Wednesday, December 30, 2009

mom's apron

Another project I found time for was this little apron I made for my mom. She is a preschool teacher and on her wish list was an apron patterned after her apron she wears to work. I guess she doesn't want to wear an apron around the house with a big teddy bear on it? Anyway, it was super simple. I traced her apron onto fabric, made ties and pockets and made it reversible by sewing everything together, right sides together, leaving a small opening at the bottom. Then I turned it right side out, sewed up the hole, did some topstitching and voila! Done. It came together really quickly. The only thing I would do differently second time around--cut the apron pattern out on the fold. It didn't matter too much, but it would have been helpful to have both sides symmetrical. Merry Christmas, Mom!

girly purses

Santa was a little too ambitious this year and didn't get started early enough. That is my excuse for a few of the planned projects that went unfinished. Fortunately, I don't think anyone noticed but me. These girls purses, however, I did find time for! I made 4 of them, for my nieces and little cousins. I glued sequin trim on the front as a monogram because I always love a little sparkle and filled them with treats my little girl likes to find in her purse. I've used this tutorial before and it is very simple. One day I will get around to making a large one for myself!
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Friday, November 13, 2009

sparkly skirt

A super, simple variation of a tutu. Shiny satin, sequin material and sparkly tulle. I used a skirt Kate had to use as a guideline, then lengthened it a few inches so it would be extra full. I cut a front and back of each type of material and sewed each one together at the sides separately. Then I layered them together, turned down the top to make a casing for the elastic, sewed and then added elastic. Instant butterfly, princess, ballerina, whatever you want to call it dress up skirt in 20 minutes!
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Playbill Project

One of my favorite things about living in Manhattan was all of the great theater we got to see. We usually went to a show when visitors were in town. We went for our anniversary once and quite a few times just because. I saved most of my playbills thinking someday I would do something with them. This was one of the first projects I did when we moved into the new house. They are hanging in the girls playroom. Kate likes looking at all of the pictures and I like lying on the rug, daydreaming about when we used to be urbanites and singing show tunes. It makes for a good time at 3 in the afternoon. :)

This project was very simple and could be done with any sort of memorabilia. Maybe some favorite pages from a children's book would be cool? I used these frames from ikea and some posterboard.

Another related project to these are shadow boxes. I made a shadow box right after we got married that we have in our bedroom with things from our wedding--Invitations, placecards, a few candid photos, swatches of bridesmaids dresses, a boutonniere and ribbon. I love looking at it and remembering our wedding day.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

We've been crafting...

just of a different sort. Take a trip to Big Lots and pick up the $2 Martha Stewart craft kits and you can too!
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Summer Shirt

It's a lot easier to take pictures of my girls than myself! It is kind of hard to see the detail of the shirt in this picture because the fabric is so busy. {The fabric reminded me of a dress I saw in a Boden catalog recently. Maybe one day I will be able to afford their clothes!} To see a better picture of the shirt, click here. I saw this shirt/pattern on a new-to-me blog, presser foot. I love their idea of doing a project a month where everyone sews along. I am a little late with this project, but wanted to try it. The pattern is McCalls 5388. I find it's more challenging sewing for myself than the girls because I am more particular about the fit. For example, initially this shirt fit like a maternity blouse. I'm done with maternity clothes. Not quite the look I was going for! I took it in a few inches and added a belt, so hopefully now it looks like I have a waistline. If you end up using this pattern, know that it runs big. Make the size top that you would buy in the store. Your measurements will tell you to make a much larger size--don't do it. It is satisfying to update my wardrobe with $5 and a few hours of work. For my next project I'm going to try and copy a linen skirt from jcrew that I don't have a pattern for... should be fun!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a summer skirt

