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My first handmade purse

8 Jan

I gotta be honest… for all the handmaking of things that I do, I really am finnicky about “handmade” and “homemade” accessories. I HATE when things look crafty, and if I think someone can pick me out in a crowd and say “Oh, she probably made that purse herself” then I’m instantly disinterested. So when I stumbled upon the tutorial for this purse style online I thought, hey that doesn’t look TOO homemade, maybe I’ll give it a go. And, voila, I did.

Their Version

Their Version


My Version

Mine turned out slightly smaller than it was supposed to, which bums me out, and is totally because I’m a dumbo and made a mistake halfway through. BUT if you’re not an idiot and can follow instructions better than me, here is the tutorial!! Since it’s not my original design, I’ll never make it for resale, but it’s really quite simple. I’m timid with regards to purse patterns, so if I say it’s simple, you can count on the fact that I’m not pulling your leg.

For me, this will probably not be my purse, but I think it’s a cute tote, and God knows I need a million of those for miscellaneous stuff. Plus, its expandable thanks to a couple snaps that make it about 3″ bigger around the top for big items. I see this tote going with us to the library, the grocery store, vacations, etc. Let me know if you make one – I’d love to see!


While I wait

6 Jan

Hello. It has been 76 days since I last blogged. Glad we got that cleared up.

My embroidery machine has taken a dump on me. Which is like a baker whose oven died. Or a singer who loses her voice. Or an architect whose ruler is crooked (hi Dad). Basically, it leaves me with all of the knowledge and ability and none of the tools to do my job, and BOO! It has been acting a fool since around November, which is CRAZY-VILLE TIME in the manufacturing and retail industries, so you can imagine that my usual level of neurotic was basically untethered and out of this world. Stockton was all, “OMG someone kill me” and I was all “OMG I’m going to kill someone” so we basically had to keep our distance from each other for a good, oh, 6 weeks or so. We’ve reintroduced ourselves since, and turns out, we still really like each other now that the holidays are over. How about that!

But that machine… damn it, that machine. It is in the sewing machine ICU right now, at a repair shop that LOVES to take their everlovin’ sweet time and pretend they have a monopoly on machine repairs and parts and so they make my life a living nightmare while my possessions are in their possession which tend to make me act possessed. You follow me?

In the meantime, in between pacing and calling them 25 times a day, I have been busying myself with some projects (both personal and professional) that involve SOLELY my good old fashioned standard sewing machine. It’s been fun. It has kind of been like reuniting with an old friend and being like, Oh wow, I forgot how much fun we have together, we should totally try to see each other more than once a year. You know those friends. Where a well meaning “let’s get together tmrw” text turns into a 3 hour coffee date followed by 2 hours drinking wine and before you know it you’re trying to remember all the Italian you learned in college and then carry on a conversation at Bar Louie near a weird Russian guy who you think might be checking you out, so you speak only broken, intro-level Italian, and basically you just say a lot of “I would like the Carbonara, please” and “where is the bathroom” because it’s all you remember. Hi Jen ūüôā Happy birthday, by the way!

This is the beginnings of a quilt I’m working on. For who? Ehhhh not sure. Will it be for sale?? Mayyyybe. Is there a chance I just might end up keeping it??? Probbbbbably. But mostly because it’s going to likely resemble a bad acid trip once it’s done and I don’t know how big the mind-altering quilt market is. I mean, we shall see. In the meantime, this is the first stages, and I guess therefore, a “Sneak Peek”. The finished product will be a staggered herringbone layout, made of all random girly fabrics (finished size will be for a twin bed).¬†DSC_0489

It’s good to be back to blogland. Happy 2013.

A lesson in creative cussing

25 Sep

I’m a seamstress. Seems like a low impact job, right? WRONG, WRONGO, WRONGITY-WRONG-WRONG-WRONG! I’m constantly hurting myself and becoming ailed by hazards of the job. Two weeks ago, I was so crippled with back pain from constantly being hunched over a machine that I was able to squeeze two (TWO!) massage appointments out of my husband because “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD if I send you to the spa will you shut the heck up about the sore back!?” Seems sweet and awesome and pampery, but really? TORTURE!!! THE PAIN AND HORROR!!!!! But alas, I’m much better now and am complaining to a much more minimal extent.

