Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Felt Up

Have I used that title before?  It feels recycled.

Anyhoo, I stopped by Treadle Yard Goods this weekend for some fabric shopping for Christmas gifts.  Before I could even settle on anything, my eye was drawn to these gorgeous heathered pieces of felt.

That blue one is the one that drew my attention.  So vibrant with the flecks of color.  

I hope to incorporate them into my Fairy Felt Book (if that thing ever gets done before the girls go off to college).

I was so distracted by my felt find that I didn't get all of the fabric that I needed and had to go back the next day.  Here's what I got during that first round:

I really like that blue animal one.  Very fun and much more vivid in person.

Monday, November 24, 2014


This is the scene that awaited me on Saturday during naptime:

I abandoned this last 10 inch stretch of sewing last Sunday when I realized that I'd forgotten to close the gate at the top of the stairs and Miss Z was announcing her intention to go down the stairs on her own.  

Blah.  This bit brought the apron I mentioned last week to 95% completion. I need to serge these exposed seams, pluck out the red gathering stitches, and it will be dippity-do-done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

For the Messes

Sometimes things that say washable paint or washable markers are not really all that washable.  I was tired of paint on the bellies of shirts, so I decided to make a little painter's apron for the kiddo.  I used some very loud, very 80's fabric that my mom sent me as part of her Great Purge.  It is really loud, so I apologize if your eyes have been assaulted after viewing it.
See...with that apron fabric combined with the floral curtains and the polka dot shirt, your eyes are assaulted.   The apron is a tad big at the neck, but it served its purpose, so I'm not fretting about that.  
Bias tape was used along the armholes and for the neck and waist straps.  Because it is that plastic coated fabric, I didn't need to finish any of the other edges.
That's my dragon that she's messing with!  Little stinker.

And check out the apron bib:
She kept wiping her hands across her chest, so that's good that it worked.  At the end of our painting session I just wiped the thing down.  Easy.

Ugh...that fabric.  I still have a few yards (!) of it.  What am I going to do??

Monday, November 17, 2014


I have these zodiac embroidery patterns and I intend to make a set, but I first had to figure out how to transfer the pattern, which prints out on regular printer paper.  I remembered that I have these transfer tools in my sewing toolbox, but I've never used them:
Check out that blue thing:
Bonkers.  That's my fabric, too.  It's black denim and I'm not quite sure if it is the right choice.  I used some of the yellow chalky transfer paper from one of the older Dritz kits.  I tried to do all the markings and it was a mess, so then I just did the stars of the pattern and this was the result:
That may be the way to go.  I'm not sure.  Also, I picked up some nice pearl cotton thread (or whatever it's called) and I think I'll use that instead of regular embroidery floss.  It's so luxurious.  I picked up a thing of cream, but I'm not sure if that's the right color.  

Friday, November 14, 2014


I've been tasked with making a matching apron to this one for my niece, but there's a slight problem.  The original apron is mainly blue with a green accent and yellow binding.  Unfortunately, the blue fabric looks like this:
Most patterns want me to cut the apron out on the fold.  Do you see my fold?  It's that small bit of fabric in the bottom right.  Stinker.  So I think I need to rethink the state of matchiness on that apron.  Maybe the main fabric could be the green?  I don't know.  I need to figure it out.

Another option (maybe for when she grows out of the toddler apron) would be to make matching aprons at the same time with the right amount of yardage for both.  I also have patterns for 18" doll aprons, so I could also make a matching apron for her doll.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Slovenly Sleek (aka Shabby Chic)

A week before I found I was pregnant, I picked up a cabinet at an antique shop with the intention of refinishing it.  It was yellow and had clearly been shabby chic-ified to show a layer of green paint.  I am not a fan of shabby chic.   It also had a bit of a funky smell to it and a layer of parchment stuck to each shelf.  In short:  it was a mess.

So, like I said, I was pregnant and I figured that stripping and painting the cabinet would not be a good idea.  I stuck it in the garage and it sat there until yesterday, when I came to the conclusion that I will not have time to refinish this thing until the baby goes off to college.  I moved it into the craft room.  It still has a little bit of a smell, but it's not unbearable.  The parchment is still stuck to the shelves, but I can live with that.  And it is still shabby chic.  Boo.

Here are the pictures:
 Can you see the parchment?
I've decided that pattern storage is the way to go.  My patterns have been stored in this suitcase and this box:

The suitcase is actually a bit busted.  I had it open while perusing the patterns and THE CAT (the one seen above on the yellow cabinet) jumped on the lid and completely tore it off the hinges.  Bummer.  It still closes with the locks, but it's not very secure.  I need to find a use for it that does not involve opening it a lot.

Anyhoo, I transferred all of the patterns to the cabinet.  It's not the best system, because, as I have since discovered, every time I open the door some slide out, but until I get some old school metal bookends (or maybe some sort of tension rod?), this will have to do:
I've organized them as follows:  vintage, womens, costumes, kids, other (bags, aprons, housestuff).

There were a few loose pattern pieces and I've stuck them in a folder until I can find time to put them to their rightful envelope.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kitty, X, and Z

Here's an update to the girls' room.  Well, technically, it is only a girl's room, but in six months I hope  they will both be in there.  Fingers crossed.

