Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick (Toy) Storage Bag


A little rough around the edges, but this design does the trick, nu?


These serviceable additions to the toy room were whipped up in record time. One of mine took about an hour from start to finish, but I am not the speediest sewer in the club.



This is not the best picture in the world, but here is something to give you the general idea of how it's constructed.


Part of me wishes the bags were see-through, but then again...out of sight, out of mind.

Wouldn't it be terribly cool to make them out of canvas or denim and take fabric paint and stencil the outside of the bag with the contents of the bag, such as "BLOCKS" or "DOLLS" or what-have-you?

Hmmmm.  You know what I'm thinking about now?  Reusable Christmas wrapping bags...



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Felt Mitten Ornaments (A felt over-share, perhaps?)



Okay, okay, I know you have seen enough felt for peppermint's sake!

But since that's what on the menu this week, you get to see more. more. more. felt ornaments!

Mittens this time.

It all started with some of these...


Garnished with a bit of this and a bit of that...

(remember that bin of trims from way back?)


And sewn all together with love... 








If you make some (and how could you not after witnessing their cuteness?) don't forget the name and date on the back.

It's all in the details, my friends.  All in the details.

P.S. My inspiration came from these mitten ornaments on Etsy which are MUCH cuter.   I love the colors you can get in wool felt!
P.S.S. Family members who read this blog may or may not be getting something similar to this....however, if I know you follow....your's isn't here :o)

Today Is A Day To Regroup

In this house, today...


:: I will set aside needles and thread and projects for a moment.


:: I will find the bottom of my kitchen sink.

:: I will breathe in the smell of clean sheets as I tuck them around my bed.



:: I will sit this baby belly down on the floor and build block towers.


:: I will clothe the little naked ones running rampant around the house.


:: I will play music.


:: I will light a candle.


:: I will make a space in my heart to pray.

From my house to yours - have a blessed Tuesday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Collecting Inspiration In Evernote


If you haven't heard of it, Evernote is a rather fascinating free online service where you can journal or take notes or 'clip' things off of the web.

It's PERFECT, and let me say it again, PERFECT for storing sewing ideas while browsing online.  I consider it my online version of snipping pages out of a magazine.

There is a little bookmark/logo thing you can install at the top of your browser and when you see a webpage or a picture that inspires you, all you have to do is click on the logo and "Clip to Evernote."  You can clip the whole page or just the pic and web address.  You can add comments.  You can choose what 'folder' to put it in and sort it or what-have-you.

Needless to say, as I've browsed around this Christmas, I've created a "Christmas 2011" folder in Evernote and clipped away to my little heart's content.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sequins and Ornaments? Yes Please.


There was some kid crafting going on in our house yesterday involving sequins (and apparently long blonde hair) which got me to thinking about all of the vintage felt ornaments out there decorated with sequins and beads.



Seeing as I have a couple more ornaments on my gift giving list this year, I thought I'd take a 21st century go at it.

I was just going to use a little bit of bling.  Maybe a row of sequins?  Maybe a few scattered here and there? After all, my subject was only three inches tall.


But then I got started.
And perhaps a wee bit carried away.


I simply had no idea how satisfying it is to hand sew magenta sequins.

You should try it.  Your life will never be the same.

And while you are at it, embroider the year and name of the recipient on the back of the ornament.


What's a homemade gift without that personal touch?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Help With Hand Stitching

Just came across this great blog with photo illustrations on how to do embroidery stitches.

It's called Stitch School.  Love it!

Second Installment of China Cozies



Whenever my older sister and I sew gifts for my mother, the gifts always come in installments.  Like the time we started a Christmas quilt and only managed to put together a few squares before the 25th.  Yeah, we wrapped up the squares with an IOU.  I think my mom finished it herself fifteen years later or something.

Anywho, if you recall, this spring I started a set of china cozies which I'm attempting to add to this Christmas. Great idea, huh?  Well it was until I realized that I live a state away now and I don't have access to the china cabinet!  No matter, I put my sister on recon over Thanksgiving (you know, my sewing sister in crime from ages past) and got some much needed info:




Now, if only I had remembered to ask her to measure the last china cozy!  Guess these next ones will just have to march to their own paisley beat.


My four-year-old daughter helped make the bias tape yesterday with my Simplicity Bias Tape Maker.  She was all about pushing that "run" button and watching it go.  "It makes it like Cinderella's ribbons," she says.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kindle Case


If you'd like a tutorial for making a kindle, ipad, or laptop cover, you can get one here.  I used the tutorial for inspiration, but didn't follow the instructions. Feel free to drop me a line if you need help!


This case is a gift for someone with a Kindle Fire.  In order to figure out the pattern and to ensure proper fit, I found the product dimensions online and whipped up a rough replica kindle out of foam board.