Until today. Whence I got my middle finger caught in the unforgiving death chomp of my embroidery machine. While it was humming away at full blast. On a very speedy transmission. With venom-filled needles.

It was a reckless accident that involved trying to guide my fabric through the embroidery machine while I turned away from the machine and looked at Navy and suddenly CHOMP CHOMP PIERCE BLOOD CHOMP¬†BEEEEEEEPPPPPPP¬†(which is the horrific screaming noise the machine makes when¬†Error: Needle has broken.¬† OH REALLY, MACHINE!? My needle broke!? Cause I’m pretty sure I WAS THERE FOR THAT ONE and OH YEAH IT’S STILL IN MY FRIGGING FINGER EFFING FRICK CRAP BUTT HOLY WHUT THE!?).

Yeah. I photographed it. And photoshopped it. Because that’s what morons who sew their fingers do. We take photographic evidence and then make it look artful.

Then I texted my sisters a string of horribly connected cuss words (with photo attached) and this was the conversation that ensued:

Meant to say get your ear pierced. The needle was impeding my ability to type. 

Speaking of which, the needle was also impeding my ability to carry my baby, prevent him from knocking over the ironing board (which had the hot iron on it) and pull the dog’s hair, all which was happening WHILE I HAD A NEEDLE LODGED IN MY FINGER. So I’m walking around with a broken pinky (oh yeah, I moved some furniture by myself a week ago and SMASH, broke, sob, bruise, ouch) and a pierced finger all on the same hand. Good thing I’m right handed and a mom because moms have an acute ability to do a trillion things with one hand, whether or not the other hand happens to be practically detaching itself from your body or not.

So THAT was awesome and everything. I’m nursing my wounds by getting back on the horse and showing that embroidery machine who’s boss (also by drinking wine and self medicating).

Furniture changer upper

10 Sep

In June, our neighborhood had the big hoopdy-do garage sale where everyone pitches their old junk and tries to get $5 for it. Let’s be real, no one actually makes money doing a garage sale. I bet if you kept track of all the time you spent marking items with dumb little price tags, plus the cost of said price tags, plus the hours you sat in your garage watching people talk crap about your collection of Precious Moments figurines, you’d come away with like, $.32 an hour for a whole weekend’s worth of work. My suggestion? DONATE IT! Tax write off, holla atcha. Anyway, not a big garage saler myself (in case the previous sentence didn’t give that away already), my sister and I went strolling with the babes just trying to see if we found someone trying to sell something awesome, like a broken briefcase that secretly contains a million dollars but was sold to us for $2 (after we negotiated them down from $3 because duh, that’s how garage sales work). Turns out we didn’t find a million dollar briefcase (wop wop) but I did come away with a pretty decent coffee table (among a couple other junky things that I told Stockton “I PROMISE I’LL UPCYCLE THAT AND MAKE IT COOL BABE I LOVE YOU” except, yeah, it’s still all sitting either in the garage or the basement serving no purpose other than to create fights and raise Stockton’s blood pressure, WOOPS!). The coffee table was solid maple (no before pictures, though, because that would make me actually a purposeful blogger who PLANS things and PREPARES for WELL THOUGHT OUT posts, and don’t you KNOW me?!). It had clearly been loved by the family as evidenced by all of the colorful illustrations that were all over it (Alexis wuz here and she hearts Bobby written in hot pink highlighter, etc.). Starting price: $35. My takeaway price: $23. How I got it that low?

Yeah, something along those lines.

Anyway, after sitting in my garage for 3 months, I finally decided to tackle it today. I’m sure if you’ve spent all of 30 seconds on Pinterest, you’ve seen this pin (or one like it) which is allegedly a tutorial for how to do this in an intelligent and careful manner. Ha. I only needz the picturez cuz I’m a 1/2 az.

My “before” coffee table actually looked a lot like the before in this picture but it was a rectangle and had a drawer in the side that I had to incorporate into the finished piece.

And so, a shoddy play by play of how a haphazard DIYer threw some fabric and batting on a table and turned it into a Coffee Tottoman (you’re welcome for the new vocabulary).

