When Will I have Enough Fabric?

That is the million dollar question.  What exactly do I do with all this fabric besides hoard it?  I pet it and love it and make it into to lovely things, that’s what! 

I have a lot of reasons that keep me buying fabric and I don’t think that any 12 step program is going to help that, so what it boils down to is storage.  I need to see what I have so I can sew with it, I also need to be able to find that one piece that I know I have but can’t seem to find.  I searched the internet for “fabric organization” and there are oodles of different techniques.  I opted to fold using a template so that all of my folded fabrics would be the same size and fit into the designated storage cubes.

The instructions I found all used a quilting ruler, but I don’t have one, so I improvised with a cutting mat/ruler that I had.

Step 1:  Lay fabric on flat surface with selvage edge on one side (pictured on the right)  and folded edge on the other (pictured on the left), place your ruler/template on top of fabric near the cut edge.

folded fabric 1 Step 2:  Fold cut edge over ruler.

folded fabric 2Step 3:  Continue wrapping fabric neatly around ruler until you reach the end of the yardage.

folded fabric 3  Step 4:  Remove ruler and fold in half.folded fabric 4 Step 5:  Stack in storage cubes and enjoy the neatness.

folded fabricImagine how great this will be when all my fabric is folded and sorted by fiber content and color.  It’s going to take me a long time, but I will be worth it when it’s all done.  I’ll keep you guys posted. 

I am also working to get my craft room fully unpacked and arranged, it’s a total mess now and there are crafting supplies everywhere, but I can’t wait to get it finished, I hope everything fits.

Oh, and the answer to When? is never, I will never have enough fabric, although I am trying to scale it back a bit.


Testing for a Handmade Christmas

I have mentioned before that I like to test things out before I really make them and today I have been testing a felt cupcake pattern from buggabugs.etsy.com. This pattern is really adorable and features the base cupcake pattern and six icing choices. Little Miss is getting a play kitchen for Christmas this year and since that used up the majority of my shopping budget I decided to make some accessories to go with it and what better than felt cupcakes!

What I want to make is two sets of cupcakes, six chocolate and six white and I want the icing on each set to match. Today I made samples of the cupcakes and the icings that I thought I would like.

felt cupcakes test1I really like the two on the top right, the one on the bottom left is okay, but no quite what I was looking for. This pattern really has a lot of detail and an excellent level of realism for felt food. The cupcakes even have removable “papers”.

felt cupcakes test2I am really glad that I decided to give this pattern a test run first, I really learned a lot and I think that the finished cupcakes will be fabulous!

What I learned:

Purchase felt by the yard instead of by the rectangle, it will eliminate the need to sew some seams in the frosting.

Sewing a round bottom onto straight sides using a 1/8” sew allowance on a sewing machine is really hard for me and I will be happier with the results if I hand sew the bottom on.

Don't forget to buy matching thread.

The pattern is perfectly sized to fit in a real cupcake tin.

Hand sewing takes time, but the finished results are worth it.

This pattern was definitely worth the investment, it is well written and has a lot of photos to walk you through all the different steps. I would have to say that almost anyone should be able to make these cupcakes, although it may be time consuming for someone with less experience. Be aware that hand sewing is required for finishing the frosting. The level of detail in this pattern really makes these little cupcakes realistic and I am excited to try another pattern from this designer. This pattern is for personal use only, but I imagine that I will be making this for gifts for years to come. The designer has a large variety of food and toy patterns available, you really should check it out.

Now all I need is some more felt and a couple of cupcake tins from the dollar store and I’ll have another package to wrap up. Don’t worry, I’ll share pictures when I’m finished.


