Friday, May 30, 2008

'tis but a scratch...just a flesh wound

i fought the wheel and the wheel won.

rotary scissors are sharp! safety first friends. don't be like this chickadee and tangle with circular steel. in the battle of finger vs. blade the victor is predetermined. the flesh is weak, the alloy strong. as a consequence of this unfortunate tussle, expect a temporary slowdown at chickadee central. posting of pre-avulsion items will continue next week so check back then to meet the rest of the metalhead gang. in the meantime, this chickadee will be accepting donations of ice cream (preferably in blizzard form) and painkillers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

joan jett's blackheart bag

for those about to rock, this chickadee salutes you with four new flamboyant gig bags. put your hands together and please help me welcome them to the stage, chickadee central's very own metalheads. each 16" x 13" tote is amped up with three slip pockets and a zipper compartment to hold a host of hair accessories, guitar picks and set lists. a magnetic closure at the top snaps shut to keep the party from spilling out into the streets and disturbing the neighbors.

ready to rock? let's kick things off close to home with a metalhead named after rockville md's own axe-grinding angel. that's right, joan jett rolled around the suburban streets of mo. co. before running away to form the runaways in los angeles. black and brash and slick like silver, this is one lady that you won't hate yourself for loving.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

scarlet begonias

ready for barefoot days and daisy chains? this groovy, good time girl is in full bloom and the perfect parcel to pick and pack up for a day in the park. her style is the same as the rest of the buttonhead family of bags. there is a big outer slip pocket and a smaller zip inside, where there is also plenty of room for whatever you need when you are roaming around. she's bringing some love to the summer of 2008. scarlet begonias and a touch of the blues.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

built by me!

hello friends! welcome back to the blog. hope that your holiday weekend was much like mine -- filled with friends, family, fun and frivolity. in the spirit of all that is fun and perhaps a tad frivolous, this chickadee recently took some time out from craft show construction for some personal pattern play / wardrobe enhancement. simplicity pattern BBY-3835 has been at the top of the 'things to make for myself' list for an awfully long time. now it resides at the top of the 'things to make for myself again' list and rightfully so.

the pattern is one of a small series inspired and designed by wendy mullin, the glamorous genie behind built by wendy. built by wendy began in 1991 as a one-woman clothing design business that has since blossomed and now boasts several retail stores as well as outlets across the globe...not to mention a book (sew u) and simplicity pattern line (built by you) both penned by wendy. below is this chickadee's take on a timeless built by wendy classic.

there wasn't much need to alter the proportions of the pattern, the only thing added was the pocket on the front, trimmed with some lace and ribbon. instead of gathering the sleeves with elastic, i opted to sew them straight across - like the bottom hem. the dress version does call for darts on the back panels so next time around i may insert some to give the top a bit more shape. the pattern itself was simple to follow and calls mostly for straight stitching. my only struggle was constructing the channel for the elastic around the neckline, but practice makes perfect and i am ready to try again.

Friday, May 23, 2008

sunny day...chasin' the crumbs away

the newest set of quilted placemats is ready to picnic! set your table in the sun with this sextet of bright, blossomed beauties. the 16" x 12 1/2" surface is roomy enough to seat silverware and saucers in comfort and style. the quilted cushion turns each mat into a pillow for your plate. and they are as individual as your picnic-mates, since every one has its own haphazard design. to keep everything equal around the table, there are a few common characteristics shared by all. multiple cuts of flowers growing in golden fields are pieced together in the middle, while the border is cut from the same cloth as the backing. one look at them and you can tell they're ready for summertime treats like lemonade, watermelon and corn on the cob. are you?

close-up of a corner

one example from the set

Thursday, May 22, 2008

repeat offender

fans and frequent clickers on this here blog might recognize the latest chickadee creation. it was inspired by valentina, a previous project posted back in february. a friend (more like family, an auxiliary mom) found the picture and fell in love with the fabric, if not the large proportions. she put in a request for a tinier tote with the overall look of the original. the scraps that remained from valentina's construction couldn't even come together as a wallet, so i set out in search of some fabric in a similar style. wonders never seem to cease where this woman is concerned and this case is no exception. on the first fabric safari i bagged big game -- the same fabric as before! there is no doubt that her positivity played a role in this project from start to finish. now feast your eyes on the finish:

a too cute 13" x 12" tote that packs in all of the perks of her larger ladyfriends, including the patented triple-double pocket party. three pockets across the front are paired up with three more inside. the center forward pocket boasts a zip closure for extra security. and speaking of extra, the straps are double stitched and interfaced for sturdiness. the bag also has interfacing to give it shape and stability. a slam dunk.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it's a date!

in just over a month, this chickadee and pal dandelion blu will load up their craft caravan and set up their canopy for another day of joy, fun and sales in the sun. crafty bastards, silver spring (md) edition, takes place on june 28th at the pyramid atlantic arts center. if past performance is any indication, attendance at the show will be amazing. the folks in charge of this festival of handmade goodness have recently posted the vendor list and it is quite an impressive collection. 70+ vendors will be set up and showing off a wide array of wares sure to tempt any taste. without proper preparation, the saturday show could be a shock to the system. so click on over to the crafty bastards site and execute your own preemptive strike with some sneaky window shopping.

here's a peek at our bio pages:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

summer babe

being small in stature and a terrible thermoregulator, this chickadee can sympathize with the plight of the summer baby. frozen by frigid artificial air and in need of a cozy cuddle despite the high heat and humidity, what's a poor baby to do? don't despair tiny tots, a friendly and compassionate chickadee has crocheted you an airy alternative to winter woolies.