If you don't want the recipient to spend too much time scratching her head wondering what the case is for, you can get all crafty classy and make a cute brown paper & twine tag that says something brilliant to the effect of "kindle case" on it.  Or, you can do what I did and slap a picture of a kindle over your foam replica.


Slip the faux kindle into the case and a gift card in the back pocket and you have yourself a nifty little package.


DIY details, in case you'd like to know:

+  To make a flap on the top (like mine) you will need 1/4 yard of fabric.  If you make the flap on the side (like the tutorial I linked to), I believe 1/3 yard will be enough.

+ I backed the teal fabric with medium weight fusible interfacing and padded the cover with "Warm and Natural" cotton batting (which is thin but more dense than poly batting).  I adjusted the ease accordingly.



+  I couldn't find my elastic cording for the button loop and wanted something to match anyway, so I used a dark brown elastic hair tie (make sure to use a new/clean one!).

+  All said and done, this was about a 3.5 hour project.  Most of the time was spent figuring out the dimensions, stopping for snacks, and fishing thread out of the Christmas tree.  With a pattern already set, I bet multiples of this project would come together in a snap.

Felt "Our 1st Christmas" Ornament


Ha!  I had a better picture, but then I realized that the stockings were reversed and read "Xmas" "1st" which just didn't quite seem right.


I think the word embroidery would have looked even more fabulous with a dark brown floss, but I didn't have any on hand.  In case you are wondering, I used craft glue on the decorations and then stitched through them for good measure.  There is also another layer of white felt on the back where I embroidered the year.


Sending this silly ornament out to my little brother and his new wife in Cali (along with the retro apron).  If you could see a picture of them, you would totally understand the mustache and the cat eyes.

My inspiration came from this:



Silly, silly, silly.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Baby Jesus Ornaments

Confession.  I've already made three of these little baby Jesus ornaments, which you can find the tute for here.  

photo source
The happy face is my favorite.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vintage Fabric Apron


Isn't this fabric delightful?  I'm a little bit in love.

(I put some notes about this pattern at the end of the post)

The oh-so-very retro fabric was purchased at a church bizarre.
Couldn't tell you the first thing about the fiber content, but it's delightfully heavy.


Pocket detail:


Bib embellishment:


I'm so glad there's  fabric left over!  Doesn't it just make your heart happy?


Quick notes on the See & Sew Pattern B4585
1) I shortened it about three inches
2)  I added about an inch in length to the pattern piece that holds the rings.
3) Instead of sewing the straps inside-out and turning them right-side out, I pressed them flat and sewed them with a top stitch. (much faster).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Catholic Mass Book for Little Ones

Seeing as Jesus is the reason for the season, I love to give some faith-oriented Christmas gifts but I can't always find what I'm looking for and I have to take matters into my own hands.

This year I decided to try my hand at a fabric Mass book for babies and toddlers.  It was quite a challenge to subdue the over-achiever in me with this project because it was so much fun!!!

Here, we have the front of the book:


The tan fabric you see here is a twill.  The darker color rimming the embellishments on the front is a polyester felt.  I used a fusible interfacing on the twill and quilted certain parts of the book to give the pages a little more depth.

First Page (oops, looks like some drips of water fell on it while I was taking the pictures):

Baby come to Mass, Family is here!

It says "Family is here!" to aid parents in pointing out religious pictures and statues of our spiritual family - the Saints!  I cross-stitched the wording, but I think a printed fabric would be fantastic.  The blue pocket on the right holds little felt figures of St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother Mary.  The candle represents the votive candles you would see in front of the statues in a church:


I attached the figures with elastic so that they can be played with but not lost or dropped on the floor.  As a parent, there really is nothing worse than crawling under pews in search of dropped -- or should I say, thrown? -- toys!


I used at least three layers of felt to make the figures a bit more durable.  My hope is that they will stand up to some slobbery baby chewing.

Second Page:
Come sing, come listen, come pray.

This next page is to aid parents in pointing out the ways we participate in the Mass and helps introduce the Liturgy of the Word.  The pocket holds a music note to represent singing hymns and praise, a lectionary to represent listening to the readings of the Bible, and praying hands to represent the obvious - prayer!



Last Page:

Come see!  Jesus is here!

This page is to aid parents before and during the Consecration of the Eucharist.  It says "Jesus is here!" to help introduce the Real Presence of Jesus.  The figures for this page are the chalice, the crucifix, and the host on the paten.



I didn't put anything on the back of the book, so I don't have a picture of that.

Not going to lie, this Catholic Mass Book for Little Ones was a wee bit labor intensive, but the fabrics and trims were a blast to work with and I can't be happier about the way it turned out.  My favorite part is that the book is virtually noise-free.  Yay fabric.  And as anyone who has attempted to entertain a little one during Mass can attest, a silent activity of the faith-oriented variety is a rare thing indeed!