Cereal Box Notebooks Revisited

You may remember that I have made recycled cereal box notebooks before and I really liked how they came out, I just realized that this time I didn’t use any cereal boxes.  I found the tutorial on thelongthread.com.  These little notebooks came in handy for a lot of things, little gifts, giveaways, and just for fun and at the last couple of craft shows I have been to there has been a lot of interest in these simple notebooks.  (They are in the $2.00 to $4.00 range, which seems to be a popular price point, when you want to buy something, but not spend a lot.)  My supply was getting a little low, so I decided to whip up a few more.

cereal box books - more 1

The most time consuming part of this project is cutting the paper, notice all of my boxes are a different size and each insert needs to be measured and cut.  This round I used all plain paper, I’m not exactly sure where my stash of lined paper is, I’m sure it will turn up eventually.

cereal box books - more 2 These are my favorites.  The two in the upper left are from a Ritz cracker box and they are perfect for making lists, I love making lists.  The rest are just fun packages: Hungry-man TV dinners, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, atomic fireballs, bacon, and teddy grahams.  I’m thinking about putting these in my Etsy shop in sets of three for $10.00, what do you guys think?  They will also be making their way into a lot of Christmas gifts, frugal and handmade, how great is that?


Craft Show Displays

Last year was my first real experience attending craft shows and basically I just showed up, slapped a piece of fabric on the table and arranged everything flat on the table. Not really that impressive and not the best way to showcase my work. This year I vowed to do better, but I don’t have the budget to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy displays and lets be realistic, handmade crafts deserve to be displayed in a unique way, not like a display at Wal-mart.

I had my set of five “heads” to model my hats, the varying heights really added some interest to my table. I also had several knitted scarves for sale and I wrapped them around the necks of my hat models.

I found this beautiful frame at a thrift store for $1.50 and knew it would be the perfect base for my pendant display. I cut a piece of foam core to the size of the hole and using hot glue covered it with a charcoal gray knit fabric from my stash. I inserted it into the frame and used pins to stick my pendants to it.

craft show display - pendants I did have to remove the cords from some of the pendants, but I really like the way this looks. I used a brick under the back edge to prop it up and that made the perfect hiding spot to keep my cash box and shopping bags. I also printed out signs that would be helpful for customers to shy to ask or if I was busy with someone else, stating prices and that each pendant came with a satin necklace. I also had a sign mentioning that I take custom orders.

I found this great cardboard organizer on clearance at Ben Franklin’s and just had to have it, once I got it home I realized it would be perfect to display my rainbow crayons and knitted washcloths.

craft show display - organizer box

It was great for the washcloths, but the crayons seemed to go unnoticed by a lot of my customers, I may need to come up with another way to display them.

I also sell record bowls and I use them to hold some of my smaller items, like bottle cap charms and recycled notebooks.

Overall I really think that my new displays really made my work appear more professional, I still need to come up a good way to display my tree of life ornaments, but I had no problem selling them this time. I was making them to pass the time and to have something to keep me busy and usually shortly after I finished one it would be sold.

I don’t have a picture of my full display, it seems in the excitement of going to the show I left my camera at home. I have one more show this season and hopefully I will remember my camera next time and if anyone knows a great way to showcase my tree of life ornaments let me know!


The “Megan Wants You…” Crocheted Hat

The “Megan wants you…” hat from Valerie Whitten of vallieskids.blogspot.com, is a super cute hat that includes a brim and a decorative band attached with buttons. I whipped this up in an afternoon using a J hook and some clearance yarn.

brimmed rainbow hat 2 It turned out really cute, but the yarn reminds me of barfed up skittles.

brimmed rainbow hat 1I took this hat with me to the Frost Frolic Craft show and its the first hat I sold, I’m not sure if it was the style or the color that attracted the buyer, but I will have to make some more of these. Valerie has a lot of cute and easy crochet patterns available on her blog, you should definitely check it out (she is also the designer of the butterfly hat that I have featured here).

I would also like to apologize for being missing all last week, my entire family had some sort of stomach virus/flu and we were pretty ill for the entire week, but don’t worry, we’re all better now and I’m feeling super crafty. The weather is starting to get colder and all I want to do it knit warm things and sew up warm things, so stay tuned, hopefully I will be tackling some of the things on my ever growing to-craft list.


