Thursday, April 30, 2009

Experiments gone bad...and a surprise.

So, I'm trying to get myself away from sewing just square will take some getting used to, but I'm trying. So I thought I'd try a curve in my bags. One disaster, one that seems to work.

We'll start out with a regular ole square bag that I just made...the only difference is that I used an old kerchief (who says that?). Instead of it being around my might end up in someone's hand.


Here is the disaster. Ready?

I wanted to curve the bottom, but it ended up looking like a pair of panties. A combination of the fabric and the shape just makes it look like a pair of granny sad.

It gets better from here.

I put a curve in the top of the bag...I like it much much more.

Here's another view of it. I'm really liking the look.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A show you must see...

At Orlando Fringe Fest....a show for which I'm doing costumes.
It stars my friend Erika Wilhite and she is fabulous.


So, man oh man! The Bobby gave me the biggest surprise today! He rolled into the house with this shirt on! Couldn't you just die?

Ladies and gents, its a House of ChaBanks t-shirt! Are you kidding me? He had it made at Mother Falcon...the most awesome t-shirt making store in town! They use American Apparel shirts...Isn't it yummy? What a doll! p.s. the sewing machine even has "Sarah" on it! You know, the name of my machine?

In sadder flower bed is ruined! So you know that beautiful greenyness that showed up in my pics of bags yesterday? Well it now looks like this:

And yes, that is a ruined sunflower! The lawn guys came this morning and I walked outside and saw the massacre that is the flower bed. They came over when they saw (almost tears) me a little upset and I asked what happened...Their response? "We weren't paying attention." Damn. I'm sad about the sunflowers...real sad.

But no matter how bad life seems....there are always some sequins around. Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finished bags...

The Bobby figured out some better settings on the camera....that's why I love him. 
So...without further ado, here are some finished ChaBanks Bags!!!!

Aren't these pics 1 million times better than mine?

I even like the shadowy pic...

Pretty...the pic, not the bag....I'm not a bragger(!!!!).

But this is one of my favorite bags....(bragging)

The Bobby really loves this one.

And this one...I'm still pissed I didn't center that damn pattern!

Frida says hi. This is a matchbox decorated with Frida Kahlo my mom picked up somewhere on her travels...I love Frida Kahlo and I may just have figured out why. I share a birthday with Frida's lover, husband, ex-husband, husband again Diego Rivera. Awesome huh?


This morning, Erika "Little Edie" Wilhite and I met up to pick out pattern, fabric, and trims for her Fringe show, Patient X: something something something (I know that as designer, I should know the whole name of the show, but its long and escapes me now. Sue me). She picked me up in the convertible (We're so Florida) and we stopped for a coffee at Drunken Monkey (I had a vanilla latte, whole milk, thank you). (Why am I writing everything as side notes?) (I don't know.) Anyway, I'm making a pair of bloomers for her crazy really the character is in an asylum. Concept involves some showmanship and razzle-dazzle, so there had to be sequins. Here's the fabric and trims...

I love the gold sequin elastic trim we got....really makes me happy. But anything with sequins does.

So, I could pretend that I wanted the focus to be of the things in the back, but I really just wanted a good pic of the gold sequin trim...but I couldn't get actually let's pretend we care more about white lace trim, red trim, red flowers, and red thread....I feel better don't you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

So we're a little obsessed...

With the 16 picture function on the camera. This isn't a sewing post, but do you really care? I don't. The Bobby and I just have fun taking these pics.
The Bobby didn't realize that just the night before I also took pictures of light with no flash (see previous blog). He's such a copycat.

The great thing about this function is that you will get some truly unflattering pics of people...Case in point? My pics above.

Or no matter how unflattering the pics...someone always manages to look amazing...That damn kid. The Bobby always looks good....even if he doesn't believe.

If you are wondering...I doubt you are...but my cam is a Nikon know...the Ashton Kutcher camera...which is how mom described to the Target guy when buying it for me and my sister at Christmas...Sadly, he knew exactly what my mom was talking about. It's purple...which is cool.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bag in production.

This guy is kinda weird, but I like him....I'm enjoying using the scraps. It has an orange lining. But I wish now I had centered the damn pattern on the top piece....I'm kinda pissed at myself.

This is random, but I love this function on my camera. It takes 16 pictures in sequence and then creates one big photo collage of it. Loves it. Btw, its my dash in my car at night with no flash

I found an online market...

This might be the place to try and sell some bags. We'll see...I'm going to set up a shop and see how it goes...check it out
its super cool

Also, my favorite blog in the world...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rest in Peace, Bea Arthur.
One of my all time favorite comediennes. 
We'll miss you.

Jennie's Birthday

We all had a wonderful time at Jennie's "surprise" birthday party last night...It was supposed to be a bigger surprise than it was, but she was still surprised. So I guess little surprise is better than no surprise. Okay, I'm not typing surprise anymore today. Thanks.
Who was there?  I bet you are just dying to know. Let's see. Jennie, Hank, Erika, Jamie, Shannon, Bangs (or Sarah), The Bobby, a couple of guys whose names I didn't catch, and yours truly. I gave Jennie a  ChaBanks bag for the big day (she'd been wanting one for ages) but I didn't have any wrapping paper, so I wrapped it in a scarf. She liked both! And a Frida Kahlo notecard that had to make do as a birthday card. But I think Frida Kahlo just screams Happy Birthday!, don't you?

