Monday, February 28, 2011

Lovely Jasmine

I just recently purchased some Jasmine essential oil - my dad always grows confederate Jasmine on a trellis in the backyard and it smells sooooo heavenly on summer nights.
image from Floracopeia
Since the Jasmine flower is so small, it takes over 8 million flowers to produce one kilo of oil!  Therefore they sell it as an "absolute" mixed with a carrier oil.  Usually it's about 10% essential oil and the rest is carrier oil.  It is still very strong smelling and therapeutic - but it makes it more affordable.  I was researching some of the things Jasmine essential oil does, and I was surprised at what I found.  Here's what it can do:
  • Expectorant: helps to clear the accumulation of phlegm in the respiratory tract
  • Mild Anti-depressant:  It has an uplifting affect on the nervous system
  • Anti-microbial: it has anti-viral and bactericidal properties
  • Aphrodisiac: it has long been used to enhance feelings of love
  • Labor and Postpardum:  Helps to ease labor pains and tone the uterus
  • Menstrual Aid:  Can reduce cramps and nausea
and Sedative:  A recent report from German researchers stated that Jasmine is as strong or stronger than prescription sleeping/anxiety pills such as Valium. Two of the Jasmine fragrances have the same neurochemical mechanism of action as barbiturates!  Isn't that amazing?
This is from Dr. Weil's Blog

             The investigators from Ruhr Universit├Ąt in Bochum, Germany tested hundreds of fragrances to determine their effects in humans and mice on the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which helps control nervous system activity. The two jasmine fragrances that were strongest increased the GABA effect by more than five times, making the scents as powerful as some pharmaceutical drugs. One of the investigators noted that the results could be seen as supportive evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy. The researchers have been granted a patent for their discovery. The study was published online in May by the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

I think that's pretty cool!  Anyway, consider using Jasmine the next time you are sick or anxious.  At least you'll smell lovely.  Be well and have a great day.
jessica

Friday, February 25, 2011

DIY Anthropologie-inspired Handbag

Last week I did this tutorial as a guest post on Just Chic.
I thought I would post it here too in case you missed it!

 A Bouquet for Every Day
It's a sweet little bag that will make you feel as though you are carrying a lovely bouquet of roses with you everywhere you go!  I was inspired by this Anthropologie bag:
 I read some of the reviews about the bag - and many said that it turned out to be too bulky since the flowers were on all sides - so I decided to design mine with roses on one side and with a slightly different shape.
 Here's the tutorial so you can make your own!
Supplies:
* 1/2 yard of fabric for the bag (fabric A)
*various colorful scraps for the roses - thinner fabrics work best here 
such as silk, voile, light cotton- you will probably need about a fat quarter of each color
*1 spool of 3/4" black grosgrain ribbon
*1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for the lining (fabric B)
( if you want to make it the same as the outside 
you will have enough with the 1/2 yard)
*2 small magnets
*hot glue gun
*needle and thread
*sewing machine/thread/scissors/yard stick
*pinking shears 

Step 1:  Make the fabric roses.  This might take a while - but I thought it was really fun.  
I decided I needed about 30 roses to fill the front of the bag.  
I chose 5 different colors:
I made-
6 green roses
6 yellow roses
6 light pink roses
5 dark pink roses
7 dark red roses
 Begin by ironing your fabric well.  On one edge of your fabric measure 2 inches and put a mark.  Then measure 1 inch and put a mark.  Measure 17" from that edge Make the marks again - but this time start with a 1 inch mark, then a 2 inch mark.  You will need to make as many marks as flowers that you want out of that color.  (if you want 6 roses, make 6 marks on each side)
Then draw a diagonal line connecting the 2" mark on the edge to the 1" mark that is 17" in.
Draw another diagonal line from the 2" mark 17" in, to the 1" mark on the edge.  
Continue in this manner for all the marks.  Are you thoroughly confused yet?  
Cut along those diagonal lines with pinking shears.  It should look like this when you have them cut out.
Notice that each strip will have one edge that is straight and one edge that is a diagonal.  The straight edge is the one you will sew along in this next step.

Step 2:  Using a basting stitch (the largest stitch on your machine) sew along the straight edge of your fabric strip about 1/4" from the edge.  Pull on the thread to gather it.
It should be about 5 inches.
Starting at the 1 inch end roll/fold the fabric (keeping the straight edge in line with itself)
 When you have finished rolling it, fold the end back
 and stitch 3 or 4 stitches in the middle of the flower.
(Don't forget to switch your machine back to a regular stitch!!)
Now fluff it out.  Isn't it pretty?
So just keep making these roses until you have 30!
 I went color by color, and I would baste all the edges of one color.
Then gather and roll and stitch each one.
That way I could look at one whole color as finished - it made it go faster for me.

Step 3:  Now it's time to make the bag.  Cut a 2 rectangles 9" wide and 11" long out of fabric A 
 Fold it in half lengthwise(like a hot dog bun) and draw a curved line at the bottom right corner.
I used a bowl as a guide.   Then cut along that line.
 When you open it back up, it will look like this:

Step 4: Select one of those pieces to be the top piece.  Bring over your flower collection and start pinning them on.  I started in the center, and worked my way out.  
 Don't worry about filling up the whole space - you will adjust the size of the bag to fit your roses.


Step 5:  Thread a needle and, starting in the center, hand sew each rose on.  Just a couple of stitches per rose will be fine.  I just kept one piece of thread going between several flowers.  I didn't knot and cut off each one.

