Friday Favorites

Here are my latest Etsy favorites:

friday favorites 4-29-10Create Typewriter key and Millefiori bracelet -mentalembellisher

Vintage Salvaged Iron Owl – jherrmann

Turquoise and Red Cutie Cupcake in Vintage Tin - chinamommy

Oracle – Power Figure – shainerin

Siamese Cats, Siamese Twins, Custom – Lazymuse

Vintage Singer Sewing Series Binder – FlamingoVintage

Impala Horn Candles – GiantEye

Artisan Large Natural Turquoise Pendant – Studio1980

Linen Tea Towel, Time to Rest – inklore

I am scheduled to be induced, so hopefully I will have some baby news next week. Have a super crafty weekend!


Wishful Wednesday

As I sit here with my puffy, pregnant feet up I can’t help but daydream about all the new projects that I want to start once I have my energy back and today I’m going to share some projects from my wish list.  I’m not even going to discuss the 20 projects that I already have started that need to be finished.finished collageFrom left to right and top to bottom:

Pom pom wreath, 90 Minute Shirt, A Pettiskirt,

Jazzy Ironing Board Cover, Card Table Tent, Button Cookies,

Reusable “paper” towels, Shaggy Bag, Fabric Journals (Video part 1 of 4)

So, I’m going to need some dies for a big kick, some nylon chiffon, a card table, and a snap press and probably some other stuff.  What’s on your to do list?


Welcome to Week 41 and My Messy Kitchen

I really expected to be holding a baby by now, but I guess he’s not quite ready.  I am officially to the point of making no plans for anything, I can’t even plan dinner.  I have a very long list of things that I want to be doing, but I just can’t/don’t want to do them.  I have worked on a few things, knitting and crochet are still do-able, but pretty much everything else is out.  I miss bending.

Okay, enough whining, I still haven’t finished the Mod Podge screen printing of the fabric for my kitchen curtains, but I have been doing a little work in there.  Prepare to see a mess…don’t judge me, I know I have a hoarding/clutter problem and I am working on it.kitchen before 2This is my kitchen on a bad day, before the pre dinner clean up.  Yes, I have a huge clutter problem.  One of the main problems of this kitchen is lack of storage, I need more cabinets.  This in the only upper cabinet in the kitchen.  There is a small pantry area in the hall and it is very full. kitchen before 1The right side of the kitchen is a lost cause, there are no cabinets or counter space and I am using a bakers rack in an odd position to hold some necessary kitchen stuff and I keep a cutting board on half of my stove to use as a prep area.  Someday we will redo the kitchen, but that is something that isn’t going to happen for a while (think years).kitchen before 3So, um yeah, I was a little embarrassed by the clutter so I tidied up a bit and this is what it usually looks like.  Still not great, but less cluttered.  I really need to take those plastic bags to be recycled or make some plarn with them.kitchen progress 2I decided that I needed some shelves above the sink.  I wanted floating shelves for a nice clean look.  Right now I am ignoring the fact that the walls and ceiling really need to be painted.  I picked these out at the Home Depot and while they look nice they are not sturdy.  I had read the reviews and knew this was an issue, but I thought it was a hardware/installation issue.  I bought special hangers for plaster walls and expected these shelves to be awesome.  Sadly they are not, I’m not sure they are going to stay up (as in they may fall down by themselves in the middle of the night).  I bought three (notice, I even predrilled the holes for the third shelf) and have only put up two, the third may go back, I’m trying to decide if there is a way to make them work.kitchen progress 1I found some great accessories at Target that are perfect for the kitchen, modern and slightly retro, lots of red with pops of turquoise.  I also have been slowly collecting these nice canisters from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I get them one at a time with a 20% off coupon, they are sooooo nice, but a little pricey.  I wanted to store them on these shelves, but I’m not sure the shelves can hold them.

I think that once I get everything arranged and the new curtains and hand knitted towels out and the pot rack hung (once I find it, it’s in the basement of doom) that it will look nicer.  If anyone has suggestions for the shelves, let me know, I would really like to make them work.  I am also trying to decide how to store my spices without taking up a lot of room, but keeping them handy for use.  I’ll keep updating everyone on baby watch 2010, at this rate I might just wait until May!


How to Make a Nursing Top Using T-Shirts

Nursing tops can get expensive once you go beyond a simple nursing cami, so this time around I will be trying to make a few different styles. I have made a tank style, but you can opt to use the existing sleeves and have a nursing t-shirt. I was greatly inspired and influenced by this tutorial on sleepingbaby.net.