summer baby blanket (view 2)

a sprightly 30" x 30" square of colorful cotton yarn that's light as a feather and a friend of the warm water washing machine, the summer babe blanket comes to the rescue of chilly children everywhere. soft gets softer with each cycle in the spinner but the tenderness belies a tough yarn that will stand the test of time. it took one cone of peaches and cream ombre to complete this compact composition. the living is easy for a summertime sweetie swaddled in this chickadee creation.

summer baby up close

Monday, May 19, 2008


perhaps you recall a previous post all about my friend morgan and her panda project. she's been hard at work redesigning her little corner of the interweb and i'm pleased as punch to announce that the wait for panda head phase two is over! okay, okay, a week behind schedule, but good things do seem to come to those who this case, make that great things. pretty things, smart things, stylish things, brand new things and big ideas are a quick click away on the just hatched, redesigned panda head site.

no longer a basic blog, panda head made the move to an online magazine and certainly made it in style. the initial issue is full of fashion and summertime fun, local flavor and wise writing. i'm so happy for morgan and the panda head collective who made this dream of hers a reality. congratulations and wishes for lots of love from friends/readers/clickers/curious onlookers across the worldwideweb. heaps and heaps of thanks to you my fantastische friend for inspiring and supporting this chickadee in my own endeavors.

click the cupcake to be transported to pandaland!

Friday, May 16, 2008

shiny happy fabric

hello headbangers. chickadee central is experiencing metal mania! we've flipped for this foil fabric with all its glitter and gloss. plans are underway to rock out several more bags similar in style to the purple prince previously posted. stay tuned...this one goes to eleven.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

i see a darkness

please pardon the lapse in posting. chickadee central is experiencing some technical difficulties of the natural variety. the trees have taken over. now that they are fully filled in, they've created a chlorophyll curtain that is gorgeous in its greenery but bad for business. barely a ray breaches their lush lines to sprinkle sunshine on this chickadee's creations. looks like the photo studio will have to set up shop on the street. that should further solidify my status as neighborhood nutsy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

sign o' the times

when pressed for time, this chickadee often decides that it is high time to dive in to a dreamed-up project. these are often elaborate, time consuming flights of fancy that tend toward the frivolous. perhaps it is a creative form of procrastination. true to form, as the deadline for the ballston market loomed large last week, your faithful friend could be found on the floor of her living room hand-stitching felt pieces.

the sign you see above was well worth the care of construction. the background is made from felt pieces patched together. the felt cutouts were fairly labor intensive as they required hand cutting and hand stitching to protect their placement. finally, a fitting fabric of amicable avians makes up the border and the backing. it looked lovely on market day and will happily travel with the the rest of the handmade menagerie that makes up the colorful chickadee circus.

Monday, May 12, 2008

rainy days and saturdays

my alarm clock on saturday morning was a steady, relentless downpour. things weren't looking too promising as this chickadee and dandelion blu packed up our bits and our big-top canopy and set out for our first ballston arts + craft market. mother nature didn't exactly smile down upon us, it was more like a smirk from on high as light rain and cold in the morning gave way to a glimpse of short-lived sunshine at some point in the afternoon. thankfully the huddled masses were not too put-off by precipitation and took advantage of a break in the weather to come out and do some plein air shopping and strolling. many thanks to those who made it out!

it turned out to be a delightful day. i got a chance to meet some other great vendors and admire their hard work and handmade treasures. and, of course, it is a great honor and pleasure to spend several hours on a saturday with the lovely and talented ms. dandelion blu. there is no finer friend to share a 10' x 10' square space with for six hours.

speaking of, here is a shot of our set-up:

this chickadee would also like to extend extra applause to my well traveled parents and fantastische pandafreunde. a special shout out goes to my super spouse, without whom our day (and our canopy) would have never gotten off the ground. thank you soooooo much. i love you more than chili lime pistachios (and you know that is an awful lot).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

the sun will come out tomorrow...

let's hope so...

tomorrow is a big day for the dynamic craft duo of this chickadee and dandelion blu. it is a big day for all involved in the first ballston arts + craft market of the season. go to the market blog and check out the right hand side for directions and a list of vendors. and stop by anytime tomorrow between 10am and 4pm!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

kitty cat clutch

preparation for the ballston arts + craft market has taken over the usual operations here at chickadee central. but since all work and no play is a dangerous and dull duality, it is best to take a break and share some sewing treasures and triumphs that took place behind the scenes. achieving a balance between work and play is of great importance and so is achieving a balance between things made for others and things made for self. everything in moderation...except when it comes to super cute lace with kittens on it. yes, kittens!

this has been in the stash basket since it did appear to my wondering eyes several months ago, patiently waiting for a proper feature. it was a last minute, no pattern, no preparation project and i'm oh so pleased with the finished product. the lace is layered over leftover cotton fabric and the whole thing is lined in denim. a little pocket awaiting little bits is just a zipper away.

the leftover fabric for these fancy felines came from the construction of a dress (new look #6557 from simplicity), which also provided the inspiration for the clutch in the first place. sorry to say, there aren't any great pictures of the dress to share at this point, but here is one to give you an idea. it was an easy pattern to follow and i hope to make more in the future.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

flight of the chickadee

hello friends! this chickadee is back from a weekend of fun in the desert sands. i've returned parched and pressed for time, as saturday may 10th happens to be opening day for the ballston arts + craft market in beautiful arlington, va. hopefully there will be time this week to share some sewing snapshots and scenes from the trip, but most likely the next few days will be reserved for all sorts of last minute preparation. up in baltimore, dandelion blu is also feeling the full court press, as she readies herself and her family of enamels for market day on saturday. time to get these feathers flying...