1) Sand your table a little (I don’t know, they say it’s important, something about the paint sticking, yada yada. I do this by going, “STOCKTON!!! I need your heeeeelp.” Gotta get you a hubsband for the grunty stuff).

2) Wait 3 months and fight with your husband about that FRIGGING TABLE THAT IS STILL IN THE GARAGE FRIGGIN A!

3) Spray paint the table legs and sides (skip the top since you’re covering it anyway, doy). I think I put two-ish coats on here. Seemed good enough. It’s going in the basement for crying out loud. It’s sole purpose is probably going to serve as a big, toxic teether for Navy anyway.

4) Let dry. Drink some wine during this period. Also: eat chipotle.

5) Here’s where we get technical. Once it was in the basement, I had to cover the whole thing in enough batting to make it squishy enough that it felt like an ottoman and not just a table covered in fabric. When you’re a seamstress with a shopping problem, it happens to be quite convenient that you have 18 yards of foam batting on hand (who woulda thunk) so cut a few pieces to size (in my case, it was 3 base pieces). Then for the top piece, I did a 4″ overlap on each side to pillow the sides.

6) Staple all of the batting to the underside of the table. Get bored. Drink more wine. Start getting distracted and work faster and sloppier because of said boredom. Note that you should never offer your services as an upholsterer.

7) Then we go in with the fabric. I bought 2 yards of cotton fabric (it was on sale for $5 something/yard) to cover it. I opted to not go with home dec fabric because a) the selection of home dec fabrics at my local fabric store were blegh and b) home dec fabric is more expensive and hello this was a $23 table for crying out loud. I didn’t want to spend more on the fabric than the whole table. My goal when searching for fabric was to find a nice pattern that contained the colors grey, tan, yellow, black, and/or eggplant (since those are primarily the other colors in my basement). Found this fabric and basically just said “Grey, tan, yellow, black, SOLD!” It was good enough, and it’s kinda pretty. Probably not usually my style, but I like it.

8) Staple again. SO BORING WITH THE STAPLING. Who would suspect that stapling fabric to the bottom of a table could be so tantamount to poking your eyes out with toothpicks!? I mean… I think I have terrible, undiagnosed ADD which doesn’t help when doing such monotonous work as this, too, sooooo I maaayyyy have gotten a little sloppy near the end. I was just so hot and bored and thirsty and IS IT OVER YET?! OK, I don’t like stapling. Topic can now be put to rest.

9) Step back and say, “Self? You are not bad. That’ll do, Donkey.”

Total budget breakdown (because this is what real DIY bloggers do at the end of their posts):

Table: $23

Paint: I don’t know ’cause I already owned it

Batting: had it (see: hoarder)

Fabric: $10

Wine: Roughly $3/glass – drink at your own risk when staples are involved

Working clothes that are something other than sweatpants for a change

4 Aug

My first business trip for Courtney Bock Designs was about two weeks ago. ¬†I was exhibiting the line at the Chicago Living and Giving / Beckman’s Trade Show, where hundreds of other exhibitors in the gift, baby and handmade industry were showcasing their wares. Right along with little ol’ me. ¬†It was totally nerve-wracking and exciting to be an exhibitor, and I came away from the whole experience feeling totally invigorated and go-get-em about CBD. ¬†I think obnoxiously so. ¬†But it was the best I’ve felt about the future of the company in, um, ever. I was PUMPED! And also HIGHLY CAFFEINATED!!! And so I spend the long exhibition hours making a 1 year plan and a 5 year plan and new product sketches and new logos and overall kicking some major boo-tay in the administrative arena. And in addition to covering some major ground on the goal-setting front, I got some great new orders and am super excited to have picked up several new boutiques who will be carrying Courtney Bock Designs (!!!). It’s really exciting to know that in other parts of the country, people can be shopping in their favorite stores and find MY stuff. That people I don’t know or have never met or seen will be wrapping their babies in MY blankets, and dressing their kids in MY bodysuits and baking cookies in MY aprons. Like, that’s awesome. Point blank. It makes me giddy.