You will need two t-shirts, I bought mine new because I really liked this eggplant color. I removed the pocket and then traced around one of my favorite tanks with chalk.nursing tank 1

If you are making a t-shirt styled top you can skip this step. I will be making the t-shirt version of this and I like to reshape the neck and shorten the sleeves to make it look more like a top and less like a tee.nursing tank 2

Using the other shirt I cut out a matching overlay for the front. I tried the shirt on and marked when I wanted the overlay to end and then used that as a reference when I cut out the bottom. If you are making a tee consult this tutorial. I left the bottom seam of the shirt so I could use it for my drawstring casing. I also cut out two 1 inch wide strips for my ties.nursing tank 3

I sewed the overlay on to the shirt at the shoulder seams. I cut two small slits in the bottom seam on the overlay and threaded a strip through the center to the sides. I pinned the right sides together and sewed the side seams, treating the front and the overlay as one piece and catching the ends of the string in the side seam.nursing tank 4

To finish the armholes and neck edges I cut 1 inch wide strips of the left over shirt. I folded them in half the long way and pressed them.nursing tank 5 I put them on the right side of the arm and neck holes and stitched them down. Then I pressed the seams toward the top and edge stitched on the right side. It kind of makes a mini-facing, see the picture.nursing tank 6

After it was finished I marked where I wanted the nursing openings and cut slits in the bottom layer of the front. The finished tank looks like a tank with a baby doll tie. It’s super easy to untie the bow and lift for nursing access.

nursing tank 7

It would be easy to make this style from knit fabric too. If you do decide to make the t-shirt option it would be a lot simplier to start with premade shirts.

This shirt is finished, but I keep thinking it needs something else, some sort of embellishment, so I may have to work on that a bit more. If you have any ideas or tutorials for other nursing tops let me know! Have a super crafty weekend!


More Sienna Dresses

I know that I have already shared some of these, but I really enjoy making them.  I have had these cut out since our LNKHandmade team meeting on the 3rd.  I guess my favorite part is shopping for the shirts, it’s a shopping challenge to find interesting shirts that can be reassembled in to adorable dresses.

The minute I saw this shirt I had to have it, unfortunately it wouldn’t fit anyone, but add some hearts and tie dye and it really makes a fun little dress.  Little Miss says she only likes the hearts.sienna dress - jon stewart 1Once you get the hang of this pattern you can really make these fast.  I think I can make one in about an hour and, believe me, I am not rushing.  I have even been using some of the decorative stitches on my machine for the edge stitching.  I have also been using some interesting colors of thread from my giant bag of thread that I got from my Aunt, it seems to have almost every color and I have used up at least 5 spools.sienna dress - jon stewart 2This flora fabric was one of my first purchases for making the Sienna Dress.  I liked the pattern so much I didn’t notice that it was 100% polyester.  It is still a knit, but it does not stretch as well, which is important for the neck binding (I should have used a different fabric for that) and it won’t breathe as well, but it sure is cute!sienna dress - fire and flowers 1The tie dye fabric on the sleeves is from a shirt I dyed myself and wore to death years ago.  Luckily there were still a few usable areas left.  I need to use that technique again, I love how it looks like fire.sienna dress - fire and flowers 2I have almost finished my new nursing top and I’ll have that tutorial to share tomorrow or Friday, now I’m just testing some embellishment ideas, you know I couldn’t just leave it plain, right?


More Baby Accessories

Well, still no baby, and I have to admit that I’m getting a little impatient for the arrival. I washed up all the little baby things this weekend, found my Boppy pillow and the car seat. Everything was looking a bit tired and well worn and I decided that maybe it was time to freshen things up a bit. Foolishly I had thought that I didn’t have time for these projects, but really I seem to have plenty of time.