Step 6: Lay the other piece of fabric A on top of the roses.  
Pin the sides and bottom of the fabric together.  
Sew around - be sure not to catch any roses in your seam.
Flip it right sides out and see how much you need to adjust your bag size. 
I needed to take my seams in about a 1/2".
So flip it back - inside out - and adjust your seams. 
When you've made the adjustments, it should look about like this:


Step 7:  You're in the home stretch!  Now it is time to line it.  
Lay the bag on top of the lining fabric (fabric B) and trace the bag shape - making it about 1/4" larger all the way around.  Right sides together, sew around the sides and bottom of the lining.
Using a zig-zag stitch, sew around the raw edges of the seam.


Step 8:  You can choose any strap or handle you like for this bag.  I chose to braid 3/4" black grosgrain ribbon.  Cut 3 pieces of ribbon, each 2 yards long.  Tie a knot in one end and braid.
Fold over the top of the lining and pin.
Under the fold, place one magnet.  
Put a dab of hot glue on the top of the magnet and press the folded over fabric into the glue.
Repeat with the other side.


Step 9: Slip the lining into the bag.  Fold down the top edge of the bag - it should be slightly taller than the lining - you don't want the lining to stick out.
Stick the ends of the braid in between the lining and the bag.  

Pin everything really well.
Put the pins on the outside of the bag - you don't want them on the inside because you might sew over them!
Topstitch all around the bag opening - go slowly, especially over the ribbon straps.
As a finishing touch, I got out the trusty hot glue gun and glued some of the edges of the flowers down and to each other - just to keep it looking nice and full.




That's it!  A gorgeous new bag to go with any outfit!




Happy sewing  and happy weekend! - jessica

Thursday, February 24, 2011

*Inspired Homemaking*

Happy Thursday friends!  Here are some lovely links to check out.

Learn something about the art of scenting your home on


Make this gorgeous
with Aesthetic Nest


Brighten up your drawers (I know mine need it) with
DIY Fabric Drawer Liners
at Blue Eyed Yonder.


Make this gorgeous Anthro-inspired Cameo Collage Necklace
at Flamingo Toes:
Here's Beverly's

Here's mine!  Love it so much. 


Check out some mood-boosting yoga poses on
Whole Living

have a lovely day my friends,
jessica

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Strawberry Shortclip


I really love making little hairclips.  Especially out of felt.  Charlotte has one for every season.  Two of the clips I've made have been from tutorials on the Purl Bee:  flower barrettes and heart barrettes.
I really love their method of assembling the clip.  
So here's my own clip - using their method!
 Here is what you will need:
a 2" inch square of medium green felt
a 2" square of light green felt
a 3" x 2" rectangle of pink felt
a 3" x 4" rectangle of red felt
light pink embroidery floss
light green embroidery floss
scissors
water soluble pen
needle 
tiny barrette

Step 1:  Cut out the five pieces of felt using the pattern.

Step 2:  Cut a tiny slit into one red piece and slip the barrette through it.

Step 3:  Pin the pink piece to the other red piece.  
Using a water soluble pen, make little markings that imitate the seeds.

Thread a needle with four strands of light pink embroidery floss.  
Sew over your markings, through both layers.  Dab with water to remove markings.

Step 4:  Now lay the top of the strawberry over the back piece - enclosing the top of the clip inside.
Sew around the edge of the strawberry - only through the two red layers.

Step 5:  Lay the light green piece of felt on top of the medium green piece.  Place them at the top of the strawberry and using green embroidery floss, stitch them onto the berry.  When you get to the stem part you will only be sewing through the green pieces.

Here's what the back should look like:

Doesn't that look "sweet"?

have a "berry" good day
*couldn't help it*
jessica


Monday, February 21, 2011

DIY Color Path Pillow


I was inspired by this pillow cover from West Elm
Of course, you know me, I had to spice it up a little with color.  As you also know I have a small love affair with Anna Maria Horner's designs, and I have made many projects using her fabrics.  Since her patterns are so colorful, I thought it would be cool to use only her fabric scraps.  Plus - the majority of our bedroom quilt and window treatments is made from her stuff so it matches our room.


Would you like to make one?
Here's how:

Supplies:
*2 pieces of white fabric 12"x21"
*various scraps of fabric in whatever color palate you choose
*sewing machine/thread
*scissors
*water soluble pen
*yardstick
*polyfil or pillow form

Step 1:  Cut out 60 2" circles.  The West Elm one has 80 I think, but I got tired of cutting circles and stopped at 60 :)  I think it helps to find a circle to trace - I used one of Charlotte's tiny tea cups.

Step 2:  Once you have your circles cut out 


- arrange them in stacks of three, making two rows of ten stacks.

Don't stack them right on top of each other -  you want the bottom two layers to peek out.
Pin them to the pillow top in these rows - but put them close together - so that they are overlapping.  That will make the embellishment look full.  My first try I pinned (and sewed) them on like this:


Didn't look so good.  Got out the ripper.  
Pinned them on again like this:


Yes that's much better.

Step 3:  Once they are pinned on, use a stationary tacking stitch on your machine to tack the center of each stack.  This simply means use your zig-zag stitch, but decrease the length of the stitch so that the stitch just goes back and forth.  I didn't even bother to cut the thread between stacks as I was going.


After they were all tacked, I snipped the threads.

Step 4:  Cut small little slits into the edges of the circles, about 1/2" apart.  This will help them fluff up.  Once you have cut them, hold your iron over the circles and steam them - using your hand to "ruffle" the circles.  

Step 5:  Pin the pillow top and back right sides together.  Sew around the edges leaving about 5" to turn it.  Turn it then stuff it.


Hand whip the opening closed.  That's it.  A colorful addition to your home decor.


have a lovely day - and go make your home lovely too!
jessica

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