Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reversible Kids apron

Rowan was at it again... or more correctly, we both were. I'd call it a joint effort, but with the majority of the grunt work being done by the 7 year old. With me cutting and pinning, and Rowan doing all the stitching and decision making, we concocted an apron. Dynamic duo that we are and all... Tada!

Did I mention it is reversible?

As you probably noticed, she is quite proud of her creation. Especially of the custom pocket design she came up with.

The fabric was a gift to Rowan from Auntie Nancy for Christmas, and she used her new machine as well. I found the tutorial here and it was wonderfully easy and quick. We planned on doing the chef's hat as well, but ran out of fabric. I'm not sure it would have been worn much, but it is sure cute. We'll keep it in the "maybe" list for now.

We may only be posting Rowan's creations for the near future. I'm on a forced hiatus from sewing - I lobbed off a portion of my thumb this weekend while cutting carrots. Ack. I'm not able to operate the presser foot lifter thingy and I keep getting the gauze from the bandage gets caught under the foot itself. Tried embroidering, and that did not work... same for knitting and crocheting. Who knew that opposable thumb was so important? Well, besides thousands of scientist and all. Guess that means I'll have more time for thrifting! Hooray, just in time for the second Vintage Swap! Gotta get my thrift on...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fabric Dollhouse...er...Hamster House

Rowan, my 7 year old, got a hamster back in October for her birthday. Not a real hamster, thankfully, or I would have had to put the hurt on my own mother. It is one of the little battery operated ones... just freakishly real enough looking to cause me to do a double take when I vacuum her room.

I found out that these hamsters must also now be outfitted and housed, or else a certain 7 year old will mope and fuss dramatically. Instead of further funding the bank accounts of the hamster creators, I decided that I should make the accessories needed by "Snowball". This was not an original idea, btw, I saw Bridget's post about making houses for hamsters a while back and knew I'd be coming back to her blog to find the tutorial at a later date. Happy me, to find that the tutorial author (Dawn - who has a great blog herself) also included her Fabric Dollhouse in the One Yards Wonder book. Which, of course, I already own. So, without further ado, here is Snowball's new abode, complete with sleeping bag and pillow.



I give this project high marks (the book, mind you, not my rendering). The directions were super easy to follow. The only thing "wrong" was that you needed to cut out 2 of the exterior pieces - not 1. After the fact, I did find this on the corrections page of the publishers site as well.

For this dollhouse, I stitched the felt door, window and roof on after the fact. I had a hard time understanding what was going to actually occur step to step, and did not know what was really going to be what in the final product (i.e exterior vs. interior walls). Now that I have a better understanding of how it all works, I would add all the cuteness before assembly. This assumes I'll make another, which I will be doing, no doubt. So dang cute. I used an elastic headband for the closures, as I had nothing else on hand... they work fine, but I did use extra large buttons then as well. The fabric was a thrifted calico, and the handle was some ribbon doubled up. I attached it a bit wonky, but happily the 7 year old does not mind or notice.

I might love this house more than Rowan. It is so dang cute. I am envisioning mini hamster silhouettes hanging inside, as well as a hop scotch board on the "lawn" section. I would very much like to pack up and move in myself, but Snowball seems very settled.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Batwing Top & Ribbon Headbands

I'm such a slave to the crafty blog-o-sphere, so when the divas out there create, I am inspired. Brooke called me last week and directed me to go immediately to the Batwing top on Burda. A-DOR-A-BLE. (Free as well, people... by the talented pixielink). This is especially nice for when I'm feeling puffy. Which is lately. After a successful thrifting trip this morning, and the corresponding purchase of a zillion yards of a flowery thrifted knit fabric, my own batwing top was attempted.


While not perfect (what ever is?) I love it. Tres comfy... and I learned how to do a decent v-neck. I think it would look better in a solid... and though I did not photograph it, it was super cute with a little knot tied on the bottom as well. I omitted the cuffs and just hemmed the sleeves and bottom.


Another tutorial out there caught my eye this week. Disney posted a tutorial here on making an embellished ribbon headband. I combined it with this tutorial (one of my favorites) and made a few. Matching mother/daughter ones...



I whipped this up from a scrap of the trim from my Grandmother's wedding dress.

I haven't decided if it will be embellished more than it already is, does it need a button or jewel? It is so pretty as is. This shot shows how I attached the hair binder.

Somewhat sadly, these headband shots forced me to purchase some hair dye, so looks like we'll have an exciting Saturday night here at the homestead! Slave to fashion that I am, and all :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Apple doesn't fall far...