While I was there, I made a point to chronicle each of my outfits on instagram (username¬†courtneybschultz¬†in case you feel so inclined to follow me) which was only slightly awkward and narcissistic, I KNOW, but it was all so I could report back here that yes, in fact, people will buy products from someone wearing yellow pants. Now you know. I’ve been inspired by my new favorite fashion blog which I’ve mentioned before (J’s Everyday Fashion) so in the style of J herself, here is a little breakdown of my werking gerl outfits in all of their glory.

Day 1


Blouse: Ann Taylor Loft (here)

Belt: Michael Kors from TJ Maxx (Similar here but mine is camel leather instead of logo)

Pants: Forever 21 (here)

Shoes: Lucky Brand (here)


Day 2:

Blouse: Francesca’s Collection (here)

Belt: Same

Pants: Seven for All Mankind “Dojo” in black (bought on Gilt, but also¬†here)

Shoes: Same

Watch: Anniversary gift from le babe daddy


Day 3:


Blouse: Francesca’s Collection (belongs to my sister, SHARING IS AWSOME – here)

Skirt: TJ Maxx, can’t help ya there.

Shoes: Same

Belt: Same


Evening 3:

Jeans: Joe’s (here)

Shoes: Tory Burch Flip Flops (sold out and have since been eaten by my dog. effin a)

Purse: Michael Kors from Marshall’s circa 2010ish


Day 4:


Shirt: TJ Maxx (similar-ish here)

Sweater: Target (turquoise not available online, but more colors here)

Jeans: Same

Belt: Same

Shoes: Birthday gift, Tory Burch Reva Flats in Royal Tan (here)


So there you go. Now we can at least say I’ve gotten dressed in real clothes a minimum of 4 times in the last 8 months and I have photographic documentation to prove it, dangit!!!



In My {imaginary} Shopping Cart

16 May

Let’s just get hypothetical here. IF cost were no object and I didn’t have a baby and I were cool and edgy and basically the opposite of what I¬†actually am, I would own roughly 90% of the items sold at Anthropologie (I say only 90, because about 10% of the stuff they sell is weird as hell* and just, no). ¬†And today, because of that, I am feeling particularly woeful, pitiful, and pathetic because alas, tis {one of} the most wonderful time{s} of the year. The semi-annual Anthropologie Clearance Sale.

So just for the dang meanness of it, and because I have a dump truck’s worth of work to be doing but procrastinating in the form of blogging about imaginary closet contents is SO MUCH MORE OBVIOUS A CHOICE OF HOW I SHOULD SPEND MY TIME, DUH, I shall show you what I would buy if it were a perfect world:

Polka Dot Stiletto Crops in Yellow

{We all know pants this identifiable are just impractical – people would actually notice then that I’m wearing the same pants for the third day in a row, and we mustn’t wear air out our dirty laundry in public like that, shall we?}

Casting Wider Top

{This top made its way into my real life shopping cart except that I have a very grabby 5 month old and those pretty, perfectly spaced knit holes would look like a tattered fish net after about 5 minutes. Wah.}

Catalyst Dress

Verbatim Tank in Navy

La Primavera Pullover

{Again, let me paint you a word picture. 5 month old : intricate sweaters¬†as water : ¬†oil. Also, only available in a Large, but if that’s your size, BUY THIS, it’s only $29!!!}

Scuffed Stripes Pullover

{This is completely practical and half off… I don’t have an answer for why this isn’t on my body right now except good old fashioned guilt, which can go ahead and fly a kite as far as I’m concerned.}

Viveza Food Cover

{Ok, this I actually did buy, because it’s $12, it’s outdoor dining season, and it goes awesome with my kitchen curtains**, also from Anthropologie.}

Rosette Quilt, Purple

{This is actually a great opportunity for those of you who have asked about the quilt I made my little sister for her college dorm room*** – the real deal is on sale, so run, don’t walk to your nearest… uh… website.}

OK that is all the fictitious shopping cart we have for today because I could go on and on but I’m getting bored and sick of linking to the website because it’s making me depressed and crabby. Happy shopping, loves, and please go buy things so I can live vicariously through YOU! Cheers, dolls!

