Monday, December 31, 2012

A Dozen Designs: A New Year's Resolution

I have this thing that I do that drives me crazy...I start things and get bored so I move on to something new. My new house is an example of what can happen when you have this problem. I have now lived here for 4 months and I have yet to complete a single room. Don't get me wrong, many of them are started, projects in place, design plans thought up, but NONE are done. And it is driving me crazy. So I decided that I would take the opportunity of the new year to complete my house. I will be tackling one room per month until they are DONE. All the little projects that have sat uncompleted to the bigger refinishing/painting projects that are looming will be completed. I will not allow myself to move onto another room until the one before it is completed. The only part I can't guarantee will be finished are the big big projects like retiling the entry and bathrooms because I am not sure my husband's time frame will fit into the month schedule, but we will see what happens.

In addition to working on my house, I will be working on me as well. Each month I have also created a challenge for myself that I personally need to work on. I will be posting updates throughout the year and hope to use my blog to keep me accountable. I will still be posting regular sewing posts, but I am excited to have a clear plan for 2013.  So without further are my first two challenges:

House Challenge: Complete the family room. Here are some pictures of the family room when we moved in...I am happy to say this room is now almost done (That is why I picked it is all about starting slow:) I am excited to post about the after. There will be many fun things to share from organization, painting, custom curtains, DIY ottoman...and so on!
Personal Challenge: Drink more WATER. Seriously, this is like my number one problem. I hardly drink any water a day. As a teacher I trained myself not to since bathroom breaks were hard to come by and now I have created a problem. I have had kidney stones twice, one time required surgery for removal...uhh, would think this would be motivation enough???

So, here I go. I look forward to posting results soon!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Quick Handmade Gift: DIY Travel First Aid Kit

I was in need of a "favorite thing" for a MOPS meeting. Well for me, the favorite thing was easy- sewing...what to make was more challenging. I needed something easy and quick...I had one naptime and the items in my craft room to get this done. Now...what would moms like to have? I threw around several ideas when I found this tutorial from Positively Splendid. Perfect- a travel first aid kit. I got busy cutting and creating the pattern...all was going well. I found this fun flower fabric I have had in my stash for awhile now, just waiting for a project. And just enough mustard yellow fabric left over from another project to make the kit...awesome.
Or so I thought, I neglected to read the whole tutorial supply list and realized I didn't have any ribbon to match...crud...what to do. The ribbon is used to close the kit, so it was an essential part of the project. I thought and looked around and finally came up with the idea of using elastic instead. I happened to have matching teal elastic, so I fiddled around with it a bit and came up with the following way of inserting it to hold the kit closed.

First I cut a piece of elastic about 8 inches long. Then I wrapped it into a loop and placed the two ends in the center of the fabric (with the loop laying on top of the center of the fabric) and tacked it down using a few stitches. Then I placed the main back fabric on top and stitched around the outside, leaving an opening for turning, per the tutorial.

When rolled up, the elastic easily stretches around the kit to hold it closed. I made two at the same time, one to give away and one to keep, and have found mine very handy several times already. The item I reach for most is the nail clipper. I have used it for hang nails and broken nails quite a bit!

I would recommend this for a quick and easy project that is also very practical.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Men's T-shirt Makeover

I started this makeover project months ago and finally got around to finishing it...and I love the way it turned out. It really is quite simple, but the project was delayed due to some fitting issues that I finally got around to correcting. So...want to make your own fun tunic out of men's plain white t's? Here is how I created this look:

What you will need:
-2 men's t-shirts (I can't remember if I used my husband's XL shirts or a pack of mediums that I purchased on clearance).
-Rit Dye
-Sew Liberated Pattern: Schoolhouse Tunic (I have made this before HERE and HERE)
-Trim (I found this lace trim in my was a thrift store find)
-Serger or sewing machine

I began by cutting out the schoolhouse tunic pattern using the two t-shirts for fabric. I lined up the bottom edge of the pattern with the bottom edge of the t-shirts so that I would not have to hem the bottom. I tend to find the finishing detail of knit material the most difficult so why bother doing the work that was already done for me? I then stitched the pieces together following the schoolhouse tunic pattern. This is where I made the fitting errors. Since my fabric was knit, it had stretch. I did not alter the size I normally cut for this top and therefore it was too big. After a couple months I finally got around to taking it in an inch on each side. So...make sure you make your top a bit smaller for whatever pattern you chose if you want a close fitting top.
Here the top is in white, all ready for the dye bath. I chose teal dye and followed the instructions...
And ta it is teal. I could have left it like this and I actually wore it this way once, but it needed something more.
So, I dug around my craft room and found this lace trim. I lined up the trim with the bottom stitching on the tunic and around the bottom sleeve stitching. I then stitched it on using a straight stitch.
I think it added a fun detail and makes the top much more complete. to rummage through the old tshirt pile and see what else I can give new life. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Vintage Jumper

I have been working on depleting my fabric stash and decided to try and use up more of this vintage dog and cat fabric I found at a thrift store. I used some of it in an earlier project: Travel Fabric High Chair. This time I decided to use it with a vintage pattern: Simplicity 6113: Jiffy jumper & dress- here is one I found on Etsy.