My 7 year old, Rowan, got a sewing machine for Christmas. I swear it was something SHE really asked for, not something I pushed/cajoled her into getting (not overtly anyways). Yesterday, I opened up her machine while she was at school and filled a picnic basket with the necessary starting supplies - scissors, pins, some fabric, etc. I put her machine on a small table in the same room I sew in, but purposely set Miss Independent up with her own sewing "land", not too close to mine. She flew in the door from the bus and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her space all ready to go. She was so excited, she begged to sit right down and sew.


I wish I could blog poetic about how heartwarming this experience was. I really do. But, like most things in our neck of the woods, it was more bittersweet - a trying, painful process, highlighted with a few breakdowns (Rowan) and swear words (me, and only internally I promise). Happily, we ended it on a huge high note when she realized she was done and her blanket was a success.



I gave Miss Rowan a pile of quilt squares I found at a thrift store and tried to stay out of her creative process. Rowan did all the sewing, while I ironed. The little pinning actually done was also done by me, but I had Rowan sit down and watch what I was doing and why. I did sew one of the 4 strips to test out her machine - (Good advice on the machine Mom - it rocks) - but the plan and design were entirely up to her. She decided that she wanted to alternate the colors and did not want to use the same squares twice in her blanket. While I may have suggested we use the fleece as a batting, she wanted to have it be the backing. Far be it to me to dictate or try to ruin her creative process, though I did balk at trying to teach her how to bind at this time. Instead, we just sewed the two right sides together, leaving a small hole to flip it around and then she did some amazing top stitching to close it up. As promised, there were a few breakdowns when her seams went wonky, and she stomped upstairs when a pesky little brother came over to investigate and chewed his apple too loud in her ear. Eventually she returned, though, and the blanked was completed. Originally planned to be for her doll Lulu, Rowan changed her mind and decided the handmade blanket was for her to snuggle with herself.

Soon after finishing , Rowan was quick to ask if she could have a blog like I do, so she can show her friends and family her sewing projects. I promised that I'd be happy to show off her creations in my little space... and, while not entirely happy sharing, she agreed to the arrangement for the short term :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gift Exchange (Belated Christmas Gifts, part 2)

My friend Brooke and I had a quickee morning play date on Monday. We haven't had any time together since before Christmas, so we had some gifts to exchange as well. The little kids were wonderful (big ones were in school) and we managed some gabbing/chatting and coffee drinking. Sigh... it made me SOOOOOO happy. Oh, and the presents did too!

Here is what I whipped up for her...(I must have been channeling Anna Maria, since I used all her fabrics...)

A duvet for her camera strap... (I used this tutorial, but made it patchwork). Now that I know this fits her camera, there may be a few more in the works :) She has a lens the size of a small country for her camera and I know it makes her neck ache. This may be a new "go to" gift for her. A girl has to accessorize her strap with her ensemble, no?

This picture shows the reverse.

A bag to haul swim suits back and forth to lessons. The bag is just like the lingerie bags I made for Christmas gifts, but with some oil cloth added to the interior.

Here is the oil cloth...

and a close up of the applique. Since she has both boys and a girl child, we need suits of both genders, of course.


I feel like I made out like a bandit in this exchange. Check out my treasures from BL.

A cake/cookie stand, made from a plate glued onto a candle stick (?).... love it. It is happily full of oranges on my kitchen counter as I type this up.

Gloves with a cute applique...and with the thumb and pointer chopped off to facilitate texting. These have already come in very handy. The phone is mine, but I included it to to show an "action" shot.


A mini jade plant terrarium... so dainty and cute. It is helping me think of spring.

Love being friends with a photographer - she printed me some cute shots from our apple orchard day. These have some fun finishes- more like paintings than photos. As you can see, they are framed up and on display already.

And a pin cushion... isn't it cute? That e is for me, in case you were confused.

Fun morning, we'll have to repeat soon! Love my treasures!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Belated Christmas gifts.. part 1

I had a few Christmas gifts left to finish and I was able to cross 2/3 of them off my to do list tonight. Hooray! I know it sounds bad and very belated, but I have a good excuse. Well, for one gift I do. That is the one I'm blogging tonight.

