Monday, January 30, 2017

New In The Shop: Limited Edition Pin Cushion Necklaces

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a sweet nod to show how much we love sewing with the addition of these special Thimble Pin Cushion Necklaces into the shop. Designed for both style and or function, the 30-inch chain looks great layered with your favorite necklaces. Fully functional for retreats, conventions (Quilt Con is coming!), and the perfect little trinket to send you favorite Galentine.

Dying Fabric: Dead Flowers

Anyone who follows my Instagram account in the Spring and Summer- knows how much I love fresh flowers. I've become good friends with the loveliest woman next door, her name is Ida and she is from Hungry. Ida has curated a beaaaautiful garden around her home and on those cool mornings I join her to weed, plant, transplant, cut flowers, and talk. I also find myself there often alone to think or sometimes to photograph. She inspires me in so many ways, I even named a quilt after her.

Dying fabrics with fresh picked flowers is one thing I've been leaning into, but when can you dye with flowers that were already dried and dead?

Yes! Yes, you can. I salvaged a dozen red roses and used half of them to dye the fabric here- I also added in some rusted tools which produced the yellow/rust effect off to the right.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I promised to share my finished Linden Sweatshirt yesterday, if you stopped in and it wasn't up yet I do apologize. I was busy seam ripping! I'm here now and I'm excited to share with you my first selfish sewing finish of the year. Can you believe I almost made it through the entire month of January without even touching my sewing machines!?

It felt good to get back in it and this pattern from Grainline Studio was the perfect project. The most time consuming part of the whole project was tracing my pattern- because I don't cut the paper patterns just in case I want to make it a different size in the future. I used this speckled terry knit I had been hoarding for years. Yes, I said years. It was picked up as end cuts from a local factory but there wasn't enough so I complimented it with some knit I had and the striped knit I purchased at Pennington Quilts. Perhaps it's a designer knit- if so let me know and I'll update this post.

I constructed the entire thing using a 4 thread overlock on my BERNINA L450. I like to use wooly nylon in my loopers which I believe help to keep the seams less bulky and more comfortable to wear against my skin. The pattern itself is super easy to read and follow. Once I the pieces cut out and started constructing it- I swear it took an hour! I would absolutely recommend this pattern to anyone (and I mean anyone!) and you better believe there will be more Lindens in my closet soon. Maybe even today!

Have you ever made a Linden Sweatshirt yourself? If not would you consider adding it to your list?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Start of a Linden Sweatshirt

Grainline Studios Linden Sweatshirt has been on my "to make" list for quite some time. I'm always a fan of making garments that can be worn over and over again- but when I found out that I might be able to finish this make in about 3 hours. Well then, it shot right up to the top of the list. ZOOM!

Last week I realized I haven't sewn a stitch since the new year. That completely explains my crabby attitude then- I am going through withdraws. Pattern pieces are traced, fabric is chosen, and now all I have to do is get started. This awesome reversible terry knit was salvaged from factory end bolts- and I'm afraid I don't have enough, but I'm determined to make something here work. Check back Friday to see my finished Linden Sweatshirt!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lexi's Favorite Bacon Peanut Butter Dog Treats

We love our new pup, and I'm sure you love yours too! Last week Sam and I made some good food- dog biscuits for Lexi. She's a Bernese Mountain Dog and because of their beastly size she can eat a lot! We really want to keep her healthy and happy so we decided to bake our own biscuits- and Sam thought he might want to turn it into a small business. (Naturally I'm excited on both fronts!) The boys and I spent the day creating different recipes that ranged from using pureed baby food & whole wheat to adding dried fruits.

This recipe I'm going to share with you today though... this has been Lexi FAVORITE treat. If she smells it on you- she will not leave your side. Even if it's just a crumb.

You'll Need:
1 cup (255g) natural creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup (180ml) nonfat milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups (244g) whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/3 cup (30g) quick oats are fine
2-3 strips cooked bacon, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix the peanut butter, milk, and egg together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the flour and baking powder. You may need to turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and use your hands to work in the flour. Mix in the oats and bacon. The dough is extremely thick and heavy.
  3. Using a floured rolling pin, cut into shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Arrange on the baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven, and flip the treats to bake the other side for 10-12 more minutes.
  4. Allow to cool completely before serving to your pup. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Tip! Make ahead/freezing: Since the pups can't eat the whole batch in a week, I usually freeze them. The treats freeze well up to 2 months.

