage option where I can still actually see my fabric is key for me.

My Fabric Storage Before

Fabric Storage After (thats a selection I’m currently working with)

Last week while I was picking up some 50% off elastic from JoAnn’s I noticed that one of the employees was throwing away the empty bolt boards!!  I think I almost gave the woman a heart attack as I went running over yelling out, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

It turns out they throw out all the boards when the bolts run out… how crazy is that!  I proceeded to ask her if I could have them and now have worked a deal with them to stop by once a week and grab up all their empty boards.

Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone.  So what else can you do other than just stack your fabric up on a shelf?  Make your own bolt boards!


Old Boxes/Foamcore Board

Yard stick

Box Knife

Mailing Labels




Take the box and measure out your board.  Standard board dimensions are: 7″wx23″L for 45″ wide fabric, and 7″wx30″L for 60″ wide fabric.  Mark your measurements on the box with a marker and then cut it out with the box knife (you can use scissors, buts a huge pain).

Wrap your fabric up on the board.

Take your mailing label and write your fabric infomration on the label (100% Cotton, 45″ Wide, yardage info, etc.)

Affix the label to the top of your board and voila your done!

Have a great weekend & Live Creatively!


April 30, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Cool New Product: People Towels

Earth Day has come and gone, but we still have a responsibility to be good to the planet.  While reading Upstate Fancy I came across her post on  People Towels.

Made of 100% organic, fair-trade cotton, People Towel are a Green alternative to using paper towels in public facilties.  They are  quick-drying, reusable, and best of they include a great selection of cute designs.

The towels can be purchased as singles for $8.00 each, in sets of 3 for $21.00,  sets of 5 for $35.00, or you can even build your own custom set.   Take a look at some of there designs:

Live Creatively!

April 29, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Worldly Wednesdays: SocialVibe & Charity:Water

Everyday thousands of people die from a lack of clean water.

Here are just a few facts courtesy of

  • 3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease.
  • 43% of water-related deaths are due to diarrhea.
  • 84% of water-related deaths are in children ages 0 – 14.
  • 98% of water-related deaths occur in the developing world.
  • 884 million people, lack access to safe water supplies, approximately one in eight people.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.
  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
  • About a third of people without access to an improved water source live on less than $1 a day. More than two thirds of people without an improved water source live on less than $2 a day.
  • Poor people living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • Without food a person can live for weeks, but without water you can expect to live only a few days.
  • The daily requirement for sanitation, bathing, and cooking needs, as well as for assuring survival, is about 13.2 gallons per person.

To help bring light to this cause, I’ve added a badge on the right with the help of SocialVibe to support charity:water.  SocialVibe is a social media utility connecting people with brands, empowering them to engage with sponsors and share branded content with their social graph to benefit a cause of their choice.  With SocialVibe, individuals make a positive, measurable impact for the charity of their choice just by completing branded activities such as brand polls and surveys.  Best of all, you make a difference and its ABSOLUTELY free!

For more information about charity:water, check out this video:

charity: water videos

charity:water may not be your cause, and thats totally okay.  The important thing is to get involved and help out where you can.  Check out SocialVibe to find a cause that’s right for you and give, give, give.

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April 28, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Hat Class Recap & Quote of the Week

“…and all your future lies beneath your hat.”  -John Oldham

Last Friday I traveled to Cincinnati for a hat class at The Pattern Studio.  The trip there was pretty uneventful if you don’t count the 18-wheeler that I watched jacknife and roll over in my rear view mirror.  I did stop to call 911 and render aid, however, it made me about an hour late to class!  Luckily, the class was small and Connie, a costumer from Alabama and Dee, the instructor were kind enough to wait for me.

In the class we learned to cover a Buckram hat frame.  Buckram is a woven cotton cloth infused with glue to make it stiff.  Millinery Buckram impregnated with a starch, which allows it to be softened in water, pulled over a hat block, and left to dry into a shape.  It comes in three weights: baby buckram (often used for children’s and dolls’ hats), single-ply buckram, and double buckram (also known as “theatrical crown”).

We started class with this frame:

Our first step was to cover the frame with a soft, low-loft batting.  We worked through the hours, learning about pattern making for frames, hand sewing techniques and how glue should always be used sparingly (and with gloves on).  I opted to do a simple 2-fabric cover of the frame, using a quilting weight patterned cotton for the crown, and a mixed blend “linen look” fabric for the brim.  While I worked slowly on my simple hat design, my partner in class created a really cool layered look with her fabrics, see below!