Do you like the model pose? I tried. I'm having fun sewing a few things for myself these days. With no time--or money--to shop lately I'm trying to update my wardrobe a little bit in the hour or so I have to sew in the evening. It seems that while I love to be stylish, comfort has really taken over. Something about changing diapers and doing puzzles all day that doesn't really allow for a fussy or fancy wardrobe. I love wearing skirts in the summer and I have one knit skirt that I love, but it has bright flowers all over it. Not exactly something that can be worn different ways. I got this book about sewing knits a while ago and thought I'd finally give it a try. While in theory it should have been easy, I had some major tension issues with my machine. I'm thinking a serger is a must for sewing knits--maybe I'll have to put it on my birthday list. While it's not perfect, it turned out well to enough to get lots of wear this summer. It's comfy, can be worn with flip flops or flats and cost less than $10 to make. Now if only it would stop raining and warm up so I could wear it! Isn't it supposed to be April showers? I think we've had rain for 5 days straight!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

sisters dresses

simple. matching. not pink (i love it... but i think ALL of gwen's baby clothes are pink!) inexpensive. easy to sew. polka dots.

I've sewn a dress from this pattern before. There are only 3 or 4 pattern pieces to cut (depending on if you use sleeves or not) and that's about all I can handle these days. Maybe appropriate to wear at a certain special event coming up next month? I can't believe graduation is here already...
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Friday, April 17, 2009

knitted booties

proof that I still have some energy left for creativity. Another project from this book.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter tees

given just a little bit early. These were meant for the girls Easter baskets, but I sometimes get a little too excited about gifts and give them early. Especially when a lazy sunny afternoon prompts a matching photo shoot. I used my favorite tutorial for appliqueing and finally tried making a fabric yo-yo. They are easy and addicting. I'm already thinking of different ways to use them. The peach bunny fabric is scraps from the lining of Gwen's Easter dress that my mother-in-law sent and the bunny's tail was made from the dress fabric. We've got a bit of a robin's egg blue and peach theme going on this Easter. Now if Spring would just stay, we could wear our bunny shirts outside to play!

Friday, March 27, 2009

a shirt for mama

To get me through the in-between phase where maternity clothes are too big (and exhausted--I don't want to look at them again!) and I've only got a handful of pre-pregnancy shirts that I'm feeling comfortable in. Nothing fancy or particularly stylish, but it fits the mom uniform for the time being. I bought the pattern a year ago planning to make the dress, but time and the practicality of wearing dresses (thanks Gwen) put that one aside for a while. This shirt could probably be sewn in one evening. It took me more like five because I seem to only be able to sew for 10 minutes at a time and I either get too tired or someone needs me. (Kind of like when I was trying to take this picture.) And don't mind the funky sun shadows... we were just basking in the balmy 37 degree Spring weather that day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

knitted socks

With a new babe comes a lot of nursing. And a lot of nursing means a lot of sitting. All this sitting allowed me to finally finish the second sock to this pair! This is the first time I have knitted socks and worked with sock yarn. Socks take forever to knit. Sock yarn resembles embroidery floss and the needles you use are the smallest they make! But now that they are done they are soft and comfy, perfect to keep my feet warm during these last few weeks (hopefully) of winter. I used this pattern and they were simple to knit. But did I mention they take forever? Maybe if I start another pair now they will be done by next winter.

Monday, February 23, 2009

diaper bag for dolly

One of Kate's favorite books to read is "Little Mommy". The little girl in the story takes care of her dolls just like a mommy would. Kate loves reading this and then pretending to be a little mommy to her own baby dolls. I'm very excited (and a little bit nervous) to see how Kate responds to there being a real baby in the house. I'd been given advice to have a few special gifts just for Kate when the baby comes home. I thought this would make the perfect "big sister gift". Her very own diaper bag complete with supplies for dolly: a sling, diapers, wipes and case, bib, burp cloth and bottle. I saw the idea here (along with the sling tutorial) and was able to use scraps of fabric I had to sew everything. I used the basic template for this shoulder bag and adjusted the measurements for a little girl. The diaper tutorial I found here, as well as the little wipes case. The bottle I found at the $1 store and I'm afraid that might be the favorite item out of them all! Either way I hope that Kate will have fun being a "little mommy" to her baby dolls and hopefully won't feel too left out when I've got another baby around to take care of!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

