Thursday, April 29, 2010

Being crafty

My 4 year old has a birthday party on Saturday. I tried once before to throw an actual birthday party for my oldest when she turned 3 (not one single kid showed up), and it's taken me 2 1/2 years to attempt it again. The plan was to go to the park, but the forecast is calling for thunderstorms all day (90% chance - not even worth arguing with) so we've had to move it to the house. I was really not happy about it at first. I don't like company... I'm just antisocial that way. The party was perfect in my head at the park - the kids could play, blow bubbles, we could grill some hot dogs. Now we'll be in my cramped house and the rain will prevent any grilling and we don't blow bubbles in the house (bubbles on the vinyl flooring would make for someone breaking a hip).

But I've come around. I found a link to a blog yesterday where they had a party and set up a photo booth. They put up some sheets, put the camera on a tripod and had a remote. People would just go in and snap pictures of themselves with props and being silly. It looked like so much fun. I really couldn't figure out how to make that work outside at the park, so I put it out of my head. Until this morning when I realized if we have the party at home, I can have my photo booth! I'm super stoked. I don't have a remote, but they're cheap and I'll pick one up tomorrow. I cut out some mustaches and beards and lips to use as props. It's going to be totally cool.

We can still do the other activities I had planned, too. I'm not into party games, so I decided we'd get crafty. I got some foam sheets and cut out crown shapes and the kids will get to decorate their crowns with foam stickers. These will replace party hats. Then I got some coffee filters and dyed them with food coloring to make butterflies with. I even soaked some in coffee so they'd be brownish for the boys (so they can make moths, because butterflies might seem too girly to them).

Now I'm just hoping we actually have guests with the ugly weather. Either way, we'll make sure we have fun. Even if it's just a party with family. I'll definitely post pictures and links to the blogs where I got all my ideas.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Izzy's Birthday Suit ;)

About a week ago, I ran across pictures of some Disney-inspired outfits that someone had made. They were beautiful. One was inspired by Tinkerbell, and it got me thinking... Izzy loves Tinkerbell, she has a birthday coming up (it's actually today), and she loves anything I make for her. So I decided to design my own Tinkerbell-inspired outfit for her. It's a much more literal translation than the outfit I saw before, but it's not too costume-y (I don't think so anyway).

Look at her little pot-belly full of birthday cupcakes =) She's usually not so rotund in the tummy area.

Now, the shorts are too low-waisted. I seem to have this problem when I make pants/shorts. I think I'm allowing enough for the waistband, but I never do. It's really where her pants normally sit... she's got a super long torso, but I'd like the shorts to at least meet the bottom of the smocked panel. If they ride down, they ride down... but I at least tried. So I will need to work on that sometime this week. And I might take out the smocked panel and put a slightly bigger one in... she's also very broad-shouldered and it was kind of snug going on. (Not to mention the cupcake tummy) Overall, I'm very happy with it. Very impressed with myself.

She thought it was an excellent birthday present and can't wait to wear it to her party. She'll be the (Tinker)belle of the ball!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Braelyn's Dress

I decided to make my nieces some summer dresses. I would like to introduce Braelyn's dress...

I'm really excited about how it turned out. It's two pieces because my sister-in-law had said that she would probably have the girls wear something over it if I made a halter, but I wasn't ready to tackle buttons or zippers and this was my way around it =) I love it. I can't wait to see pictures of her in it. I can't wait to find out if it even fits her.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sometimes I impress myself

I wanted to make some dresses for my nieces for the summer. They live in upstate NY and we don't see them often (like once every few years..), so I wanted to do something nice for them. I started one tonight. No pattern, no tutorial. And it's actually looking like it will be super cute. I really don't even have measurements to go on, just their dress sizes. I don't even know any kids their ages or sizes, so I looked up a sizing chart and I'm going off of those measurements. The tops are halter style that tie, so hopefully as long as I'm in the right ballpark size-wise fit won't be too big of an issue. I won't even get to see them on the girls except through pictures. I almost have the one completed and I'm excited. It will be a vast improvement on the pillowcase-style dresses they got last summer. They were cute, but I hadn't been sewing long and it was very clear. =) I'm too tired to work on it anymore tonight - I'll end up making a mistake and getting frustrated and frustrated sewing never turns out well for me. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A lot of junk in my trunk

OK, it's fabric and not junk, and technically it's not a trunk since I have a minivan. But there is a lot of it.

