Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baby Bow Ties - For the dauper little gentleman in your life

A friend had a baby shower coming up and I noticed she had pinned a picture of a onesie with changeable bow ties.  After a quick search I was able to find a tutorial here.

Basically you sew and glue a rectangular piece of fabric to resemble a bow tie.  Then you sew two snap backs to a onesie, and the other part of the snaps to the backs of the bow ties.

This was a nice simple project that actually involved a minimal amount of sewing.  If you can sew a straight line, you are set!  While I used a machine, it could easily be done by hand as well.

It also let me break out the hot glue gun! (And, as an added bonus, I didn't burn my fingers!)

Another great thing about this project is it's a great way to use up small amounts of fabric!  While the tutorial does give measurements, there is a certain amount of freedom to make the bow ties bigger or smaller.  Also, since I created several bow ties, I was left with several snap backs with no mates.  As the tutorial above suggested, I attached the remaining snaps to the gift with a note that they could be sewn on to bigger size onesies as the baby grew.

And here is the completed project along with the wrapping! (The teal bow tie is definitely my favorite)

If I were to do this project again, I think I would take the time to figure out a way to completely sew the bow ties so that they would be a little more sturdy and washable.  However, I was impressed with how well they came out with the hot glue.  This project would be great it you also included a little sweater or blazer to go along with the onesie.

One of the biggest pros is that it can be whipped up quickly and, if you are into sewing, you probably have most of the materials on hand already.  (With everyone and their brother having babies lately I even have a stash of white onesies on hand!)  Also, the learning curve is quick.  I only had to scrap the first one because it didn't look quite right.  After that, it was easy.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pretty enough for a Mushroom Kingdom Princess

It is amazing how quickly time passes! Sadly, nothing of note happened outside of the day to day chores, so there hasn't been much to blog about. But yesterday I got back on the crafting wagon!

Shortly after I returned from vacation, I decided to sew a dress for my friend's daughter.  I used New Look pattern 0156 (though now the website lists the number as 6970).  The pattern is simple and relatively cheap; coming in just under $5. Plus, I already have used the pattern twice before to make dresses for Lily, so I knew I could finish it in a night or two.

After showing my friend the dress, I told her I may add a deer or a hedgehog applique to go with the cute mushroom fabric.

She mentioned the mushrooms reminded her of Mario. From there we decided that Toadette would be a cute idea.

The only problem with Toadette was a felt applique would involve too many layers.  And there was where my crafting hit a small roadblock until I could come up with the best way to execute it.  I decided that freezer paper stenciling would keep the design crisp and clear without adding bulk.  I had done freezer stenciling in the past, but never multiple colors and layers. But, thanks to my 8th grade art class where we did printmaking, I had an idea how to do it.  Basically it involves painting each color on separately. I won't get into the details of freezer paper stenciling, but you can find the same tutorial I used here.

First layer
To help speed things along, I used a hair dryer between layers to aid the drying process.  I did have a little trouble with the freezer paper lifting some of the paint I had previously put down, but that may have been avoided if I had allowed the paint to dry properly. Thankfully, it was all easy to touch up by hand.

Almost done!
The most difficult part was the black outline. The bottle that the paint came in made the lines too thick and uneven, so I had to use a toothpick.
Seriously, this took awhile...

It was a time consuming task, but I am quite happy with how it came out.  My only hope is that it holds up after a few washes.

I was so pleased with the results, I decided to make a Yoshi egg for a headband.  My friend already has the barrette and headband, so I will glue or sew it on once I get it from her.

While it was a little more work than I originally thought, I'm really glad my friend suggested the "geekier" route. I had a lot of fun creating this dress, and it inspired me with several other geek projects to try later on!

Friday, February 15, 2013

How do I use this French washing machine?!?

While on vacation, my clothing supply had finally dwindled down to a few items. I knew this would happen when I packed, because I had to share my luggage space with my daughter. I also knew that the place we were staying had a washing machine. The only set back? Everything is in French.

However, this is the day and age of Google, so I figured it should be no problem. I proceeded to Google "Viva Electroniqué 1200 instructions in English" and received very few helpful results. In my frustration, I finally Googled "How do I use this French washing machine?" which FINALLY yielded some useful information.

