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,