So two years ago the wall of mixed pictures looked like this:
It has not changed very much, but a few things have been added so that it currently looks like this:
The Minneapolis Spoon print was added last year sometime, so that doesn't feel all that new to me.  I was thinking that the newest additions included a kitty and some letters:

 My friend, Secret, made this.  She had previously sent us another piece of art as a baby gift when Z was born.  (Here's a link to her facebook page.)

I picked up these two letters at Midtown Global Market in one of their stalls.  A Z for Zelda and an X for Trixie.  I've decided that X is her signature letter.  It's so much better than a T or a B.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween Process

As promised, here are some process shots of the Halloween costumes.   Most of them were snapped with my phone, so please forgive their low quality.

First up is my failed attempt at crafting the unique design of an acorn onto the beret.  Absolute junk.  
That's really the only photo of the acorn process.  

As for the squirrel, here is the pattern that I drafted for the tail.
I just opened up a paper bag and drew out a tail.  I had Z on the floor next to it in order to figure out scale.  It worked.  At first, I was just going to sew the two side pieces together, but then I started to think about gussets.  I just ended up cutting two long, tapered rectangles and it made the whole thing fill out a lot better.

Here is a naked tail.  I had not yet wrapped it with yarn.  You can see the seams.  It's rather bulbous and weird looking.  I would have made the top part fatter, but I didn't buy enough felt for mistakes.
Are those my feet?  Bah!  I hate when they sneak into photos.
That's pretty much it.  Now that Halloween is done I have to think about two to three upcoming birthdays and Christmas.  I have ideas for some of the stuff, but have not made much progress.  The Baby has not been sleeping well for a couple weeks.  I've been exhausted and have not done any work in my craft room.  I'm taking Monday off and Tuesday's a holiday, so hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a bunch of hours of crafting.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Squirrel and Nut

Sometime in September we had a lovely weekend, so we took a walk to the tot lot down the street.  At the park there was the boldest little squirrel.  He came right up to our bench and I was inspired by his fluffy tail.  It was then that I started talking to Z about being a squirrel for Halloween.  She was all for it.  She even learned a little squirrel impression by bringing her fingers (and a pretend acorn) up to her mouth for nibblings.   And then my husband came up with the companion costume:  Miss Trix as an acorn!  

Maybe Miss Trix had other ideas.

Anyway, it's always my goal to use up what I have already have on hand.  I had light brown felt for the acorn hat, stuffing for the tail innards, and baby clothing to dye.  I did not have dye, gray felt, yarn, or gray sweatshirt.  I found the sweatshirt at Target the weekend before Halloween, a packet of dye from Wet Paint, and the rest came from JoAnn's.

For the acorn cap I used a pattern out of a book called Sweet Booties! by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader.  (I've previously used this book for bibs only, I think.)  Because I was using brown felt, I was able to skip a number of steps in the pattern (especially all the lining steps).  
I then zigzagged around the stem for the acorn pattern.  I tried another technique, but it was completely botched.  Maybe I'll post my crap attempt on Wednesday.  Easy.  I think the whole thing took an hour, if that.  

Another hour, another day:  White clothing turned brown using a packet of iDye.
The color came out great in a rich chestnut brown.  See for yourself:
Well, maybe she came around to the idea of being a little nut!

As for that little squirrel, I had no pattern.  That's right.  I made that tail without any sort of assistance.  I sketched out a squirrel tail on a brown paper bag and cut it out of the gray felt.  I considered gussets to give it a little more oomph and to have it rest flat against her back.  And, of course, I didn't take any process shots.   Maybe I'll look on my phone and post any I find along with the crap cap on Wednesday.

I didn't want to use fake fur for a number of reasons, the first of which involves hours upon hours of wiping clipped faux fur from my clothing for weeks after exiting the craft room.  Blah to that.  The second reason belonged to my muse squirrel's tail, which was fluffy and wispy.  I wanted to recreate that in a way that the faux fur would not be able to replicate.  So I did a mental inventory of craft store supplies and decided upon that decorative yarn that has all those soft, silk strands popping off of it.  I don't know what it is called.  I then wrapped the yarn around the tail...actually, two strands of yarn were wrapped around it -- one in white and one in a gray-white-black blend, which resulted in a pretty accurate representation of my muse squirrels coloring.

A simple blanket stitch around the white tummy area worked out just fine.  I also whipped up little ears
I made the straps and the waistband last.  The straps start at the shoulders, cross on her chest, and then end at a snap

I think she was pretty happy with it, but it was hard for her to sit, so it kept coming off.  The strands of yarn made it through the trick or treating, but they are practically dragging on the ground at this point.  I'm going to unravel them from the costume and send the yarn to my mom for her projects.

Anyway, speaking of trick or treating, I made a special nutbag to as treat bag.  My best friend always makes up a themed trick or treat bag to go along with her kids' costumes, so I decided to follow her lead.  So simple.  I didn't use a pattern for this, because it's basically three trianglish shaped panels with some dark brown rectangles sewn onto them. I used that same zig zag approach to represent the acorn cap.  
I'm pretty happy with these efforts.  Yay for Halloween!