Dee was super informative, and wonderful to work with.  The class included a tasty box lunch and lots of great conversation.

All in all, I had a blast.  I didn’t quite finish my hat in class, however it gave me a great project to work on through the rest of the very rainy weekend.   I’m not quite finished with my hat yet but when I do pics will be posted (promise!), and check out Dee’s website,

I’m off to go work on more hats and maybe a few hair accessories… before I go, here are a few of my favorite hats.  Enjoy!

Source Unknown

Source: Eugina Kim for Target

Source: Style Smith

Source: Topsy Turvy Design

Live Creatively!

April 26, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Weekend Craft Fix: Hat Love & New Vintage in the Shop!

Shop Update! New Vintage Items have been added to the Black Gardenia Etsy Shop!  Here are a few sneak peaks…

Today, I’m off to Cincinnati to visit with Dee Atkinson and attend her hat making class at The Pattern Studio.  I thought that since I’m off making hats, I should share a tutorial on doing the same!  One of my favorite types of hats to make is a mini top hat.  My first mini top hat experience was for a Halloween costume… I was a mad hatter (see my awesomeness below :-))

At the time, I thought to myself, hey how hard can it be… well, I sure wish I had reviewed the below tutorial from  Idizit on Deviant Art before I had started.  It would have made my first hat making experience a lot easier!

Live Creatively!

April 23, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

I heart the earth… do you?

Happy Earth Day!

As a way to celebrate the mother Earth,  I wanted to share 10 tips that anyone can do to live a greener, more earth happy life!  Also, check out this amazing documentary  called No Impact Man.  His experiment is quite extreme, but its unbelievely enlightening, really inspiring, and overall a fun watch!

10.  Use compact florescent light bulbs.  They produce 75% less heat and can last 10 times longer.

9. Use power strips to power your appliances… then unplug it.  Idle appliances use about 11% of your homes electricity.  In my home, we have a large plasma TV, a sound system, a DVD player, a cable box, and my laptop all plugged into 1 power strip. When the items aren’t in use, we unplug the power strip… it saves electricity and money!

8. Clean Green!  Everyone’s jumping on the green clean bandwagon right now, but know that not all of those name brand “green cleaners” are really all that green.  However, Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one Castile Soap is an amazing stuff.  Its made of all natural ingredients, and works not only to clean your body but also your home!  I’ll admit it- I’m kinda obsessed with the stuff.

7. Shop locally… here in Nashville we are lucky to have the Nashville Farmers Market.  I’ve made quite a few trips recently to add to my Spring garden and kitchen.  They have fruits, veggies, baked goods, even a butcher!  All of the products are produced and made by local farmers and sold at a very fair price!

6. Be Fashion Friendly!  Indie designers are on the rise, and they are using all kinds of earth friendly products to create gorgeous creations for every woman (and for every season).  Check out for a whole site dedicated to eco-friendly fashion and of course, you can check out the shop for the latest in my upcycled creations!

Lara Miller Meadow Tank

Pivot Chicago Dress

5. Make your next computer a laptop.  Laptops use a lot less power and if you’re really smart, you’ll find one thats an energy star appliance… Hello new MacBook Pro!

4. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to buy a new eco-friendlier car.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eco-friendly  about your driving choices.  Check out the Drive Smart Calculator to find out how you can make the best driving choices.

3.  Gather your fruits & veggies in re-usable bags & use re-usable grocery bags!  Grocery stores are carrying their re-usable totes to help cut down on the amount of paper and plastic bags consumers use to carry their groceries, but what about those clear plastic bags in in the produce dept.?  I’ve added a great solution to my Etsy shop… re-usable, breathable produce bags.  Their cute, functional and best of all, earth friendly!  Also, I will have a line of re-usable grocery bags coming soon.  I just have to finish sewing them! 🙂

2. Use a rain barrel & compost.  No its not hard and no its not gross.  Plus, its great for your garden!

1.  Be kind to your fellow man… a random act of kindness may mean very little to you, but can have the largest impact on those you help.  We are all human, and live and breathe on the same earth;  lets be kind to one another and to this lovely rock we live on.


Live Creatively & Earth Friendly!

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Worldly Wednesdays: Spring Fashion around the World

With the warm weather really setting in, I’m working on building my perfect spring/summer wardrobe.   Always up for inspiration, here are a few looks from around the world that I find particularly inspiring!

USA: Eskell


Tokyo: Yukiko Hanai

Source: WWD

Africa: Tiffany Amber


Ireland: Joanne Hynes


India: Shantanu Goenka


Live Creatively!

April 21, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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