*Case in point:

**A glimpse of my curtains. Great match, for the food cover, no??? EXCELLENT PURCHASE METHINKS!

***My knockoff rendition, taken on a shoddy camera phone, because nothing showcases quality handmade craftsmanship like a flip phone.

Bad dog = Chair upgrades

26 Apr

Scene: the house is quiet. Stockton and I have both finished eating (a Mexican feast) and are attending to various responsibilities, mine involving my boobs and a certain hungry baby, his involving emptying the trash.  The remains of a delicious meal are still on our counter, waiting to be cleaned up (safe out of reach of mischievous hands paws). 

I could probably stop the whole story there and you’d be able to figure out what happened, but then I wouldn’t be able to accost you with all of the most insipid details of this tragedy. And so, I shall continue.

As I was nursing, shhshing, and generally trying to lull the baby into a deep, fitless sleep (which was totally for naught because I think I was probably up and down the stairs a minimum of 15 times last night to tend to a cantankerous baby, and I am NOT EXAGGERATING THIS TIME I TOTALLY SWEARS IT), I hear a loud crash that led me to believe there were probably shards of extremely sharp matter all over my kitchen floor. ¬†I, assuming Stockton was in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes, remained calm and continued my “you are getting verrrrrry sleeeppyyyy” routine. ¬†I figured, yes, something probably broke, but Stockton is staying quiet about it and taking care of it since he knows I’m topless and unable to assist him in a disaster clean-up right now. However, I did find it suspicious that if, in fact, Stockton was the one who broke the allegedly now-broken, sharp, once-fragile item, there was no screaming and cussing coming from the kitchen. ¬†Likewise, if it was the dogs’ doing, there would’ve been screaming and cussing too. ¬†Not from the dogs, because they don’t typically scream or cuss, because they have excellent composure under pressure like that, but from a very pissed-off Stockton. ¬†So to not hear any screaming and cussing was a tad disconcerting to me. (Note: I would like to point out here that Stockton is not a big cusser or screamer, but when there is a crisis involving broken glass and messes and bad dogs and the like, he knows how to let it fly like the best of them).

About 5 minutes later, my fears were confirmed when I heard Stockton come into the house from the garage, followed by a very un-tempered and passionate “SON OF A BITCH!!” pretty much confirming that, yep. Wally has struck again. ¬†And it’s prooooobably pretty bad.

Finished baby duties hurriedly (probably, in hind sight, what had my kid so pissed off that he decided to make the rest of my night hell) and ran downstairs to find Stockton standing there, hands on head, assessing the damage, and breathing uneasily slowly (I would imagine that was his way of his diaphragm telling his brain “Do not kill him. Do not kill him.”).

As it turns out, Wally had gotten his dirty freaking paws up ON OUR COUNTER (which is generally an off-limits surface for him, though I feel that this is a detail I really shouldn’t have to explain) and had knocked over a FULL and BRAND NEW glass jar of very red, very stain-y salsa. All over the floor and our white barstools. Aweesoommmeeeee.

Unnecessarily long story, short: the dog ruined my chair and as such, it got a pretty makeover today!!

So here is the before shot of our bland barstools (giving you the broad view so you can take in the intensity of the green walls… they aren’t messing around):

Since the walls are SO INCREDIBLY GREEN WHOA I decided to just work with it and, thus, it’s become kind of a theme in the kitchen. Embrace the green and all. So here is the After picture of the newly made-over chairs, which luckily no longer look like a bloody siege occurred on them.

Totally a bold choice, I realize. I love the fabric, though, and because it has the creamy undertones, I decided to keep my kitchen table chairs in their regular vanilla color, which I prefer for a few reasons. 1) A whole kitchen in this pattern would be slightly “Hey, didja get a discount on 100 yards of the same fabric or something?” and also 2) I like to play around too much with table linens and if I used this on my kitchen chairs, I think it would limit my flexibility with that too much. ¬†So I might make a table runner with some of what’s leftover, or a valence/roman shade for the laundry room which I’ve been meaning to do forever with the hopes that a nice window treatment might make my laundry routine a bit more inspired. No? That’s not how it works? Oh well, I’m gonna have to find SOMETHING to do with the extra 99 yards of that fabric I bought. Kidding. Sort of. I only have 98 left.