church bag

Until now, we've been using an ugly blue and white canvas bag that says "Martha Stewart Living" on the side (I must have got it for free somewhere) to tote all of our scriptures and books to church on Sunday. Every time I look at it I get a little bit embarrassed. It is not cute. At all. I got a burst of energy last night (nesting?) and decided to rummage through my fabric scraps to see if I had enough fabric to come up with a new bag. I found this black and white upholstery fabric I bought from the remnants bin a while back and decided it would be perfect. For the lining I used some leftover red corduroy from my Christmas stocking project and an hour later had a new bag! Tote bags are a really great project. They don't require a pattern, are forgiving on measurements and sew up fast and easy. This is actually the second bag I've sewn. I did the first a few nights ago--it's a shoulder bag version that will be a diaper bag for Kate's dolls (I'll post pictures soon)-- so I went with what I learned from that tutorial and modified it based on the amount of fabric I had and made 2 handles instead of 1. Now I can throw the ugly Martha Stewart bag away and as Kate's books get pushed out of the diaper bag to make room for all the things a baby requires (I'm going to have to take so much stuff) her books can occupy this new bag.

Easter Outfit

I had a goal to get this finished before the baby comes, and I did! I'd been coveting the Oliver + S pattern for this jacket and skirt and was so excited when I got it for Christmas. To make it even sweeter, my mother-in-law, Leslie, (who gave me the pattern) and I scored this suiting fabric in the discount bin at Denver Fabrics, $11 for 3 yards of 60 inch wide! Now, thanks to a generous offer from Leslie, the baby will have a matching dress with the leftover fabric.

These pictures weren't the easiest to take. 1. Kate doesn't like to get dressed, so to have to do it an extra time was a little bit painful. 2. She doesn't want to pose/smile/hold still for anything!

The pattern was a lot of fun to sew and the directions were really straightforward. I used a double-needle for the first time--I didn't even know there was such a thing--for the top stitching with peach thread to match the peach buttons. I'm happy that this is done and it fits! Now I'm thinking about making a yo-yo into a hair bow with some of the fabric scraps. We'll see if I can fit my belly in front of the sewing machine.

Friday, February 6, 2009

easy pillows

My energy for sewing projects is definitely waning, however I do have a few I want to get finished before this baby comes. These pillows have been on my list for a while and they were a quick, one evening, gratifying project that I should have done much earlier! I bought the fabric back in October at my visit to Purl Patchwork and really love it. I made the pillows myself out of muslin and batting which actually made constructing the pillowcases even easier than using pre-made pillows because I was able to cut the fabric all together, just making the case fabric a 1/2 inch or so bigger. I've used this template before from this book and love it. It's easy, looks nice, requires no zippers, yet can be removed to wash. I made one pillow for the rocking chair (that already gets it's fair share of use) and one little one for Kate's crib that is slowly becoming a big girl bed. They are already nice and wrinkled and worn in, and my back feels much better!
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Saturday, January 31, 2009

creating in the kitchen

When Paul and I were in San Francisco we visited Tartine Bakery and quickly understood why it was so crowded. Tartine is a small shop that sells pastries and sandwhiches. We ate lunch and for dessert decided to try something different than we would usually order. Paul had a coconut macaroon and I had an almond rocher that was so tasty I bought the cookbook because it had the recipe in it! It's a simple little cookie that while a little strange looking, is really tasty and actually pretty easy to make.
I made some of the rochers (a fancy french word pronounced ro-shares) for Kate's party and then decided to use the new tart pan I got for Christmas to try my very first tart--chocolate hazelnut, also from the Tartine cookbook. It was delicious and worth the effort of peeling the skins off the hazelnuts (although next time I'll try to buy ones that are already peeled!) So far I'm loving the cookbook and dreaming about becoming a pastry chef and opening a shop of my own. It sounds romantic, although being around delicious pastries all day probably isn't the best thing for the waistline.