I started with the car seat, it is still in great condition, but the boring liner is really kind of ratty (and ugly, so ugly there will be no picture). After carrying two other babies the cover is a little worse for wear. I traced the cover onto brown paper bags. It was a little awkward, but manageable. My cover is four separate pieces, a center piece, two sides pieces, and a back sleeve piece that slips over the back of the seat, there are also four elastic loops that hold the pad in place.carseat linerI used a yard of pre-quilted fabric, I just fell in love with this batik pattern. It seemed a little pricey (it was on sale for $13.99, normally $19’99), but there was no way I was going to quilt my own fabric, and really once you buy 2 yards of fabric for the front and back and the batting you’ve spent about that much and you still have to quilt it! I cut and sewed the pieces together and tried it on the car seat. I was able to make some small adjustments and get the elastic placement perfect. The only thing left was to add the binding all around and it was finished, it really improved the look of the seat.carseat cover closedNext I decided to make a cover for the seat to keep the sun and drafts out. I used this tutorial from Vanilla Joy. I did change the straps a little, I just made tubes and I used a decorative stitch to edge stitch the finished cover. carseat cover open This would make a great baby gift, it’s really a great way to customize a blah baby carrier.boppy cover frontI also decided to make a matching Boppy pillow cover using another tutorial from Vanilla Joy. The cover turned out great, I have another pattern that I’ve made covers with and this one is much better. boppy cover back It didn’t give a yardage needed and unfortunately 1 yard wasn’t enough to do the entire cover, but I like the pop of orange on the back. The zipper makes it so easy to get on and off, my other pattern used an overlap and it was quite a wrestling match to get the pillow in and out of the cover. I used 1/2” seams to get a slightly snugger fit and I also had to get by with a 22” zipper, which did work out, but barely.

I have a few other projects in mind, since everything is so matchy-matchy, you’ll notice that some of these fabrics were also used in the swaddling blankets. Maybe some burp cloths or a diaper clutch or a few more Boppy covers and I still need to make some nursing tops.

[Edited to add: When altering any form of safety device (in this case a childs car seat), please be sure to consult the owner's manual and research proper techniques and/or materials for the project.]


All I Can Do Is Crochet

Wednesday morning at 10:30, while trying to decide what I was going to write about for my blog, I decided that I needed to make Little Miss a cute summer top, something with knitting or crochet.  I popped over to ravelry and 10 minutes later was printing the pattern and picking the yarn.  By lunchtime the crocheting was done (we had lunch a little late) and it was time to start the sewing.  The sewing was going well, but I had to stop to go pick up Little Sir from school, and that’s when things started going wrong. 

Apparently I had left the lights on in the car all day and the battery was dead, did I mention that I am a week from my due date and walking is not something I want to do?  Oh well, so we walked to pick him up, luckily it’s not to far to his school and we got there right on time.  Back at home snacks were eaten and kids were playing and I was Googling to find a repair shop that would come and jump start the car when something went horribly wrong with the computer, a virus attack, oh nooooooo, but I just renewed my anti-virus!  Yeah, so now the computer is pretty much useless (I have managed to fix it, but it took me a couple of days and a lot of cussing).

I won’t bore you with more about all this, but there has been a lot of walking and a lot of whining (from me).  Anyway back to the crochet, the top is finished and cute, yay, something went right.  Wow, crocheting is a lot faster than knitting, maybe I should make something else, like that cupcake purse that has been on my list for a while (that was yesterday).  Lemon crochet halter topBy yesterday evening the purse was almost finished (must weave in ends) and another idea had hit me, what if I made this with crochet thread and a tiny hook and made it into a bottle cap pin cushion? cupcake purseI can’t find my brown thread, but oh well, white will work, and before bedtime I had this, almost finished, but it still needs something…like a cherry…hmmmm, use a bead or crochet one…cupcake pincushion Oh and now that I’ve made it once I want to make it again, only different and better, with felt and beads and I really need to get started on it now so I can finish up before dinner.  And a giant one would be cool too, with sprinkles and glitter, I could use a vinegar bottle for a hard base and paint it brown, and speaking of glitter I want to glitter some shoes, and that reminds me, I need a shoe rack, and, and, and…

Yeah, and this is exactly how my mind works, is this how everyone’s brain works or am I “special”?  And before I forget, I used the top half of this crochet halter top pattern (PDF) as my base and added the fabric and I used this cupcake cradle purse as a starting point for my cupcake purse without cradle.

Have a super crafty weekend!


The Perfect Kitchen Scrubbie

I am all about having the perfect tool for the job at hand and when I realized that my kitchen sponges just weren’t cutting it I decided to try making my own.

I need something that is abrasive, but safe for non stick cookware.  I also need something absorbent to wipe up messes.  I decided that a double sided sponge was just what I needed, nylon netting on one side (I bought a roll of tulle, but cutting your own is usually less expensive), cotton yarn on the other side, and maybe a sponge in the middle for good measure.scrubbie rectangleInteresting, I didn’t have a white or red sponge so I went with orange and I don’t like how it shows through.  It looks like it would work, but it is a little big and bulky.  I do like the texture on the tulle, looks like it would really scrub good. scrubbie roundTake two, lets go smaller and round, no sponge.  The size is better, but a little smaller would be perfect.  I doubled the cotton yarn to make up for the lack of sponge.  I like round better than rectangle, but the round netting part seems a little holey.  I guess I could cut a sponge round.

