Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tea Towels

I found two very similar embellished tea towel ideas on Pinterest (it really is my new Google for crafting and cooking).  One used 2.5" squares (from Crazy Mom Quilts) and the other was more loosey-goosey with the sizing of the patchwork (from Film in the Fridge).  I found some cotton tea towels at Ace Hardware and got to work on an afternoon when I had to stay at home with a sick kid.

Forgive my wrinkles...Everything got rolled up in the end and it seemed silly to iron it just for pictures. 
These two were used using the 2.5" square method.  I sewed strips that were 10" x 2.5" and then cut them down to size.  That was pretty easy.

I had some pre-made strips from a quilt that I made a number of years ago, so I also used that for a few of the towels.
I made a total of nine tea towels and gave some of them away as teacher gifts.  I never know what to do for that sort of thing.

Rolled up they aren't so wrinkly:


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Gift Baggage

This year Book Club got together for a napkin-making sweatshop and a wedding bunting-making sweatshop.  We rounded out the year with a gift baggage-making sweatshop earlier this month.  I neglected to take photos of the day as it progressed, but we ended up making about ten lined drawstring bags.

 We used this fun candy cane fabric and some poinsettia fabric, both of which were picked up for cheap at the Textile Center Garage Sale (I really do love that sale).  
They were lined with random greens and some fabric that felt like an old sheet.
After the sweatshop, I made a ton of bags with the remainder of the fabric.  I actually focused on bags more than anything else.  I don't know why I always get more excited about making gift bags than I do about making actual gifts.

If you'll notice, I also hand-crafted some gift tags.  I set up a little station at our dining room table and asked the girls to make colored thumbprints on blank tags.  Yeah, well, no one wanted to cooperate with that.  Trix ended up howling because Z did her thumb first and then would not stop crying.  I forget what made Zelda cry, but she did.  I think I cried, as well.  

I'd brought my serger to the sweatshop, but had forgotten to re-install some stitch arm that I had removed for the rolled hem of the napkins.  Once I was home, I put that back in and was able to use my serger on some of these bags.
 This was inspired by a Design-Sponge post on envelope gift bags.  I didn't make them as boxy as theirs.  I like to use the serger on smaller bags that I don't have to line or when I don't want to make a casing.  I just folded over the edge and tied it with a ribbon.
 Sometimes I stitched a ribbon to the back of the bag, too.  I wasn't so skilled at making a squared corner with my serger, so this one got a rounded corner.  It's not very pretty, though.
The Design-Sponge post used decorative serger thread.  I don't have any of that.  Maybe next year.

When I was visiting family over Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law said that she has really liked reusing the fabric gift bags that I have sent over the years.  When I was preparing their package, I grabbed a few extra bags, rolled them up, and shoved them in the box for her.  

Friday, December 29, 2017

Shaggy Baggy

In addition to Christmas gifts, I also owed one of my nieces a birthday gift...from early December.  I did not plan very well and just ended up sending it with the Christmas box.  Oh well.  I had picked up an assortment of things for her, so I thought I'd make her a sparkly purse in her favorite color...purple.

I found a pattern on Pinterest (of course), which was aptly named "Little Girl Bag."   It was a super fast project.  I used some of those shaggy purple remnants that I bought at the Textile Center Garage Sale (where else?!?!) and an Asian-themed fabric I already had in my stash.

Ugh.  That wall color.  It's not very pretty is it?  It's what came with the house.  Maybe this spring I'll get in there and paint it a pretty gray.  


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cars and Aprons

One of my nephews also outgrew his old kid apron, so his mom suggested a new apron for Christmas.  His little brother had never received an apron and could have worn the old one, but he should have his own, right?  So two more aprons were in the works this Christmas.  What's that?  Five total?  So many.  

His mom had suggested maybe some onion fabric for the older nephew.  None of that was in my stash, so I went to Treadle Yard Goods and didn't see much in the way of food-themed fabric.  I suppose I could have driven to the next town over or ordered some online, but I decided to just pick something at Treadle. 

That kiddo loves cars.  Like crazy loves cars and I think I've given him a car-related gift every single birthday and Christmas.  Why break with tradition?
 Cars and stop signs and whatnots.  I thought it was cute.  The gray was in my stash and I almost didn't put a pocket in, but those I surveyed said it should have a pocket.
The other nephew is nicknamed "Dozer," short for bulldozer and, as luck would have it, Treadle had some appropriately themed fabric for his apron.
The orange fabric was given to me by my mother-in-law.  It doesn't exactly match the construction cones on the fabric (they are red), but I thought this worked.
The pattern was from McCalls (#M5551) and I already had it in my collection.  It's pretty simple and both came together fairly quickly.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Frills and Flounces

My niece has outgrown her old apron and her mom said she likes things that are very girly, which to me means ruffles.  I detest making things with gathering stitches, because I am not very good at it and the thread always rips mid-gather, yet I keep subjecting myself to this task.  So, of course, I chose a pattern that had five rows of ruffles.  I like to torture myself, I think.