Here's Jennie with the Big/Little Polka Dot bag. The little polka dot is inside the bag. Yeah, it is a big blue button with blue stitching around the top...I like the contrast. That's Erika on the left, who is quickly becoming a little too Little Edie Beale for my taste. (I'll get worried if raccoons start living in her house.)

Erika made me wear this hat last night. I was a little upset because I thought my hair was smokin' hot, but she insisted. I felt ridiculous, but everyone said it looked great with the new shirt The Bobby bought me. Erika thought I looked real cute, but she really just needed someone with a giant head to stretch the hat out for her. I'm on to her. And she knows it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bags in progress

I'm posting some pics of bags that aren't finished but I'm excited about them so I can do it. Remember....they aren't finished!
This bag actually has the same lining as the outer fabric. I never do that. Well, not never since I'm doing it now. I just like the fabric so much that I wanted it inside and out! I'm not good with a camera but understand the color is much more vivid and orange-y turquoise-y that it looks.

Hmm...maybe I don't like the background. 
This bag is a little different. I actually pulled the lining fabric out a little bit to create a border so it isn't so much honeycomb looking. What I'm trying to figure out is how to insert the elastic that goes around the button when I get it on. Plus, I'm out of white elastic and I think black elastic is too much for this. 

Here's that bag again at lower right. Another with the the same lining trick is up right...I really like the look. What do you think?

Well, I'm off to Jennie's 30th birthday party for a few minutes. She is of course getting a ChaBanks bag! Lucky.

Sewing for a Client!

Well, I'm terribly excited. I just finished a bag for a jet-setting client in Ohio. Understand that when I say client, I usually mean friend. But it sounds more sophisticated to say client doesn't it? Said client saw a bag she liked on the Face Book page and asked if I could do something similar. Now, truth be told, I don't like making the same the bag more than once. I rationalized that since the lining and button would be different, it is not the same bag. So, I wiped the sweat from my brow and began the process of sewing the client's blue and brown clutch. And since I'm telling the truth, I had already started a couple of days ago and just had to put on the finishing touches. I feel better now that I've told the truth. Client wishes that I not reveal her name for fear of being mobbed on the street begging for a look at the ChaBanks clutch. Okay, that's a lie. But the bag will be seen all over the eastern U.S. in the next few months so that makes me feel good. I hope she whips the bag out at least 30 times a day.

Here I am about to start sewing the outer fabric to the inner lining. I don't always use pins, but I wanted to look like that I know what I'm doing.

Here's a pic of the finished ChaBanks bag. I like that the outside is a little subdued and the inside is mega wild. It makes me smile.
Here's another staged pic of the not quite finished bag on top of some of my buttons. I just wanted to show off some of my buttons. The button on this bag is a big shiny rhinestone...cause the client likes to razzle-dazzle sometimes. I won't use the word "bling" cause I'm kinda tired of that word.
Here's a shot of the mega wild lining. Well, I realize now that the lining isn't that mega wild but it is still more wild than the outer fabric. It sure is cute though.

On a side note...The Bobby and I joined Roommate Tim, and friends Sarah, Jeff, and Tori for the opening night of Sculpted Bodies: An Evening of Dance by the University of Central Florida Conservatory Theatre. Roommate Tim teaches there and choreographed the opening piece in the show. Now, I know Roommate Tim is an exceptional choreographer and the piece he did was utterly amazing. So sophisticated and beautiful. He's amazing!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I have no workspace!

Well, that is kind of a lie....I have some workspace, it just happens to be the teeny tiny dining room table in the teeny tiny duplex Tim and I share. Who's Tim, you ask? He just happens to be the most super fabulous best friend/roommate/cheerleader/Top Model co-watcher a  guy could ask for. Bobby likes him too. But Tim puts up with my super sewing messes that somehow manage to wind up all over the house whether I want them to or not. So I have the table and some storage bins next to the table full of badly folded fabric and some yarn from when I was on a knitting kick.  But here are some pics...

This is my sewing machine, Sarah. I didn't name it that, that's the model name. 
She's about 10 years old and pretty reliable...except that I've lost all the feet besides the regular ole main presser foot, which sucks. But I like her well enough. She's made by Husqvarna, who also makes chainsaws so it feels a little more masculine (despite the name Sarah). She looks like shit cause I've used tape to mark different widths and guess what...masking tape doesn't come off if its left on for like 5 years. So that's that.

Here are two pics of the same fabrics that I'm working with. I've been playing with the settings on the camera. Sorry.
I can't remember what setting this is, but I like the blue tone to it. But it doesn't show the fabric very well. 

Here is a brighter pic of the fabric. You can see the patterns and colors much better in this pic. 

P.S. How come when you finally set down to sew, everyone decides to call you? I can't hold the phone while sewing and if I put it on speaker, the caller can only hear the machine. The Bobby and Erika both called. Erika wants to go to Salvation Army...I think I'll go and see if there is anything I can cut up and make into a bag.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Welcome to The House of ChaBanks...maybe the place to go for cool totes, clutches, pillows, or anything else I can fit under my presser foot on the sewing machine. But I don't know if this place will just be about bags and pillows and whatever else I can fit under my presser foot. Maybe I'll add recipes (I like to cook), maybe I'll talk about my boring life, maybe I'll talk about Bobby (more on him much later). But thanks for visiting anyway. I'm glad you did.

A new bag made for Shannon out of remnant pillow fabric and new big green button.

I miss this retro looking fabric. You can't really tell, but the bag on the right has vintage buttons sewn on the top right