The only modification I made was omitting the hook and eye closure and instead adding a button with an elastic loop.
It ended up being a little too big...but my daughter refuses to wear anything I make I guess it won't be a problem. However, I then wonder why I just bought three new patterns today for her...when will I learn???
 Here is the little stinker after LOTS of convincing to put it on for about 10 minutes for some pictures, and this is one of the better shots I could get out of her :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ruffle Trees and Christmas Decor

Before I began blogging I made some ruffle Christmas trees to add to my holiday decor. They have held up well over the three years I have had them and each year I pull them out and find some place to put them in the house. This year I thought I would use our upstairs cut out. Our house has a couple of these areas that I love and hate at the same time. While I like being able to decorate for the seasons and holidays, I find the cut outs difficult to fill without looking cluttered and quite frankly, I haven't had the time to decorate them the way I would like...but for the short amount of time we are at home between Thanksgiving and Christmas traveling, this will do :)

Originally I saw the trees somewhere (sorry can't remember where) and thought...I could make that.  To make the ruffle trees you need a few supplies:
-Styrofoam cones- I used two large ones and one smaller one for the height that I wanted
-Felt- I purchased a half yard of each color for these trees (I would have rather purchased a brighter green, but the hunter green color was all they had at the store).
-straight pins

 First, take your felt and cut circles, I traced the bottom of a juice glass for my template. And cut lots and lots of circles. I tripled and quadrupled my fabric when cutting to make this faster. Once you have circles, take one and fold it in half, then in half again. Finally, stick a straight pin through the folded tip and stick it on the styrofoam tree. Keep pinning your circles on starting at the base and working your way to the top of the tree. I placed my pieces close together for a fuller look.
 I then took ribbon and tied it into small bows. Stick a straight pin through the center and stick them on to the tree in random spots. And that's it. I made these in an evening while watching tv and I am happy with the way they turned out.
For the rest of the nook I took the silhouette portraits I created years ago using Ikea frames and scrapbook paper and quickly added a new one for my daughter and son (since he wasn't here the first time I made these and her profile had changed from being a baby). On the other side I simply filled an apothecary jar with red, silver, and green ornaments, a jar with dollar store peppermint sticks and a cute little santa...and called it good. It is a nice little way to come out of our bedroom each morning. A little Christmas decor always puts me in a better mood :)

Merry Christmas,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Travel Chair Tutorial

We tend to travel with our family a few times a year. This time, before the holidays and next trip, I tried to get a head start on things that may make traveling easier. I came across this TUTORIAL for a travel high chair. In attempt to get my fabric stash down I brought out this vintage dog and cat print that I picked up at the thrift store awhile bag...there was a lot of it, so be prepared to see it again in a future post :) I also had a bit of leftover mustard fabric from a purse I made my sister over a year ago. It just happened to match perfectly. The only problem was the pattern called for quilted fabric. In an effort to use what I had, I decided to back the mustard fabric with batting and quilt it myself. Since I have no experience quilting I kept it simple. I simply drew a line down the center and then measured out 3 inch increments until I came close to the edge. I drew the lines in with chalk and sewed straight lines over them.

 In the next few shots you can see the error I made...I sewed the seat on the wrong side. Instead of sewing the connector piece to the short end, I accidentally attached it to the long end. This created a problem once you go to place a child in the seat. Luckily I saw the error before I traveled with the chair, removed the stitches and placed it on the correct side. It was a simple fix, but one that could have easily been avoided.
I think this project is simple and quick but to be honest...I am currently traveling and didn't pack it, so I can't tell you how great it works. Maybe if I remember to pack it next time around I can post an update. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nursery Curtains

While searching for what I wanted to do (um, I mean WE wanted to do) for the nursery, I came across the Skip Hop Treetop Friends decor and knew that was what I wanted. But, they didn't really have the things I wanted, and, really, I knew I would do it myself anyway. I found fabric on sale at JoAnn's and waited for blackout fabric to go on sale (I got it for $1.50 a yard!). Then, I had to find some pictures online to use as patterns. I'm not artistic what-so-ever, so I needed a little help there. I made pattern pieces for everything, cut them out of the fabric I wanted and then laid it out on the fabric. Then came the REALLY tedious part. I decided to hand stitch all the pieces onto the fabric. My grandma helped me complete this project, which I think is so fun! Here she is sewing away.
I used different colored embroidery thread for the different pieces. It took a long time, but I think it is totally worth it! After all the pieces were on, I put some ribbon strips at the top and added the blackout fabric. Then, the curtains were finished. I love how they turned out!
Happy Sewing! Betsy

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick and Easy Playdough

There is no shortage of playdough recipes on the web. I have tried a couple and came across one that really was easy and did not dry out. I quickly whipped up four batches using common ingredients.