In the end, it was not as bad as I thought it would be and none of the stitches broke.  
After I made this, I thought that this was the prettiest apron I've ever made.  I love how it all came together.  I was savvy enough to plan a centered floral motif on the bib.  I was very proud of myself for that bit of foresight.  The bib fabric, the green, the white, and the pink ruffles were all from the Textile Center Garage Sale.  Everything was on hand, which was great.  
Ruffles:
And I got to use my serger...
Since this was relatively easy, I decided to torture myself with two more of these aprons for my own girls.  I've actually never made them any aprons.  I feel like my focus is always on things for other people at Christmas, so I was glad to squeeze these two in.  I made them both on Christmas Eve - when I was feeling pretty nauseous.  I really don't know how I managed to do it.

For Miss Trix:
 So pretty!   This pattern really is perfect.   One of the tricks to making this go quicker was to use the same color thread throughout.  It takes too much time to change threads and bobbin colors all the time.  I also used the selvedges as much as possible and didn't have to hem some of the fabrics.
 I can't decide if the gray is a bunch of falling leaves or falling feathers.  I think leaves?  It's vintage and it also came from the Textile Center Garage Sale.

For Z, I chose a remnant that was also picked up at the Textile Center Garage Sale for the bib, a flounce, and the neck ties.  It was oddly shaped and really wasn't going to be good for much, but it worked out for this.
This apron is so pretty, as well.  The white polka dots also came from that Garage Sale.  The black polka dots I've had forever and actually made a dress out of (that I have since donated to the Goodwill).  None of the oranges match -- from the strawberries to the dots on the white to the orange flounce.  Oh well.  
I think I could have planned the bib placement a little better.  That snippet of white between the black stripe and the waistband is awkward.

Final ruffles!  See what I mean about the oranges?  
So there you go.  Three aprons.  Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Last I Spy Quilts

The hardest part for these I Spy quilts has been finding 48 unique squares for each blanket. I think I've mentioned that before.  These last two blankets make eight total I Spy quilts that I have made over the last five years....that's a lot of squares.  I picked up one "Eden" set of I Spy charm squares from Crafterhours and split it between the two blankets, but still had to make up the remainder out of my own stash and/or donated squares from friends.  I probably could have made these last Christmas, actually, but didn't...general sewing fatigue, I think.  I started them just around Thanksgiving this year.

Here's the first one for my nephew:
Donated squares are side by side on this blanket (lady bugs and citrus...thanks, Rin!).  And don't look at my corners.  Very sloppy, I know.
You can totally see how crooked these squares are...look at the knots.  They are totally off.  This has happened on every blanket I've made.  I can't figure it out.  I suck.
As for the backing and binding, I caved and went to Treadle Yard Goods instead of using fabric from my stash, which is always my goal.  I found the backing on the 40% off rack at least.
Then we have my daughter's blanket.  I finished it on Christmas Day.  I wanted to finish it the day before, but I felt nauseous all day and passed out at 8pm.  
 Flamingoes from her dress!
 The backing on this one has been in my stash for eight years or so now.  I made an apron out of it and really only needed half a yard at the time, but bought over two yards.  I don't know why.  I was so new to sewing and had no idea what I was doing.  Of course, I can still make that mistake -- I am currently in possession of an extra yard of car fabric.  Ugh.
I mentioned that I got the squares from Crafterhours.  They got them from Spoonflower and I've noticed that the Spoonflower fabrics fade a lot faster than other cottons.  I compared this quilt to the one for her older sister.  The older one has faded a lot.  Did it also shrink?  Their bottom edges are lined up:
 Here they are together:
That's nuts.  Did I do something wrong on that first one?  Measure incorrectly?  Larger seam allowances?  Or has it just shrunk with each washing?

Anyway, Miss Trix is very pleased with her blanket.  She snuggled under it to watch Moana yesterday, played I Spy With My Little Eye a bunch of times, and snuggled with it again at bedtime.  She asked if she could keep it forever and ever.  Cockles warmed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Unicorns and Sadness

The one kid wanted to be Elsa-Anna (from Frozen) and the other wanted to be Tinkerbelle.  I suppose had I been a good mother, I would have agreed to those two selections and made them into Disney characters for Halloween.  Instead, I added some pictures to Pinterest of costumes I wanted to make instead and manipulated them into choosing something to my liking.  I am a bad mother.

(In my defense - they could be Elsa-Anna any old day of the week and Tinkerbelle's costume is too skimpy for Minnesota Halloweens.)

Also, before we go any further, please note that they would not cooperate for photos, so don't expect some charming photos of the two of them.  One was a rainbow unicorn and the other was a pink unicorn.  They chose their own colors at the craft store.  I used gray sweatshirts and leggings as the base and built the unicorns upon that.
The horns are made of felt with some gold-silver braiding.  I found some elastic headbands at the dollar store and sewed the horns to the headbands.  The manes were pretty simple to make.  I braided some yarn and then tied bunches of yarn to the braid.  Then I hand sewed the braids to the hoods.
The manes were heavy and made the hoods fall down quite a bit.  It was frustrating (see below) but I took some hair clips and clipped them to the headbands.  It worked. 

The two tails are different.  The rainbow one was just long strands looped together and sewed onto an elastic waistband.  The pink one was a braid and I tried to tie different bunches of yarn in varying lengths to it.  It's not my favorite.
Pink unicorn!
And tears:
This is as close as I could get to cooperation:
You noticed the snow, did you?  Yeah, that was last Friday's gift.  It melted by Halloween night, but it was pretty nipply outside.  What was it?  30 degrees?  Brrrrr.  I made them wear their fleeces under the sweatshirts and that worked perfectly.

I also had on a few layers:
Sadness!