I’m going to be using these two scrubbies for a couple of weeks to see how they work and wear and decide if I need to give it another try.  I may just need to perfect the size and shape.

What is your favorite sponge/scrubbie to use in the kitchen?  Do you have any patterns you recommend?


Tutorial: Washable Contoured Nursing Pads

Preparations for the baby are still in full swing and today I decided to make some washable nursing pads.  The disposable pads are awful, like maxi pads for your boobs, and it’s just like throwing money straight into the trash.  With Little Miss I had bought these washable pads and they worked fine, however, two sets was not nearly enough and I really didn’t want to invest a lot of money ($3.00 a pair?!?) on something that I could make myself. 
I decided to use flannel since I had some white flannel scraps from Little Miss’s curtains.  I used a coffee cup as my template (it is 3 1/2 inches across) and traced the circles on to my scraps using an air erase marker. nursing pads 2
I found that I could cut through four layers of fabric with my super awesome Ginger Shears, which worked out perfectly because I wanted four layers of flannel for every pad.nursing pads 3
I made a paper template using the same coffee cup and folded it in half twice to divide it into quarters (to lazy to measure).  I cut out one quarter and this was my template for cutting to make the dart.  I drew the line above so you could see how I cut the circle, but I just held the template on the circles and cut them as I went.  (To clarify, I only cut a line and not the whole quarter of a circle out, so that I could overlap the fabric).
My fabric was a little rumpled, so I thoroughly ironed each stack of four.  The ironing really reduced the bulk of the pads.nursing pads 1I overlapped the cut edges by about one inch (I eyeballed it).  This is to make the dart or contour.  It makes pads look better under your clothes and I found them to be more comfortable than just the flat circles. nursing pads 4 Starting at the outer edge, zigzagged over the raw edge to the center.  nursing pads 5Once I got to the center I turned the fabric and zigzagged over the other raw edge on the bottom of the pad to the outer edge.nursing pads 6Then I turned the fabric again and continued the zigzag around the outer edge of the pad, over lapping the stitching on the edge a little.  I also went back and trimmed the fabric to the stitching.nursing pads 7These really turned out just like the ones I bought and these are definitely softer.  It really is easy to make these, kind of hard to explain, but easy to do, if you have any questions just ask.
I also recommend making a laundry bag to wash these in, if you don’t already have one, because they get stuck in the door of the washer/dryer and sometimes end up in the lint trap of the dryer (ewwwww, linty nursing pads!!!)  A large rectangle of tulle sewn up the sides and a channel for a drawstring tie and you’re done. 
Twelve pairs of nursing pads ready to go, now I just need some nursing tops, we’ll see if I have time to whip some up this week.


Kitschy Kitchen

I have finished adding more Mod Podge to my silverware silk screen and the revised prints look a lot better.  Now I need to get the fabric printed.  I’m thinking that I will cut the fabric to size for the curtain panels, then print it, and then sew it.  This will make the fabric more manageable.  I have also decided that the curtains need rick rack and ball fringe.

In the meantime I have been dreaming about all the other things I want to have in my kitchen.  I need some super accessories, lots of red with pops of turquoise.  I need towels.  I have several red towels, they hang on the handle to my stove, but it seems like they spend more time on the floor and once they hit the floor, ewww, I need a fresh one.  So, I made a towel that won’t fall off.hanging dishtowel 1 I also made a towel ring to hang by my sink to hold a flour sack towel.  I just made a ring and crocheted around it until it was full, went around it with red and added a hanging loop.  My Mom embroiders towels and I know she used to have a pattern with dishes and silverware (because I have the ones she made in the 70’s) and there is a good chance she still has it (see this hoarding thing is inherited), I may have to request a new set. 

I used the Leftover Dishtowel pattern and added a turquoise stockinette stitched stripe and made the top hanging part of the towel in stockinette stitch also, hanging dishtowel detail I even remembered to reverse it so that it looked the same when folded over, yay me!  I want to make one with a zigzag next.  I’m really excited about decorating my kitchen, now I need to get some floating shelves and dig out my hanging pot rack, oh and finish those curtains!