After making up a batch (we ended up with approximately 3 dozen treats of different shapes and sizes) Sam went aroun the neighborhood sharing a free sample with anyone who has a dog. He already has 3 orders placed for more! His favorite selling point is- it's good enough for humans to eat too!! Of all the recipes we tried out- this has been the biggest hit. I'm sure you'll pup will love the bacon & peanut butter treats! Let me know if you get a chance to make them, there's a dog treat chef in my house who would be really excited!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reflections & Predictions In Sewing

I suppose this blog graphic is a form of art imitating life. It's been nothing but cold dark gray and soggy here in NJ. Lucky for you, to snuggle up with your favorite blogs with a cup of tea today! I was excited to be invited to share my own personal reflections and predictions as far as the sewing industry goes- thank you to Kristen for inviting me to join along.

Wondering what my favorite trends were last year? Or why I'm talking about going commando in 2017? Read the complete interview here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Free Pattern: A Line Skirt & Tutorial

Blame it on What Not To Wear but I'm all about learning what patterns and styles actually make my body look slimmer. When I caught glimpse of this free pattern from Danielle- I just knew I had to add it to my Spring Make list. A-line skirts are great for us women whose hips are the widest part of our body (aka Pear Shaped) You definately want to check out this tutorial and download the free pattern for tricks using your serger & figuring out what to do with a blindhem stitch too!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Business On The Side

Over 8 years ago- I started my first handmade business. Some of you may have been around back then, and if you're still here: that's pretty incredible & I want to buy you a drink! (and Thank You!) As I learned more about building a business, blogging, marketing- I realized it can be isolating and the work can at times feel never ending. I know how lucky I am to have established a community of maker friends who were always there to help me navigate issues that arise or brainstorm new ways to change the world.

This year, I am working alongside Nick on a side business- called Fire Rod and Steel. I offered to help set up his website and teach the ropes of online business. This is all coming from a man, who has no Facebook or Instagram accounts nor does he ever want to. Metal work has been creeping its way into the TrashN2Tees shop for a couple of years now. First the ruler bracelets, then pattern weights, natural dying with rust and now the thimble necklaces. They're small and manageable projects that fit within my branding, both sewing and reuse related. Working at the fabrication shop has allowed us to extra time together as a family & bouncing off creative ideas. Nick designs and builds a variety items using metal- on any scale. His work can be seen on the campus of Rutgers University, the ESPN building in NYC, and even the Franklin Institute. In the shop we will offer forged tools, repurposed & industrial inspired decor, and antiquities.

If you see rugged metal pop up in my feed, don't be alarmed. I'm not switching mediums entirely.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DIY Sewing Box: Machine Embroidery with Mylar

In the New Year, we all want to be a little more organized. Either that, or I hang out with a slew of disorganized folks. That's entirely possible! Whether you need to keep thread spools in check or want to create a great sewing box filled with your favorite tools and notions- I have the perfect tutorial for you.

Last month I contributed a blog post to BERNINA's We All Sew- utilizing machine embroidery on my B580 with an unexpected material. Mylar! In all honesty, the material I used wasn't even actually mylar but it was cello craft sheets I found online. The transparent color adds a special sparkle to lightly sketch style embroidery. There are also specially digitized embroidery designs for mylar as well. The design I used seen above is available from OESD.

How often do you use machine embroidery in your designs? Is it something you think you'd like to learn or try?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

It's hard to believe that we are already a few days into 20 seventeen. I've already learned something I didn't know about myself. As always once September sweeps in it seems like the tail end of the year just flys right by- I'm sorry I've been absent here on the blog for that time. You are always invited to keep up with the daily adventures on Instagram, it is for me the easiest way for me to update and connect but I always appreciate the chance to share more in depth here on the blog or of course, tutorials!

A small recap might be needed to start off properly and get all up to speed. Our family has grown by 4 feet- we got a puppy! Her name is Lexi Ruppkinz. Tristen has been asking for a Bernese Mountain dog for nearly 3 years after receiving a webkinz of one when he was younger. The webkinz version named "Sweetie" he carried around and loved (and continues to love.) Lexi is just 3 months old and will be a big girl- I really had no idea I'd turn into such a big ball of puppy love mush. But I have.

I closed the TrashN2Tees Etsy shop and changed my instagram name from TrashN2Tees to jmontilone. The change reflects more of the growth in my interest beyond upcycling t-shirts but don't worry I'll keep remaining focused on sustainable sewing. I'm taking time off from the t-shirt making business to focus on other ventures at this time. You can still purchase sewing jewelry here.

This is the first year I haven't really set out a master plan of goals- I'm traveling the open roads and kinda just going for the ride of it. I have some deeper thoughts about how the industry and doing business has changed my outlook and the creative process.  I'll save that for another day though.

I'm just excited to have you here- and hope you'll tell me a little about what you hope to accomplish to see in 2017! 


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