 And this recipe: Easy Homemade Playdoh
 I tossed the dough in some leftover plastic containers and after 3 weeks I am happy to report it is still just as soft and pliable as the day it was made.

This is really a great and quick recipe to whip up when you need something for the kids to do.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Knit Boyfriend Cardigan

A few weeks ago I was reading through my favorite blogs and found the Knit Boyfriend Cardigan Tutorial at icandyhandmade. I knew I wanted to give it a try and quickly printed out her pattern. I used a white somewhat sheer knit I had purchased at a thrift store. Here are the results:

 Overall I found the pattern very simple and easy to follow along. I later read in one of her posts to not overlap her patterns when they are printed and I think this is the mistake I made causing a tighter fit. When I make this again (I plan on it) I would like to try to make the top a little larger. However, when I attempted another tutorial, the purple tee I am wearing underneath, I had the opposite problem: Perfect Fitted Cap Sleeve Tee. The tee is way too wide at the neckline and slips off my shoulder. I also took in the sides quite a bit. I finished the bottom edge with a band similar to the neckline but I am not loving the outcome. I think with some tweaking I could make this top easily work for me. And for a free pattern I am not complaining...I am pretty sure it was user error :)

Hopefully I will have time to try out a few more versions soon...and fix that horrible bra strap issue :) This also gave me the idea to start looking in my own closet for favorite fitting garments to recreate...I see a tutorial in the near future:)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rag Rug

So, keeping with the nursery theme, here is a post about the rug I made for Baby's room.  I can't say it saved me much money, and it definitely didn't save me any time, but I love the outcome and it fits in her room perfectly!  I found this tutorial online and followed it pretty closely.  I used the left-over fabric I had from the curtains to make this rug, but ended up needing to go get more.  It took A LOT of pieces.  This picture doesn't even do justice to how many were needed!  I made each strip 1 inch by 5 inches.  I also tore the fabric because I wanted a more "used" look to the rug.  You also will need one of those no slip mat thingys - I'm pretty sure that's not the technical name ;)  I got one at Target for around $5.  I used a 2 foot by 3 foot one.

Then, you figure out how you want to put the pieces on.  I wanted a random look, but ended up doing a pattern.  It looks random in the finished product though.  I looped them through skipping one in between.  Here is a shot of the back in the beginning and then what it looks like on the front.

Here is a picture of what the back looks like when it was almost done to give you a better idea of the spacing.  If you wanted a fuller rug, just add more pieces!

And, the finished product!

It looks great in her room, and was definitely worth the effort and time of putting it together.

Happy crafting!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

She's Ready to Pop Shower

A couple weeks ago I had the great privilege to throw a baby shower for my friend and blogging partner, Betsy. Our friend Katie and I hosted and used the theme "She's Ready to Pop". While I didn't get great pics of the decor, hopefully you can get a feel for the shower. Links to recipes/crafts/ideas below. We set up 3 main areas for the shower: onesie craft, food, and seating/wish card station.
 Instead of playing games during the shower we decided to have everyone make Betsy a onesie. We set up an area in the sun room with stencils (we precut shapes on card stock), onesies in various sizes, short and long sleeve and different colors (we dyed several onesies using Rit), scissors, pencils, fabric backed with Wonder Under, and an iron. Katie made a sign for the table that coordinated with the invitations and food labels. I think you can tell from the pictures that everyone had fun (even people who said they weren't crafty) and it was great to see everyone's ideas come to life.  After the shower I took the onesies home to sew around the edges of the appliqué (by the way- thanks to those of you who added stuff to the front and back :) It actually didn't take long and hopefully will help all the beautiful designs stay on through washings.
For the food we stuck with the Pop theme and served Jalapeño Poppers, Mushroom Poppers, Zucchini Poppers, Oreo and Nutterbutter Truffle Pops (a big favorite- gotta try them!), Fluffy Punch with a Pop of Pink, Popcorn, candy tiers with pop rocks, tootsie pops and bubble gum, popcorn chicken, fruit pops and spinach salad with orange poppyseed dressing.

We also had an area for people to fill out wish cards for the baby and to pick up their favor...a POP of color. We simply tied orange ribbon around nail polish with a little sign that said pop of color.

 We also enjoyed some gift opening. Betsy's mom and grandmother had a neat idea I had not seen before. They took outfits they had saved from Betsy's childhood along with the photo taken of her in the outfit and presented them to her for her little girl. Her grandmother also made a lovely quilt that guests enjoyed looking at during the party.

The hostesses and the guest of honor. We had a great time and hope you know how much we enjoyed doing this for you Betsy.