To set the scene a bit, my brother and his girlfriend Kate flew from New York (by way of Dallas, Texas to see her family) to spend the holidays with us. Kate is wonderful, and I knew I wanted to make her a handmade gift of some sort. My brother recommended a bag, but having only met her a handful of times, I was not comfortable choosing fabrics and patterns. NY is much more trendy and funky that the Midwest - would she want something fun and bright? Vintage and homey? Classy and understated? How to know what suits her best? My brother is of little use in that department, so instead of guessing, I printed up an exclusive gift certificate from "the Dabbler" and stated she could peruse the archives and find something she liked. Happy day for us both when she picked the Pleated Beauty from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing book. Absolutely, one of my favorite bags to make and drool over, as I'm sure you know if you read my blog frequently, semi-frequently or at all. My every day purse is one so I can attest to the functionality and 'beauty' first hand. Double happy day when she said to make it fun and bright. Right up my alley.. hope a touch of whimsy is OK as well.

I used fun Tina Givens fabrics for the exterior panels, and a hodge podge of her fabrics for the handles too. The inside fabric is a thrifted vintage sheet that matched perfect. I built in 2 pockets, and closed the larger one with some Velcro. I added a magnetic clasp to close the bag as well.

I had a little flannel on hand to line the straps, but not enough to line the entire bag. (note to self: time to hit the thrift stores and look for more flannel sheets). I ended up lining the bag with wool felt I had picked up in the remnants land at Joann's a long while back. It feels wonderful... sturdy and strong but still flexible. While I've made a boat load of these bags, this is the first time my seams all matched up perfectly! Check them out...

This baby will be off to NY tomorrow... hope she likes it. Merry Christmas Kate! (though I don't think she'll read this prior to receiving it in the mail).


In case you are wondering, I'll blog the other 1/3 of the gifts I completed tonight after the actual act of gifting occurs tomorrow. Since that giftee is a blog reader, I don't want to give it away!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kindle Cover

I got a Kindle for Christmas this year - Hallelujah! I whined, wheedled, hinted and down right begged Dave for one. He, sneakily, was in cahoots and knew my mom had got me one. So, he was smirking a bit when I opened non-Kindle gifts from him. Lucky me, though, my mom and step-dad had got one for me. Lucky Me :) I feel quite spoiled...

I've read 6 books so far, and am loving my Kindle. Capital L Love. But it does need some sort of protective cover for transport. Online, the covers are spendy. I read some reviews online stating that the cover made for Kindle's can actually crack the glass viewing screen as well. That does not seem right... the protective cover causing damage? For now, I decided a soft fabric cover would work best. As usual, I turned to the Internet for help... and as usual, the crafty blog-o-sphere came through.

I found this tutorial on the Junie Moon blog. While I could have winged something on my own, it would not have been as fitted nor would the seams have been entirely hidden. This tutorial was great - easy to follow and the end result works perfectly.

Here is the cover front, with a Velcro flap to keep it closed up tight.

And the back... with a pocket.
Here is my Kindle inside (purposely poking a bit out... it really does fit inside).


I used some fat quarters of my Good Folks fabrics for the cover....love this entire fabric line. The cover has fusible fleece inside, so it feels, well, protective. There is a pocket in the back that allows you to bring our your cords or headphones with. I found it works well to read from as well.


I am so appreciative that others post their crafty-ness and sewing genius on the Internet. Thanks to Junie Moon for her tute :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Sewing

Thought I'd do a quick post of my Christmas sewing projects. I saved up my sewing til the last minute, as usual... but got most of the projects I wanted to do done. Here are some pics (now that I've gifted most things).

A Folklore Bag from One Yard Wonders. This was for my sister's day care lady (Or, per my sister, girl). I used some thrifted fabric and hid an ugly seam with some gingham ribbon.



We made 3 sets of hot pads for Grandparents using the pattern from Stitched in Time by Alicia Paulson. Rowan drew pictures that reminded her of each person and we scanned them and printed them on printable fabric. She then helped me sew the hot pads as well :) Here are Gouma and Bumpa's set.

I made 2 sets of jammies for my kids and my niece and nephew. Here are Oliver and Griffin in their matching jams made from some dinosaur fabric (thrifted) and $3 t-shirts from Jo-anns.


I whipped up about 7 of these lingerie bags for some of the girls in my life. I used the pattern for the medium drawstring bag in Weekend Sewing and then used the appliques from this tutorial. I think they turned out dang cute...


For teacher gifts, I went for coffee cozies (made from the House on Hill Row tutorial) and Caribou gift cards. All the buttons were from my thrifted and gifted stash.

My cousins (much younger, though, more like nieces) in Texas each got name banners. I tried to coordinate them to their room decor...

One for Zoey-

And one for Sami-

I can't find any pics yet of the other jammies, and I have one more gift to make, so these will come later!