My brother-in-law's mother passed away last year. Apparently, she was a sewing maniac or a hard-core fabric addict or both. He had offered her fabric to my younger sister and me a while back, and we never got around to going to look at it. So, at Easter he brought us a present. All her fabric. His trunk was packed full. He transferred it all to my minivan, and it has been there ever since. Upon first glance, I thought, "Wow, it looks like I robbed Hancocks 20 years ago." I figured there was very little I'd want to use, even less my sister (who mainly quilts) could use. I saw some green football jersey type material, some Native American style print that was popular when I was in junior high school, some super stiff denim... I have just let it sit. First, I have no where to put it. Secondly, what am I going to do with that mess? My girls cut all their hair off - make them some football jerseys so they REALLY look like boys?

I finally made it out there today with the intention of bagging up what I didn't want to either toss or give to Goodwill. As I pulled things out, I discovered that the hideousness on top was hiding some really good stuff. A lot of it is knits, which I haven't had much practice with, but I'd much rather screw up some free fabric than a couple of yards I paid for. There was an entire BOLT of black knit fabric. A whole BOLT. Almost a whole bolt of red knit. And she had to have been buying 5+ yards at a time of stuff, because the quantity of all of it is just ridiculous. I did throw some stuff away, mostly things that she had already cut out. I bagged up a few bags of really bizarre feeling material that I'll donate to Goodwill. But the majority of the fabric is still there in the back of the van, waiting for me to come up with ideas for it. I know my sister is supposed to share in this bounty, but not much of it is good quilting material. Even still, splitting it in half would leave me with enough stuff to keep me busy for a long time.

This is particularly good because I worked on the budget last night and had to promise myself I'd stay away from Joann's for a while with the exception of thread and other notions. Sad, but true.

Now I just have to figure out where to put all this junk, because I kind of need my trunk back =)

Monday, April 12, 2010

My nemesis: Binding.

I've been working on my second Little Artist Portfolio. Everything was trucking along great. I studied up on my binding instructions. I was confident. This was going to work.

I hate binding.

I give up. For now. I'm going to use some bias tape and do it the easy way. It might not look as pretty as proper binding - assuming someone else was doing the binding. Because it looks like total trash when I do it. Maybe eventually, before I need to do it again, I'll make some potholders or something to practice it. Something that won't hurt my feelings to totally destroy if I get utterly and completely frustrated. Like tonight when I was contemplating sticking every needle in my sewing kit into my forehead. It seemed like a less painful option.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just a little organization...

I have this list of projects in my head that is constantly getting shuffled around when I come across something I want to do, or something I need to do, or some new fabric I've found. I think I need to just get it all out of my head, organize it, and make myself stick to it.

  1. The other Little Artist Portfolio - needs to be done by next Saturday
  2. Corset top for best friend - I have the fabric for this
  3. Corset top or dress for best friend's daughter - may need fabric for this - I was going to refashion my old bridesmaid's dress for this, but it would look really trashy as a corset dress (teal crushed velvet)
  4. Sundresses for my 2 nieces (should get this done before summer is over LOL)
  5. A freezer paper stenciled tshirt for my nephew (because I don't know what else to make a boy)
  6. Refashion dark gray striped shirt
  7. Refashion light gray striped shirt
I have fabric for various outfits for the girls, but nothing definite planned... probably some halter tops and sundresses. None of the pieces are big enough for my nieces, I don't think, so I'll have to buy the fabric for their dresses. I also have a ton of patterns copied from the Carefree Clothing for Girls book I borrowed from the library.