Paper Mache Wrap Up

I coated my paper mache with some light weight joint compound, which probably wasn’t the best idea.  The moisture leached into the paper mache and weakened it, but I’m still using them.

paper mache 3They kind of look like I frosted them.  It took and entire day for them to dry and this morning I sanded them smooth.  I used black gesso to paint/prime them.  I will need to go back and do some touching up and finish the bottoms, but I wanted to share this today.

paper mache 4I really like how these turned out, I wish I had more time to work on them, but I need them to be ready for tomorrow to display my hats.paper mache 5

I had wanted to paint faces on them, but now I’m glad I just went with plain black, my table cloth is also black and I think that it will really make my hats pop!

It’s time for me to start loading up the car, have a great weekend everyone!


Current Events and Paper Mache

It has been a long week and unfortunately it started off on a sad note.  Pookie’s (my cats) health started rapidly declining this weekend and on Monday I said my final goodbye.  She was my companion for over fifteen years.

Pookie and Kiki in the sweater bed Here she is, on the right, with my other cat Kiki in their recycled sweater bed.

I have also been preparing for the 19th. Annual Frost Frolic Holiday Market in exciting Fairbury, Nebraska, my home town.  Working on some new ideas on how to display my work, (more on that next week) and finishing up some last minute projects.

Here is what I just started working on last night.

paper mache 1Here is my base, balloons and cardboard tubes.  I then broke out the paper mache and went to work.

Paper mache 2  I didn’t finish the sixth one, I just ran out of steam, besides odd numbers of things look more visually pleasing, right?  They have dried nicely and are pretty stiff.  I think I’m going to give them a coat of spackle to smooth them out and maybe after my Lincoln Handmade Team meeting tonight I can start painting them.  Can you guess what they are going to be?


Let’s Tie-Dye!

Every once in a while I get the urge to tie-dye.  Years ago the quickest and easiest option was RIT Dye, well not anymore!  I recently received some samples of Tulip’s Permanent Fabric Dye to try.  I was impressed with the vivid colors that were available, very bright and modern.tulip dye This dye is super easy to use, all you need is steaming hot water and 1/4 c. of salt.  I had several colors to experiment with and this is what I came up with.  I used 1 yard pieces of 100% cotton knit fabric for my samples.

tie dye blueThe blue fabric is Royal Blue and Teal.  First I roughly pleated the fabric and bound it with acrylic yarn (that’s what was handy and I have tons to spare).  I immersed it in the Royal Blue, agitating it for the first 15 minutes and then allowing it to soak for another 45 minutes.  I then rinsed and removed the yarn, I have this really awesome feature on my new HE washing machine that rinses and spins the fabric, yay!  I then immersed the damp fabric in a vat of Teal dye agitating and soaking in the same way, rinsed and dried.

tie dye red The Red fabric is made using Bright Red and Sunshine dye (there is a lot more yellow in person that isn’t showing up in this photo).  I carefully pleated the fabric vertically and then bound it with acrylic yarn.  It was then immersed in the Bright Red dye, agitated and soaked for an hour.  Then it was rinsed and the yarn removed.  I then carefully pleated the fabric horizontally and re-tied it with yarn.  It was then immersed in the Sunshine dye, agitated and soaked for an hour, rinsed and untied, then dried.

tie dye black The black fabric was made using black dye.  I decided where the center of the bulls-eye would be and then I wrapped it with string, hopefully this picture explains what I did.

tie-dye 2

I did this randomly all over my piece of fabric, it looked really strange when I was finished.

tie-dye 1This time I immersed it in the Black dye and agitated and soaked it for an hour, rinsed it, removed the strings, and dried it.

I was very pleased with how easy this product is to use, and the results are great, vivid, rich colors and not having to boil the darker colors (like RIT dye) is a big plus!  I was also able to achieve lighter, pastel colors by only immersing the fabric for 10 – 15 minutes.

Tulip has an entire line of products for dying fabric, like custom color mixing kits, tie-dying kits, and resists to use, and I think I will be trying a few of them as well. 

If you would like to see more projects using Tulip dyes check out this e-book from Favecrafts, there are 28 projects organized by 18 different dye techniques, with step-by-step photo instructions!  And if you would like to get some Tulip dye of your own you can order it directly from ilovetocreate.com, enter the code “fave1009” to receive free shipping until November 30, 2009.

What technique do you like the best and what should I make with all this fabric?