So, with iPhone in hand, I embarked on operating this strange contraption. It was the most nerve wrecking 2 hours of my vacation (yes, it takes their machines that long) as I checked the kitchen every 15 minutes expecting to see the whole place flooded. After a spin cycle that sounded like a jet taking off, I was finally able to remove my clothes. Success!!

Thankfully the dryer was much more low tech.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Paper Crafts

I don't usually go crazy over Valentine's Day gifts.  However, this year I am on vacation with my husband and his family, so I decided to make a little gift for everyone.  Thankfully, I thought of this before we left, so it gave me time to make sure it fit the following criteria:
  • The items would have to be small since it needed to fit in my luggage, which was already overflowing with my daughter's stuff as well as mine.
  • The item had to be able to withstand the cold of flying, and the heat of the tropics - chocolate was OUT.
  • It had to be simple and appropriate for both males and females ranging from mid-20s to mid-50s
While I searched for fun Valentine crafts that weren't too cheesy or over-involved, I ran across this tutorial for crocheted hearts:


I quickly whipped up five little hearts in some pink crochet thread:

They were cute, but obviously I was looking for a little something more.  I started looking around on Pinterest and found a pin filled with cute boxes folded out of craft paper.  After a quick internet search, I came across a box that was simple enough for a beginner to make, but still somewhat fancy.  Sadly I lost the link, otherwise I would post it.  I could then fill the boxes with those conversation hearts which are a lot harder to melt than chocolate!  (The best part?  Walmart had a five pack for just a dollar!)

First I printed and cut out the template from the internet.  I picked a few fun sheets of craft paper and traced the outline on the back:

After cutting them out, I tried my hand at "scoring" the backs so that they folded neater.  However, this pattern was simple enough I probably could have just used a straight edge to fold them.

And here is the final result!

The best part is, I was able to flatten the boxes down and tuck them in a book to be assembled once we arrive!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shopping Hippie Style

I use reusable grocery bags.  I would like to say it's because I am "green", but mostly it is because reusable bags hold more weight and are easier to carry.

I decided that making a reusable bag could be a perfect "small project" to make.  I used a tutorial over at Craftster.org that I have had bookmarked for awhile now - http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=177482.0
(On a side note, Craftster is a great place to find tutorials, show off your skills, and ask for advise.  I highly recommend it.)

The good news is, I had plenty of fabric in my stash. The nearest fabric store is about 40 minutes away from my house.  When I do finally get there, I tend to buy random fabric, even if I don't have a project in mind at the time.  This is one of those fabrics:

Seriously... I'm not sure what I was thinking.  Maybe I was feeling retro that day?  Whatever happened, I apparently thought I needed two yards of this stuff.  I really don't see myself using it for any article of clothing, even for my daughter,

Here is the completed project:
In this case I think the retro print is a nice touch. It goes with the whole "save the environment" feel.

 One of the neat features, is that the bag has the ability to fold into the pocket on the front like this:
It's not exactly "small"; folded up it measures about 5" x 7". This makes it slightly larger than "purse sized" like some of the cheaper nylon bags they sell, but it is certainly a good size for a glove compartment.  That way you always have it on hand when you go shopping.

Overall this was a good project. I learned how to sew a French seam and now have a brand new grocery bag that is a little more stylish that the utilitarian ones I bought at the store.

Here are some of the takeaways from the project:
  • The instruction can be a little confusing.  The poster did detail it step by step, but I found some of the verbiage confusing.  (Then again, that could just be me.)
  • Since you use a plastic bag as a template, expect your grocery bag to be slightly smaller than the average bag, unless you account for the seam allowance.  I didn't think about this until after the fact.
  • I would add another top stitch seam for the pocket. It takes a little bit of force to fold the bag up and the extra stitching would help the pocket stay in better shape for longer.
  • Make sure your machine is up to the challenge.  By the end you are sewing through 8 layer of fabric in some parts. I ended up busting a needle and having to switch to a thicker one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ok 2013... let's do this

I have wanted to start a blog for quite some time now.  In my typical fashion, I wanted to have it all mapped out before I started, but couldn't figure out what I wanted my blog to be about. My first reaction was to blog about my daughter or maybe about crafting, but there are seriously MILLIONS of those out there. I enjoy reading, but don't read often enough to get into book reviews.

As we enter 2013, I've decided to just wing it. So, there's no predicting which direction, if any, this blog will take.  (Apologies in advance to any poor reader who is driven nuts by this.)  Until I find my direction, please bear with me and thank you in advance for reading!