There are probably a few other things I have forgotten now. That's what happens when I don't keep track. I think my sister ordered socks for me to make her a sock monkey, too. But I'm not going to worry about that until I have the socks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Little Artist Portfolio

My 5 year old has two birthday parties to go to next weekend and I had the bright idea to make their gifts. I didn't want to make clothes, because I don't know their sizes or tastes, so I did some looking through various tutorials online for something. I let Miss O help me. I narrowed it down to a crayon roll, a tote bag with crayon pockets, and a notebook/crayon holder. I had hoped she'd go with the tote bag, but she liked the notebook/crayon holder. The main problem with the tutorial was that it was for a small notebook. So I borrowed some ideas from that and mainly used this pencil roll tutorial. This is what I came up with:

Unfortunately, I didn't pay close enough attention to the binding tute she links to, and my binding is atrocious. It was my first time trying binding and you can definitely tell. This one might not make it to the party. Hopefully the next one will look better and we might keep this one and just buy fabric to redo this.

Instead of a full blown tutorial on what I did, I'll just tell you the measurements and changes I made. Maybe I'll take pictures when I make the next one and post a full tutorial, but this will have to suffice for now.

Inner & outer fabrics and interfacing are 21" x 14" (I actually think I ended up trimming an inch off and it was actually 20" but it's better to be safe than sorry)
Pocket fabric was 25" x 14", which is folded in half to be 7" tall
Binding fabric was 2" wide.

I made pockets for 12 colored pencils, and left an inch between those and the notebook pocket. To be honest, I didn't measure that one, just stuck the notebook in there and pinned. After making the pencil pockets, I sewed about 2 inches up from the bottom all the way across because the pockets were too deep, but I didn't want to shorten the notebook pocket.

I think eventually I might make one to hold crayons for my younger kiddos. I could fit two rows of crayon pockets on there to hold 24 crayons since they're shorter than colored pencils.

Aside from the pocket fabric, you could make this from fat quarters, which I love. I don't know why I love fat quarters so much. I guess because it cuts out the cutting table at the fabric store. =)

Speaking of fat quarters, I bought a coordinating bundle of 4 last time I was at Joann's. Hideous fabric that will probably make an adorable dress. And I picked up over half a yard of another fabric I liked in the remnant bin. I'm glad my kids are small enough that half a yard is more than enough to make something with. I don't know what I'll do when they get bigger. Buy bigger cuts of fabric, huh?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome to FA

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am a fabric addict. This is a fairly new addiction to me, but it's hit me hard and I'm afraid rehab might be my only option. The vacation away from home sounds pretty nice.

But I guess until they actually make a rehab for crafty addictions, I'll just share my sickness with the rest of the world, or the one or two people who might actually read this blog. At least it's a place for me to record what I did for future reference, assuming my project To Do list ever dwindles down to me needing to look for something to do.

When I was in 8th grade, my dream was to be a fashion designer. I had a sketch pad and colored pencils and would design all day long. But as I got older and started considering my career choices, I thought I'd be "practical" and go to college for psychology or something. Of course, here I am, a good (mumble mumble) years after graduating high school and I have no college degree. I probably would have been much better off pursuing fashion, but that would have led me down a much different road and I like where I am now, married to my cranky, goofy husband and mother to 3 clowns - girls ages 5, almost 4, and 2. I guess you could say I just decided to get all my childbearing over with at once.

I really didn't get into sewing much until around Christmas last year. I wanted to make matching skirts for my girls. Then I wanted to make skirts for presents. Then it just snowballed. I have yards of fabric with about a dozen projects planned for them (and some of them change before I get to them), I have a box full of clothing to be repurposed, I have all kinds of ideas dancing in my head at any given moment. But my time is limited. Small kids, full time job, no designated sewing area... I don't get to spend much time at it.

So come along for the ride and see what I cram into my short hours each week =)