Another Christmas gift I received was a fancy cookie cutter meant to be used to make edible bouquets--similar to the ones they charge $50 for! You can find a video here with instructions, it was surprisingly simple to make and comes together at the end. While making it I kept thinking I was just going to have to give up and throw everything together in a bowl for fruit salad, but in the end, it turned out ok. It's fun for kids to look at and I think Kate may have eaten more fruit than usual because it looked so "fancy".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

toddler's placemat

Kate loves to help around the house and is getting quite good at some tasks. She helps to set the table but doesn't seem to know where to put things, so the forks or spoons just end up in one big pile in the middle of the table. I've seen place mats similar to these before and thought it would be easy enough to make one up with materials I had on had. I went with oilcloth for easy cleanup, it just wipes clean! I used pinking shears around the edges and used a plate, fork, cup and spoon to trace around. I then used the bright blue thread and did a wide zig zag stitch around the tracing so it would stand out a bit. It has really helped Kate figure out where to put things and it's now a little game. You could use regular fabric for this and some embroidery thread, or just fabric markers--the only downside being if your toddler is as messy as mine you'd have to wash it after every meal! See here for more examples.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Animal Puppets

I found these pictures on my computer and thought I would share these easy puppets with you. There isn't much to write about--I saw some in a Land of Nod catalog and they looked easy enough to copy, and they were. I used felt (try and get the good stuff with some real wool in it) and drew patterns on paper before tracing and cutting out the fabric. I gave these to a few of Kate's little friends for Christmas as well as my nieces and nephew to go along with the puppet theater. The possibilities with these guys are endless!
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Old McDonald

Kate loves animals. Some animal noises were some of her first words. She loves looking at pictures of animals, trying to find cats and birds out the window and singing Old McDonald. I saw a tutorial for a fabric barn or dollhouse a while back and decided to make it for her birthday. I can remember having these types of fabric playhouses when I was little and thought she might like the idea that it could also be a purse. We gave it to her on Saturday and she has loved it. She lines the animals up in her barn and makes their noises. She carries it around and says she's going shopping with her animals. It's been a lot of fun. I'm especially happy that she likes it because it wasn't the easiest project to do. Now that I've done it once, the next time will be a lot easier (if there is a next time) but if you attempt this project and get a little frustrated, just know I did too. :) It was nice to be able to use fabric I already had making it a somewhat "free" birthday present. There is just the time part... it did take some!
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Puppet Theatre

This was a fun and easy project I did for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. I got the idea and instructions from the Bend the Rules Sewing book and it basically consisted of sewing long, straight lines. I think my favorite part of this puppet theatre is that it rolls up into a nice compact bag. I'm becoming more aware of the amount of "stuff" kids can generate, so it's nice to have something that doesn't take up a ton of space! This is the first project I've done from the book and the instructions were really easy to follow. Maybe next year Kate and baby sister will be getting this for Christmas...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a family tree

I made this family tree as a Christmas gift for my grandparents and one for myself as well. I got the idea here and it doesn't need too much explaining. I bought heavy card stock at Joanne's and traced out the trunk and leaves. I included first, middle and last names and left a few blank for the babies on the way. It's pretty simple, but I think it would look great on a wall next to a bunch of other framed photography. Family photos would be perfect. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Quick, easy magnets

I made these magnets for Kate to give to some of her aunts and uncles and great grandparents. It was a quick and easy project that was fun and could be adapted to make magnets with different things besides pictures, like pretty paper or pictures from magazines. I got the idea from my friend Becca and then came up with the idea to give them in old Altoids tins. There isn't much to the magnets, I found the big glass beads in the home decor section at Target. I think they are meant for candlescaping or fake flower arrangements. I bought the heavy duty 3/4 inch magnets from Michael's as well as the crafters goop glue (which works great, just smells toxic. I did these outside because I didn't want the fumes in the house.) Just cut out the pictures (which I re sized in photoshop) glue to the glass bead and then glue the magnet on the back. One tip-- I learned the hard way that if you spread the glue around on the bead before putting the picture on it, it will leave little air bubbles between the picture and the bead. Not a huge deal, but if you put a big drop of glue in the middle of the bead, don't spread it just put the picture on it and it will spread itself, you can avoid the air bubbles. Make sense?