Yeah, So I Thought I was Crafty

Have you seen the So You Think You’re Crafty (S.Y.T.Y.C.) Blog?  I am a big fan, I really wish there was a TV show just like this, so I could watch the contestants compete live, you know, kind of like Design Star or Project Runway, only crafty.  Anyway, I had the chance to audition for round three and, ahem, I didn’t do so well.

I really had a great time with my audition and I’m hoping that maybe I can try out again someday.  Today I’m going to share what I made and some theories (excuses) why I wasn’t in the top 10.SYTYC audition 4My entry was a fused plastic traveling sketchbook cover.  Complete with pockets to hold tools and custom shrink plastic clasps.  This was something for me, it has been on my to do list for quite a while.SYTYC audition 5

BTW, these are new pictures that I took today, I have modified the original “finished” cover since I entered it in the contest.  I am really happy how this came out and I will use it a lot, my sketchbook now lives in this case and I have everything I need to whip it out and sketch at a moments notice, I am so happy to have finished this!

Now for the why I didn’t make the top 10 or as I like to call it, How not to enter a craft contest.

  1. Pick something really custom that doesn’t have a lot of appeal to the average crafter.
  2. Not deciding what you will make when you find out you’ll be auditioning.
  3. Procrastinate and wait until the very last minute to finish. 
  4. Just kind of finished and not really do it the way you wanted it because you are out of time.
  5. Make something using a super complicated process that may release toxic fumes.
  6. Take awful pictures on you living room floor at 10 o’clock at night.
  7. Use materials that are difficult to photograph (the fused plastic).
  8. Think entering a contest when you are nine months pregnant, where if you are in the top 10 it will mean finishing one super fabulous project with tutorial a week for 10 weeks is a good idea.

SYTYC audition 2 I guess I still think I’m crafty, maybe I’m just a little crazy.  Head on over to the S.Y.T.Y.C. blog and check out all the previous crafts and tutorials and get some inspiration.  And if anyone is interested I do have a PDF of the design I used to make the shrink plastic clasps, the line drawing with blank banner just waiting to be colored in to share, leave me a comment and let me know.


The Easter Dress…

…that didn’t get worn.  I know what you’re thinking, it wasn’t finished, but it was.  I used the button shirt to toddler dress tutorial from craftster.  BTW, it was really easy to do and it really made a cute dress.  I had bought the perfect shirt (from the Goodwill), so cute with pink and blue plaid, and it was going to be great.  I made my dress and ended up adding elastic to the top front to make it fit a little better, but other than that everything fit perfect and it was really quick to make.button shirt recon

The reason she didn’t wear it was that I didn’t like how the colors looked on her.  I know, that seems a little silly, but I really am picky about what the kids wear.  It’s okay, but it would have been a lot cuter on her if it was a brighter color or had a bolder pattern.  It might even look better this summer after we’ve had a little sun.  I thought about dying it, but I sewed it with polyester thread, so that would stay white, and I wasn’t sure what color to use anyway.  I’m still thinking about solutions.  I really like the style of the dress, the little ruffle straps are my favorite.  I would also look great with a petticoat under it.

I do recommend the tutorial, it was very easy and the results were great, just make sure to pick the right shirt!


Thrifty Thursday – Reclaimed Yarn

Last weekend was, once again, $.99 at the Goodwill and I found tons of great treasures.  My favorite finds were these two girls sweaters, they are made from a bulky thick/thin yarn with a hint of metallic running through them and I just had to get them.thrifted sweaters beforeThe pink one is from the Gap and the blue one is from K-mart.  If you are going to unravel sweaters I recommend that you use high quality sweaters, the pink came apart much easier and I was able to reclaim about 95% of the yarn.  The blue one involved a lot of cussing and I only got about 70% of the yarn and the yarn quality was not as good.thrifted sweaters afterI’m thinking that I have enough to make a couple of hats from each color, but I guess we’ll see.  The process of unraveling the sweaters took an evening.  I worked on it while I talked on the phone and watched TV, so it went pretty fast.  I have one more sweater to unravel, a beautiful, cotton, bulky, chocolate brown sweater that I want to make into a bath mat, but I’m going to wait until I finish up some other projects.t-shirts thrifted marchThere were also plenty of fun novelty shirts to be had.vintage house dressI found this great handmade, vintage house dress too!  I remember this fabric from my childhood, not exactly sure where, but I want to say kitchen or bathroom curtains.

I’m taking a long weekend and getting ready for an entire day of crafting Saturday with my Lincoln Handmade Friends and some family time on Easter, have a super crafty weekend and I’ll see you next week!